This page is here to gather feedback from Foundation members, and GUADEC attendees, about GUADEC 2010 in The Hague.

Talks organisation

  • 30 mins + Q&A session is a good talk format, as it allows more interaction

  • Either do away with, or extensively publicise, the 'celeb' keynote.
    • Tend not to be very well tied to theme of event
    • Most hackers don't seem to know who the speakers are
    • Either nuke it, or spend time sending a bio+explanation and/or video of the speaker
  • Harder stance from the room volunteers:
    • No overrunning by the previous, ever
    • Make sure people are on hand to pass microphones around (or fear for your ears)
  • Ensure that someone is responsible for introducing keynotes, communicating with them pre-conference and ensuring they're aware of what's going on. Ideally they should be met at the airport & brought to their hotel. Introducing plenary sessions is also a key opportunity to make announcements related to things happening during the conference.

  • BOF days should be explicitly organised as an unconference, with a co-ordinator, advance promotion, etc. The original point of these days was that project teams used to have to meet during lunchtime on GUADEC days because there was no space & time for BOFs. It feels to me like many people are skipping these days because they're not sure what they're for, and what's on.

  • Brief people taking care of timekeeping & mikes - ideally, they should introduce speakers, handle questions at the end, organise signals with the speaker for letting them know if they're running short on time, and talk to the a/v guy on-site if speakers have special needs

Lightning talks

  • Add opportunity to show off your software project, akin to Mozilla Summit's Science Fair

  • Do lightning talks on the first day, so that the projects become publicised and get discussed during the conference
  • Do lightning talks as a "keynote" format, with no other talks at the same time, to avoid clashes (might not be necessary with a Science Fair format
  • Have lightning talks organised much later.
    • Having to ask for a LT slot 3 months in advance is bad (but what about asking for sponsorship, etc.)

Board presentation(s)

  • Make the team updates from the Foundation meeting earlier in the week, for example straight after the intro keynote.
  • Bonus point, make Fer and Xan present the above.
  • Make sure team updates include update from Finance
  • Make sure team updates include Q&A session

  • Make sure all sponsors get a mention in the closing ceremony
  • Make sure to do thanks during the closing ceremony, not during the AGM
  • Clearly call out the AGM as the "Annual General Meeting" and not AGM on the schedule. Some attendees did not know what this was.

Introduction to GUADEC

  • Have a buddy system to introduce first-timers to the conference, might especially be useful for Summer Of Code students, if their mentors can't attend.

GUADEC organisation

  • Great to see organisational powers spread between people
    • Not blocking on one person for decisions
    • People manning the info-desk had knowledge about the organisation
  • BoF days before Core days
    • Network can get finishing touches
    • Info-desk can get organised
  • Cameras and other equipment in rooms can get testing
  • Split off registration and goodies give-away, or make sure they happen on separate days
  • Reuse badges, booklets, year on year, to save on manpower, and improve year-on-year
    • Make sure clipping on the last day doesn't happen in new programme though (missing Closing Ceremony item in The Hague)
  • Make sure all the teams involved document the basic processes
    • CfP, network, info-desk, people handling sponsors, designers, etc.
  • Discuss with other conferences (especially Free Software ones) about sharing CfP, or registration systems
    • Tools and systems seem to be a problem every year, when the wheel needs to be reinvented
  • Name badges with map were good, probably better with a way to get program / map out without the name coming off
  • Party in a club wasn't such a good idea.
    • People want to chat to each other and be able to be heard
  • Need someone from the Foundation responsible for maintaining continuity from one year to the next.
    • I'd have liked to see Stormy in the continuity role, but the board decided that GUADEC wasn't her job. Perhaps consider hiring a part-time event organiser for the foundation.
  • For KDE & GNOME conferences, we need to be clear which project is taking responsibility for which tasks - cross-project collaboration is of course possible & desirable, but the task ownership should split roughly equally across the projects.

  • Have task owners say how many volunteers they need and when (before, day before, during or after conference) which co-ordinator can use to allocate resources
  • Several questions come up every year, and there are no ready answers:
    • With venue: Number & type of rooms required, for how long, and for what? Requires awareness of budget constraints.

    • For organisers: How many attendees were there in previous years? How many t-shirts should we buy?
    • What should registration fees be? What was the budget for previous years?
  • We need to be pro-active with organising teams to let them know what we know & can handle (visa invitations & design of previous conference materials, for example)

  • Can we get information from this year's conference on things like t-shirt & tram pass sales, for future reference?

  • Potentially need someone solely responsible for project management & delegation. Every year we have a TODO list with tasks & no name associated, and they end up being done by the core organiser.

  • Maintain web infrastructure from one year to another. Ensure websites for previous GUADECs are kept online after the conference (Birmingham & Villanova are missing, Gran Canaria and Istanbul aren't on

  • Networking needs to be sorted out earlier, and ideally someone with experience of a conference like ours should be responsible for ensuring wifi on-site.
  • Potentially choose host for GUADEC earlier, to allow future organising team to participate in organisation of preceding GUADEC


  • Great hall in the Hague, huge improvement over past years.
    • In previous years, people were meeting in corridors, or outside the venue
    • Allows info-desk and organisers to broadcast changes to most people
  • Main hall (Paris) was very nice
  • Selling public transport tickets is a great idea
    • Mention on the website that this will happen, so people know in advance
  • Broadcast talks at the info-desk, or outside rooms, so people know what's happening (as some cinemas do)
  • Wi-fi worked fairly, and was fast enough.
  • The Professionals reception was badly organised:
    • Announced too late
    • Happened too early (what about professionals that arrived on Wednesday?)
    • Not well signposted
    • Not well delineated (some attendants seem to have thought "Free Beer!")
  • The signage wasn't great (the "side" rooms were hard to find)
  • Venue was well adapted for needs
  • Location was nice & cheap to get to

  • Professional reception should have been better. Potentially a group booking in a restaurant would suffice, if we have only 10 or so pro registrants.


  • Pleased to see it happen. Makes GNOME seem more professional compared to the competition.
  • Disappointed at some of the organisation for it:
    • Room changing on the 2nd day, 30 mins into the training
    • Better catering (coffee/tea at the beginning of the day?)
  • Explain technologies and standards better:
    • are they XDG ones, or GNOME only? (desktop files, help, etc.)
    • are they deprecated, and are going to be replaced? (gconf, PyGTK, etc.)
  • No mention of Python knowledge being required
    • No mention of it even in the pre-requisites (installation of GNOME devel environment)
  • Day 2 only had one presenter, making it harder to concentrate
    • Maybe more breaks, and opportunities for discussions
  • More targetted training
    • Everybody knew git, so no point in a git introduction
  • Solve technical problems beforehand:
    • "Interactive" practical workshop was not interactive, as the trainer's laptop didn't work on the projector


  • Make sure that sponsored people help out
    • Too many might be getting a free ride
    • They can help with manning rooms (cameras, microphone, etc.), blogging, etc.
  • Have a "Cheese" moment at info-desk, as on the exits of theme park rides, upload to flickr
  • Have Design Thinking workshop again

  • Add the annual photo to the schedule
  • Negotiate joint copyright on any videos filmed of the talk so GNOME can license them CC-SA-BY 3.0 and redistribute them in places like, GNOME Miro channel or Youtube
  • Don't try to organise a group photo - we've gotten past that as a community.
  • Nail down venues for parties & social occasions earlier, to ensure they're appropriate to our needs & be able to give ready answers to sponsors on how much these would cost.

  • Communicate much better early in the organisation to ensure they're aware of our needs & expectations. Perhaps prepare an info pack based on cumulated experiences from previous GUADECs.


GUADEC/2010/Feedback (last edited 2015-08-11 11:36:30 by EkaterinaGerasimova)