GUADEC 2023 Experience

4 min read | Sat Sep 02 2023


Sveiki visiem!

In this blog, I'm pumped to share my experience attending GUADEC 2023 held in Riga, Latvia.

Let's start :)

During the conference, I presented a joint talk with Pooja Patel on "How to add 16.67% more users and contributors: A guide to creating accessible applications".

The talk was on Day 2 of the conference and we got quite nervous haha. We didn't join the walking tour and had to skip some of the most amazing talks on Day 2.

Fortunately, The journey was made more streamlined due to the extensive support of the staff team. I also want to thank Melissa for doing all the bookings and keeping up with our issues xD

The conference was not easy to attend in any way. Me and Asmit (One of the organisers and friends) decided pretty early on that we would volunteer for the GUADEC Organising team. Unfortunately, a lot of stuff happened and I got late. Then I refrained from joining conferences for some time, but my friends convinced me in the end :D And then another downturn came when my exams got severely delayed and clashed completely with the conference. I wanted to volunteer there but it crashed all the plans.

After severe planning and exploring options, I decided to skip 2 exams and attend the conference either way, hence I had to take the remaining exams the next day on reaching India. Although I will have to give the skipped ones again, I don't regret it even a bit. But it made the trip somewhat hectic as I had the tension of remaining exams throughout the trip which took a toll on my health :(

Anyway, let's proceed with the blog :D

University of Latvia

The touchdown

After reaching Helsinki (Layover for flight), I met the GSoC'23 interns of GNOME. It rejuvenated the memories when we were one and took our first flight. It was amazing to interact with them and share our love for open source.

We then took a Flight to Riga. The sights from the plane were mesmerising, to say the least.

On reaching the hotel all my friends surprised me, it was great to catch up with them and meet them again after GNOME Asia. They are the best ;)

Unfortunately, I didn't arrive on time for the introductory party but well

Latvia Riga airport

The first day of summit

The first day was quite good, got to attend the talks which I was looking forward to like - "Accessibility update: the Python stack, Rust, and DBus" by Federico, "Oxidizing GTK" by Emmanuele (The memes like the Elon one were awesome xD), "Community building and best DEI practices in Free and Open Source Communities" by Anisa was great, I had the pleasure of meeting her during GNOME Asia and it was the same energy and an amazing talk as expected.

During the break, I met many people like the Ubuntu staff (Mauro you were a delight to converse with). Met Matthias and Rosanna again, awesome as always and finally met Melissa :D.

Then I attended "GNOME Design: State of the Union" which was awesome as I got a sneak peek into how GNOME is evolving and saw those beautiful designs. It amazes me how much GNOME has progressed.

After that, we attended the "How GNOME Gets into Ubuntu" and "Keynote: All the little things that keep open source going" which following the overall themes, were again great.

Day 1 random pics 1

Day 1 random pics 2

The second day of summit

On the second day, I mostly attended online due to our talk. We practised it, tried to remove our nervousness and got ready.

And the moment finally came. Anisa and Caroline introduced and motivated us :) In the end, it went quite smoothly, There were things which could have been executed in a better manner, but in the end, what can't.

Aryan and Pooja talk at GUADEC 2023

Then we attended the Lightning talks, and man they were so fun. Probably one of the best moments of the conference. There I got to learn Melissa's awesome stage-handling skills LOL. It was just indescribable.

I also conversed with Regina during the break and it was awesome to discuss various topics. She had some great viewpoints and insights regarding GNOME mentorship and contributor involvement.

After the talks, we explored the city a bit and enjoyed the mesmerising architecture and culture of Latvia.

The third day of summit

Attending "Building Student Communities to Foster OSS" by Hrittik was quite a good experience, he then handed out some swag which I'm using right now to plan the blog haha, so thanks for that.

Then the AGM and group photo session came. The group photo was funny and amazing, I wish that was recorded as well lol.

GNOME Group picture

I certainly enjoyed the "Our logo sucks" Lightning talk just after the "pants of thanks". You need a certain level of courage to bash the logo in front of its creator at a conference organised by the same organisation lol. Jokes aside, it was quite on point and I can relate with most of the stuff mentioned. Even if it is not implemented, I hope it stirs a discussion at least.

GNOMELogo sucks lightning talk

After which we continued to attend other talks and enjoyed the conference end.

Then we attended the GNOME Dinner, it was great! I met Rudolf and we conversed quite a lot. He was awesome and full of energy. I also met Georges Stavracas (feaneron), the person who killed the meme (iykyk) Unfortunately due to my introvertness I wasn't able to converse much with them but yeah, was great to finally meet. There were many more people there whom I wanted to ping but dinner is probably not a good time to do so lol unless sitting together.

GNOME Dinner selfie

I also had a great time talking with Felipe, a person I hoped to meet for quite a long.

Felipe and Aryan selfie

The BoFs

Being a GNOME GSoC'22 Intern, I was looking forward to the "GSoC + Outreachy internships with GNOME" BoF by Felipe, we discussed various points which we hope to get implemented to enhance the contributor experience even more and strengthen our community more.

Felipe GSoC BoF

The Nothern Riga tour

The tour was a great opportunity to check out Riga and interact with people.

GNOME India Group photo

Met Emmanuele there and finally decided to speak to him. He was as awesome as I imagined, Again introvertness killed me but yeah, it is always great to meet people you look up to.

Emmanuele and Aryan selfie

Meeting people

At last, I met many new people and got to learn a lot. Made new friends, got to meet people I look up to and many more. Overall it was amazing. I hope I wasn't that introvert but yeah, slowly getting comfortable around new people :)

The End

Thanks to all the people for making the event so great. It was an experience like no other. I would also like to thank GNOME Foundation for sponsoring the trip :)

I also got accepted as a GNOME Foundation member just recently, which is awesome :D.

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