News • Science & Tech
Is the GNOME Foundation Going to Go Bankrupt in 1 Year?
It looks that way. And their only known plan to fix it involves a "Professional Shaman" & "sustainability, diversity, and inclusion". Seriously.
April 29, 2024
post photo preview

It's no secret that many Open Source organizations struggle to fund themselves -- with the GNOME Foundation being on more of a shoestring budget than you would expect for a project as widely used as GNOME.

To make matters worse, the GNOME Foundation has been paying for most of their expenses by draining their savings account (as they spend far more than they take in).

Now, apparently, those savings are running out.

What's more: The GNOME Foundation has been unusually silent about their operations -- not publishing any public reports for closing in on 2 years now.  And their strategy to save themselves from bankruptcy appears to center around "sustainability, diversity, and inclusion".


GNOME has "hit the buffers"

From an April 26th announcement from GNOME Foundation President, Robert McQueen:

"As you may be aware, the GNOME Foundation has operated at a deficit (nonprofit speak for a loss – ie spending more than we’ve been raising each year) for over three years, essentially running the Foundation on reserves from some substantial donations received 4-5 years ago. The Foundation has a reserves policy which specifies a minimum amount of money we have to keep in our accounts. This is so that if there is a significant interruption to our usual income, we can preserve our core operations while we work on new funding sources. We’ve now “hit the buffers” of this reserves policy, meaning the Board can’t approve any more deficit budgets – to keep spending at the same level we must increase our income."

In short: GNOME has run out of money.  In order to "keep spending at the same level" GNOME needs to find some money.

What sort of money are we talking about?

To fully understand the dire straits the GNOME Foundation finds itself in, let's take a look at what we know about their finances.

Unfortunately, the GNOME Foundation has not published any data in close to two years.  They have not published an annual report for 2023, and their most recent IRS records only cover their fiscal year up through September of 2022.

Which means we are forced to look at previous year's data and extrapolate forward based on what information we do have.

Source: GNOME Foundation 2022 Annual Report

In short, total expenses for the GNOME Foundation:

  • 2021: $926,821
  • 2022: $659,537

And the revenue for those same years...

  • 2021: $286,708
  • 2022: $363,380

Notice how the expenses far exceed the revenue?  Not good.  Subtract the expenses from the revenue and you have the net income.  And, boy howdy, is it deep into the negative.  Which means this is the amount they need to take out of their savings, every year, just to keep the lights on.

  • 2021: - $640,113
  • 2022: - $296,157

We know that GNOME is burning through between $296K and $640K, of savings, per year.  Which begs the question... how much do they have left in terms of cash reserves?

The GNOME Foundation Nest Egg

The most recent information we have, on the GNOME assets, comes from their IRS filings up through September of 2022 (their last publicly available filing).

Source: GNOME Foundation 990 IRS Filing for September, 2022

While those numbers don't exactly line up with the numbers stated in the GNOME Foundation's annual report, that's not entirely surprising.  Oftentimes, for these foundations, the annual reports and IRS filings will cover slightly different time periods (and be filed at different times, when different data is available).

Just the same, the numbers are close enough to the annual report that we can work with it.

But the listed assets on this page, as of 2022, really don't give us enough information.  This lists $909,107 in total net assets... but what we really need to know is how much "Savings and temporary cash investments" they have.

In other words: How much money can GNOME get their hands on, in short notice, to actively use for funding their immediate expenses?  For that, we'll need to look a few pages further down their IRS 990 form... at this line:

Source: GNOME Foundation 990 IRS Filing for September, 2022

Boom.  There we go.  $765,011.

That's how much the GNOME Foundation had, in September of 2022, in available savings.

How much money does GNOME have left... today?

Now here's where we're going to need to make some assumptions based on the data above.

I hate making assumptions... but, considering the lack of data from the GNOME Foundation, we're left with no other choice.

Let's assume that, in 2023, GNOME managed to keep their annual expenditures down to their 2022 levels (which was far, far lower than the 2021 levels... so this is close to "best case scenario").  And let's also assume that their income stayed steady as well.  How much savings would they have left?

Math time.  Savings minus the amount they need to withdraw from savings.

  • Oct, 2022 through Sep, 2023: $765,011 - $296,157 = $468,854

Now let's make the same assumption from that point (October 2023) through to present (April, 2024).  7 months in total.

We know that the total amount that GNOME would need to draw from their savings -- every month -- is roughly $24,679.75 ($296,157, the yearly savings withdrawal, divided by 12 months).  Thus, to get the amount of savings they've spent over the last 7 months... we simply multiply that number by 7.  For which we get $172,758.25.

  • Oct, 2023 through Apr, 2024: $468,854 - $172,758.25 = $296,095.75

In theory, that's how much money the GNOME Foundation has left in savings.  $296,095.75.

Why is that number significant?  Because that is almost exactly the amount of savings they will need to withdraw to stay afloat... for one year.

Remember.  From the announcement this week: "The Foundation has a reserves policy which specifies a minimum amount of money we have to keep in our accounts."

Could this be related to that number we came up with above?  It's possible.  It certainly would seem reasonable.  But, without better records and communication from the GNOME Foundation, we won't know for sure.

GNOME Foundation has One Year Left?

If their numbers have stayed consistent since September of 2022 -- which is a big if -- this means that The GNOME Foundation has enough funds to continue current operations through April of 2025.

At which point... the GNOME Foundation will need to significantly scale back their expenditures.

They will be forced to lay off the majority of their staff.

All of which raises a number of questions.

What is the new Executive Director doing to save GNOME?

In October of 2023, the GNOME Foundation hired a new Executive Director.  A person whose previous job was as a self-described "Professional Shaman" -- not religiously associated with Shamanism, mind you, but a person who sold "flavored Shaman water" and offered paid "Start your own Shaman business" training.

In the half year since that time, the new GNOME Executive Director, Holly Million, has had very little public presence -- no blog posts (after a short introduction), no social media activity, no major interviews, no response to press requests... totally quiet.  During the one publicly held event (a "Meet and Greet" last year), journalists were kicked out before it started and the planned recording was canceled for unknown reasons.

What has this GNOME Executive Director been doing to make sure that the GNOME Foundation does not go out of business?  It is a mystery.  Total silence.

In fact, one of the few indications we have as to the direction that the GNOME Foundation is taking, comes from Twitter posts by other GNOME Board members.  Namely, one from the GNOME Vice President, stating:

"excited about the progressive conversation we had with the executive director Holly Million. We engaged in extensive discussions regarding the strategic direction of @gnome, focusing on #sustainability, #diversity, and #inclusion. The future looks green"

Source: Twitter account for GNOME Vice President, Regina Nkenchor

From what little information we have, it appears that the GNOME profitability efforts are centered around "sustainability, diversity, and inclusion".

Oh, and "Hashtag: Technology".  With a shamrock emoji.

"How does that result in GNOME not going out of business," you ask?  I wish I could tell you.

But, according to this week's announcement by the GNOME President, fundraising is one of the key reasons why Holly Million was hired away from her Shaman job.

"One of the board’s top priorities in hiring Holly was therefore her experience in communications and fundraising, and building broader and more diverse support for our mission and work. Her goals since joining – as well as building her familiarity with the community and project – have been to set up better financial controls and reporting, develop a strategic plan, and start fundraising."

Communications.  Fundraising.  Financial reporting.

That's why their Executive Director was hired -- and those were her goals since she started work over half a year ago.

In that time the GNOME Executive Director has:

  • Given no interviews.
  • Been totally radio silent (no articles, social posts, podcasts, videos... nothing).
  • Not published any financial reports of any kind.  We have no clue what GNOME has been doing, financially, for almost 2 years now.
  • And, from what little we're being told, she has continued GNOME's deathmarch towards running out of money.

Those goals again: Communications.  Fundraising.  Financial reporting.

Sounds like a massive, unmitigated failure of all three goals to me.  And their plan to turn things around sounds like it centers on "sustainability, diversity, and inclusion"... which is not exactly a strong business plan.

What happens now?

It sounds like things are getting desperate.  And the GNOME Foundation will be announcing their plan to save The GNOME Foundation in the weeks ahead.

"The biggest prerequisite for fundraising is a clear strategy – we need to explain what we’re doing and why it’s important, and use that to convince people to support our plans. I’m very pleased to report that Holly has been working hard on this and meeting with many stakeholders across the community, and has prepared a detailed and insightful five year strategic plan. The plan defines the areas where the Foundation will prioritise, develop and fund initiatives to support and grow the GNOME project and community. The board has approved a draft version of this plan, and over the coming weeks Holly and the Foundation team will be sharing this plan and running a consultation process to gather feedback input from GNOME foundation and community members."

What is that plan?  How likely is that plan to succeed in bringing in enough funding to keep the foundation float?

At this point, we simply don't know.  The GNOME Foundation -- and their Executive Director -- is staying tight lipped and secretive.

All we know is that it includes "sustainability, diversity, and inclusion".

Wait.  What about that Million Euro investment?!

Right about now you might be remembering that, last year, the GNOME Foundation announced that they would be receiving 1 Million Euros from the Sovereign Tech Fund.

It sounds like those funds aren't for the foundation, but for specific development purposes:

"This money is received in the form of a contract for services rather than a grant to the Foundation, and must be spent on the development areas agreed during the planning and application process. It’s included within this year’s budget (October 23 – September 24) and is all expected to be spent during this fiscal year, so it doesn’t have an impact on the Foundation’s reserves position."

In other words: That million Euro?  It won't be beefing up their savings account.

What about Red Hat, SUSE, & Canonical?

GNOME is heavily relied upon by some of the biggest Linux companies on Earth.  

Right about now it's worth considering... why haven't Red Hat (or SUSE & Canonical, for that matter) stepped up to provide the needed funding for the foundation which supports their default Desktop Environment?

Maybe they can't.  Maybe they don't want to.  The reason for the lack of funding is entirely unknown.  But it's worth asking, just the same.

For that matter, where is The Linux Foundation?  This seems like exactly the sort of thing a "Linux" foundation -- with over a quarter of a Billion dollars in annual revenue -- could do to help "Linux".

This isn't the first time... but...

Is the GNOME Foundation poised to run out of money?  It certainly appears so.  And, clearly, the foundation leadership is concerned.

But this isn't the first time they've had money trouble.

Back in 2014 (10 years ago), there were serious concerns about the financials of the GNOME Foundation.  So much so that a spending freeze was put into place.

GNOME survived that 2014 financial dip, just as it could certainly survive this new one.  Yet the actions of the GNOME Foundation raises serious concerns and doubts.

  • Why is GNOME staying so secretive?  No published plans, no communication at all from their Executive Director, no published recent reports.
  • The only known details of their secret plan to avert a shut down are... "sustainability, diversity, and inclusion".  That can't be real... can it?  No serious software foundation would stare at possible bankruptcy... and make that a significant part of their strategy.
  • What has the Executive Director been doing for half a year?  Why hasn't there been any noteworthy fundraising or sponsorships?  Considering GNOME's unique place in the Linux and Open Source world, funding GNOME should not be an issue for anyone even slightly familiar with fundraising and the Linux corporate world.
  • Why have the large Linux & Open Source companies -- and The Linux Foundation -- not gotten involved?  What's going on there?

In the coming weeks, the GNOME Foundation has said that they will announce details of their secretive plan to keep their foundation alive.

For what it's worth, The Lunduke Journal is rooting for them -- and their secret plan.  Whatever it may be.  I truly hope it succeeds.

But, considering the bad financials and all of the other reasons outlined here, I remain less than optimistic.

Update: April 30th, 2024

While the GNOME Foundation has continued to refuse to speak with journalists, this article has created a bit of a firestorm within the GNOME community -- and has forced the GNOME Foundation President, Robert McQueen, to make a short statement.

That statement confirmed some of The Lunduke Journal's reporting regarding GNOME having 1 year of salary and expenses remaining:

"the reserves policy says we should keep 12 additional months of staff salary and expenses".

There were additional quotes, within that statement, which put a positive spin on the state of GNOME finances:

"The reason we’re hoping to raise more funds is our ambition to do more for the community"


"This year we’re expecting to break-even"

While these statements sound good, they are too vague and speculative to prove or disprove with the information we have available.  Likewise, they neither prove or disprove the reporting within this article (other than, at present, the GNOME Foundation is not breaking even).

What we now know for certain: GNOME been running a large deficit for several years, with their books showing a trajectory towards a fully depleted savings within 1 year unless they receive significant, new funding -- that fact has been confirmed by the GNOME Foundation.

The Lunduke Journal has, once again, reached out to the GNOME Foundation for further information.  However, given the foundation's lack of communication and transparency over the last 6 months, it seems unlikely that we'll know the true extent of the financial issues until we obtain updated financial records and annual reports (or until GNOME decides to publish their, at present, secret plans).

community logo
Join the Lunduke Community
To read more articles like this, sign up and join my community today
What else you may like…
Mozilla Caves to Criticism, Unblocks Firefox Extensions in Russia

Two days after blocking anti-Censorship, pro-Privacy Firefox Extensions in Russia, Mozilla has reversed course.

The full article:

Open Source A.I. Definition to include Closed, Secret Data

The Open Source Initiative -- backed by Microsoft, Amazon, Meta -- is pushing for a "Closed" definition of "Open Source Artificial Intelligence."

Mozilla's War on the Open Internet

The Mega Corp behind Firefox takes another step to stomp out free speech and an "Open Web".

Mozilla Firefox blocks anti-Censorship and pro-Privacy extensions in Russia:

November 22, 2023
The futility of Ad-Blockers

Ads are filling the entirety of the Web -- websites, podcasts, YouTube videos, etc. -- at an increasing rate. Prices for those ad placements are plummeting. Consumers are desperate to use ad-blockers to make the web palatable. Google (and others) are desperate to break and block ad-blockers. All of which results in... more ads and lower pay for creators.

It's a fascinatingly annoying cycle. And there's only one viable way out of it.

Looking for the Podcast RSS feed or other links? Check here:

Give the gift of The Lunduke Journal:

The futility of Ad-Blockers
November 21, 2023
openSUSE says "No Lunduke allowed!"

Those in power with openSUSE make it clear they will not allow me anywhere near anything related to the openSUSE project. Ever. For any reason.

Well, that settles that, then! Guess I won't be contributing to openSUSE! 🤣

Looking for the Podcast RSS feed or other links?

Give the gift of The Lunduke Journal:

openSUSE says "No Lunduke allowed!"
September 13, 2023
"Andreas Kling creator of Serenity OS & Ladybird Web Browser" - Lunduke’s Big Tech Show - September 13th, 2023 - Ep 044

This episode is free for all to enjoy and share.

Be sure to subscribe here at to get all shows & articles (including interviews with other amazing nerds).

"Andreas Kling creator of Serenity OS & Ladybird Web Browser" - Lunduke’s Big Tech Show - September 13th, 2023 - Ep 044
Off to a fantastic start!

A huge high-five is in order for everyone who pitched in and grabbed a subscription (or otherwise donated) today!

I do believe we've put enough funds in the "This is For The Linux Distro" account to cover all of the obvious expenses (servers, hardware, domains, etc.) for at least the next half year or so. Most outstanding!

I'll be honest... I wasn't expecting this level of response!

I'll leave the sale running until midnight tonight if anyone else wants to jump in, but this is truly amazing. All of you rule.

Next up: Getting servers, domain, source repository, and forum set up.

10 hours ago

#Commodore #Wikipedia

Here's a demo of an in-development Wikipedia-specific online browser running on C64 OS, which is a commercial OS now available for Commodore 64s. Data speeds are hobbled a bit by a 2400 baud modem, but seems very functional with neat features like multiple-language support and flexible screen usage under user control. This offers a much richer experience compared to Minitel or early online services like GEnie back in the day.

10 hours ago

A question for the group:

Does Microsoft 365 run under Wine? Back when MS Office was a stand alone product it installed and worked well in wine but does it still? The need/desire to use this product has stopped some people from moving away from Windows and to Linux.

post photo preview
Last week at The Lunduke Journal (June 9 - June 15, 2024)
Firefox! Russia! WWDC! Open Source A.I.!

My-oh-my.  Another wild week at The Lunduke Journal!  It all kicked off with a live video commentary of Apple's WWDC keynote (which was banned by YouTube, but still available at the links below), then quickly moves to Mozilla and Open Source AI.

The Videos

The Articles

Previous Few Weeks

Reminder: Check out The Lunduke Journal Link Central page for all the handy URLS.  Podcast RSS feeds, contact info, direct links to some of the big shows and articles and a bunch of other goodies.  And be sure to subscribe to The Lunduke Journal to help support the work... and make sure you don't miss out on anything.

Read full Article
post photo preview
The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go

Back in July of 2016, I wrote a short article for Network World entitled “The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go."

While the title was certainly viewed as a bit “over the top” and “conspiracy theorist-y”, it was really just a collection of (in my opinion, rather bizarre) facts that – even without any sinister connection – were worth documenting. I am republishing it here, with some additional (increasingly odd) details added at the end (including radio and TV appearances related to this article).

Some of the details relating to the exact permissions and capabilities of the Pokémon application have changed over the last few years… but everything else remains correct, factual, and up to date.



The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go

With Pokémon Go currently enjoying, what I would call, a wee-bit-o-success, now seems like a good time to talk about a few things people may not know about the world's favorite new smartphone game.

This is not an opinion piece. I am not going to tell you Pokémon Go is bad or that it invades your privacy. I’m merely presenting verifiable facts about the biggest, most talked about game out there.

Let’s start with a little history

Way back in 2001, Keyhole, Inc. was founded by John Hanke (who previously worked in a “foreign affairs” position within the U.S. government). The company was named after the old “eye-in-the-sky” military satellites. One of the key, early backers of Keyhole was a firm called In-Q-Tel.

In-Q-Tel is the venture capital firm of the CIA. Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency. Much of the funding purportedly came from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The NGA handles combat support for the U.S. Department of Defense and provides intelligence to the NSA and CIA, among others.

Keyhole’s noteworthy public product was “Earth.” Renamed to “Google Earth” after Google acquired Keyhole in 2004.

In 2010, Niantic Labs was founded (inside Google) by Keyhole’s founder, John Hanke.

Over the next few years, Niantic created two location-based apps/games. The first was Field Trip, a smartphone application where users walk around and find things. The second was Ingress, a sci-fi-themed game where players walk around and between locations in the real world.

In 2015, Niantic was spun off from Google and became its own company. Then Pokémon Go was developed and launched by Niantic. It’s a game where you walk around in the real world (between locations suggested by the service) while holding your smartphone.

Data the game can access

Let’s move on to what information Pokémon Go has access to, bearing the history of the company in mind as we do.

When you install Pokémon Go on an Android phone, you grant it the following access (not including the ability to make in-app purchases):


  • Find accounts on the device


  • Find accounts on the device


  • Precise location (GPS and network-based)

  • Approximate location (network-based)


  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage

  • Read the contents of your USB storage


  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage

  • Read the contents of your USB storage


  • Take pictures and videos


  • Receive data from the internet

  • Control vibration

  • Pair with Bluetooth devices

  • Access Bluetooth settings

  • Full network access

  • Use accounts on the device

  • View network connections

  • Prevent the device from sleeping

Based on the access to your device (and your information), coupled with the design of Pokémon Go, the game should have no problem discerning and storing the following information (just for a start):

  • Where you are

  • Where you were

  • What route you took between those locations

  • When you were at each location

  • How long it took you to get between them

  • What you are looking at right now

  • What you were looking at in the past

  • What you look like

  • What files you have on your device and the entire contents of those files

I’m not going to tell people what they should think of all this.

I’m merely presenting the information. I recommend looking over the list of what data the game has access to, then going back to the beginning of this article and re-reading the history of the company.

Update: April 14th, 2020

In March of 2017, a little less than a year after this article was originally published, WikiLeaks released what they called “Vault 7." A series of documents that was purported to be a large leak of CIA related documents focused heavily on hacking and electronic surveillance.

Among those documents was a list of code names, descriptions, and various details around Android specific exploits.

Of the code names listed… almost a third of them were Pokémon names. Between that and the CIA investment (via In-Q-Tel) in Niantic (the company behind Pokémon Go)… I mean, that's just a heck of a lot more Pokémon than one would expect from the CIA.

One other little tidbit:

The original CEO of In-Q-Tel was a man named Gilman Louie. Louie received multiple awards for his work with In-Q-Tel - including CIA Agency Seal Medallions, Director's Award by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Director of National Intelligence Medallion – which included investing in Keyhole.

Louie now sits on the board of directors of Niantic.

In 2019 alone, Pokémon Go earned $1.4 Billion (USD). As of February 2019, the game had been downloaded over One Billion times.

Update: June 15th, 2024

After this article was originally published, back in 2016, I made a few radio guest appearances to talk about it -- my favorites being for Coast to Coast AM and Fade to Black.  Both of which remain available online.

This was followed by an episode of a TV show, for The History Channel, called "Breaking Mysterious".  That show only received a limited run in the USA, but it remains available via streaming in many other countries in case you want to look it up.

Here's a few snapshots from that episode (Season 1, Episode 1 - "The Watchers") just for good measure.

The show was originally titled "The Unexplained".  But the name was changed to "Breaking Mysterious"... and, later, "The Unexplained" title was used for an entirely different show, hosted by William Shatner.


Yup.  The video editors for the History Channel spelled my name wrong.  (It's with a Y!  A Y, I say!)


Sitting in a park.  Dropping truth bombs about surveillance on the show host, Jimmy Church.


Giving the show's host "The Look".
Read full Article
post photo preview
Funny Programming Pictures Part XLIV
Father's Day Weekend Edition

I hit Ctrl-C 187,000 times while creating this article.


... or simply don't know what we did, but it works.  It's "the algorithm".


Remember when Windows Vista was the "Best Advertisement for Linux"?  Good times.


We're all doomed.


This is the correct answer for every topic for an experienced dev: I hate everything, for different reasons.




This is a tough conversation for any dad to have.


The other 1% is giving up and just using a Center tag inside of a Table.


The more times you hit Ctrl-C, the better it copies.




"Backend Developer"




Don't look behind you.  Copilot is catching up.
Read full Article
See More
Available on mobile and TV devices
google store google store app store app store
google store google store app tv store app tv store amazon store amazon store roku store roku store
Powered by Locals