my blog

Monday 30 November 2009

GUADEC 2010, and hackfests

The word just went out: GUADEC 2010 will be held in The Hague. You can read all the details in the press release, and you if you do so, you might find out that you know some of the organizers ;-) This is quite exciting news! And since it's really easy to travel to the Hague, I hope we'll be able to see again some people who couldn't attend last year; from what I can already hear here and there, it looks like it'll be the case. Lovely!

With GNOME 3.0 scheduled for next September, this GUADEC will be one of our best opportunities to work on the final details for this big version bump. Of course, by then, a good bunch of the work will already have been implemented, but there's always been great stuff coming out of our GUADECs, with positive impact on our September releases. Also, I certainly hope we will work on answers to the dreadful sooo, what's next? question. There are already some thoughts floating around, but extracting all of those from the various brains involved is not the easiest task you can think of ;-)

Talking about events, it looks like the hackfest model is working quite well these days. In case you had any doubt about this, just look at what happened in November... People first left for the Zeitgeist hackfest in Bolzano, and at the same time, another group of contributors went to Chicago to participate in a marketing hackfest. A few days later, a video hackfest took place in Barcelona, and there are already some rumours about a WebKitGTK+ hackfest that would happen in A Coruña before the end of the year :-) Let's keep rocking!

Saturday 14 November 2009

I'm a pop star!

Someone pointed out to me that I'm featured in two recent Boycott Novell posts. In the first one, I learnt that I'm not a representative of Free/open source software, while the second post shows how Novell still controls GNOME’s direction through me (and this could be a way for Novell to influence GNOME into becoming more dependent on Mono).

Oh, I'm certainly not perfect, but I would think that having contributed to GNOME and free software in general for something like 6 years during my free time before I joined Novell could, you know, count a little bit. Had I stopped contributing in my free time, maybe it would make some sense? Actually, I should do that: I'd have much more time for sleep ;-)

Also, I must admit I didn't know Novell is telling me where GNOME should go; but now I wonder: could I be hypnotised? Or someone could be invading my dreams in some way to influence me! Or wait, I know: there has to be some subliminal messages sent on my screen! That's it, surely! More seriously, how to explain this... I think I'm way more a GNOME person in Novell trying to make Novell change, than a Novell person in GNOME trying to make GNOME change.

But thanks for the good laugh! The conclusion of all this, I guess, is that it means I'm now a pop star! Woohoo :-)

Tuesday 10 November 2009

3.0, 2.30, 2.28, 11.2...

The GNOME release team held a meeting 10 days ago. Yep, it's hardly believable for many people, I guess: you've always thought the release team members are lazy contributors who just pretend they're doing something useful. So, the truth is that this is also a valid statement ;-) But from time to time, we're having meetings (and doing other things that are not completely useless). Even though we have quite some meeting experience now, we're still optimistic about having enough time to discuss every topics. It turns out we managed to discuss everything in only three hours this time. Quite amazing, if you ask me!

One important topic was of course when to release GNOME 3.0. We've said since quite some time that we would decide in November whether GNOME 3.0 would be released in March 2010 or in September 2010. And in November we managed to decide: GNOME 3.0 is planned for September 2010. We started having a good vision of where we are standing thanks to informal feedback, but we've also gathered direct feedback. Interestingly, this request for feedback was interpreted in some news as a clue for a September release date (hrm, don't ask me if I can read the last link ;-)), while it really was just a request for feedback. There are already some articles about the release date announcement.

The other big topic of the release team meeting was of course the new modules that were proposed for inclusion. The decisions were also announced yesterday. Some details of the decisions are, I would think, quite instructive:

  • Clutter is currently blocked because of the copyright assignment required by Intel, which is a situation we'd like to avoid. We've approached Intel about this, but this is not something that can be solved in only a few days. This will hopefully get fixed in the future. This lead us to wonder, though: copyright assignment to a company is something we prefer to avoid, but would copyright assignment to the GNOME Foundation or another non-profit organization be okay for our community?
  • dconf isn't approved for 2.30, but is pre-approved for 3.0. This shows our commitment to this new technology, but this also illustrates that we can learn at least a bit from our experience :-) We've had some issues integrating technologies a bit too early in the past, and while doing the same error is sometimes required, this wasn't case here. Still, the community is invited to take an in-depth look at dconf and to start branches that will use it so we can make sure it enters GNOME in the best state possible!
  • Tracker, which has been a topic for long threads on our mailing list is approved as an external dependency. We certainly hope this will help fix the chicken-and-egg problem where people don't see the benefit of tracker because nothing is using it. Also, it's worth mentioning that the release team really encourages tracker developers to clearly separate the indexer from the store to avoid confusion that has been plaguing the discussion.

Of course, work on 2.30 has already started and there's even a 2.29.1 release already out. The fact that the decision about new modules is out earlier starting with this cycle should help make sure the new modules and new external dependencies are well integrated through our whole desktop.

Also, since I haven't written anything about GNOME 2.28, I guess it's not too late to celebrate this release. I'll admit it's a bit late, but I'll stay with my "not too late". And I have a good excuse: I was lost in Germany with nearly no internet access at the time of the release. As usual, I'm a big fan of the new GNOME release! I'm just a bit sad I couldn't do more, since I was planning to fix a few things and I couldn't make it...

GNOME 2.28: Made to share

All the GNOME 2.28 goodness will of course be available in openSUSE 11.2 (as well as Fedora 12, Mandriva 2010.0, Ubuntu 9.10 if you want to try other distributions). We've been doing quite some work in the GNOME team for 11.2, and as usual, it's hard to remember everything we changed ;-) One thing I'm quite happy with, though, is that I believe we're better upstream citizen now — it's still not perfect, of course. Oh, and we have some really great theme, thanks to Jakub, with a nice little touch in the form of the font used for window frames! 11.2 will be out next Thursday.

openSUSE 11.2

I'll try to write a bit more about recent openSUSE news on Thursday :-) But work has started again in Factory for the next version of openSUSE. Woohoo!

by Vincent