Welcome to the GNOME Foundation’s Five-Year Strategic Plan Draft, a roadmap designed to guide our Foundation, community, and Project initiatives. In this proposal, you will find a comprehensive outline of our goals, priorities, and strategies aimed at advancing the GNOME ecosystem over the coming years. This plan was created with input from the Foundation Board and Staff and is designed to be fulfilled within five years of ratification by the Board.

We Need Your Feedback

Your feedback is invaluable to us as we shape the future of GNOME, so we encourage you to review this plan carefully and share your thoughts and suggestions with us. Together, we can build a stronger, more vibrant open-source community that empowers users worldwide.

Strategic Goal One, People

Create Explosive Growth of Our Community of Creators and Users

(Note: This goal is the umbrella for things such as DEI, Partnerships, Community Building / Events, Inward Community, Outward Community, Staff, Board, Members, Volunteers)

Objective One:
Unify our “inward” community around a shared vision

  1. Create a shared vision unifying foundation and project (staff, board, and volunteers) with greater clarity on roles and division of labor among the constituent groups; and strengthen internal communications to create cohesion, idea exchange, and integration.
  2. Create a more inclusive leadership model, taking the voting board from seven to eleven members, and add non-voting regional and committee “officers” positions to board (number to be determined) prioritizing advancing women, people of color, people from under-represented regions, and people with disabilities to positions of leadership.
  3. Build board processes so board works as one team and build staff processes so staff works as one team, while also increasing coordination between staff and board through executive director; also deploy and support success of executive director as key ambassador to strengthen internal connections and dialogue with whole inward community.

Objective Two:
Relate to bigger “outward” world by making GNOME directly relevant and attractive to many more diverse people

  1. Communicate the social-benefit of GNOME by describing how GNOME directly empowers people, including under-served people, to solve problems in their lives, communities, and world. Adopt the tagline (or something similar) “Putting Power in People’s Hands.”
  2. Activate more diverse, under-served, female, transgender, and younger users and creators worldwide through direct outreach, relevant programs, and new commercial and nonprofit partnerships.
  3. Create GNOME Pathways Initiative (“Pathways”), an education program that recruits, mentors, educates, involves, and elevates as leaders new creators from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and other regions of world, amplifying the past work of our Engagement Committee and mentoring efforts (Highly fundable).

Objective Three:
Increase commercial and economic value of GNOME

  1. Increase direct economic benefit of GNOME for developers through certification program, API course, badge program, promotion of Flathub, and new ideas. For example, launch a badging program — “powered by GNOME”; users can buy GNOME approved device, and we create supply chains; also launch a GNOME certification course for creators to fuel learning and quality output.
  2. Create more commercial and other partnerships that drive an increase in users and creation of more apps, including the correct strategic partnerships with governments, universities, and nonprofit partners to reach new, under-served and diverse audiences; attrition of current paid GNOME developers is threat to us over time, so we need to diversify our partnerships and approaches now.
  3. Support use of GNOME technologies in other contexts, i.e., different mobile platforms, cross-desktop, embedded, and encourage creation of simple GNOME apps using GTK (fundable), and emphasize that Linux desktops depend on GNOME technology, free desktop stack, a full desktop stack.

Strategic Goal Two, Initiatives

Create Unified, Integrated Suite of Programs, Services, & Processes

(NOTE: This umbrella includes programs, services, IT Infrastructure, Accessibility, Security, Sustainable models, economic empowerment ( Flathub); matrix or grid with products)

Objective Four:
Consciously integrate our technologies and services

  1. Claim the value of what GNOME has created over 25 years and tell our story. Look at our impact and how we have made people’s lives better – i.e., Orca screen reader everywhere on Linux, Pixar is using GNOME desktop; Flathub is a crucial piece of GNOME ecosystem, with additional partners such as KDE sitting at table; Flathub fosters participation by current and new users to promote economic empowerment; Flathub is THE store for Linux – Document all successes and impacts and incorporate all the new narrative into a refreshed GNOME Foundation website, funding proposals, social media, etc.
  2. Promote the GNOME Development Initiative (the “Initiative”) as our internal development project for core needs, such as security, IT infrastructure, transparency, usability, supply chain, GNOME.org; this takes the STF-funded project now launched and builds upon it into the future, making it a permanent part of the GNOME Foundation.
  3. Explicitly integrate fiscal sponsorship for Flathub apps and GNOME Circle apps; we put money into core apps, and we fiscally sponsor Circle apps (lower fees than outside groups).

Objective Five:
Strengthen critical weaknesses in IT infrastructure and security

  1. Identify current critical security weaknesses in GNOME and fix them; fundraise for both Flathub and GNOME core under this banner with a tie-in to software supply chain needs; look at additional full-time salaried position with software development work to look at automated vulnerability scanning and reproducible/public signing of builds around tooling that GNOME and Flathub share.
  2. Create more documentation and tooling for GNOME as a whole; having these things will also fuel increased accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion for creators and users.

Objective Six:
Reorganize our events into a streamlined, more inclusive annual event

  1. Create a more strategic, more inclusive, less expensive, more worldwide, and greener annual event for GNOME, with a central event at its core, and multiple, regional, worldwide local events on all continents happening in conjunction and unified through the core event. Under this model, GUADEC and regional events would be integrated into a more strategic framework.
  2. Use a “franchise” structure with regional engagement and local relevance and empowerment while continuing to provide community building, cohesion around shared goals, and connecting a wider world.
  3. Create a funding model that allows the central event to be self-sustaining and generate profit that returns to the foundation to be reinvested in capacity; create opportunities for sponsors to support contests, hackathons, workshops, and other immersive experiences giving them excellent value and attendees exciting opportunities as part of the model. create a tiered fee structure for attending the central event and the local events.
  4. Identify and market to new, outward-facing, under-served, and diverse audiences to create critical mass, better incentives for sponsors; create new, outside-the-box content in speakers, workshops, breakouts, presentations, paper and poster submission, etc. to connect the event with wider world and new audiences.

Strategic Goal Three – Capacity & Infrastructure

Strengthen & stabilize GNOME Foundation as nonprofit organization

(NOTE: This includes staffing / finances / fundraising / compliance / legal / communications)

Objective Seven:
Claim and Document Our Impact and Value

  1. Document and claim in writing through a case for support and slide deck what we have already accomplished in 25+ years; create a map of the “GNOME Universe” of all our creations and impacts (overlaps with tactics higher up, on purpose); turn our invisibility into visibility to become self-supporting and sovereign.
  2. Quantify our impact in numbers through charts and graphs and a portfolio of specific things we have created, using stories and numbers.

Objective Eight:
Double the annual expense and revenue budget of the GNOME Foundation

  1. Seek funding for GNOME Development Initiative to address core needs of the foundation and project such as security, accessibility, diversity, functionality, etc. by investing in high-impact / under-funded parts of GNOME; seek funding for GNOME Pathways Program; seek funding for general needs; and include sufficient overhead costs for the foundation in all institutional funding requests.
  2. Harness the power of the community through two or three crowdfunding campaigns each year for hard-to-fund meta activities to raise between $50K and $200K per initiative.
  3. Create fundraising case around Flathub, GNOME/KDE across the whole Linux ecosystem, with possible staff positions. Fundraise around becoming a Flathub sponsor; collect demographics for contributors in Github.
  4. Develop direct funding relationships with at least twenty new foundations, at least 20 new corporate partners, and at least ten government agencies in 2024.

Objective Nine:
Prioritize the health and well-being of the foundation itself

  1. Develop processes through the board to ensure that program decisions integrate and protect the stability of the foundation.
  2. The board will embrace its role in creating relationships, partnerships, and connections to funding opportunities and non-monetary resources.
  3. Prevent staff burnout and inefficiency through good HR policies, two-way annual reviews, separation of board and staff roles, competitive pay rates and benefits, staff empowerment in making decisions within their areas of responsibility, clarity and accuracy of job descriptions, and safe communication in a transparent environment.
  4. Increase staff capacity by hiring an administrative support contractor, contract grant writer, grants manager (all in the approved budget), and an additional DevOps contractor (with new funding). In the future, additional event and fundraising staff.