Stormy Peters is leaving her position with GNOME to take a developer relations job with Mozilla.
Good for her. Bad for GNOME.
Mozilla is a well-established organization, whose software and funding are both on solid ground. GNOME, on the other hand, is at a crossroads.
Losing Canonical was a big deal. Negative reviews of the shell are hurting desktop Linux generally. A firm hand and definite direction are needed. This can go pear-shaped pretty quickly.
In my view Peters, who joined the GNOME payroll in 2008, found herself in a horses-for-courses dilemma.
There are managers who are good at charming corporations into giving their money, their time, and their imagination to a cause. There are teammates who are just good with people, peer-to-peer. Peters is of the latter school. GNOME needs someone from the former.
My former co-blogger Joe Brockmeier, writing this up at Network World, is deliberately cagey. As he notes at the bottom of his story, he's a member of the GNOME Foundation and sometimes helps the group with their PR. Which means he probably has views on this he can't say out loud, and which should be reserved for the ears of his fellow wizards.
I'm not a wizard, a point I intend to emphasize when I talk to the Apache Foundation tomorrow. My view is GNOME needs to find itself an entrepreneur, and set a direction pretty quickly, or it's going to be run over from behind.
But that's just one blogger's perspective. What's yours?