Endless and GNOME

Hello! Long time, no post.

Endless + GNOME = Love
Credit to Georges Stavracas

As you may have heard, Endless joined the GNOME Foundation Advisory Board last week.  We appreciate all the kind words of welcome we have received and are looking forward to strengthening our ties with this community. This has been a coming for a bit, and I’m looking forward for us to contribute more over the coming year!

On a personal note, this is really exciting to me. It’s been a couple years since I’ve had the pleasure of being on the Advisory Board, and I’m looking forward to working with the Board again. I’ve wanted to bring the two organizations closer for a while, and we got a glimpse of what was possible at the Design Hackfest in Rio last month.

Who we are and what we do:

Quite simply, we are trying to empower the world! Our mission is to make computing universally accessible, and to solve the barriers of cost and connectivity to the entire world. It’s a bold and ambitious goal, but we are absolutely serious about accomplishing this. There are billions of people who don’t have access to a computer, and would love to have one.

What’s that mean in practical terms? It means we are making a great computer that works at as low a price as we can make. It means constantly keeping an eye on cost while still providing a great value and experience to our users. It means that we want to provide a great OS and fantastic desktop to our users.

Wiring in Rocinha.

And it means that we have to think about a lot of things that many of us don’t think of: Things like connectivity, cost, and robustness are paramount in that environment, and that drives everything we do.

Endless is Hiring!

We can’t do this alone. We are looking for some great engineers to join our team. If this mission sounds great and you’re interested in working with us, let us know! We are looking for people who are passionate about bringing a great desktop to the rest of the world while developing some high-quality Free Software. We have a number of openings available:

  • Application Software Developer: Part of providing a great computer experience is to provide offline applications and content to users.
  • Cloud / Distributed Systems Architect: Help build the service that powers our offline content.
  • Kernel Engineer: We want to run on as many different types of cheap devices as possible. This job will help bring us to laptops, desktops, and all sorts of crazy ARM devices.
  • Internal Tooling Developer: We need someone to help maintain and build our internal build tools and create some new ones.
  • Software Engineer: Don’t see the job you’re looking for? We’re always looking for fantastic engineers of all types!

Feel free to mail me or ping me on IRC if you have any questions!


Today is my last day at Red Hat.

I’ve been here for almost fifteen years, and it’s been a heckuva ride. I’ve seen GNOME and the Linux desktop grow from from pretty minimal beginings to what it is today.

RHAD Labs logo
The beginning…

Looking back on it, I’m so proud of the work that the Red Hat desktop team has accomplished during this time. We absolutely moved the bar on what was possible and enabled so many things. So many technologies that are basic building blocks of the modern Linux desktop were incubated within this group. Many of the things that people take for granted didn’t start in a vacuum but started because someone stepped up to make it happen.  Just off the top of my head dbus, metacity, gtk2, aiglx, systemd, pulseaudio, pango, cairo, gconf, orbit, gio/gvfs, gnome-shell, hal, NetworkManager, evince, PolicyKit and so many more got their start here.  Along the way, we made lifelong friends and built communities around these projects, to the point where others have taken them far beyond their humble beginnings.  To me, that’s what makes Free Software so awesome, and the Free desktops in particular so special.


I am looking forward to being a part of the GNOME community in the future as a civilian, though I won’t be fixing any more TreeView bugs. (-:

The team is now in Christian Schaller’s capable hands and the engineering group at Red Hat is stronger than it has ever been. I’m looking forward to watching from the sidelines to see what they do next!


  • meta: It has been a long time since I’ve written anything. Being a father has taken its toll on my free time, and I got out of the habit of writing. As has happened every time I have hit a dry spell in the past, I count on the same thing to get me started up again. I change software! This time to the WordPress instance at http://blogs.gnome.org/jrb. The old, elisp-based version I borrowed from Federico wasn’t working out for me anymore. We will see if this one does any better. I’m counting on gnome-blog to help keep it updated too. Many thanks to jdub for helping me get the old entries imported.

    I have tried to keep the visual style of the old page — namely that of a ChangeLog entry. Nevertheless, I have made concessions to the modern web. ChangeLog entries should probably do the same. (-:

  • birthdays (GNOME): GNOME is now 10! Amazing. It has definitely been a long and strange trip. Dave’s recollection of Project Bob is a good memory. I’ll add my own:

    The first time I met most of the people working on GNOME (at that time) was in Linux Expo in 1998. gnome-0.20 was just about to be released. This version featured a newly written Wanda the fish applet to play with. There was a demo machine there with someone showing off the coolest feature in in GNOME at that time, namely embeddable drawers. People were dragging them into the panel, and creating crazy shapes and figures. Naturally, it was buggy like crazy. Sopwith was sitting on the machine next to it and had logged in remotely, surreptitiously hacking on the panel, trying to fix the bugs people were hitting. When the panel (or an application) would crash, he would quickly restart them, making it seem more stable than it was.

    Looking back on it, we had know idea of what we were getting ourselves into. I am sure if we knew back then what we know now, there is no way anyone would have started writing a desktop. It sure was a lot of fun though!

  • life (Eleanor): Eleanor has grown! She is sixteen months old, and is now spending her days running around the house, terrorizing the dog. She gets into a lot of mischief, but is very, very sweet. Zana and I don’t see her changing day by day, but just this weekend we had to put another box of clothes into the attic that she had outgrown. Her hair length is stuck somewhere in the middle of her back. It gets longer as she gets taller, but never quite seems to grow.
    Eleanor and Uncle Ed
    Eleanor and Uncle Ed

Thu 06 Nov 2003

  • GConfPropertyEditor: I was unable to sleep last night, and ended up staying up until 4:30 in the morning watching reruns of “Who’s Line is it Anyway” and working on my rewrite of the GConfPropertyEditors. Now that James Henstridge has done work on bug #69639 I have a lot more interest in getting this into the GNOME library stack. I’m not 100% sure that I’ve gotten the interface right, but it should be good enough for a lot of cases. It has the potential to turn a number of capplets into simply glade files. If I get a couple of simple examples working, I’ll mail it to gnome-hackers.

  • GNOME: I was unable to sleep tonight and worked on my candidacy statement. I’m pretty bad at writing these things, but they get easier as it gets later.

  • books (Four Quartets): I recently picked up Four Quartets (by Lawrence Durrell) from the library. I enjoyed his younger brother’s books a lot as a kid and read a good fraction of them. I thus grew up with a health skepticism towards the arrogant and pretentious ‘Larry’. It is pretty dangerous to learn about people from their younger sibling. Still, I always wondered what the more (less?) famous brother’s books were like, so I started reading it.

    I am unable to describe how incredibly good this book is. It is intensely lyrical and extremely detailed, sucking me into the moment on every page. I’m reading through it slowly, enjoying every step it takes, not wanting it to end.

    I remember hearing a quote from a professor of Shakespeare. He had spent a lifetime studying Shakespeare’s plays and knew them all intimately. He loved his work, loved teaching, and loved being a professor. However, he said that he would happily give up all he ever learned about Shakespeare, if he could just get the chance to read “Romeo and Juliet” again for the first time.

    This book definitely feels like it should be read once, and treasured. I hope (expect!) that it ends as well as it begins.

  • sleep: I wish I could sleep more.

Fri 10 Oct 2003

  • work: I’ve been wrestling with rhgb for the last week or so. I’m still not really satisfied that we’ve gotten all of the kinks out of it, but it’s much better than it was last week. We’ve gotten it to the point that it doesn’t slow down the boot much more than it booting without it (on the order of 6 seconds on my test computer.) I’m much happier with the approach we’re taking now that kudzu doesn’t conflict with the X server. With some luck we can get a nice GTK+ front-end to kudzu in the future.

  • book: I am reading ‘Changing Planes’ by Ursula Le Guin. It’s very light and easy to read, and I am enjoying it much. It is also entirely predicated on a pun. This is more in keeping with a junky Piers Anthony novel than her other books. Additionally, it is explicitly airport reading material which leaves an ever-so-slight bad taste. Perhaps I should be saving it for a trip somewhere.

  • Bookworm: Everytime I think I’m getting closer to finishing this, I find a new bit that needs fixing. Zana is getting quite impatient. This weekend, it will be usable.

  • GNOME: There’s an upcoming summit in New York. I hope we get a decent turnout. It’s very last minute, though.

  • google: I’m losing the google battle for the term ‘Blandford’ to my Dad. I need more links to my page.

Fri 12 Sep 2003

  • GNOME (2.4): It’s out. It wasn’t the prettiest release thus far, but it’s in good shape. I have big plans for 2.6. But first…

  • GTK+ (2.4): This is in danger of slipping a bit. I really need to finish my GChildWatchSource patch and get it into glib. I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a pretty tricky piece of code, and I’m happy about how it looks right now. Need to reply on the list.

    (GtkTreeView): Kris and I came up with two optimizations for the GtkTreeView that will make an enormous speed difference in some common cases. I spent a bit of time arguing with Owen about how to enable the optimization (I wanted it to be automatic — Owen wanted the programmer to explicitly turn it on) and it’s going to result in a lot of people handling their column-sizing by hand. But off the cuff testing shows that we can handle about 100K rows of model per second instead of the 7K per second we were doing before.

  • Birthday: I don’t know what it says about me, but Zana gave me a great birthday present. A cotton robe, a box of Myntz, three pairs of really comfy socks, and a hand-knit pair of wool socks. I must be officially old, getting excited about socks.

Mon 25 Aug 2003

  • GNOME: Had a surprisingly productive day building packages. Libtool still makes me contemplate taking up self-flagellation as a hobby, though.

  • Maintenance: I had to leave work a bit early to get my car from the repair shop. A gasket in the oil tank started leaking. As is typical with the problems with cars, it was $15 to get a replacement part and $250 to install it.

  • Bookworm: With the house much more under control, I’m back to working on Bookworm again. I’m really not happy with the interface, but it’s functional. A surprisingly large number of people (like three) have asked for it recently, so I am going to try to get it somewhat usable. I had an enjoyable discussion with Seth about the nature of Assistants, and how they should work in GNOME.

Wed 13 Aug 2003

  • Moving: Trying to put all the pieces of my life back together after the movers managed to spread them all over the new house. Lots of things went wrong. Lots of things went right. When all is said and done, I love the house and being back in New England. One thing that didn’t go so well was how the Mortgage turned out. I was very disappointed with the Walden Mortgage company of Concord, MA. If anyone is in the market for a loan in that area, I would not recommend them.

  • GNOME: I am also really enjoying back in the swing of things with GNOME. I’ve finally gotten the control-center back somewhat under control. It sounds like a broken record, but I really need to get a good chunk of it cleaner for 2.6. Mime-system, here we come…

  • Trips: I won two free tickets to anywhere in the continental North America in the company raffle. As I need to travel soon, I’m planning on going to visit Federico for a couple days. Should be a lot of fun. I’ve never seen Mexico City before — I’m quite psyched!

Tue 03 Jun 2003

  • Life: We now tentatively have a house in Massachusetts. We’ll be moving up there after GU4DEC. It should be a lot of fun to be there, though the moving will be rough.

  • TV: I think my current favorite show on TV is Boomtown. It may be just because I grew up in LA and thus is more familiar to me than Law and Order is, but it is a much fresher show to me.

  • GNOME: I’m getting back into the swing of things after a little down time. I committed a pretty good set of changes today. And more importantly, I didn’t commit another change which would have broken sorting in the GtkTreeModelSort.

Sun 26 May 2002

  • GNOME: I might have fixed a nautilus tree bug. I need to fix Drag and Drop. GNOME 2.0 is so close to being released. We only have nasty showstopper bugs left.

  • experience: In software, we often say “write it once intending to throw it away.” After spending a few months working on a workbench, I would like to redo all the holes I have drilled. I needed to do the joints first, and then do the large holes for the supporting legs. I’ve also learned that being off by an 1/8″ is way to much for a lot of things. I need to be more careful. I also need a workbench to build this on.

  • passings: Stephen Jay Gould died this past week. The two and a half years of Biology in college is largely a testament to his writings. Thanks for the inspiration.