Welcome 2020

Disclaimer: this article represents my own personal opinions and thoughts. Not my employer’s, nor GNOME’s, but my own.

This is coming a bit late, and I was not convinced it would be a good idea to publish, but ultimately concluded it was important enough. Bear with me, this is an chaotic set of written ideas. They are not supposed to make sense, and I’m not trying to construct a narrative here.

Year is now 2020. Depending on the lens you use to observe reality, this may be a good or a terrible year.

After taking a few weeks off in January, I realized how much I did not do in my personal life. This is definitely an area that should be improved. A few years ago, taking time off from work and open source wasn’t an exciting thought; nowadays, though, I’m feeling the weight of spending too much time in front of a computer.

I’m continuously failing to keep up with the Friends of GNOME donors. I really have to empty this queue as soon as possible.

I’m really unhappy with the political situation of my country, Brazil. A halfwitted, fascism flirting populist was democratically elected. The public institutions were dominated by their inapt followers. Rich are getting richier, poor are getting poorer, inequality is skyrocketing, and despite all of that, a massive number of citizens seems to be applauding this madness, regardless if they’re profiting or not with this situation. I’m not comfortable with the idea of living here. I’m also not comfortable with the idea of leaving family behind. It seems this trend is spreading all around the world, so where else could I go anyway?

I’ve also stopped training martial arts. I got involved with Aikido when I was 14. I was a vulnerable, not intellectually emancipated teenager that needed emotional crutches to carry on. For years, Aikido was part of my identity, and I would ignore blatant problems that surrounded it for the sake of keeping the narrative. Feeling like a virtuous warrior was good, after all. Over time, and with the maturity that came with it, the toxicity of it took a toll on me. Quitting it was traumatic. I still feel a big void.

Quitting martial arts meant I stopped exercising. Turns out, the lack of physical activities, together with an awful political climate, and the stress of being an open source maintainer, is an express highway to depression. When I wrote “On Being a Free Software Maintainer“, I was already going downhill. Things got progressively worse until around GUADEC. Fortunately, the support from the GNOME community, my wife, family, and friends, were strong enough to allow me break this downward spiral.

I do not know what would have happened without this support. To my family, wife, friends, and the GNOME community: thank you all so much for being here when I most needed.

2020 is the year that I’ll try to not drop the ball again. I’ve started attending a gym. My live coding sessions are going well, with the community coming together and having a good time. I did take some time off, and am traveling with a slightly higher frequency, and that feels really good too.

This will be a technically challenging year: I’ve added 2 other modules to my maintainership list (Mutter and GNOME Shell), and have many ideas for them, including code refactorings, new features, cleanups, etc. We have bootstrapped a new blog for Mutter & GNOME Shell development, with the expectation that it will prevent misinformation from spreading, and will be a reliable source for tech news to use. I’m also resuming my Scrum routine to Calendar, To Do, and Settings. I’ll continue experimenting with ways to organize my routine to optimize it as much as possible, while still preserving personal time for marriage, house, and social life.

Fortunately, my employer Endless allows me to work on upstream GNOME features from time to time, and allows me to do some maintainership tasks using work time. This is a huge motivational boost to me.

Welcome 2020. I hope you’ll be a good year.

8 thoughts on “Welcome 2020

  1. Hello Georges,

    I wish you al the best and I hope you do find some balance in life!

    You write “I’ve added 2 other modules to my maintainership list”. Maybe it’s also good to remove some projects/modules from your list? You can’t keep adding items to your list endlessly!

    Wish you all the best,

    Scott Trakker


  2. Dear Georges,

    thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, may 2020 be a great year for you.

    I would also like to thank you for your invaluable contributions to the GNOME project. I am a big fan of your work and use essentially all modules you support or even maintain on a daily basis. Keep up this great work, it it very much appreciated!

    Thank you.


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