Report of GUADEC 2016

Hi all!

So this year was our first GUADEC, for both Aryeom (have a look at Aryeom’s report, in Korean) and I. GUADEC stands for “GNOME Users And Developers European Conference”, so as expected we met a lot of both users and developers of GNOME, the Desktop Environment we have been happily using lately (for a little more than a year now). It took place at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

Apart from some people we knew from Libre Graphics Meeting events over the years, we met a lot of new faces, and that’s very cool. We have to spread ZeMarmot love, right?! 🙂

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My first impression is the remarkable organization of GUADEC. They planned social events every day (barbecue, picnic with football, beer nights, dinners… even an ice cream truck at free price!), very well planned schedules, efficient sponsorship, workshops and hackfests, a cake for the 19th birthday… They know their geeks and we nearly never ran out of coffee (well, excepted during the hackfests ;-()!

GUADEC opens with a huge barbecue!
GUADEC opens with a huge barbecue!
GUADEC picnic
GUADEC picnic

Of course, we were not here just for the beer, there were a lot of very cool talks. I was quite interested into Endless and their OS based on GNOME. It was interesting to see the design experiment around GNOME maps too. There were also a bunch of discussion relative to security, and definitely the project on everyone’s mouth was Flatpak. This is clearly a technology that a lot of people have been waiting for, and the center of many discussions.

But also the small feedback that we got on how the GNOME Foundation works was quite insightful. Obviously this is only a small piece of it, but being able to participate and view some of the decision process, discuss about the money that the foundation had been able to raise, how it should be used, about new events around GNOME (like LAS GNOME). This all felt like an exciting time and a cool community to be part of.

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Another of my activities was trying to get designers interested into GIMP. For people who have followed my work a little, you know I have been really involved into getting GIMP a design revival (taking over the GUI wiki, creating an official GIMP GUI mailing list, trying to make other developers interested into this topic again and proposing some ideas here and there…), yet with very limited success so far (well I had some, but would really love if things could go forward at a better pace). I think GIMP is clearly a great software, both historically and technically. Historically because it is the root of several awesome technologies, like GTK+ (no GNOME without, right?) or lately GEGL, and because many people would call it a “flagship” for Free Software. But great technically as well: I am very amazed how good the code is. It has its zones of darkness (every software has, especially after more than 20 years of existence), because it is still well organized, clean, following clear coding standards with quality code. There is obviously a good technical maintainership. Now the GUI is less than perfect. Not because it is flawed, but because it follows here too 20-year-old design standards. Any software this age has this kind of problem, especially with design paradigms evolving faster and faster. Yet I believe a software that great deserves a chance to get a new face. So what’s the link to GUADEC? Well I have tried to approach various GNOME designers and getting them interested to GIMP again. If you are one of these designers I approached, hopefully I convinced you to give it a try. If I didn’t approach you, I may just not have known who you are, and do not hesitate to come to me. I am not saying that any complete huge redesign will happen overnight. But you definitely have open ears and we, at GIMP, are willing to discuss how to make a better user experience! We can start small.

Another reason for our presence was obviously to present our project: ZeMarmot. We were quite pleased to discover that some people knew about us. I was clearly going there thinking we would be like total strangers. But not only did some people recognize us, but we even had someone telling us his daughter was a huge fan. What? We got our first fan girl?

By the way, they had this badge machine, so while we were there, we printed and created our first hand-made badges of ZeMarmot. About 3 dozens of them. They are therefore quite exclusive so if you got some of them while being there, don’t throw them away!
Oh and by the way, that’s Creative Commons by-sa badges, like our movie! 😉

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For people interested into our talk, here it is! You’ll see some quite exclusive contents with a few seconds of some cuts of the pilote. Enjoy!

And so here we are, ready to leave Germany. This was a very interesting event. We may come back next year, who knows? Only regret I have is that I was really hoping to participate to a workshop, but since our hotel was already booked, it was not made possible. Well next year maybe…

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So thank you GNOME for the event and also for sponsoring our travel there! 🙂

ZeMarmot sponsored by GNOME

14 Replies to “Report of GUADEC 2016”

  1. Thx for your efforts! 🙂

    And about Gimp.
    To revive Gimp and make people interested in it again. Gimp must have more often releases. Even one half a year would be awesome. Now many think that Gimp is dead project :<
    I know that 2.10 is a lot of work because final GEGL porting but I hope things will get better after.

    1. Hello,

      Switching to a fast release process is a topic I raised during the GIMP meeting at Libre Graphics Meeting at Leipzig. So we are seriously thinking about the possibility. The problem is that we are in the middle of a huge graphics engine port (GEGL, which you know about) which touches pretty much the whole codebase.

      When this port will be released (2.10), we will start another major port on the UI side (GTK+ 3), which ones again will be quite extensive.
      These ports make it harder to do incremental small releases. I don’t think this is impossible, but with a small team as ours, it can be an additional challenge. So the decision was to rediscuss the fast release switch when the ports are done.

      So yeah I definitely agree with you, and hopefully we’ll go in this direction sooner than later.

  2. Hey dude,

    First of all, your work on GIMP is pretty impressive. I was quite happy when I first learn about ZeMarmot and how it pays back on GIMP, directly.

    Second, congratulations for yours and Aryeom’s GUATEC talk. Seeing how such a beautiful animation is done is extremely inspiring for me (an artist wannabe).

    Third, Aryeom is amazing, beautiful and she sincerely inspires me a lot. When I grow up, I want to be just like her! She’s got a fan!

    Btw, your blog posts show up at Planet GNOME, so I’m pretty sure many GNOME devs heard of your project before. And no, no GIMP contributor will ever be a stranger 😉

    Keep up your awsome work

    1. Thanks!

      > Third, Aryeom is amazing, beautiful and she sincerely inspires me a lot. When I grow up, I want to be just like her! She’s got a fan!

      I will show this comment to Aryeom, she will be quite impressed!

  3. Thank you so much for what you are doing! It inspires me a lot. I am a fan of your work, following you and supporting you on Tipeee.

    I am myself a film maker and animator who made the move to free software recently. (Here is my story : https://puri.sm/posts/switching-from-proprietary-to-free-software/)

    I used to agree with you about free video editing software until I moved to the latest Kdenlive versions (16.04). This software has been re-factored and is starting to be very efficient and stable. It is now my daily driver. I am using Gnome on Debian Stretch and even if Kdenlive is a KDE software, its integration with Gnome is pretty good!

    I am also very excited by the direction you guys are moving GIMP to. I love this software and can’t wait to try out the future versions.

    Again, thank you so much!

    1. Hi!

      Thanks for all the praise and the support!

      About kdenlive, this was actually already the stablest from the 3 main ones (OpenShot, Pitivi and Kdenlive), yet not perfectly stable either. I also had feature issues with kdenlive like using the alpha value on images for track composition which was not working (one had to add a transition effect over the whole sequence to have it do a basic src-over composition!). This said, I just tried and see the basic composition finally got implemented. So that’s good.

      Anyway I guess I should try again after reading your comment. 🙂

    2. Saying that, I have to admit that I don’t use all Kdenlive features.

      I mainly use editing features, clip proxying, transitions (compositing modes), color/transform filters and video exporting/transcoding. All this is working perfectly for me.

      I never use Kdenlive for audio editing (I use Audacity). I don’t use it for slowmotion (I use SlowmoVideo) nor for titles or advanced compositing (I use Blender for that)

      I try to get the best of each software and at the end of the day, it gives me a pretty powerful workflow that is 100% made of free software.

      I will add that the tools are nothing without great imagination and creativity. You have this creativity and you do things with your heart so Ze Marmot will be beautiful no matter what! 🙂

      1. I use ardour for audio editing. And the great advantage of it is that I can sync with Blender through Jack and alternatively it can load video files. So I have 2 main workflows:

        – either the video is already done (without sound). In this case, I can simply load the video into ardour to edit the sound over it.

        – either I work on both the audio and video editing, in this case, I sync Ardour and Blender together through jack.

        How do you sync exactly audio and video with Audacity? Last time I tried, it could not load videos and had no Jack support either. So that’s ok to get background sound or music, but if you need accurate sound effects (step sounds, water drops, whatever which need frame accuracy…), I would fear a lot of efforts and try and errors which could be avoided. No?

        Anyway thanks for the comments. I discovered a new software today thanks to you: I didn’t know of SlowmoVideo. If ever we have slow motion needs, I would give it a try.

        1. Well, I move my rough audio from the edit to audacity and edit from there. Of course this technique doesn’t work with animations and in this case, I do some audio editing within Kdenlive.
          It is far from best practice and I would have to learn from your workflow which seems great!

          Until now, I have always been working with people doing audio for me but now I have to learn Ardour and Jack which I have never used. Do you know an article or video outlining your audio workflow? thanks!

          1. I don’t know if there are videos about working with Ardour and Blender together (there are none from me at least). It’s kind of a rarely used feature and some Linux distribution were not even building Blender with such support (I made a bug report about this in at least one distribution, after which they added support).

            And yet that’s a killer feature (to me at least). Barely used, quite unknown but so useful. This is also the only way I manage to have Blender actually frame-drop correctly (the “frame dropping” mode sucks otherwise and you get video-audio out of sync after just a few frames).

            So yeah, I don’t know of a video nor article. I learned this by myself, I think (either this, or I just don’t remember how I discovered this). In any case, that’s quite straightforward… (well Jack itself is not always straightforward though. There are days I just don’t understand why things don’t work the way I want)

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