January 1, 2019

2018 Year End Summary

With 2018 having ended, the GNOME project now enters another exciting year full of software releases, events, and computing excellence.

Looking back at the past year, 2018 brought us two large GNOME releases, versions 3.28 and 3.30, which delivered improvements across the board, particularly with performance, usability, and overall polish.

Continuing its long held tradition, the GNOME Foundation successfully hosted another iteration of its main conference, GUADEC, in Almería, Spain this past July, with over 200 people attending. In August, GNOME.Asia Summit took place in Taipei, Taiwan, and participants were able to spend time with over one thousand other free software enthusiasts at the co-hosted event with COSCUP and OpenSUSE.Asia. Later, while working with our friends in the KDE community, System 76, Purism, and others, the GNOME Foundation organized the Libre Application Summit (LAS) in Denver, Colorado. LAS hosted community members, developers, and designers from projects spanning the entire FOSS ecosystem to help chart the future for libre computing.

On the technical side of things, significant developments were made to better support Rust for use in the GNOME platform, GJS (GNOME’s JavaScript Engine) was upgraded to support Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey 52, and GNOME made the important decision to move to GitLab. The switch to GitLab is of particular importance due to the overwhelming enhancement it adds to the development process of GNOME software. Most notably, it replaced Bugzilla as a far more usable issue tracking system, and has provided GNOME teams with Continuous Integration (CI) for their projects.

Over the past year, the use of Flatpak for app usage and deployment has grown significantly, making it easier to distribute the latest and greatest software to users without any risk to system stability. This growth was brought about by advancements made to the technology driving Flatpak under-the-hood, and with the maturity of this technology overall. However, the most exciting point of progress came from the launch of Flathub.org as a central web front-end for users to browse and install apps directly from their browser. Flathub is a distro-agnostic centralized software repository that, above all else, has made installing and managing software easy, intuitive, and fun.

The growth of GNOME over 2018 is thanks to GNOME’s talented developers, designers, contributors, and community. Furthermore, the GNOME Foundation was fortunate to receive large donations which will enable it to expand its operations going forward, beginning with several individuals being hired to fill necessary roles in the organization.

The Foundation would like to give special thanks to all of GNOME’s supporters and advocates, and to GNOME’s advisory board members, for their support.

We are looking forward to an exciting 2019! Stay tuned.

GUADEC participants walking outside the 2018 year venue

photo by guillefuertes /CC BY-SA 2.0