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.

Friends of GNOME Update – August 2019

Welcome to the August 2019 Friends of GNOME Update!

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

Where we went

Neil, Molly, and Rosanna went to OSCON, in Portland, OR. While there, we met with people from other free software projects and companies developing open source, or with open source programs offices. Following OSCON, there was the West Coast Hackfest, during which the Documentation, GTK, and Engagement teams met and got a bunch of work done. There are some photos you can check out on our Twitter account.

Molly attended FrOSCon, giving a keynote entitled “Open Source Citizenship for Everyone!” On September 17th, Molly will be at GitLab Commit in Brooklyn, NY.

Federico Mena will be at CCOSS in Guadalajara, México, September 14 – 15th. There he will run a workshop on GNOME and deliver a keynote presentation.

Update to the Bylaws

Like many non-profits, the GNOME Foundation is governed by a set of bylaws. Our bylaws cover such things as membership, the rights and responsibilities of board directors, and other important organizational and legal infrastructure. Changes in the bylaws must be approved by members of the Foundation. Announced in July, a vote on these amendments will take place at the 2019 AGM (Annual General Meeting) at GUADEC. Should it be passed, board member terms will be extended, and language in the bylaws will be changed to be gender neutral.

Interns, Interns, Interns!

Our Google Summer of Code and Outreachy interns have been active with their projects, making things and making things happen! We’d like to shine a spotlight on the work of Ravgeet Dhillon, who has been working on the GTK web site.

You can read more about our GSoC interns and their projects on the GSoC web site; Outreachy interns are highlighted on the Outreachy web site, where you can also find links to their project blogs.

Technical developments

With thanks to Matthias Classen for his help, a new constraint layout manager is ready for launch.

We’ve improved several pieces of GNOME project infrastructure, including GitLab runners, Pastebin spam removal, migrating mailing lists, and building up the GUADEC web site.

We have also updated Flathub infrastructure, namely the x86_64 builders. We have also made it so application and freedesktop.org maintainers can better test runtimes.

Working together for the community

The Inclusion & Diversity team officially launched! Initial efforts include events at GUADEC, including coordination around the Women’s Dinner, the Newcomer’s Lunch, an I&D BoF, and workshops on impostor syndrome and unconscious bias.

In preparation for GUADEC, community members, volunteers, and GNOME Foundation staff took an incident response training facilitated by Sage Sharp of Otter Tech.

LAS

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

The LAS CfP is open! You can (and should) submit a talk! It can relate directly to the conference tracks (listed on the CfP page), but tracks are designed to inspire ideas. Feel free to think outside of them and come up with a different topic.

GUADEC Update

GUADEC is happening as we speak (so to speak)! We want to extend an extra welcome to the event for those of you who are here! Please feel free to take this opportunity to meet the Foundation staff and talk with us about the work we’re doing, that you’re helping to support.

Thank you!

Are you a Friend of GNOME? If so, thank you! If not, become one today! Every month we deliver this newsletter to the inboxes of Friends of GNOME with a healthy dose of that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you’re supporting software freedom for people all over the world.

Meet the GNOMEies: Max Huang

Max Huang has been GNOME since 2010, starting with forming a GNOME users group in Taiwan. Max has a story you may understand: being a user, meeting the right person, and slowly finding yourself more and more deeply involved with a community in terms of working together and making friends.

A photo of three people, holding signs reading "GNOME Asia," "openSUSE," and "COSCUP."
Max Huang, on the left

Tell us a little bit more about yourself

I have contributed to GNOME for the past nine years. I promote free software and GNU/Linux at my school in Taiwan. I am one of GNOME.Asia Committee Advisors members, working with GNOME.Asia team.

I’ve helped organize several GNOME.Asia summits, in Taipei, Chongqing, Tokyo, India, Indonesia, Beijing, South Korea, and Hong Kong. I’ve served on the GNOME travel committee for several years. In 2012, I also worked with openSUSE and KDE to have a conference with COSCUP in Taiwan.

Before I started organizing events, I went to Bangalore, India, learned how to host the GNOME booth, and started making a GNOME user video.

Before that, I started the GNOME Taiwan Users Group, which hosted a lot of workshops with GTK, as well as a party for the GNOME 3 launch.

What is your role within the GNOME community?

I organize and promote GNOME. :)

Why did you get involved in GNOME?

I met Emily Chen at 2010, she led me into GNOME community. I am a GNOME user — of course. :)

Why are you still involved with GNOME?

The answer is “friendship and smiles.” To me, smiles are the greatest power to promote GNOME and FOSS. I have made many new friends in GNOME and FOSS through different events.

Why still get involved with GNOME and open source?

Everyone can be a contributor with different methods. Just spending your time — you will get smiles and friends, learn and grow.

What are you working on right now?

Promoting GNOME through open source, workshops, and speeches.

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

Getting the community together more. :)

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

We need to work on documentation and the first steps for getting users and organizers involved with GNOME. How can we brow the user and contributor bases?

What do you think GNOME should focus on next?

The GNOME Board tasks. :P I trust them, they will do their best. :)

What should we have asked you about that we didn‘t? (Please also
answer.)

I think the question is great. Thanks again for interviewing me.

Photo courtesy of COSCUP on Flickr. Licensed CC-BY-SA.

Welcome to the Inclusion and Diversity Team at GNOME!

A photo of spherical paper lanterns in a variety of colors, against a dark blue night sky. In the background is a building, lit in rainbow colors.Introduction

The Inclusion and Diversity team at GNOME was created to encourage and empower staff and volunteers, and to create an environment within GNOME where people from all backgrounds can thrive.

We welcome and encourage participation by everyone. To us, it doesn’t matter how you identify yourself or how others perceive you: we welcome you.

A sign that reads: We welcome all races and ethnicities all religions all countries of origin all gender identities all sexual orientations all abilities and disabilities all spoken lnguages all ages everyone. We stand here with you you are safe hereGoals

Our main focus is to create an inclusive and diverse community. This means that we want to actively cultivate diversity in all forms, and to create ways to make people feel welcome and able to fully participate in GNOME.

In order to achieve that effectively we do activities like promoting diversity and inclusion throughout and beyond GNOME, educate ourselves and the GNOME community around creating welcoming and inclusive environments, organize events that are safe and welcoming to all, and offer internships and do outreach programs to promote diversity and inclusion at GNOME.

We just started the team this year, and have so far focused on making this year’s GUADEC a more inclusive event. As a small part of that, we will be holding workshops on things like imposter syndrome and unconscious bias. We welcome ideas for future conferences and GNOME events!

How To Join

We welcome everyone who wishes to contribute to this mission! It will be a great pleasure for us to have you working with us for the cause. We currently meet every Wednesday on UberConference at 16 UTC. It would be great to see you there. For more info please visit the wiki.

 

All images are public domain. See: https://unsplash.com/photos/1R2sGnkcECA and https://unsplash.com/photos/1R2sGnkcECA.

Text by the GNOME Engagement team.

Friends of GNOME Update – July 2019

Welcome to the July 2019 Friends of GNOME Update!

New Board of Directors

Members of the GNOME Foundation voted in the annual elections for this year’s board of directors. The current board consists of:

    • Allan Day
    • Carlos Soriano
    • Federico Mena Quintero
    • Robert McQueen
    • Philip Chimento
    • Britt Yazel
    • Tristan Van Berkom

Congratulation to the new board! You can learn more about the board and what it does online.

Where are we going?

OSCON takes place in Portland, OR, USA July 17 – 18th, and we’ll be there! Feel free to stop by the booth and come and say hello. There is also a hackfest July 18 – 21st, also in Portland, OR. The Engagement team, the Documentation team, and the GTK team are all currently scheduled to participate.

Programs coordinator Kristi Progri will be at DebConf 19 in Curitiba, Brazil later this month as well.

Of course, we’ll be at GUADEC, August 23 – 28th in Thessaloniki, Greece! Registration is now open. We hope to see you there!

What we’ve been up to

GTK development

We’re moving forward with exciting new things for GTK, including completing the consistent layout manager for GTK 4. We’re working on an API to make creating custom layouts easier. Focusing on usability across machines, we’ve put a significant amount of work into memory usage, to help things run more smoothly on small and low-powered devices.

We’re using GNOME!

Flatpak.org was running on Google Analytics, but that is no more! We are now using GNOME Matomo.

Inclusion, Diversity, and GNOME

GNOME is launching a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiative to help the community become even better. They are working on revamping some web pages, working on the wiki, and putting together some special workshops and events to help people find their places within the community.

Check out the Annual Report!

Thanks to contributors, the board, and staff, we have a beautiful annual report that highlights what happened during the 2018 fiscal year. You can read it online.

## Meet the GNOMEies

This month we highlighted Sriram Ramkrishna. known around free and open source software communities as Sri.

Thank you!

Thanks for reading! If you’d like this email delivered directly to your inbox, please become a Friend of GNOME and further support the project!

Meet Sriram Ramkrishna

Sriram Ramkrishna, frequently known as Sri, is perhaps GNOME’s oldest contributor. He’s been around the community for almost as long as it’s been around!

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I’m one of the oldest members of GNOME having recently past my 50th birthday. I started in GNOME in late 1997, at the time I was a storage engineer working for Intel. I remember feeling amused when someone in GNOME heard my background and asked whether Intel was going to be involved. They weren’t, but it turns out they did later. In fact, it’s because of GNOME that my work life changed from being a simple engineer to a multi-faceted person with not just technical skills but soft skills.

I’m well known in a number of other communities — free software community primarily, but also corporate open source thanks working 20 years at Intel.

What’s your role within the GNOME community?

I primarily do engagement work — social media, public relations, and talks in the community. But I also try help solve specific problems within the project. One current project I’m working on is to help improve the GNOME extensions. I have an on-going project to help with developer documentation using HotDoc. That’s been somewhat lagged and I hope to find time to help lead that effort again.

Why did you get involved in GNOME?

Miguel was a charismatic leader, and attracted me that way. Plus I hate C++, and GNOME was C based. :D But more than that, GNOME was a project that if you think about it was audacious in its purpose. Building a desktop in 1997 around an operating system that was primitive in terms of user experience, tooling, and experience. I wanted to be part of that.

Why are you still involved with GNOME?

Because GNOME is always a forward thinking project. There is still a lot of exciting potential and it’s like we’re only now getting started. The past 20 years was all about getting to the stage so that we can start doing some real innovation. We’ve reached parity with OSX and Windows — mainstream desktops. But now we can leverage the power of ideas even further.

What are you working on now?

Well, right now I’m involved in building a market for Linux applications. It’s no more audacious than the concept of GNOME itself. Five years ago, I had this idea that now that we had come up with ubiquitous app technology, that we can start working on building models that allow for compensation for free software developers, application stores so that developers can know how popular their apps are, and build relationships with the users who use their applications. A lot of this is encapsulated in a conference called Libre Application Summit. We did two iterations of that, and this year we’re expanding the scope and changing the name. Linux Application Summit will be a joint collaboration with KDE and hopefully distros in the future to help create the conditions needed to build modern, useful applications on a free software platform.

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

Other than the conference. I’m generally excited about where GNOME is going. I think we have challenges to overcome and I’m excited about overcoming those challenges. In the FOSS community in general, there are challenges with encroachment by big business who I think are still trying to figure out how to exploit the labor of developers and we should ever be vigilant that we keep things fair and balanced between all parties.

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

I think for GNOME as a platform, our challenge is to make sure that we have relevant documentation for users and developers. If there is one effort that I wish we could all participate in, it is that. It comes down to how low the barrier of entry is. How one picks one platform over the other is almost always depends on how quickly you can put together an application. Building a library of code, videos, and documentation is what will make GNOME successful. The second thing is that projects like GNOME Builder will also be critical to our success. I’m excited by the idea that I can build an application and have it be easily distributed everywhere and I don’t have to use arcane tools to do it.

What do you think GNOME should focus on next?

Documentation I think is going to be important, building relationships with other organizations and a very active foundation that will put their resources into building a solid infrastructure. So it’s not just one thing, but many.

Edited for content.