Thursday, September 01, 2011

Desktop Summit 2011

Last month I attended the Desktop Summit 2011 in Berlin.  Unfortunately I was only there for the core days because Berlin is an awesome city and the summit is awesome too.

The quality of the talks this year were great, and I only had one or two slots the whole time where there was nothing I wanted to go to.  This summit felt more integrated than the last one and I hope this continues into the future.

Some highlights:
  • There was a good response to LightDM.  I felt my talk had a lack of GNOME people present, but I think the GTK4 talk may have absorbed them.
  • Lennart did a well researched talk on revamping the login system which sounds very good and left me wanting to know more.
  • From what I heard the future of GTK+4 and Clutter looks very promising, but I haven't been able to see the talk as I was doing mine.  Can't wait for the videos to come out so I can find out more.
  • Vincent Untz is did a really thoughtful talk on his experiences as a GNOME release manager.
  • GNOME Shell seems to be progressing very well and there were a lot of talks on it.
  • Plasma/KDE also seems to be doing a lot of innovation.
Some negatives:
  • There was basically no mention of Unity.
  • There was the usual amount of Canonical bashing and it's not helping anyone.  The GNOME State of the Union had too many cheap jabs and the half hearted laughter shows it's just not funny anymore.
  • There was a lack of Canonical people present, and it was commented on numerous times.  I'm personally not surprised, as every year more of my colleagues just don't want to be there.  Andrea Cimitan, who is a great guy, summed it up when he said on Google+ "when I say around here I'm working for "Canonical", people stop smiling :)".
  • There was little mention of GNOME OS.  Sometimes we need to be more than just hackers talking about technology and really talk more about planning and strategy.
What I'd like to see at the next summit:
  • Increased visibility of other desktops - it still feels very GNOME and KDE centric, I think we can learn a lot from projects like XFCE, LXDE, Elementary, Unity etc.
  • Increased collaboration on infrastructure - we need to get freedesktop.org in a better shape so we can pool out resources on the boring stuff and focus more on the user facing component which make us successful.
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