At the end of August we wrapped up GUADEC and in September we shifted our focus to the GNOME 3.34 release.
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.
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 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.
As we at the GNOME Foundation celebrate the end of summer, we’re also celebrating another successful GUADEC.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Whether you were there in person, participated online, or skipped GUADEC entirely, I hope to see you next year!
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.
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.
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.
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.
West Coast Hackfest has drawn to a close. Special thanks to @UrbanOfficePDX for providing such a lovely and functional venue, and to our staff, Engagement, Documentation, and GTK teams for their hard work over the past 4 days! pic.twitter.com/v2pP1IhP2A
Welcome to the August 2019 Friends of GNOME Update!
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.
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.
In preparation for GUADEC, community members, volunteers, and GNOME Foundation staff took an incident response training facilitated by Sage Sharp of Otter Tech.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Over the past few months, we’ve been building up the Foundation‘s staff. In addition to executive director Neil McGovern and director of operations Rosanna Yuen, we‘re thrilled to welcome:
Emmanuele Bassi, GTK+ core developer
Molly de Blanc, Strategic initiatives manager
Bartłomiej Piotrowski, Devops/sysadmin
Kristi Progri, Programs coordinator
Andrea Veri, Systems administrator
The election for the 2019-2020 board of directors is going on right now!
Where have we been?
In April we visited FOSS North in Gothenburg, Sweden and Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington, USA. Our table at FOSS North was staffed by Kristi and Neil, and volunteers Bastian, Anisa and Stefano. GNOMEie Zeeshan Ali presented on open source geolocation. Molly and Sri were at LFNW, where Molly spoke about following through on a code of conduct. Kristi participated remotely in FLISOL. There were two hackfests in May, Rust+GNOME 2019 Hackfest#5 in Berlin and Gstreamer Spring Hackfest 2019 in Oslo. We’ll be in Portland, OR, USA in July for OSCON. After OSCON we‘ll be hosting a West Coast Hackfest, July 18th – 21st.
I am back at home after the Free Software and Linux Days 2018 in İstanbul. It was a small and cozy event. The number of attendees was lower than the previous years, but on the plus side, we had more time for each visitor. It was also a good opportunity to break the ice between different segments of the Turkish Free Software community.
We had a nice booth, jointly run by GNOME Turkey ad LibreOffice Turkey community members, next to the Pardus booth. We gave out stickers to the visitors, answered their questions about GNOME, LibreOffice, and Free/Libre Software in general. Community members also had a lot of time to chat, and to discuss the current situation and the future of our community in Turkey.
We also had two GNOME related presentation/seminar sessions:
Özgür Yazılımları Türkçe Konuşturmak (Making Free Software Talk Turkish), by Muhammet Kara
GNOME Recipe Uygulaması (The GNOME Recipe Application), by Emel Elvin Yıldız
And we now have all materials to set up a complete GNOME booth for any upcoming event in Turkey (thanks to The GNOME Foundation for funding the booth stuff).
Had the pleasure to attend the GStramer Spring Hackfest taking place in Lund Sweden May 6 – May 4, here follow some reflections.
There is likely no overstatement that multimedia development is probably one of the more complex areas of software development so to be present while what must be some of the more competent in the domain hacking was quite an experience.
The atmosphere was intense focused, it almost felt like you could feel vibrations in the air.
Considered it good that many of the participants had an affection towards
GNOME (something to be for grateful/appreciative for).
Would be positive to attend a future GSteamer Hackfest.
Thanks to the local company Axis who provided the venue.
*The GNOME/GStreamer relationship is something to care about.
*There is no overstatement that the GStreamer community is a very knowledge & competent group of people which makes the alignment with GNOME valuable.
We have this week had the pleasure to interview Tanu Kaskinen about his work as PulseAudio maintainer
Do you want to introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Tanu Kaskinen and I’m a PulseAudio maintainer (and also involved in the OpenEmbedded project a little bit). I spent my childhood in Järvenpää, Finland, and moved to Tampere when I started my software engineering studies at Tampere University of Technology. I’ve been living here ever since (13 years, if my calculations are correct).
How did you become involved with PulseAudio and why do you think its’ an important project?
At a time (2007, I think) I had a MIDI keyboard, and I wanted to play along while listening to music in Rhythmbox. That required running software synthesizers with JACK, but I couldn’t make Rhythmbox work properly with JACK. PulseAudio seemed like the future of desktop audio, and Rhythmbox certainly worked with PulseAudio. There was a PulseAudio module for bridging to JACK, but that was glitchy, so I decided to try to fix it (my first open source code contribution attempt!). In the end my fix was not needed after Lennart rewrote big parts of the PulseAudio core.
Why is PulseAudio important? Well, you need some sound server to manage application streams, be that dmix (in ALSA), JACK or PulseAudio. Having an intermediary between the applications and the kernel is required for a lot of flexibility that people expect from their systems.
What are some of the challenges about maintaining PulseAudio?
I guess all projects have their set of difficult bugs… In case of PulseAudio, hardware specific issues are quite common. Not having the hardware yourself is of course one problem when debugging, but even if the issue can be tracked down to a clear misbehaviour in the kernel driver, the bug may be left unfixed, because I have never learned to work with kernel code, and the ALSA developers may ignore the bug report (I don’t really blame them, I believe ALSA is understaffed too).
Any interesting features that are being worked on right now?
Nothing earth-shattering comes to mind, but here are things that I’m personally excited about: Georg Chini has been working on a long-standing bluetooth bug about bad A/V sync when watching videos.
I believe the Intel HDMI LPE hardware is becoming pretty widespread on new computers, and the kernel driver for that has certain unusual behaviour that makes PulseAudio enter an infinite loop when the HDMI cable is not plugged in. I’m happy that it will be fixed in the upcoming release.
There have been various small tweaks to automatic routing in recent releases, and those are going to continue.
What keeps you involved in the PulseAudio community?
I feel a need to do something useful with my life, and maintaining PulseAudio fills that need quite nicely. It’s not always fun, but it’s not so un-fun either that I would feel compelled to quit. PulseAudio has been a significant part of my life for some 10 years, and at this point it’s a pretty big part of my identity.
Can you describe PulseAudio’s role/relevance in a desktop environment such as GNOME?
GNOME tries to make a computer easy to use, and things should “just work”. PulseAudio plays a big role in that when it comes to audio. Also, if the GNOME user interface designers or developers have a vision for how e.g. audio settings should be presented, they have to work within the capabilities of the sound server.
Are you yourself a GNOME user?
Yes I am! I started using Linux when Debian Woody was current, probably in 2003. I don’t remember how I initially chose GNOME, maybe just because it was the default? I’ve sticked with Debian and GNOME pretty much all this time .
Why are you doing a fundraiser?
Because I don’t want a real job I like having complete control over how I spend my time, and even if I didn’t feel so strongly about that, not many companies are willing to pay just for PulseAudio maintenance anyway. (Perhaps the number of such companies is even zero, but to be honest I haven’t tried reaching out to Red Hat or similar.)
In 2015 I found myself having enough savings to last at least a few years if I quit from my day job, and so I did. I wanted to spend more time on PulseAudio, because there was a shortage of maintainer resources in the project . In 2016 I launched the Patreon campaign to slow down the rate at which my savings are drained, and this year I started a similar campaign on Liberapay.
Questions for fun
What is your favorite place on Earth?
Well, there’s a certain quiet spot on the shore of the Näsijärvi lake not too far from where I live. During summertime I sometimes go there to watch the sunset.
Hmm, I haven’t pondered this before, but I think the answer is the Swiss roll. Ideally with whipped cream and banana inside. I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten such Swiss roll, but I imagine that would be the optimal filling.
Thanks Tanu for taking time talking with us we wish you continued luck in your efforts!