GUADEC consists of two parts. The core days are when talks, keynote presentations as well as the GNOME Foundation Annual General Meeting happen. The "Birds of a Feather" (BoFs), as in saying "birds of a feather flock together", are working discussions about a specific topic of interest in a group of people who share that interest.
So the core days ended on July 29th. I have been a GNOME user for the past twelve years, using the Debian distribution for most of that time, but this was the first time I attended the event.
Meeting the people making GNOME was an energising experience. The community is a very welcoming and enthusiastic one. From the organisers of the event, to the users, the developers and all the people who manage some aspect of the community, there was a lot of dynamism all over the place. I had many insightful conversations with the folks there and a lot of good laughs too :-).
Colourful GUADEC group shot. Picture by The GNOME Project, licensed under CC-BY-3.0.
I think I really enjoy going to Free Software events in the end. It turns out to be where the real fun lies: these moments where we share something together. Most of the time it's the software itself -- at least from a programmer point of view, but then from time to time it's about the galaxy of things that happen around the software and that is just as much fun.
Kudos to the community for holding such a great event for so long now -- according to Wikipedia it dates back to 2000, I hope it will continue to take place for the years to come.