Older blog entries for Burgundavia (starting at number 73)

16 Mar 2006 (updated 16 Mar 2006 at 01:21 UTC) »
It appears we have a release

... of GNOME that is. 2.14 was just kicked out the door today. As always, the ever-uploading seb has already got it into Ubuntu, but you will not see it in a stable version of Ubuntu until June 1st, as Ubuntu 6.04, more commonly known as Dapper, officially became Ubuntu 6.06 today.

Yours truly had a minor role in the press release of GNOME 2.14 and all typos can be attributed to my terrible editing.

15 Mar 2006 (updated 15 Mar 2006 at 04:05 UTC) »
Launchpad is hurting Ubuntu

Launchpad is like Dr. Frankenstein's monster. Like Dr. Frankenstein, the launchpad developers are pretty much uniformly geniuses (In fact, some of them are even quite cuddly, a quality I don't think Dr. Frankenstein enjoyed). And as with the monster, Launchpad is a great idea. But sadly, like the monster, Launchpad is a beast. It eats kittens and causes good people to tear out their hair. In fact, I would rather have my fingers gnawed by rabid chimpmunks than use Launchpad some days. Today was one of those days.

But first, I should provide some history. I have been involved with Ubuntu since almost the beginning. I have watched Launchpad under development all this time. Schedules kept slipping until finally, Malone was turned on for all Ubuntu bug tracking a few months back. Soyuz was turned on shortly thereafter, and Rosetta has been running for awhile.

In the beginning, I liked Launchpad and used it a fair amount. But as time progressed, I watched with frustration and then sadness as persistant issues were not fixed, such as the way Malone lists bugs. This eventually led me to give up doing any bug triage in Ubuntu. I know I am not alone in this.

So how does Launchpad hurt Ubuntu? Well, its UI makes it much much harder to do simple tasks. For instance, today I was looking at my synaptics touchpad issue. After several minutes of fruitless search (another longterm annoyance with Launchpad), I finally found the bug report. I also found another bug report, identical. So I preceded to tell Launchpad that the new bug report was a duplicate of the old one. Except not, because the new one already had another duplicate bug. So I had to change that third bug and then the new report. This kind of crap costs me and the developers time. And I don't have to "experience" it as part of my work. (I get to "enjoy" Netsuite, but that is another issue)

So where do we go from here? Honestly, I have no idea. Launchpad is too entrenced to realistically consider another option. The damage it has done has been done. We need to find some way out of this self-inflicted morass of good ideas and broken implementations. I just hope we do, for the good of the entire Ubuntu project.

PS. This really has nothing to do with the license (or lack there of) that Launchpad is under. No, really. The UI would suck just as hard if it was open source.

Your desktop is a mess, please bug the developers to do something useful with it

Your desktop is a ghetto. It is a wasted and unloved space. It looks like the your average inner city, run down with garbage everywhere.

Why am I making this bold prediction? Because I have watched Average People (TM) use the GNOME desktop. Their desktops are either in one of two states: So clean you could eat off of or a random collection of files and folders. Either way, not very useful.

So how do we redevelop this slum of your computer? I think SymphonyOS has some interesting ideas. Rather than using the desktop to store stuff, why not use it display information? It is doing the former very badly anyway.

Anyway, you can go back to making your desktop a mess. I know I will.

Gervase, I will agree with you completely. As far as I can tell from the Ubuntu side, we really only gained one contributor, the excellent Manu Cornet. We also had similar issues with people not being part of the community and thus not really joining it during or after. However, I would add the following suggestions:

  1. Code should be developed in a public source repository
  2. Projects should post a clear page with who is working on what, and what the status is
  3. SoCer's should post status reports regularly (ie, more than just once or twice)

I should note that I was not involved with the planning or execution of any of the Google SoC stuff here at Ubuntu, this is merely an outsiders view. I should also note that Google is not really at fault here. One of the problems that I think Ubuntu ran into was simply that all the development team was too busy to effectively tutor the SoC people. Again, that is just an outsiders view. I could be completely wrong.

However, I don't think there is anything systemic wrong with Google SoC that is not fixable this time around.

23 Feb 2006 (updated 24 Feb 2006 at 01:52 UTC) »

We in the Free and Open Source software community spend a great deal of time talking about free codecs and supporting those codecs, at least in words. So why on Planet Gnome do I see three different examples of people demoing cool new things with non-free codecs/tools?

Update: Make that four

Apparently my blog post from July, about the consoles and bugs is called "Ubuntu 's Haiku" on a French forum. I feel so wise.

31 Jan 2006 (updated 31 Jan 2006 at 07:22 UTC) »

For those who care about not crashing the aircraft they are on

Heed those warnings and don't run your electronics in the plane. Transport Canada has documented cases of pocket calculators screwing up electronics (primarily navigation and communication equipment), or at least so says my brother, the pilot. Also, as he says "I can't cite, but I believe that the bandwidth that GPS operates in is also very, very susceptible to interference. GPS signals are also very low-powered; GPS antenna are correspondingly sensitive..."

Martin, hope that answers your question.

(Sorry, couldn't resist the title)

24 Jan 2006 (updated 24 Jan 2006 at 08:22 UTC) »

God Bless Canada?

Please no Mr Harper.

And when you go the polls (Canadian only)

Well, it seems another election is upon us in Canada. As I rarely talk about my political views, I guess I should preface by saying this by saying that this will be the only post about those views this year (unless we have another election).

As a self described small-L liberal, I am tormented by this election. The possibly election of the Conservatives and their leader, Stephen Harper, scares me s**tless. Advances in such things as abortion and same-sex marriage might not be and despite the antics of a certain Liberal candidate, I don't think the Conservatives are going to be any better on copyright. Couple that with a little Liberal arrogance and few scandals and I candidate, Keith Martin of the Liberals, whom I like, I just don't know where to vote. NDP is where I would vote in a perfect world, but should I vote Liberal to keep the Conservatives out?

But hey, at least I am going to vote. Are you?

A great fora of numbers

For sometime I have watching how the numbers of people in our forums stack up against other distros. While no number should ever be taken in isolation, together they can probably yield a pretty good idea of how big the community is around each distro.

First I took the top ten or so distros on Distrowatch. I discarded Suse, Slackware and Debian as they did not have alarge centralized forum. Of those that were left, Mandriva, Mepis, Damn Small, Knoppix and Xandros had smaller forums, by any count. This left Gentoo and Fedora.

Gentoo has by far the largest forum of any distro, but this might be due to a large number of users/developers being of the forum culture (as opposed to the mailing list culture that is Ubuntu and Debian).

Fedora and Ubuntu forums stack up pretty much equally when you look at all numbers except one. Fedora typically has about 6 times the number of currently active users as the Ubuntu forums, with the vast majority of those being guests. Very odd. A better statistician that myself will have to explain that.

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