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 2009… 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 of 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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