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GNOME Foundation

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GNOME Foundation
Founded5 March 2001[1]
Key people
Holly Million[3]
Revenue (2021)
Decrease $298,297[4]
ExpensesNegative increase $850,347[4]

GNOME Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Orinda, California, United States, which works to coordinate the efforts in the GNOME project.


The GNOME Foundation works to further the goal of the GNOME project: to create a computing platform for use by the general public that is composed entirely of free software. It was founded on 5 March 2001[1] by Compaq, Eazel, Helix Code, IBM, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, and VA Linux Systems.[5]

To achieve this goal, the foundation coordinates releases of GNOME and determines which projects are a part of GNOME. The foundation acts as an official voice for the GNOME project, providing a means of communication with the press and with commercial and noncommercial organizations interested in GNOME software. The foundation produces educational materials and documentation to help the public learn about GNOME software. In addition, it sponsors GNOME-related technical conferences, such as GUADEC, GNOME.Asia, and the Boston Summit, represents GNOME at relevant conferences sponsored by others, helps create technical standards for the project, and promotes the use and development of GNOME software.[citation needed]


The GNOME Executive Director is selected and hired by the GNOME Board of Directors.[6]

Between 2008 and 2010, Stormy Peters served as the foundation's executive director.[7][8] She was replaced in June 2011 by Karen Sandler,[9] who served until March 2014.[10] Following Sandler's departure, the GNOME Board announced that cash reserves had been drained due to a cash flow problem, as the GNOME Foundation had to front the costs of late payments from sponsors of the 'Outreach Program for Women'.[11] Spending for non-essential activities was therefore frozen to allow the cash reserves to recover throughout 2014.[12] This led to various rumors that the GNOME foundation had gone bankrupt, which the GNOME foundation has clarified never happened.[13]

The executive director position remained unfilled until February 2017, when former Debian leader Neil McGovern was appointed.[14] In February 2022, Neil McGovern resigned as executive director of the GNOME Foundation.[15][16][17] A call for job applications was opened for the executive director role in August 2022,[18] and was subsequently reopened with a modified job description in May 2023.[19]

The current executive director, Holly Million, was announced on 17 October 2023.[3]

Board of directors[edit]

The foundation's board of directors is elected every year via elections held by the GNOME Foundation Election Committee. The 2024 board president is Robert McQueen, and the other board members are Sonny Piers, Jeremy Allison, Sammy Fung, Erik Albers, Regina Nkenchor, and Michael Downey.[20] [21]

Some notable former board members[edit]


All GNOME contributors can apply for Foundation membership. All members are eligible to stand for the Board of Directors, vote in Board elections, and suggest referendum for voting.[22]

Advisory board[edit]

The foundation's Advisory Board is a body of organizations and companies that wish to communicate and work closely with the board of directors and the GNOME project. Organizations may join the advisory board for an annual fee of between US$11500 and US$23000, or be invited as a non-profit.

As of 2024, Advisory Board members include: Canonical Ltd., Debian, Endless Computer, Google, Red Hat, Sugar Labs, SUSE, and The Document Foundation.[23][21]

GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund[edit]

In September 2019, Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPI) filed a lawsuit against GNOME Foundation claiming that Shotwell infringed on its patent because "[Shotwell] imports and filters photographic images from cameras, allowing users to organise the photos and share them on social media". GNOME Foundation called allegations baseless and started a defense aimed not just to defend Shotwell, but to invalidate the patents in question altogether.[24] To finance the defense, GNOME launched GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund.[25] On 23 October 2019, Debian Foundation publicly stated their support for GNOME Foundation and urged users to donate to the fund.[26] In October 2019, Open Innovation Network announced that their lawyers would assist help GNOME Foundation in discovery process to find prior art to invalidate the patent claims.[27] The GNOME Patent Troll Defense fund received support of over 4000 contributors and surpassed the original goal of US$125,000.[28]

On 20 May 2020, GNOME Foundation announced resolution of the patent case. The sides have settled on the following conditions:[29]

  • GNOME received a release and covenant not to be sued for any patent held by Rothschild Patent Imaging
  • Both Rothschild Patent Imaging and Leigh Rothschild grant a release and covenant from material part of infringement allegations to any software released under an existing Open Source Initiative approved license and subsequent versions of thereof, including for the entire Rothschild portfolio of patents

Thus Rothschild Patent Imaging and Leigh Rothschild keep their original patent, but GNOME Foundation and any project released under OSI-approved license is immune from any future patent claims made by Rothschild Patent Imaging and Leigh Rothschild.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Dercem, Bart (11 March 2001) [2001-03-05]. "Articles of Incorporation". California Business Search. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  2. ^ Lois G. Lerner (2 August 2002). "Gnome Foundation IRS 501(c)(3) Determination letter" (PDF). wiki.gnome.org. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "The GNOME Foundation's new executive director". LWN.net. 18 October 2023. Retrieved 21 October 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d "GNOME FOUNDATION INC". Nonprofit Explorer. ProPublica. 10 August 2022. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  5. ^ ""Red Hat Joins Industry Vendors as a Founding Member of the GNOME Foundation"" (Press release). GNOME. 15 August 2000. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  6. ^ Peters, Stormy (1 June 2009). "The GNOME Foundation Is All About People". Open Source Business Resource. Talent First Network. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  7. ^ "GNOME hires Stormy Peters as Executive Director" (Press release). GNOME Foundation. 7 July 2008. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Changing Roles". 2 November 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Karen Sandler Named New Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation" (Press release). GNOME Foundation. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  10. ^ "Karen Sandler Steps Down as GNOME Foundation Executive Director". GNOME Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  11. ^ Walton, Zach (15 April 2014). "GNOME Foundation Has Run Out of Money". WebProNews. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  12. ^ "GNOME Foundation Current Budget FAQ". 16 April 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  13. ^ "GNOME Foundation was never bankrupt". GNOME Foundation. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Neil McGovern Named New Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Handing over – looking for our new Executive Director". GNOME Discourse. 14 February 2022. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  16. ^ McGovern, Neil (14 February 2022). "Handing over". Neil McGovern's personal blog. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  17. ^ McQueen, Robert. "Forward the Foundation". The GNOME Foundation. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  18. ^ "Application open for GNOME Foundation Executive Director". The GNOME Foundation. 5 August 2022. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
  19. ^ "GNOME (@gnome@floss.social)". FLOSS.social. 19 May 2023. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
  20. ^ "Our Team". GNOME Foundation. Retrieved 18 May 2024.
  21. ^ a b "2022-2023 GNOME Foundation Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 18 May 2024.
  22. ^ "Foundation Members" (Press release). GNOME Foundation. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  23. ^ "GNOME Advisory Board" (Press release). GNOME Foundation. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  24. ^ Kwan, Campbell. "GNOME faces 'baseless' patent lawsuit for organising images". ZDNet. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  25. ^ "GNOME files defense against patent troll – GNOME". Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  26. ^ Project, The Debian. "Bits from the Debian Project". Debian Project. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  27. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J. "Open Invention Network comes to GNOME's aid in patent troll fight". ZDNet. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  28. ^ "Donate Now | GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund by GNOME Foundation". Give Lively. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Patent case against GNOME resolved – GNOME". Retrieved 22 May 2020.

External links[edit]