Question to the candidates: Building relationships with other ecosystems

It’s no secret that the work I’ve done in the past 5 years has been bridging the project with the rest of the ecosystems. With the primacy of the open source development model (vs Free Software, the distinction is of course important) it seems that the accomplishments of GNOME and the phenomenal engineering that this project has done that these other projects now build has seemingly gone unnoticed and underappreciated.

As a project, my personal opinion is that we are still insular in our organization and messaging and do not do the outreach that I claim to be important. I’m interested to know if the idea of outreach beyond our desktop ecosystems is something that resonates with you. If it does, would there be something actionable that you’d do in regards to that - given that you are representatives of the GNOME Foundation.

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Thanks for the great question Sri. This has been a big push of mine in my first term on the board. Building on existing relationships with our partners, creating new partnerships, and being good friends to other FOSS projects has been extremely important to me.

The things that I’d like to continue doing on or off the board would be to increase the adoption of the Linux desktop as a worthwhile platform for professional grade applications. Containerized app frameworks have been instrumental in my opinion in positioning our platform as desirable for the Adobe, Mathworks, Microsoft’s of the world, and I’d like to organize with these entities further to find out what it would take to bring their software to our platform. This is particularly important for me to have free software used in science and engineering, as most of this research is publicly funded. Much like open-access journals and open data sets are becoming the wave of the future of academia, I’d like to our software to follow suit in the hearts and minds of researchers and academics.

Getting FOSS into schools and universities is also a particular interest of mine given my day to day work. If I were to continue on the board I would like to reach out to colleges and universities to show how investing in free software is a worthwhile investment both practically and responsibly moving into the next decade. So much of the academic world runs on extraordinarily expensive technology for no particular reason beyond mindshare and the comfort that comes along with contracts. I’d like to work with academic institutions to decrease the adoption of expensive, proprietary software solutions, particularly as the money for such technology is coming from taxpayers and students.

Other than that, I’d like to point out the work I’ve done connecting with organizations and partner groups like KDE, Elementary, Canonical, System76, and others to strengthen our outward social media cohesiveness, and to generally build positivity in our ecosystem. From day #1, building community has been my mission. That will not change moving forward.

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I’ve long been a supporter of working across the open source ecosystem. Way back in 2010, I held the Desktop Help Summit to try to align documentation efforts across GNOME, KDE, XFCE, Fedora, and Ubuntu. And more recently, as you know Sri, I’ve worked with you and others in the CHAOSS app ecosystem working group to share metrics work. But our reach extends well beyond the desktop and apps. Many people don’t realize just how important GNOME has been for the entire Linux and open source ecosystem.

Probably the most important development over the last few years is Flatpak. One reason is that it finally removes desktop, toolkit, and distro fragmentation as a barrier to independent developers. As someone who once worked for a commercial ISV that shipped on Linux, I can tell you that this has historically been a huge hurdle, and I’m excited we finally have a solution. But the other reason Flatpak is so exciting is that we are sharing in many of the technology developments that are driving modern datacenter deployments.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of people from different projects and organizations as a result of my work at Red Hat. Of course, I serve GNOME as an individual, not as a Red Hat representative. But I would certainly be interested in talking to people about what we can share and how we can better work together.

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