The Community and Desktop teams had the great privilege of attending GUADEC 2022 this year in Guadalajara, Mexico. GUADEC is a six day conference, with the first half being dedicated to talks and presentations, and the latter half being dedicated for BoFs (birds-of-a-feather sessions) and workgroups.
We were thrilled to be able to sponsor GUADEC this year at a “Gold” tier alongside Google and RedHat, and in doing so we were allowed a booth in the main atrium of the event. We brought along pins and stickers for anyone and everyone to take with them, and our QR code linking to our many open positions was scanned more times than I could count!
The GUADEC organizing team treated us to numerous lavish nights of food and entertainment, the first of which being the Welcome Dinner on the top of one of the downtown hotels with a beautiful view of the city.
The highlight of the social events was definitely the GNOME 25th anniversary party, where we were treated to a night of live music, dancing, food, drinks, and an absolutely stunning cake.
As fun as the socializing is at GUADEC, there was also work to be done and talks to be heard. We were presented with a myriad of fantastic talks from our colleagues from all over the open source ecosystem. Better yet, we were treated to some great talks from Canonical’s very own Heather and Till.
As the first half of GUADEC drew to a close, many of the attendees parted ways, with a little over half staying to take part in the BoFs and the remaining social events.
A few of us took a small day trip through the city, and made a detour at the local aquarium where we got to view these beautiful creatures.
On our final day in Mexico, we were treated to a tour of the city of Tequila, famous for (you guessed it) Tequila. We were allowed access to the Jose Cuervo factory where they took us through the process of making Tequila from harvesting the agave through the distillation and aging processes.
In summary, if you have the chance to attend GUADEC, I would definitely do so without hesitation. That said, it wasn’t all sunshine and daisies. I had a very difficult time getting all of the booth materials to Mexico this year — the boxes needing to be carried throughout the airports and having them opened, searched, and questioned. Getting the banners and table contents to me in California was the first challenge, and it was thanks to Monica and the Austin Canonical office that it was made possible. Secondly, with the size of the banner it was not possible to store it in my luggage, so we were required to carry it throughout the airport and check it alongside our bags. Fortunately, I was able to coordinate this with Caroline from the GNOME Foundation, and we combined all of our banners and posters to reduce the number of individual boxes. It was well worth it though, as our booth looked absolutely fantastic, and, unfortunately for our fellow Gold sponsors, they had their materials held up at customs, causing them to not arrive for the majority of the event. It would have been great to have the other Gold tier sponsor booths alongside ours, and I feel terrible about their situation. Nevertheless, there was a great amount of interest surrounding Canonical at this years’ GUADEC, and we gave away nearly all of the stickers and pins, and the newly designed (and laser cut) pins were a huge success.
It was great to catch up with old friends, and there was no shortage of fantastic conversations about the future of GNOME, how Canonical and GNOME can better work together going into the future, and how we can overcome some of the challenges and personalities that might be driving a wedge between our two organizations. Between the wonderful events, speakers, and BoFs, the atmosphere was hugely positive, and it was great to be in the same venue with such passionate individuals. I loved the diversity of talks, and I learned a great deal about inclusive design, GNOME’s infrastructure, and the future of the Desktop.
GUADEC has a special place in my heart, and it continues to be my favorite conference. I am looking forward to GUADEC 2023 in Riga, Latvia next year.