GNOME 2.20 Release Notes

GNOME 2.20 is out today. Here are the GNOME 2.20 release notes, showing all the enhancements and new features. It’s always more than we expect.

For GNOME 2.20 I returned to release notes duty after the 2.18 disaster. Now I’ve done 2.6, 2.8, 2.10, 2.12, and 2.20. I couldn’t take another aimless group conversation about why we haven’t achieved anything, just because nobody took the time to show what we have achieved.

It’s a lot of work, involving interrogation, investigation, and pestering, and we have to be very tough about what’s meaningful and relevant. Users don’t understand or care about “improved X” or “reworked Y code base”. Developers should be proud enough of their achievements to actually say what they’ve given to users. Empathy is required.

Jorge Castro wrote some initial text, and Andreas Nilsson took care of the screenshots. But, unfortunately, I don’t see anybody else who’s likely to ensure that it gets done for GNOME 2.22. Only by following a strict schedule, starting early enough, can you hope to have enough time to get all the information, correct mistakes, and be finished in time for translation. Maybe I can persuade Dayvd Madeley to take turns.

We put everything on one page this time, instead of splitting it into sections, without a separate start page, and without a separate press release. That’s because we noticed that people often never clicked through to the release notes or never clicked beyond the introduction page. It was frustrating to read comments about how we should have written about what’s actually changed. Now you have no excuse for not actually seeing the content. Hopefully the server can handle the content.

I am again pleased to see the hard work done by the translators. It’s great to see your text translated into incomprehensible languages such as Thai. Many have even taken the time to create localized versions of the screenshots.

11 thoughts on “GNOME 2.20 Release Notes

  1. Murray,

    I was reading the release notes earlier today and was really impressed by both amount of improvements to GNOME and the quality of the release notes. Thanks, I appreciate your work on them.

    Maybe I can help out in 6 months time

    – J

  2. Murray, I apologize for my non-involvement in the release notes writing. The main reason of this was that there’s nothing to track each other’s progress. Who is watching which software, why there isn’t a single word about one software (is this because no one checked it? Or there’s nothing worth for the release notes?). After one moment, you just don’t know where to start, and are afraid of doing duplicate work.

    So, I contributed in translation in french of the release notes, and in localized screenshots. For these, there’s also some information missing: for example the name of the app that is shown… I just couldn’t find where the evolution backup function should be, or what is the name of the encryption-related program in the release notes…

    There’s also the fact that finding information on which feature will be implemented or not is a mess… Lucas Rocha, part of the roadmap gang, has this page for the roadmap of eye of GNOME:
    Now compare it to his blog post about the new Eye of GNOME:
    Which of is the clearest ? For me it’s the blog post, and it’s a pity we could’nt have something that simple a few week back. If we had, we could have mentionned for example the new plugin system of EOG…

    How do you think we could improve the release notes redaction process ? I’ve been throwing random ideas here:

  3. I was wondering if next time (a.k.a GNOME 2.22 release-notes) we can provide a paragraph in which every translation team can put their personal release-notes

    I mean, Catalan team (to pick randomly one :) have achieved to translate all the UI and 50% of documentation and we are really proud of it that we want to put somewhere that catalan people could see and be glad of it

  4. Thanks Murray, they look great!

    I’m sure I’m not the only GNOME contributor who has limited free time and infinite tasks, especially at the end of the release cycle. Unless a commercial entity is interested in the quality of the Release Notes, I doubt the situation will improve much. Of course, we could just get lucky (as seems to have happened with you and Dayvd).

    I do wonder, however, if Shaun’s Nine-by-six proposal [1] could help increase the energy surrounding non-coding tasks for GNOME. I suspect it’s hard to keep good writers/translators/etc around when they have to sit on their hands for 4-5 months and then spend 1-2 months rushing to get stuff done.


  5. Great work on the release notes. I was really impressed by how clearly everything was laid out and I really enjoyed the accompanying screen shots.

    Putting all of the release notes on one page is great idea. Having all of the notes in one location (without the press release) should reduce confusion and hopefully more people will see all of the great improvements that have gone into this new release.

    Well done.

  6. liberforce, I made it clear on the ReleaseNotes page what items I had used already and what I had decided not to use. I made comments when changing that page, to explain where I got the extra information from. Also, you can ask me.

  7. In fact, we don’t sit on our hands during 4-5 months. When a release is done, we still have to complete gnome-extra, gnome-office, and doc (except for « super » teams who have already done this).

  8. Murray, that’s absolutely not something against you, I think you really did a great job. But I wanted to pinpoint the difficulties I encountered, which may prevent other people from giving a hand on the release notes.

  9. The release notes look great! But as I mentioned on #gnome, 4+ MB of PNGs is a lot for some people to download. Any chance of shrinking the overall download size of the page a bit?

    Thanks for your hard work!

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