Older blog entries for bolsh (starting at number 93)

Planning GUADEC

Traffic has picked up a little on guadec-list recently, with more people asking questions about how to get to GUADEC, and suggestions for the schedule and the like.

If you've been putting it off, now is definitely the time to subscribe. As I said a couple of weeks back, no GUADEC announcements are going to go to any other maining list from now on. I don't want to spam people not coming, and I'm expecting everyone who is coming to be subscribed.

The wiki is still there, awaiting your questions, hints, tips, ideas, rants and jokes. Mosey on over to http://live.gnome.org/Stuttgart2005 and help us make GUADEC.

Monday afternoon is officially GNOME planning time. There is a planning session for GNOME 3.0, as well as 2 full hours of time for team meetings, roadmap discussion, information sharing and general fun.

To help organise that time a little, we're going to hang general labels on some of the main halls - things like "Developers platform", "Desktop", "Marketing and user groups". From around now, we are actively looking for people to lead those sessions - they should be pretty self-organising, but the idea is that teams split off into smaller rooms, do their planning, then come back to the main hall during the second hour and present an overview of the big things to come out of the planning.

So a GTK+ guy will know that the GTK+ planning session will kick off in the "Developers platform" hall, where he will meet up with all the other GTK+ guys. The Cairo, libgnome, bindings, libglade, gconf and other API guys will all be there too. Perhaps they will decide to have a group session for half an hour, then split off. Hey, it's your conference.

So - go wild! What do you want to do at the end of May? Let us know on guadec-list and live.gnome.org/Stuttgart2005.

6 Apr 2005 (updated 6 Apr 2005 at 16:38 UTC) »
Hubert: Maybe he changed the licence because the KDE guys were migrating to BK and he wanted to shaft them.

Honestly though, I don't know why anyone is surprised. This has been in the pipelines for ages. Bitmover is actively hostile to any free software developer that wants to know what's going on under the hood.

Linus has a point - he chose BK, and Linux is his baby. That would be fine, if people could obtain copies of BK to reverse engineer the protocol (Larry apparently refuses to even sell copies to competitors or people he considers hostile to him).

The major problem Larry McVoy has is that he doesn't want to be exposed to the market, or to the way free software works. He criticises people for trying to take away his revenue stream. The people working on reverse engineering BK are not trying to take away your revenue stream, Larry, any more than the people working on Samba are trying to take away Microsoft's. They're just trying to get at free information, without paying you for the privilege.

I saw one comment saying that if people further down the chain imported the sources into arch and started using it for kernel development, it would slowly creep up the tree. Having 2 version control systems for 1 project is like having 2 feet for 1 shoe. It doesn't work. The value in a version control system is to easily pull information from, and push information to, other people. Until there is an arch to bitkeeper gateway, where people can commit from arch clients into a bk repository, that isn't happening with the kernel.

5 Apr 2005 (updated 5 Apr 2005 at 14:07 UTC) »

That's twice now the post directly after mine has been planet spam... is someone trying to tell me something?

I've been readin Eric Sink's blog on marketing for geeks, and found the series he did on the 22 immutable laws of marketing very interesting (it's the grind notes of the book, more or less).

And several of those laws could do with being applied to GNOME.

For example, what is our focus? What is our market? what is our position in that market?

Some of those questions have seeds of an answer in the MarketingTeam section of the wiki, but we are missing polish, and rigour.

So here are some propositions - we need to focus GNOME's self image. We need to be realisting about who is likely to adapt our software.

We have only 2 target markets. Both are healthy, but they are radically different (oops). The first is early adopter geeks. Right now, we're number 2 in that market. The second is free software adopters in local government. And there we're number 1.

So how can we position ourselves? For the public administration clients our message is straightforward - GNOME is easy to learn, and easy to use. Usability is our number 1 selling point. GNOME Just Works (TM).

Early adopter geeks generally don't care about that, though. Which means either we have to broaden our scope (not a good idea) to find a market where this is important, which is closely related to the geek segment, or we have to fragment our message, also not a good idea.

The alternative is live with the fact that we are going to be number 2 among early adopters, and focus on crossing the chasm, and marketing to people who do care about having a computer that is easy to learn, and easy to use. Which sounds good to me.

So let's practice - GNOME is the free software desktop which is easiest to learn, and easiest to use.

OK, it's not snappy, and it needs a bit of work. For a start we don't identify ourselves with public administration. I'm all ears.

3 Apr 2005 (updated 3 Apr 2005 at 20:02 UTC) »
Viral marketing

I had a revelation recently about the job market.

I don't know if anyone else has the same experience, but I regularly receive mails from recruitment agencies along the lines of "We are looking for an experienced J2EE/JSP/web developer for a client" - usually with some kind of open source experience appreciated.

Up until recently, when I was in the job market I simply replied saying what type of jobs I was actually interested in, or when I wasn't just ignoring them. In the first case, the chances of that actually changing my interraction with the agency in question is, by experience, close to 0.

Recently, I thought that a change in tack might be a good idea - and since I think it's a good idea, I thought I'd share it. It occurred to me that people sending out job offers from service companies are also in the decision chain about what solutions are proposed to clients.

The last couple of times I have gotten these kind of spam mails, I have replied something along these lines:

Thank you for your interest. I am currently working full time as a project manager, and in my spare time with the GNOME desktop project. The position you are filling is, therefore, not of interest to me.

If you are interested, I would be glad to discuss the project with you, and how it can offer value to your clients.

As you know, companies are using free software more and more in server software and network infrastructure. At GNOME, we have worked on a desktop environment which is easy to learn, and easy to use. In many situations, GNOME is the best choice available.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Regards,
Dave Neary.

I'm not sure what effect, if any, this has. But since these companies are generally somewhere in the chain of deciding what software is deployed to clients, there is no harm at all in evangelising a little. Anyone with similar viral marketing techniques?

17 Mar 2005 (updated 17 Mar 2005 at 16:48 UTC) »
Patents

Roozbeh: The EU is the 25 countries, governed by an elected parliament and a nominbated commission. It's a system similar to the system used in France, where the president and legislature are elected, but then the president nominates his cabinet. Anyway, I am sure that in the coming months, the EU position on patents will be clarified, and will be more in line with Michel Rocard than Charlie McCreevy.

Update: By the way, one of the things the proposed EU constitution does is to limit the power of the commission to change reccommendations of the parliament. That's the main reason why I would be voting yes if the French let me have a vote (which they don't), or the Irish let me vote by mail (which they don't).

There are 2 sessions on patents planned during GUADEC on the user day too, though. One is on software patents in Europe, and another is on the movement (which is gaining momentum) in North America advocating reform of the US patent system. Both should be interesting.

It has to be said, though, that mixing up free software (which is a construction of copyright) and patents is playing into the hands of people who use the phrase "Intellectual property" to blur the lines between copyright, trademark, trade secret and patent issues. Let's avoid that trap.

17 Mar 2005 (updated 17 Mar 2005 at 09:59 UTC) »
GUADEC Schedule is LIVE!

Really, it should have been Glynn Foster announcing this - that man rocks!

We now have a preliminary schedule for GUADEC online. This will change considerably as speakers are confirmed, or drop out, or ask to be moved.

I'm really happy with this - we have a big day of talks, BOFs and tutorials on Sunday, with 2 tracks of traditiona techie talks and presentations, one track of multimedia talks, one track of tutorials and one track of BOFs.

Then the crown jewel of the conference on Monday - a day where we get the juices flowing and do what everyone is coming to GUADEC for - plan the future of GNOME. Some of this is planned, and a lot of it isn't. This is your day, particularly module maintainers who have had to skip lunch to do planning sessions in the past. Use the wiki, use the whiteboards, get your major actors in one place, and knock yourselves out.

Highlights of the day will be the Topaz planning session, the lightning talks (Impress in 5 minutes, or your money back!), and the Freeform Group Session (kind of a second session of lightning talks, where people come back from their planning sessions, and share all of the cool plans with everyone else). Oh, and the party afterwards.

And finally, on Tuesday, we give ourselves a chance to evangelise. We will show the best of the GNOME desktop to local businesses and users. Some highlights of the day will be, without doubt, Glynn's talk about 101 things to know about GNOME, Barbara Held who will be talking about the EU's committment to free software, and the inimitable Jon Trowbridge showing off the coolest new development to come out of GNOME since the cheese theme in 1.4, Beagle.

Get on over to the wiki at http://live.gnome.org/Stuttgart2005 and start sharing your plans! Oh, and don't forget to offer lifts if you're coming by car.

News

So - I'm a daddy again. A healthy 4.16kg boy, we're calling him Paul. Yay for Anne!

One side-effect of this is that people who sent me GUADEC papers directly are probably not going to get any feedback for a couple of weeks.It would be a really good idea to resend your paper to guadec-papers (which is all I would do anyway).

Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for all the papers!

Can you say "Road trip"?

Murray Cumming's done some work sprucing up the GUADEC wiki pages for public consumption, and the first task that needs help is getting people ther.

This year, GUADEC is on (as everyone knows) in Stuttgaret, which is a relatively accessible place by car. While Kristiansand, Dublin and Seville are great places, and I really enjoyed the Kristiansand conference, none of them are places which are accessible in under 8 hours drive from most of Europe. Stuttgart, on the other hand, is a handly 7 hour drive from Lyon, so I'll be coming by car with 3 other people.

The wiki page has space for you to add details if you are coming by car and have places space, or if you are looking for a lift. Feel free to add your names! When it gets long enough, we will probably move that to a sub-page, but right now the goal is to make the GUADEC wiki live!

Also, for all information and announcements about GUADEC stuff, people are recommended to sign up to guadec-list. This should also be a source of general sharing of information, from cheap airlines and good restaurants to arranging meeting places.

GUADEC is now only 2 months away, so it's time to start thinking about booking flights. We are doing our best to move along announcing things, but if you want to come to GUADEC, start planning now.

Ed Catmur let me know that my t-shirts crashed nautilus and X with librsvg HEAD - cool ;)

The problem is #s in an attribute value which is an xlink:ref, which is bad. Bold inkscape.

Ed went mad and found & fixed 3 or 4 bugs because of this. 17 comments in 2 hours!

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