May 31, 2018

GNOME moves to Gitlab

The GNOME Foundation is proud to announce that it has completed its move to GitLab. This is a huge milestone for the GNOME Project as it continues to improve its workflows and tools in order to support its growth and collaborate more with other free software communities.

After the evaluation of many tools, the GNOME community chose GitLab as the best free software tool to simplify the contributor experience, make decision processes more transparent and accessible to the wider community, and improve the stability and deliverability of GNOME Project software. As Adrien Plazas, maintainer of GNOME Games, says: “GitLab gave us easy access to a Continuous Integration tool that Games desperately needed, allowing us to catch early regressions in the Libretro cores we flatpak, and to look for unstable API breaks.”

GitLab is a centralized tool for hosting source code, issues, team communication, and other software development infrastructure under a single, unified experience. It enables GNOME contributors to interact and collaborate on projects more effectively than ever before. Cross collaboration among teams has already improved, with teams like Engagement and Design now interacting with the various projects that are hosted on the GNOME GitLab instance. The GNOME Foundation believes that the move to GitLab will encourage people with various skill sets, not just coding, to contribute to GNOME more regularly, as well as encourage contributors to explore other areas of the GNOME Project that they may not have initially considered.

The switch from many tools to a singular experience also significantly reduces the barrier of entry for newcomers to the GNOME Project, something that the GNOME Foundation is particularly interested in as it continues to focus on growth. Newcomers can immediately engage on active issues and provide feedback on open merge requests — all without needing to sign up for and interact with a myriad of disparate tools. “After switching to GitLab, I noticed almost immediately an increase in contributions from people I hadn’t met before. I think GitLab really lowered the threshold for people getting started,” says Philip Chimento, maintainer of GJS (JavaScript Bindings for GNOME). The ease-of-use, reduction in communication issues, and collaboration potential is so great that even downstream teams like Ubuntu and Purism are hosting their projects in the same environment.

Throughout the entire migration process, GitLab Inc. has been very welcoming and has helped GNOME contributors along the journey by answering questions and working on issues that were blockers for GNOME’s mass migration. “As an open core company ourselves, GitLab is eager to participate as an ecosystem player and enable the growth of more free and open sources projects. We admire GNOME’s work over the years and are happy that we can provide a platform that can help them improve their project and enable them to grow as a community,” said GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij.

The GNOME Foundation wishes to acknowledge the huge amount of effort that went into migrating a project that has been around for over 20 years, and which has been using many of the same tools for nearly as long. While many people contributed along the way, the GNOME Foundation wants to give a special thank you to Carlos Soriano and Andrea Veri for their tireless work in completing GNOME’s migration to GitLab, and for ushering in this new age of contributions within GNOME.

The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce that GitLab will be sponsoring GUADEC 2018, the GNOME Users and Developers European Conference, which will be held in July of this year. In addition, GitLab will be covering the Continuous Integration costs for all GNOME projects! The GNOME Foundation wishes to extend a big thank you to GitLab, and looks forward to continuing its partnership to grow to new heights.

Lastly, visit GitLab.com to see a video that we made with GitLab to promote GNOME and Free Software, which includes interviews with some of us. We are grateful for this opportunity!