This year’s GUADEC was one of the best that I have ever attended. I have never seen the GNOME community so energised. New contributors were more visible than ever before, and all of them were fantastically enthusiastic and motivated. It is always a wonderful experience to see newcomers be inspired by our community. Our outreach efforts are more successful than ever.
One of the things that has made this year’s GUADEC stand out is the big strides we have made to set goals for the medium and long-term. There is no denying that our project faces challenges; I think this is true for many actors in what we call the desktop space. What is exciting is that the GNOME community is coming together to face those challenges. More details will emerge in the coming weeks, but we have started initiatives here that address a number of significant issues, such as making it easy to develop applications for GNOME, doing more to test the core UX and ensure quality, and we have discussed how fill in the missing pieces in our plans for the GNOME 3 user experience.
Many of our partners are participating in helping the GNOME project to push forward with its plans for the future. We have an engaged advisory board, and I have been working closely with contributors from companies while I have been here, including Igalia, Collabora, SugarLabs, Novell, Codethink, Canonical, Red Hat and Lanedo. We continue to reach out to potential partners in our effort to create a beautiful user experience, drive innovation in the Free Software ecosystem, and showcase the technologies which it contains.
Aside from GUADEC, I am finding the current release cycle to be one of the most energetic and exciting that I have been involved in. I have been run off my feet following and supporting all of the development work that is currently happening. The number of major new features that are being worked on is pretty staggering: we have a new lock screen, major updates for the message tray, integration of input sources, changes to the Activities Overview and to Activities Overview search, to name just some of them. We also have several new applications which are being driven by new volunteers, including Calendar and Clocks. As far as I can see, the rate of development progress is increasing, and the GNOME 3 UX is rapidly improving.
I am particularly excited that GNOME is currently in the process of fixing longstanding holes in our user experience. One example of this is the new input methods work. GNOME has never had integrated input methods in the whole of its history. Now we are fixing that. The same goes for accessibility. This cycle we turned on accessibility by default for the very first time. From now on, these things will Just Work, and will dramatically increase the inclusiveness of GNOME 3. These changes will also widen our reach and relevance in significant ways.
Wherever I look, our contributors are busy making GNOME into what we have always wanted it to be – a fantastic, free user experience that is available to everyone. The future is bright.