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GNOME The Almighty Buck

The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money 693

An anonymous reader writes "The GNOME Foundation is running out of money. The foundation no longer has any cash reserves so they have voted to freeze non-essential funding for running the foundation. They are also hunting down sponsors and unpaid invoices to regain some delayed revenue. Those wishing to support the GNOME Foundation can become a friend of GNOME."
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The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

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  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvolutionInAction ( 2623513 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:44AM (#46740087)

    Since they drove away all of their old friends by ignoring any and all criticisms of their design changes.

  • re: (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:46AM (#46740095)

    It may be the result of changes between gnome 2 and 3 GUI. What do You think?

  • Here's hoping. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dosius ( 230542 ) <> on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:47AM (#46740109) Journal

    Maybe GNOME will dry up and wither away, and most likely MATE will survive - because MATE is the GNOME people want.

  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:48AM (#46740115)
    get rid of both GNOME and KDE, and make XFCE behave itself and Linux might start acting more in line with the Unix philosophy []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:49AM (#46740121)

    That's what happens when management uses organization to push their private political views, rather than simply ensuring usability of software they should care of. GNOME's Karen Sandler single-handedly killed GNOME.

  • by Jody Bruchon ( 3404363 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:49AM (#46740125)
    Fuck 'em. They made the desktop environment require the monstrosity that is systemd, so I don't care if they go away entirely. GNOME was decent in the 2 series, though still never managed to not be buggy; when they moved to 3, everything went downhill HARD. Terrible UI changes that almost no one wanted, and then forcing systemd as a required dependency.

    You did it to yourselves. Go become irrelevant. Viva la Fluxbox!
  • by slack_justyb ( 862874 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:51AM (#46740133)

    I know that some here on Slashdot will be at a loss for sympathy for the project being in such dire circumstance. However, the key thing that some should remember is that a lot of what the GNOME hackers do, goes into the base for many other projects as well. Much of Linux Mint is an eclectic mix of Ubuntu and GNOME. Likewise for Elementary OS.

    So while we might be able to argue if this project has finally run its course, which I do want to add that the foundation running out of reserves hardly equates to the death knell for GNOME. One of the things we shouldn't do, or at least it would be in a very short sighted, is think that the actual GNOME Desktop and how ... "not so great," they've ran that ship plays into all of this. Agreed, the people in the project have become quite hard headed, but honestly which OSS project hasn't by now? However, there are a lot of people (Canonical *cough, cough*) who find their software very useful and hardly give anything back, at least to the foundation.

    PS: Being using beta now for a month plus some. I honestly think it is getting better but it does need quite a bit more work. I guess I just wanted to add that after seeing all the f*** beta sigs.

  • To be expected (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sandertje ( 1748324 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:54AM (#46740161)

    You make a product that no one wants to use? You die as an organization. Fair enough.

  • by Kuberz ( 3568651 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:08PM (#46740235)
    Yeah, nobody really cares about the Unix philosophy. I do love Ken Thompson and everything he contributed, but I don't necessarily agree with him to the point that I can't and wont think for myself. Different ideas, different styles, and different methods lead to new and wonderful things. People should never stick to one given set of rules or innovation would suffer. I became a fan of Linux because of the ability to mix and match. Saying we should just make XFCE work and then all just use that is like saying let's just use Windows. No thanks. The beauty of the OpenSource community, is that even if a project dies off, if there's enough interest (which there always is when it comes to DEs), something else will be born. Kind of like how forest fires burn everything to a crisp, but beautiful new life rises from the ashes. Which is exactly what happened when Ubuntu took a blowtorch to the user interface with Unity, and the result was Cinnamon becoming a full fledged and beautiful DE.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:09PM (#46740245)

    "The GNOME Foundation staff and board fell behind in their processes with being overwhelmed by administering OPW. GNOME's Outreach Program for Women is explained as "The Outreach Program for Women (OPW) helps women (cis and trans) and genderqueer get involved in free and open source software." They've had around 30 interns for their most recent cycle."

    Let me translate. They were fucking off by diverging from the core project into recreational political activities unrelated to their mission.

    I completely support the idea of such outreach, but if you don't have your core in order then they are best done elsewhere.

    If you saw off the branch you were sitting on you have no place to seat the new folks you wanted to include.

    There is no kind way to put it. GNOME fucked up due to willful stupidity. They'll see not a dime from me.

  • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:13PM (#46740281) Homepage

    The open source movement owes much to the Gnome foundation. Yes, they have alienated their core support base, and perhaps this situation is a result of those cows coming home to roost. Nonetheless, a gutted or even dead Gnome foundation hurts the whole community, if only because it highlights the fragility of open source focused organizations as going concerns.

    (Yes, yes I know it's supposed to be chickens.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:19PM (#46740331)

    Incompetents like Karen Sandler who squandered funds on her pet sexual politics project are why GNOME should be defunded..

    The PEOPLE who let this happen deserve to be punished for betraying the user base and deliberately wasting donated money on bullshit.

    Those of you who don't suck, jump ship and code for a program which deserves it. The "leadership" will have GNOME on their resumes and no one where they hire

    on next will remember their fuckups.

    Thanks for nothing Karen. You contribute nothing to women and cis people by conforming to the stereotype!

  • by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:21PM (#46740341) Homepage Journal

    The open source movement owes much to the Gnome foundation.

    Care to elaborate?

    I can only recall the libxml2 and it isn't the most popular xml library.

    I had hopes for gstreamer too, but it turned out to be a dud, worth only writing helloworld^W Totem class applications. And GNOME has already wrote the Totem...

    Rest of GNOME are just vast layers of layers of wrappers for layers of abstractions for wrappers for 3rd party libraries.

  • by OneAhead ( 1495535 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:26PM (#46740383)

    vast layers of layers of wrappers for layers of abstractions for wrappers for 3rd party libraries.

    The correct term for that is "software" these days. Like it or not, that's how it is.

  • by Fnord ( 1756 ) <> on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:50PM (#46740563) Homepage

    Temper this with the fact that I'm one of the few people who actually like Gnome 3, enough that I switched from Ubuntu to Fedora just to not have to replace Unity. But, fine, people are angry that they didn't respect their user base, when what their user base wanted was yet another rehash of the win 95 desktop layout. The Gnome developers actually tried to do something new in desktop UIs, they actually tried to innovate. And as with any innovation, some of the things they did worked, and some didn't. Gnome 3.0 had a lot of problems, but the potential was there and some of us saw it. As of Gnome 3.8 there is a ton more polish. And a lot of that polish came from user feedback. No they didn't listen to feedback that said "Bring back Gnome 2! No change evar!" They just continued to refine what they had. And they laid down a ton of backend libraries that allowed things like Cinnamon to exist. If they had adopted Cinnamon as one of a few official skins for Gnome 3, would people support them then? Because in terms of development there wouldn't be any change. Some devs continue to work on the new UI, some devs on the rehashed old UI, many on the shared core. Just like today.

    I'm going to go contribute to a project that has done amazing things for open source.

  • Re:Funny (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:00PM (#46740639)

    it's the only feature that could save gnome 3

  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:06PM (#46740681)

    Pay some respect to those who went before and the work they did.

    They are getting the same respect they gave the users who did not appreciate a multi headed very expensive single view tablet as a computing platform. If there was ever a call for Nelson Muntz, this is it.

  • Re:Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kyrsjo ( 2420192 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:07PM (#46740693)

    Is it just me, or has the quality of Slashdot comments devolved quite a lot in the recent months - essentially due to crap like the anonymous cowards posting in this post? It would be a shame if these idiots make it neccessary to remove anonymous posting at ./ - I've seen some brilliant posts written by people who briefely coming out of lurkdom to answer something which is right in the middle of their field of expertice.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:09PM (#46740717)

    Fucking patriarchal slime. How dare you bring your sexist views into an otherwise rational debate? As women, we have a right to exist too!

    Back to Reddit...

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:16PM (#46740781)

    I fail to see how you fail to see what I was responding to, specifically "You're missing the real picture. GNOME is running out of money because they spent it on stupid outreach programs for women and "trans-women"". This does appear to be the case. The rest of the comment is indeed misogynistic and irritating.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:21PM (#46740819)

    Fucking patriarchal slime. How dare you bring your sexist views into an otherwise rational debate? As women, we have a right to exist too!

    Only a woman would call the above rational... ;) (That was a joke!)

    In all seriousness, however, you demonstrated the problem clearly. The Gnome Foundation has a core competency of creating user interfaces. (I know! Gnome 3 and competence is a stretch, but stick with me a second.) I don't care if you are a guy, a girl, or a dude in a dress... I want good code. But, women's advocacy has nothing to do with putting out a good UI. A ton of money was wasted that did nothing for them at all! This is not anti-woman. This is anti "women's advocacy."

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:22PM (#46740829)

    How can this have been modded "informative"? It is a stupid sexist and homophobic attack.

    Because accuracy also counts.

  • by Lisias ( 447563 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:23PM (#46740833) Homepage Journal

    Pay some respect to those who went before and the work they did.

    I would gladly do that, if I managed to find them. Obviously, such people is not working for Gnome Foundation anymore.

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:30PM (#46740891) Homepage

    Let me translate. They were fucking off by diverging from the core project into recreational political activities unrelated to their mission.

    But that seems to be what a lot of people on Slashdot want. Look at the Mozilla and DropBox controversies. Lots of people posting and moderating support those.

    No, I'd say what people here want in general is for an organization to be apolitical. Being against LGBT is bad, but doing activities related to LGBT is also bad. A software company is supposed to be a bunch of people coding and nothing else, ideally.

    Deviations are allowed only for subjects related to the core mission: patents, copyright, open source, etc.

  • Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lisias ( 447563 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:37PM (#46740949) Homepage Journal

    I'm not. Sadly, this is precisely what happens when non technicians do technical decisions on a tech Foundation.

    Gnome Desktop 2 was one of the main reason I jumped ship from Windows and spend 2 excelent years developing on a Linux box. Almost everything just works, and the few that didn't, I managed to tweak it into production with little effort - I'm a tech guy, after all.

    And then came Gnome Desktop 3. And I decided that the migration efforts would be better spent on MacOS X - that I'm using since that days. No regrets.

    I think the time for a MATE Foundation has come. :-)

    This is a screaming message to every Open Source Foundation around (yes, Mozilla, I'm talking to you): do what your users *NEED* you to do, not what your non techies "advisors" *want* you to do.

    There's no space on a tech industry for "politically correct" tech solutions that doesn't cut it! []

  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:39PM (#46740959) Homepage
    Yeah that's just not accurate.

    It's not change=good versus change=bad. Everyone is ok with change. The question is what type of changes and why?

    Gnome has a history of changing for the worst, and for the worst reasons.

    Not just Gnome, they are a leading case but the affliction they suffer from appears to be very widespread in the computing industry. We have a glut of 'designer' prima donnas that all want to 'change' and 'innovate' for no reason other than so they can feel trendy, and this is a predictable result.

    Change comes in so many different forms. "I changed this line to fix this bug" is one kind of change. "I changed the master control loop slightly to add a hook for new functions I wrote" is another. "I broke everything completely so we can all have a lot of fun rewriting everything from scratch, and let's make it totally different just to be fresh!" Is a third.

    It's not that there is something inherently evil about the third type of change, even. No, it's perfectly acceptable, fine, good, laudable - in the right situation.

    But gnome has earned a reputation for excessive and inappropriate changes.
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:50PM (#46741037) Homepage Journal

    Respect is, after all, a two-way street.

    First, we heard that Ubuntu was going to push a Metro-like desktop. Then, almost immediately afterward, we heard that Gnome was going to push a Metro-like desktop. All across the *nix world, there were protests that rapidly grew into revolutions against the concept, but neither Ubuntu nor Gnome could be dissuaded.

    I feel a bit bad that Gnome is in financial straits today. But, there is no real depth to my sympathy. I'm managing quite well on this Mate desktop. Had Mate not come along, I would probably be bouncing back and forth between XFCE and E17. Or, more likely, I would have finally settled on an E17 configuration that I liked. There are SO MANY variables and decisions to make when configuring E, whereas Mate and most other desktops just offer a well rounded "default" when they are installed.

    Oh - you were talking about respect. Gnome should be an object lesson for other projects. Don't just abandon or try to bully your dedicated fan base. Don't insult their intelligence. Respect your users, or your users will abandon you in turn.

  • Re:Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @02:02PM (#46741125) Homepage Journal

    Now, please, pass that word on to the rest of Silly Con Valley. You might nudge Google when you pass that word on. Few of us give a small goddamn about some coder's preferred perversions - just shut up and code!

  • by goruka ( 1721094 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @02:23PM (#46741259)
    Being honest, they only seem to be developing Gnome 3 for themselves and the few loyal users that remain with them. They are not interested in the rest of the community using Gnome anymore, they sent that message clearly several times, and we the past users understood. Yet, they ask for money with the excuse that some of the components are being used by other environments and/or applications.

    I don't personally mind at this point if gnome dies, they should have seen what happened to KDE 4 and take note. They should have see what happened with Windows 8 and read the writing on the wall. Even Microsoft has changed course by now while Gnome is still heading to irrelevance.

    If I were in their shoes, I'd simply change course, post a public apology, announce Gnome 4 and bring back everything that users are missing. That should give them enough support to stay alive. I'm sure there is still time for them. But as I said before, I don't think they even care so let them die.
  • Re:Funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @02:27PM (#46741301)
    Seems to me that it's Gnome Foundation which is acting like a sexist dirtbag. They're driving/funding sexist "outreach" programs [] which are well beyond the scope of their formal charter [], in which they disingenuously claim to be "a Meritocracy."
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @04:36PM (#46742123) Journal

    SystemD makes sense as it is event based. Solaris and MacOSX have moved beyond init and it makes sense.

    How do you setup initd on a Macbook where it is on one network, falls asleep, then wakes up on another? Scenarios such as this and others such as detecting when an apache server gets compromised you can set a chain of commands to do things based on events.

    Yes it is different and unix admins hate changes that require years worth of scripts to go obsolete.

    But initd is from a different era where a typical server ran 3 or 4 daemons and maybe had a few dozen unix command line options if you were lucky. That is long gone today.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@wo[ ] ['rld' in gap]> on Sunday April 13, 2014 @04:53PM (#46742225) Homepage Journal

    It's not the comments that have decreased in quality, it's the moderation. Ever since the whole beta thing people seem be less willing to spend time moderating and meta-moderating the site. Hardly surprising; when you treat people that way it's not wonder they don't feel inclined to contribute their time and energy. Quite a few people seem to have left permanently since the boycott too.

  • Re:Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@wo[ ] ['rld' in gap]> on Sunday April 13, 2014 @04:59PM (#46742265) Homepage Journal

    I don't think it's a bad thing for successful organizations with resources they can spare to try to improve IT and society in general. The problem here is not that the goal was the wrong one, it's that Gnome simply spent too much on it.

  • Re:Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nephandus ( 2953269 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @05:11PM (#46742335)
    What you find irritating is irrelevant when accurate. The industry was male-dominated. This was declared sexist thus the current pissing away money and fucking over the males specifically and the industry generally to make way for females who couldn't hack it to begin with who think they're special. Of course, those females tend to piss off those already in the industry who could, but that's easily shouted down by the likes of you.
  • Re:Funny (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @06:21PM (#46742701)

    That being said, the original poster's sexism and cisgenderism is obviously out of line in any case, but it does appear the growth of this program (which undoubtedly is largely cis women) was a large factor in creating the current financial situation.

    Can you translate that to English? Without making up any words, if that isn't too much trouble.

    GNOME's time of glory is long past. All they do now is ignore their users and make the UI worse. I wouldn't shed a tear if the project finally died, honestly I think it should have ended before they launched GNOME 3.
    I don't care about their political opinions, they could advocate killing pandas for all I care as long as they did not shit all over the interface.

  • Re:Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:44AM (#46744393)

    Questioning feminism and/or actions taken by feminists (ie spending an organization's money inappropriately) is not hatred of women.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @01:02AM (#46744445)

    The only thing they should be spending their funds on is the development of gnome software. That does not include funding political viruses like 'affirmative action'. Targeting money at programmers of specific sexes, races, or 'lifestyles', is discriminatory unless the case can be made why the targeted group writes superior code.

    Seriously, your foundation needs to reevaluate its priorities.

  • Re:Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @01:35AM (#46744563)

    programs that target funds at people with specific traits that aren't supposed to matter in the first place does not improve anything.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:35AM (#46744687)

    Yes there is. Reaching out to women because they're women is discrimination based on sex, which is inherently hypocritical when it's done under the feminist (stated) claim that sex doesn't matter. What you should discriminate on are programming and other relevant skillsets. Since race, sex, and sexual 'lifestyle' are poor indicators for those traits, you shouldn't spend significant sums pursuing people along those attributes. Those percentages are meaningless, arbitrary quotas.

    These PC people are like viruses in that they require the resources of a host organization in order to propagate their ultimately self-interested message, which makes the host's goals of secondary importance to them, if at all. They invade organizations they see as having power in a particular community and sap resources that could be better spent on relevant goals, with particularly virulent ones killing their hosts off, entirely. I realize you mean well, but this is society-wide problem, and the only way to stop it is to resist their influence at the beginning. You might be threatened with 'discrimination' lawsuits and the like, but as long as the organization's policies are (and have a history of being) truly agnostic towards irrelevant attributes (and not just race, sex, and sexual 'lifestyle'), they're morally sound.

    Equal outcome is not a good measure of equal opportunity. So, guidelines that discriminate on relevant attributes and pay no heed to balanced populations along irrelevant attributes are NOT oppressive, no matter what shaming language is hurled your way. If that results in a 50/50 split between the sexes, fine.. If not, that's fine too, because your organization is focused on hiring the best developers, not the best male or the best female developers.

  • by Danious ( 202113 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:40AM (#46746037) Homepage

    Sigh. Standard ignorant Slashdot commenting, perhaps you should read up about OPW before making stuff up.

    Here's how it works. An organisation such as KDE decides to participate in OPW and so finds some sponsors to pay the US$5,500 stipend for each intern. In KDE's case we found one of our corporate sponsors who was willing to pay. The participating organisation collects the sponsorship money and pays this to the Gnome Foundation who then pays the interns. The Gnome Foundation also charges the participating organisation an admin fee to cover their expenses in running the program. There are at least 18 organisations who have participated in OPW in this way, including Mozilla, VideoLAN, Fedora, and the Linux Foundation. In the last round there were 30 interns from 8 organisations, only 3 interns were from Gnome.

    There's two problems with this:

    1) All the money passes through the Gnome Foundation accounts, making it appear they have spent 25% of their income on OPW, when in fact it isn't really an income or an expense to the Gnome Foundation, e.g. last round they paid out US$165,000 of which only US$16,500 was their own money, the rest was paid on behalf of the other orgs.

    2) The program got so successful so fast that the Gnome Foundation's internal financial processes couldn't cope, they had to pay the interns before they had received all the sponsorship money from the participating organisations, and they used their own cash reserves to cover the gap. Once the participating orgs pay up, the Gnome Foundation will be back to normal again.

    Anyone who's ever run a small business will recognise this as a classic cash-flow crisis from growing too big too fast before your admin has a chance to catch up. The lesson here is that the Gnome Foundation needs to set up a separate set of books for OPW and work harder to get the other orgs to pay the sponsors money up front.

    So those of you slandering Karen Sandler claiming she's "stolen" money from Gnome for her own personal agenda really have some apologizing to do.

    One other point to make is that the Gnome Foundation, just like the KDE eV, has absolutely no say over the direction of development of Gnome, they are just there to provide financial support to the direction the developers choose to take.

    John Layt, KDE eV member.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.