Older blog entries for Radagast (starting at number 11)

Phone conference with people today to sort out GNOME web site issues. Reached agreement, after I had to have all my communications filtered through another person, because the weird way I entered the conference made all sound going to and from me totally disappear, except for to and from one other person. Oh, well.

Wow, I think there's some rule that says online communities are at their most active when they get to discuss themselves. From all the forums I've been involved with throughout the last 10 years, that's certainly been the rule. I wonder why. It seems to be a good sign, though, people growing so attached to their community that they get involved deeply when there's talk of changing it, etc.

Going back to Mexico on Monday. Should be good, my office there is at least a hell of a lot more practical than the "desk with a windows box and a modem" I have here. Oh, and it's warmer. And it'll be possible to get coding again, which is more or less impossible here.

Gender politics scare me. Somehow, it's the sort of arena where people tend to hate each other no matter how reasonable or unreasonable the opinions are. I tend to try to stay out of those discussions. Why can't we all just get along?

Peer press is forming into licensing and XML working groups. Good. Perhaps we can reach something usable pretty soon.

I originally felt that basing the new GNOME web pages on WML, Automake and Autoconf was, well, esoteric but kind of cool when I made it work. After working with it for a bit, I'm starting to change my mind. WML is pretty cool in itself, although the syntax and things is pretty heinous. But Autoconf and Automake for this job? Hm. Not so sure. It breaks in strange ways (well, strange for people who aren't familiar with it), and the amount of trouble I had to go through to set it up so I could start working on the pages makes me skeptical to whether or not I can count on anyone else to do work on this. Oh, well.

Going to meet up with several old friends here in Norway tomorrow, should be good. Also remembered that I should write some stuff on the Peer Press list, someone actually emailed me in private about it. Will try to do that today.

Crimz wants to write a movie script. His idea is actually pretty good, and it's plausible to write and produce with the equipment we have at work. Write up another project for our copious free time. God help us all.

Norway is so cold. Between that and the speed of this modem, I'm starting to remember why I left for Mexico in the first place. Oh, well, another week and a half, and I'm going back to Mexico City.

Back from GUADEC, and reasonably well from the food poisoning I contracted while there, too. With the exception of that mishap, and the day I lost because of it, GUADEC was great. Many thanks to Mathieu and the other French guys for arranging it, I had a lot of fun and met a lot of really nice people.

Seems I'm going to be doing some GNOME website work while I'm on my holiday here in Norway, should be good. Got a chance to talk a bit to Raph about the Peer Press stuff, no conclusions, but at least we're thinking along the same lines, so something should be possible in the next few weeks.

At work, it seems all is going well without me, as I suspected it would. Our VC stuff has finally come through, which means I'll be coming back to Mexico to a steady, well, steadier, salary and more organization, amongst other things. Also, the ability to work more full-time on development of Conglomerate and other things should be insured. Much happiness.

Hans Petter and Robert are doing stuff with Conglomerate, looks like that's speeding up tremendously. I like that a lot, perhaps we'll have code to show sooner than we thought. GUADEC gave us a lot to think about when it came to Bonobo integration, so most probably we're going to make large-scale components from Conglomerate, and conversely use Bonobo components for a lot of compound editing. This is going to be great.

Norway is cold, as usual.

I've done it again. It's 3:40 AM, and I've been awake since 6 PM a day and a half ago. That's 34 hours. The hallucinations are creeping up again. I think I'll go and sleep now.

The Peer Press mailing list (which I stupidly used the wrong URL for earlier) seems to be picking up speed. Now to convince people that HTTP is not a magic bullet, and get working on the prelim spec for the DTD.

Hans Petter is still tied up in marginally revenue-generating work, but at least there's light at the end of the tunnel. Specifically, the Monday end of the tunnel, which is when we're supposed to deliver. I might be crazy, but it looks like it's on track for then. He's been toying with some cool genetic algorithm stuff on his breaks, I notice. Could also be very cool.

Paid the advance on our GUADEC tickets today. We're going to be in Norway from the 20th of March to the 10th of April too. If any Norwegian free software hackers want to meet (preferably in Oslo), tell us. We'll also be arriving in Paris on the 15th, so there's a spare night where we'll be doing nothing formalized. Any others going to be there that night?

My God, it's full of stars. Or wait, that's sleep dep again.

It seems I wasn't the only one who thought it was possible to do better things than Slashdot. The article I posted got lots of great response, and today I set up a mailing list for discussing where to go next. I have no doubt something like this could make Slashdot largely irrelevant. The interesting question is, could it be an arbiter of change in the larger frame of things, like traditional press? I've thought about this a lot, and the scary bit is, I can't see why it couldn't be. Not seeing any faults is usually a warning sign that you're not looking hard enough, but I don't know. We'll see what happens.

Work rolls on. Our hunt for investment is coming to an end soon, I think, and with the outcome we wanted. Nothing certain yet, of course, but I'm hopeful.

I'm starting to really look forward to GUADEC. I feel like I know so many of these people, now I need to meet them in the flesh. I suspect much late-night discussion will happen.

Reading the /. thread attached to the GNOME development roadmap article, I realize the reason I bother is the same reason people watch autopsy photos, or The Jerry Springer Show; sick fascination. And to think that back in 1997/98, I had a Slashdot habit that required me to check it at least 20 times a day...

Iain checked in some Loom code, it seems. I haven't had time to try to compile it yet, to see what it does, but I'm happy stuff is happening there.

Hans Petter seems to have gotten the Oracle crap under control, and Peter Murphy was most excellent last night. I didn't even know Mexico City had a goth community.

Read Raph's diary entry, in particular the part about commercializing web sites, and the principles behind Advogato, with great interest. My question to all this is, is it impossible to be "yet another IPO-track dot.com website" and still have great community, and not sell your soul? I think it is. Slashdot, for instance, didn't change much when they were commercialized. The overexposure killed them, because they didn't scale, but I think having money didn't make much of a difference in content. Maybe it made too little of a difference, since it seems they're all happy sitting on their ass with their IPO money now, and just post articles now and then. I'm getting more and more convinced something new is in order.

Nice Saturday. Hans Petter is working on finishing the project Conglomerate sprung out from. He's wading through literally thousands of pages of Oracle documentation to get the storage part working. After all I've heard about the wide-spread use of Oracle for "enterprise" applications, I had expected it to be well-designed, homogenous, and thoroughly logical. But it seems that it's more like the opposite, an incredible collection of hacks and old cruft. According to Hans Petter, it's even more dirty than the code to come out of the worst, most evolutionary free software projects (I assume this brings it even below the level of Perl, and that's a scary thought.

Python bindings to Flux are coming along nicely now. I got a boost since some people contacted me and actually wanted to use it. It's in CVS, and I aim to finish them (well, reasonably finished) for the 0.5.0 release, which should be in about two weeks.

Been thinking a lot about web sites and content lately. There's a lot of crap out there, when it comes to free software sites. Slashdot has gone the way of Usenet long ago, of course, Freshmeat pretty much always sucked, and the whole VA/Andover juggernaut seems to be quite happy with where they are, and the IPO millions are nice to have, thank you. Maybe it's time for something new. Got some ideas, talking to the people here at work to get a go-ahead for that project. We'll see.

The recent controversy over certification, mostly a whine-fest by the Jabber people, shows us more than anything what the results of Eric Raymond's rhetoric truly are. People think that because they throw around "Open Source" and other buzzwords, their project is significant. Well, it's an instant messaging system, whoop! No matter how many buzzwords you use, like "streaming XML", "no chunks" (which is utter bullshit), and whatnot, it's just a workalike for ICQ, with perhaps some extra features. Annoyance.

Going to see Peter Murphy tonight, should be good.

On my 36th waking hour now, for reasons I'm not entirely clear on myself. It started with me falling back to my old work as a designer to cover for a large amount of work at one time, and it kind of got out of hand. Still, I've made all the design for two web sites in this time, and according to both me and others, they're some of the nicest I've done. Now to implement the HTML, but that'll happen after I sleep.

Flux 0.4.1 was released, on the heels of 0.4.0. With this new release comes new web pages, a lot of very nice new functionality, and lots of optimizations. Hans Petter seems happy and worked up over it. I just wish I'd had time to work on the Python extensions lately, but I haven't. I'm scheduling that for the end of the coming week, I think.

Also, Loom is kind of stagnant, mostly my fault, Iain has actually done work on it, I haven't. Need to look at that, preferably at least poke around in it this weekend, see what happens. I took a look at The Sims today, the new game from Maxis, and that looks absolutely fantastic. I know I need to get it, but I also know my productivity will suffer terribly. Good thing is, it's iso 3D. I'd really like to clone this when Loom is more or less working, but it'll be a lot of work. Better not put more items on my todo just yet. Hans Petter says he wants to port our old favourite networked strategy game, Empire, to Loom when it's more or less working, though, so this could get fun fast.

Went to see Bringing out the dead today. Brilliant movie. Scorsese is a genius. Same day as Hans Petter and I discovered we both love his movie After Hours. Weird coincidences.

Sleep now, I think. My vision is getting slighly blurry, and I have a headache.

Long time since I wrote anything here. Lots of things have been happening, i comitted the new GNOME webpage layout, people seem happy with it. Flux has a lot of neat new features now, like fully crypted sessions. We're toying with prototypes for a VPN product based on this. Hans Petter is working on object database functionality for Flux now, and it's looking really nice. This is going to be a big boon both for Conglomerate and FIDEL.

I've more or less mapped out what I'm going to be working on in the next six months, and it's looking quite interesting. The Python module for Flux is going well, in addition I'm hacking on an admin console for this VPN thing, and later I'm going to be doing interface work for FIDEL, and also starting up my toy project of writing a generic isometric 3D engine for games using the GNOME canvas. Strategy games are fun, and so is the canvas.

Also went investor-hunting the last few weeks. Seems a lot of people are interested in what we're doing, but there's a bit of a leap from there to actually giving us the money. We'll see.

We didn't know what we started. Since we announced Conglomerate a couple of days ago, the response has been overwhelming. Lots of mail, lots of encouragement, and general inspiration and ego-stroking. It seems Hans Petter and I are going to GUADEC as more or less a direct result of this. Now all we need to do is juggle all the damn projects, get a test release of Conglomerate within a week, FIDEL within new year, and then we plan to do the new Conglomerate parser in January, alongside the reimplementation of the main editor display as a Canvas.

The fun never ends. Thanks to everyone who's said good things about our stuff lately.

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