Changes…

Today is my last day at Red Hat.

I’ve been here for almost fifteen years, and it’s been a heckuva ride. I’ve seen GNOME and the Linux desktop grow from from pretty minimal beginings to what it is today.

RHAD Labs logo

The beginning…

Looking back on it, I’m so proud of the work that the Red Hat desktop team has accomplished during this time. We absolutely moved the bar on what was possible and enabled so many things. So many technologies that are basic building blocks of the modern Linux desktop were incubated within this group. Many of the things that people take for granted didn’t start in a vacuum but started because someone stepped up to make it happen.  Just off the top of my head dbus, metacity, gtk2, aiglx, systemd, pulseaudio, pango, cairo, gconf, orbit, gio/gvfs, gnome-shell, hal, NetworkManager, evince, PolicyKit and so many more got their start here.  Along the way, we made lifelong friends and built communities around these projects, to the point where others have taken them far beyond their humble beginnings.  To me, that’s what makes Free Software so awesome, and the Free desktops in particular so special.

GNOME Love

I am looking forward to being a part of the GNOME community in the future as a civilian, though I won’t be fixing any more TreeView bugs. (-:

The team is now in Christian Schaller’s capable hands and the engineering group at Red Hat is stronger than it has ever been. I’m looking forward to watching from the sidelines to see what they do next!

GNOME 3

*tap* *tap*  Is this thing on?

I am GNOME

It’s been too long since I blogged, but this is a great reason to post. I am so proud of everyone who put this release together. Everyone worked so hard on everything, and the pride and artistry comes through in every corner of the desktop.  Kudos go to everyone involved; the engineers for their craftsmanship, the designers for their persistence and vision, the marketing team for telling such a great story, the web team for making a home we can be proud of, and everyone else who’s cared about the project and helped shape it along the way.

Having been around for every major GNOME release this is by far the smoothest dot-zero we have ever done. The commitment to excellence this time around was amazing and the enthusiasm has been infectious.  I am already excited to see what’s planned for 3.2.

google maps

  • trees: Neat! It looks like google street views has extended all the way to Westford, MA. They even have a picture of my favorite tree.

Edmund James Blandford

  • life: Edmund James Blandford was born November 15, 2007 at 4:01 PM EST. He was exactly eight pounds heavy and twenty inches long at birth. Mother and Son are doing well. We aren’t sleeping for particularly long stretches, but are happy that he is healthy and here.
    Edmund
    Edmund getting ready to return from the hospital
    Eleanor doesn’t know what to make of her brother yet, but is sweet and welcoming so far. She has been growing up so much recently; I hope she isn’t too put off by his arrival. She has been running up to him and saying ‘hi!’ while he’s in the kitchen.
    Eleanor and Edmund
    Eleanor and Edmund
  • intlclock: I am glad that Federico is looking at merging intlclock upstream. I have wanted to see intlclock make it into mainline GNOME for a while, and it has definitely gotten more interesting for the wider exposure. While Federico is probably right that that code is not super efficient, I don’t think you can actually do a lot better than calculating the Sun’s position per-pixel when calculating day/night. That code is certainly a lot simpler than trying to project the circle onto our map projection. It also gives us the chance to calculate things like twilight, and adjust the shading of the pixel (and clocks) appropriately.
  • intlclock (background): One of the cooler features in Fedora 8 is the timelapsed background support that Søren wrote. The default background will get brighter as the day goes forward, and darker as night approaches. The times this happens are hardcoded into the slideshow, though. Given that we have some lovely code in intlclock to determine the sun position at a given location, and also know exactly where we are, it would be a pretty neat extention to tie that to the background.

Passages

  • meta: It has been a long time since I’ve written anything. Being a father has taken its toll on my free time, and I got out of the habit of writing. As has happened every time I have hit a dry spell in the past, I count on the same thing to get me started up again. I change software! This time to the WordPress instance at http://blogs.gnome.org/jrb. The old, elisp-based version I borrowed from Federico wasn’t working out for me anymore. We will see if this one does any better. I’m counting on gnome-blog to help keep it updated too. Many thanks to jdub for helping me get the old entries imported.

    I have tried to keep the visual style of the old page — namely that of a ChangeLog entry. Nevertheless, I have made concessions to the modern web. ChangeLog entries should probably do the same. (-:

  • birthdays (GNOME): GNOME is now 10! Amazing. It has definitely been a long and strange trip. Dave’s recollection of Project Bob is a good memory. I’ll add my own:

    The first time I met most of the people working on GNOME (at that time) was in Linux Expo in 1998. gnome-0.20 was just about to be released. This version featured a newly written Wanda the fish applet to play with. There was a demo machine there with someone showing off the coolest feature in in GNOME at that time, namely embeddable drawers. People were dragging them into the panel, and creating crazy shapes and figures. Naturally, it was buggy like crazy. Sopwith was sitting on the machine next to it and had logged in remotely, surreptitiously hacking on the panel, trying to fix the bugs people were hitting. When the panel (or an application) would crash, he would quickly restart them, making it seem more stable than it was.

    Looking back on it, we had know idea of what we were getting ourselves into. I am sure if we knew back then what we know now, there is no way anyone would have started writing a desktop. It sure was a lot of fun though!

  • life (Eleanor): Eleanor has grown! She is sixteen months old, and is now spending her days running around the house, terrorizing the dog. She gets into a lot of mischief, but is very, very sweet. Zana and I don’t see her changing day by day, but just this weekend we had to put another box of clothes into the attic that she had outgrown. Her hair length is stuck somewhere in the middle of her back. It gets longer as she gets taller, but never quite seems to grow.
    Eleanor and Uncle Ed
    Eleanor and Uncle Ed

Sun 19 Nov 2006

  • woo: Wii is for Wiictory!!!

Wed 15 Nov 2006

  • elections (board): I am not running for reelection this year. After being on the board for the past five years, I wanted to step down before people start clamoring for term limits.More seriously, I feel like I have finally accomplished most of what I wanted to get done as a board member (although it took four years longer than I had hoped). I was able to present a clear picture of the financial state of the Foundation at GUADEC this year, and many of the institutional issues we have faced have been resolved. The Foundation is in great shape and it should be fun to be on next year’s board. Interest in GNOME is expanding, and there are lots of opportunities for the project everywhere.Federico did an excellent writeup of what qualifications are important in a successful board member. I only have two minor quibbles with his post. The first is that we can definitely find the money to buy a phone card for board members. I would hate to have concerns about phone bills keep an otherwise excellent candidate off the board.The second quibble is about his “rock star” comment. I think he is implying that being on the Board requires a definite time commitment. If you don’t have the time, you won’t be a good board member. People who already are doing a lot for the project (and thus, have earned the coveted “rock star” label) tend to not have spare time. If you do can’t make the time for the board, don’t run. It’s just as simple as that. We need good people with time, energy, and especially passion to be on the board \u2014 don’t let your label get in the way of running!Besides, being on the board this upcoming year is the fastest way to “rock star” status. (-:
  • eleanor: Jesse has been posting baby pictures all week of his new baby. It’s time to post a gratuitous baby picture of my own:
    Eleanor and Java
    Eleanor hearing about Java moving to the GPL

Tue 14 Nov 2006

  • shipping: A few months back, we asked a partner of ours (who will remain nameless) for some test equipment. We wanted to make sure that Fedora worked well on that set of hardware and machines. They didn’t arrive for quite some time. Finally, last week, they arrived at the office.

    It turns out that the machines had been shipped to the wrong location. Someone had very helpfully packed it up and forwarded them to us. Unfortunately, it seems that they didn’t have any packing material at the office it was shipped from. So instead of shipping the machines with styrofoam, or even packing peanuts, they filled the box with leftover pens and harmonicas. Yes, harmonicas. About fifty of them. Keeping the computers safe. Fortunately, the machines were robust enough to survive the trip, but geez, I hope they don’t go out to customers like that…

Sun 29 Oct 2006

  • Releases: Fedora Core 6 (zod) was released this week. So I baked a cake:
    Zod Cake
    Kneel before the Zod cake

    It was a pretty awesome release. You can read the release announcement here.I just thought I’d highlight three of my favorites features. First, compiz on aiglx works really well. Soeren made a valiant attempt at taming compiz by getting it to honor many of the metacity settings, as well as by providing a more traditional pager mode. He and Kristian also got X running with aiglx enabled by default, so starting a compositing manager doesn’t require an X restart.Secondly, X will now start without an Xorg.conf file. Adam has been working hard at making X autodetect hardware, and it can now do so on many setups correctly. There are times still when you will need that file, but it is bringing us closer to the day when you won’t have to set up X at all.Finally, if you want to play with Xen, Daniel did a really nice job on virt-manager. It looks slick.
    RHEL4 Console
    RHEL4 in Fedora

Wed 11 Oct 2006

  • sports: It’s really tough to be married to a Mets and Broncos fan…