Recent blog entries for grape

I made it three days without really thinking about my work. Pretty impressive for me to be able to pull that off. Unfortunately it ended with the kind of dreams you get when you put a project aside when there is an outstanding bug in the process. I am going to try to figure out the logical issues further this weekend when I am surrounded with peace and quiet at the lake. Can't wait! Hopefully I will be able to take some nice walks and get some thinking done.

Today is the day to switch out the server box. I really wish the SME Server v. 5.6 was out. Thanks all you guys at Mitel! Your work just gets better and better (and that is saying nothing about the business model and the bigger picture coming from Mitel). Can't believe I have been running this thing since E-Smith v. 4.0. It was my very first introduction to linux. What a good introduction it was - and remains. Keep up the good work.

Why didn't I back up my mozilla bookmarks? Why Why Why!!!What a pain in the ass!!! Maybe I just didn't apply my backup correctly. One of these days I will get a good system down. In fact the box I am moving the server to has a second HD that I was going to use for backup purposes or RAID. I think backup would be a good move. It will be nice to have all that power back on the server.

I have been reading up on building antennas and broadcasting some wireless love downtown. I am so glad there is something that fulfills my geek needs and that can utilize my construction skills. I just love building things. The hardest part is getting the nic in my laptop to run in monitor mode. Getting the hostap driver to work has been nothing but hell, but wlan-ng works fine. I dunno. I gave up for a few days. Oh yeah.. That reminds me to get with the apradar guy. I like his idea. Too bad his project ranks below such questionable efforts on the linuxfund site. Something like user friendly wireless support for linux would be an amazing advancement for mankind - not to mention linux users like me ;-)

I think I am going to fork/shave the DDF business plan. Blame it on Peter Drucker. Primarily it was his advice to GE some time ago that made a difference in my mind. He told them to drop every operation that they were not the first of second best in the world at. Those dreams last night really cleared things up. I worry a lot as far as governance is concerned. I keep thinking that the high level vision is too focused on small level stuff I think. Maybe it is that I don't have a diverse enough group at the executive level. Not quite sure. Will think on that topic this weekend. It will probably end up being a large essay on the functionality of open source projects.

Well, that's enough for this morning. Time to get my groove on for the day.

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me ... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
-Walt Disney


Lorri just sent me that great quote. I think that just about says it all.

Coolio! Greg Allan is listed in the LWM Linux Timeline!! Whoever is responsible for that, I can't thank you enough. It means the world to me. Thank you! You can see for yourself here.

lkcl I like what you have to say. We really should chat one of these days.

Open source business models are a bitch when you have to address that ugly point where voluntary community involvement and revenue generation collide. **blammo**

Lawrence: The Uncrowned King Of Arabia is the name of the book I just started reading. Great book. Great man. Should do me a bit of good to relax and read for a couple of days. Thanks go out to Lorri's family for that one.

The Rant Room: Enough Already! Looks like I am going to have to rant on how marketing positively affects the consumer one of these days. People don't get it, do they? I need to add to that rant the definition of marketing as well. Seems some folks can't quite seperate it from merchandising. And while I am in the rant room here, why can't people figure out that Microsoft is providing their customers with the UTILITY? Quality user experience is relative to what you know, and if you pay for it and it does the job and you get to go home to your wife and kids all happy at the end of the day then it is what you are going to use next year when you get the honor of paying for the upgrade. And NO!. Did someone really think that the business user of linux desktop OS was going to be happy when they couldn't cut and paste between applications? Well, obviously some of us are more stubborn than others, but damn! Is that how you want your attorney dealing with your case file when your ex-wife is about to milk you for $160,000 AND your beer fridge?
29 Nov 2002 (updated 29 Nov 2002 at 21:16 UTC) »

Groovy! I decided I should list myself as helper on the Project Xaraya CMS. Helper is fitting, at least most of the time. The rest of my roles are just going to have to be top secret. :-D

The Beast I was beginning to lose touch with the business plan over the last two days due to the size and detail of it, so I translated the whole thing into a big mean, smelly Gantt chart. Finally I am unstoppable again! Yippee! Now I just need to print that bad boy out and break out the red marker. Time to embark on r5. I really would like it solid by the end of the weekend, but I am not so sure how realistic that is. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

The Eye on the Guy When niceguyeddie said he couldn't seem to get out of a class without an aurgument, it reminded me of something my old Rabbi had taught me: If you don't argue, something is really wrong with your head. C'est La Vie!

"Mozilla Sucks" and Open Source Modivations On 27 November, 2002 glyph wrote: "All we know is "mozilla sucks", which is unhelpful to anything but preventing people from wanting to work on mozilla." And... "It saps the motivation of existing Mozilla developers to do future work, by making them feel that their work is unappreciated. User appreciation is a huge reason for working on open source projects, and it's much rarer to get people who rave about how cool something is than who complain about it."

I need to look further into the nature of these open source motivations. I haven't quite got them all properly classified yet. And no, I'm not going to take anyone's word for it. I am too subborn for that kind of stuff. Naturally, im troubled by the fact that I can't easily throw them into sub-categories of "profit motive". I suppose I could, but it would be a little unfair. Interesting stuff, those open source motivations. I suppose I should figure out my own motivations first, but they are so complex. It is good to hear someone set the record straight from time to time. I suppose I will be following this up after a gazillion revisions of that derned business plan, and the other essays that are in some odd semi-completed state. Anyways, this led me to the link to LinuxQuality which seems like a phenomenal idea. I will definately be watching that project a little more, as we have some similar ideas.

The Dragon's Cage Johnny and Dracos tried to get me to explain my position on the DOJ vs. MS case, but I refused. They finally gave up. What a relief. I don't mind getting the odd anvil dropped on my head, but public lynchings are never any fun. :-D

maxmin (happiness) Now that is funny :-) Thanks ladypine! Happy thesis hacking!

My conscience is about ready to break out the jackhammer, as I I have spent long enough avoiding my work. Thanksgiving was great, and many thanks to Lorri's family for the great feast and the lazy day. I really needed that break! -sm

Grape: "Nobody wears salmon colored suits any more." Jeff: "That's because it's WRONG!"

Well folks, that's the quote of the day. Enjoy!

I completely forgot to post this over the past couple of days, but I need to find an open source developer with some serious open source project management/advocacy experience willing to talk to a small group of kids in a school in Seattle. This offer only stands for about ten more days, so get up on it and let me know by email if you are at all interested. steve_at_grape.dyndns.org -sm

Mmmmm. I like this Mitch Kapor guy. Been reading a lot of his ideas over on the OSAF site. A particularly interesting entry in his blog is located at http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000028.html Definately something worth checking out. Seems to be a pretty common theme among some of us.

I am having a hell of a time getting my work done after lunch. I just can't tell if it was the greens, the maccaroni or the baked beans that made me so sleepy. Oof!! Oh well... Back to the grind. Cleaning up r3 of the business plan. Things are moving along well, even if I am half way in slumberland. -sm

26 Nov 2002 (updated 26 Nov 2002 at 14:42 UTC) »
niceguyeddie wrote: "What I don't understand is when people turn software development into some sort of "moral" or "political" cause."

I don't understand why they would want to do that either. They are just shooting themselves in the foot. It seems to me that they are either nuts or they have their priorities seriously messed up. Maybe both. There is always a good reason for politics and moral causes, but they have their place and time. That place and time is not, imho, in an open source development project.

When I see politicking being woven with a preexisting mission it tends to remove the focus from the original mission. Of course we must acknowledge that the culture of an organization is a fundamental element. It plays a supporting role. It needs to be fundamental to the mission for the mission to succeed, but it can't be replacing the mission. Maybe it is a lack of planning. Even a lack of understanding of the dynamics of working with organizations and people that these poor folks are wrestling with. Their conflict seems to be caused by a lack of definition of the goals and vision. It is, above all, a lack of strategic planning.

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you have heard me rant endlessly for the past three months about planning, but this is exactly why. GOOD INTENTIONS DON'T CUT IT!!! It is absolutely critical that you walk that terrible mile before you launch your operations. Hell, the planning stage ultimately defines the operations. If you put planning at the top of your priority list, invest in the process by spending your time, blood, sweat and tears to clearly understand what it is that you want to do, you will emerge with one of two options:

Option One: You realize that your idea is not attainable or needs some serious work. You stop and rethink everything before you waste your (and other's) time and look like a complete fool.

Option Two: You see the flaws in your plan and fix them. You see every foreseeable obstacle and tailor the fundamentals of your organization to be able to deal with them. You end up reasonably comfortable that you will be able to succeed at your mission, and you step on to the the next round of blood, sweat and tears with the fear that you missed something.

Of course there is a third option. You can convince yourself that just because you put your plan on paper and showed it to some yes-men that it is a good plan and you proceed to waste time and resources before failing miserably and look like a complete jackass. Sorry it is so harsh, but it is so very true. Never underestimate the value of your resident grumpy bastard.

Unfortunately, strategic planning seems to be this big mystery out there for the business and community organization alike. The barriers to entry are high because no one has really designed an easy way to get through it. Probably because there isn't an easy path to take. If you find one, think twice. It probably is the wrong path.

It is all about the process. You are creating a living document that must be growing with your operations and your organization's evolving values. I think this is one of the primary problems facing open source projects. Look at the exploding popularity of open source over the past year. The old ways are not working any more. I think every project has seen that growth become an issue over the past couple of years, even if they were prepared.

Planning is where you draw all of the defining lines. The line between what you are and what you are going to do. You build the relationship between what you believe and how you are going to realize your beliefs in your work. If you are going to be a political organization, you will know it and that will be what you focus on. If you are developing software, then don't you dare let me catch you lobbying political agendas. I really don't want to see open source fail.

So whatcha gonna do, Grapey? I am going to grab that rascal planning process by it's stiff neck and integrate it with the development process. That's what I am going to do. I want to provide those projects with the framework they lack and have them focus on planning for their product. I don't want to give people the chance to not plan, so I have got to make it natural and easy ? and free. In fact I don't even want them to know that they are planning because I don't want their brain to get in the way of their gut. It all boils down to that fundamental question that Microsoft so wisely asks, ?Where do you want to go today??

OK folks, Lorri just told me that I need to start the Grape's Quote of the Day Series.

Today's quote comes from James Cramer as he and Larry Kudlow were discussing AOL's realization that their content sucks, and that they could actually use Time-Warner content! HOLY COW! So the quote of the day is...

"AOL.. What a bunch of knuckleheads!"

-sm

"SAP Software executives like Dr. Rudolf Munz aren't about to eliminate their big database partners: They know they can't. Their tactic is to "energize" the market, a polite way of saying customers the world over are going to critically examine high-priced proprietary offerings once they see SAP DB." (http://www.open-mag.com/1995583279.htm)

The quote at the top of that open-mag article made me jump up and down and point to the screen and yell, "YEAH! Like that! That's what I mean! Thats the way to go people!" For the past couple months I have been asking myself if anyone else thinks like this. I was beginning to wonder if my fellow open source folks out there were going to see the light about the realities of competition. Competition is good, it turns up the heat in the kitchen. Competition in the open market is just what open source needs to put everything in perspective. The user's perspective that is. Unfortunately the stark realities of the outcomes can swing both ways. Maybe that is why so many people seem to be against the notion. Maybe they really aren't against the notion at all, but just never went nose to nose before. All I know is that the intrinsic morality of a product doesn't have a damned thing to do with the uesr's perceived quality of a product, nor does it effect the overall value of that product to the user. They just don't care. They want their apps to work. If the solutions delivered to them exceed their expectations, they will reward you with that luxurious opportunity to present them yet another product.

On a similar note, I saw Lawrence Lessig on the Tech-TV Big Thinkers show last night. The first part of the show was great, and a nice introduction to culture and copyright. The second half of the show had me a little dissapointed. There is no way I am going to agree with the whole Grimm/Disney analogy. I will have to rant on that a bit later once I round up all of my body armor. It aint gonna be pretty folks. The Tech-TV article on the show is: http://www.techtv.com/bigthinkers/features/story/0,23008,3344681,00.html

Happy Monday!

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