I gave a talk on the History of GNOME for GUADEC 2017. (Slides are available here, and hopefully the video feed will be posted soon.) It was a great trip down memory lane, and I really enjoyed putting this talk together. I didn’t include my final thoughts in the slide so I thought I’d include them in this post:
First, we didn’t appreciate how much work this was when we started. We have totally beaten win95, but the expectations bar has risen every year
We have done a helluvalot of great work, and largely kept pace with expectations. This has been an amazing accomplishment and we should be proud of what we’ve done.
The future for GNOME is more important and more promising then it has ever been
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.
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:
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.
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!
It’s been too long since I blogged, but this is a great reason to post. I am so proud of everyone who put this release together. Everyone worked so hard on everything, and the pride and artistry comes through in every corner of the desktop. Kudos go to everyone involved; the engineers for their craftsmanship, the designers for their persistence and vision, the marketing team for telling such a great story, the web team for making a home we can be proud of, and everyone else who’s cared about the project and helped shape it along the way.
Having been around for every major GNOME release this is by far the smoothest dot-zero we have ever done. The commitment to excellence this time around was amazing and the enthusiasm has been infectious. I am already excited to see what’s planned for 3.2.
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
elections (board): I am not running for reelection this year. After being on the board for the past five years, I wanted to step down before people start clamoring for term limits.More seriously, I feel like I have finally accomplished most of what I wanted to get done as a board member (although it took four years longer than I had hoped). I was able to present a clear picture of the financial state of the Foundation at GUADEC this year, and many of the institutional issues we have faced have been resolved. The Foundation is in great shape and it should be fun to be on next year’s board. Interest in GNOME is expanding, and there are lots of opportunities for the project everywhere.Federico did an excellent writeup of what qualifications are important in a successful board member. I only have two minor quibbles with his post. The first is that we can definitely find the money to buy a phone card for board members. I would hate to have concerns about phone bills keep an otherwise excellent candidate off the board.The second quibble is about his “rock star” comment. I think he is implying that being on the Board requires a definite time commitment. If you don’t have the time, you won’t be a good board member. People who already are doing a lot for the project (and thus, have earned the coveted “rock star” label) tend to not have spare time. If you do can’t make the time for the board, don’t run. It’s just as simple as that. We need good people with time, energy, and especially passion to be on the board \u2014 don’t let your label get in the way of running!Besides, being on the board this upcoming year is the fastest way to “rock star” status. (-:
eleanor: Jesse has been posting baby pictures all week of his new baby. It’s time to post a gratuitous baby picture of my own: Eleanor hearing about Java moving to the GPL
shipping: A few months back, we asked a partner of ours (who will remain nameless) for some test equipment. We wanted to make sure that Fedora worked well on that set of hardware and machines. They didn’t arrive for quite some time. Finally, last week, they arrived at the office.
It turns out that the machines had been shipped to the wrong location. Someone had very helpfully packed it up and forwarded them to us. Unfortunately, it seems that they didn’t have any packing material at the office it was shipped from. So instead of shipping the machines with styrofoam, or even packing peanuts, they filled the box with leftover pens and harmonicas. Yes, harmonicas. About fifty of them. Keeping the computers safe. Fortunately, the machines were robust enough to survive the trip, but geez, I hope they don’t go out to customers like that…
Releases: Fedora Core 6 (zod) was released this week. So I baked a cake: Kneel before the Zod cake
It was a pretty awesome release. You can read the release announcement here.I just thought I’d highlight three of my favorites features. First, compiz on aiglx works really well. Soeren made a valiant attempt at taming compiz by getting it to honor many of the metacity settings, as well as by providing a more traditional pager mode. He and Kristian also got X running with aiglx enabled by default, so starting a compositing manager doesn’t require an X restart.Secondly, X will now start without an Xorg.conf file. Adam has been working hard at making X autodetect hardware, and it can now do so on many setups correctly. There are times still when you will need that file, but it is bringing us closer to the day when you won’t have to set up X at all.Finally, if you want to play with Xen, Daniel did a really nice job on virt-manager. It looks slick. RHEL4 in Fedora