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Deception | Part I. Gnome Core Libs Progress

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I am not going to “brainwash” you and try to convince you with one-sided analysis and dozens of arguments that Gnome is doing great. This is more of a fact-sheet that everyone can have “free-of-influence” his very own opinion.

For this part, I just checked some statistics from for the core Libs of Gnome, Glib, GTK, GStreamer and Clutter. Of course I checked many more modules but I cannot make a full report about the whole Gnome development, as I would need many hours. Maybe some other time.  But you can personally check more if you are curious!

Keep in mind that Gnome 3.0 released on April, 2011, so you might want to compare before and after.


GLib is the low-level core library that forms the basis of GTK+ and GNOME. It provides data structure handling for C, portability wrappers, and interfaces for such runtime functionality as an event loop, threads, dynamic loading, and an object system.The very Core Library of Gnome and the most important one.

You can make your own conclusions. Looks healthy to me.

Highlights: GLib has many non-regular contributors.

Glib in


GTK+ is a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces. Offering a complete set of widgets, GTK+ is suitable for projects ranging from small one-off projects to complete application suites.

GTK+ has been designed from the ground up to support a range of languages, not only C/C++. Using GTK+ from languages such as Perl and Python (especially in combination with the Glade GUI builder) provides an effective method of rapid application development.


You can make your own conclusions. Looks healthy to me.

Highlights: GTK huge drop in commits from last year, has to do with the revamp of GTK2 to GTK3.

GTK in


GStreamer is a development framework for creating applications like media players, video editors, streaming media broadcasters and so on. It aims to support every format imaginable. Gstreamer isn’t core part of Gnome but of

You can make your own conclusions. Looks healthy to me.

Highlights: GStreamer gains many new contributors over the last few months.

GStreamer in


Clutter is an open source (LGPLv2.1+) software library for creating fast, compelling, portable, and dynamic graphical user interfaces. It is a core part of MeeGo, and is supported by the open source community. Its development is sponsored by Intel.

Clutter uses OpenGL for rendering (and optionally OpenGL|ES for use on mobile and embedded platforms), but wraps an easy to use, efficient, flexible API around GL’s complexity.

Clutter enforces no particular user interface style, but provides a rich, generic foundation for higher-level toolkits tailored to specific needs.

Clutter is the core library of Mutter / Gnome-Shell

You can make your own conclusions. Looks healthy to me.

Highlights: Clutter is used in Tizen and Chrome OS. It has an exciting future ahead.

Clutter in


There are many factors that we have to keep on mind in order to make a “correct” analysis, like the quality of the commits and the size of the projects. Yeap, the number contributors for this size like Gnome aren’t enough. But there isn’t anything new on that.  That is an old story. You have also to include some other factors like 2008 economic crisis in USA and 2010 economic crisis in Europe,  that is a huge psychological disadvantage for no-paid contributors.

If you look one by one all the modules of Gnome you will find some of them to have huge development and some of them to struggling. However all the core libraries are doing fine. They can do better, I agree but.. Jesus, all these stupid articles of well known magazines  on internet about the “unpopular” Gnome3..

The famous bus factor 1. This is a very relevant factor, that the people who use it to prove that Gnome is an un-maintain project are ignoring its meaning.  Google Search has a bus factor of one (if we suppose that BF1 includes companies as the “tech writers” think). Linux kernel once had a bus factor of one.

Many huge open source projects that are driven from Companies have bus factor of one. And if their companies drop the support? They just getting forked and the famous bus factor 1 is magically vanishes.

Gnome 3  is going to be the core part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux,  Red Hat is the biggest open source company on planet. Red Hat does awesome on Nasdaq stock market and has propitious predictions from Goldman Sachs about its future. Lehman Brothers had also AAA rating from GS before collapsing, but things are changed from this day :)

I don’t think that RH will let Gnome3 to fail! Instead of worry about Gnome’s 3 future, you better buy RH shares ;)


You like Gnome 3? Use it. You don’t? Use something else. You feel some disappointed from its new path? Give constructive critics. You think that Gnome3 grows unpopular? You’re wrong!

Deception | Part II. The ZDNet Example

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  • Adonis K. (Varemenos)

    tl:dr version: many pretty statistics and graphs while our everyday experience is just like it was 5 mins ago.

  • faildora shitty miracle

    gnomes are always right, even when they were wrong.

  • Juanjo Marin

    The rate of new features in GNOME 3 is faster than in the last releases of GNOME 2. There is a lot of energy and enthusiasm in GNOME 3. It is true that more developers in the core libraries would be better, but I think there are many people working in the new applications. Also, the work of volunteers is remarkable, some of them you can think are full time employees because the quality and quantity of their contributions :-)

    • alex285

      I should make a script and extract git logs per branch from all Gnome modules at some point.

      • Juanjo Marin

        In GUADEC-ES, there was a talk from a company called Bitergia which is studying GNOME shell as example of free software project:

        • alex285

          Thanks for sharing that!

          • JM Gonzalez-Barahona

            Hi, one of those bitergians here.

            In fact, all the software we used for producing those plots and data is free software. Although we plan to follow GNOME Shell and probably other GNOME projects, and produce public reports about them, you’re welcome to ask for the software and establish a permanent follow-up of any project.

          • alex285

            Thank you!
            I was studying your work last night, but I thought it would be better to wait 3.6 release before I print your analysis.
            Great job of you!

          • JM Gonzalez-Barahona


  • Eigenvektor

    “Gnome 3 is going to be the core part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux,…”

    Yup, sure. As if anyone ever cared about Red Hat’s desktop Linux efforts. Let me tell you that desktop Linux does not sell at all, not from Red Hat, not from SUSE. Maybe Canonical sells a few dekstop support licenses. And still, it remains true that Linux vendors are losing money on it and the only reason they keep it alive is so they can tell everyone that they have a “complete OS package.”
    But what Red Hat sells is its server OS. It comes with a commandline interface, first and foremost.

    • alex285

      Half-True. When you say RHEL you mean also, Scientific, Oracle CentOS etc. Many organizations using the Graphical Interface and many more will, in the near future. It’s not only Russia that will switch to Linux, but there are also plans for education sectors in India and Brazil. Linux Desktop will grow huge by 2015.

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  • kamild

    Am I the only one who feels bad about “your wrong”? Seriously? No more grammar nazis?

    • alex285

      “you’re wrong”

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