The GNOME Project

What is GNOME and where is it heading? Miguel tells us all.
Development model

GNOME is developed by a loosely coupled team of programmers around the world. Project coordination is done on the various GNOME mailing lists.

The GNOME source code is kept on the GNOME CVS server ( Access to the source code through Netscape's Bonsai and LXR tools is provided at, to help programmers get acquainted with the GNOME source code base.

Most developers who have contributed code, major bug fixes and documentation to GNOME have CVS write access, fostering a very open atmosphere. GNOME developers come from a wide range of backgrounds and have diverse levels of skill and experience. Contributions from less experienced people have been surprisingly helpful, while the older, wiser coders have been happy to mentor younger contributors on the team. The GNOME developer community values clean, maintainable code. Even programmers with many years of coding experience have noted how involvement with the GNOME project has helped them write better code.

The GNOME Office Suite Applications

As the GNOME foundation libraries become more stable, the development of larger programming projects has become possible and has allowed small teams of developers to put together the applications which will make up the GNOME office suite.

As with other GNOME components, the GNOME office suite is currently catching up with commercial offerings. By providing an office suite which is solid, fast and component-based, the code written for the GNOME project might become the foundation for a new era of free software program development.

The office suite leverages a lot of knowledge many of us have acquired during the past year while developing various GNOME components. Our coding standards are higher, the quality is better and the code is more clean and more robust.

The availability of these applications has provided us with the test bed we required to complete our document embedding interfaces (the Baboon model).

Two word processing projects are going on for GNOME: one of them is GWP by Seth Alves at the Hungry Programmers and the other one is Go from Chris Lahey. GWP is currently more advanced and has printing working with the GNOME printing architecture.

Gnumeric, the GNOME spreadsheet project, is aimed at providing a commercial-quality spreadsheet with advanced features. It provides a comfortable and powerful user interface. As with other components in GNOME, we have worked toward providing a solid and extensible framework for future development.

Recently, work has begun on Achtung, the GNOME presentations program. It is still in the early stages of development.

Getting GNOME

Tested source code releases of GNOME are available from GNOME's ftp site:

It is also possible to get the very latest GNOME developments from the anonymous CVS servers. Check the GNOME web page for details on how to pull the latest version straight from the CVS servers.

Breaking news about GNOME is posted to the GNOME web site in, along with documents to get you started on GNOME and developing GNOME applications.



Miguel de Icaza is one of the GNU Midnight Commander authors as well as a developer of GNOME. He also worked on the Linux/SPARC kernel port. He can be reached via e-mail at