Friends of GNOME Update May 2020

Welcome to the May 2020 Friends of GNOME Update!

A photo of Marina Zhurakhinskaya in front of a photo of a group of women from the GNOME Women's Dinner.
“Women party at guadec” by gonzalemario is licensed under CC BY 2.0

GNOME on the Road

We might be at home, but we still have a lot to say!

Community Engagement Challenge Update

Free software projects want to grow their contributor bases, and one of the most important ways to do that is to make it easy (and hopefully even fun) to get involved. We’ve teamed up with Endless to work on the Community Engagement Challenge, to get more people involved in GNOME. There is the opportunity for over $20,000 USD in prizes. Entries for ideas for projects to engage new and potential community members are open until July 1.

GNOME Social Hours

Deb Nicholson joined us for the Social Hour this month. She is an expert in free software policy and communities. The conversation focused on how roadmapping and delegation can help grow a healthy community.

There will be another Social Hour in early June, which will be announced on Discourse.

What counts as “GNOME”?

The Board of Directors proposed a new system for how GNOME software is defined. It includes official GNOME software, which will be decided by the release team, and GNOME Circle, apps using the GNOME platform and libraries which extend it. The conversation is happening right now on Discourse, so please join in and share your thoughts.

GTK4 Updates

Core GTK Developer Emmanuele Bassi continues to work on GTK4, including on accessibility and documentation.

Infrastructure Updates

The Infrastructure Team has recently updated a lot of really important software for us, including Discourse, Indico, and Rocket.chat. On a personal note, I am extremely excited about their work updating etherpad.gnome.org, a collaboration resource I use every day.

Interns, Interns, Interns: GSoC and GSoD

We are so pleased to share that we have selected our Google Summer of Code interns! We are very excited to work with these 14 interns on their projects, which cover everything refreshing gnome.org, UI improvements, and development of adaptive technology. Mentors come from across the project, and include Brand Manager Caroline Henriksen.

We will also be participating in Google Season of Docs. There are three mentors, including Emmanuele, ready to work with technical writers who want to help make GNOME a better project through better documentation. You can read about our projects.

Posts from the Community

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting us in the ways you do! If you’re not already a Friend of GNOME, please consider joining to support the activities of the Foundation and its staff.

We’re currently running a Spring fundraiser geared towards growing GNOME in Africa and WebKitGTK development. Tell your friends!

 

Help Grow WebKitGTK

We’re asking you to help us set our priorities when you donate to the GNOME Foundation this spring. You have the option of asking us to focus on building GNOME in Africa or WebKitGTK development.

A banner that reads "Growing Together" with photos of the GNOME community and GNOME logo.

WebKitGTK is not only an exciting project for GNOME, but a necessary step in preparing for our GTK4 release. We’ve been growing the project, with a new release just the other day! We have a lot more development to do, and it’s something we are hoping to prioritize. You can let us know if you think WebKitGTK should be a priority by donating today and marking your donation in support of WebKitGTK development.

WebKitGTK is a rendering engine for projects that need any kind of web integration. It can handle HTML/CSS applications and web browsers, and is useful for everything from desktop computers to mobile devices like phones and tablets. We believe the web is for everyone, and we support this belief by making accessibility one of the project’s core principles.

Right now, the main focus is cleaning up the project to make the port to GTK4 smoother. In addition to ensuring there are fast paths for efficient rendering, moving existing users, and incorporating user requirements, this will make it easier for future contributors to find new pathways to get involved.

In order to accomplish this, we could use funds in a number of ways:

  • paying for developer time;
  • hiring an intern to work on WebKitGTK;
  • supporting hackfests; or
  • purchasing equipment necessary for development.

We’re asking you to help us grow the WebKitGTK project. It’s a necessary step in the development of GTK4. WebKitGTK will help build a free web by helping more people create the tools they and others need. So please, donate today and vote for WebKitGTK.

Friends of GNOME Update April 2020

Welcome to the April 2020 Friends of GNOME Update!

As spring hits the Northern Hemisphere, the GNOME Foundation staff is busy indoors working on our laptop screen tans hacking, logisticating, organizing, writing, and trading recipes for baked goods.

Pink, purple, and yellow flowers growing in the spring.
Photo courtesy of JeepersMedia on Flickr. CC-BY 2.0

GNOME at Home

We might not be on the road, but Melissa Wu, organizer of the Community Engagement Challenge, wrote up a trip report from SCaLE 18x, which has been posted online for your reading pleasure.

Every month there is a Social Hour Event organized by Kristi Progri, Programs Coordinator. This month we had Marie Nordin, Fedora’s new Community and Impact Coordinator.

If you’ve missed seeing us in-person, Executive Director Neil McGovern recently did an interview on the Mike Dominick Show.

If you would like to have Neil, or anyone else on our staff, on your podcast, please drop us a line at info@gnome.org.

GUADEC Updates

After a lot of discussion, GUADEC has moved to be an entirely online event for 2020. While we are disappointed to reschedule our trips to Zacatecas, Mexico to the summer of 2021, we are very excited to meet and learn from GNOME contributors and free software community members who would otherwise be unable to make it.

As GUADEC 2020 will be online, we have extended the call for abstracts, and the deadline is now May 1. If you have an idea for a talk, please share it with us! If you have questions or want someone else to read over your proposal, drop by the #GUADEC channel on the GNOME Rocketchat.

Community Engagement Challenge Launched!

The Community Engagement Challenge is open for Phase One! During Phase One, you are invited to submit proposals for projects that will help get coders involved in free and open source software communities.

If you have any questions about the Challenge or are interested in helping to promote it, please email cechallenge@gnome.org directly.

Outreach Updates

The GNOME Engagement Team launched a University Outreach Initiative! Their purpose is two-fold: to increase awareness of GNOME technologies in universities and education institutions; and increase awareness of opportunities within the GNOME community. You can get involved by visiting the channel on Rocketchat or Discourse.

Technical Updates

Accessibility in GTK4

Emmanuele Bassi, core GTK developer, has been working on unraveling the construction of the accessibility stack. He fixed several issues, and has clear next step plans.

Data Centers and Services

We’re moving data centers! Andrea Veri and Bartłomiej Piotrowsk have been taking us across the United States as we transfer data centers. They have setup three new servers and upgraded 15 virtual machines.

News From the Community

Thank you!

Thank you for reading! If you’re not already a Friend of GNOME, please consider becoming one and helping to support the Foundation and work we do for the community.

SCaLE 18x

Melissa Wu is organizing the Community Education Challenge. She attended her first conference with the GNOME Foundation at SCaLE.

The 18th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE) took place on March 5–8, 2020 in Pasadena, CA. As the largest community-run open source and free software conference in North America, it was interesting to see the variety of corporate and non-profit exhibitors all united under their passion for open source.

A photo of the GNOME booth, featuring a blue GNOME table cloth and exciting GNOME swag, including bugs, t-shirts, and a tote bag.

The GNOME presence was felt throughout the conference with a special GNOME Beers and pre-release party on the first day of the conference, Thursday, March 5th. GNOME information flyers were also included inside every attendee bag.

This presence carried on to our booth where we were able to connect with GNOME community members, contributors, and enthusiasts as well as tote our merchandise, including a brand new GNOME t-shirt, and stickers. Thank you to the number of supporters who assisted us at the booth including Foundation staff, Melissa Wu, Caroline Henriksen, Neil McGovern, and Rosanna Yuen, along with Foundation members Matthias Clasen, Sriram Ramkrishna, and Nuritzi Sanchez.

A photo of three people showing off temporary tattoos of the GNOME logo.

Meet the GNOMEies: Regina Nkemchor Adejo

In addition to recently repping the GNOME project at Open Source Festival Africa, Regina Nkemchor Adejo is organizing the Pan African GNOME Summit in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

A photo of Regina, who is smartly dressed in black with a green jacket, standing in a conference center. Behind her is a man with a dog.
Photo courtesy of Regina Nkemchor Adejo

Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

Well, My full name is Regina Nkemchor Adejo, I am a Nigerian. I am a technology enthusiast who transitioned into sciences from an arts background. I currently work as a database and application specialist in a tax organization. I am a YouTube content creator, I create technical videos related to database and Linux administration.

Most importantly, I love computers! I spend most of my time on them.

What is your role within the GNOME community?

I am member, currently working as an engagement team volunteer

Why did you get involved in GNOME?

I am a GNOME user, GNOME consistently shines for its open source contribution and friendly members and volunteers.

Why are you still involved with GNOME?

It’s an interesting community so many skills to learn around building strong communities and managing projects.

What are you working on right now?

Pan African GNOME Summit (PAGS)! It is a project I am passionate about, to drive GNOME into the African tech space and ntroduce people on how they can make open source contributions in GNOME. Although the first event is happening in Nigeria I hope to expand this into other African countries as well and hopefully one day we have GUADEC in Africa!

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

PAGS, GUADEC, and the Linux App Summit (LAS)!

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

I won’t call it a challenge, I will say it is more like a concern about managing more volunteers as GNOME pushes for greater numbers of contributors. There may be a need to have more mentors in the foundation to help guide newcomers.

What do you think GNOME should focus on next?
Africa!

Friends of GNOME Update March 2020

Welcome to the Friends of GNOME Update, March 2020 edition! We have some exciting things in the works and a shiny new GNOME release.

A photo of six people standing behind a table with a blue GNOME table cloth.
Photo courtesy of Sri Ramkrishna. CC-BY-SA

GNOME on the Road

We went to SCaLE! We had a booth, including Foundation staff Caroline Henriksen, Melissa Wu, Neil McGovern, and Rosanna Yuen. We got to talk with great, excited people out there in the free and open source community about GNOME and all the other things we’re working on. We also had a GNOME Beers event and headed out for an evening with some of our GNOMEies and their friends.

Pan African GNOME Summit

The Pan African GNOME Summit is on for March 27 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria! From 09:00 until 14:00, you can learn about and celebrate GNOME with contributors, enthusiasts, and some remotely participating Foundation staff.

GUADEC

GUADEC 2020 is moving forward! We are still planning on meeting in Zacatecas, Mexico July 22 – 28. However, we are paying attention to the development of COVID-19, and will be making contingency plans for a remote conference.

The call for abstracts is open. We’ll be holding CFP office hours on March 20 at 15:00 UTC! You can join us on Rocketchat to talk about your proposals – whether you just have an idea you’re uncertain about or have a proposal ready that you want an extra set of eyes to review, we’re here for you.

Community Engagement Challenge

Our team is working hard on the Community Education Challenge – formerly known as the Coding Education Challenge. You can sign up for updates, or just continue watching the web page.

Want to help spread the word? Here are flyers you can share!

GTK

The new GTK web site is live! Thank you so much to everyone who worked on it!

A lot has been going on with GTK, including a hackfest that was focused on, among other things, accessibility.

GNOME 3.36 Released

We are excited to share that GNOME 3.36 (Gresik) was released on March 11! A huge thank you to everyone who worked on it and made this happen.

Thank you!

As always, thank you for supporting GNOME, in whatever ways you do! If you aren’t already a Friend of GNOME, please consider becoming one t help further our work.

Friends of GNOME Update February 2020

Welcome to the February 2020 Friends of GNOME Update! February was a lot of fun for us, and we’re excited to share what we’ve been up to.

GNOME on the Road

We went to FOSDEM! You can read all about it on the Engagement Blog.

While at FOSDEM, Molly de Blanc gave two sessions, one on ethics and IoT and one debate on licenses advancing social goals. Neil McGovern joined a discussion on the relevance of the Free Software and Open Source Definitions today.

March is a very exciting month for us.

SCaLE

Neil, Melissa Wu, and Rosanna Yuen will be at SCaLE 18X! You will be able to find them in Pasadena, California, US on March 5 – 8 at the GNOME Booth.

March 14 – 15, Molly and Neil can be found in Boston, MA, US at LibrePlanet. We will have a booth where you can chat, learn about GNOME, and, of course, pick up swag.

Come March 19 – 22, Molly and Neil will be in Singapore at FOSSASIA. Molly will be talking about open source citizenship.

Accessibility Roadmap (and GTK4)

The GTK and accessibility hackfest in Brussels, BE was great! Emmanuele Bassi wrote about the hackfest on the GTK blog.

Highlights include developing the schedule for the next snapshot of GTK4; working on features blocking the release of GTK4; and reviewing the current state of accessibility and working on a roadmap for those issues. We’d like to add a special thank you to Hypra for their help in our accessibility work.

Join us in Nigeria and Mexico!

Social Hour

In January, Justin W. Flory joined us for a social hour, a time to casually discuss topics relevant to the GNOME community. Justin does a lot of great things for free and open source software, but the focus of the social hour was his work with the Fedora diversity and inclusion initiative.

Technical Updates

We have some exciting technical work going on. This includes the upcoming addition of three servers. We are busy migrating a number of our web sites to OpenShift, including Indico, which powers events.gnome.org.

GNOME Challenge Update

Several months ago we announced the GNOME Coding Education Challenge. A lot of planning has happened since then, and a lot of changes. To keep up with everything going on you can sign up here.

Thank you!

Thank you so much for being a Friend of GNOME!

How do you say “desktop environment” in Flemish? FOSDEM 2020 Trip Report

A cake shaped like two gears with a red "20" printed on it.
Photo courtesy of FOSDEM. Licensed CC-BY

FOSDEM is one of the biggest community organized conferences in Europe. Run by a team of dedicated volunteers, the conference has been going for 20 years. It’s one of the biggest yearly events for us at GNOME Foundation and a rare opportunity for the staff to come together.

As a fully remote team, the GNOME Foundation staff all get together twice a year to strategize, plan, and collaborate at GUADEC and at FOSDEM. This is also when the Foundation Board of Directors and Advisory Board have the chance to meet in person.

In the four days leading up to the event, GTK Core Developer Emanuelle Bassi and Matthias Classen hosted a hackfest focused on GKT and the future of accessibility in GNOME. We really appreciate everyone who showed up, and would especially like to thank the blind participants and those with vision issues and expertise as those using the accessibility tools.

A stack of liege waffles on a red plate.
Photo courtesy of osiristhe on Flickr. Licensed CC BY-ND 2.0

Prior to the conference, we had two days of meetings – one for the Board and one for what we affectionately call the “AdBoard.” At both we learned and planned, which we’re looking forward to sharing with you over the upcoming months.

While Executive Director Neil McGovern and Director of Operations Rosanna Yuen met with the Board of Directors, I attended Sustain Summit. I led a session on diversity in open source with a focus on building global movements.

On Friday the entire staff met with the AdBoard. These meetings are focused around what our AdBoard members are up to, what GNOME has done over the past six months, and what we’re looking forward to over the next six months. It is a time for questions and answers, and also a place to find points of collaboration and to help the Foundation understand what is happening for organization stakeholders, where their interests, successes, and pain points lie.

Buildings of Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium.
Photo courtesy of Friar’s Balsam on Flickr. Licensed CC BY 2.0

FOSDEM itself was a whirwind. On the first day we participated in three sessions. Neil participated in a friendly debate over whether the four freedoms and the Open Source Definition are still relevant today. I had a lot of fun arguing in support of the creation and adoption of licenses to advance social issues. I could also be found in the main track talking about the ethics of Internet of Things devices and how they impact communities.

While all of this was going on, the rest of the staff attended sessions, had meetings, and helped with the GNOME booth in the exhibit hall. The GNOME booth was amazingly successful. Caroline Henriksen, Brand Manager, and Melissa Wu, who is coordinating the GNOME Education Challenge, talked about our upcoming plans for Challenge. Program Coordinator Kristi Progri spent her time representing the GNOME Foundation to stakeholders, meeting participants in the project, and forged new connections for the future.

Saturday night we had a fun evening at BAR NAME SOMETHING BOOI for GNOME Beers. Contributors and FOSDEM attendees came to hang out, have a drink, and have a chance to meet one another in person. Meanwhile, I attended Open Source Funding Speed Dating, serving as a judge to help fund up-and-coming free and open source projects.

The Sunday of FOSDEM was full of meetings, more sessions, and, of course, the GNOME booth.The GNOME booth wouldn’t be possible without the awesome volunteers who took on so much of the responsibility of running it. Thank you, Adrien, Anisa, Bastian, Ben, Bilal, and Kat!

On Monday, several of us attended CopyLeft Conf, a conference hosted by our friends at the Software Freedom Conservancy.

As I write this, I am on the plane headed home. Reflecting on the great week I had in Brussels, Belgium, I recognize the role all of you had in making it happen. Your support of the GNOME Foundation makes it possible for us to attend events like this. Without you we wouldn’t be able to bring the Board of Directors together in person. We wouldn’t be representing our project and the value of community built, free and open software. We wouldn’t have been able to host the hackfest that pushed forward GTK development and accessibility planning. We wouldn’t have been able to bring other GNOME contributors to the event, by funding their travel.

Thank you so much! I believe this was my fourth FOSDEM, and my first with GNOME. It was definitely the best yet.

Friends of GNOME Update January 2020

Welcome to 2020 and the Friends of GNOME Update! We’d like to especially welcome all the new Friends of GNOME who joined during the Friends of GNOME drive at the end of 2019.

GNOME on the Road

We spent the end of 2019 at home and on vacation, preparing us for the excitement that 2020 is bringing.

In January we’ll be at Sustain Summit 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. Shortly afterwards, you will be able to find us at FOSDEM on February 1-2!

On Saturday, February 1, we will be having GNOME Beers at Bonnefooi starting at 19:30. It is located at Rue des Pierres 8, 10000 Brussels.

We will also have a booth at FOSDEM, where we’ll have stickers, smiles, and answers to your GNOME related questions. We’re always looking for people to hang out with us at the booth, and if you’re interested in volunteering, please contact kprogri@gnome.org.

Following FOSDEM, many of us will be at CopyLeft Conf, also in Brussels. So come by and say hi!

Molly will also be in Lagos, Nigeria for Open Source Festival, hosted by Open Source Africa, February 20 – 22. At Open Source Festival, Regina Nkemchor will run a workshop on “Improving the Linux User Experience for Aftrican Users” through GNOME.

Hackfest in Brussels

We’ll be hacking away at our first hackfest of 2020 January 28-31 in beautiful Brussels, Belgium! We’ll be working on GTK and accessibility. We’re especially looking for people who with accessibility experience and those who use adaptive technology to provide feedback.

We expanded the team

We’re excited to introduce you to Caroline Henriksen and Melissa Wu! Caroline is our new Brand Manager and Melissa will be overseeing the Coding Education Challenge.

Have you been following the Rothschild Patent Imaging case? Rothschild raised allegations against the GNOME Foundation for patent violation. Our Motion to Dismiss has been confirmed and will be presented to a judge on February 27.

If you want to help support our legal feeds, please donate to our Patent Troll Defense Fund.

2019 Year in Review

Over the final few weeks of 2019, we shared a number of news items and blog entries about our work over the past year. You can read them online:

Thank you!

Thank you so much for supporting GNOME! If you’re not already, consider becoming a Friend of GNOME and help sustain our work.

Why we need a free desktop

This post was written by Neil McGovern, Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation.

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.

I am frequently asked if there’s any point in the desktop anymore. With the rise of cloud services, it’s easy to wonder whether there is a need. I believe that a free software desktop system is more important than ever.

GNOME creates an entire desktop environment that is beautifully designed and simple to use. We do this to ensure user freedoms. It is this empowerment of end users – acknowledging their right to control their own computing – that drives me forward.

The intention behind making free software is important, but irrelevant if the reality is that users cannot make use of those freedoms. When fewer than 0.5% of the world’s population can code, the chance of someone being able to modify their own desktop, or pay someone to do so, is vanishingly small. It is our responsibility, as technologists, a community, and a foundation, to provide to put the user first. Software must be built for everyone, and that’s what we are doing.

It is not enough for software to be free of charge, or even available under an open source license, if your data is being sent to third parties in attempts at monetization. It’s not enough if it is still necessary to have a fast, expensive internet connection to get the latest upgrades or access to files. It’s not enough if you need accessibility features that are under developed or unavailable. We see these situations as unacceptable and are working to change them.

Over the last year, we’ve grown from two full time, and one part time, employees to seven. Two more will be joining us shortly. This is to provide the support to enable the GNOME desktop to be what we need it to be. We will be launching a renewed focus on accessibility. We’re introducing out Coding Education Challenge – to make it easier for people to contribute to GNOME and free and open source software, regardless of background. We will do all of this while driving innovation and continuing to update our software based on solid user testing.

To do this, we need your help. We rely on individual donors to help support us. Help us bring the user freedoms to millions more people by joining Friends of GNOME today.

We recommend a donation of $25/month ($5/month for students). These donations support our staff, programs, and the ongoing development of the GNOME desktop environment and other software in the GNOME ecosystem.

With your help and support we’ll continue to develop world class free software and bring user freedom into the hands of every user.