Most people by now have heard that news that Stormy is leaving as the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation to take a position at Mozilla.

I’ve had a few people reach out to me to follow up on her announcement to make sure it has nothing to do with the drama going on in the community (it doesn’t) or concerned about the timing with GNOME 3.0 coming (GNOME 3.0 is still coming!)

Now, no one on the Board asked me to do this and I’m speaking for myself, but I believe we’ll be ok. We have a great release coming in April and the Release Team is doing a great job of overseeing that. GNOME Developers are porting apps fast and furious to GTK3, GNOME Shell is coming along nicely, release parties are being planned, docs are being written and I could keep going on. None of these activities are going to stop because we don’t have an ED.

Most of us have left a job at some point – it’s not personal. And Stormy gets to work on something she’s passionate about. I saw this first hand this past April at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit where she organized a track to talk about how the desktop should interact with web services. Cornelius from KDE spoke, I spoke, Rejon from and more. She also received some great press from a talk she gave this past August about software freedom on the web. And now she has a chance to work to further that cause – which is a worthy one. While I’m sad to see her go, I’m happy to know she continues to work on software freedom and something she is just as passionate about, if not more so.

Stormy has always been visible to the GNOME community and transparent about the work she does with her regular updates of what she’s working on via her blog and emails to the Foundation list. But one of the most important things she did within the community was never in those recaps – and that’s the encouragement she provided to everyone who pinged her. As the face of the Foundation, volunteers would ping her to get her opinion on a new idea or a new feature. They valued her opinion, but more importantly, they wanted affirmation they were doing something right.

Stormy did that for me – in my last job I would commute to Boulder, Colorado about once a quarter, which isn’t too far from where Stormy lived. I was active in the community, but with Stormy’s gentle nudges, I was inspired to take that to the next level. Stormy made time for me and we would meet for coffee or lunch every couple of months and brainstorm and get stuff done. Stormy encouraged me to come to GUADEC in 2009 and was always there to listen to a new idea or answer a question.

I am grateful we had someone as qualified as Stormy to work for the Foundation the last 2+ years. Sure, I’m sad to see her go – not that she’s going far – but more importantly, I’m thankful for everything she has done for everyone in the GNOME community. Thanks again Stormy!