Joe Marcus Clarke, who has worked tirelessly for a number of years making GNOME rock on FreeBSD, has never been very noisy about his excellent work. So I was very happy to find him quoted in a ZDNet article about FreeBSD’s desktop efforts, and a whole interview with him on Will Backman’s bsdtalk podcast (mp3, transcript). Rock on!
Joe points out that, because the vast majority of GNOME developers use Linux, and therefore most new development revolves around it, maintainers of GNOME on other operating systems face a number of different challenges, both technical and social. While the project has never been exclusively about Linux, it certainly takes the cake as the most popular platform for GNOME, so Linux gets the most attention — those who play the game, make the rules — but I’ve never seen anyone decline a portability patch for unhealthy reasons.
So, what can we do to make life easier for porters? First on my list would be to increase the relevance and support for JhAutobuild so everyone can see when things break. While most developers have a fair idea of which components have portability problems, more reporting from porters would help us make better decisions for them. How about a set of portability tips in our coding guidelines, so porters can make sure their platforms needs are met (including Windows).