GUADEC 2023 - Event Report

GUADEC 2023 - Event Report

GUADEC is the GNOME community’s yearly event. A great week of talks and workshops brings hundreds of GNOME developers, users, supporters and community members together. This year GUADEC visited the beautiful city of Riga, in Latvia, from July 26th to 31st July, 2023.

Pre-registration Event

For those that arrived early, GUADEC organized a very nice pre-registration event at the Grand Hotel Kempinski, in the center of Riga. The day was absolutely gorgeous, and the top floor of the building offered an incredible vantage point over the city.

My friend and FOSS advocate Pēteris Jurčenko was waiting for me at the event, and he had organized a surprise visit. He took me to the Linux club at the center building of the University of Latvia, which was just across the park. Once we arrived, we met Leo Trukšāns and Arnis Voitkāns. Leo is an associate professor at the Computer Science faculty of University of Latvia, , a Linux and Open-Source advocate, and a cybersecurity expert. Arnis is a systems integrator at University of Latvia IT department.

We chatted about Linux at the University building for a bit, before we all headed back to the pre-registration event together. We enjoyed the pre-registration event very much. After the event, Pēteris took us for dinner to a typical Latvian restaurant nearby. What a great first day!

Main event

The main venue was the University of Latvia Academic Centre. This new university campus is quite close to the old town, where most of the attendees were staying. What a perfect reason for a nice walk with our open-source friends. Our walk took us across a beautiful bridge on the Daugava River. It was definitely worth the walk, the venue was gorgeous! This is where the main conference took place from Wednesday 26th to Friday 29th July.

Among the many interesting talks, Jeremy Bicha showed us how GNOME gets into Ubuntu. Till Kamppeter reminded us that printing is not only about drivers: The New Printing GUIs: GNOME Control Center and Common Print Dialog Backends.

A few great talks brought us up to speed on everything GNOME related. Two panel talks to definitely check out are State of the Shell and GNOME Design: State of the Union .

Cassidy James Blaede (@cassidyjames) was on stage again for his How to make a delightful app listing talk. This is an interesting topic, and something that gets overlooked too often. I highly encourage everyone to watch it on the GUADEC 2023 YouTube playlist.

Hrittik Roy (@hrittikhere) spoke of community building from the point of view of university students: Building Student Communities to Foster OSS.

Hallway Track

This beautiful venue had a modern and open space for my favorite track, the hallway track. Canonical was a gold sponsor at GUADEC this year, therefore we had the opportunity to set up our very orange table. This year, our table was even more colorful thanks to all the Ubuntu Flavours stickers. We had many interesting conversations with GUADEC attendees from all over the world interested in Ubuntu Local Communities.

Latvian LoCo Leader Jānis Fēlikss (@kangarooo) has been with us the whole week, he provided great support at the table during the main conference days. Jānis also showed us around the city, and hyped Ubuntu wherever he went.

Peteris Jurgenko is a great person, passionate and full of energy. He introduced us to the Latvian University Linux group. He took us all out for dinner and showed us around the city.

Ubuntu LoCo discussions did not stop with our Latvian friends though, we had many great conversations throughout the event.

Pedro Sader Azvedo (@pesader) from Brazil spoke with us of fun Ubuntu install fests, Brazilian Linux communities, and their love for Ubuntu. Pedro is part of LKCAMP and would love to get more involved with Ubuntu LoCos.

Manuel Haro (@osilmx) is an absolute champion of open-source. He is planning to start a Mexican Loco with Jesus Soto. They both live in Monterrey, Mexico. Manuel is also an event organizer , and member of the GNOME foundation and DEDICA foundation.

Hrittik Roy (@hrittikhere) was truly interested in the event organized by Till Kamppeter (@till-kamppeter) , Opportunity Open Source. After I introduced him, he started a few conversations with Till and other friends that live close to the Mandi event. They submitted talks and offered help organizing the event. In some conversations, India LoCos were mentioned, and we exchanged contact details.

Aryan Kaushik (@aryan) created a GNOME user group in Delhi, India, where he mentors people into GNOME, linux and FOSS. Aryan might be interested in starting an Ubuntu LoCo group in his area and would like to keep the conversation going with us to understand more about Ubuntu Local Communities.

BoF days

The conference moved to the center building of the University of Latvia on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July. Very interesting to note that this was the same building where I met Leo Trukšāns and Arnis Voitkāns on Tuesday 25th July. A great atmosphere was created at the University of Latvia during the BoF days due to the different pace and less busy venue.

Many interesting BoF sessions were scheduled on Saturday 29 July, 2023 and Sunday 30 July 2023. While those were not recorded, some of the presentations can be downloaded from the linked timetable.

Siddharth Shivkumar (@siddharth) from Major League Hacking ran a stimulating BoF: Fostering Inclusion and Diversity in Tech and Communities on 29 July 2023.
This was an interactive session and Siddarth did a great job, he kept the conversation going and guided us into a few interesting aspects of inclusion, such as languages, age groups and gender.


What a great experience, this was my first time attending GUADEC, and I am already looking forward to next year’s conference. I loved the talks, the conversations and the friendly atmosphere throughout the event. I would like to give a shout out to the team behind the GNOME event, who did an excellent job. Riga was welcoming and absolutely gorgeous, I can’t wait to return in November for the Ubuntu Summit 2023!