Over the past few months, we’ve been building up the Foundation‘s staff. In addition to executive director Neil McGovern and director of operations Rosanna Yuen, we‘re thrilled to welcome:
Emmanuele Bassi, GTK+ core developer
Molly de Blanc, Strategic initiatives manager
Bartłomiej Piotrowski, Devops/sysadmin
Kristi Progri, Programs coordinator
Andrea Veri, Systems administrator
The election for the 2019-2020 board of directors is going on right now!
Where have we been?
In April we visited FOSS North in Gothenburg, Sweden and Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington, USA. Our table at FOSS North was staffed by Kristi and Neil, and volunteers Bastian, Anisa and Stefano. GNOMEie Zeeshan Ali presented on open source geolocation. Molly and Sri were at LFNW, where Molly spoke about following through on a code of conduct. Kristi participated remotely in FLISOL. There were two hackfests in May, Rust+GNOME 2019 Hackfest#5 in Berlin and Gstreamer Spring Hackfest 2019 in Oslo. We’ll be in Portland, OR, USA in July for OSCON. After OSCON we‘ll be hosting a West Coast Hackfest, July 18th – 21st.
Matthias Clasen is enjoys spending time outdoors, having great hair, and working on GNOME Tool Kit (GTK).
What is your role within the GNOME community?
I have been involved GNOME for a long time. My first commits to GTK are from sometime around 2002. GTK is where I spend most of my development and project maintenance time. But I’ve been involved in many other parts of GNOME at one point or another, from GLib to GNOME Software.
Apart from writing code and fixing bugs, I am a member of the release team, and do a few of the GNOME releases every cycle. In recent years, I’ve often done the .0 stable releases.
Other affiliations you want to share?
In my day job, I manage the “GNOME” part of the Red Hat desktop team, which is an outstanding group of engineers. We juggle upstream work on GNOME and related projects with maintaining the workstation products in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora.
Why did you get involved in GNOME?
That is a tough question to answer — these things usually just happen, and we try to retroactively make sense of them. To give some answer: My first love in software was typography — I spent my university years in Germany happily doing math and TeX. At some point, I got interested in window managers, and trying to write a better menu system for fvwm is what created my first contact with GTK. And things just grew from there, with many lucky coincidences along the way, not the least of which was that I got a job in the Red Hat desktop team.
Why are you still involved with GNOME?
On the one hand, it is part of my job (and I am extremely lucky that it is). But, really, it is just a way of life. There are so many good friends and colleagues in the GNOME community that I can’t imagine not being involved in it anymore.
What are you working on right now?
It is always a mix of things that are going on at the same time. The big tasks are getting Fedora Silverblue ready for prime time and trying to push GTK4 over the finish line. But there are a whole lot of smaller things that take up some of my time. A few weeks ago, I took a day to write a Flatpak portal that lets applications update themselves. And last week I spent a day working with Behdad on pango (I still have a soft spot for typography) and wrote a post about it.
What are you excited about right now — either in GNOME or free and open source software in general?
I am feeling quite positive about Flatpak, and the opportunities it opens up for getting out of the “Linux distro” conversation. It is exciting to see many apps on flathub that I had no idea existed. And now it is just one click for me to try them out. Together with gitlab and its CI, flatpak has also changed the way we develop GNOME. It is like night and day, compared to a few years ago — things generally just build and work these day, and you can download flatpaks to try out branches — it is fantastic.
What is a major challenge you see for the future of GNOME?
I think it is a challenge to teach generations the value of having a local computing device (e.g. your laptop) that is powerful and accessible enough to let you explore and build things. Between phones and the online world, there is a risk that we lose that important aspect of the freedom to tinker an explore — you don’t compile things on your phone, and you can’t reboot the cloud…
What do you think GNOME should focus on next?
I have a hard time answering this, because GNOME is thousands of individuals, who all have their own motivations and goals, not a monolithic block that can be turned in a different direction with a quick command. I think the work Endless has been doing for bringing computers (and GNOME) to people in the developing world and to young people is very relevant for the long-term future of the project, and we should support them.
What should we have asked you about that we didn‘t?
You could have asked me about my kids and my cats.
My kids are 21 and 19, and in college. Thankfully, they are both at home for the summer, so we can share the cooking and do some hiking and kayaking together.
I am back at home after the Free Software and Linux Days 2018 in İstanbul. It was a small and cozy event. The number of attendees was lower than the previous years, but on the plus side, we had more time for each visitor. It was also a good opportunity to break the ice between different segments of the Turkish Free Software community.
We had a nice booth, jointly run by GNOME Turkey ad LibreOffice Turkey community members, next to the Pardus booth. We gave out stickers to the visitors, answered their questions about GNOME, LibreOffice, and Free/Libre Software in general. Community members also had a lot of time to chat, and to discuss the current situation and the future of our community in Turkey.
We also had two GNOME related presentation/seminar sessions:
Özgür Yazılımları Türkçe Konuşturmak (Making Free Software Talk Turkish), by Muhammet Kara
GNOME Recipe Uygulaması (The GNOME Recipe Application), by Emel Elvin Yıldız
And we now have all materials to set up a complete GNOME booth for any upcoming event in Turkey (thanks to The GNOME Foundation for funding the booth stuff).
Had the pleasure to attend the GStramer Spring Hackfest taking place in Lund Sweden May 6 – May 4, here follow some reflections.
There is likely no overstatement that multimedia development is probably one of the more complex areas of software development so to be present while what must be some of the more competent in the domain hacking was quite an experience.
The atmosphere was intense focused, it almost felt like you could feel vibrations in the air.
Considered it good that many of the participants had an affection towards
GNOME (something to be for grateful/appreciative for).
Would be positive to attend a future GSteamer Hackfest.
Thanks to the local company Axis who provided the venue.
*The GNOME/GStreamer relationship is something to care about.
*There is no overstatement that the GStreamer community is a very knowledge & competent group of people which makes the alignment with GNOME valuable.
We have this week had the pleasure to interview Tanu Kaskinen about his work as PulseAudio maintainer
Do you want to introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Tanu Kaskinen and I’m a PulseAudio maintainer (and also involved in the OpenEmbedded project a little bit). I spent my childhood in Järvenpää, Finland, and moved to Tampere when I started my software engineering studies at Tampere University of Technology. I’ve been living here ever since (13 years, if my calculations are correct).
How did you become involved with PulseAudio and why do you think its’ an important project?
At a time (2007, I think) I had a MIDI keyboard, and I wanted to play along while listening to music in Rhythmbox. That required running software synthesizers with JACK, but I couldn’t make Rhythmbox work properly with JACK. PulseAudio seemed like the future of desktop audio, and Rhythmbox certainly worked with PulseAudio. There was a PulseAudio module for bridging to JACK, but that was glitchy, so I decided to try to fix it (my first open source code contribution attempt!). In the end my fix was not needed after Lennart rewrote big parts of the PulseAudio core.
Why is PulseAudio important? Well, you need some sound server to manage application streams, be that dmix (in ALSA), JACK or PulseAudio. Having an intermediary between the applications and the kernel is required for a lot of flexibility that people expect from their systems.
What are some of the challenges about maintaining PulseAudio?
I guess all projects have their set of difficult bugs… In case of PulseAudio, hardware specific issues are quite common. Not having the hardware yourself is of course one problem when debugging, but even if the issue can be tracked down to a clear misbehaviour in the kernel driver, the bug may be left unfixed, because I have never learned to work with kernel code, and the ALSA developers may ignore the bug report (I don’t really blame them, I believe ALSA is understaffed too).
Any interesting features that are being worked on right now?
Nothing earth-shattering comes to mind, but here are things that I’m personally excited about: Georg Chini has been working on a long-standing bluetooth bug about bad A/V sync when watching videos.
I believe the Intel HDMI LPE hardware is becoming pretty widespread on new computers, and the kernel driver for that has certain unusual behaviour that makes PulseAudio enter an infinite loop when the HDMI cable is not plugged in. I’m happy that it will be fixed in the upcoming release.
There have been various small tweaks to automatic routing in recent releases, and those are going to continue.
What keeps you involved in the PulseAudio community?
I feel a need to do something useful with my life, and maintaining PulseAudio fills that need quite nicely. It’s not always fun, but it’s not so un-fun either that I would feel compelled to quit. PulseAudio has been a significant part of my life for some 10 years, and at this point it’s a pretty big part of my identity.
Can you describe PulseAudio’s role/relevance in a desktop environment such as GNOME?
GNOME tries to make a computer easy to use, and things should “just work”. PulseAudio plays a big role in that when it comes to audio. Also, if the GNOME user interface designers or developers have a vision for how e.g. audio settings should be presented, they have to work within the capabilities of the sound server.
Are you yourself a GNOME user?
Yes I am! I started using Linux when Debian Woody was current, probably in 2003. I don’t remember how I initially chose GNOME, maybe just because it was the default? I’ve sticked with Debian and GNOME pretty much all this time .
Why are you doing a fundraiser?
Because I don’t want a real job I like having complete control over how I spend my time, and even if I didn’t feel so strongly about that, not many companies are willing to pay just for PulseAudio maintenance anyway. (Perhaps the number of such companies is even zero, but to be honest I haven’t tried reaching out to Red Hat or similar.)
In 2015 I found myself having enough savings to last at least a few years if I quit from my day job, and so I did. I wanted to spend more time on PulseAudio, because there was a shortage of maintainer resources in the project . In 2016 I launched the Patreon campaign to slow down the rate at which my savings are drained, and this year I started a similar campaign on Liberapay.
Questions for fun
What is your favorite place on Earth?
Well, there’s a certain quiet spot on the shore of the Näsijärvi lake not too far from where I live. During summertime I sometimes go there to watch the sunset.
Hmm, I haven’t pondered this before, but I think the answer is the Swiss roll. Ideally with whipped cream and banana inside. I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten such Swiss roll, but I imagine that would be the optimal filling.
Thanks Tanu for taking time talking with us we wish you continued luck in your efforts!
To celebrate the successfully held GNOME Asia Summit 2017 in Chongqing, the Linux Story community saw the 3.28 release as a chance to promote GNOME and Open Source in China.
With its influence in many major cities of China, Linux Story called upon open source enthusiasts to gather in their local cities to hold a 10 cities get-together event to celebrate the new GNOME release.
A set of pictures from the events with pictures follow here to enjoy (received from Linux Story).
We want to thank the Linux Story community for the initiative and wish them luck in their continued efforts. Initiatives like this are great to see.
Last month, we had the pleasure of interviewing Øyvind Kolås, aka “pippin,” about his work on GEGL — a fundamental technology enabling GIMP and GNOME Photos.
This interview is part of a “Giving Spotlight” series we are doing on some long-time GNOME contributors who have fundraising campaigns. The goal is to help GNOME users understand the importance of the technologies, get to know the maintainers, and learn how to support them.
Without further ado, we invite you to get to know Øyvind and his work on GEGL!
The following interview was conducted over email.
Getting to know Øyvind
Where are you from and where are you based?
I’m from the town of Ørsta – in the end of a fjord in Norway, but since high-school I’ve been quite migratory. Studying fine art in Oslo and Spain, color science research at a color lab and lecturing multimedia CD-ROM authoring in south-eastern Norway, and working on GNOME technologies like Clutter and cairo for Opened Hand and Intel in London, followed by half a decade of low-budget backpacking. At the moment I am based in Norway – and try to keep in touch with a few people and places – among others England, Germany, and Spain.
What do you do and how does it relate to GNOME?
I like tinkering with code – frequently code that involves graphics or UI. This results in sometimes useful, at other times odd, but perhaps interesting, tools, infrastructure, or other software artifacts. Through the years and combined with other interests, this has resulted in contributions to cairo and Clutter, as well as being the maintainer of babl and GEGL, which provide pixel handling and processing machinery for GIMP 2.9, 2.10 and beyond.
How did you first get involved in GNOME?
I attended the second GUADEC which happend in Copenhagen in 2001. This was my first in-person meeting with the people behind nicknames in #gimp as well as meeting in-person GIMP developers and power users, and the wider community around it including the GNOME project.
Why is your fundraising campaign important?
I want GIMP to improve and continue being relevant in the future, as well as
having a powerful graph-based framework for other imaging tasks. I hope that my continued maintainership of babl/GEGL will enable many new and significant workflows in GIMP and related software, as well as provide a foundation for implementing and distributing experimental image processing filters.
Getting to know GEGL
How did your project originate?
GEGL’s history starts in 1997 with Rythm and Hues studios, a Californian visual effects and animation company. They were experimenting with a 16bit/high bit depth fork of GIMP known as filmgimp/cinepaint. Rythm and Hues succeeded in making GIMP work on high bit depth images, but the internal architecture was found to be lacking – and they started GEGL as a more solid future basis for high bit depth non-destructive editing in GIMP. Their funding/management interest waned, and GEGL development went dormant. GIMP however continued considering GEGL to be its future core.
How did you start working on GEGL?
I’ve been making and using graphics-related software since the early ’90s. In 2003-2004 I made a video editor for my own use in a hobby collaboration music video/short film venture. This video editing project was discontinued and salvaged for spare parts, like babl and a large set of initial operations when I took up maintainership and development of GEGL.
What are some of the greatest challenges that you’ve faced along the way?
When people get to know that I am somehow involved in development of the GIMP project, they expect me to be in control of and responsible for how the UI currently is. I have removed some GIMP menu items in attempts to clean things up and reduce technical debt, but most improvements I can take credit for now, and in the future, are indirect, like how moving to GEGL enables higher bit depths and on-canvas preview instead of using postage stamp-sized previews in dialogs.
What are some of your greatest successes?
Bringing GEGL from a duke-nukem-forever state, where GIMP was waiting on GEGL for all future enhancements, to GEGL waiting for GIMP to adopt it. The current development series of GIMP (2.9.x) is close to be released as 2.10 which will be the new stable; it is a featureful version with feature parity with 2.8 but a new engine under the hood. I am looking forward to seeing where GIMP will take GEGL in the future.
What are you working on right now?
One of the things I am working on – and playing with – at the moment is experiments in color separation. I’m making algorithms that simulate the color mixing behavior of inks and paints. That might be useful in programs like GIMP for tasks ranging from soft-proofing spot-colors to preparing photos or designs for multi-color silk-screening, for instance for textiles.
Which projects depend on your project? What’s the impact so far?
There are GIMP and GNOME Photos, as well as imgflo, which is a visual front-end provided by the visual programming environment noflo. GEGL (and babl, a companion library), are designed to be generally useful and do not have any APIs that could only be considered useful for GIMP. GEGL itself also contains various example and experimental command line and graphical interfaces for image and video processing.
How can I get involved?
GEGL continues needing, and thankfully getting, contributions, new filters, fixes to old filters, improvements to infrastructure, improved translations, and documentation. Making more projects use GEGL is also a good way of attracting more contributors. With funds raised through Liberapay and Patreon, I find it easier to allocate time and energy towards making the contribution experience of others smoother.
And now a few questions just for fun…
What is your favorite place on Earth?
Tricky, I have traveled a lot and not found a single place that is a definitive favorite. Places I’ve found to be to my liking are near the equator and have little seasonal variation, as well as are sufficiently high altitude to cool down to a comfortable day high temperature of roughly 25 degrees Celsius.
Favorite ice cream?
Could I have two scoops in a waffle cone, one mango sorbet, one coconut please?
Finally, our classic question: what do you think cats dream about?
Some cats probably dream about being able to sneak through walls.
Thank you, Øyvind, for your answers. We look forward to seeing your upcoming work on GEGL this year and beyond!
As the calendar year comes to an end, we’d like to thank everyone who contributed for the first time to a new project at GNOME. The list below includes people who made their first commit, contribution, or joined a GNOME global team.
Please join us in thanking these excellent newcomers!
Yunfeng He (Jim)
George Willian Condomitti
Alexander Alzate Olaya
GNOME 3.26 is almost here! A new GNOME release is a milestone worth celebrating and is a great reason to get together with other GNOME community members.
Is there already a release party in your area? If there is, we encourage you to join. Release Parties are open to all GNOME enthusiasts. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other GNOME users.
But what if there isn’t one planned near enough for you attend? Don’t worry, you can plan your own!
A release party can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be; anything from getting a group together for celebratory drinks to a big event with decorations, food, and swag.
Some quick tips on organizing your own party:
Have a rough estimate of the number of guests. While release parties tend to be open to anyone, it’s a good idea to take a quick measure of who might be attending. Send a note on social media or local mailing lists asking who is interested.
Have swag! If you have time and inclination, having GNOME stickers or other swag to give out is always popular. You can always request stickers from a GNOME SWAG center near you.
Have provisions! No party is complete without food. It can be something you provide, a potluck, or even a restaurant where guests can purchase food. Whether you’re a foundation member or not, you can request funding for your party by following the steps on the Events page.
Select a time and location. Knowing what kind of party you are planning should help you decide on a location. Is there a local coffee house that would let you host your event if people plan on purchasing food and drink there? Or if it is a smaller group, maybe a local bar. For a larger group, consider a local park or a room in the local community center.
Announce your bash. Let others know about your event by announcing it to the local user groups, posting it on social media, and adding it to the Events page. Have fellow enthusiasts help spread the word.
Take lots of pictures! Everyone loves to see what fun release parties can be. Make sure you take pictures of the party in action and share your photos with GNOME so we can share them among the community.
Pat yourself on the back. Thank you! You are helping cultivate the feeling of community that GNOME relies on.
Iulian Radu is in his final year at the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest, and he has been involved in his on–campus open source community. Over the last couple of years, he has brought GNOME to his campus, and generated interest around encouraging other students to get involved in GNOME, contribute, and even apply for GSoC. Read on to learn about his experience in getting involved and spreading GNOME to his university in Romania!
Where are you from and where are you based now?
I’m from Romania and living there now.
How long have you been contributing to GNOME?
I made my first contribution 2 years ago during the summer and it was for Iagno.
How did you first hear about GNOME and become a user?
I was a user before I became a contributor. The first time I heard of GNOME was in university, and we had a course where we had a slide with different logos. We had to name those logos, which were all open source and Linux related. Soon after that I got to use Linux in my university classes; it was used and required almost everywhere, classes and homework. I got it installed for the first time during Linux Install Fest, an event where the community (students, teachers) helps first year students, and anyone interested, install Linux on their personal computer.
We know this year isn’t your first year with GSoC, how did you first get involved?
Yeah, my first year with GSoC was in 2015. I heard of it in university when my teacher and some colleagues a year above me told me about it.I actually tried applying in 2014 as well but the steps were not that clear at the time. I was under the impression that it was way too complicated for me and I just gave up on the idea. The next year, in 2015, I just asked around more and it was really different. Everyone was really supportive and everything made sense; I didn’t have many problems getting accepted. Then this year, in 2016, I already knew what I had to do and everything went smoothly.
What motivated you to join for a second year?
I was in between deciding whether to do GSoC again and getting a job at a company to experience office life, working in a team, and participate in meetings. Michael, my 2015 GSoC mentor, told me he wanted to be a mentor again and said he had a project on Epiphany for me. It sounded really interesting, so I applied again to GSoC.
What has been your project with Google Summer of Code?
My project was“Web:Bookmarks Subsystem Update“. I basically had to redo the bookmarks system in GNOME Web and I kind of started from scratch because the code was old.
You’re very active within your community, especially when it comes to planning events. What exactly is it that you have done?
I’m active within the open source community at my university. There’s a non-profit organization called ROSEdu (Romanian Open Source Education). That’s how I got into open source. They organize workshops, summer schools, mentor programs, and more. My first contribution was to an open source browser game organized at our school; a platform with questions related to linux designedfor the first year introductory course to operating systems. You can play the game and learn more about the subjects studied throughout the course. I became a core contributor after a while thenI applied to be part of the organization. I started helping out by mentoring students at different workshops and events they organize.. During those events we always talk about what we are working on and share our experience so I helped spread the word about GNOME (as I was also contributing to it during those times). Razvan, another GSoC student that worked on Nautilus, was one of the first that got really interested and asked me to give him directions. Then there was Gabriel, whom I helped with his first contribution and application process. There were also multiple students that started to seek me out to learn more aboutGSoC and my GNOME experience to whom I have offered help based on the intereset they showed. A community around GSoC already existed, but I helped with bringing GNOME to the campus and now we have a small community. Every now and then we get together to work on our projects, and I’d like to invite more people to join us in the future.
What are some challenges you have faced in planning events and unifying your local community?
The main challenge is keeping people interested. They usually become quite curious when you start telling them about the community, your work and your experiences, but they lose interest when they try to make their first contributions and realize that some things take longer than they initially expected. As the students that are reaching out are usually at the start of their open source experience, it’s even harder for them as they need to become used to different means of communicating (IRC, mailling lists), version control systems, bug trackers etc.
What is your favorite place on Earth?
My favorite place would be a cabin in a forest with fresh air and a nearby river. But there has to be a laptop and WiFi!
What is your favorite food?
Grilled food, probably a grilled steak. Nothing too special!
Favorite ice cream?
Anything with chocolate icing.
Last question… What is your spirit animal?
I guess it’s a panda, because I’m a bit clumsy and lazy!