my blog

Sunday 29 March 2009

GSoC 2009 is here! (okay, I'm late)

It has become a tradition now: Google is organizing a Summer of Code this year again, and quite a big number of organizations will be involved in mentoring students. We can certainly expect some good stuff to happen thanks to this program! Some students have already started applying: the application period began last week and will end next Friday. Oh, by the way, dear students: submitting your application a few days before the deadline is a good way to make sure that potential mentors can love you ;-)

GNOME & Google Summer of Code

Of course, GNOME is participating as a mentoring organization, as well as openSUSE. There are some quite good ideas in both cases, but of course, students are welcome to apply with their own idea. When applying, keep in mind that one of the most important things is that the application is well-written and detailed, and comes with a good plan. Also, in the case of GNOME, we ask students to provide a patch -- this is a step that lets mentors easily know if the student can at least get the code and compile it ;-) (and the quality of a patch, or the way it's written, actually often tells us a lot about the student)

A big difference for me this year is that I'm not an administrator on the GNOME side (I agreed to help a bit for openSUSE, but Zonker is doing all the work). Last year, Adam and Sandy did a great job for the organization, so it was not a big surprise to see them step up for the task this year!

Of course, even if I'm not an admin, I'm still curious; so I'm looking at the student applications and adding a comment here or there, but nothing really big. I might mentor a project, though, if the idea I proposed for openSUSE seduces a student and gets well-ranked, or if a student comes with something I'd really love to see and where I could help! I guess we'll know in a few days ;-)

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Next GNOME Foundation Elections

As people probably remember, the current GNOME Foundation Board was elected to serve until June 30th, 2009. We changed the end date from December 31th to June 30th so that the new board could have a face-to-face meeting at the very beginning of its term, during GUADEC. This face-to-face meeting is most useful to energize the board and make things go faster, so it really makes sense to have it occur at the beginning of a board term.

Why am I talking about this? Simply because it means that the next GNOME Foundation elections will be happening in the next few months! I'm sure the elections committee will come with a proposed timeline soon. Based on the past elections, I would guess the vote will start in May and end at the beginning of June. And this means it's time for people to start thinking hard if they want to run for the elections.

People usually don't think they can run for the elections; maybe they feel they're not involved enough in GNOME, or they don't feel like they are able to help, or there's some other random reason to not run. Most of the time, that's just wrong: if you're Foundation a member, then it already means you care about GNOME, which is really the most important requirement when running for the Board. And if someone runs but doesn't get elected, that's in no way a hidden message saying that people hate this person ;-) So there's no reason to be afraid of running. It's only a good opportunity to help the project even more that what you're currently doing!

Sure, being a board member certainly isn't fun every day: there's some boring stuff to do, there's frustration every now and then, it can be time-consuming, you can get burnt out every other months, etc. But, and that's a positive but, you can help make things happen the way you think they should be happening (note that you can also do that without being on the board) and you are empowered to help the community achieve its goals. And if you care strongly about the project, this will make you happy to be on the board. If you have any question about how it is to be a board member, feel free to contact any board member. You can also publicly ask questions about all this on foundation-list.

Oh, and the board also decided to use a preferential voting method (Single Transferable Vote) for the elections. It's something that was discussed several times in the past, and the community seemed to like the idea, so we decided to just do it :-) The good thing is that Dave implemented all this for Maemo elections, which are powered by the same code as the one used for GNOME Foundation elections. So we can merge his changes back, and voilà!

Thursday 19 March 2009

GNOME & git

Lucas sent the announcement earlier today: the GNOME project will move to git.

This announcement highlights the recent steps that lead to this decision: the DVCS survery and the analysis of its results. Of course, all this was discussed on mailing lists (okay, it quickly went from discussion to flamewar ;-)). It was not a decision that was taken after onl a few thoughts, and I guess it's good to remind people that using a DVCS is something that was in people's mind since quite some time. For example:

Note that I mainly put git-related things in the above list; I'm pretty sure you can find some bzr/hg/etc. items that would also show the community interest in a DVCS. It turns out the chosen DVCS was git and it's simply because the majority in our community prefers git. Some people might wonder why we're not letting developers choose another version control system if they prefer another one; the answer to this is easy: to keep our infrastructure maintainable, we choose to only have one version control system. It doesn't mean other systems are bad. Really.

We decided to make the migration happen in one month, after 2.26.1. The original idea was to make the switch after 2.26.0, but we wanted to give some more time for people to double-check the great work that the git transition team has done. Furthermore, the month between .0 and .1 releases generally sees quite some activity to fix bugs filed after the .0 release and for translations, so it made sense to wait for 2.26.1 to be out before breaking the habits of quite a few people ;-)

Wednesday 18 March 2009

GNOME 2.26 is here

GNOME 2.26

One good thing done for today :-) Many thanks to everybody involved, and especially Frédéric who worked hard on the release notes in the last few days, coordinating the work with translators! We made sure to release tarballs for almost everything, so we can deliver all the latest bug fixes and translations to the world.

People can already use this new version of GNOME since most distributions have packaged it; I also heard there will be virtual machines up soon for testing. It's really great to see our work reach the users that fast!

Now time to relax or party :-)

by Vincent