GNU Radio Organization Changes: Ben’s Statement

Hi all –

I have been involved with GNU Radio for the last seven years or so, and have always greatly enjoyed being part of the project. I’m continually impressed by our community, and I have met many of my closest colleagues through GNU Radio. I’m very happy to now be stepping into this role. Tom has done an amazing job of leading the project for the last 5+ years, and I’m honored to pick up the baton from him.

My Role

As part of this leadership transition, Tom’s responsibilities are being split into two distinct roles. My role, Project Lead, is focused on the organization, project direction & strategy, and external relationships. Ownership of the GNU Radio code itself is now the responsibility of the Chief Architect, Johnathan Corgan. Many of you already know Johnathan, and I’ll let him talk about his new role in more detail. In short, if something touches the codebase, Johnathan is fundamentally responsible. For everything else, it’s me.

The Organization

With a community and project of our size and capability, GNU Radio benefits greatly from having strong area leaders tackling specific efforts. We are now formalizing the leadership roles necessary to run a project like GNU Radio, and have identified key individuals to fill many of them.

GNU Radio Organization-03-2016

Martin Braun’s role of Community Manager will stay the same. In this capacity, Martin will continue to manage community events, outreach, and our presence in many external venues. Recent examples of Martin’s work include the Hackfest at c-base in Berlin, the SDR Track at FOSDEM, and our involvement with Google Summer of Code.

In addition to his leadership of Volk, Nathan West has stepped up to fill Johnathan Corgan’s previous role of Release Manager. Nathan has been managing the release process for GNU Radio over the last few months, and he will now formally take over the role.

Tech Leads and Working Groups

You probably noticed a new type of leadership role in the image above, Tech Lead, and the absence of ‘Working Groups’. We created the concept of ‘Working Groups’ in 2013 as a way to bring focused development to a particular effort within the project or community. After much discussion post-GRCon16, we believe that this can be better accomplished with a different leadership structure.

We have identified key technical areas of the project, each of which will be driven & maintained by a Tech Lead. A Tech Lead is directly responsible for the GNU Radio code in their area of leadership – you may notice that the crew of Tech Leads is comprised of people who have established themselves as core developers of the project. The GNU Radio codebase contains highly complex algorithms spread across otherwise unrelated fields – we have both advanced modulation techniques (e.g., OFDM) as well as Qt GUI code, for example. The Tech Leads are area experts that are responsible for these more focused & manageable portions of the project.

The Tech Leads are a key part of our software engineering process & development leadership going forward. As such, I will defer to Johnathan for further discussion of these topics.

Packaging

Packaging is a critical piece of our project success and growth, and we have been fortunate to have some excellent and very active maintainers working on GNU Radio. Going forward, these developers will have recognized roles within the organization, and Maitland Bottoms, whom many of you have met at Meetups and GRCons, has taken the role of Tech Lead for the Build System & Packaging.

Unfilled Roles

As you can see from the image, we also have a number of unfilled roles in the organization. If you are interested in becoming part of the GNU Radio leadership, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

The Foundation

As GNU Radio grows into a more mature and professional project, its organization must do the same to support it. Thus, we are very excited to announce that we will be incorporating a GNU Radio Foundation. Our goal is to eventually make the Foundation a proper 501(c)(3) non-profit, but as that takes considerable time and effort, our first step will be a corporation that will act under the same guidelines, but without the legal status as a non-profit.

At the time of its creation, the GNU Radio Foundation will be immediately responsible for:

  • Acting as the contract authority & legally responsible body for the organization (e.g., contracts signed in support of GRCon will be in the name of the Foundation, not individuals).

  • Managing all finances; all expenses come from the Foundation, and all revenues go to the Foundation.

  • Owning & managing all GNU Radio assets (e.g., domains, logins / access rights, PGP keys, IP not assigned to FSF, etc).

Creating the foundation will provide continuity independent of individuals in the organization, will provide a central authority to manage our assets and IP, and will act as the legal body representing the organization and project.

The Website

Redmine has served us well over the last few years, but I think almost everyone would agree that GNU Radio has outgrown the capabilities that Redmine offers. We are very excited to announce that a new website is coming down the pipe – the first piece will be the GRCon16 pages, and the rest of the site will follow soon after.

Keep an eye on `gnuradio.org`, and if you have an interest in getting involved, please note a couple of the unfilled leadership roles in the org are related to our web infrastructure!

My Goals for GNU Radio

It is a particularly exciting time to be part of GNU Radio. The community continues to grow at an impressive rate, and the project has really built up a lot of momentum. Our developer community and user-base are both expanding as interest in the project increases in both established & new demographics.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more detail on my goals & vision for the project. At a high level, the three goals I plan to focus on in the near-term are:

  1. Creating a more professional project & organization.

  2. Growing adoption of the project and users’ involvement in the community.

  3. Becoming a leading industry group for software radio.

These goals reflect the growing maturity of the project and strength of the community, and I believe that we have reached the point where these goals are within reach.

I’m excited to be contributing to GNU Radio in my new capacity, and I’m eager to work more closely with many of you in the community. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestions, comments, or if you have an interest in one of the open leadership positions in the organization. If you are in the D.C. area, feel free to drop by the GNU Radio meetup at “American Tap Room” in Reston on Tuesday night and say hello in-person!

Happy pi Day,

Ben

POSTED BY

Ben Hilburn

GNU Radio Project Lead & President of the GNU Radio Foundation