Older blog entries for Burgundavia (starting at number 81)

1 Jun 2006 (updated 1 Jun 2006 at 19:37 UTC) »
Celebrating Dapper

It appears that the Globe and Mail (one of two of Canada's national newpapers), has an article on Ubuntu 6.06.

This is exactly the kind of article the Marketing Team needs to help produce more of. Ubuntu already has great traction in the national and international tech press, now we need to get the non-tech press and local tech press.

And as a final note, thanks to everybody for a great release. It has been a real pleasure working alongside everybody. Special kudos to Matthew East for piloting the ubuntu-doc ship through these last few months. It has and will be a great ride. If you live in Victoria, BC, Canada and want to come hang out with us, we are having a party. Details for all the Dapper parties on the Dapper Release Parties wiki page.

Ubuntu Canada

After much downtime, we now have web presence again! And a new logo! Check us out at ubuntu-ca.org. The DNS for ubuntu.ca should also happen sometime soon.

Reclaiming our public spaces

After reading Paul Graham's excellent essay on How to start a Silicon Valley and the website of the Project for Public Spaces, I have realized that the Free Software and Open Source communities can do more to bridge the divide between us and those who advocate a more human world such as librarians, teachers, philosphers, scientists, environmentalists, and social activists. They help the poor, the weak, the ignorant and the forgotten. To them computers are ivory towers with flashing lights. To be feared and respected. And they cost a bundle, money and time sorely needed elsewhere.

So how do we engage our allies? Talk to them about copyleft, Creative Commons and freedom of information. Tell them about them about the wonders of Free and Open Source software. So what if business people think Linux is not ready for the desktop? These are not business people! We can give them high quality software at a price they cannot beat, backed with a philosophy they can agree with.

Where do you start? Go volunteer at a local NGO. Better yet, organize a technology night for a bunch of them. Get your local LUG involved. There are a million myriad ways, limited merely by your imagination.

24 May 2006 (updated 24 May 2006 at 20:38 UTC) »
The sky is falling

According this ZDNet article, the European Commission has decided that "computer programs will be excluded from patentability in the upcoming Community Patent legislation, and that the European Patent Office (EPO) will be bound by this law." Here is the original question, by a Polish MEP. Once again, the Poles have a deciding role in this. Assuming this is true, it is stunning news.

22 May 2006 (updated 22 May 2006 at 01:12 UTC) »
Goodbye Firefox

Without much sadness I have bid Firefox goodbye on the last place I was using it, my desktop machine. Memory and CPU usage simply became too much to handle. I truly love the Mozilla people for producing such an awesome browser for Windows, but those of us who use different platforms, Firefox is not the way to go. Go Epiphany!

13 Apr 2006 (updated 13 Apr 2006 at 06:53 UTC) »
Plugins considered harmful

Dear Application Developers,

I have noticed a worrying trend recently. Too many application developers and packagers seem to think that putting core functionality into a plugin or extension is a good idea. It is not. The next time some user asks me how to open ODT in Abiword (you need the abiword-plugins package, which is NOT installed by default when you install Abiword) or how to do session saving in Firefox (you need an extension), I think I am going to scream.

So if you develop an application, please remember that plugins and extensions are for whizbang features not many use, not for core pieces, like opening a file format or recovering from a crash.

Yours,
Corey Burger
Department of Good Defaults

7 Apr 2006 (updated 7 Apr 2006 at 06:27 UTC) »
The community at work

With Flight 5, XChat-Gnome was removed, leaving only gaim able to do IRC. However, this made getting onto #ubuntu now very difficult, due to needing to setup gaim with multiple arcane dialogs.

Into this breach has stepped JoelBryan. He has written a tool called Ubuntu Live Chat Support, designed to make the process of getting onto #ubuntu a mere wizard dialog away. Rock!

Update: Apparently, the man is not done. How about an easy way to handle irc links?

A world of Mono hype

Why this sudden facination with Mono apps? Mono is a great technology, but it is not the only game in town.

Then there are cool Python apps like Jokosher, Serpentine, gramps and the Gourmet Recipe Manager.

Don't get me wrong, Mono is great. But lets focus on what really matters, great apps, not what they are built with.

History sliders everywhere

When I first used f-spot, I thought the history slider was crack. I thought, this is a totally non-standard and useless. Nuke it. That was then...

This is now. Now I think the history slider is one of greatest "new ideas" in computing (It is probably an old idea, just resurrected). As such, one of the greatest things someone could write would be a giant history slider program, for everything on your computer that you use: programs, documents, coversations, people, webpages, everything. To see what I had done, I would just click on a button labelled "History" and slide back to the day, then zoom into the hour or even the minute.

I have created a mockup and put it on the Ubuntu wiki at Computer History Browser. Please excuse my 10 minute Inkscape job, but I think it gets the point across. It also uses the same colours as Gimmie, to reinforce which is which.

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.

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