Archive for August, 2005

My vacation thus far

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

Well, it’s been over 10 days into my vacation in India and I’ve been having a grand time and I haven’ gotten sick yet.

My sister-in-law’s marriage went off pretty good and we had a great time with everyone there. I even did a little driving in Bombay which can be a little disconcerting. But as long as I believe I own the road, I was fine.

Man, I’ve been eating like a pig here too. 3 square meals plus in between snacks, and caffiene. All part of the fun.

I will be in Bangalore tommorow for those who are in Bangalore and want to meet up, let me know and mail my gmail account (sriram.ramkrishna@gmail.com) I’m leaving for Goa on the 30th afternoon. Unfortunately, I’m not able to IRC since I’ve been on dialup for the last couple of days and it’s really hard to get online and download stuff. I might try again from a cybercafe later.

Hope all you GNOMEies are keepin it real.

Friday, August 5th, 2005

Last day of OSCON

So this is the last day of OSCON and it’s been a full (and fun) week doing stuff like the booth. While a lot more hectic than last year since I didn’t have as many volunteers to help was still enjoyable talking to various people who come to the booth.

One interesting tidbit was that the Mayor of Portland runs KDE. I do intend to send him a livecd so he can perhaps change his mind. :-) But still, he’s running a linux based laptop and thats pretty cool. I had it confirmed by a couple of state government employees. Unfortunately, none of the city govt folks showed up. There was even one guy from the General Accounting Office (GAO) as well. All took some live cds. :-)

Big thanks to jeff and Dave Camp for helping me out and hanging out and talking. It was fun having them both there. When Dave wasn’t hanging out he was over at the Gibsun Guitar booth rocking out. :) (btw dude, I got myself a gibsun guitar t-shirt thrown at me! ;)

The one observation I have while doing the booth was the complete lack of females approaching the booth. No matter how hard I tried to catch their eye they’d never look. The whole thing was so intriguing I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what they were interested in and what made them go there. It seems from observation that they like booths with a lot of colours, and marketing materials, and what not. Apparently, GNOME is not appealing to women or I’m not, or it’s not flashy enough..dunno. We need to be more women friendly. We need manly men, with chiseled chins, and long flowing hair. GNOME should be about sex..er sex appeal rather.

I’d like to also state that OSCON seems to be GNOME land. When people were not running OS-X or Windows it was GNOME. Whether it was redhat, suse, or ubuntu thats all I saw. So, that was really nice to see.

Had some good conversation with one of the mozilla guys about how to create a community especially around Q&A/bugzilla etc etc and also discussing the difficulties and risks of moving Firefox to timed releases ala GNOME and Ubuntu.

Next year, I’d like to see OSCON do more on linux desktops and also having things like flumotion streaming for the outside community.

Enough for now.

OSCON Day 1

Monday, August 1st, 2005

Well, it’s day one here in OSCON. I’m pretty much just going around by myself here. Had some interesting conversations with people about various topics. Mostly I’ve been looking to see who is running what on their laptops. By in large, I’ve seen GNOME/OSX/XP for desktops with powerbooks dominating. Every Unix desktop I’ve seen was running GNOME.

Overall it seems that OSX is the most popular. I”ve been thinking of asking people who are running GNOME what they think of it just to gauge people’s reactions. The one person I asked complained that we change things too much. He specifically mentioned the file dialog box where the text entry was removed and he couldn’t figure out quite how to type in a directory. There is some validity in that there is no visual cue on how to do so although once you try typing something a text entry widget does show up. He wanted some kind of on-line documentation thing that says “this was the old behavior, this is the new” and be able to select which behavior.

So his complaint is mostly about being forced to change a work model without any support of the previous model and not being able to go back to it. Unfortunately, usability is still work in progress for us IMHO and these changes will happen as we try to improve usability. But we need to tightly control these changes otherwise we will make people unhappy because we force them to change their ways. That’s not their idea of “user friendly”.

I also wandered around the bookstore and felt kind of depressed with the amount of books on UNIX desktops and how much space they don’t give to GNOME. The other desktop seems a lot more comfortable for them to use. Because of the coverage it also makes the other desktop a lot more exciting to use with all the coverage it gets. Consequently, the users we want to reach those non technical people end up reading more about KDE than GNOME when they do their research or talk to their local techie. How ironic.

BTW there was our GNOME Development book but unfortunately it’s already out of date. It needs updating. :-)

I feel obligated now to talk people’s ear off about 2.14 at the booth starting Wednesday. Party on!