Not in Berlin

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For those who had planned to go to Berlin especially to catch the Openwengo workshop on Thursday, I am sorry to let you know that I will be in Paris for some important meetings, and won’t be attending LinuxTag this year.

Upcoming travel

gnome, marketing, openwengo, work 1 Comment

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be hitting the road again.I’m eager to meet up with Openwengo and GNOME people when travelling – drop me a line if you’re available.

  • LinuxDays.ch, 23 & 24 May, Geneva:
    I’ll be giving two presentations during LinuxDays.ch, one on contributing to free software projects (including a focus on marketing GNOME) and one on the OpenWengo project, and our recent 2.1.0 release.
  • LinuxTag, 31 May – 1 June, Berlin:
    A flying visit, I’m arriving on Wednesday evening, and flying out again on Friday. I’ll be on the look-out for GNOME people, and I’ll be giving a workshop presentation of OpenWengo.
  • Journées du Libre, 15 June, Montpellier:
    A flying visit, I’m arriving on Friday night and training out again on Saturday evening. Looking forward to meeting up with people on Friday evening, and I’ll be giving a presentation on OpenWengo on Saturday.
  • COPU Summit, 21 & 22 June, Guangzhou, China:
    I was invited to this last year but couldn’t go, this year I’ll be going along to meet with Chinese distributions and spread the Free Software gostpel to a high-powered group of executives from free softwarte companies and from the Chinese government.
  • LUG Radio Live, 7 July, Wolverhampton:
    After exotic travel, I’ll be in the Black Country, telling LRL fans about the joys of OpenWengo, a great free software project that’s only going to get better. On condition that Anne my wife doesn’t need a lift to the hospital in the middle of the night. This will be my last travelling until after the Summer.

So there we have it. Aside from that, the company has organised a “retreat” for a few days in the South of France (oh, the pain) and I’ll be going up to Paris every week, as I have been for the last 6 months.

Ho hum.

WengoPhone 2.1.0 released!

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It’s been long, it’s been painful, and it’s been one of those projects where I’ve been saying for weeks that we’ll be releasing very soon now, but it’s here!

The WengoPhone 2.1.0 represents a big step forward from the 2.0 release for a couple of reasons – not least is that it is stable and usable on Linux. We’ve added some major features too – secure calls with sRTP when the SIP platform supports it (which is most of the time), interoperability work to make it easier to configure accounts with SIP providers other than Wengo, a heap of usability fixes, and some nice work mby translators at LaunchPad which got us 100% translations in 13 languages – not too shabby.

Binaries are available at the OpenWengo website and source files and contrib binaries are available (or soon will be) at the developer’s community site.

The story continues…

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A bunch of updates since last month:

FOSTEL

FOSTEL went really well – attendance was over what I expected, but we still had enough food & drinks for everyone (thanks to the very generous “traiteur”) and the content of both the presentations and BOFs was pretty good. A smidgin more organisation, and a round of introductions to start off the conference (which I wanted to do, and promptly forgot) would have been perfect.

As it was, I spent all my time running around sorting out last-minute issues, although I did get to have a good chat with some people, particularly over dinner. It was particularly good to see Craig Southeren and Jochen Topf, who have been giving me help with the conference from a distance.

I am still waiting to attend a free software conference where no-one has any trouble with the projector, though.

Roll on FOSTEL 2007 in Germany.

OpenWengo

We’re still in a heavy pre-release push for OpenWengo’s next release of the WengoPhone (I know, I know, I didn’t choose the names). Marco Marongiu talked to myself and Philippe Bernery from the project to ask us a little about the project’s past, present and future on the cusp of a major release.

Tendonitis

In spite of some early optimism from my tendonitis (it’s funny now that 3 weeks ago I was still wondering whether I’d be able to run the marathon), a short 2km run and the advice of my physiotherapist put paid to any hopes I had of doing any serious running for quite a few weeks. In addition, I haven’t had the chance to do any biking for the last couple of weeks either, and I’m starting to feel some of that condition going. Hopefully I’ll still manage to be fit for a 10k in a couple of weeks so that I can at least do some running when my friend Dennis comes over.

GNOME board

As usual, lots of stuff is happening with the board, and as usual, there’s much of it that we can only allude to in the minutes. And a couple of people aren’t happy with the level of secrecy in the board.

It’s a tough problem because in the same way that a developer doesn’t necessarily want to release his code until he’s got a working first prototype, if I’m working on something through the board, I’m not going to announce it to the entire membership until it’s reasonably consequential – to boot-strap things, you get buy-in from important companies & community members and nail down important elements of whatever it is you’re working on before going public.

One example where I’ve been confronted with this was when I worked on getting a GNOME store in place by getting a preferred merchandising supplier – in the end, I went public when we were still in contract negociations with someone, which then fell through (for a number of reasons). Would it have been better to keep quiet about the project until I was certain of success?

Profile

Why anyone would want to profile me, I don’t know, but back in February, I sat down with Joe Brockmeier in SCALE and chatted to him about my free software past and more. We got a bit waylaid back then, and followed up by email. The result was the bass for a profile of me which came out on linux.com recently.

OpenWengo releases the WengoPhone 2.1 rc1

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I won’t make a habit of announcing software releases on my blog, but this is an important one – the first release since I’ve been at Wengo that I’ve been involved with.

And since this is the first that most of you will have heard of OpenWengo, allow me to show you around.

OpenWengo is an umbrella project – a community of people working to make great cross-platform free software for communication over IP. From the beginning, we have used open standards to ensure interoperability (even though that’s not quite so easily done as that). We use the SIP protocol for VoIP and video calls, and have integrated libgaim (a part of gail) to allow us to handle a range of IM protocols (we also support SIP/SIMPLE, which is SIP’s messaging and presence extension).

Assane using the videophone

Assane on the videophone

Update: Especially for Paul Cooper (hi Coop) here’s a link to some screenshots.

This release is the first one that I can encourage people to use on Linux – previous releases have had a number of known blocker issues with certain types of hardware. In this release we have fixed literally hundreds of bugs and hardware compatibility issues, and I am now quite happily using the WengoPhone every day for my VoIP and messaging needs. We still have some known issues which need to be resolved for 2.1.0, but we’re well on track.

The release is available here, and a more complete release announcement is here. Bug reports and feedback can be sent to us via the OpenWengo wiki & bug tracker (yes, we use trac, and are overall pretty happy with is, aside from one or two performance issues).

One major black spot on this release, though: translations. We use Launchpad (or more specifically Rosetta) for translations – we convert our .ts files to .pos, then convert back to update the translations for releases.

But since Feisty’s translations opened a couple of weeks ago, there were around 40,000 files awaiting import – and I don’t know what Rosetta does to import a .po file, but it is taking ages. That queue (correction) has 10,000 files which are approved and awaiting importation and my imports (which I requested 10 days ago) are now around 1000th (correction: 10,500th) in the queue. So unfortunately, for the moment, I have no way to let translators start working on the translations for 2.1 on Rosetta, and I had no way of getting existing translations merged from another branch and committed for the 2.1 release.

If we don’t manage to resolve our problems with Rosetta (we were badly bitten in the ass with a Rosetta bug with uploaded .po files last year too), we’re going to have to go back to an old reliable solution, and just get people to use qtlinguist. Which would be a pity, since I like opening up the translation to people who don’t have a full development environment installed, and having a few approved translators who integrate their work.

FOSDEM

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It’s Sunday afternoon in FOSDEM, and I’m just adding one or two slides to compliment the presentation I’m giving this afternoon – which gives me a minute to sit down and think on everything that’s happened since we got here.

I travelled to FOSDEM with Mathieu Stute of OpenWengo on the surprisingly fast Thalys, which gave me a chance to write my presentation on “Developing GNOME through marketing and outreach” (shortened to “Marketing GNOME” on the title slide).

Thanks to Bader for proving one of my early points after the talk – he said “you know you didn’t talk about marketing, you talked about promotion”. We spend too much time talking about metaphysical questions like “what is GNOME” and “what is marketing”, and not enough time actually making the easy wins in outreach. The main point I wanted to get through with this presentation are that there are lots of ways that grass-roots movements can do outreach, but that we have now got most of the useful infrastructure in place to allow the project as a whole to benefit from that outreach, and create the feedback loop which will improve GNOME over time.

Some simple things that you can do as an individual:

  • Talk to your local council and get in contact with their CTO to see if there are plans to use free software
  • Talk to the college professor you know asking if he’d like to have students do a free-software related project next year
  • Offer to do a talk to the local LUG/college computer club on free software and GNOME
  • Write articles for the local paper/magazines
  • Ask local magazine editors if they’d like to include a GNOME LiveCD or OpenCD on their cover

All of these things come from the same principle – people aren’t aware that there are free software community members everywhere – a local counsil would like to use some stuff, but they don’t know about the local LUG, and no-one’s thought to go and talk to them. Magazine editors are looking for content, but don’t know who to ask. Trade stands are being organised, and people ask the GNOME Foundation if we can run a stand, the answer is almost always “I don’t know”.

I also gave a lightning talk on OpenWengo which was well received, I think – and I’ve had lots of chats at various stages with Yannick from Nokia and Simon and Daff from Collabora about Telepathy and its relationship to OpenWengo.

Yesterday evening, had a good dinner (expensive, and not very copious, but nice) with a bunch of people from the FLOSSFoundations group – I don’t remember all the names, but Gerv from MoFo, Allison Randall from TPF, Cornelius and Sebastien from KDE eV, Greg Stein, Sander Striker, colmmacc and others from the Apache Foundation, and Leslie from the Google Summer of Code were there – we had a good & varied chat which went from energy through to hacking, accountants, trademarks (as usual) and governance. Oh – and Belgian beer.

Today is chill-out day in FOSDEM – everyone’s a little dehydrated, a little hung over and a little tired – which makes for a nice chilled atmosphere. I am still getting over people walking around at 10 in the morning with a bottle of Orval in their hand…

For those wondering, I didn’t manage to get up and get running at 7am on Saturday. I finally got on the road about 7.45 – and planned on running a little over an hour just to tread water for the week. In the end, I got lost in the outskirts of Brussels (running South on the East side of the park, rather than North on the West side), and ended up running about 11 miles, which is close enough to keep me on schedule for the marathon.

Free software whoring

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Bryce Harrington has written a very thought-provoking blog on running free software communities. An extract:

The way to maximize the value gained by a FLOSS project is to grease up the skids and make it extremely easy for new users to begin contributing. Sure, 90% can’t, 9% won’t, 0.9% will but not very much, but that last 0.1% can well be worth it. […] Don’t think of the free desktop simply as an alternative to proprietary desktops. Instead think of it as a platform for large scale open collaboration. […] Take the rules, tools, architectures, and lessons we’ve gained in software collaboration and recast them for “data development”, and I think the free desktop’s success will be impossible to stop.

Worth a read, especially as a binome to Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick’s “Poisonous People” talk.

FOSTEL 2007 in Paris

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I’ve been quietly pulling the threads together in the organisation of Yet Another Summit over the past few weeks – FOSTEL 2007 will be held in Paris, France on the 4th and 5th of April.

FOSTEL 2007

The summit will follow a similar format to the one which worked so well during the Libre Graphics Meeting last year – a small number of quality presentations on the major themes of the conference, with lots of time & space to meet people, have BOFs, hackfests, interoperability sessions and other fun stuff.

The guiding light for the summit is communication with free software. The main themes for the summit are telephony, VoIP and messaging.

A good number of interesting participants and projects are already committed to attending, with more and more confirming each day.

If you’d like to come, sign up to the wiki and the fostel-list@fostel.org mailing list, where all the fun announcements are going to go.

If you want more information, or would like to help out with the organisation (I need all the help I can get!), or need financial help getting to the conference, mail me at any of the addresses that Google turns up. If the spammers can find me, then so can you ;-)

SCALE – what a weekend!

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I’m just on my way home from LA where I gave a presentation on OpenWengo during SCALE. It was standing-room only, and a bunch of people were sitting down at the back – and aside from the fact that I hit a PortAudio bug which stopped me from actually demoing a phone-call, it went pretty well.

It was good to meet Ted “Bible thumper” Haegar and Erin Quill from Novell (the company everyone loves to hate these days) who gave a very stimulating presentation on Xen.

I know they didn’t notice that I had dozed off (jet-lagged to hell) during their presentation because no-one threw any books at me – unlike the previous evening, when Mr. Jono Bacon demonstrated his over-arm throwing skills to wake me from my gentle slumber. The most amusing things about the incident were the way I didn’t spill my beer (while asleep, or when hit by the book), the bemused and confused look on my face straight afterwards (I honestly had no idea what had happened), and the enthusiastic defense of my cause by the man behind me who wanted to have Jono ejected from the hall (“That was totally uncalled for, man”).

Aside from that, I had a really good chat about community development, Ubuntu, OpenWengo and GNOME with Jono, and I also met up with Jay from MySQL, who does pretty much the same thing there. I also met up with Zonker, who tried to interview me (and discovered my talent for tangents). A great weekend was had, and I hope I will get back next year.

Solutions Linux update

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I was contacted by a Belgian author of Ekiga who will remain unnamed to thank me for pointing out that he was not cool enough to make my list of cool people.

I met many people in Paris who didn’t get mentioned in my previous blog entry – including, but not limited to, the members of ALDIL, several members of Mozilla Europe, the guys from Silicon Sentier, several people from KDE France, OO.o France, Mandriva, RedHat, Novell, APRIL, Linux Auvergne, GNU/Linux Magazine France (hello Denis!), and many more. Oh, and a Belgian author of Ekiga.

Any implication of uncoolness was unintended, but being mentioned in this blog entry does not constitute proof of coolness. E&OE.

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