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A senior member of the GNOME Desktop Project has proposed that the project hold a vote on whether it should remain a part of the GNU Project.


Senior GNOME developer Philip Van Hoof made the proposal in a post to the GNOME Foundation's mailing list. He was seconded in this by GNOME Foundation advisory board member David Schlesinger.

Van Hoof's post was part of a long thread that began back in November when Lucas Rocha (corrected) informed members that the GNOME Foundation Board had received complaints from community members about some of the posts on Planet GNOME.

The GNU Project was set up by Richard Stallman in the early 1980s as part of his moves to develop a fully free operating system. Stallman also founded the Free Software Foundation.

GNOME was started in 1997 by Miguel de Icaza, a (corrected) current vice-president of Novell, and Federico Mena-Quintero, in order to develop a free desktop environment for use on Linux. The main desktop environment available for Linux at the time, KDE, was using a proprietary toolkit, QT, which was later released under a free licence as well.

Updated, 2.40pm AEDT: It was initially not possible to ascertain definitely as to what post on Planet GNOME led to the complaints which Rocha (corrected) mentioned. But it seems fairly clear now that this post, about Microsoft's Silverlight, by De Icaza was the catalyst.

As the thread for this post developed, members offered their opinions on the GNOME code of conduct and what could be done to prevent such incidents recurring.

There were proposals that those looking after Planet GNOME exercise editorial control to censor posts that were deemed to be violating the GNOME code of conduct.

Planet GNOME is a site that accumulates RSS feeds from blogs which belong to GNOME members and contributors. One has to formally apply to have one's blog feed accepted and several people who have drifted away from the project still have their blogs fed into the site.

A couple of years ago, anger at the then GNOME media spokesman, Jeff Waugh, who was in charge of Planet GNOME at the time, boiled over and figured in these columns.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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