What should the GNOME Foundation accomplish in 2010?

We’ve been working on the GNOME Foundation’s goals for 2010. We distributed them for comment on the Foundation list. I’ve also created a quick survey if you want to show which goals you like. (The results from this survey are now available.)

In addition to the goals, we also need:

  • Metrics. How will we know if we’ve accomplished the goal?
  • Goals (and metrics) for me. How can I best help make these goals a reality?

If you use GNOME, you should let us know what you think the Foundation should accomplish in 2010!

Feel free to comment on the existing goals or to suggest new ones.

  1. Provide GNOME 3.0 for everyone – a more usable, accessible and modern desktop.
    • Show leadership in the desktop space.
      • Become a desktop thought leader
      • Show people the possibilities of a desktop
      • Become a user experience thought leader
    • Release GNOME 3.0 in September
      • Get corporate cooperation for the GNOME 3.0 release
      • Get partner cooperation for GNOME 3.0 release
    • Deliver a product that has been well tested for usability and accessibility needs.
      • Make sure the usability and accessibility hackfests are a success. That they are well attended by a diverse group of individuals and corporations and that their activities are seen in the community afterwards.
      • Ensure hackfests have corporate participation
      • Ensure hackfests are well funded
      • Find resources and funding for accessibility
    • Make a successful launch, with a good marketing campaign.
      • Make sure there is a GNOME 3.0 marketing plan that is
        executed on. A good marketing plan will include outreach
        activities from the community working in close connection
        with our partners.
      • Position GNOME as a thought leader around user experience
      • Grow the GNOME brand in a way that can be used by downstream
      • Make sure GNOME 3.0 has a launch (from a marketing
      • Number of speaking opportunities and published articles about
        GNOME 3.0
      • Make sure press is involved ? GNOME 3.0 should bring at least
        a 50% increase in press articles from the previous year.
      • Make sure GNOME applications, not just the desktop, are
  2. Make the GNOME free desktop the desktop of choice, focusing on developing
    nations for 2010.

    • Reach out to governments in developing countries
      • Set up working relationships with developing country
        governments (Someone from GNOME with someone from the
        government. A relationship can be defined as a regular set of
        meetings, a memorandum of understanding or participation in
        each others’ events.)
      • Partner with other nonprofits involved in free software or
        related groups (measure number/quality of relationships)
    • Support existing local user groups, universities working with free
      software and work to create new new relationships

      • Increase the number of local user groups (Compare existing
        number to new number)
      • Support local user groups with existing resources, i.e. send
        speakers from Europe to Africa (compare 2009 to 2010)
      • Figure out new ways to work with developing nations.
    • Have GNOME representation at major free software events in the
      developing world

      • Measure number of events we participate in next year to this
      • Work with people that already speak at these events to
        promote GNOME as well
      • Sponsor events with volunteers or money
    • Start relationship with vendors and/or solution providers to help
      them understand the benefits of GNOME.

      • Business development activities where the GNOME Foundation
        helps to make progress in increasing adoption of GNOME
        technologies in the developing world. (Measured by the number
        of events, meetings, or collaboration opportunities realized
        compared with the previous year.)
      • Measure number of conversations with vendors who provide IT
        solutions (with an emphasis on developing countries)
      • Measure number of relationships we establish.
      • Measure number of outcomes (products, partnerships, events)
      • that come out of these relationships.

      • Are the people we sponsor using our slide templates,
        promoting Friends of GNOME, wearing tshirts we provide, etc?
      • Is this having a benefit to our bottom line (such as via
        Friends of GNOME donations, etc.)
  3. Create a widely used free and open source ?desktop? that spans from
    mobile devices to netbooks to desktops and everything in between.

    • Get “desktop” developers talking to mobile company developers
    • Get mobile companies actively involved upstream
    • Work to get more distributors
  4. Work with the companies in GNOME Mobile (and others using GNOME in the
    mobile space)

    • Raise awareness of GNOME Mobile in the developer space
      • Have a GNOME presence at Mobile events
      • Partner with organizations that use GNOME Mobile or provide
        technologies into GNOME mobile
    • Market/advertise what GNOME Mobile is
      • Work with marketing team to help them understand the needs of
        GNOME Mobile
      • Work with partners like LiMo to market/advertise GNOME Mobile
    • Get patches upstream
      • Work with GNOME Mobile partners to get their patches upstream
      • Measure by number of patches (is this easy to measure?)
    • Enable collaboration between companies
      • # of introductions
      • # of events where companies can meet (conferences, hackfests)
      • measure output of these events
    • Ensure that missing technologies are implemented
      • Identify missing technologies
      • Publicize them
      • Measure % that are implemented
    • Enable collaboration between “desktop” and “mobile” companies in
      the GNOME space

      • Have a hackfest that works on a technology that spans mobile
        and desktop
      • Get “desktop” developers to participate in GNOME mobile
        mailing list or events
  5. Raise worldwide governmental awareness of the GNOME free desktop and its
    importance to their citizens.

    • Work with GNOME Foundation members and supporters to set up
      meetings with government groups

      • # of meetings
    • Have GNOME representation at free software and government events
      • Number of events in the developing world that have a GNOME
        presence (compared to the number in the previous year).
    • Work with other free software groups trying to accomplish similar

      • # of groups we work with
      • # of events we partner at, number of attendees
      • measure results such as # of women that participate in Women
        Outreach, products launched, etc.
  6. Make the GNOME Foundation the place for companies working with
    GNOME-related technologies to collaborate.

    • Provide forums for companies to collaborate at a higher level
      (roadmaps, etc)

      • # of events/meetings that more than one company attend
      • setting up a forum
      • Starting conversations, making introductions
    • Make introductions between companies where the GNOME Foundation
      feels collaboration opportunities exist.

      • # of introductions
      • Identify companies and opportunities
    • Make sure that hackfests and events are well organized. That the
      relevant companies and individuals are notified about the event
      well enough in advance to ensure proper planning and

      • # of hackfests sponsored by more than one company
      • average number of companies represented at hackfests
        (compared to previous year)
    • Work with companies to market GNOME within their product marketing

      • Better press and press relations, perhaps even break out into
        new forms of advertisement
      • Set up meeting between marketing people at different
      • Provide marketing materials to companies
    • Promote free software by being a model example of a free software

      • Advocate for free software
        • Use the term free software
        • Speak and blog about the principles of free software
      • Be transparent
        • Publish regular GNOME Foundation updates – Stormy and
          Rosanna’s weekly updates, Board meeting minutes,
          quarterly reports, finance updates, etc.
      • Be open
        • Explain the reasoning behind decisions.
      • Follow our Code of Conduct
        • Moderate the Foundation list and Planet and call people
          out on inappropriate behavior.
      • Encourage new people to join our project.
        • Bring in people with expertise but new to the project.
        • Develop ways for people to easily join our project.
        • Invest in GNOME Love, partner with other organizations,
          develop a working on mailing lists guide, etc.

      • Market free software and GNOME
        • (Covered in other areas here.)
  7. Provide web services for GNOME projects like Tomboy/Snowy
    • Identify projects that could be web services and talk to them.
    • Enable sys admin team to provide hosting.
    • Bring web services online
      • Measure by number of services online!
  8. Infrastructure
    • Raise money for a sys admin
    • Hire a sys admin
    • Help the infrastructure team to grow
  9. Fundraising
    • Increase overall budget by 30%.
    • Increase contributions from Friends of GNOME by 30%.
    • Diversify funding by expanding into merchandising and other
      business development opportunities such as ad revenue on support
      forums, web services, training, etc.

22 Replies to “What should the GNOME Foundation accomplish in 2010?”

  1. Here’s another bulletpoint that should be in the list:
    * Make sure that new features work and are backwards compatible on less-sponsored platforms like Gentoo and Arch Linux. And we shouldn’t also forget BSD-s.
    Currently GNOME-2.28 is lagging stabilization on Gentoo (and almost noone is working on 2.29). This is mostly because Gentoo devs are tired of fixing the various interoperability issues that upstream developers don’t care about…
    To name a few – GDM rewrite, numerous HAL-Policykit-ConsoleKit rewrites/redesigns…

  2. I agree with plaes that continuing to support the existing user and developer base without forcing constant changes in user experience and technology would be nice. Of course I also want shiny new stuff, so I don’t know what the balance should be 🙂

  3. It would be nice to reduce dependencies (un bloat ;-))
    e.g display manager gdm on debian:
    install xdm downloads 400 kB
    install kdm downloads 7 MB
    install gdm downloads 140 MB (yes gdm needs 140 MB)
    There is something wrong here.

  4. There’s not much on engaging the existing user community. How about creating ways for user feedback to be collected, condensed and presented to developers. Make users feel like they are being heard. At the moment a lot of users feel like they are along for the ride but have no participation in the destination.

  5. Maybe less big words about world wide desktop domination and more testing/bug fixing: in general better QA, which is clearly lacking as one can see from the number of stupid bugs and half-backed features in every release?

  6. You might consider:
    10. Achieve better integration and communication between the default desktop applications, and between these apps and the desktop.

  7. 1) Follow-up mobile desktop improvements recently added by the Moblin project.
    1.1) For example Moblin connection manager (connman) which is way faster then the old NetworkManager when it comes to connecting to Wifi hotspots.
    1.2) Other example: make sure that clutter & clutter-based applications do run correctly when the desktop is 3D-enabled (compiz/fusion).
    2) Provide leadership (not control) to the Compiz/Fusion project so that they don’t go after every directions at the same time… 3D effects & other eye-candies are critical to mass-adoption.

  8. 0. Reposition GNOME as a developers platform of choice. Improve documentation, tools and example code. Communicate this openess to independent (preferably Windows) developers as a way to attract new blood to the project. Improve communication channels for existing and new people interested in build _on_ the desktop infrastructure, as the real way to spur innovation, by way of little projects, without needing to bet the farm on a direction change.

  9. Please focus on bug fixing! As many bugs exists for a long time, it is obvious that more resources should be allocated for that (and there are many bugs in metacity, nautilus and other core components) 🙁

  10. Just fix Network Manager. Make it just work, and make it easier to find out why it isn’t working when it isn’t working. And make it include “internet connection sharing” and basic firewall.
    Probably best to just program a new network management tool for GNOME from scratch, because there must be something wrong with the software architecture of Network Manager. It hasn’t matured into something that doesn’t give problems to a lot of people, so it must be hard for “advanced users” to debug and/or find and/or fix problems and/or get fixes into the upstream.
    Being easy to troubleshoot, debug and improve is a critical feature of an application that needs to deal with so many different devices (ethernets, VPNs, WLANs, mobile data…) and different service providers and configuration schemes.

  11. Fix the font rendering, widget toolkits, gtk theming, dialogue boxes and overall graphical desktop rendering/drawing so that a barebones, fresh-from-the-box Gnome desktop installation looks ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL – that should be first and foremost. Why? Because Microsoft and Apple have done just exactly that and for that reason, the aesthetics grab a new user (and entice old users). Market all you want, promote all you want – but if you continue to deliver a primitive “look and feel”, you miss the masses.

  12. How about abandoning the committee buzzword vernacular when posting in public? That would be a great first step. I could not get past the “thought leader” bs before scrolling to the bottom to type this.
    This type of buzzbabble speak really turns people off.

  13. “xxx leader” “zzz leader” bla bla bla. It hides all the good ideas.
    What about some modesty and less marketing stuff ?

  14. Ref: Stephen Michael Kuhn’s comment. When I’ve tried to install themes from art.gnome.org, I’m always getting “it won’t look right because such-and-such an icon set” (which I can’t find anywhere!) “is missing.” People new to GNOME or any interface love to do things like that. If it proves to be too hard, they’ll worry about whether the more important things that people do with computers will be equally obscure or forbidding.
    But on the flip side, learn from KDE 4. It was technically inferior to KDE 3, and also was so different that it seemed like the developers forgot about the people who had adopted and enjoyed its predecessors. Some of us like GNOME the way it is, and hope for bugfixes and incremental changes without sacrificing what is basically cool, crisp desktop.
    Ref: David Stephens’s comment. “Grow the … brand” is corporate dialect at its most cringeworthy, so don’t say or write it. “User experience thought leader” is also dire.
    Ref: Your original post. The goals in #2 are laudable but awfully ambitious. Better to tackle a few of them and do them well rather than tackle all of them and be mediocre.
    As for #6, I don’t know that “openness” is a problem, but I’m a modest financial supporter and hear very little from GNOME.

  15. I agree 10000% with everyone who votes on bug fixing and on less big words about world wide desktop domination. Dont worry about world domination, the best will eventually win!
    note: world domination is not the same with world awareness, which is better.

  16. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this. I use GNOME every day and really appreciate it.
    I suggested Linux/GNOME to different people and some of them made the switch.
    The main issues I’ve found when non tech people uses Linux+GNOME (Ubuntu) are:
    1) Quality
    I think this should be high in the list. Often new users find corner cases not well tested, with the result that the applications behave in a strange way, UI is not consistent and so on.
    This greatly lowers the user experience, sometimes it seems that you are dealing with a fragile system, not a rock solid one.
    2) Applications
    I agree with you also on this area.
    People that switches from other OSes have a pretty high requirement about application usability and functionality.
    What I’ve found is that they actually are willing to try alternatives application. However, too bad, I’ve found that the alternatives are not powerful enough with respect to what the user was used before, or they are not stable and solid.
    IMHO those are the two main areas on which we need to work in order to gain more users!
    Thank you and keep up the awesome work!

  17. I gave up on gnome this year after many years of tagging along as ui features disappeared or became hard to access. Now I am using startx/.xsession and xmonad. If you want me back you need to stop removing features in the name of the most neophyte users and deliver on “it just works.” If it doesn’t “just work,” then I need to be able to have access to config files and the like to make it work. Like if I connect to a projector, and then spend days trying to fix nvidia control settings! I know you like to think its true, but Gnome doesn’t know better than I do how best I might do my work. No more epiphany or gnome app of the day! I select my application based on my workflow and app features. Don’t pick any more favorites or remove features! Support me, the user, and maybe I will come back.

  18. With regards to GDM ConsoleKit, from Brian Cameron:
    the GNOME 2.28/2.30 release cycles, Sun has invested a lot of effort
    in making these work well on Solaris/OpenSolaris. In getting the code
    to work, we had to address many of the cross-platform issues that
    people are complaining about, so I think that people should find things
    are improving. Also, it was in the 2.28 timeframe that I understand
    Ubuntu started adopting the new GDM, so I am sure they are helping as
    Each distro has its own needs, so I am sure this work will not address
    every problem, but ConsoleKit/GDM is getting a lot more cross-platform
    attention recently.

  19. Hi, less deps for the full project would be really nice to see. Compilling gnome from source is a pain, especially on Slackware where we do not have always the latest software from our distro.
    Fixing bugs is also ok, but more would be to track your route well and follow it with creating the desktop up to the end. Create well and test well up to full functionalities if you plan something. Dont stop at the middle. Finish things. Now with gnome 3 you have a chance to fix and rethink well what was wrong in gnome 2.
    Bring new ideas in, don’t just copy what other desktops have.
    Network Manager is for sure a problem. Pulse Audio also is on its way, but still far away from what needs to be.
    Thats my point of view, less deps as said before would permit us to deliver the newest desktop faster to our users on Slackware.

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