Quarterly Report Q3, 2009

Hi GNOME Foundation members and fans,

Q3 is always a big quarter for the GNOME Foundation and this one was bigger and better than usual. During Q3 we had our annual GUADEC, GNOME Users and Developers Conference, which we held jointly with Akademy in the first ever Gran Canaria Desktop Summit! The co-located event was a huge success with lots of good sessions in both the Akademy tracks as well as the GUADEC tracks and lots of good cross desktop talks and conversations that will lead to more collaboration throughout the year. We hope to co-locate again in the future!

GNOME 2.28 was released in September. Quite a few products had significant updates in preparation for GNOME 3.0 – including a release of GNOME Shell! – and a couple of changes were made to improve usability such as a different default toolbar and turning off menu and button icons by default. During Q4 the release team will decide if GNOME 3.0 will be in March or September of 2010!

There were a few structural changes in how things work in the GNOME project. For example, we created a new press team, a subproject under the marketing team focused on press relationships and press releases, as well as things like monthly meetings by the Bugsquad team.

The GNOME Accessibility team has been hard at work preparing for GNOME 3.0 by working on accessibility in projects like GNOME Shell, Clutter and Banshee as well as working on new tools like an onscreen keyboard.

GNOME Mobile had an awesome quarter with great attendance at OSiM Mobile by GNOME Mobile member companies and the release of products that use GNOME Mobile technologies like Moblin 2.0 and the Nokia N900. In addition, LiMo announced that they will soon release phones that use GNOME technologies!

Our marketing team has been hard at work. Friends of GNOME can now make monthly contributions in any amount they’d like and we’ve raised $23,415 so far this year! Their good work will continue and get an extra boost with a marketing hackfest in November sponsored by Novell and Google.

Speaking of hackfests, next quarter will be a busy one with lots of good work being done in preparation for GNOME 3.0. We are planning hackfests around the Boston Summit, one for marketing, Zeitgeist and WebKitGTK+ plus more in the beginning of next year in areas like accessiblity and video.

Read on to hear what GNOME teams have accomplished in Q3 and what they are planning for Q4!

Best wishes and happy hacking! Enjoy your GNOME desktop!

Stormy Peters
Executive Director,
GNOME Foundation

Release Team

Vincent Untz

For the release team, the third quarter started with the last 2.26 release, which went out on July 1st. The focus then quickly became the 2.27 development cycle that would lead to GNOME 2.28.

Five GNOME 2.27 releases were published during those three months, and the usual freezes (API/ABI, feature, user interface, string) were applied to help the community focus on getting a high quality release. In July, a meeting was held where one of the main topics was the new modules that would be included in GNOME 2.28.

This release contains a good balance between integration of pre-existing applications (gnome-bluetooth), great new tools (gnome-disk-utility), and new external dependencies that will allow developers to provide even more great features (seed, webkit, DeviceKit-disks, libchamplain, libgdata). GNOME 2.28.0 went out as scheduled on September 23rd.

In parallel of all those releases, we monitored the progress of GNOME on a few goals like, for example, the cleanup of modules to stop using deprecated libraries and APIs.

We also modified the release schedule to move the module proposal period and the decision on module proposals earlier in the cycle, in response to feedback from some maintainers and also to help evaluate earlier what GNOME 3.0 would consist of.

Looking ahead, the release team already has a good amount of work planned for the next quarter: there will of course be a first update to GNOME 2.28, with 2.28.1 which will be released at the end of October, and also the first versions of the 2.29 releases. A good number of new modules were proposed for inclusion during the 2.29 development cycle, and discussion around those proposals will help the release team decide what will be going in during a meeting at the beginning of November. Another meeting in November will be dedicated to GNOME 3.0: we will evaluate if 3.0 can be ready for March 2010 or if waiting six more months is needed to ensure that 3.0 is of high quality, as expected by our community and our users.

Bugsquad Team

Andre Klapper

In August GNOME Bugzilla was updated to version 3.4 by Max-Kanat Alexander with huge help of Olav Vitters and Owen Taylor. The previous version was several years old and did not receive any upstream security fixes anymore. It also had several GNOME-only enhancements that partially have been ported to 3.4 though some regressions remained. The server hardware was also improved so timeout issues when running complex queries do not happen anymore.

From July to September, 9227 reports (bugs + feature requests) were opened and 8751 were closed. Top bug closers were Akhil Laddha (484 reports), Fabio Durán Verdugo (455), Andre Klapper (269), Bastien Nocera (261) and Matthew Barnes (251). Top bug reporters were Pedro Villavicencio (136 reports), Owen Taylor (116), Bastien Nocera (99), Colin Walters (92) and Matthias Clasen (87).

The GNOME Bugsquad has started to have monthly meetings to discuss policies and issues. The new policy to handle old forgotten reports is in place and has been revised after feedback from developers. UNCONFIRMED bug reports (but not enhancement requests) with one year without any activity will be set to NEEDINFO state and reporters will be asked to update the report’s status by testing again on a recent GNOME version.

When reports are closed as “FIXED” reporters will now kindly be asked to verify the fix once it has landed in their distribution and if they have some time.

As there are many modules in GNOME Bugzilla that have not seen any code changes for years (except for translation updates) the Bugsquad has started trying to identify those obsolete/unmaintained modules and contact the maintainers. Without a response the remaining reports will probably be closed as WONTFIX while explaining to the reporter that the module is not maintained anymore and will not receive any updates.

In order to improve workflow the Bugsquad now also has its own module in GNOME Bugzilla to keep track of assigned tasks. 

Marketing Team

Paul Cutler

The Marketing Team was active in the third quarter with a focus on the GNOME 2.28 release, including helping write the release notes and the press release announcing GNOME 2.28.

A new sub-team, the GNOME Press Team, was created with a focus on engaging the press worldwide and helping write press releases about GNOME in the news. The Marketing Team also chose CivicCRM as a CRM system to help track press contacts.

Jaap Haitsma updated the Friends of GNOME web page, including adding the ability for subscribers to choose their monthly donation amount and launched the GNOME Amazon store available at http://www.gnome.org/friends/amazon/. The GNOME Foundation receives a referral fee anytime anyone buys something from the GNOME Amazon Store.

GNOME Journal had two releases in the third quarter in July and August with articles interviews with Owen Taylor, Lucas Rocha and Laszlo Peter; a recap of the Writing Open Source Conference; a review of GNOME-DO and Project Hamster and more.

Lastly, Paul Cutler gave a presentation at Ohio Linux Fest in September on GNOME 3.0 and made the slides and presentation materials available under a Creative Commons license and available for download on the GNOME Marketing Wiki.

Looking forward to Q4, the Marketing team is planning a hackfest in Chicago in November and plans on working on conference and presentation materials, case studies, a GNOME 3.0 campaign, the GNOME website and more.

Usability Team

Calum Benson

Several usability-focused sessions took place at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit in July:

  • Matthew Paul Thomas from Canonical gave two talks: one on the regular Ubuntu/GNOME usability studies that Canonical have started doing, and a lightning talk on ’10 Common GUI Bloopers’.
  • Jon McCann and Marina Zhurakhinskaya from Red Hat led a GNOME Shell Design BOF.
  • Allan Day ran a BOF session on tabbed application issues.

Kristin Travis and Jenya Gestrin from Sun Microsystems demonstrated the work they’ve been doing on a potential control center redesign for GNOME 3.0. This work was started last year, and has already been the subject of an initial usability study.

GNOME 2.28 was released with some notable changes recommended by the usability team: turning off button and menu icons by default, and switching to a different toolbar style by default. These changes improve visual consistency, reduce clutter, and reduce the need to continually invent new icons for every new function that becomes available in GNOME. This should also prove beneficial for the accessibility themes, allowing them to provide better icon coverage than has been possible up to now.

A preview of GNOME Shell was released alongside GNOME 2.28. GNOME Shell will underpin the GNOME 3.0 desktop, and will be an important focus for the usability team between now and the release of GNOME 3.0.

Expected Q4:

  • A second usability study on the potential control center redesign will happen at Sun’s usability labs in Menlo Park.
  • Design review of GNOME’s Keyboard Preferences dialog (Allan Day and Sergey Udaltsov).
  • A number of usability topics will be discussed at the Boston hackfest, including: revamping the Human Interface Guidelines, finding new ways to collect usability data for the GNOME project, and the possibility of establishing a mobile usability lab.

Accessibility Team

Willie Walker

Dr. Joseph Scheuhammer (Adaptive Technology Research Centre at the University of Toronto) has continued his work with embedding magnification support in GNOME Shell and has a full screen magnification prototype working (http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/Magnification). This work is planned to supplant gnome-mag and eliminate a Bonobo/CORBA dependency.

Ben Konrath (Adaptive Technology Research Centre at the University of Toronto) has begun work on an on-screen keyboard. This work is planned to supplant the existing GNOME Onscreen Keyboard (GOK) and eliminate a Bonobo/CORBA dependency.

Ke Wang (Sun Microsystems) has completed the initial development of Java ATK Wrapper. This work supplants the Java Access Bridge for GNOME and eliminates a Bonobo/CORBA dependency.

Luke Yelavich (Canonical) continues to work on Speech Dispatcher as a means to supplant gnome-speech and eliminate a Bonobo/CORBA dependency. Willie Walker from Sun Microsystems also submitted a patch to make Speech Dispatcher work on OpenSolaris.

Emli-Mari Nel from OpenGazer (http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/opengazer/) and Flavio Percoco Premoli from MouseTrap (http://live.gnome.org/MouseTrap) began discussions for how they can collaborate with each other to bring low cost mouse pointer control solutions to the desktop.

Alejandro Piñeiro (Igalia) continues to work on clutter accessibility and has begun brainstorming ways for integrating AT-SPI support into GNOME Shell.

Eitan Isaacson migrated the GNU LDTP project to the Python pyatspi bindings. The GNU/Linux Desktop Testing Project (GNU LDTP) is used by Mago (http://live.gnome.org/DesktopTesting), and the migration to pyatspi will enable it to more easily shift to AT-SPI/D-Bus. Eitan also worked on accessibility to the Banshee music player (http://monotonous.org/tag/banshee-a11y/?order=ASC).

Xan Lopez (Igalia) and Joanmarie Diggs continued their collaboration on WebKit accessibility. Progress continues to be made on this very difficult task.

Mark Doffman (Codethink), Mike Gorse (Novell), and Willie Walker (Sun Microsystems) continued to hammer away at AT-SPI/D-Bus, working through a number of difficult design decisions. The team also welcomed help from the wonderful mind of Michael Meeks (Novell).

Moving forward, the team will continue on their adventure through the “perfect storm” for GNOME 2.30 accessibility: Bonobo deprecation, GNOME Shell accessibility, and WebKit accessibility. The team is also preparing for a GNOME Booth and Hackfest at the CSUN Accessibility conference in Los Angeles in March 22-27 2010. Please contact the team at gnome-accessibility-list@gnome.org if you are interested in participating.

Documentation Team

Shaun McCance

The third quarter of 2009 saw the release of GNOME 2.28, which included the new Mallard-based help for Empathy. The team has continued to test and develop Mallard based on real-world use and feedback from others.

Phil has been actively promoting Mallard, particularly within the Ubuntu community. His experiences help us to understand what our downstream partners need from us.

Shaun has been actively developing Yelp 3.0, which has a more document-focused approach than the current Yelp. This work includes splitting the core document display system into a separate library which can be used to build stand-alone help viewers or embed a help viewer into larger applications.

GNOME Mobile

Dave Neary

GNOME Mobile was present in a number of events this quarter:

  • OSiM World, Amsterdam, September 15-16 – One of the premier conferences for mobile technology and free software. GNOME Mobile was well represented, with keynote presentations from Nokia, LiMo and Intel presenting their GNOME Mobile-based platforms, and from Lefty Schlesinger and Dave Neary, proposing best practices for building commercial products on free software projects. GNOME Mobile participants Intel, Novell, Nokia, Igalia and CodeThink were exhibitors, and Samsung, LiMo, ACCESS, Collabora and Lanedo were also out in force at the conference.
  • Open World Forum, Paris, October 1-2 – Dave Neary presented GNOME Mobile as part of the FLOSS Mobility track of this conference, attended by over 1400 people.

A number of GNOME-based devices have been announced or released this quarter – much of the excitement concerned the Moblin v2 release, and the announcement of the Nokia N900, a mobile phone & internet tablet based on Maemo 5 (Fremantle). At OSiM the LiMo Foundation also announced the forthcoming release of a number of GNOME-based phones.

The GNOME 2.28 and GTK+ 2.18 releases contained some interesting GNOME Mobile related news. GTK+ 2.18 now supports client-side windows, making the rendering of GTK+ widgets in Clutter more straightforward, and WebKit greatly improved its accessibility support. Clutter, GUPnP and PulseAudio were officially added to the GNOME Mobile release set for 2.28.

GNOME Events

Stormy Peters (Looking for a new author!)

During the third quarter of 2009 GNOME was present in these events:

  • Gran Canaria Desktop Summit, July 3-11, Gran Canaria, Spain. The GNOME European Users and Developers Conference co-located with Akademy! A huge success!
  • GNOME Hispano organised GUADEC-ES, also known as GUADEC Hispana, Gran Canaria, Spain, July 8-10
  • Community Leadership Summit, July 18 – 19. GNOME presence: Dave Neary, Lefty Schlesinger, Jono Bacon, Jorge Castro, Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier, Bradley Kuhn, Simon Phipps
  • FLOSS Foundations meeting, July 20. Dave Neary organising, Simon Phipps, Bradley Kuhn, Aaron Williamson present
  • OSCON, July 20-24, 2009, San Jose, USA. GNOME presence included presenters: Stormy Peters, Dave Neary, Paul Cooper, Rob Bradford, Chris Lord, Karen Sandler (SFLC, GNOME’s lawyers), Simon Phipps, and more.
  • Open Source World, San Francisco, August 11 – 14: GNOME speakers: Stormy Peters, Jono Bacon, Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier
  • Red Hat Summit, Chicago, Sept 1 – 3: Substantial GNOME-related content
  • OSiM World, Amsterdam. GNOME presence: Dave Neary, Lefty Schlesinger, Ari Jaaksi, Imad Sousou presenting, LiMo, Moblin & Maemo related content.
  • Software Freedom Day. September 19, 2009. GNOME issued a press release and there were many free software related events, including a mini-summit on women’s participation in the free software movement that the Free Software Foundation and the GNOME Foundation are co-hosting.
  • LinuxCon, Portland OR, Sept 21 – 23

Future events include:

  • Utah Open Source Conference, Salt Lake City, USA, Oct 8-10. Christer Edwards will be hosting a GNOME Booth. Stormy Peters will give a keynote.
  • Boston Summit, Cambridge MA, Oct 10-12. The GNOME Summit will once again be held in Boston, on the MIT campus. The location and dates have now been confirmed, and the summit will take place on October 10 – 12 in MIT’s Sloan Building in Cambridge MA.
  • Maemo Summit, Amsterdam, Oct 10-12: Substantial GNOME Mobile related content
  • Jordanas Regionales de Software Libre (JRSL). There will be several GNOME contributors there, including Willie Walker.
  • Fórum do GNOME in Latinoware at Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, October 22-24.
  • GNOME Day in Encuentro Linux at Valparaíso, Chile, October 22-24.

In addition GNOME is planning many hackfests for Q4 2009. Please let the organizers know if you are interested in attending.

  • Zeitgeist, November 2009, Bolzano, Italy, Seif Lotfy, Daniel Siegel, http://live.gnome.org/ZeitgeistHackFest2009.
  • Marketing, November 2009, Chicago, USA, Paul Cutler.
  • WebKitGTK+, December 2009, A Coruña, Spain, Juan José Sánchez Penas.
  • Accessibility, March 2010, CSUN, San Diego, USA, Eitan Isaacson, http://monotonous.org/2009/10/14/csun-hackfest-and-exhibition-call-for-participation.
  • Usability, Dave Richards
  • Video, Benjamin Otte

Finances

Germán Póo-Caamaño

Income
$12,500 GUADEC-UK (closing Birmingham books)
$29 Interest
$1,000 Novell’s sponsorship of 2008 Boston Summit after hours event
$5,000 New Advisory Board Member Fee
$10,000 Access Advisory Board Member Fee (check, to be deposited)
$4,462 Friends of GNOME
Expenses
$3,640 GCDS Keynoters:
$1,356 Robert Lefkowitz
$1,516 Walter Bender
$768 Richard Stallman
$16,698 GCDS Travel:
$1,500 Jonh Wendell
$1,200 Vinicius Depizzol
$1,050 Srinivasa Ragavan
$826 Shreyas Srinivasa
$609 Anne Østergaard
$409 Ruben Vermeersch
$400 Daniel Siegel
$275 Kaser Felix
$1,050 Marina Zhurakhinskaya
$1,000 Andrew Overholt
$800 David Jordan
$950 Og Maciel
$1,250 Raphael Nunes
$950 Bharath Aharya
$950 Akhil Laddha
$578 Ian Marcinowski *
$632 Tobias Mueller *
$605 Symeon Xenitellis *
$514 Bastien Nocerra *
$420 Clemens Buss
$1,000 Paul Cutler
$486 Documentation Summit:
$486 Milo Casagrande
$20,160 Administrative:
$15,848 Payroll
$160 Paychex
$429 Bank wire fees
$1,218 Annual Report Design & Printing
$361 Postcard printing
$18 Baby gift for Kristian
$2,121 AMS (insurance premiums)
$6 Postage

* There was an error in those reimbursements. The bank sent the US dollar amount in foreign currency (ie. instead of USD$350 in one instance, they sent GBP350.) Bank had sent a retrieval request for the three latter ones and then it was necessary to fix the issue.

Travel Committee

Germán Póo-Caamaño

During Q3, the travel committee added a new member: Bharath Acharya. He has been a very enthusiastic contributor and has already helped several people out with their travel sponsorships.

Between the end of July and August, we reimbursed the four contributors who attended to the Documentation Summit.

At the same time, we wired reimbursements to GUADEC sponsored contributors. Most of them between July 30 and August 10. There was an issue with the currency used at the bank, which finally was solved. There are two pending reimbursements to contributors who have not yet sent their receipts. It is worth mentioning that one contributor decided to withdraw his sponsorship request.

We have also been managing requests for events of the next quarter, such as the Zeitgeist hackfest at Bolzano and the Boston Summit.

For Bolzano, we booked the accommodation for eleven contributors and processed their applications.

In the case of Boston Summit, we processed the requests for two contributors. Unfortunately, one of them had problems getting a US visa. On the other hand, the other contributor was able to attend without any problem, and he wrote several good reports about his participation on Boston Summit.

We have already started processing the requests for the Marketing Team hackfest which will be held in Chicago next November.

Membership & Elections Committee

Bruno Boaventura

The Membership and Elections Committee would like to inform you about our activities in 2009/Q3:

We have received 10 applications for new GNOME Foundation membership, plus 38 applications for renewing the membership. During the same period 24 members haven’t renewed their membership and we ended with 353 members. You can see a full list of members at http://foundation.gnome.org/membership/members.php . The new members are:

Carl James Collier
Halton Huo
Javier Jardón Cabezas
Milo Casagrande
Tim Horton
Will Thompson
Alexander Gabriel
Henrique Paulino Machado
Jerry Tan

You can see a full list of members at http://foundation.gnome.org/membership/members.php.

If you have any further question, do not hesitate to ask us on membership-committee@gnome.org.

Women Outreach

Marina Zhurakhinskaya

The GNOME community is interested in increasing women participation in the project. The goals are to increase the visibility of the existing women contributors and to create a support system for encouraging women participation. The gnome-women-list has been used as the main communication channel and there has been a round of introductions, a call for authors for a GNOME Journal issue with articles by women, and a discussion about a new Women Outreach Program on it.

The purpose of the Women Outreach Program is to encourage women participation in GNOME throughout the year and to create internship opportunities in the summer. We need to raise money for the stipends for the summer participants and a donations page has been set up for that at http://projects.gnome.org/outreach/women Máirín Duffy has created the graphic for the page banner.

In addition to the donations, we are currently looking for people interested in mentoring the participants and creating the necessary resources that will help the new contributors to get started. There is a mentor sign up section on the program wiki page http://live.gnome.org/GnomeWomen/OutreachProgram

Máirín Duffy, Stormy Peters, Hanna Wallach, Chris Ball, Brian Cameron, Paul Cutler, Diego Escalante Urrelo, and Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier have been providing great feedback and ideas about the Women Outreach Program and have been putting together plans for the GNOME Journal issue with articles by women.

There were the following events and interviews related to the GNOME women outreach:

  • Máirín Duffy, Stormy Peters, and Emiy Chen were interviewed in Rikki Kite’s series of interviews with women in free software in the Linux Magazine ROSE Blog.
  • Máirín Duffy, Stormy Peters, Hanna Wallach, and Marina Zhurakhinskaya participated in the FSF mini-summit on women in Free Software held in Boston on September 19, 2009.
  • Stormy Peters attended the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference. She represented GNOME on a panel attended by women interested in getting more involved with free and open source software projects.
  • Máirín Duffy, Stormy Peters, Hanna Wallach, Chris Ball, and Marina Zhurakhinskaya participated in the IRC meeting on #gnome-women discussing the Women Outreach Program. Hanna Wallach and Chris Ball, who were the organizers of the Women Summer Outreach Program in 2006, shared their experiences with the program.
  • Marina Zhurakhinskaya led the Women Outreach / Marketing session at the Boston Summit.
  • Izabel Valverde and Luciana Freitas attended Latinoware. They gave a talk about GNOME and GNOME women outreach to the audience interested in getting more involved with free and open source software projects and emphasized that women should feel more comfortable to get involved.

 

The plans for the next quarter include a November issue of the GNOME Journal with articles by women, further fund-raising activity, creation of the program resources and search for the participants.