Guadec has been in interesting conference, particularly because it took place in Istanbul this year. I tried to keep a few notes throughout the days to wrap up the experience and discussions here.


Headed off for Istanbul, partial Imendio meet-up at the airport in Vienna, gathered remaining Imendians at the airport in Istanbul. Like many others, we stayed at the Golden Long Hotel near the seaside.

Sundown Bosporus


Kris and I met up with the Gnome release team where we summarized the Gtk+-3.0 ideas that have been cooked up during and after the Berlin Gtk+ Hackfest.


I was planning to attend the Maemo BOF in the morning, but shortly after arriving at the conference venue, Federico literally dragged me into the DVCS BOF. Still, I only managed to attend the second half of it which was almost exclusively about Bazaar features. People told me the first hour had been quite the contrary and focused mostly on Git hyping. Clearly, there was no consensus after the meeting on what the future versioning system in Gnome will be.
I’m not surprised that is the case. As things currently stand, SVN has very active development and user communities, Git is very actively developed, Bazaar is as well, as are a couple other VCSes. Active developer and user communities are generally a good sign for a healthy project and also an indicator for future relevance. Thus, in any larger community such as the Gnome community, it’s easy to find lots of critics and lots of supporters for each of the bigger versioning systems and that’s unlikely to change much. Consequently, there’ll not be an easy consensus on switching to a single versioning system any time soon, so I think the most productive approach for Gnome to take is to prepare the hosting of multiple VCSes, certainly SVN, Git and Bazaar. Needless to say that cross-VCS integration will also become increasingly important in the future, so focus on maturing and extending git-svn, bzr-svn, bzr-git and the like makes a lot of sense.

Later that day, we had a Gtk+ Developers meeting in the medium sized presentation room. The place was a bit too large to have the planned face to face discussions so we’ve had to sacrifice some of the spontaneity to microphone resource sharing. Kris took minutes during the meeting and will probably post those to gtk-devel-list once he’s found a minute to process them. The meeting was quite productive nevertheless, we discussed the upcoming Gtk+ 2.14, features and schedule for 2.16 and 3.0 and a bit of the post-3.0 road map.

Right after that discussion, Kris and I attended the advisory board meeting where we briefly wrapped up the developers meeting, the Gtk+ Hackfest in Berlin and the improvements the Gtk+ project has seen since the State of the Gtk+ Maintenance email. In particular, we stressed that we now have the GtkTasks and Gtk+ 3.0 Tasks wiki pages which can serve as an entry point for contributors and assistants to the project at various experience levels, in particular for companies that want to sponsor developer resources. Also for people that have an interest in long term Gtk+ project involvement, feel free to read up on how to become a Gtk+ maintainer.

Pizza looks weird in Istanbul BTW:

Pizza Istanbul


Almost by accident (I was mostly looking for an air conditioned hall in the afternoon), I happened to be watching "Gnome Documentation: A year in review" by Don Scorgie where he described the new user documentation tool Mallard. For some time now, I’ve been working on a Wiki syntax parser for Doxer to unify the markup I have to use for my blog, inline documentation and CMS content markup at (I have a blog entry in the queue on this for another day.) In this context, implementing a Doxer markup backend that generates Mallard’s XML input could be an attractive markup alternative for future Gnome documentation - it at least ended up on my ever growing TODO list. ;)

Lots of people approached me throughout this and the following days for a chat about Gtk+-3.0 and what comes after that. With the merging of the GSEAL branch into upstream trunk recently, there’s been a lot of focus on the technical preparative work we’re doing for the actual 3.0 release which is planned as an ABI break to Gtk+-2.16 without adding any new features (it’s basically just a re-release with all deprecated code removed and current "private" API really made private by moving it to non-installed source files).

What has been lacking emphasis in this course is that 3.0 is going to be the necessary enabler, needed to work on implementing future visions of Gtk+ and to refactor the code base back to a healthy state where it becomes maintainable again. Quite expectedly, the need for the sealing and accompanied ABI break has been questioned several times, so I’ll reiterate the reasoning here:

This is how GSEAL, the Gtk+-3.0 release and a couple remaining outstanding tasks are going to enable development of exciting future user visible features. The next step for Gtk+ to get work in visionary areas off the ground is to start consideration of feature feasibility and implementations, required resources and tentative schedules.

At the end of the day, we had the Opening Cocktails Party, during which I managed to catch Hallski tattooing J5:

GNOME Tattoo


Thursdays most interesting event was of course the keynote by Kris which got hijacked by the Gnome release team for the announcement of Gnome 3.0 which is essentially Gnome 2.30 cleaned up and based on Gtk+-3.x. Kris' slides are available online:

The slides provide a good overview of what Gtk+-2.14 will bring, prospects for 2.16 and visions/requests from the community for Gtk+'s future. As previously described, Gtk+-3.0 is about enabling refactorings and development of new features, and the plan is to do our best to make the transition away from old deprecated code as easy as possible. Other than properly porting an existing Gtk+-2.x application to work with the G_DISABLE_DEPRECATED, GTK_DISABLE_DEPRECATED, GSEAL_ENABLE switches, no additional changes will be required to build and run an application on Gtk+-3.0.

At the end of the day, there was the boat trip through the Bosporous which provided a beautiful sight along the coast line.

Guadec Boat


I managed to attend the latter half of the lightning talks which was as always quite interesting. I should probably ignore my laziness and actually prepare short lightning talks for next year about Rapicorn and possibly Doxer…​ ;)

I took particular interest in Transifex, an online translation platform that can work together with multiple VCSes and that we’d ideally move all Gnome translations to in the future. There are two things I’d like to see fixed in a future translation workflow from a developer perspective:

Later on, Federico presented his ideas for timeline tabs for the desktop. This should make it rather easy to find documents or URLs from previous days or weeks, because out of natural necessity, humans generally have good chronological associations. So the new and nice part about this approach is that it can provide good visual access to the chronologic dimension, something a file system doesn’t usually reveal easily, and that’s not easily made accessible by the most prominent desktop metaphors either.

I feel very tempted to start an implementation of the desktop tabs with Rapicorn, however with a few refinements of Federico’s proposal:


About half of the Imendians headed home on Saturday, we had some early leaves on Friday already and left some others in Istanbul for additional vacations.

Oh, and since I’ve been asked about my nickname here and there, I decided to add tabs to my hackergotchi for clarification:

Hackergotchi Tabs


There have been quite some discussions on the Gtk+-3.0 plan after Kris' keynote. One thing that was brought up is that releasing an ABI incompatible but featureless new version of Gtk+ and calling it 3.0 is rather unconventional. An alternative scheme could involve releasing the ABI incompatible cleaned up version as 2.99.0, make 2.99.x the new development branch and release 3.0 with cleaned up ABI and new features (would have been 3.2 in the original plan).

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