GNOME, an outer glance.

GNOME is changing, as every community driven project, GNOME is involved in a daily evolution.
Every day, some new feature is added, some new ideas are developed, some new intuitions are followed.

A challenge that leads every day to different road enlightened by a new thrilling vision, enforced by designers’ effort to make GNOME the best user experience for everyone.
But GNOME is not only designers, and it’s important remember that a such ambitious project needs – to reach its goals – of a great amount of lovers that will help out to step up.

Recently I had time to reflect about the way people could step in a FLOSS project – i.e. this is one of the issues we’re used to discuss in Ubuntu Women project – what kind of greeting is expected and what kind of greeting instead is reserved to newcomers.

GNOME has a strong core of die-hard developers that, in time have created an unique connection, made by a friendship and a common vision built during daily brainstorming on communication channels that keep in touch people very different form each others for experience, place of living, backgrounds, but everyone moved from the same passion.

It’s quite easy to comprehend that, sometimes, could be not so simple to be able to step in this circle of trust, switching from passive user to active contributor.

The question that more often is addressed from lovers is: “How can I participate? What can I do for this project?”

My first contact with FLOSS world has been GNOME mediated. GNOME offered to me a simple and simply-to-use interface for my daily work, but I followed with attention all the deep changing that lead GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 and the great revolution brought by GNOME Shell.

I had the fortune to get in touch with some special guys on #gnome-it that led me in exploring this exciting new land, and this gave me the opportunity to understand that, behind the charge someone could fling of a lack of focus, there is only a lack of comprehension of what’s happening.

It’s true, sometimes designers and developers have little time to deeply explain what they’re making, and this make harder to find a way to contribute, but I’m sure GNOME is a great and welcoming community to whom everyone could give an hand, “that the powerful play goes on, and everyone will contribute a gesture”.

By my side, I believe that participation needs comprehension, and this post could be read as a try-out to comprehend GNOME, and therefore, to participate.

This is what I see. And you?


4 thoughts on “GNOME, an outer glance.

  1. > “The question that more often is addressed from lovers is: “How can I participate? What can I do for this project?””

    This is my experience too. (mostly in Fedora)

    I think what most people have a hard time understanding is that in a volunteer-based community, nobody will assign work to you. You just find something interesting to do that is aligned with the values of the project, and then you just go and do it.

    As such, the above question makes absolutely no sense. Or rather, it can only receive answers like “You can do whatever you would enjoy doing for the project”.

    That’s what I keep repeating to prospective Fedora contributors, and they seem to have a hard time understanding it.

    I think our society is very much oriented towards hierarchical structures of power, where somebody assigns work to somebody else. This doesn’t exist in FOSS communities, and people have a hard time joining because they don’t understand that.

    They don’t understand that they can just go and find whatever task they would enjoy doing, and just do it, without asking for permission first.

    It seems to me that people who already have this mindset have absolutely no problem communicating with the GNOME developers and designers. This is my case, to some extent: I find something needed/buggy/problematic in GNOME, so I just go and try to figure out who maintains that part, find them where they hang (IRC, Bugzilla,…), and start talking to them about my ideas. And eventually, these ideas get implemented (often **not** by patches I submitted myself, so the whole “I can’t code” argument doesn’t hold).

    I think that’s where the apparent “lack of communication” that people keep repeating about GNOME really is: most users haven’t understood that in a volunteer-based community, they can just go ahead and talk to others, and suggest ideas, and fix stuff.

    I don’t know how to get people to understand that, though. :-/

    • @bochecha Hey, your explaination was really nice. I have recently found this out for myself, becoming involved as a package maintainer simply by trying to get a bug fixed. If I had read your description beforehand, I might have gotten into it quicker. I never realized that I could just do something and submit it back without having to OK it first. Really if I submit a change and they don’t think it is ok, then it doesn’t get implemented. And also, I have found that you can indeed just e-mail people and talk to them, or get on IRC and chat with someone. This kind of description should be implemented in the wiki pages of Ubuntu/Fedora/whatever. It could really help people that can’t code (yet) get involved.

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