Letter From The Editor
Editor-in-Chief Paul Cutler celebrates GNOME 3.0’s release, and discusses innovation, pain, and history.
In just a few hours, on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011, our Release Team will pull the switch and release GNOME 3.0. It’s been a long time since GNOME has had a major release – this June will mark nine years since we shipped GNOME 2.0! Over those nine years, GNOME has consistently released a new desktop with innovative new features every six months. Thousands of developers have worked over the years to create a desktop, applications, write documentation and translate GNOME into over a hundred languages. And users, distributors, and vendors have benefited incalculably.
With GNOME 3.0, the GNOME Desktop takes a step forward.
And it’s a timely one, and a big one. People are not using their computers the same way they were nine years ago, when we released GNOME 2.0. The internet has helped change how we use our computer, computer hardware has become faster, and we expect different things today from our computing experience than we did then. GNOME 3.0 takes a step forward in thinking about, and addressing, all these things. Our designers created GNOME Shell to help reduce distractions and let you use your computer how you want to. Mark yourself busy and popups from social media, instant messaging or email notifications will be minimized until you’re ready to look at them. Find the applications you want to use faster, and get an overview of what applications are open with the touch of a button. Daf Harries interviews designers Jon McCann and Jakub Steiner in this edition, and they discuss how these design changes came to be in GNOME 3.0.
And this is only the beginning. GNOME helped pioneer the six-month development and release cycle in free software projects, and that will continue. We’ll continue to work on core innovations, changes and improvements to the GNOME Desktop and release them twice a year. After this revolutionary change will come the evolutionary ones. Cathy Malmrose’s article in this issue points to some pain points that the developer community will need to fix in the years to come.
We understand that change can be hard and not every user is ready to change their desktop experience from GNOME 2.x to GNOME 3.0. But if you look back at the changes that came in GNOME 2.2, GNOME 2.4 and so on, the desktop continually became better, and that will continue with GNOME 3.2 and each release every six months. The new platform enables greater functionality, more opportunities for developers, and easier extension than GNOME 2.x ever could have. Sri Ramkrishna’s article on extending GNOME 3 in a future edition of the GNOME Journal will touch on this and more.
GNOME is more than just a desktop. The GNOME Development Platform is a set of applications and tools, such as GTK+, that help developers and companies build applications and user interfaces on multiple platforms, including Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. Users might not consciously notice improvements in the platform, but they’ll enjoy the benefits. Nicolas Spalinger’s overview of recent font improvements in this issue talks about Cantarell, the new default font, and covers all the behind-the-scenes work that will help make GNOME developers’ work look better.
GNOME’s technologies help power other products, including MeeGo, Sugar and One Laptop Per Child, and Unity. In this issue, Sumana Harihareswara talks to Tomeu Vizoso and John Palmieri about the improvements in PyGObject that helps developers use Python in GNOME—just one of many languages available within the GNOME development platform.
The GNOME Journal team is proud to bring you a special issue about GNOME 3.0. This is an important time in GNOME, and we hope these articles give you a broader look into the GNOME community at the time of this historic release.
Try out GNOME 3 – we think you’ll like it.