Older blog entries for bolsh (starting at number 122)

Back from GUADEC

Wow - what a wacky week. I am exhausted and exhilirated. I talked to so many people, got a bunch of things worked on, and heard about so many things that I wanted to jump up & scream about. Wise Nat wouldn't let me.

I was a little disappointed that the GIMP didn't make the list of mentoring projects, especially since we have a bunch of nice sized projects people could work on. Hopefully we'll make it in next time, and start exploiting some of he other opportunities that have come our way.

Everyone needs to go look at the spec for anonymous voting that vuntz and I came up with (with input from Seth, Brian, JRB and a bunch of other people). There are a bunch of elections we want to have this year, so it's important this gets done. And it's a nice simple project for someone intimidated by big old us.

Seeing the board was great, even if there was some tension over a couple of issues. We got a bunch of work done, and have come out of the week with a long list of action items. It'll be interesting to see how we fare against them in the coming weeks & months.

We also talked a bunch about marketing GNOME. It's really weird how a bunch of people have all been thinking the same things independently, and it needed getting everyone in the same place to see that. Three core ideas come out as most important:

  1. We need to grow what we consider GNOME developers to be. Developers on projects like the GIMP, GTK#, Inkscape, GAIM, Audacity and a bunch of others should be considering themselves part of GNOME.
  2. We should be persuading people who use Abiword, Gnumeric, the GIMP, XChat and all the other GNOME apps available on Windows that they are using GNOME, in some sense. They are on the road to enlightenment, we just have to get them the rest of the way.
  3. Our platform is our strongest selling point now. We are winning by default there. While it may leave a sour taste in some people's mouths, OpenOffice, Mozilla, Eclipse, VMWare, Nokia, Adobe and all the other ISVs making software on the GNOME platform are doing so because our main competition's platform is GPL, and ours is LGPL. What we need to do is also win because we listen better to our ISVs, and build a really nice platform.

To grow GNOME, we need to grow the buzz around GNOME, have more developers, more madness, more fun, more mindshare. If we do, 10x10 is easy :)

Watch out for some stuff over the coming months to start on that road, and start generating some buzz.

I have one regret. There were a heap of GIMP people at GUADEC and I got about 10 minutes to sit down and talk - and I didn't even get to talk much about the GIMP. Sorry mitch, Michael, Raphael, Tor, Sven, Roman, and all the others I've forgotten (who said GIMP developers didn't feel like part of GNOME?).

Yet more great news today - roozbeh and friends got their visas, and are arriving in Germany the day after tomorrow. Yay!

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) »
GNOME au RMLL

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.

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