Meet GNOME at FOSDEM

This weekend GNOME will be present at FOSDEM, one of the largest gatherings for Free Software contributors and enthusiasts taking place in Brussels, Belgium January 31 – February 01.

GNOME is hosting a booth where attendees can test the latest GNOME version, get promotion material, talk to contributors and learn more about how to get involved in the community. In addition to the booth GNOME will share the H.1308 (Rolin) devroom with other free desktop environments.

Christan Hergert’s Builder fundraiser has concluded. The fundraiser surpassed its original goal allowing Christian to dedicate extra time to the development of Builder.

gnome-builder logo

Christian stated in a comment “The overwhelming support of the community is both heartwarming and inspiring. I’m excited to get to continue working on a project that I think is critical to the future of our platform.”

Updates about the progress the project is making are frequently posted on the @GNOMEBuilder twitter account. It’s also possible to view git.gnome.org/Builder/log for real-time source updates. As with any GNOME project, the project welcomes community contributions.

Christian will present his work with Builder at the South California Linux Fest (SCALE 13x), taking place February 19-22 in LA.

 

 *The builder logo was done by Jakub Steiner 

Several GNOME contributors will in the coming days meet for the Developer Experience and Documentation Hackfest taking place in Cambridge, UK.

Important items on the agenda for the Developer Experience Hackfest include the GTK+ roadmap, OpenGL GTK+ integration and Builder. The documentation team will work on user-help for the upcoming GNOME 3.16 release.

The foundation wants to thank Collabora who is sponsoring the venue.

Christian Hergert have set out to improve the developer experience on GNOME with his new project, Builder. We sit down with him to discuss why we need another IDE, developer tools, missing GNOME apps and more.

 

Q: Who are you, what is Builder, why are you creating it?Christian Hegert
I’m a long time contributor to Free Software. In particular GNOME. I’ve also contributed to projects such as Mono and more recently MongoDB. I’ve been writing software on GNU/Linux for more than half of my life. I’ve never been particularly happy with the status quo.

Over the years I’ve contributed to various project that aspire to improve the developer story on GNU/Linux. Mono and MonoDevelop were a serious attempt to improve things. But those projects don’t really focus on what I care about. What I care about most is GNOME, because the project cares deeply about creating a computing environment that is functional, refined, and beautiful.

After my tenure working on Gtk+ projects at VMware, I knew I needed better tooling. Builder was an idea I had to build a development environment for myself.

Software engineers often create their own tools similar to how woodworkers build tools to do old things better and make new things possible. I wanted something that could take advantage of all the new compiler features and tools available on our platform. I wanted something that was minimal UI because code is the important part. I also wanted a work-flow that didn’t require me to keep switching applications. I want the information that is important contextually available without me having to think about it. At various GNOME hackfests, it became clear that others wanted what I was creating. So this project is something special to me. I’m getting to write software for what I consider my extended family, GNOME.

Q: You quit your job to hack on Builder full time?
I did. One thing I’ve learned in my career is that if you want to make something great, it needs constant focus and dedication. Swapping between work and personal projects just doesn’t result in the quality of project I want to provide our community. That said, if you want to hire me to work on Builder, I’d be happy to have a job again.

Q: Do we really need another IDE when Eclipse, MonoDevelop, Netbeans to name a few are already available on GNOME?
If any of those were what I wanted, I’d be using them. I’m thrilled that others are interested in the same thing I want. A high quality development environment that builds upon our fantastic platform and focuses on building software for our platform.

It seems like Builder is going to be a big application, but it really isn’t. We are reusing a lot of technology that already exists in the GNOME ecosystem. For example: Glade, Gitg, Nemiver, GtkSourceView, Devhelp, autoconf/automake and others. And we want to reuse our technologies. We think they are high quality and deserve to be something better.

Eclipse, MonoDevelop, NetBeans, and others are large plugin based environments that come with more technical debt than benefit. These plugin based designs are why when you run most major IDEs today you don’t even know if it will startup correctly. The number of times I’ve seen exceptions starting Eclipse haunts me.

Troubleshooting, documentation, installation, and testing effort increase with quadratic growth as you add more moving parts. I’d rather not abstract things until we find they are necessary and have solved the problem once. Otherwise, we create unused abstractions that only create headache without solving a real problem.

Additionally, Builder is a major UX effort for developers. This cannot be understated. Simply going into an existing IDE and adding some plugins does not significantly change the UX of the IDE. We want to try to take a completely different approach to how software is built based on our experiences building a swath of Free Software. This (and plugin based design) is the primary reason we are not rebuilding on top of Anjuta. We felt we couldn’t explore with the UX we wanted without harming the existing Anjuta users.

Q: What reaction do you get from people when they hear that you quit your job to hack full-time on Builder?
In general I think it’s positive, it usually results in a conversation about what is important in life.

Q: What apps do you want to see people develop with Builder?
Wow, I can think of a lot of things.

Something to do presentations. I have a lot of talks coming up and want a program to write them that allows me to focus on content and how I say it rather than building slides. Also, I want to be able to change slides over bluetooth or mDNS from my phone. I’m pretty unhappy with libreoffice and small projects like pinpoint aren’t quite enough. I don’t need compatibility with other presentation tools.

I want something like a DLNA aggregator that let’s me search across any media available on any machine connected to my home network. I want to be able to stream it on any TV or computer. My housemates and I all have NAS storage with various DVDs or CDs we’ve ripped or purchased. It would be great if that content could just be played anywhere and “just worked” out of the box.

More generically, everything on the GNOME wiki at https://wiki.gnome.org/Design/Apps/

Q: Some claim the future is all about the Web and Mobile, any comments?
Somebody has to write the web browsers and mobile platforms. And the people that build those platforms get to choose the technology they are built with. Sounds like a great reason to attract developers by building tools that are genuinely fun to use.

Q: You are planning a fundraiser, do you want us to tell us something about it?
I have! You can find the fundraiseron Indiegogo at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/builder-an-ide-of-our-gnome/

Q: What else can people do who want to support your effort?
Test code, file bugs, provide constructive criticism based on using it, write use cases, help design specs, write code, documentation. I also need someone who can help manage the more administrative tasks like roadmaps, specs, bug triage, and release management. There is a lot of code to write and I need to focus.

Q: Anything else you want to add?
I hope you have as much fun using Builder as I’m having creating it!

Thanks for taking time talking with us. We wish Christian the best of luck with the fundraiser* and continued efforts in developing Builder.

*The fundraiser has reached its original goal, you can now help the campaign reach stretch goals.

Written by Oliver Propst
Photo by Jakub Steiner

Its been both an exciting and challenging year for us, this post includes some of the highlights.

Early in the spring Karen Sandler announced her departure* as the Executive Director of the foundation.

The GNOME Asia Summit, an event with a strong community building focus, was this year hosted in Beijing, China. In the end of July the GNOME community gathered for GUADEC in the beautiful city of Strasbourg, France for a week of talks, discussions and hacking.

Several Hackfest’s took place around the world including the first edition of the West Coast Summit where the growing number of GNOME contributors living in Silicon Valley got together. GNOME was also present at great conferences such as FOSDEM and FSCONS.

We saw two stable GNOME releases, 3.12 & 3.14 where the developer experience took leaps forward with many improvements to GTK+ and the introduction of the inspector while the user experience continued to evolve.

Things took an dramatic turn in November when a legal twist with Groupon became public. The case got much media attention, many were upset of how Groupon had acted; GNOME received strong public support.

Thanks to our contributors GNOME will in 2015 continue innovate pushing Free Software forward.

*Karen now serves the foundation as a member of the board

We are thrilled to report that GNOME.Asia is a founding member of KAIYUANSHE(开源社) launched Oct 16, 2014. KAIYUANSHE roughly translated as “open source alliance,” is a group of enterprises, communities, and individuals in China supporting and promoting free and open source software (FOSS).

KAIYUANSHE will support the growing needs of China’s growing software industry by providing developers with the necessary education, tools and services to foster a healthy and robust free software ecosystem. Additionally providing education on FOSS standards, licensing and verification, development tools, FOSS project assessment and other necessary support and services to organizations, developers and academic institutions.

The GNOME community, represented by GNOME Asia Summit members will actively contribute in the early phases of KAIYUANSHE to many areas including documentation ,media and by participating in the KAIYUANSHE China Campus Tour.

“It’s fantastic that GNOME.Asia is joining KAIYUANSHE as a founding member”, said Karen Sandler, the Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy and currently serving on the GNOME Foundation’s Board of Directors, “I have always been incredibly impressed by the GNOME.Asia team and the great work they have done in spreading free software in Asia. I’m not surprised that KAIYUANSHE is already successful, and I can’t wait to see more of what this initiative accomplishes.”

The GNOME Asia Committee is pleased to announce that the upcoming GNOME.Asia Summit 2015 will be hosted in Depok Indonesia May 7-9 2015. It will be a great place to celebrate and explore the many new features and enhancements to GNOME 3.

The GNOME.Asia Summit 2015 will be hosted at the Universitas Indonesia, which has a high number of students and people interested in Free/Open Source software. Consequently, there is a very committed local team which already has significant experience in organizing successful events. The venue is located in Depok City, a gateway city of the West Java Province, 30 km from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Hosting Asia Summit 2015 in Depok will bring the spotlight on GNOME and make an impact locally, regionally, and internationally.

“We are looking forward to welcome the GNOME community to Indonesia, a country that has a large Free and Open source community, we are excited that they will gather for GNOME Asia Summit 2015″ said Estu Fardani, a member of the local organizing team.

The GNOME Asia Committee want thank everyone who participated in the GNOME Asia Summit 2015 bidding process.

Masjid_UI

 

Thank you so much for your donations and help in spreading the word! We are overwhelmed and reinvigorated by the support we received from everyone, which has resulted in the following joint announcement that we’re publishing with Groupon:

“Groupon has agreed to change its Gnome product name to resolve the GNOME Foundation’s concerns. Groupon is now abandoning all of its 28 pending trademark applications. The parties are working together on a mutually acceptable solution, a process that has already begun.”

There is something amazing about free software – it’s ethical technology but it also creates a fantastic community of people who are willing to fight for what’s right. It’s taken us a tremendous amount of time and effort to deal with this issue in the months leading up to our announcement and it will take us a little time to regroup. We’ll keep you posted as the matter resolves fully.

GNOME has launched a campaign to raise funds for protecting the GNOME trademarks.

Recently, Groupon launched Gnome, a tablet-based point of sale (POS) system that Groupon describes as a “platform” and an “operating system”.

The GNOME Foundation is concerned and sees their long-established mark for Free Software, GNOME, endangered. The GNOME Foundation asks for ideological and monetary support to cover the costs of opposing the marks Groupon applied to register, which were estimated to be around 80,000 USD.

“I cannot believe Groupon was not aware of GNOME, the Free Software desktop environment and application suite, when it chose the name. Especially as they claim to be ‘fueled by open source‘,” said Tobias Mueller, one of the directors of the GNOME Foundation.

“We will not give up but fight their use of our name which we have established over the last 17 years to provide users all over the world with high quality Free Software solutions.”

“Millions of people who use GNU/Linux based systems use GNOME or GNOME-related technologies, such as GLib or GTK+. We must not let a billion-dollar-company take the well-established name of one of the biggest Free Software communities,” Tobias added. “If you want to help GNOME defend its trademark and promote Free Software, visit the campaign’s page, share the link, and let Groupon know that they behaved terribly”.

GNOME also made a press contact available for further questions or interviews.

Several members of the GNOME Engagement Team will gather this weekend at FSCONS.
FSCONS is an annual gathering for free software in the Nordic countries, taking place in Gothenburg Sweden.

GNOME will be present with a booth where contributors will show the latest version of GNOME,
answer questions and help new people get involved. There are also plans for an Engagement
hackfest.

“We are excited to have this many GNOME contributors attending FSCONS 2014″ -Oliver Propst FSCONS organizer and Engagement team contributor

Details about the event are available on the wiki.

 

-FSCONS Logo