Older blog entries for bolsh (starting at number 120)

22 May 2005 (updated 22 May 2005 at 16:16 UTC) »
LiveCDs galore

Never one to sit on his laurels when a problem presents itself, Luis Villa has created http://torrent.gnome.org - torrent files for the various internationalised versions of the LiveCD (not all online yet).

Pour les français, il y en a un ISO fr, et j'aide pour le "seed"er au départ, alors, allez-y, fonce sur http://torrent.gnome.org/gnome-livecd-2.10.0-i386-fr-1.iso.torrent et bouffez ma bande passante.

22 May 2005 (updated 24 May 2005 at 16:29 UTC) »
GNOME and OSC (2)

It was interesting to see Jeff pointing to some response over at KDE to an article which referred to a press release we sent out this week.

It's interesting to look at the nature of the relationship of GNOME and OSC to see what we're getting out of it, and how that relates to the claim that we're not going after MS market share any more.

Why are we interested in OSC? Here's a clip from the press release:

The move reflects the GNOME Foundation's support for the work of the OSC. Examples of such work include the OSC's involvement with the recent BECTA announcement concerning the future of Open Source solutions for UK schools, and involvement with the Open Source Academy initiative, which promotes adoption of Open Source software amongst the public sector and is funded by the Office Of The Deputy Prime Minister.

What do we get out of it? Here's a quote which Owen kindly provided for the release:

Says Owen Taylor, chairman of the board of directors of the GNOME Foundation, "The GNOME Foundation welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the OSC and increase adoption of Free and Open Source Software in public administrations in Europe. We are excited about the value we can bring to governmental organisations through the OSC."

So where are we positioning ourselves? Clearly, we are positioning ourselves as the desktop environment of choice for public sector deployments of free software. That's hardly surprising - more and more public sector organisations are seeing not just cost savings, but also a release from vendor tie-in by moving to free software. And would anyone really expect us to reccommend anything other than GNOME for these migrations?

We have, after all, a track record in the sector to envy - working with LTSP, we have deployed GNOME on the desktop in the telecentros project in Sao Paolo with an estimated 400,000 users. We have worked with the education ministries of Andalucia and Extramadura ona deployment to an estimated 200,000 student users in schools.

With Canonical, we have a partner who is positioned clearly for the public sector, specifically in Africa. In Sun Microsystems, we have a partner who is working to install 1,000,000 GNOME desktops in China. There are notable deployments of GNOME in the public sector in the UK already.

So the real story here is that GNOME is fast becoming the de facto free software desktop for the public sector, and we are working with the OSC to make sure that GNOME is presented as an option to decision makers in that sector. That's taking market share from Microsoft, and positioning GNOME to take that share. Is that really surprising?

Aside from that, it's interesting to see journalists look for an angle - GNOME vs MS isn't a story (yet), GNOME vs KDE is. It was surprising to see someone read as much into it as they did, though. For the record, the relationship between KDE and GNOME has never been better.

21 May 2005 (updated 21 May 2005 at 12:57 UTC) »

Vu chez vuntz: Les gens de GNOME au RMLL (si il y en aura) ne savent peut être pas qu'il y a maintenant un LiveCD GNOME en Francais (ainsi que Anglais, Grec, Allemand et Espagnol).

Il y a auusi une fiche déscriptive en PDF qui est pas mal en francais sur le site de strider. Les mêmes sont également sur le site de Sebastian Biot ici.

Sebastian a aussi préparé des matériaux pour des posters qui peuvent servir comme des bases.

D'autres choses qui sont pas tout à fait parfaites, mais qui peuvent dépanner des gens faissant un stand sont dans le wiki.

Voilà - mon premier blog en français. Je vous remercie de gardez mes fautes pour vous ;)

The cat's out of the bag

Luis pointed out that the news has hit the streets earlier than expected - so here, for those not in the know, is the news. GNOME is partnering with a group called OSC (the Open Source Consortiuum), a UK group which does consulting for public administration and enterprise deployment of free software.

The announcement is here, and soon to be in other places too.

What does this mean? For a start it means that when OSC is pitching a free desktop to NGOs in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, they will be pitching GNOME. It means that we get access to IT decision makers in UK local government, and get to show what's great about GNOME. It also means that OSC has more credibility as a consultancy (let's be honest). Which is good for GNOME too.

Freeform sessions and Lightning talks

A week away from GUADEC, isn't it about time that those of you who want to have meetings in Stuttgart went over to the wiki and started planning them?

We also have lightning talks planned for Monday morning.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, a lightning talk is a quick in-out, maximum 5 minutes of a talk, where you pitch a BOF or project, say why something you did recently was a success or failure, or anything else. There's advice on lightning talks over at perl.com.

The Freeform group session might be mystifying some, so here's the low-down: the Freeform Group session is about getting warm & fuzzy together, pouring all that enthusiasm into one big overflowing cornucopia of ideas. Each session in the freeforms should have a leader, who will come back and give us the 3 to 5 minute summary of all the great stuff that came out of their session. Hopefully, we'll get in a big feedback loop, ideas generating ideas, plans linking to other plans, and we all spend the whole night in the pub going "wow!".

Anyway, that's the plan.

The alternative is that we all spend Monday twiddling our thumbs.

Up to you.

Monday afternoon will stay unplanned, as long as people do not grab hold of it and plan stuff.

I repeat, Monday afternoon will stay unplanned. There is no safety net.

So let's get wowsome.

The youth hostel is the option that I will be taking for accommodation at GUADEC. Some people don't like dorms, I don't mind. Plus, it'll be kinda crusty, and take me back to the days of my youth.

Oh, and they're open 24 hours, and it's right beside Stuttgart's nightlife. Or so someone told me.

There are places left, and they need to be filled. Anyone who hasn't committed to accommodation yet, and who is on a budget, could do worse than heading on over to the registration website and signing up.

Subversion vs Bazaar

Seems like I have an opinion on everything these days.

I saw Elijah's and jamesh's posts on Bazaar, and being a big Subversion fan, wanted to respond.

James, it's not the difference in the command set which makes the difference between svn and bzr - it's the distribution. I get headaches when I try and think about having an official version if there are even 2 or 3 levels of redirection in there. There is nothing wrong with people developing longer-lived projects on branches (svn is made to work nicely that way) but if we were to use bzr the way we use cvs now, we would just have a central repository and a bunch of children. Distribution is also the #1 selling point of bzr, I know - but it somehow feels wrong allowing big developments to happen outside the central repository.

Elijah, svn has pretty good off-line support. Not as good as bzr, granted. svn gives very cheap branching. Both svn and cvs (starting 1.10.something) have support for read-only access. I remember asking someone for stats on cvs.gnome.org and anoncvs.gnome.org access a while back to find out if there were a good reason to split them off - svn.gnome.org could easily give r/o access to anonyous.

12 May 2005 (updated 12 May 2005 at 12:01 UTC) »
Language, please

Here's my take on GNOME and bindings (for what it's worth).

We have a choice for GNOME - either we aim at shipping a complete desktop environment, or a core people can build on. That works out with us choosing one of the 3 following things:

1. Add Python to official bindings, but fudge the java/mono question

Platform (in C)
Bindings (C++, Perl, Python)
Apps (in C, C++, Perl, Python: official bindings)

In this model, we avoid the question again, and ship an incomplete desktop, without quality tools like Beagle and Fspot (big gaps in our offering right now).

2. Add everything

Platform (in C)
Bindings (C++, Perl, Python, Mono, Java)
Apps (in C and official bindings)

This way, RedHat won't ship GNOME as we ship it (C# apps), and likely others will choose to not ship other pieces.

This looks like a good way to fork the project across different vendors (open question: is that a bad thing, necessarily?)

3. The Permissive GNOME

Platform (in C)
Official bindings (C++, Perl, Python)
Blessed bindings (Java, Mono)
Official Apps (in C, official bindings)
Blessed apps (in blessed bindings)

We would continue to ship the platform, official bindings and official apps, and would add blessed apps (after release team debate, as happens currently) as an add-on. We would not ship blessed bindings, or the tools needed for them (just like we don't shop a python interpreter).

To ship a conformant GNOME desktop, distribs should ship all official pieces, and may choose to ship some or all blessed components.

This approach allows us to ship the best desktop apps around, and leave the politics of what to ship to distros.

I'm sure there are all sorts of reasons why 3 is a bad idea, but I can't for the life of me think of one.

GUADEC accommodation

Here's hoping that myself and Murray don't get read by all the same people...

Because of demand for cheap accommodation, we came up with the very cheap (€8 per night) Camp Feuerbach, a kind of summer camp type place where we can rent dorms for the weekend.

There's a minimum requirement before we can have it though. That minimum is pretty small, but hasn't been met (so far only 6 people have signed up for camp in the wiki. I get the impression (because of the demand we had beforehand) that there are many more people who want to avail of this, but perhaps they don't know wikis very well, or are holding off until the last minute on committing.

Murray Cumming has offered to put up the cash in advance to reserve the camp, but he needs numbers to do that. So if you want to sleep cheap in Stuttgart, mail Murray (murrayc at NOSPAMmurrayc dot com). Soon. Please.

The alternative is that people who have booked for this will have hostel places kept for them, at the less cheap (but still cheap) price of €80 for the weekend (3 nights).

6 May 2005 (updated 6 May 2005 at 16:12 UTC) »
GUADEC (again)

So, the board spent quite a bit of time discussing GUADEC, and specifically the registration fee, this week.

We were more or less in agreement that the registration fee was badly handled from a communication perspective. We didn't communicate as well as we could have before the fact. So here's a "set the record straight" type post which will hopefully clear up some of the major misgivings about GUADEC's registration process this year.

Why isn't GUADEC free? After all, we're the people making GNOME happen.
Quite simply, if GUADEC were free, the foundation would lose money on it (lots). There are a couple of people in the process of getting figures together to show where money goes in GUADEC, and where money comes from. But taking last year as an example, we appear to have made a small surplus on GUADEC, which then got spent elsewhere (on things like the Boston summit), whereas we would have lost over €10K if there had been no registration.
OK - I can live with a registration fee. Why do I have to go through Paypal?
A group had been working for some time on getting a system online that we could use to accept payments of this kind. And that fell through. I don't know the details. But I know that Fernando San Martin Woerner can in to save the day, and in only 2 days got an OSCommerce front-end for the registration site up & running. Unfortunately, on that notice, the only payment method we could manage for online payments was paypal. But you can make payments through that system without creating a paypal account, so we thought this would be OK.
But it's not OK. (I hate paypal|Ì live in (Iran|Czech republic)) and I can't pay that way because their terms of use are unacceptable. Isn't there another way I can pay?
Tim Ney has worked out a way to handle special requests. Please mail guadec@gnome.org for details of how to pay directly to the foundation account by wire transfer. If you can pay via paypal, we prefer that. Things are getting hectic right now, so if we can avoid adding administrative workflow, that would be better.
How can I register without paying, though? I want to ask for an exemption, but I want you to know I'm coming
In the original page, this was quite hidden away. You had to create an account in the registration page, then click "My GUADEC account", and on that page click "Change my GUADEC details". We've changed that to "Apply for registration, travel or housing subsidy". Hopefully that makes things clearer. I addition, we have added this page to the account creation process so that you can ask for a subsidy while creating your account.
I want to pay on arrival. Can I do that?
We don't currently have a way to handle cash in Stuttgart. Tim's working on it, and this might be an option.
And what if I turn up without paying?
Anything included in the registration pack, you won't get. But you won't be turned away. We have a fee to help with the costs of the conference, not to reduce attendance. We want all GNOME hackers there, and that includes you.
Why not call the registration fee an optional donation then?
A donation and a registration fee are fiscally two different things. It's a semantic difference which is important to some. In addition, we don't consider the registration fee optional. We don't think it's too much to expect people coming to the conference to contribute €30 to the costs. But if you disagree, we're not going to turn you away.
€30? But I'm a professional... shouldn't I be paying €150?
Here's the thing... If you're coming on your own, as a GNOME supporter, and you're paying out of your own pocket, you pay €30 (not including VAT). If your company is paying for you to come, then advisory board members and bwcon members get preferential rates - €150 instead of €225. If your company is paying for your registration, and they're not a member of either of those, then you pay €225 per person. To top all this off, if these fee levels are dissuading you from sending as many people as you would otherwise send, then we want to hear about it (at guadec@gnome.org) and work something out. The fees are not there to keep people away, they are there to help with the costs of the conference.

Now, hopefully that clears things up, and we can start talking about source control, train wrecks, topaz, marketing, interoperability and other important stuff. Sorry we handled this badly.

Update: For two particular use-cases, there have been some options added to the check-out process on the registration site.

For people who have paid through paypal, but did not click the "return to vendor site" link, and thus have not received a confirmation from us of their booking, they can now register, go to the check-out page, and click the "Reorder, only if you has already paid at paypal." checkbox.

For people who wish to enter their registration details without paying, and pay through another channel, click the "Save registration information without going to Paypal" check-box. In both cases, your registration information is saved, you will receive an acknowledgement mail, and you can pay later (or register after requesting a subsidy without paying at all).

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