GNOME programs go global

The GNOME project is built by a vibrant community and supported by the GNOME Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity registered in California (USA). The GNOME community has spent more than 20 years creating a desktop environment designed for the user. We‘re asking you to join us by becoming Friend of GNOME.

The GNOME community hosts numerous hackfests, meetings, workshops, and first time contributor events around the world. We also host two very special events: GUADEC and GNOME.Asia. These two conferences are for GNOME contributors, enthusiasts, and the GNOME curious together twice a year on two different continents. Over the past few years, we have also organized Linux Application Summit (LAS) with the KDE community.

Every year, GUADEC (GNOME’s biggest annual conference) brings together developers, designers, users, and other experts and enthusiasts for a week of talks, workshops, roundtables, team building, and more. GUADEC is one of the most important events for the GNOME community, giving us an unparalleled opportunity to push the project forward. GUADEC 2019 was no exception. Taking place in the beautiful city of Thessaloniki, Greece from 23 – 28 of August, we had conversations on a variety of topics and a splendid range of presentations, many of which are available online.

A photo of ten people on a stage. Many of them are smiling.

GUADEC not only offers a place for people to enjoy different sessions and workshops, but it’s also a unique opportunity to bring together the GNOME Foundation staff, board members, and Advisory Board for making strategic decisions.

While GUADEC has historically been in Europe, we are very excited that GUADEC 2020 will take place in Zacatecas, Mexico. This will provide an opportunity for people who have trouble traveling to Europe. By hosting the event on the North American continent, a whole new group of people will be able to join us to celebrate GNOME.

Another interesting event we have is GNOME.Asia. GNOME.Asia 2019 took place in Gresik, Indonesia between 11 – 13 of October at the Universitas Muhammadiyah Gresik (UMG). This too was a rousing success. It was the biggest event organized by the GNOME community in Asia, with the first day dedicated to workshops and the second and third days for presentations.

In 2019 we also worked with the KDE community on organizing LAS in Barcelona, Spain. LAS is designed to accelerate the growth of the Linux application ecosystem by bringing together everyone involved in creating a great Linux application user experience. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and the hard work of the organizing team, attendance was free for everyone.

Among the hackfests this past year, there was a particularly large West Coast Hackfest, which took place in Portland, OR. The focus was on getting the members of Documentation team, Engagement team and GTK team working together for four days to push some initiatives forward. This was a unique opportunity for the Documentation team to work on ideas that had been planned for some time. Members of the Engagement team worked activities such as social media strategy, event planning, and merchandise design. The GTK team continued their outstanding work on one of the most popular free libraries for graphical user interfaces.

GNOME events are organized by the GNOME community, with the support of GNOME Foundation employees, principally Programs Coordinator Kristi Progri, with sponsorship assistance from Strategic Initiatives Manager Molly de Blanc. These events are built by the GNOME community, and supported by the GNOME Foundation. We provide infrastructure and organizational support for the local and global teams who spearhead these events. We work alongside the community to make these events happen.

In 2020, we are going to continue to step up for the community and are asking you to join us by becoming a Friend of GNOME. Though this, you’re helping to make amazing events like these possible. By continuing our work, we are able to support the GNOME community and help it grow. We want to keep doing this, and we want you to help us.

We recommend a recurring, monthly donation of $25 ($5/month for students). As thanks for becoming a Friend of GNOME, we’ll send you a thank you postcard from a GNOME hacker and offer you a discount on swag at events. If you donate more than $30 a month, you are eligable for a subscription to LWN at no additional cost to you. If you donate more than $500 a year, Executive Director Neil McGovern will send you a special thank you note.

Everything the GNOME Foundation does is for the GNOME community. By supporting us, you’re supporting a global community looking to serve everyone, regardless of geography or language. Join us in working towards a brighter future for GNOME by becoming a Friend of GNOME today.

Step up and become a Friend of GNOME

The GNOME project is built by a vibrant community and supported by the GNOME Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity registered in California (USA). The GNOME community has spent more than 20 years creating a desktop environment designed for the user. We‘re asking you to step up for GNOME and become Friend of GNOME. We’re working to have 100 new Friends of GNOME join by January 6, 2020.

A photo of a group of GNOME contributors at GUADEC, standing behind a large beach blanket full of colorful GNOME logos.

The GNOME Foundation was founded in 2000, to support the activities of the GNOME project and our goal of building a desktop environments that respects the freedom of every user, developer, and contributor. We continue to make great strides towards this.

2019 has been an exciting year for us with the expansion of the Foundation‘s staff and efforts:

This year has not been without challenges. Most notably, October brought with it allegations of patent infringement from Rothschild Imaging, Ltd. Rather than settling or backing down, we are taking this fight as far as we have to in order to say that patent trolls have no place in free software. This effort is something we’ll be carrying forward into the coming year.

Looking ahead to 2020, we already have a lot going on in addition to our patent case. There’s kicking off the GNOME Coding Education Challenge in order to expand the tools we have available to learn and teach. We will be seriously expanding our accessibility efforts, and are currently planning an accessibility audit and making plans for updates to the Orca screen reader. We’ve already started planning GUADEC 2020, which will bring us to our first North American GUADEC in Zacatecas, Mexico. We have a GNOME.Asia in the works. There will be more hackfests and newcomer events, intern and mentorship opportunities, and constant efforts to work on, for, and with the community. We’ll do all of this while upholding the standards of technical excellence you have come to expect from the GNOME project, building software for people of every country with every level of ability.

The GNOME Foundation supports the work of the GNOME community, and we need your help to keep going. We’re working on the future, not just of how you interact with your computer, but the future of free software and we want you to join us. Step up for GNOME! You can become a Friend of GNOME, to support us on either an annual or monthly basis. We ask for a minimum donation of $10/month, and recommend $25 a month ($5 for students). Every donation comes with a Thank You postcard from a GNOME hacker and a discount on GNOME swag when you find our booth at a conference. For $30 a month, you can get a subscription to LWN. If you donate $500 or more on an annual basis, you’ll get a wonderful Thank You note especially from executive director Neil McGovern.

We’re bringing software freedom to the desktop. We‘re developing a safe, secure, accessible desktop environment for everyone; building a global community of contributors; and fostering the next generation of free and open source software contributors. By becoming a Friend of GNOME you are becoming a part of that.

Cheers,

Andrea, Bart, Emmanuele, Kristi, Molly, Neil, and Rosanna

Photo courtesy of Ana Rey. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund reaches nearly 4,000 donors!

A lot has happened since our announcement that Rothschild Imaging Ltd was alleging that GNOME is violating one of their patents. We wanted to provide you with a brief update of what has been happening over the past few weeks.

Legal cases can be expensive, and the cost of a patent case can easily reach over a million dollars. As a small non-profit, we decided to reach out to our community and ask for financial support towards our efforts to keep patent trolls out of open source. More than 3,800 of you have stepped up and contributed to the GNOME Patent Troll Legal Defense Fund. We’d like to sincerely thank everyone who has donated. If you need any additional documentation for an employer match, please contact us.

Individuals aren’t the only supporters of this initial fundraiser. The Debian Project generously reached out with a donation and Igalia also donated to support our legal efforts.

There’s been a wonderful outpouring of support from the free and open source software communities. The Software Freedom Conservancy issued a statement. Meanwhile the Open Invention Network is lending a hand in the search for examples or prior art.

We set ourselves an ambitious fundraising goal of $1.1 million to support our defense. We expect the majority of this to be raised from corporate sponsorship, but we’re going to keep working for more individual and community donations. Please share our GiveLively donation page with your social media networks. If you’re a non-profit that has issued (or is is interested in issuing) a statement of support, we’d love to hear from you.

If you want to receive updates on the case, please sign up for the GNOME Legal Updates List.

Friends of GNOME Update – October 2019

Welcome to the October 2019 Friends of GNOME Update!

A jack-o-lantern: an orange pumpkin with a GNOME foot carved into it and candle light coming through the foot.

GNOME on the Road

  • Molly de Blanc and Sri Ramkrishna were at All Things Open this past month. They both gave talks, ran a booth, and met lots of great people who were excited to learn about GNOME. They ran out of stickers.
  • Neil McGovern and Rosanna Yuen attended GNOME.Asia Summit, both delivering keynotes! While he was in Indonesia, Neil also delivered a keynote at openSUSE.Asia Summit.
  • Board member Carlos Soriano spoke at GitLab Commit about how GNOME uses GitLab.
  • Not quite on the road, but Neil was on FLOSS Weekly. You can watch the episode on their web site.

If you have a GNOME-related speaking engagement coming up, feel free to drop us a line!

Patented

Technical developments

  • There have been changes to buildbot in order to accommodate the latest release of the FreeDesktop SDK.
  • You can now find org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.golang for FreeDesktop SDK 19.08 and io.qt.qtwebkit.BaseApp for KDE runtime 5.13.

Read all about it!

LAS

  • Along with our friends at KDE, we’re organizing the Linux App Summit (LAS). LAS is taking place this year in Barcelona, Spain, from November 12 – 15th. Registration is open so sign up today.

Thank you!

As always, thank you for being a Friend of GNOME!

Photo courtesy of Britt Yazel under a CC-BY license.

Join GNOME in our fight against a patent troll

A photo of a large group of people sitting and standing on steps, with GNOME balloons and signs in the background.

A month ago, GNOME was hit by a patent troll for developing the Shotwell image management application. It’s the first time a free software project has been targeted in this way, but we worry it won’t be the last. Rothschild Patent Imaging, LLC offered to let us settle for a high five figure amount, for which they would drop the case and give us a license to carry on developing Shotwell. This would have been simple to do so; it would have caused less work, cost less money, and provided the Foundation a lot less stress. But it also would be wrong. Agreeing to this would leave this patent live, and allow this to be used as a weapon against countless others. We will stand firm against this baseless attack, not just for GNOME and Shotwell, but for all free and open source software projects.

For these reasons, GNOME Foundation Executive Director Neil McGovern instructed our legal counsel at Shearman & Sterling to file three papers with the court in California.

First, a motion to dismiss the case outright. We don’t believe that this is a valid patent, or that software can or should be able to be patented in this way. We want to make sure that this patent isn’t used against anyone else, ever.

Second, our answer to the claim. We don’t believe that there is a case GNOME needs to answer to. We want to show that the use of Shotwell, and free software in general, isn’t affected by this patent.

Thirdly, our counterclaim. We want to make sure that this isn’t just dropped when Rothschild realizes we’re going to fight this.

We want to send a message to all software patent trolls out there — we will fight your suit, we will win, and we will have your patent invalidated. To do this, we need your help. Please help support the GNOME Foundation in sending a message that patent trolls should never target free software by making a donation to the GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund. If you’re interested in keeping up with the news on this case, subscribe to our Legal Updates email list.

GUADEC 2017 Group Photo” by Jonathan Kang licensed CC-BY-SA

Meet Alyssa Rosenzweig and Panfrost

Hi, I’m Gaurav Agrawal, a member of the GNOME Engagement Team. I recently had the chance to interview Alyssa Rosenzweig, who is a lead developer at Panfrost project which is a free and open source driver Mali Midgard and Bifrost GPUs. Alyssa spent her summer as an intern at Collabora working on improving Panfrost’s OpenGL ES 2.0 userspace, which helps GNOME Shell work fluidly on supported Mali Hardware.

A screenshot of panfrost in action, with four open images of a Debian terminal, a logo, a jellyfish, and a computer generated landscape.

How about we kick off with a little bit of background on Panfrost?

Panfrost is a free, open-source graphics stack for Arm Mali GPUs, focused on the popular Midgard series. While these chips are popular among Android devices, they have been historical thorns in Linux’s side, due to the closed nature of the official drivers. Panfrost aims to change that, bringing the benefits of open-source to the Mali world.

What started out as a small community reverse-engineering effort has now matured into a reliable OpenGL ES 2.0 driver. Since May, I’ve been using Panfrost as my daily driver to program Panfrost. And yes, I’m answering these questions from a machine with Panfrost!

How did you get involved with the Project’s team/founded the team.

I’m passionate about spreading free software across the entire stack. To me, it’s not enough to have a free kernel; we also need a free desktop environment like GNOME. Yet it’s not enough to have just a free kernel and free desktop environment — we need free drivers and free firmware. Researching the state of free firmware for x86 systems, I realized that for long-term success, free software needs to win on Arm platforms, where free firmware at the lowest levels is still an option on systems like the Rockchip RK3399. These Rockchip systems have gained considerable mainline support, including support for the on-board video processing unit, thanks to past Collabora contributions. The future looked bright for Linux on Arm.

Unfortunately, despite these freedom wins, these Arm boards featured Mali GPUs, whose proprietary drivers prevented free software from truly taking off here. Frustrated with the GPU serving as the sole obstacle to a modern fully open source laptop, two years ago I purchased a development machine with a Mali — and the rest is history.

We will love to know, what were the issues with existing proprietary Arm drivers, which users were facing?

The issue with proprietary drivers is both practical and philosophical, and the proprietary Mali drivers are no exception. 3D acceleration is a de facto requirement of the modern system; even if a user is not interested in video games, they still need acceleration to run software using OpenGL like GNOME with full performance. Thus, philosophically, the requirement of the proprietary drivers for OpenGL support prevents normal usage of systems with Mali with free software.

Practically, the proprietary drivers pose a number of challenges for Linux users. Arm’s userspace drivers require the use of Arm’s kernel drivers. While these kernel drivers are technically open source, they are tightly coupled with the proprietary stack, which prevents their integration with the upstream “mainline” kernel. Today, most users never have to think about installing a kernel; the kernel for their hardware is part of their distribution, and distributions can easily maintain support for any hardware supported upstream. But a Linux user that needs a Mali chip cannot rely on their distribution for the kernel; the driver is maintained out-of-tree and requires a complex porting process to work against a normal upstream kernel. Far too often, users will resort to use outdated, buggy, insecure, downstream kernels, simply because they cannot use the mainline kernel if they need graphics.

Panfrost changes that. Our kernel module is designed for open-source and is included in the mainline kernel. Likewise, our userspace implementation is open-source and part of the upstream Mesa project, shared with the open-source Linux drivers for Intel, AMD, and Broadcom GPUs. Thus, with Panfrost, Linux users can install the distribution of their choice, using a modern, secure upstream kernel, while 3D graphics works out of the box.

Your project focuses on improving Panfrost’s OpenGL ES 2.0 userspace, we will like to know what this is about, and how it will benefit others?

OpenGL ES 2.0 is the core API for graphics on Arm platforms. Although newer versions of OpenGL ES exist, most software a user will encounter day-to-day can run on OpenGL ES 2.0. By focusing on this API, Panfrost is able to provide a smooth user experience where it counts.

Panfrost uses the open source Mesa implementation of OpenGL ES 2.0 to provide this experience to users. Mesa provides the OpenGL frontend via the common open-source “Gallium” API. Panfrost is a Gallium driver, thus enabling OpenGL ES 2.0 apps to run atop Mali with no proprietary components.

But Panfrost goes further! OpenGL ES is the “embedded subset” of OpenGL, the API used more commonly on Linux. The proprietary userspace drivers only support OpenGL ES, with no support for desktop OpenGL, leaving Linux users forced to specially compile software or use fickle translation layers. Fortunately, Panfrost provides a solution!

Leveraging the power of a strong open-source community via Mesa and Gallium, Panfrost is able to support OpenGL 2.1, a “common denominator” API prevalent on Linux. Other drivers have contributed to the desktop OpenGL support in Mesa and Gallium, and via this shared open-source framework, this work is shared and everyone benefits — including Panfrost users.

In practice, this support means a user running a distribution like Debian can install desktops like GNOME and have acceleration work out of the box. Whereas the proprietary userspace would leave a would-be GNOME user to fend for herself, Panfrost provides a smooth, Linux-first experience.

A young woman, against a blue background, wearing a red shirt. She has long, dark brown hair.We really want to know how are you so creative with commit messages ;) (… , :^, ./test-clear works, woo, I think I got it ?, Fix textures \0/, 🤔 , I tried…, Hmm )

Programming is mentally draining for some and physically draining for others. For me, I think programming is _emotionally_ draining. By the time my code works, sometimes you just have to let out all that emotion into the nearest text box. Sometimes that’s IRC, and sometimes that’s the commit message :-)

You went on a bug fixing adventure with GNOME, and we are excited to know what treasures you got ;)

Sometimes debugging feels like chasing my tail. But that’s not a problem — I’m not going in circles; I’m spiraling out and learning so much along the way. Sometimes that knowledge doesn’t help fix the bug, but it’s always a treasure!

GNOME offered no shortage of treasures. I installed a standard GNOME system from my distribution, which was built with OpenGL 2.1, rather than OpenGL ES 2.0. While OpenGL 2.1 has been tested with Panfrost, at the time, we had not tested it as extensively as ES 2.0, so there were all sorts of little gotcha’s I discovered. For instance, desktop OpenGL uses a slightly different texture specification mechanism, which challenged our previous texture implementation and demenaded a refactor — something I never would have noticed if I weren’t bringing up an app like GNOME.

_The_ bug, as it were, was unrelated to my research into complex topics like textures and tilers. No, in fact, it was a trivial piece of code related to the viewport descriptor. Panfrost’s implementation was correct for OpenGL ES 2.0, but again, OpenGL 2.1 offers more flexibility, so our implementation did not work there. After an agonizing bug search, a little bit of robustness improvements to the viewport code made all the difference in the world, and a moment later, I was running GNOME.

It will be really interesting to know how you all got nearer to the “Rasterization Discard” with the work “Scoreboard Implementation” on Mali’s Tiled Architecture, and we are curious to know simple explanation of these terms.

In graphics with OpenGL, the fundamental unit is a “draw”. Each draw has a pair of shaders, small programs running on the GPU. The first shader is the vertex shader, which determines where on the screen the GPU should render. The second shader is the fragment shader, which determines what colours the GPU should render. For an application like GNOME, these shaders are simple, copying the images of windows onto the screen. For a game, these shaders can be arbitrarily complex to implement fancy rendering algorithms.

Mali’s architecture subdivides draws into two parts, a vertex job (running a vertex shader) and a tiler job (setting up a fragment shader). If a simple app submits 100 draws, the driver will generate 100 vertex jobs and 100 tiler jobs. But these jobs have to run in a specific order: while all of the vertex jobs could run simultaneously, each tiler job (fragment shader) can only run once the corresponding vertex job (vertex shader) has run. Mali lets each job “depend” on other jobs, so one job can only run after its dependencies have run, much like a package in a package manager only installing once its dependencies were installed.

Originally, we hardcoded these dependencies, but this proved inflexible. This hardcoding was replaced by a high-level description of each job’s dependencies, so an automatic algorithm can compute in which order jobs need to be specified. This algorithm is knowing as “scoreboarding”.

The benefit of this automatic approach is seen in “rasterization discard”, an OpenGL feature that runs vertex shaders but does not draw anything to the screen. On Mali, that means we generate a vertex job, but we _don’t_ generate a tiler job. When we hardcoded jobs, this asymmetry was a problem, but once we implemented an automatic algorithm, this is as simple as just… not generating a tiler job. In negative lines of code, we can implement rasterization discard!

What are some popular devices that you believe can adopt your work, and through them it will benefit lots of people ?

A number of Arm-based Chromebooks use GPUs supported by Panfrost, including my personal development laptop, the Samsung Chromebook Plus. Collabora has contributed to the open-source mainline support for ChromeOS on these Chromebooks, and as a result of our open-first approach, Linux users of these Chromebooks benefit from a well-supported mainline stack. With Panfrost in the upstream kernel, these Chromebooks work on mainline _without_ sacrificing critical hardware support!

Beyond Chromebooks, based on the same high-performance RK3399 chipset, the Linux community’s own Pinebook Pro will support Panfrost. On a smaller scale, Mali chips are ubiquitous in phones and tablets; Panfrost will help the postmarketOS project achieve one of their stated goals, running the mainline kernel on phones for Linux for long-term support.

Looking back so far, what did you folks enjoyed the most with working around FOSS projects and communities?

The people! No matter where I go in the FOSS world, there’s always a friendly face. In real life, I can sometimes be timid, but online in the open source community, I can always hop into an IRC channel and strike up a chat with a developer or a fellow user. That sense of community, that despite coming from a myriad of countries, timezones, and identity backgrounds, we’re all united by a common purpose — that is a breath of fresh air from societies so focused on individual competition.

What are some inspirational lessons which you want to share with us, which will inspire newcomers contributing to FOSS ?

You can make a difference in the world of free software. It’s easy to be jaded and feel that nothing we do matters, that the tides of the world are set in stone at the whim of someone more powerful. Sometimes that can be true, but in the free software community, everyone has a chance to make a difference. If you can code, find an interesting open-source project to contribute to. If you’re multilingual, the community is always looking for translators. And even if you’re just an end-user, testing counts — if something doesn’t look right or doesn’t seem right, file a bug report and let the developers know! Or, if you’re a little extroverted and knowledgable on some software (even as a user!), try hanging out on your favourite project’s IRC channel and helping other users with the software — you never know whose day you could be improving with some patience and a little kindness. Little changes add up to making free software the beautiful place it is today, and you can help.

How can someone become involved?

Try Panfrost! Panfrost is shipping with Linux 5.2 and Mesa 19.2, arriving in popular distributions shortly. If you have a board with a compatible Mali GPU, grab the open-source stack and start testing! Maybe try your favourite desktop environment, or grab an open-source video game compatible with OpenGL 2.1, like SuperTuxKart. Give it a spin!

Edited for content and grammar. Images provided by Alyssa Rosenzweig, licensed CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Friends of GNOME Update — September 2019

At the end of August we wrapped up GUADEC and in September we shifted our focus to the GNOME 3.34 release.

A man in a yellow shirt using an icing bag to pipe the GNOME logo in white.

GNOME 3.34 released

On September 12, GNOME 3.34 released! Named after the location of the most recent GUADEC, Thessaloniki includes refreshed visuals, custom folders in the application overview, increased data sources in Sysprof, and multiple improvements to Builder.

We had a GUADEC!

GUADEC 2019 took place in beautiful Thessaloniki, Greece. We learned a lot in the conference sessions on the core days (videos available online); we had great strategic planning sessions and workshops during the BoF days; and had two fun day trips, with one group going to a beach and the other exploring museums in Thessaloniki. A full trip report is online. We’d like to give a thank you to the organizing team and the GUADEC sponsors.

GNOME on the Road

Federico Mena was recently at CCOSS, where he gave a keynote and ran a workshop. Molly de Blancwent to GitLab Commit and spoke about GNOME’s migration to GitLab.

Carlos Soriano, from the GNOME Board of Directors, will be at GitLab commit in London, on October 9th, discussing GNOME’s implementation of GitLab.

GNOME.Asia: Gresik, Indonesia

GNOME.Asia will be held in Gresik, Indonesia on October 11-13th. We hope you’ll make it to GNOME.Asia. There is a stellar list of speakers, including the Foundation’s own Neil McGovern and Rosanna Yuen delivering keynotes, along with Stephanus Koeswandi and Andika Triwidada. Registration is now open, so register today!

Linux Application Summit

LAS is coming up! If you’re going to be in Barcelona November 12-15th (or want to be!) please join us in growing the Linux application system. A schedule is online and registration is now open.

Endless & GNOME <3 Education

At GUADEC, we announced a collaboration with Endless: the Coding Education Challenge. We’re looking for innovative ideas to teach coding with free and open source software, with prizes up to $100,000 for winning proof of concept. More details to come!

Bylaw Updates Update

Last month we wrote about proposed changes to the bylaws. These changes 1) increase the length of terms of members of the Board of Directors and 2) change the language in the bylaws to be gender neutral. There was a vote at the Annual General Meeting, where both proposals passed.

Thank you!

Thank you for your interest in GNOME! Whether you’re using it, contributing code, writing, design, or anything else, if you’re attending events, or if you’re just enthusiastic about what we do, you’re part of the community! If you’re not already a Friend of GNOME, please consider becoming one to support the awesome work we do.

Photo courtesy of Rosanna Yuen, licensed CC-BY-SA.

Meet the GNOMEies: Sammy Fung

Sammy is a freelancer, community organizer, and GNOME enthusiast from Hong Kong. For almost 20 years, Sammy has been using, GNOME and building community in Asia.

A photo of Sammy Fung holding up two firefox signs. He is wearing a suit jacket and a blue collared shirt. He has glasses and his hair is sticking up.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

Currently, I am a freelancer which works on web scraping, python, data analytics, Linux, and networks. I was an owner and the director of small IT business, with my experiences in the open source, technology, community, and business, I organise local and regional open source communities and conferences in Hong Kong and Asia, travel between Asian and US cities to attend, speak, and organise open source events.

What is your role within the GNOME community?

I co-lead at GNOME Asia committee

Do you have any other affiliations you want to share?

I’m a Mozilla Representative, the President at Open Source Hong Kong, organiser of PyCon HK, and founder of Hong Kong Open Source Conference.

Why did you get involved in GNOME?

I am a GNOME user since 2000, and I think that GNOME is the most important software for Linux desktop. I thought that we should organise an event in Hong Kong for Linux desktop to promote and develop it. GNOME is the key.

Why are you still involved with GNOME?

As a user in Hong Kong, we embrace the different cultures from West and East. I keep my contributions to link up with East and West in different Asia cities when my living and income allows me to do so.

What are you working on right now?

After I take over the leadership at GNOME Asia Committee, I called for meetings for the GNOME.Asia Summit. I communicate with the local team for it.

What are you excited about right now – either in GNOME or free and open
source software in general?

It is not easy to sustain a desktop project, but GNOME is still the number one desktop environment on Linux!

What is a major challenge you see for the future of GNOME?

To sustain and grow GNOME, I hope that more GNOME contributors can be employed to achieve different missions of the project, to create more resources (e.g. marketing and documentation) for GNOME. On the other hand, we should also consider how to integrate GNOME and the open web seamlessly. I hope GNOME can become software that is not just a desktop environment, but a desktop ecosystem. It is not only in technical but also in business, the community, and the market.

What do you think GNOME should focus on next?

  1. Community building;
  2. Educating youth about the open desktop; and
  3. Turning the desktop environment to the desktop ecosystem.

Edited for content and clarity. Photo provided by Sammy Fung.

Goodbye, GUADEC!

As we at the GNOME Foundation celebrate the end of summer, we’re also celebrating another successful GUADEC.

A selfie of five people in front of a standee saying "GUADEC" at the Thessaloniki Airport.
Photo courtesy of Cassidy James Blaede.

This GUADEC was really special for the Foundation, as it was the first year that there was a significant staff presence. In addition to many years of Rosanna Yuen, and lately Neil McGovern, we had four other staff members at the conference. As most of us were hired in the past year, thanks to several very generous donations, this was our first opportunity to come together, meet in person, and plan for the future of the GNOME Foundation.

While Kristi — along with an amazing group of volunteers — was hard at

A photo of ten people -- the GNOME Foundation Board and friends -- sitting around a table outside in thessaloniki. They are smiling.
Photo courtesy of Nuritzi Sanchez.

work pulling together the last minute details of the conference, Neil and Rosanna met with the Board of Directors to the GNOME Foundation to make important plans for the next six and twelve month periods, and to look five and ten years into the future of all the projects that fall under the GNOME umbrella.

Several of us met with the Advisory Board, a collection of organizations with a stake in the future of GNOME projects, who advise us on the needs of their communities, and who help push the project forward through various kinds of support.

A photo of Kristi Progri, smiling and wearing fabulous flower earrings, in front of some trees. She is holding a blue balloon that has the GNOME logo on it.
Photo courtesy of Richard Brown. Licensed CC-BY-NC.

GUADEC kicked off with a warm welcome from Kristi and we embarked on three days of talks, unconference time, and, of course, fun with GNOMEies. We had updates on various parts of GNOME projects, visions of the future for Linux on the desktop, strategic discussions, and calls to focus on accessibility, global access, and environmental concerns. Personal highlights include learning about the open source community in Africa from Sigu and Stellamaris; hearing about the messaging of the Engagement Team from Britt Yasel; the keynotes by Dr. Luis Falcon, from GNU Health, and Deb Nicholson, from the Software Freedom Conservancy; lightning talk from GNOME interns; and the conversations I had during the coffee breaks. A collection of videos from the conference is available for your viewing pleasure!

Another highlight for me was the AGM — the Annual General Meeting. The AGM was open to all attendees of GUADEC. It also provided an opportunity for GNOME Foundation Members to have discussions and vote on two proposals: modifying the bylaws to use gender neutral language; and extending the terms of Board members. Both proposals passed.

A photo of Neil McGovern, Ecexutive Director of the GNOME Foundation in August 2019. He is wearing a suit. Behind him is a sign that says "GUADEC" and "Private Internet Access."
Photo courtesy of Richard Brown. Licensed CC-BY-NC.

We heard from Neil and newly elected president of the Board of Directors, Rob McQueen. There were also updates from various committees on their activities over the past year. GUADEC attendees had the opportunity to speak directly with the Board and Staff in a public fourm. We discussed topics like the sustainability of the GNOME Foundation, future technical directions of the project, and environmental sustainability.

Perhaps the most exciting thing from the AGM was the announcement of a collaboration between Endless and GNOME: a year long competition, to develop new tools, strategies, and methodologies for teaching coding using free and open source software. You can read the press release online, and I’ll be writing a bit more about it in the near future.

Following the three core days of the conference, there were two days of

A photo of two smiling people standing in front of trees. The one on the left is wearing a black shirt, and the one on the right a blue dress. They are both holding a blue balloon with the GNOME logo on it.
Photo courtesy of Richard Brown. Licensed CC-BY-NC.

BoFs. I personally attended the Engagement BoF, the Inclusion & Diversity BoF, and SpinachCon. There were also sessions for newcomers, GTK, documentation and localization, vendor themes, Rust, content apps, GStreamer, and Flatpak — to name a few. During these sessions we hacked, had strategic discussions, made decisions about our work moving forward, and welcomed new members to teams and initiatives.

Perhaps the most important part of GUADEC came at the very end of the conference: the Museum BoF and the Beach BoF. Those brave souls who stayed through the final days split into two groups, one that visited various museums around Thessaloniki and one that went to Eponami beach. Both groups had a great day, exploring, learning, and relaxing in our own ways.

GUADEC was amazing. I learned so much about GNOME, and I find myself more enthusiastic than ever to be working for the success of the project and all its endeavors. Even though I am new to the community, everyone made me feel welcome and valued. I had amazing conversations and hatched exciting plans for the future, which I am looking forward to sharing with you as they develop.

I’d like to personally thank the volunteers, various teams, and especially the local team that made GUADEC 2019 possible! I’d like to give a special shout out to Mariet, Stathis, and Vivia! On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank the sponsors of the event: Private Internet Access, Redhat, Endless, Ubuntu, openSUSE, CodeThink, Igalia, arm, our host the University of Macedonia, ubicast, for providing recording and streaming services, and Centricular, for bringing us drinks and snacks during the coffee breaks.

A photo of six smiling GUADEC volunteers.
Photo courtesy of Richard Brown. Licensed CC-BY-NC.

Whether you were there in person, participated online, or skipped GUADEC entirely, I hope to see you next year!

GNOME on the Road: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON

Linux Fest Northwest

Linux Fest Northwest took place back in April, and we were there! Sri Ramkrishna and I hung out in Bellingham, Washington (USA), meeting GNOMEies, free software contributors, and open source enthusiasts.

A photo of the GNOME booth at LFNW. Behind the booth sits one person, and another is standing in front of it. The table is blue.

At the GNOME booth we sold tshirts, gave away stickers, and signed up people to become Friends of GNOME. We got to have highly technical conversations about the intracacies of flatpak through to giving introductory descriptions of what a desktop environment is and why we think GNOME is the best one. Situated next to our friends at KDE, we also had a great opportunity to talk with them (and others) about the overall ecosystem of desktop environments. If you’d like to learn a little more about the intersection of GNOME and KDE, you can read about LAS, an event co-organized by the two communities.

In addition to tabling, I gave a talk on community guidelines, like codes of conduct and anti-harassment policies, and my experiences following through on them. You can watch the video online.

OSCON

OSCON is one of the major open source conferences in the US. We made our OSCON debut at this year’s conference, in Portland, OR. In addition to enjoying the coffee and comraderie we found in the Rose City, Neil, Sri, Rosanna, and I had a great experience in the Expo Hall and at the conference events.

We met a lot of people in the Expo Hall. Similar to LFNW, we talked about anything and everything related to GNOME: the Foundation, the community, the desktop environment, and associated tools like GTK, GStreamer, and flatpak.

Photo of a six people at the Expo Hall at OSCON. One of them is wearing a suit.

In addition to volunteering with us, Sri gave a talk on the future of FOSS on mobile. He talked about GTK+, a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces that is part of the GNOME project.

Following OSCON, there was the West Coast Hackfest, where members of the Engagement, Documentation, and GTK teams got together in Portland to hack on GNOME and the GNOME community.

Photos courtesy of Sriram Ramkrishna, Licensed Creative Commons BY-SA.