GTK+ Healthcheck

A while ago I had a discussion with Benjamin on IRC about the health of the GTK+ project, he seems pretty pessimistic about the state of GNOME in general and GTK+ in particular, and I showed my disagreement. Now don't get me wrong, there are challenges and I do share some concerns. Mostly, the fact that programming and delivering GNOME apps these days is way too complicated compared to other development platforms, consuming and viewing large online datasets and the lack of a coherent set of widgets and guidelines for touch driven devices are among those. Some of these issues will be covered at the DX hackfest of course and I'm certain that we will find solutions in the long term.

Benjamin raised that there seems to be less and less GTK+ hackers, and strongly disagreed with that fact, I perceive a lot more people doing stuff in GTK+ and GNOME than when I joined GNOME back in 2004. However, he caught me at something, I did not have numbers to back that up, and he was right, without actual data, I was just basing my opinion on perception. This is one of those times where I am glad that data backs up my gut feeling, I wrote down a little script to count the number of different contributors on each GNOME release (or each 6 months on pre-2.0 times).

These are the results:

Notice that on top of the total contributors I have also plotted the amount of translations. I have to say that we have an outstanding group of translators who are doing a remarkable job in the GNOME community, however while the amount of translators reflects the good health of our translators community, it does not really reflect the health of the project code wise, therefore I decided to do another chart with just code contributions:

This chart shows what my gut feelings told me already, a lot of people are contributing to GTK+ these days, more than ever. There are a few points in time where contributions have risen up noticeably, one is in the 2.18 release, which I suspect has to do with the adoption of Subversion over CVS, and the other one is during the 3.0 release.

All in all, there seems to be a rough average of 60 people contributing code on each release, this has enormous potential. Of course, a lot of these contributions are small, but it means that a lot of people find it possible to contribute code which means that this perception that people are running away from core GTK+ development is not true. In fact, it has only gotten better steadily during the past few years.

Not only in terms of people contributing patches, but 3.x has been an outstanding release series (though a bit bumpy stability wise), CSS theming and a new cairo based theming API, the broadway and wayland backends, file and font chooser improvements, a massive code cleanup in several places… the list just goes on. Not to mention that the grounds for 4.0 are being settled already like the paint clock work by Owen and the work Emmanuele has been doing on Clutter 2.0.

I remember that back in 2004, the sole suggestion of adding a new widget to the toolkit was received very negatively by the maintainers (for good reasons at the time), that is not the case anymore, things are at an optimal stage to get the improvements we need in.

At the end of the day is up to us to see the cup half empty or half full, FOSS communities are a lot about enthusiasm so I think we are better off making an effort at looking at the bright side of life and stop ourselves from actively undermining others people's enthusiasm, the worst thing we can do if we love GNOME is to let people think that there is no point in investing our time and passion in it.

So all in all, I think that there are challenges, but we have loads opportunities to improve as well. We have many facts to celebrate and be excited about.

Let's keep on rocking. 

GNOME DX Hackfest: Call for action

Hello guys, things are working well and nice for the GNOME DX Hackfest, as I mentioned in my previous post, the venue is confirmed and the dates are confirmed as well (30th, 31th Jan and 1st of Feb). A budget request has been set to the board of directors to hopefully bring people in need for sponsorship to the hackfest.

Some people have already confirmed their attendance, Lennart Poettering, Frederic Peters and yours truly being some of them. I'm sure a big bunch just have forgotten to confirm, so please read carefully.

This is a call of action to attendees and people who were willing to attend but can't:

  • If you are NOT going to attend, remove yourself from the tentative list.
  • If you ARE going to attend, remove yourself from the tentative list and add yourself to the confirmed attendees list.
  • If you are waiting for sponsorship do nothing.

Thanks a lot to everyone!

This hackfest is kindly hosted by the betagroup coworking space in Brussels.

Update: Meg Ford has pointed out that I did not explain what to do if waiting for sponsorship, fixed.

GNOME DX Hackfest: Dates/Venue confirmed

We have confirmed the venue and the dates for the Developer Experience hackfest.

The betagroup coworking space from Belgium has kindly offered us a room and connectivity for up to 30 people. This has the great advantage that we can attend to FOSDEM on the weekend after.

To attendees

If you are going to attend, please add your name to the wiki page as a confirmed attendee.

I'm trying to come up with a budget for the people in need for sponsorship, if that is your case, please send me an estimateof your flight costs ASAP!

I am trying to sort out the accomodation story in the upcoming days, expect news soon.


GNOME DX Hackfest: Update #1

Hello everybody,

A couple of news regarding the Developer Experience hackfest.

First and foremost, the interest shown is outstanding, very interesting names and a lot of enthusiasm around. The amount of people willing to attend and the fact that some of the key people in the project is interested in pushing this area forward is really encouraging.

We have a possible venue and dates, our friends from the Brussels' Betagroup Co-Working Space have kindly offered a room for the hackfest where we can cellebrate the hackfest. What's exciting about this venue is that they are able to host the days immediately before FOSDEM, which means that a lot of people outside of Europe can make the most of their trip, I hope this will maximize attendance. Plus the venue is 30 minutes by foot away from the FOSDEM venue so the people wanting to attend both events can choose a single accomodation for the whole week. 

I would like to ask the people interested in coming to fill up the doodle with their names are their williness to attend in this dates/venue so that I can move forward and confirm it.

By the way, I'd be interested to see more names from the MonoDevelop/Xamarin world, as I think they have very valuable input to this particular area, so if you are listening, please consider attending 🙂

I'm looking forward for this hackfest to happen!