Our Year in Review
We can’t believe that 2015 is almost over! It’s been a great year for elementary. So much has happened and we’re super excited to see what 2016 has in store. To get into the New Year’s Eve spirit, here’s our year in review!
We kicked off the year by starting work on a brand new website, to be released alongside the new version of elementary OS. We decided to build it completely Open Source on GitHub, make it translatable from the start, and redesign everything to work great on both mobile and desktop. Then, on Valentine’s day, we officially moved from elementaryos.org to elementary.io.
Early in March, we signed up on Patreon and reached our first goal just a month later. Patreon is a great compliment to Bountysource and rounds out the ways that folks can help us with funding elementary.
We decided to take down our old Answers system and shortly after we got our very own site on StackExchange. Over the last 5 months, we’ve served up over 1,500 answers and the site averages about 1,500 visitors every day. It’s become a vibrant support community with comprehensive answers to some of the most common questions we get.
In June, we said Goodbye to Sourceforge and “Hello” to our very own brand new CDN which has already served up over a million downloads; That’s more than a petabyte of data! We now have several localized servers and confidently serve up speedy downloads to our users, ad free.
2015 was definitely the year of elementary at conferences! At the end of February, Cassidy and Katie made it out to SCaLE to demo Freya, hand out shirts and stickers, and even had the opportunity to be interviewed by the LAS crew.
At the end of June, we made it out to the Westcoast Summit where we had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with several GNOME developers. Every day gave us something to be excited about. Cassidy went to the whiteboard with Jasper St. Pierre to work out a strategy for advanced window tiling features in Mutter. Cody spent some time learning about OSTree and XDG App, some exciting new technologies that we’ll see more of next year. Dan made big strides with supporting HiDPI icons thanks to the help of Cosimo Cecchi. We also got to see a demo of Builder from Christian Hergert, a very exciting new IDE, and had the chance to talk out some new Gtk+ features, some of which have already been implemented since!
In November, Cassidy made it out to the Linode Meetup in Philadelphia to give a talk about what UX means and its importance in open source software. He’ll be giving that talk again to much larger audience at SCaLE in January.
Contributions to Other Open Source Software
While most of our resources are spent improving elementary OS, we also try to set aside some time and money to contribute to the wider open source ecosystem. In terms of commits, Corentin Noël has made an effort to contribute to several projects that we depend on like EDS and LibGDA, as well as libraries we’d like to use in the future like LibCamel. With the help of Shriram Ramkrishna, we’ve had a lot more direct contact with Gtk+ and GNOME developers, making suggestions and bringing up concerns for us and other downstreams of their projects.
Meeting other developers in person is very important, which is why we helped sponsor DebConf15 and the Inkscape Toronto Hackfest. We want to make sure that Open Source software stays funded, so we also donated to rEFInd and OpenStreetMap and awarded a couple of small bounties on Dep11 and Gtk+. We’ve placed several thousand dollars in bounties on projects that we rely on and hope to see more of them claimed in the new year.
We’ve also had the chance to become upstream to a couple of projects. We were happy to learn that Ubuntu Mate is making use of a piece of software we use to detect captive network portals, and by moving our icons to GitHub we’ve made it easier for XFCE’s Shimmer project to track our changes for their derivative icon set.
On April 24th, we released a brand new look and feel for our GitHub/Markdown-powered documentation. Since then we’ve introduced some great new docs for icon designers, courtesy of Sam Hewitt as well as refined our guides to reporting issues and proposing design changes. Philip Scott wrote a new section on providing translations, for our developer guide. Our Installation Guide received a good amount of attention from Lewis Goddard, Linus Bobcat, and several other members of our community. Additionally, thanks to the efforts of Corentin, we made it on Valadoc.org in May. We’re very excited to offer much better documentation for our users, designers, and developers.
Last but not least, 2015 also brought us a brand new version of elementary OS. On April 11th, we released the first stable version of Freya with a special live broadcast and presentation, something we’d never done before. We’re proud to say that Freya came with over 1,100 bug fixes to issues that people reported in Luna. Some of the biggest changes were the new HeaderBar app designs, the new multitasking view, and redesigned system settings including a new Do Not Disturb mode for notifications.
A quick note: thanks to your financial support through our pay-what-you-want model we were able to hire our first two full-time employees starting just after Freya’s initial release. This has been a tremendous opportunity. While we’ve been incorporated for a decent amount of time now and we’re on our 3rd release of elementary OS, this really marks the start of something much bigger for elementary.
This year we made an effort to continue releasing significant updates to our OS rather than just moving onto the next version. In September we made a minor release that included 200 fixes, a newer hardware stack, a new file chooser dialog that we’d been showing off, and the latest releases of Geary and Midori. We also redesigned the Language & Region settings pane after some feedback from our users.
On December 9th, we released another update to Freya with fixes for UEFI and Secureboot, tons of updates for translations, and a couple new features. At this point there had been 5.3 million downloads of elementary OS. We’re very excited to see so much enthusiasm around Freya. At the beginning of each cycle, we set out to blow the last release out of the water. Freya brought thousands of fixes, tons of new features, and refined the elementary OS experience even more.
We want to take a moment to say thank you to all of our contributors, supporters, fans, and everyone else in between. 2015 has been an amazing year for elementary thanks to all of you. We’re very excited to release the new things we’ve been working on in the coming year. Here’s to a great 2016, Happy New Year!