Older blog entries for grape (starting at number 9)

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!"


"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!

22 Nov 2002 (updated 22 Nov 2002 at 21:23 UTC) »

I have a strange love/hate relationship with open source software. I spend most of my time fussing about open source business models and project operational policies. I work with a team of people from all over the world who are all committed to providing users with quality open source software. Business models and open source management type things will probably be what I write about most. I am still suspicious of Blogs. At least I can blame gregorrothfuss. You can blame him too! He got me in to it all. Hmmm. This is kinda cool :-)

22 Nov 2002 (updated 22 Nov 2002 at 16:36 UTC) »


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