ianclatworthy is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Ian Clatworthy
Member since: 2007-07-06 13:30:41
Last Login: 2007-07-11 04:20:45

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Homepage: http://ianclatworthy.wordpress.com/


My involvement with Open Source goes back to the mid 90s when I released and maintained Simple Document Format (http://search.cpan.org/src/IANC/sdf-2.001/doc/catalog.html) for several years, a tool for converting a logical text format to many output formats. SDF has been used for many important open source projects including SSLeay (http://www2.psy.uq.edu.au/~ftp/Crypto/ssl.html) and OpenLDAP (http://www.openldap.org/devel/tools.html, http://www.openldap.org/doc/). Due to work constraints, I have been unable to maintain SDF for some time. If there is community interest, I can now support it again in my spare time, thanks to a change of employer. Perhaps Wikis and ReStructuredText have made it obsolete to a large extent though? In March 2007, I joined Canonical to work on their collaboration tools, primarily the open source Bazaar Version Control System (http://bazaar-vcs.org/). I am now a member of the core team and have been the Release Manager for several releases (0.17 and 0.18).


Recent blog entries by ianclatworthy

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Tough times … Easy choices

It’s been a rough few weeks with news from my doctors about a new (rectal cancer) tumor that they are unable to remove. No-one can say with certainty how long I’ve got to live – cancer progression is a very individual thing – but my surgeon has indicated it could be as little as 3 months. Furthermore, there’s nothing Western medicine can do to prolong my life, though it can – and has – got my terrible pain of the last few months under control.

News like that is really hard to process. I wanted a second opinion and ended up receiving 5 or 6 of them from numerous specialists. The consensus was unanimous …

“Go out and enjoy every minute of the time you have left”.

Paradoxically, the worse the news, the easier it turns out to decide what to do. While I’m truly blessed with the best job in the world, it’s time to spent less time in front of a computer and more time with my family and friends, particularly my 3 kids. From Monday, I’ll be working part-time (for the first time since 1988).

Time also for a really good holiday. There are places I’d like to see and, quite frankly, it’s now or never! Given the nature of travel insurance, I’m now unlikely to see many of those places overseas but that still leaves a huge list of amazing places in Australia to visit.

Some people would say I’m lucky to know in advance that my time is nearly up and that many others never get that forward notice. I’m in two minds about that. The down side is that thinking about one’s death becomes terribly paralyzing at times. I frequently get angry about dying so young. There is still so much I want to do and so much I want to see. I strongly believe that we’re all responsible for making the world a better place. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved but, given another 43 years, it could be so much more.

Here’s hoping that I can prove the doctors wrong and live for many more years instead of just a few months. Miracles do happen. I plan to stay out of pain, focus on really good nutrition, rest a lot, enjoy every moment and hope the cancer spreads slowly (or disappears altogether!). In the meantime, here’s hoping someone has a mega-brainwave and cures cancer. How hard can it be?

Syndicated 2010-05-22 02:40:24 from Agile Teams, Open Software, Passionate Users

Two of the things on my mind

Last week, my battle with colorectal cancer turned ugly again with confirmation that it had returned. After 15+ months of radiation treatment, major surgery x 2, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, chemotherapy and recovering from a stoma reversal, it was news I could have done without.
The good news is that my liver looks OK. The bad news is that the cancer has reached my lungs and possibly the pelvis bone. Chemotherapy started again last Monday.

As you can imagine, I have a lot on my mind right now. Two things keep popping into my head though: bacteria under rocks in Antarctica and a quote by Steve Jobs. I keep thinking of the first thing because it reminds me that, no matter how harsh the circumstances, life finds a way to survive. The quote by Steve is equally interesting: “We’re here to make a dent”. My job in this lifetime is far from done so I plan being around for a long time yet.

Syndicated 2009-11-07 02:08:48 from Agile Teams, Open Software, Passionate Users

Bazaar Explorer by Pictures

While building a GUI application is pretty easy these days, designing a good one remains a difficult problem. It took many years before I found GUI emails clients more productive than pine and just as long before programming in an IDE was more productive than the best editors around. As a dedicated fan/developer of Bazaar, I’ve spent most of the last few years being a command-line junkie. In recent weeks though, I’ve started up a project that aims to change that: Bazaar Explorer.

Bazaar Explorer is a cross-platform desktop application that runs on Windows, GNOME, KDE and OS X. It doesn’t try to be a poor implementation of a file manager or a brain-dead IDE. Instead, it focuses on version control stuff: managing branches, managing changes and collaboration. While it’s not cooked enough yet for me to completely abandon the command line, it’s coming along nicely and is proving just as productive, if not more so, for some common version control tasks. Here’s a brief introduction by pictures.

On start-up, a Welcome page is presented if a location isn’t specified:

Welcome - Bazaar Explorer

As shown above, I’ve created bookmarks to several of the repositories I have on my PC, one repository per project. I also have some bookmarks that navigate straight to commonly accessed branches. (”core” is the core Bazaar project btw.)

Double-clicking on a repository opens the repository view:

core - Bazaar Explorer

At the top are the branches (and other objects) nested inside the repository. Below that are details about the currently selected object. Double-clicking on a branch opens it:

review [core] - Bazaar Explorer

This gives a status report on the current working tree: any conflicts found, what’s new, what’s changed, etc. From the report, you can click on a file to open it in your editor or see the per-file diff. The full diff, together with a heap of other branch operations, is available by clicking on the relevant toolbar button.

Easy access to Bazaar’s various configuration files is provided by the Settings menu:

Settings - Bazaar Explorer

Furthermore, you can define your own tools and launch them from the Tools menu. In Explorer, a tool is either a special bzr command (like lp-open or pqm-submit), a local application (like KCacheGrind or Qt Designer) or a web site.

Tools - Bazaar Explorer

Explorer recognises that many users have different needs at different times: one open source project vs another, work vs home, one client vs another, advanced user vs trainer, etc. As such, you can create, download and switch “hats” – collections of tools and bookmarks you want to use together.

Switch Hat - Bazaar Explorer

Even better than defining your own tools is reusing a set of tools that someone else has already put together! If you’re a core developer or team leader on a project, you can define a hat for others to use and include links to all the important websites they’ll need: the issue tracker, wiki, build server, qa results, etc. That ought to mean less ramp up time for new contributors on open source projects or new staff on in-house projects. See http://bazaar-vcs.org/BzrExplorer/Hats for details.

In summary, I think Bazaar Explorer is pretty cool. For a weekend project that only started in June, I’m blown away by how quickly it’s come together. I can thank the combination of cool technology (Python, Qt, bzrlib, QBzr, bzr-gtk) and keen early adopters for that. A special thanks goes to Alexander Belchenko who has helped heaps, removing bugs almost as quickly as I’ve put them in. :-) If you haven’t already, please give Bazaar Explorer a try. If you like it, please consider translating it to your native language and/or joining the Bazaar Explorer Developers team. We’d love to have more developers on board, particularly if you’re a KDE or OS X user.

Syndicated 2009-07-02 15:02:04 from Agile Teams, Open Software, Passionate Users

Announcing the Community-Agile project

I’m pleased to announce a new project that aims to extend Agile software development with successful practices used in the Open Source community. The goal is to create and support a process framework that teams and communities, both open source and commercial, can download and customize to meet their needs.

To start the ball rolling, I’m pleased to announce the Manifesto for Community-Agile Software Guidance. Anyone can sign this - simply go to the page and add a comment indicating that you agree! More importantly, a paper explaining the values, principles and practices is available in numerous formats including html and pdf. (I was planning to present this paper at OSCON 2008 but unfortunately can’t travel at this time.)

To get involved, visit https://launchpad.net/~community-agile and join the team!

Syndicated 2008-07-08 14:47:39 from Agile Teams, Open Software, Passionate Users

How can I help?

Exactly two weeks ago, I received some bad news which will undoubtedly change my life - I have bowel cancer. At 41, I’m much too young to die and I’m pleased to say that I’m not likely to in the near future. Even so, I’m in for several months of treatment, surgery and recovery. Nothing like a wake-up call like that to trigger re-assessing one’s priorities in life!

When I started this blog in 2007, I explicitly made the decision to focus it on professional topics and avoid making it about life in general. I gave it the title Agile Teams, Open Software, Passionate Users .. Life is too short for anything else. You can tell it’s not about life in general because I left Good Wine out of the title. :-) There are times like now though when separating professional from personal just doesn’t make any sense. We simply spend such a large percentage of our waking hours working that happiness at work is directly related to personal happiness for many of us, and good personal health directly impacts our productivity and relationships at work.

In my case, I’m extremely lucky to be doing the work I do at Canonical. It’s something I feel deeply passionate about: making it easier to produce great software more efficiently. I also have the privilege of working with a bunch of really smart people and I learn something new from them each and every week, if not every day.

My family and I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support everyone has offered. Almost every one we know has contacted us on hearing the news asking what they can do to help. I’m writing this article because I want to let people know, regardless of where they live, that they can help. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t take your health for granted like I did. Early detection of many diseases in the only real defence so go and get those tests done you’re been putting off because you feel fine.
  2. Do something you enjoy and do it well. Life truly is too short to be working in a job you hate or to be wasting time using unproductive processes and tools. (If you use a computer, try Ubuntu. If you develop software, try Bazaar.)
  3. Take care of the people close to you.

We live in a society where talking about one’s butt simply isn’t done - no-one ever goes to the toilet in any novel I’ve ever read! It’s not easy telling people that I have rectal cancer, but it’s common and often fatal. If sharing my story means other people catch it or another disease sooner, then I’m pleased to have done it.

Syndicated 2008-06-26 13:27:07 from Agile Teams, Open Software, Passionate Users

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