Murray's Blog

Back from GUADEC3.

Back from GUADEC3. I spent a little more time walking around Madrid than planned, as I got caught in gridlock
traffic and missed the flight. I don’t see what the big deal
is about Madrid – it’s big but not that special.

GUADEC was an incremental improvement personally, but it
was a mess overall. While I thank the organisers for what
they did do, I think that they let us down by not doing the
job properly. If GUADEC4 is in Munich next year, as some
have suggested then at least I’ll be able to tell people
what they are doing wrong.

Communication was a real difficulty. The Spanish must be
the only people who make the Brits look good when it
comes to foreign languages. I did eventually
recall some cowboy spanish gleaned from Cormac McCarthy
books, but “Give me my horse” will only go so far towards a
Cafe con leche, and “You killed my brother” won’t get you a
cab to the airport.

It was great to meet a few more people who were
previously just email addresses and irc nicks. It’s nice to
know that so many of the developers are such good people.
However, there were a lot of folk to meet, and the combined
effects of sleep deprivation, starvation, and indoor
windchill had left me a little frazzled. At one point I was
talking to somebody about himself as if he wasn’t there.
That’s fine in a David Lynch movie, but it won’t fly in
reality.

Although we still had the usual politics, it seems to
have become rather dull and passe now, so nobody bothered to
squabble properly. This is a good thing.

The gtkmm talk on Saturday
morning went
reasonably well,
though most people in the audience had never used gtkmm or
C++, and I’m not sure that they all understood my english.
Maybe the Ximian party should be on the last day next time –
apparently it ended at 5am. I’m told that there weren’t many
people in the main hall either. Because of that, and various
organisational difficulties, it was a bit of a shambles. For
those who didn’t make it, the slides and notes are online <a
href=”https://www.murrayc.com/murray/talks/2002/GUADEC3/”>here.
It was worth it to see Owen Taylor raise his hand when I
asked the audience whether they had done any GTK+
programming.

I noticed that we have a lot of young hackers who have
lots of enthusiam, intelligence, and time, but who aren’t
really involved as much as they’d like. We need to
make it easier for these people. Every subproject should
have a list of simple tasks that they can begin to help
with. Experienced developers forget that it’s difficult for
youngsters to know where to start, and difficult to maintain
focus without some coaxing. At the moment they are a vast
untapped resource which shouldn’t be wasted while other
hackers are complaining about having too much work.

I’m experiencing the strange urge to manage development
rather than just design and code. Is this some biological
change that accompanies the greying of the hair? Only my
dislike of C now prevents me from getting bossy on the GNOME
lists.

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