On the relationship between Canonical and GNOME

I can’t count the number of times over the last three years (!) that I have written and deleted a post about Canonical’s worsening relationship with GNOME. Having worked for Canonical and held a leadership role in GNOME, I’ve felt a weight of responsibility (probably unfounded) to contribute to this ongoing debate — and do so constructively.

My hope in finally publishing my thoughts is to raise the tone of the discussion, document what has happened over the last few years, illustrate why we’ve reached this low point in the relationship between Canonical and GNOME, and consider the options for resolution and next steps.

Unfortunately, what began as a short clarification has grown into a research project over the last few days, and is bordering on the length of a novel. So rather than deliver a single, epic post about everything — in dangerous TL;DR territory — I have decided to split my comments into a series of posts:

  1. On the relationship between Canonical and GNOME (a series)
  2. Thoughts on GNOME
  3. The libappindicator Story (timeline)
  4. Love flies under the radar
  5. The Greatest Show on Earth (timeline)
  6. Moving the needle in GNOME
  7. It’s 2009โ€ฆ and they have a plan (timeline)
  8. The timeline continues…
  9. … TBD (still have to figure out how to split the rest of it!)


Disclosure: I enjoyed working for Canonical from 2004-2006, and although I have occasionally been accused ofย shilling for Ubuntu since then, I suspect few at Canonical would regard me as their #1 fan at the moment. I haven’t been involved in GNOME for quite some time, and generally try to avoid thinking about it very often.

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6 Responses to On the relationship between Canonical and GNOME

  1. Will you be touching KDE-GNOME at all? do consider it important. After all, this whole discussion was brought up as a reference on how “presumably” GNOME does not accept any “outside GNOME” colaboration even if it means braking FreeDesktop.org specs.

    Would be interested in learning your take on the KDE contributions as well.

    • Jeff Waugh says:

      So, the genesis of this discussion was actually far more related to claims made about collaboration between Canonical and GNOME. Aaron just injected himself into the discussion by raising a KDE / FreeDesktop.org angle. ๐Ÿ™‚ However, because it has been raised (and so vigorously supported by Mark in his latest post), it looks like I will have to deal with it as well.

  2. Eric Pritchett says:

    I’m looking forward to this. Uubntu peaked for me at release 6.06 and since then it’s had so much promise, but just hasn’t delivered for me. For example, the MeMenu seemed neat on the surface, but then just became an annoyance because you can’t sign in with it.
    Will you be discussing the http://live.gnome.org/10×10 ? That too seemed to have a lot of potential at the time and it totally seemed doable, but I felt like direction was lost.

  3. Brian Haines says:

    Admittedly I just arrived here and am just about to begin reading your “novel.” Your disclaimer, “…and generally try to avoid thinking about [GNOME] very often” struck me as odd in light of the title of the post: “On the relationship between Canonical and GNOME.”

    I look forward to diving in just the same.

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