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I have some nice news today (unusual for a Monday afternoon).

A couple of months ago I went around a few French magazines hawking the idea of a regular GNOME column with a mix of original articles and translated GNOME Journal content.

Denis Bodor and Fleur Brosseau at Diamond Editions were interested, and so starting next month, we will have a new column called “GNOME Corner” in the French magazine “Linux Pratique”, a magazine aimed at Linux beginners still discovering the joys of free software.

The first issue includes 2 articles from the GNOME Journal (a little bird tells me that Claus Schwarm is actively hunting for article authors), Audio CD Ripping and Burning in GNOME by Ken VanDine of Foresight Linux and Evolution 2.2 by Jorge Castro (Jorge, if you’re reading, please mail me, I haven’t got an e-mail address for you). Both articles were translated by GNOME-fr member Laurent Richard.

Congrats to all involved. More exposure in print media is necessary if we want to improve GNOME’s image among hackers, Linux beginners and ourselves.

Since GNOME Journal articles won’t always fill the space allotted to us (4 pages per month!) I also hope to poke some people for original articles in French. Anyone interested please contact me.

Update: I just noticed that there is a GUADEC report in this month’s GNU/Linux Magazine France as well.

PS. Help Seth! I can’t add a title!

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Advogato.org introduced me to the world of blogging a little over a year ago. Now I can’t figure out how I lived without a blog before then.

Image uploads are what have finally moved me away from it (that and blogs.gnome.org opening up shop), but since I’ve decided to move I’ve had a few problems. First, I no longer exist and haven’t yet managed to get hold of Raph to get stuff fixed. Thankfully, my old blog entries are safe. But the mod_virgule import didn’t work right with my account, so I only managed to import the 10 most recent entries via RSS. Bummer.

Hopefully I can get my planet feed updated to point here soon (go Jeff!).

8 Jun 2005

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I don’t know if Simon will thank me for letting the secret out, but I thought this was so cool.

Apparently, the armature was modelled in skencil somehow, and then the frames were generated (with a custom frame rate), exported to PNG with custom size, imported into the GIMP and turned into an animated GIF, all automatically.

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I don’t know if Simon will thank me for letting the secret out, but I thought this was so cool.

Apparently, the armature was modelled in skencil somehow, and then the frames were generated (with a custom frame rate), exported to PNG with custom size, imported into the GIMP and turned into an animated GIF, all automatically.

7 Jun 2005

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STFU

Every so often you read an essay that holds a mirror up and makes you ask yourself hard questions. This essay on meeting behaviour did just that. Now I know the problem, I will do better.

Thanks to Erinn Clark for the link, and Hanna Wallach for starting the link trail (welcome to planet.gnome.org, Hanna!).

6 Jun 2005

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Multiplier effect

It’s times like this I’d love to be able to doodle on webpages, but for the time being I’m stuck in Advogato with text only. Ah, well…

When you spend money, that money has a value to the economy which is more than what you spend. If you buy a shirt for $30, the shop owner uses that money to pay wages, buy groceries. So out of your $30 maybe $20 recirculates into the economy, and then that gets respent. Typically your $30 purchase is worth about $60 to the economy.

Imports are dead money. It’s money that is getting taken out of the economy. When you buy an imported product in the supermarket, then a lot of what you pay is going to the importer, and from there going out of the country.

That’s basic economics 101.

Now what happens when you buy computer software? Almost all of the computer software for sale worldwide is US produced, and has very high margins. That means when you spend $100 on Windows, $80 of that is probably going to leave the country. There is no multiplier feedback loop, where the money you spend goes towards improving your local economy, buying local products and generating local employment. It’s dead money.

One of the things you get with free software is the freedom to choose your supplier. The sources are available, which means that a company supporting the product can sprout up anywhere. You don’t need to go to the GNOME Foundation to get a GNOME desktop administered or supported, chances are there’s some cocky college graduate living in your town who can do it for you, cheaper.

And this is where all the TCO arguments coming out of Redmond fall flat on their face. Let’s say, for arguments sake, that installing and supporting GNOME is 20% more expensive overall for the first 5 years you use it. It’s cheaper afterwards, but play along with me for a sec.

So when you spend $100M on Windows, $80M of that leaves the country. You get $20M working for the local economy. When you spend $120M supporting GNOME with local companies, $120M stays in the economy.

This isn’t a question of percentage points, it’s multiples we’re talking about. $1 invested in free software by a government is an investment worth 5 or 6 times the equivalent investment in Windows.

You’re spending more, but it’s an investment in local industry, the local computer industry. It’s an incentive for local graduates to stay in the country to earn a living, rather than moving to the US. It’s a cheap way to kick-start your local knowledge economy.

When Jeff Waugh said we changed the rules, he’s right. We’ve changed the way the world works. We’ve changed people’s expectations. We’ve given people the freedom to choose.

3 Jun 2005

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Michael: Even better than the cvs up -r hack:

svn diff

Local changes since last update

svn diff -r BASE:HEAD

Changes in repository since you last updated

Which one were you looking for?

Back from GUADEC

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Wow – what a wacky week. I am exhausted and exhilirated. I talked to so many people, got a bunch of things worked on, and heard about so many things that I wanted to jump up & scream about. Wise Nat wouldn’t let me.

I was a little disappointed that the GIMP didn’t make the list of mentoring projects, especially since we have a bunch of nice sized projects people could work on. Hopefully we’ll make it in next time, and start exploiting some of he other opportunities that have come our way.

Everyone needs to go look at the spec for anonymous voting that vuntz and I came up with (with input from Seth, Brian, JRB and a bunch of other people). There are a bunch of elections we want to have this year, so it’s important this gets done. And it’s a nice simple project for someone intimidated by big old us.

Seeing the board was great, even if there was some tension over a couple of issues. We got a bunch of work done, and have come out of the week with a long list of action items. It’ll be interesting to see how we fare against them in the coming weeks & months.

We also talked a bunch about marketing GNOME. It’s really weird how a bunch of people have all been thinking the same things independently, and it needed getting everyone in the same place to see that. Three core ideas come out as most important:

  1. We need to grow what we consider GNOME developers to be. Developers on projects like the GIMP, GTK#, Inkscape, GAIM, Audacity and a bunch of others should be considering themselves part of GNOME.
  2. We should be persuading people who use Abiword, Gnumeric, the GIMP, XChat and all the other GNOME apps available on Windows that they are using GNOME, in some sense. They are on the road to enlightenment, we just have to get them the rest of the way.
  3. Our platform is our strongest selling point now. We are winning by default there. While it may leave a sour taste in some people’s mouths, OpenOffice, Mozilla, Eclipse, VMWare, Nokia, Adobe and all the other ISVs making software on the GNOME platform are doing so because our main competition’s platform is GPL, and ours is LGPL. What we need to do is also win because we listen better to our ISVs, and build a really nice platform.

To grow GNOME, we need to grow the buzz around GNOME, have more developers, more madness, more fun, more mindshare. If we do, 10×10 is easy :)

Watch out for some stuff over the coming months to start on that road, and start generating some buzz.

I have one regret. There were a heap of GIMP people at GUADEC and I got about 10 minutes to sit down and talk – and I didn’t even get to talk much about the GIMP. Sorry mitch, Michael, Raphael, Tor, Sven, Roman, and all the others I’ve forgotten (who said GIMP developers didn’t feel like part of GNOME?).