The Gnome Project/Community (update)

libre software, mswl, mswl-cases, mswl-comm, mswl-devmotiv, mswl-intro

Hi folks!!

Continuing with the two posts (1 and 2) I did a few days ago regarding Gnome given by Carlos Garcia Campos, now that I have available the video of the talk, I’m going to update the post with the things I find interesting during the talk, curious things, etc.

As the other updates, these notes are taken on the fly while I’m watching the video.

1- History

MS Windows 95 was released in 1995, and Gnome was started in 1997.

The main reason of the success of MS Windows, was that it was good, you was used to use MS Windows, and was preinstalled in the computers, but for instance, in the device phones, each time you buy one you started to learn about it, and there isn’t problems to learn new operating systems.

They started Gnome because it wasn’t completely FLOSS, and the sell this, it’s completely FLOSS.

Gnome is GNU object model environment, so the initial idea of this name has changed a little since the beginning.

After an interview with Microsoft Miguel de Icaza knew the idea of different components which was used in Windows, COM, so that idea really liked to Miguel.

When Miguel come back to Mexico, Federico Mena and him started to study the possibility to create a new system.

They managed different ideas to start building the new system, one of them was to create an alternative to Qt, another one they connected with Trolltech but they didn’t answer them, etc.

Federico in that moment was working in Gimp. Gimp used a graphic toolkit called GTK so Federico thought to use GTK in the new system as the main toolkit.

In 1997 the Gnome Project was announced.

The first real usable distribution was Gnome 0.20.

Gnome 1.0 was a disaster with a lot of bugs, unstable, etc. but they needed to release that version because KDE was released its different releases.

The first stable version was Gnome 1.0.55

In that moment appeared companies around Gnome.

In May 2000 was the first GUADEC, the annual Gnome event.

They used also names in the distribution also with the number, as October Gnome, etc.

In Gnome 1.4 appear for the first time Bonobo which is the components system used here, as COM in MS Windows.

Gnome 2.0 was the first in use Nautilus.

Bonobo never was used as the initial idea Miguel had it, later was replaced.

Gnome had problems as the difficult to use, the usability, etc. so then they wanted to change it.

Gnome 2.0 included a new development platform and the compatibility between API and ABI was possible backward.

The accessibility framework was developed by Sun Microsystems.

Sun Microsystems was one of the most important contributors in the history of Gnome.

In Gnome 2.0 was introduced also GObject which give the object orientation object to Gnome which uses just C.

Also in that version Pango was introduced which is the tool used to translate the system into different languages in a transparent way.

In Gnome 2.0 they introduced also the incremental updates each six months as KDE introduced before (and later Mozilla in Firefox).

Gnome 2.32 was the transition to Gnome 3.

Gnome 3 was started in parallel with Gnome 2.x.

In Gnome 3, we have big changes:

  • The new development tools (GTK3).
  • Gnome Shell (the interface to windows access).

In a question about the change of the functionality and appearance in Gnome3 which is look like to MacOSX, Carlos said that the new designed has looked to other operating systems, but also is oriented to the future for tablets, etc.

There is a backward compatibility in GTK2, and in GTK3, but not between then, so for instance, there is a compatibility between GTK 2.1 and GTK 2.2 and other compatibility between GTK 3.0 and GTK 3.1 but not between GTK 2.0 and GTK 3.0.

2- Community

Gnome is people.

The most important team in Gnome is the one formed by developers, because Gnome is software, the software is not possible if there aren’t developers.

In Gnome also there are different teams as translators, accessibility, usability, marketing, bugs team, maintainers, release team, package team, etc.

They don’t have a QA team, the QA team is formed by the users.

In the communication they use the usual channels used in FLOSS communities, forums, mail lists, blogs, bugzilla, the scm, irc, wiki, etc.

The moduleset organization has been changed also in the last times with the new version of Gnome.

The core applications are the those are needed to use in each desktop, the rest of applications are applications which are not really always necessary.

The licenses are:

  • GNU LGPL for the libraries.
  • GNU GPL for the applications

Gnome, as KDE, doesn’t have the copyright assignment.

Each module inside of Gnome has its own maintainer.

Gnome doesn’t have a visible head or leader, is much more distributed as for instance Linux.

The global decisions are discussed in the mailing lists.

Gnome make use of the meritocracy to get rights.

Any person who has contributed a reasonable number of patches can get a commiter account.

If you have a commit account given by collaborate in a module your account is also to use and commit in all modules.

Before to commit a commiter has to ask for permission to the maintainer of the module, but the maintainers can commit in his module without ask to nobody, but if he want to commit in other module he has to ask for permission to the maintainer of that module.

They don’t have the figure of the benevolent dictator, but the maintainer is more or less the own benevolent dictator on his module.

It’s possible to have more than one maintainer in the same module.

The GUADEC is the annual Gnome event, it started in 2000 in Paris (France).

The have also HackFests which are events just for work (GUADEC is more for networking).

In the development process, they have six months release cycles.
It’s coordinated by the Release Team.

They have also freeze stages when the access to the code is not possible and they use this stages to test the software, fix the bugs, but without the possibility to add new features.

The Gnome Foundation, is really similar to the KDE, the Gnome Foundation is the legal umbrella of The Genome Project.

It’s formed by the members.

The Board is the main group of the take decisions.

There are other members which they give money as companies like Google, etc.

Gnome Hispano is the local chapter of the Gnome here in Spain.
They have the GUADEC-ES which is the annual Spanish event.

3- Questions

3.1- Is there a website where the users can upload the apps they made?

Actually not, but they always have having the idea to have it.
Usually they use the wiki to announce the new apps.

With Gnome 3, they have the extensions site where users can upload their own Gnome extensions.

4. Conclusion

As the post regarding the video of KDE, the most important thing in Gnome is the people involved in the project, but not just developers, translators, testers, etc. even the users is maybe the most important “team” in a project like this, as Carlos has said, if Gnome didn’t have users, then the project wouldn’t exist.

Also something really interesting in this project is the evolution which has been having along the different releases and how they have been building different tools to build a better software.

You can find the video here.

And that’s all my friends!!

See u!!


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