GUADEC 2020 moves to online conference

After a lot of careful consideration and consultation with the local organizing team, the GNOME Foundation has decided that GUADEC 2020 will take place entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will feature the expected high quality content, streamed over the internet for anyone to participate. Mexico will now host GUADEC 2021, and we are planning for GUADEC 2022 to be in Latvia.

“Although over three months away, there is no way we could ensure that the event could continue in a way that would keep our community safe.” said Neil McGovern, Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation. “It is with a heavy heart that, after consultation with the local organizing team, we won’t be visiting Mexico with GUADEC this year.”

We at the GNOME Foundation love GUADEC, it’s a once-a-year event that brings us together to collaborate, celebrate, and learn; meet our colleagues and friends; and strengthen the most special part of the GNOME project — the community. While we will miss meeting in-person, we are excited for the new opportunities that meeting online will bring to the event. People who weren’t able to participate previously will be able to. We’ll have a much wider pool of potential speakers and session facilitators, as visas and travel fees will no longer be an issue. We’re looking into creative and innovative ways to bring new types of socializing, sponsor representation, and community time to GUADEC 2020.

Due to the new format, we are re-opening the Call for Papers.

We’ll be keeping you updated on things as they develop, on GNOME.org, the Engagement Blog and on social media. Follow, subscribe, or just check in!

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Forgive me if I’m missing the obvious. The Call for Papers, or abstracts as the link describes them, what are they? Generalized brainstorming topics for the GUADEC 2020?

For example, would a difficult bug report be a good candidate?

How about new feature requests for Gtk/Gnome?

Or should they be more like:
Look at this great app I made.

Or maybe even:
I like Gnome, and here’s why.

I never attended a GUADEC, and I’m hoping to attend this time, so I am curious on how to participate.

This is both sad and happy news.

It’s sad that people have been planning for so long to meet in person. It’s also sad that may won’t see each other in person this year.

It’s happy that many more of us in the community can participate this year! For example: I thought I wasn’t going to be able to attend GUADEC for the next couple years, but now I can! And I’m sure there are many more people in a similar situation. There are definitely GNOME users and developers who can’t travel much due to health, money, time off restrctions, and/or logistic reasons. Now we all can participate this year, just as much as anyone else! Awesome!

Here’s a bunch of questions I’m wondering about (perhaps not all of them are answerable, as this is really new territory and we’re still a few months away):

  1. Is there going to be a “hallway track”?

  2. How are BoFs / hackfests / lightning talks going to work?

  3. Has there been a choice on what will be used for video streaming? (Jitsi?) For chatrooms? (Matrix?)

  4. Are talks going to be given live? Or pre-recorded with Q&As after? Or a mix?

  5. Are timeslots going to be the same? Or will get fit to content length?

  6. Is there going to be one main track or multiple concurrent tracks?

  7. How will pants work this year?

  8. Will sponsored travel money be reallocated? (Perhaps buy and send presenters some higher quality microphones and webcams, for example, to improve everyone’s conference experience? There are probably other great ideas around this topic too.)

  9. How will accessibility needs be met, especially concerning transcripts? Are people going to provide closed-captioning? Will there be specific chatrooms dedicated to someone typing what’s said?

  10. GNOME releases have been named after the places where conferences have recently taken place. What are we going to call the upcoming GNOME release tied to this GUADEC?

    • Internet, Online, Earth, Terra, Global, Virtual, … uh … Cyberspace :smirk:?
    • Hopefully not “Jitsi”, “Bluejeans”, “WebEx”, or whatever software we use.
    • We probably don’t want to call it something like “Conference Video” (“covid” for short :face_with_raised_eyebrow:)
  11. Will future GUADECs become a hybrid conference, with a mix of what we experience with this one and a physical location? (I’m sure this is a relevant question for all the conferences that have been and are moving to online-only this year.)

Hi Garrett, and welcome to GNOME’s Discourse instance!

At the moment, I think I can answer approximately zero of those questions with certainty :slight_smile:

However, what I can say is that we’re actively looking at how best to run the conference, and we want to ensure that it is a huge success. For example, we’re evaluating various software systems for streaming, and working out how we can fit all that together with both live and pre-recorded talks. We’re also looking at live closed-captions. At the moment, it’s all early days, so I’d expect that the answer to those will start being clearer as the conference draws closer :slight_smile:

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I’d suggest having a look at previous videos to see what makes a good talk:

I guess the other big question is how time zones will be handled. It’s hard to participate if all the events are held in the middle of the night.

This was definitely an impediment to participating in past virtual Ubuntu Developer Summits: all sessions were scheduled to try and fit within an overlap between daytime in Europe and Americas, which meant nothing was at a convenient time for Asia/Oceania.

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Something unrelated. Is the new edition of GNOME named after the last GUADEC? If yes, then what will be the name of the immediate GNOME release after this online GUADEC?

@j_arun_mani We still don’t know what the new release name will be after the online edition, this will be something we will figure out later.

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