DrunkenAlcoholic but I feel the flagship budgie desktop has gone a little stagnant since you guys lost ikey and having to maintain three other desktop environments
The last Budgie release Ikey was involved in was mid-to-late 2017 and most of that code wasn't even his, it was Stefan / cybre's. His work was primarily around the Budgie Settings application. So let's try to dispel this idea that Ikey was the driving force towards the end (no doubt he did the majority of the work in the beginning), it isn't respectful to all the time other people put into it. Budgie 10.5 and Budgie 10.5.1 are the releases I've been the manager of and it's where you see more community contributions, primarily because I focused more on engaging with downstreams like Ubuntu Budgie to encourage them to actually contribute. @yursan9 implemented the Caffeine Mode applet, I encouraged him to get that landed in Budgie proper after it had originally been a third-party applet, and Budgie Menu got improvements from fossfreedom. @EbonJaeger implemented Notification pop-up position switching. Then I:
- Rewrote the IconTasklist and implemented its popover
- Implemented notification grouping in Raven
- Added additional Raven applet functionality
- Rewrote the Sound widget in Raven and included application volume control (whereas the old version only had device switching).
- Implemented Raven widget toggling
- Implemented more functionality in Budgie Desktop Settings -> Windows for centering, disabling night light when going fullscreen, enabling window focus changes, etc.
- Implemented new CSS classes in direct collaboration with tista (developer of Plata) to make theming easier (I want it to be the easiest out of all the desktop environments, still work to do on that).
Budgie 10.5.1 is the first of a series of maintenance releases. The whole point is cleaning up existing functionality, refinement, and bug fixes for Budgie 10.5 series. I literally lead the Bug Fixes section of that blog post with "Bug fixes are the cornerstone of Budgie 10.5 series releases". There aren't going to be any new major features because I don't want to commit to having to port it to C. You're welcome to call that stagnation and it "losing its spark", I just call it being a responsible software developer. The more code written in Vala, the more that needs to be ported. The more architectural spaghetti code that exists in Budgie 10.5, the more time it'll take to re-architect for Budgie 11.
Just like with Budgie 10.5.1, Budgie 10.5.2 will be primarily bug fixes and support for newer GNOME stacks. @serebit is working on rewriting tray applet functionality, which falls in line with "cleaning up existing functionality" / refinement. It's no secret that desktop icons will have its own Budgie native implementation, which is also "refinement". fossfreedom has been contributing crash fixes which are discovered thanks to Ubuntu's crash reporting system.
In terms of other desktop environments, maintaining GNOME is not difficult. It's not even time-consuming except for two weeks or so a year (at the beginning and end of the year where GNOME Stack updates occur) where I need to update several hundred packages. It gives me an opportunity to stream it, rant about GNOME, and hopefully give people a few chuckles. I really just don't need help on it, it's a mostly linear fixed set of packages that have to be built and validated locally anyways. I've been doing the GNOME Stack upgrades for 4 years now. I started taking over the maintenance of that back in 3.20.x days (2016). Most point releases I can get done over some morning coffee.
@kyrios handles MATE and he does an excellent job updating that after Ikey's initial work. Brisk Menu itself is largely developed by the Ubuntu MATE folks, Wimpy has direct access and is able to tag releases whenever. @Girtablulu handles KDE + Plasma and has done an excellent job after the initial work done by @sunnyflunk. Not to toot Girt and Peter's horn at all but frankly Plasma under Solus is the only Plasma experience I can stand. It always felt like a mess under openSUSE whenever I checked it out, lacking any form of cohesion. I'd say second best to Solus Plasma Edition would be KDE Neon. But I digress.
having to maintain three other desktop environments
This is not really different to when Ikey left the project.
In terms of the other projects like usysconf, @Harvey summarized it quite well, so I won't repeat him.
Anyways, this entire thread has kinda gotten derailed. The whole point of it was to focus on how futureproof Solus is, and I think that has been covered.
In regards to donations, that is answered in the FAQ post by @DataDrake.