Rosanna Yuen

Director of Operations at the GNOME Foundation

April 2021

Rosanna makes FOSS and takes our Twitter mic from April 21st to 28th. Thank you, Rosanna!

Please tell us about yourself

Hi! I’m Rosanna. I am the Director of Operations at the GNOME Foundation. My job is to help with the growth and sustainability of GNOME. As a 501(c)(3), GNOME Foundation is a nonprofit corporation, with all that entails. I handle the finances and legal compliance, along with hundreds of small things that come up day-by-day.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working with our finance committee to see if further changes need to be made to our operating budget given the current pandemic, with our code of conduct committee to keep GNOME a safe and welcoming space, and hoping with the travel committee for the world to right itself so that we can once again sponsor travel to GNOME-related events.

What is most interesting about that?

I’m afraid I am too close to the matter to know what would interest your readers! What I find interesting is how it takes so many wonderful and diligent volunteers in addition to our amazing staff to keep all the wheels turning.

How did you first discover FOSS?

I installed linux on my computer in college because it allowed me to do classwork in my dorm room instead of having to walk through the snow to the computer lab. At the risk of dating myself, it was Slackware 2.1 and barely ran X.

What prompted you to start contributing to FOSS?

My boyfriend at the time wanted to impress me and created a solitaire card game to get me involved with GNOME. I wrote more about it here.

Why should others get involved with FOSS?

The FOSS community has a large reach. There are many different areas where new folks can make a difference and help bring FOSS to others. By being part of FOSS, folks can experiment and discover new skills, all while making contacts around the world that can help with future opportunities.

How should they get started?

Find a project that resonates with you and see how you can help. In GNOME we have a newcomer’s page that helps guide interested folks to where they can start contributing.

What difficulties and limitations do you see with FOSS?

Funding. It takes money to keep things running. Community volunteers are wonderful and we couldn’t get by without them, but without funds we wouldn’t be able to afford the infrastructure that hosts our bodies of work, the staff that brings continuity, or the investments to spread FOSS to underserved and underrepresented communities.

Where do you see difficulties in contributing?

Every FOSS community has its idiosyncrasies. One of our weak points is that we don’t have enough mentors to guide newcomers through the beginning stages of becoming a contributor.

What does a perfect day off look like?

A leisurely brunch, a stroll through a museum, an afternoon coffee while trying to solve a crossword puzzle, exploring a new city, and dinner at a cozy restaurant, all spent with close family and friends. Also, no more need for masks, and there’s got to be chocolate somewhere in there.