I recently returned from the first ever LAS (Libre Application Software) GNOME conference in Portland, Oregon. It was an interesting and ultimately rewarding experience. The conference included talks and informal discussions/work sessions with open source developers, company representatives and enthusiasts. At first I was intimidated by being in a room with such talented developers who had over a decade of open source contribution under their belts. But, as my experience in the GNOME community has already shown me, people in open source are excited to share ideas and bond over a shared love of technology.
Some of the highlights of the conference for me include:
- Meeting my Outreachy mentor Jim Hall! From initial inquiry and throughout the internship process Jim has been there to answer every question and help guide me through my GNOME contributions to usability. All of our communication has been via email so it was really awesome to finally meet in person at the conference. Jim also gave a presentation on usability testing and an unconference talk on how to test for usability. Turns out he is great at explaining usability, whether it be through writing or behind a microphone.
- Giving a presentation on the usability test cycle I did for GNOME during this round of Outreachy. It was nice to be able to share the feedback from the test with other GNOME contributors. I met a few developers who mentioned the usability work they’ve done on GNOME too.
- The informative presentation given by Asheesh Laroia on Sandstorm.
If you haven’t heard of it, Sandstorm offers some really cool collaboration tools to rival the likes of Google Docs. I urge you to check it out.
- We had a great brainstorming session on the possibilities for next-gen mesh networking. It’s a topic I’ve been getting into recently, and I found the talk and discussion very interesting.
- The talk and break out session on Open QA and efforts were put towards getting more automatic testing for GNOME.
Overall I learned a lot at the LAS conference. Meeting other people who work on and care about GNOME and other open source projects was inspiring. I am excited to continue contributing to open source projects. I want to thank Outreachy and GNOME for the opportunity to meet other members of this thriving community in person.