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GNOME The Almighty Buck

The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money 693

Posted by samzenpus
from the coffers-are-bare dept.
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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:44AM (#46740083)

    One can only hope.

  • 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:Funny (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:59AM (#46740191)

      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". And now that the financial shitstorm is coming to light... the female exec director responsible for this debacle resigns [gnome.org]

      So basically men made it...men funded it. Women showed up later and demanded all the money be spent on them... and now there's none left. It's almost a microcosm of the Western nations economic woes.

  • by markybob (802458) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:45AM (#46740089)
    they haven't listened to customers for years...of course money will dry up and people will move on.
  • Here's hoping. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dosius (230542) <bridget@buric.co> 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.

  • get rid of both GNOME and KDE, and make XFCE behave itself and Linux might start acting more in line with the Unix philosophy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]
    • by slack_justyb (862874) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:53AM (#46740153)
      If we honestly wanted to follow the Unix philosophy, we should add X11 to that list as well. There's nothing about X that follows the Unix philosophy any more.
    • >make XFCE behave itself

      Please elaborate on how XFCE isn't behaving itself.

      • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:20PM (#46740337) Homepage

        Right now in Xubuntu: The WindowButtons/Taskbar shows the wrong windows when using multiple monitors, the xfce-volumed is constantly hanging, not registering volume keys and using the wrong soundcard, the indicator-applet is completely broken and putting apps into fullscreen doesn't work properly any more either with multiple monitors. Most of this used to work a year or two ago. It feels like XFCE is just getting more and more broken as time progresses. It's pretty frustrating, guess it's time to try Mate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kuberz (3568651)
      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
  • 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!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates (198444)

      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 ser

      • by laffer1 (701823)

        Many people don't like launchd on OS X either. It uses XML configuration files and you get a hurd of apps spinning and waiting for resources. It's very easy to botch writing a good startup script.

        The real issue is that systemd is a non compatible, poorly licensed solution and it intentionally is incompatible with every other unix system. If we're going to replace init with something else, it should be possible to actually run on more than one unix like operating system. There have been poor attempts to po

      • by sjames (1099)

        None of that is the problem. I would be happy to look at an event based system. What I don't want is some monstrosity that insists on doing all or nothing. Init should not be sticking it's fingers into /dev or dbus. Events are fine, just let it call the appropriate script for the events.

        As for sleeping on one network and waking up on another, that feature exists already on systems that have never heard of systemd.

        As for detecting when apache gets compromised, when did systemd solve the halting problem?

        What

  • 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.

  • Among other things (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:52AM (#46740143)
    Unlink yourself from systemd.
  • Blame GNOME 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:54AM (#46740157)

    I started using GNOME at version 1.4 and I really liked it. I followed the development of GNOME 2 closely and was very excited when it was finally released. I spent a lot of time checking the code out of CVS and building it before 2.0. The thing is, I was just a kid back then, I didn't have $25 for a mousepad even though I would have happily supported the project. I remember looking at the website when I was like 17 thinking how awesome it would be to have a GNOME tshirt or some kind of GNOME swag.

    Fast forward a few years... Today, I could easily donate $500 but I'm not going to, since I don't use GNOME anymore. When GNOME 3 was released, my disappointment was colossal. I had to completely re-think my desktop - if it was going to change so drastically that I'd have to relearn everything, it might as well be change that made sense. So I switched to a tiling window manager called i3. If i3 project ever needs money, I'll give it to them.

    But not GNOME. Sorry guys. I guess this is what happens when you alienate your users and let "user experience"-crap-level developers infiltrate your project.

  • 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 rubycodez (864176) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:59AM (#46740185)

    For those of us who wish to hasten the death of GNOME, is there anything we can do?

  • 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 Roxoff (539071) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:11PM (#46740261) Homepage
    But Gnome 3 is unusable. It's been unusable since inception, and it still cuts me to pieces when I have a nice fresh install of Linux and it's buggered up by Gnome 3 making it completely unusable. Microsoft came in for tons of criticism because they removed the Start menu in Windwos 8, and look, two years later, it's back in 8.1. The Gnome Foundation came in for tons of criticism because they took all the usable bits of Gnome 2 and put them in the bin to produce Gnome 3. And now, five years later, Gnome 3 is still exactly the same. I think running out of money and going out of business is a position that the Gnome foundation has struggled hard to achieve. But, by gosh, they've done it.
  • by cmdr_tofu (826352) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:12PM (#46740273) Homepage

    Unfortunately Gnome 3 pushed me back to ovlwm and xfce. I have a feeling there are a significant number of users (and posters in this thread) in my situation.

    It's a little sad because a few years ago, the Linux Desktop was really really great (especially with Gnome 2 + compiz fusion). These days, I really don't feel that way. I wish I could get myself to like KDE.

    Wasn't Sun the primary funder of Gnome development?

  • by Fnord (1756) <joe@sadusk.com> 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.

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:37PM (#46740947)
      Stacking things by application, regardless of workflow is a serious impediment to some workflow. This is fact, not fear. If a change makes a job take 10% longer, it is a BAD CHANGE. This is something they never grasped. And while it may not be much of an issue for a home user or hobbyist, for people that use Linux on the job, it is major.
    • 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 Rehdon (25434) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:10PM (#46740721)

    After I realized that no matter what the existing user base would say, the GNOME 3 developers weren't going to make Gnome Shell suitable for the good old desktop work flow (besides making it impossible to have GNOME 2 installed together with the new version ...), I started looking elsewhere. I tried several desktop environments, and then sticked to Cinnamon, a "no nonsense, it just works" shell based on the Gnome libraries.

    What I noticed almost immediately was that, in spite of the GNOME devs making fun of people jumping ship and waving them goodbye, Linux Mint received more donation money in a month than GNOME in 5-6.

    So there you go guys, people have voted with their feet deserting you, and with their wallets funding other, more worthwile open source projects: I'm tempted to help, just because Cinnamon is based on Gnome libraries, but the conclusion is that you reap what you have sown. No sympathy from this ex-GNOME user.

    Rehdon

  • 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!

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.p... [phoronix.com]

  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:48PM (#46741033)
    Users might be more inclined to support them if they stopped ignoring what users want.
  • Cash flow (Score:4, Informative)

    by jbolden (176878) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:50PM (#46741039) Homepage

    Well looking at Gnome's website. The problem seems to be mainly cash flow not so much a huge drop in funding. What they are saying is that OPW (outreach for women has been popular beyond expectations, they are spending more than expected and not everyone is paying their invoices).

    So what you see is:

    Invoicing our Advisory Board members for their annual subscription fees
    Invoicing our conference sponsors
    Following up on unpaid invoices more actively
    Taking on the Executive Director's administrative and fundraising duties
    Invoicing the OPW sponsoring organizations for the upcoming round immediately
    Increasing our general fundraising efforts for the Foundation and its events
    Some of the OPW administrative workload is being shifted from Foundation employees to the OPW organizing team

    Which is basically a cash flow problem. If there were domestic this would be an easy problem to solve by borrowing against receivables. For an international charity I'm not sure what the rules are.

  • 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.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @04:40PM (#46742149) Homepage Journal

    Gnome has become an abysmal piece of drek not worth the effort of spitting on. The only reason I ever use it is because some configuration options for various distros are only released for the Gnome desktops on those distros. I use KDE day to day, with the sole exception of the Rhythmbox music player (which itself is just a "lesser of evils" choice -- every Linux music player I've tried sucks in some way or other.)

    Gnome 2 was usable. I liked Gnome 2. I would have happily stuck with Gnome 2 and reasonable enhancements to it.

    But nooooooo, the development team for the Gnome project knew "better" than everyone else how a computer should operate. They totally screwed the power user with Gnome 3, creating an unholy abortion that doesn't work well with mouse and keyboard and doesn't work well with a touchscreen. It is the worst of "both worlds", and even implements a number of widget metaphors that testing showed people didn't like as far back as 1990.

    The Gnome dev team is full of egotistical idiots, and I, for one, can't wait to see them all hit the curb.

    The software is open source. If the project dies, the useful bits will be picked up and forked, and all the drek they've shoved down user's throats can wither away and die a horrible, painful, screaming death as far as I'm concerned.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @05:14PM (#46742345) Homepage

    There is simply no end to the complaining about the latest GNOME desktop. It is exactly as Linus Torvalds said it was. It's an unholy abomination and most people don't want it. They should have kept the old desktop and offered an alternative to see how people wanted to go. But no. They just had to annoy the hell out of so many people. I want to say "let them die" but then I wonder what would happen with the GNOME2 stuff... is MATE being actively developed? If so maybe the likes of RedHat will shift over to supporting and developing MATE/GNOME2 again.

  • 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.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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