What is the business strategy and fundraising tactics for the GNOME Foundation for 2017-2022 and beyond?

Opening a dedicated thread for this here with a rather self-explanatory title… but to kickstart a discussion, I will express my overall wish to the board and staff with slightly more details:

I would like to see a strategy document including some clear projections and scenarios, as well as plans regarding ways to scale up the Foundation’s revenue differently (if any) and how those plans are reachable in practice. Maybe this document already exists, or maybe it needs to be created very soon (because time is of the essence—it seems you have a rather short runway), but I don’t think you can operate without one.

I am not aware of GNOME having had a business strategy document before. I couldn’t find one in the wiki (there was an archived desktop-marketshare-oriented brainstorming page written majoritarily by one person in a single day in 2006, but that’s doesn’t really fit the bill now). I tried looking in the forums too, but the only somewhat related topic I could find was a thread in october (where @mollydb pointed out there was a fall-specific fundraiser going on but that general fundraising strategy would have to wait, unfortunately). I was hoping to find such a document (or a draft of it) as a result of the last few years of transitional work.

@nmcgovern & co., had you made progress on that front previously but not shared it? Is this something the board has access to that I simply couldn’t see from the exterior? Or did I miss something hiding in plain sight? Anything you have would be interesting to look at!

P.s.: Can we please set this thread to not auto-lock itself like other threads in this Discourse instance? Personally, I really dislike that policy/setting; even with 14 days being considered more generous than the previous crazy 5-days auto-lock policy, I believe it still stifles discussion and async collaboration. I believe locking should be a last-resort manual action when it has gone totally off the rails, otherwise just let it sink to the bottom of the topics pile naturally; Discourse already warns users when they’re about to necropost, which should be plenty enough as a deterrent. If the person sees the warning yet decides it’s important enough to bump a thread, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to, rather than creating another duplicate and fragmenting things; expecting people to ask mods to unlock before posting still feels like added friction that harms spontaneity.


No. But I can unlock it if it gets locked.

Also, please don’t put two completely unrelated walls of text in the same topic. The short answer is: you’re wrong, it doesn’t work that way, and it requires more human effort to police every single thread.

I have recently witnessed that quite a few key contributors are employed with RedHat. Isn’t that a great funding strategy in and of itself? :slight_smile:

Yeah well, all conspiracy jokes aside, even if one can argue that it’s statistically true to some extent (because not many companies are interested in spending that much money on providing paid developers to work on GNOME and its technologies), we shouldn’t aim for—and be contented only by—that. And I’m sure the leadership of Red Hat’s desktop team would be really happy to have more contributor diversity in that area.

However, you’re talking about the GNOME project (i.e. software contributors), and while yes indeed the GNOME Project should ideally not have the majority of its eggs in one red basket, that question is not the same thing as the matter of the GNOME Foundation’s long-term sustainability (as a more-than-two-people operation, that is)… and for that latter part, it needs to have a clear strategy laid out for its path to sustainability and scalability. Hence why I was asking @nmcgovern to share whatever progress he (or others from the staff or board) might have made on that front in the last 4 years or so.

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It’s also important to note that whilst contributors may be employed by Red Hat and potentially do work on GNOME as part of that employment they almost certainly aren’t paid for all (or indeed most) of their GNOME work

So Red Hat is important in keeping those contributors fed and watered - which of course does tangentially help GNOME - but doesn’t necessarily get/keep people working on GNOME. Those people may still decide to take up knitting or hiking.

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