The annual GNOME summit starts tomorrow. Contributors are gathering from around the world for four days of discussion and working sessions. Scheduled topics include Wayland, Boxes, and the GNOME continuous build system.
Traditionally held in Boston, this is the 13th GNOME summit, and the second to be held in Montréal.
The summit is an informal event and everyone is welcome. For those who are interested, there will be a happy hour community meetup with the Montreal Linux community on Saturday afternoon. More information can be found on the wiki.
Thanks to CRIM for hosting the event and Savoir-faire Linux for sponsoring. Thanks also to Red Hat for sponsoring the Sunday social event, and to Canonical for providing our hungry hackers with tea, coffee and bagels.
The life of Matt Dalio changed when, at very young age, he lived for a year in Beijing, China.There he was able to discover difficulties suffered by many children, many of which were orphans.
Starting from this experience Matt decide to start the China Care Foundation an association that has raised over $14 million to provide support to special needs Chinese children.
But Matt has also a dream: to improve lives of millions with use of free software in his latest endeavour, Endless mobile.
Matt shared with us his visions and projects during his keynote talk, at GUADEC.
Q: Your life changed when you first went to China at the age of 11. Do you think that the spirit of cooperation inside the China Care Foundation is comparable in any way to inspiring free software communities?
A: When I was first learning about the free software community and talking with individuals in that community, I was struck by just how much we have in common. We all want to give free access to people who need it. We all believe in the power of software to unlock the potential in people.
China Care Foundation is very much a collaborative effort. In the years since I founded it, the network of individuals who contribute -- from dollars to volunteer time to giving an orphan a true home -- has grown immensely. Right now, in addition to individual contributors, China Care has clubs on 52 campuses around the United States; college kids collaborating to give live saving surgeries, foster care placements, and adoptive families to orphans in China. It has been incredible to see this network of people, from their respective places in life, working towards the same goal. There's so much power in that.
Q: Tell us about your keynote at GUADEC.
A: Staggering statistic: 5 billion people on earth do not have Internet access.
We think that computers are everywhere, but they aren't. 80 percent of the world does not have access. Isn't that amazing? And yet you'd never know walking around our little corners of the world. What we don't realize is that for all of the towns that we drive between and cities that we fly between, they are all pretty much part of the same little subset of the world. It's like walking around on dry land and not realizing that 80 percent of life on earth exists under the sea. You wouldn't know it unless someone told you about it.
My goal was to tell people about it. To give a vivid picture of what it looks like. To help people understand what the *middle* of the pyramid looks like. These are people who want computers. They have electricity. They are literate. And they have money. It's not just that computers are too expensive for them. The real problem is that technology has never been built with them in mind. What does someone do when they live in a place that has no hope of getting Internet access? What is a computer without the Internet? It's a Microsoft Word machine. So who would buy such a thing? And yet that is 80 percent of the world.
The examples go on and on, of cases where you think about how what technology could be for someone in that market. It could be infinitely more powerful than it is for you or I, because that person is also lacking access to the basic necessities. There are not enough good doctors to give quality health. There are not enough teachers to give quality education. There are not enough good jobs. Yet a computer with the right applications can be answers to all of that. Just being able to search Wikipedia for Dengue Fever can be enough to save a life. Imagine what else you can do? A link to Khan Academy or Code Academy is enough to change the direction of a life.
Technology has solved innumerable problems in the world, and yet the people who build technology don't make a living of understanding what it means to people who do not have technology. So there isn't really anyone building software for that part of the world, and those who do go way down to the bottom of the pyramid where there all sorts of other challenges.
My goal was to speak to the Gnome community about just how large of an opportunity this can be for Gnome. Billions of people are waiting for a computer. Waiting for an operating system that is built with them in mind. And with just a little bit of effort and a little bit of understanding, we can reach them.
Q: What did you expect from GUADEC?
A: I certainly did not expect what I got. The response to my talk was overwhelming in the volume of support. Goodness, what a community. Plus, it was just such a great community of quality human beings. Really, I am proud to call it a part of my life.
If you missed Matt's talk at GUADEC, read more on the Endless Mobile webpage!
The latest update to GNOME 3, version 3.10, has been released. This release comes six months after the previous version, and includes new features, new applications, and many improvements.
Introducing the release, Allan Day (GNOME Design Team) said, ‟GNOME 3.10 is a significant upgrade for our users, and developers will benefit from new features in the application development platform. Our contributors did an incredible job and have created a really exciting release.“
Highlights in this release include:
- A reworked system status area, which gives a more focused overview of your system.
- ‟Software“, which provides an easy way to browse and install applications.
- A collection of new applications, including Maps, Notes, Music and Photos.
- New geolocation features, such as automatic time zones and world clocks.
- Hi-resolution display and smart card support.
You can find out more details about these features, as well as the many other improvements, in the GNOME 3.10 release notes.
GNOME 3.10 also introduces initial Wayland support. This represents a major technological step forward for GNOME, and will enable the project to fully adopt the next generation display and input technology in the future.
The GNOME Project is a member of the GNU Project, and GNOME 3.10 comes just days before GNU's 30th anniversary. Speaking about the 3.10 release, John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation, said: ‟the GNOME 3.10 release exemplifies what GNU is about -- technical and ethical excellence. The Free Software Foundation is proud to showcase the GNOME community's work when talking to potential new free software users, and as GNOME users ourselves, we're very thankful for these new improvements.“
Further information and reactions can be found in the GNOME 3.10 press release.
We recently had the chance to sit down and talk to Andrew Lee, co-founder of GNOME's newest advisory board member Private Internet Access. Andrew Lee is a long-time privacy advocate, and has co-founded several other privacy related companies in the past including Mt Gox Live which was later acquired by Mt Gox the leading Bitcoin exchange. To learn more about GNOME's Advisory Board and the addition of Private Internet Access, check out our press release.
How did you come to know about GNOME?
We actually knew of GNOME for quite awhile. However, we started using GNOME more actively when it was known as "Ximian GNOME" back in the day.
Do you know what percentage of your users are using GNU/Linux?
We do not have any specific numbers regarding the percentage of our customers who use GNU/Linux. However, with that said, we're confident that most of our customers are using GNU/Linux in some form, whether on their desktop or mobile device.
Who do you recommend your services for?
We recommend that our services are used by most everyone in the world who values their privacy.
What is your take on private internet use in light of the recent news on
security? Are you worried about PIA's continued operation?
Private Internet use is definitely set to increase given the newfound awareness amongst society about dragnet surveillance operations and, in general, the overall loss of privacy. We're not worried about Private Internet Access' continued operation as we've discussed with several subject matter legal experts within this realm, and now, the company is structured in a way that we should be around for a very long time.
With that said, please be sure to read our official response in regards to the PRISM/NSA debacle
Orinda, CA — September 23, 2013 — The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce that Private Internet Access has joined GNOME's advisory board. The Advisory Board is a body of stakeholder organizations and companies who support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation. Last month during GUADEC, GNOME announced that the Linux Foundation was added to the advisory board, joining IBM, Google, Intel and the Free Software Foundation, among others.
Andrew Lee, co-founder of Private Internet Access said "We've been very fond of GNOME at Private Internet Access for quite a long time. When GNOME announced its new initiatives towards greater privacy functionality, our fondness quickly became a strong admiration. We're very proud to support GNOME and its continued commitment to open source, usability and, most importantly, privacy."
Private Internet Access, founded in August 2010 is a VPN service provider offering anonymous and encrypted VPN. The service operates at the TCP/IP interface level, allowing all applications to be secured, not just the web browser. Private Internet Access has publicly commited itself to user privacy. It is a small U.S.-based company, with thousands of users.
"I am excited to welcome Private Internet Access as a GNOME Advisory Board member," said Tobias Mueller, member of the board of directors of the GNOME Foundation. "This is a great example of how the support for Free Software is growing and highlights how we are aligned in our missions to put users in control."
The nonprofit GNOME Foundation is an independent organization committed to supporting the advancement of the GNOME Project and software freedom. It provides financial, organizational and legal support to the GNOME project and helps determine its vision and roadmap. GNOME software is used by millions of people around the world.
GUADEC, the GNOME annual European conference, wrapped up last week in Brno, Czech Republic. Over the course of the core conference days, there was a total of 42 talks on a range of subjects, including technological developments and plans, design, and community outreach. There were also two sessions of short "lightning talks" as well as the GNOME Foundation Annual General Meeting. The majority of these sessions were recorded, and are now available to view online.
The videos provide details on the many exciting new developments that are currently happening in GNOME, including hi-resolution display support, our new geolocation framework, new applications, fantastic progress made by our outreach initiatives, Wayland support, and WebKit2 integration.
GUADEC 2013, GNOME's annual European conference, just finished in Brno (Czech Republic). The event was a huge success. Hundreds of contributors participated, including volunteers, interns, and the employees of many companies. The schedule had a high quality of talks on a wide range of topics. The GNOME project also used the conference to meet with our partners and make exciting plans for the future, including significant developments in GTK+, Wayland, geolocation support and application sandboxing/bundling.
None of this would have been possible without our generous sponsors. Google and Red Hat provided gold level sponsorship. Canonical, Collabora, and Igalia were our silver level sponsors, and Mozilla was a bronze sponsor. Those who registered as professionals at GUADEC also provided critical support.
Thank you to all for your support, and for helping to make GUADEC such an exciting, rewarding and productive event.
GUADEC 2013 has been a blast. We talked, we planned and we worked. We met old friends and we made some new ones. We had 42 talks, two sessions of lightning talks, two parties, 15 working sessions, three hackfests, a football match, a city tour, a Creative Commons film night, 3D printing, a hexcopter and an AGM. We made exciting plans for the future. We met new partners.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this conference so amazing. We're already counting down to GUADEC 2014.
The final core day of GUADEC began with a keynote by Cathy Malmrose. Cathy is CEO of ZaReason, which sells computers pre-installed with Linux. She talked about the goals of ZaReason: to provide beautiful, high-end computers that can be freely used. ZaReason machines are used by FedEx, NASA's jet propulsion labs and Stanford's AI Lab, among many others, and uses local shops for assembly and support.
Cathy spoke passionately about the affinity between ZaReason and GNOME, and her desire for a closer working relationship. She said: "To thrive F/LOSS must be part of the hardware chain. Hardware & software must work together." For her, GNOME has all the pieces and has produced an incredibly valuable codebase that she wants to support.
Then it was time for talks. Juan Pablo Ugarte presented CSS support in the Glade interface designer. There were cheers when he revealed that he had created his presentation slides - which included animated backgrounds - purely using Glade, which even let him export to PDF. Alejandro Piñeiro Iglesias and Joanmarie Diggs also spoke about their work on PDF tagging, which improves formatting and accessibility.
Stef Walter's "More secure with less 'security'" provoked an extremely positive reaction. He talked about plans to improve the security of GNOME software while also enhancing the user experience. As Stef talked, the auditorium Twitter wall filled up with comments like "A sudden outbreak of common sense!" and "Stef talks gold". At the same time, Anish Patil and Mike Fabian gave a talk on their recent predictive input methods, which allows an input method to automatically complete words as the user types. They described how necessary it is to have effective features like this for parts of the world like indea, where there are more than 25 languages.
After lunch, Martin Robinson gave a talk on the work done to integratie WebKit2 into GNOME for version 3.8. This was a major undertaking, and brought new features and enhancements to the platform. Martin and Carlos discussed some of these, and gave advice to application authors on how to best take advantage of them. In the other room, Marta Maria Casetti presented her work to produce guides and tutorials for new programmers working with GNOME technologies. Giving his second talk of the conference, Jeff Fortin presented the latest development work on PiTiVi, a GNOME video editor application.
The end of the day - and the final session of the core days - was interns' lightning talks. A large audience gathered to hear about the many projects that have been undertaken by interns on the Outreach Program for Women and Google Summer of Code. A huge number of topics were covered, including dual screen presentation mode in Evince, a new GNOME avatar picker dialog, work on geolocation support, PitiVi, GCompris, redesigned Date & Time settings, a new Maps application, focus and caret tracking in the screen magnifier feature, a new sound recorder application, a major upgrade to Cantarell (the GNOME font), porting color management to Wayland, folder encryption support in Nautilus, search and selections in the new Music application and an F-Spot faces tool. There was a round of applause when we heard that one of the interns has taken over maintainership of the GNOME Dictionary. We also saw the return of Richard Schwarting's Foxy mascot.
As the core day came to a close, the conference organizers took to the stage and were given a huge standing ovation for all their work. Many of the conference attendees then embarked on a walking tour of Brno, which gave them a chance to see some more of the city and learn its history.
Photos courtesy of Garrett LeSage.
GUADEC is still going here in Brno. The conference has switched modes from days of presentations to a busy schedule of working sessions. This is the first of our reports on what happened over the weekend, starting with Saturday 3rd August.
As the temperature continued to rise, the conference continued at full force. A drone was seen flying around the venue, and attracted a lot of attention. The Twitter walls in each of the auditoriums also continued to be the subject of much hilarity as people posted their comments during the talks.
Day three's keynote was a question and answer session with the newly elected GNOME Foundation Board of Directors. We spent an hour talking about the Foundation's plans for the coming year, and had a productive discussion about how to improve our marketing and public relations efforts. Then we were into talks once again.
First up, Srinivasa Ragavan spoke about Evolution as an email service, while in the other room Emily Gonyer spoke about FLOSS & Education. Srinivasa explained the plan for splitting Evolution into a mail data service which could serve emails to other applications. He also demoed a working email factory as well as a small application using Evolution as a service. Emily Gonyer described her home schooling experiences and talked about how children can learn using computers from an early age. She also talked about the importance of teaching children to use computers creatively and not purely to consume commercial products.
Next, Philip Withnall, spoke about testing GNOME components that use online services. He described his work to enable diagnosis and recording of the interaction between local libraries and servers. At the same time, Jan-Christoph Borchardt gave a presentation about how GNOME and ownCloud can work more closely together. Jan, who is a designer working on ownCloud, spoke about the opportunities for syncing data between GNOME and the cloud. His motto: "Just. Sync. Everything." He also spoke about the importance of protecting users' privacy, which is a goal shared by GNOME.
After lunch, Bruno Cardoso Lopes introduced LLVM and Clang. GNOME indirectly uses LLVM through the llvmpipe software rendering engine, and the Gedit Code Assistance Plugin also uses Clang to assist coders with helpful messages and compilation hints. Bruno explained several beneficial and potential uses of LLVM and Clang by GNOME, for example the LLVM LTO and interprocedural optimizations, the Clang static analyser, and the LLVM ARM backend.
Marina Zhurakhinskaya gave a report on the progress of our fantastically successful Outreach Program for Women, which is now offering internships for women with 16 different organizations. Aleksander Morgado and Carlos Garnacho explain the basics of Tracker and gave practical SPARQL examples and tips about how to use the database. At the same time, Ekaterina Gerasimove gave the annual "Documentation State of the Union Talk": a summary of the last year's documentation work, and the team's plans for the future. Zeeshan talked about GNOME's new geolocation framework, called geoclue2, as well as the new GNOME Maps application. Maps uses data from OpenStreetMap, and can determine your location using a variety of mechanisms, such as Wi-Fi, and GPS.
Jeff Fortin gave a fun talk about managing bug databases, called "Extreme containment measures: keeping your bugs under control". His talk contained lots of practical strategies and tips on keeping your bug count low, and getting the most out of your bug reports. In the other auditorium, Sriram Ramkrishna and Andrea Veri gave a report on the activities of the GNOME Sysadmin Team.
The day ended with the first of our lightning talks sessions. A host of presenters gave short talks on a wide variety of subjects, including EasyTag, Boxes, gettext, Cantarell, measuring display latency using Arduino, the words of Jane Jacobs.
In the evening, Mozilla generously funded a party at the local Starobrno brewery. Much fun was had by all.