Amber Graner chats with Stormy Peters, Executive Director of The GNOME Foundation

In this interview I chat with Stormy Peters about GNOME, Ubuntu and more. I had the opportunity to ask Stormy for an interview during a brief conversation at OSCON earlier this year. Stormy like most people at OSCON had a pretty full schedule and wasn't able to participate in this impromptu request. However, I did ask if I could send her a few questions for an interview to be published on this blog and I am really glad she agreed. Below are Stormy's answers. So without further delay --

Introducing Stormy Peters. Stormy Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions and let people know more about the GNOME Foundation and Project.

Amber Graner: For those readers who aren’t aware of what you do for the GNOME Foundation can you introduce yourself and tell folks a little about your role there?

Stormy Peters: My name is Stormy Peters. I’ve been the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation for a little over two years now. My job is to make sure that the GNOME Foundation is successful in its mission to provide a free desktop accessible to everyone regardless of finances, physical ability or language they speak. We do that by supporting the GNOME project and developers.

I work with our downstream partners, our advisory board members, our marketing team, ... I work on fundraising, outreach, etc.

AG: How long have you been involved with Free and Open Source Software? What was your first distribution, when and why?

SP: I’ve been involved with free software since 1998 or 1999. I was managing the CDE desktop team at HP and started investigating GNOME ...

AG: Can you tell readers more about GNOME? There are millions of non-developer Linux users could you tell readers where they may encounter using GNOME but may not be fully aware of it?

SP: GNOME is the user interface for Linux and other unix like operating systems. Chances are if you’ve used Linux, like Fedora or Ubuntu, you’ve used GNOME. It’s the windows, the menus, some workspaces, some of the applications, etc.

AG: Can you tell readers a little about the relationship that GNOME and Ubuntu share and why it is important?

SP: Ubuntu includes the GNOME desktop, so it’s important that we work together to make sure we deliver a solution that meets users’ needs.

AG: I read recently that the release of GNOME 3 has been delayed. Can you tell readers a little more about GNOME 3, what it will offer once released as well as a little more about why it is been delayed?

SP: Our goal is to release a high quality, awesome desktop, GNOME 3. It wasn’t ready to ship in September so we’ve decided to wait until it’s ready. GNOME 3 will offer a new user interface, GNOME Shell, as well as some underlying improvements. Our goal is to make sure the computer supports you in your task, so it will do things like instead of interrupting you when you get a new IM, it will just let you know and then go away.

AG: Can you tell readers about GNOME Shell and if you see Unity as competition for GNOME Shell? If so, how? If not, how do you see them complementing each other?

SP: I think one of the strengths of the free software desktop today is that the pieces can be combined in different ways to create different desktops for different uses. So we have traditional GNOME, we also have user interfaces like MeeGo for tablets and mobile devices. As we see more users and more devices, we’ll see more user interfaces, and that’s a good thing.

AG: Has the popularity of Ubuntu helped increase people’s awareness of GNOME? If so, in what ways? Or do you think that GNOME has increased the awareness of Ubuntu? If so, how?

SP: Users don’t download GNOME from They get GNOME along with their distribution. So yes, all the distributions including Ubuntu have helped more people benefit from GNOME.

AG: In the trackable Ubuntu Community (ie Ubuntu Membership) women make up almost 5% (last count we were at 4.64%). What percentage of women make up the GNOME community?

SP: I think it’s about the same. I was really excited at GUADEC (our annual GNOME conference). We had a women’s dinner and we had 14 women show up!

We are also doing a GNOME Outreach Program for Women to encourage more young women to become involved with GNOME.

AG: As a women in Open Source, what improvements have you seen since you first became involved? What are some of the avenues and solutions you see as resources to getting more women involved in Open Source and specifically the GNOME project?

SP: I’ve always found the GNOME community to be very welcoming. At my first GUADEC in 2001, I was greeted with “YOU’RE A GIRL!” by the very excited woman working the registration desk.

We are trying to encourage more women by making sure they get a chance to meet the other women in the project through a mailing list, irc and at events. We are also doing the Outreach Program.

AG: Where can people go to find out more about GNOME and the GNOME Foundation?

SP: You can find out more about us on our web page, You are also welcome to join the mailing list for the area that matches your interests.

AG: What areas of contribution are you looking for people to help with?

SP: We are always looking for enthusiastic people to help. We have lots of teams they can help on from writing code to planning events to just talking about GNOME and helping others get started using it.

AG: Are there areas that non-developers can help contribute to with regards to GNOME? If so where?

SP: Absolutely. We are always looking for people to help with translations, documentation, marketing, design, etc. Please come join us. Bring your ideas and your enthusiasm!

AG: Stormy is there anything else you would like to tell readers about GNOME, the Foundation, or some other project you are involved in that I haven’t asked you about?

SP: Please join GNOME! Like I said we are looking for all types of contributions from code to marketing to design.

AG: Stormy thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to answer a few questions for me and I look forward speaking with you again soon. It’s been a pleasure.

SP: I’ve enjoyed talking to you, Amber!


For more info on how you can download, use, participate and contribute to Ubuntu, visit: .

Questions, Comments suggestions can be sent to Amber at: amber [AT]


Follow along as Ubuntu enthusiast and Community organizer Amber Graner helps put the "You" in Ubuntu.

Amber Graner is an active Ubuntu community member and organizer who encourages everyone around her to participate, support, and learn about Ubuntu and Open Source. With a smile and a sense of humor, Amber reminds people that there is a place for everyone in the Ubuntu community – regardless of technical skill level (or lack thereof). She is constantly looking for people, places, and events within the Ubuntu community that help inspire Ubuntu users to participate actively within the Ubuntu community. Email Amber at amber AT ubuntu-user DOT com.


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