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GNOME at Capitole du Libre 2018

Last Saturday and Sunday I went to the Capitole du Libre 2018 to animate the GNOME booth and help on the Purism one.

It was my first time at the Capitole du Libre, and I really enjoyed the event even though I couldn't attend any talk but the closing keynote, which was really interesting as it was a round table with Tristan Nitot and Stéphane Bortzmeyer. The event is about free software and free culture in general, beside GNOME and Purism you could find associations as varied as Nos oignons, Framasoft, OSGeo, Dogmazic, Monnaie Libre Occitanie, Khaganat, ./play.it, 0 A.D., various distros you already all know and more. I was happy to note that the attending crowed was extremely diverse, ranging from persons barely knowing what free software is to Arnaud Bonatti or persons in their early 10s and already more involved into free culture than I am. I was also happy to recognize persons I already met at the JDLL, either animating booths or visiting the GNOME booth.

The event welcomed (IIRC) around 1700 attendees the first day and 600 the second day, which may not seem like much but I noted that the attendees were really curious, interested, and often came back with more questions, and this regardless of their knowledge of free culture, free software and GNOME. The synergy with the Purism booth which was just aside the GNOME one was great, as often the Purism booth was redirecting attendees with software questions to the GNOME booth, and I redirected attendees with hardware questions to the Purism one.

I even had the pleasure to help an Inkscape contributor whose name I forgot (I am terrible 😥) implement tiny bits of the upcoming GTK+ 3 version of Inkscape! I also had the pleasure to meet for the first time Arnaud and to chat with him about his projects for dconf-editor: I think using his tree navigation widget as a narrow mode for Nautilus would be great! 😃 Even better, I had the pleasure to meet a young computer science student who came asking how to contribute to GNOME! 🤗 I also had to answer "Is it pronounced \ɲom\ or \gnom\?", which suprizes me as even though in French the gn digraph is often pronounced ɲ, the gnome word exists in French and is pronounced with a gutural g, just like GNOME. But I digress.

The comic book lover in me was also glad to meet David Revoy, even though it was way too brief to have a proper conversation.

Regarding the GNOME booth itself, here are the few notes I took:

  • The GNOME socks are as popular as ever.
  • Recipes is by far the most popular app when demoing GNOME, at least here in France.
  • We should replenish the socks and shirts stocks more often as there was basically nothing sellable in the box.
  • People had no idea what the symbolic icons on our hexagonal stickers were, they were just seeing a camera, a piece of cheese and a knife, a checkbox, a globe with a pointer, and a weird square-ception. They were only taking them because the pictures were pretty but they have no meaning neither for them nor will they have for the persons who will see them on their laptops.
  • The new laptop from the event box I see since years is great, it has a hi-DPI touch screen and a gesture-enabled touchpad allowing us to demo all the great features of GNOME.
  • Having a laptop (compared to the antiquated TV+barebone we had) makes setting up the booth and packing it back way easier and faster, it makes the box lighter, and it leaves tons of room for t-shirts and socks.

It definitely was a fun and enriching event in many ways and I will attend it again!

Trivia time. During the two days of the event there was a big demonstration, with persons blocking many roads all accross the country (I know, I'm throwing oil on that fire named cliché 😄). I attended the event with François Téchené who was handling the Purism booth, but unfortunately because of the strike he didn't manage to attend the event the second day and I ended up being alone to handle both booths. Well let me tell you, it was sport to handle two popular booths at the same time! 😶

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