We Deliver

As you know, in GNOME, we’re committed to bringing you the easiest, most beautiful, and most advanced operating system in the world today. A major part of this effort, now, is to build a suite of amazing core applications that provide the operating system key or essential features. Today, I’d like to talk about our goals for one of these apps. It is just the earliest stages but here’s a taste of where we’d like to go.

I’m pleased to introduce you to…

“Absolutely, Positively Anytime”

Boxes is designed to be the easiest way to use or connect to applications running on another Windows, Mac, or Linux system. Whether the system is virtual and local, a home computer you need to access from the road, or a centrally hosted corporate login — we’ll get you there.

We’re taking a different approach. We’re focusing on you. Your stuff. Your work. Your time. Leave it to us to worry about whether the system is local or remote and keep your mind on your task. The user experience is streamlined to keep you focused on your content. Anytime, anywhere.

What can Boxes do for you?

If you are reading this post you are very likely a GNOME contributor in some way. So, that’s where I’ll begin.

If you are involved in designing, developing, translating, documenting, testing or any of many other crucial activities responsible for producing the next kick-ass version of GNOME you need to be working with the supple green and tender new growth. And here’s the thing about the supple tip; it ain’t always good for standing. We want GNOME to have built-in support for bridging this gap. It needs to be dead easy for us to participate in the future of GNOME. Running the latest git master in a Boxes virtual machine is a great way to do this. We want to invite a new generation of readers to become leaders.

Perhaps you are an application designer or developer. We want to make it simple as pie for you to try out the competition on other systems. We know you can do it best.

Perhaps you are a web developer and need to ensure your site renders correctly on a variety of platforms. Or occasionally need to use that ugly proprietary program your client makes you use. Don’t spend money and effort on keeping separate systems running. Run them all in Boxes.

Are you a system administrator with that one last expensive, stodgy, and hard to update proprietary app blocking your migration to free software? Box it up.

Are you excited to finally try out GNOME and experience the best of open source but worried about leaving your old familiar system behind? Take it with you. And use it anytime, anywhere…

Without the fuss.

“When you absolutely, positively, got to kill every motherf***** in the room”

We don’t aim to do it better. We aim to do it best. With the power of Linux KVM based virtualization, the efficiency of the SPICE protocol, and the elegance and ease of use of GNOME — accept no substitutes.

So, let’s get started. Check out the design whiteboard. Zeeshan will fill you in on some details and give a brief demonstration. Be sure to ask how you can help!

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15 Responses to We Deliver

  1. Juanjo says:

    At first I thought it was some kind of service to share files, but it’s just a new UI for virtualization and remote desktop, isn’t it?

    Besides that, what’s the difference with the existing applications we are using NOW in our current Gnome desktop?

  2. Pingback: Daniel P. Berrangé » Blog Archive » GNOME-3 desktop virtualization support from GNOME Boxes (and the future for virt-manager)

  3. Mirek2 says:

    About the new core applications, I’ve noticed you’ve hidden the search box. While this works really well with hardware keyboards, in which case you can just type, it doesn’t really work with on-screen keyboards, when the keyboard is triggered by tapping on a text/search box. Have you considered this scenario in your designs? Do you perhaps plan to show a search box only when no hardware keyboard is detected, or perhaps only when the on-screen keyboard is enabled?
    Also, are you working with Gnome-centric creative applications (Abiword, Gnumeric, Ease, GIMP, Inkscape…) on UI changes to fit with the “new Gnome”? I’ve been hoping for a while that Gnome Office would get some love, but I see very little activity there.

  4. name says:

    I feel pumped.

  5. Jan says:


    You are absolutely right. GNOME needs a new wave of core Applications. Ours are way behind the competition and from an aesthetic and usability point of view, most are even disastrous.

    The way I see things is that there are two big roadblocks at the moment.

    The first one is the lack of a design culture inside GNOME. And I’m not talking about the designers contributing to GNOME. I’m talking about the need for designers to have a good grasp of the technology and hackers to have a good sense of what makes great products great. You look at all these Applications that are created by really smart people but the end result is terrible. They are completely tasteless and much harder to use than they need to be, it almost seems like no one really cared.

    The second one is GTK+. You cannot create the kind of user interfaces you see on WebOS, iOS or Mac OS. And even though some progress is being made, a good indicator that GTK+ won’t work is that we continue to lag badly behind. The WebOS folks wrote a great user interface toolkit in the time it took us to GSEAL () everything in GTK+. And so, almost 5 years have passed since the iPhone showed the industry what great interfaces are about yet we haven’t been able to create anything even remotely close, let alone as good.
    And its frustrating to see people waste their time in things and not doing what’s necessary to make them great, unique and iconic. Just because something is open source shouldn’t be an excuse for it to be crap.

  6. Kim says:

    I’m not discussing the merits of Boxes, it really looks like a neat application…
    however I feel kind of confused. You (by that I mean the GNOME project) have streamlined/simplified (some would say dumbed down) the UI to the max, with the motto that this should be, out of the box, the perfect setup for the Mythical Desktop User™, (which is not a computer geek, not a sysadmin) who needs to do Real Work™ (which apparently cannot be anything that has to do with computer or programming…). And the first big application that you advertise is an application to run VMs and remote applications. What about contacts, calendar, an office suite, a decent VoIP/SIP client. My Mom™ uses all this things, yet she doesn’t know what a VM is nor that you can even run applications remotely (whatever that means).
    This makes it hard to understand the goals and directions of the GNOME project. But long live Boxes, I *know* i’ll be using it a lot. My Mom™ won’t.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Boxes looks awesome.

    Do you plan to handle folder-sharing between the guest and host? For Windows, that probably requires careful integration of Samba. For Linux, ideally I’d suggest using the new virtio 9P support in QEMU/KVM.

  8. kaillasse77 says:

    It would be great to have clients for windows and macosx too, if you’re planning to use spice I’m not sure this is already ok for mac osx. For not-server user I think there is progress with opengl-es acceleration in spice woud be nice to run it inside boxes but perhaps you’re just interested in the front-end.
    Seems like a great project for gnome 😉

    “We’re taking a different approach. We’re focusing on you. Your stuff. Your work. Your time.”
    I’m 100% ok with you, I whish you had designed gnome-shell.

  9. bobpoljakov says:

    “I’m 100% ok with you, I whish you had designed gnome-shell.”

    As far as I know, he is one of the guys who designed gnome-shell. Which is great, and well designed, anyways.

  10. Alon says:

    SPICE doesn’t help with running on a local vm. Well, qxl does, but the protocol should be replaced with some shared memory passthrough (we’ve discussed this before, just, you know, someone needs to work on it and everyone has been working on boxes :P).

    Other then that great read, thanks for writing it, and of course I love to have another use case for spice 🙂


  11. Alon says:

    @anonymous, quote: “For Linux, ideally I’d suggest using the new virtio 9P support in QEMU/KVM.” – guess someone needs to write a windows virtio-9p driver. volunteers?

  12. Looks like just another Remote Desktop software at first, but I guess there is a huge potential of becoming a great remote application manager or a multiple systems manager or something like that. We can just imagine.

    Keep up, we want this!

  13. Tyler says:

    I agree with Kim on this. The new look of GNOME is seeming directed at My Mom™ in making it super-simple and straightforward, but My Mom™ is typically far more concerned about communication and photos, maybe a calendar, than virtual machines and remote access.

  14. Zeeshan Ali says:


    1. We don’t want or expect your mom to know what a VM is and if Boxes forces people to know these things, we have failed indeed in our goals. Having said that, we would want to entertain the following scenerios:
    a. Your mom sees a new OS (version) on the internet somewhere. She clicks ‘download’ to ‘try it now’ link and from that point on we should be presenting her with simple/easy/intuitive UIs to take her to her goal: Try the damn OS.
    b. Someone gives her a bootable media (DVD or USB). She knows inserts it and tada we do the same (or very similar) to what we do in case a.

    2. As you can see (https://live.gnome.org/Design/Apps/) Jon is working on the designs for all the essential application, including the ones you mentioned. Now someone needs to implement them. Since I am more interested/motivated to work on Boxes, I am implementing that. You are more than welcome to implement and even design the ones that you think are more important. This is open-source, people work on what they want to work on.

  15. Hey McCann, any plans for boxes to also share out / some kind of vino integration maybe? E.g., across my boxes whether or not they’re local, remote, virtual, could I click a button and share the box with another user?

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