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.
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.
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.
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?
Welcome to the Friends of GNOME Update, March 2020 edition! We have some exciting things in the works and a shiny new GNOME release.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following FOSDEM, many of us will be at CopyLeft Conf, also in Brussels. So come by and say hi!
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.
This post was written by Neil McGovern, Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation.
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.
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 become Friend of GNOME, with a recommended donation of $25/month ($5/month for students). We’re working to have 100 new Friends of GNOME join by January 6, 2020.
GNOME is about so much more than a desktop environment. In addition to the eponymous GNOME desktop, we work on projects like GStreamer, GTK, and Flatpak. We have a mostly complete list of technologies you can read on our web site. While the Foundation largely works on support, we also do development and outreach for GTK and GNOME core application development platform.
In addition to routine, and some not so routine, fixes, Emmanuele Bassi, GTK Core Developer, led development initiatives across the GNOME ecosystem. A far from complete list of work includes:
reliability and usability of continuous integration (CI) for Glib and GTK;
completed constraints layout work for GTK4;
progress on the animation framework API for GTK, a necessary step for the GTK 4 release; and
reviewing contributions and closing of numerous bugs.
Emmanuele mentored Ravgeet Dhillon in Google Summer of Code working on updates to the GTK web site. Additionally, Xiang Fan worked on GTK 4 Rust bindings.
Additionally, Emmanuele worked on the migration of the various GTK mailing lists to the new Discourse support forum.
We are already working on projects for 2020. Notably, there will be a hackfest in Brussels before FOSDEM, focused on GTK4, serving as a checkpoint for the 2020 release and accessibility (a11y).
A11y work is very important to us at the GNOME Foundation. We believe software needs to be for everyone, which means it needs to work for people who have physical disabilities, including those who are blind. In general, we plan to do a major a11y overhaul in 2020, focusing on developing our Accessibility Tool Kit (ATK). We are auditing what exists right now, and are currently seeking expert help with this. We hope to partner with other projects, to come together to create a11y support that rivals that of proprietary options.
In order to push these projects forward, we need your help. Please consider becoming a Friend of GNOME in order to support our work on new accessibility development, community building around a11y, and getting GTK 4 out the door.
This is it! The last Friends of GNOME Update for 2019! We have a lot planned for 2020, so stay tuned for more Updates!
GNOME on the Road
November was full of excitement for us. We went around the world, bringing GNOME to exciting locations, from New York to Shanghai.
Executive Director Neil McGovern went to China Open Source Convention in Shanghai, China. While there, he gave two talks, one about the importance of free software on the desktop, and one about why open source is about communities.
We also hosted a very successful Linux App Summit in beautiful Barcelona, Spain with our friends from KDE.
Strategic Initiatives Manager Molly de Blanc could be found at Sustain NYC in Brooklyn, NY, talking about sustainability in open source.
January looks quite for the GNOME Foundation, but at the end of the month you can find us in Brussels, Belgium at FOSDEM, CopyleftConf, the GNOME hackfest, and other ancillary events.
On that note…
GTK Hackfest in Brussels, Belgium!
Are you going to be in Brussels January 28 – 31? We’re hosting a GTK hackfest. We have two main goals for this hackfest: determining the requirements for a new accessibility stack inside GTK and identifying the remaining GTK4 blockers.
The Legal Update
Rothschild Patent Imaging alleged that Shotwell is in violation of one of their patents. People, especially within the free and open source communities, have been stepping up to help us raise funds for the case. We have so far raised over $150,000 from more than 4,000 donors. You can read more on our blog.
Friends of GNOME Drive
We’re aiming to have 100 new Friends of GNOME join us by January 6, 2020. If you’re not a Friend of GNOME, please consider signing up. If you already are, consider telling a friend of sharing on social media how to become a Friend of GNOME.
One of the things we do as a Foundation is host Flathub, an app store and build service for Linux. We’ve been busy making some updates to help it run more smoothly for the end user.
Flathub works with Flatpak, which is celebrated its fifth birthday on December 17. Happy birthday!
AWS donated credits to GNOME. GNOME infrastructure uses AWS S3 as a service as file storage for the many Docker images that are updated daily.
We have two brand new Outreachy interns! Sonja Heinze will be working on Fractal, while Pryanka Saggu will be busy with the GNOME translation editor, Gtranslator. We’d like to shout out to their mentors, Jordan Petridis, Daniel García Moreno, and Daniel Mustieles García. You can follow their adventures on their blogs, which are linked to above.
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 free desktop environment designed for the user. We‘re asking you to join us by becoming Friend of GNOME.
The GNOME Foundation manages the technical infrastructure powering GNOME projects. Our Infrastructure Team is led by Andrea Veri and also includes Bartłomiej Piotrowski, working in devops and systems engineering. While Andrea has been with the Foundation for some time, Bart was hired in 2019.
Building and maintaining infrastructure for the GNOME project is one of the many activities of the GNOME Foundation, and it’s one of the most important. Building software like the GNOME desktop environment requires a lot of technical support, including managing servers and providing collaboration tools. Since GNOME is focused on being a self-sustaining community, we look as much as possible to managing our own services and software, and making sure it is free and open source.
The GNOME Infrastructure Team currently supports a total of 34 virtual machines hosted on a total of eight bare metal nodes. These virtual machines allow us to run services like the Openshift Container Platform (OSCP), which provides self-service access to the community to run any of their workflows on an automated and containarized fashion.
GNOME is build using self-hosted FOSS. We collaboratively build GNOME using a GitLab instance, which has a total of 15k accounts. We do shared storage using NextCloud. Community discussion is handled over Mailman, Discourse, and MoinMoin. We are currently using Indico and Connfa for our event planning and management.
There are other community-focused services as well, including:
internationalization services including localized home pages and translation toolings;
mail services for staff and community members;
staff mail endpoint for all the GNOME employees and contractors to store their mails on a supported hosting;
an IDM solution with more than 2.5k accounts, mirroring infrastructure for the GNOME sources to be available to a place that is closest to where you live for fastest download speeds;
Cachet for a dynamically updated Infrastructure Status page; and
a Surveys system and several app migrations from virtual machines into containers with a major improvement over maintainability, performance and budget that allowed us to retire unnecessary hypervisors and reduce the costs for the hardware renewals; and
a list of tools we offer to the community that keeps increasing year over year.
Additionally, the GNOME builders for the CI/CD processes were fully automated allowing the team to save time putting the system into service whenever a new builder is being donated to the GNOME Foundation.
We have a lot planned for the future. In particular we‘ll be focusing on migrating additional virtual machines into containers on OSCP. The idea is to consolidate and simplify the existing infrastructure even further to reduce maintenance and costs but at the same time offer the community the toolings they need in order for the GNOME Project to be successful as a whole.
We’re asking you to help us to help make the GNOME Project successful becoming a Friend of GNOME. By supporting the Foundation, you’re helping us to provide these necessary resources to the GNOME community, as well as expand our offerings to better meet the growing needs of the Project.
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.