The first day of the GNOME Asia 2023 conference began with me waking up at around 0700 am Nepal Standard Time on 01 December 2023. We were already made aware of the delayed commencement of the event due to the limited announcement made previously and now the event was slated to begin at 1100 am Nepal Standard Time. As I had a sore throat since the previous night's dinner, I decided to prepare myself some coffee using the electric-heated kettle while I was getting freshened up for the day. I checked with Sumantro Mukherjee and Samyak Jain as I wanted to share the breakfast with them. For the first meal of the day, I focused on some carbs for quick energy with boiled potatoes, chicken bacon, a sunny-side omelette, masala tea and breakfast cereal. With Sumantro Mukherjee and Saheli at the breakfast table with me, we shared conversations as Sudhir Dharanendraiah, Justin W. Flory and Jens Petersen joined us. Soon after that, we saw Nikita Tripathi and Samyak Jain coming and we got to know about her losing her passport, which she eventually found some moments later. When we were through with our breakfast meals, we gathered around the reception area where Justin W. Flory kept himself busy preparing some swags from communities like the Fedora Project, CentOS Project, Red Hat etc. While we were waiting for our conveyance to arrive, Samyak Jain and I consulted Sudhir Dharanendraiah as to where he got the forex currencies from, and he advised us to use an ATM to obtain those at a relatively cheaper exchange rate.
Once we were notified about the arrival of the taxivan in front of the hotel by the receptionist, we took our seats and headed off to the venue of the GNOME Asia 2023 conference, located in the Softwarica College of IT and E-commerce, Nepal. The short travel to the college premises had conversations about smartphones to entertain us and some confusion due to the campus's disjointed nature to confuse us. We reached the event venue at around 1045 am Nepal Standard Time and registered for the event at the reception. We were also provided with some GNOME Asia 2023-themed swags which included a tee shirt, a ball-point pen, a writing pad and an emblem badge from another desk. Justin W. Flory had already headed upstairs to the third floor by then as he had the keynote presentation for the first day, so we rushed right after him - some through elevators and some through staircases. I attended a bunch of enlightening talks ranging from technical careers (like Justin W. Flory's talk on "The Open Source Launchpad: A Then & Now Look At Tech Careers") to technical deepdives (like Matthias Clasen's talk on "GNOME - How Does It Work") and from software engineering (like Aryan Kaushik's talk on "GNOME Extensions: The Key To More Users And Developers") to community management (like Koteshwara Rao Vellanki's talk "Open Doors to Open Source: Empowering Asia through Operating Systems") throughout the first half of the day. We also had a short coffee break at around 0115 Nepal Standard Time where we interacted with other attendees.
We had to switch across rooms now and then as the conference followed a parallel-track nature, but it was okay as the rooms were adjacent. At around 0215 pm Nepal Standard Time, the first day was half over and everyone was requested to gather for a group event photography before heading off for lunch. For the meal, the group of Fedora Project ambassadors had Federico Mena Quintero and Rosanna Yuen from GNOME Foundation join and Buddha Ram Gurung led us to a great restaurant. Amidst the delayed serving times affecting both Sumantro Mukherjee's and Sudhir Dharanendraiah's meals, we quickly had our fill of lightweight snacks like momos and pizzas. At around 0345 pm Nepal Standard Time, we were done with the billing of the meals, albeit through a minor dispute due to the serving delays and total amount - we rushed back to the event venue to attend the following talks. Jens Petersen's talk on "Declarative GTK Programming" had already begun by then and we tried to make it to the talk as quickly as possible. The second half of the day mostly consisted of localization endeavours (like Andika Triwidada's talk on "Two Translate Or Not Two Translate") and a bunch of lightning talks around topics like GNOME for Human Interface Devices, Phosh Contributions in a startup, gRPC gateway for RESTful services, potential in GNU/Linux mobility and closing credits media clip generation. At around 0500 pm Nepal Standard Time, we also had a short coffee break where I got to bond with many other event attendees over cookies.
We were inching close to the assigned slot for the Fedora Linux 39 Release Party and an anxious Justin W. Flory was looking over his shoulder as our planned Fedora Project-themed cake had still not arrived. At around 0600 pm Nepal Standard Time, Sudhir Dharanendraiah decided that we should begin with a round of introductions for both, folks on the stage as well as those attending the conference while we waited for the cake to arrive. We started with the introduction of the Fedora Project members and it was a great practice of community bonding which was inclusive of even those who did not get an opportunity to submit a talk for the conference. Soon enough, the cake did end up arriving, livening up the room again in a late dark evening, thanks to Aditya Singh's help in making it happen and we had a round of cake cutting, birthday wishing, song singing and celebratory photography. While the cake slices were cut and distributed by our GNOME Foundation friends to the event attendees, we quickly started our set of lightning talks on topics like Justin W. Flory's "What Is Fedora? Why Is There A Cake?", Amita Sharma's "Fedora DEI Team", Sumantro Mukherjee's "Fedora Toolbx", Sudhir Dharanendraiah's "Fedora Quality Engineering", Jens Petersen's "Fedora Linux 39 Changes", mine "Fedora Infrastructure" and finally, Samyak Jain's "Fedora Release Engineering". Being vigilant about not taking more than the time allocated for the slot and causing further delays, we were able to wrap up the first day with a closing note from Kristi Progri.
At around 0800 pm Nepal Standard Time, Samyak Jain and I decided to begin looking for taxis back to the hotel while we were interacting with the event attendees on our way out of the venue. Thankfully, Jens Petersen had the application to book the taxi in the country and Justin W. Flory soon joined us in the same cab ride. We saw Sudhir Dharanendraiah and his wife, Shivranjani leaving with Sumantro Mukherjee and his wife, Saheli for dinner when we got back to the hotel. Justin W. Flory, Jens Petersen and I decided to follow Samyak Jain's recommendation for the hotel, and we were soon joined by Amita Sharma and Nikita Tripathi at the hotel reception area after getting freshened up. At around 0930 pm Nepal Standard Time, we reached a restaurant with a great ambience, amazing delicacies and musical performances where we had our fill of both delicious food and entertaining conversations. We made sure to click a bunch of photographs to treasure the memories and record the performances made by the artists singing songs from both Hindi and Nepali languages. Once we were through with the meal alongside some specialized momo varieties and masala tea, we walked back to the hotel by around 1100 pm Nepal Standard Time and after getting some medication for my sore throat that had drifted from bad to worse, I decided to call it a day. The first day of GNOME Asia 2023 proved to be both challenging and rewarding at the same time and an optimistic I could not wait to see what the following days had in store.