Older blog entries for hypatia (starting at number 89)

Links to Women in Free Software groups

I gave a 5 minute lightning talk at OSDC entitled Women in FOSS groups (meaning groups for women involved in Free Software, rather than about women in Free Software groups, I could have done a better title I know). It was mostly an attempt to jam Adam Kennedy's lightning talk about Acme::Playmate, which featured lingerie shots of women (and maybe topless shots, I didn't want to watch it, being quite firmly and viscerally of the belief that there's a very small amount of sexual desire I like at my open source conferences). So mine featured pictures of women, fully clothed, with labels like Linux user and AI researcher.

For more on Kennedy's talk, see Richard Jones' entry about it: Jones was the chair of the session that Kennedy gave his talk in.

I'm not putting my slides up for a few reasons: bits of them only make sense in the context of that particular jam; other bits only make sense if you hear me say the words that went along with them; and finally while I got permission to use them in the talk, I didn't get permission from all the women whose pictures I used to stick said pictures on the 'net.

However, the last couple of slides were a list of links to groups for women using and developing Free Software, and Paul asked if I could provide them in a place where people would have a chance to write them down. Fortunately, these were even prepared earlier:

  1. LinuxChix's list of groups for women in computing generally; and
  2. LinuxChix's list of groups for women developing Free Software (and Free Culture, in the case of WikiChix).

Syndicated 2006-12-11 22:10:56 from puzzling dot org: tech

My talk at OSDC: the Planet Feed Reader

I gave a thirty minute presentation at the Open Source Developers' Conference yesterday about the Planet software and the associated communities and conventions, focusing more on the latter since one of my reviewers suggested that the social aspects are more interesting than the code. My slides [PDF format, 2.1MB] are now available for the amusement of the wider public.

Much of the discussion of history was a recap of my Planet Free Software essay and the discussion of Planet conventions was a loose recap of accumulated wisdom, including:

  1. using bloggers' real names, or at least the ones which they attach to email (usually real names) in addition to common IRC/IM handles is useful for putting faces to blog entries to contributions;
  2. once the convention of using real faces and real names is established, people get upset when the conventions are broken (quoth Luis Villa: I’m not sure who/what this ubuntu-demon is, but ‘random animated head without a name meandering about doing a lot of engineering work to fix a problem that should not exist’ was not what I was looking for when I was looking for information on planet ubuntu); and
  3. life blogging is of interest to an extent, many developers would actually like to feel that they're friends with each other, but the John Fleck case on Planet GNOME shows that there are limits.

Much of the rest was due to Luis Villa's essay on blogging in the corporate open source context, but as I wasn't allowed to set assigned reading to the audience I was able to pad out by half an hour by including that content.

Mostly it was a fun experiment in doing slides in a format other than six bullet points per slide, six slides per section, six sections per talk format; incorporating badly rescaled images in various places; and using Beamer so I was surprised to end up hosting a Planet BoF (Birds of a Feather) session, discussing it from the point of view of someone running a Planet (the editor). Some of the topics that came up were:

  • trying to start communities via Planet sites, rather than enhancing them, by, say, starting a environmental politics Planet;
  • the possibility of introducing some of the newer blog ideas to the Free Software world (like carnivals);
  • allowing a community to edit a Planet, and editorial policies in general;
  • potential problems with aggregating libellous or illegal content (another reason some editors apparently insist on real names);
  • alternative aggregators;
  • banning RSS in favour of Atom;
  • whether it is possible or wise to filter people's feeds without their consent;
  • moving to the Venus branch of Planet; and
  • making Venus trunk.

I may propose a blogging BoF at linux.conf.au and, if I do so, I'll even plan some discussion points, which will make it less random.

Syndicated 2006-12-07 06:11:27 from puzzling dot org: tech

Logging into the OSDC wireless network

I have a wireless login script for attendees of OSDC who use Ubuntu, Debian, or anything else that can run scripts on connecting to a network and has essentially the same iwconfig output:

eth1      IEEE 802.11g  ESSID:"Monash-Conference-Net"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.437 GHz  Access Point: 00:13:7F:9D:36:C0   

To save some tiny amount of time when connecting to the wireless, stick my osdc-login script in your /etc/network/if-up.d directory or equivalent and give it similar permissions to what's already in there. You can get the latest version of the script at http://users.puzzling.org/users/mary/bzr/monashlogin/osdc-login, or through Bazaar, with the repository at http://users.puzzling.org/users/mary/bzr/monashlogin/. It's very small, but feel free to send me improvements (although if using Bazaar, please don't check in a version containing the real username and password).

You need to replace INSERTCONFERENCELOGINHERE with the appropriate username and INSERTCONFERENCEPWHERE with the password. By running the script you will be agreeing to Monash's terms of service, which are here.

Syndicated 2006-12-05 22:25:13 from puzzling dot org: tech

Advogato, a little bit different

As an update to my note about advogato.org's mooted closure, the new maintainer Steven Rainwater emailed me to let me know about the all new, inclusive Advogato: they've added an aggregator. If you have an Advogato account, you can now return to the recentlog by going to your account settings, ticking the Syndicate your blog from another site? box and then putting an RSS or Atom feed in.

Syndicated 2006-12-02 23:14:58 from puzzling dot org: tech

linux.conf.au payments (attention earlybirds)

Just spreading the word, since neither Andrew nor I received an email invoice for our registration: credit card payments for linux.conf.au are now being accepted. (We did get the announcement, but previous conference experience—ACL, HCSNet—this year has unfortunately taught me that registration information is not sent out using titles like Countdown to linux.conf.au 2007: 48 DAYS TO GO, those kind of titles now indicate to me we've updated the website! and now we have a directory of attendees!, ie, not action items. So, I didn't actually read it. Oops.)

People who got the earlybird price (which closed Nov 15) must pay by December 8. You can also still register now and get the regular price, although as the announcement (also) pointed out, if you want to stay on campus in the pre-arranged accommodation, or you want to go to the dinner, register soon. (It's unpredictable how full they really are, until they start re-opening spots that people haven't paid for. But 450 attendees who haven't put down money yet is still a goodly number when I believe the aim is 800.)

Syndicated 2006-12-01 21:12:44 from puzzling dot org: tech

In Melbourne Dec 5–10

Dear universe, Andrew and I are in Melbourne for OSDC from Tuesday December 5 to Sunday December 10 (in the morning, anyway). If any of you are in Melbourne that week and would like to meet us for breakfast/lunch/dinner/drinkies, get in touch.

Syndicated 2006-11-23 23:29:37 from puzzling dot org: tech

linux.conf.au stuff

  1. Registration is open, starting from the low low price of $99 for students and proceeding to $300 for self-funded attendees and $690 for professional attendees
  2. the LinuxChix miniconference programme is available in draft form (waiting for some speakers to confirm that they can make it); and
  3. if you'd like partial reimbursement of registration costs, you can volunteer to help out.

Syndicated 2006-11-21 23:29:05 from puzzling dot org: tech

Ubuntu code names

A relatively idle thought after doing Ubuntu support on LinuxChix lists for a while: are the code names really such a good idea? People have an enormous amount of trouble correctly identifying their Ubuntu version. I've seen the following problems:

  1. people not realising that the zeros are significant in the version number and asking for support with Ubuntu 6.1 (they probably mean 6.10/Edgy Eft) or 6.6 (they probably mean 6.06 LTS/Dapper Drake);
  2. at least half the time people quoting the Ubuntu version number and codename together quote a mismatched name and number (Ubuntu Breezy 6.06, Ubuntu Dapper 6.10 and that's not even getting into Ubuntu Breezy 6.1 or Ubontoo/Urbanto/Obonto Dragon and so on), which means that you have no idea which version they actually mean; and
  3. the code names are memorable, but seemingly not memorable enough, there's a lot of people out there talking about the Edgy Elf, which sounds like a bad drug pusher.

Ubuntu is far from the only software using well publicised release code names. I remember the good old days pre-Windows 95 (the good old days are always more than a decade ago), when you couldn't talk computers without talking about 'Chicago'. Debian's release code names are also very commonly used; potato, woody, sarge, how well I remember thee, and I have no idea what thy version numbers were. In fact, the problem might perhaps be that the release code names and the version numbers are essentially equally well known when it comes to Ubuntu, so people feel the need to state both and aren't clear on the mapping between them.

I suspect also the regular releases are hard on people: people know that there's lots of Ubuntus and they have to identify their one, but there's changes often enough that casual onlookers and users are more confused by the release names than they are aided by them. The release numbers map to the release date (4.10 was released in October—month 10—of 2004, 5.04 in April 2005 and so on) but most people, I believe, treat version numbers as Marketing Magic the like of which mortals do not ken and question no further. The six month release cycle means that the current system always has several easily confused releases too (you can confuse either the first number, mixing up 5.04 with 5.10, say, or the second one, mixing up 5.10 with 6.10).

I don't have any particular suggestion about an alternative, and suspect that the developer community is wedded to their names even if the users are a bit puzzled. I suppose simpler would be better: Ubuntu 1, Ubuntu 2... but then the numbers get high quickly.

Syndicated 2006-11-12 07:20:38 from puzzling dot org: tech

2 Dec 2006 (updated 2 Dec 2006 at 23:14 UTC) »

As an update to my note about advogato.org's mooted closure, the new maintainer Steven Rainwater emailed me to let me know about the all new, inclusive Advogato: they've added an aggregator. If you have an Advogato account, you can now return to the recentlog by going to your account settings, ticking the <q>Syndicate your blog from another site?</q> box and then putting an RSS or Atom feed in.

linux.conf.au payments (attention earlybirds)

Just spreading the word, since neither Andrew nor I received an email invoice for our registration: credit card payments for linux.conf.au are now being accepted. (We did get the announcement, but previous conference experience—ACL, HCSNet—this year has unfortunately taught me that registration information is not sent out using titles like Countdown to linux.conf.au 2007: 48 DAYS TO GO, those kind of titles now indicate to me we've updated the website! and now we have a directory of attendees!, ie, not action items. So, I didn't actually read it. Oops.)

People who got the earlybird price (which closed Nov 15) must pay by December 8. You can also still register now and get the regular price, although as the announcement (also) pointed out, if you want to stay on campus in the pre-arranged accommodation, or you want to go to the dinner, register soon. (It's unpredictable how full they really are, until they start re-opening spots that people haven't paid for. But 450 attendees who haven't put down money yet is still a goodly number when I believe the aim is 800.)

Syndicated 2006-12-01 21:12:44 from puzzling dot org: tech

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