Running is bad for your health

home, running 11 Comments

As some have noticed, I’ve been running for the past few months, training for a marathon at the end of April.

Since I started running, I have had a series of injuries – Achilles tendon from running uphill, a tendonitis in the groin from not stretching my hamstrings and adductors enough, and now, ITBS.

It’s another tendonitis which you get from running too long on a slanted surface, or poor posture during running, or pronation in your gait. Not sure which I did, although the doctor said I was fairly straight and he didn’t see any pronation, so it could be hip rotation, worn shoes, or just not changing footpath often enough.

The long & short of it is that whenever I run more than 10 or 15 minutes, I get knee pain. It’s nothing major, but it can take weeks to treat properly, so the chances are I’ll have to say goodbye to my marathon this time around… I am not giving up quite yet, but it’s not looking good.

Anyone reading this ever recovered from ITBS (syndrôme de l’essuie glace, ou tendinite du tenseur du fascia-lata en français) within 6 weeks of running a marathon? If so, what’s your secret?

The GNOME Foundation to work with SFLC

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For many years, the GNOME Foundation has had pro-bono legal help through Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati – they have helped us with a lot of issues from drafting trademark usage guidelines and contracts through auditing our bylaws and lodging trademark registration papers.

But some issues have needed an in-depth knowledge of our project, our values and our community. Treademarks in particular is an area where the interplay between copyright, trademark and community is particularly sensitive, and needs expert knowledge of free software as well as expert knowledge of the law.

Last year, we welcomed the SFLC onto the GNOME advisory board as a non-profit advisor. The foundation and SFLC announced today that we have now become the SFLC’s newest client.

We will continue to use WSGR’s services for most of our legal needs, but for anything which touches on our stature as a free software project, we will now be able to call on the very special expertise offered by the SFLC.

Thanks are due to Luis Villa for proposing this idea and bringing the parties together, and Anne Oestergaard for finally bringing things to conclusion.

GNOME Live CDs II – the return!

gnome, marketing 3 Comments

They’re back! And this time, they’ve got company.

Two years ago, Luis Villa took up the cross and made sure that there was a GNOME LiveCD for GNOME 2.10 and GNOME 2.12 – he was joined in that journey by a band of companions like Marcus Bauer, the man who made sure the 2.12 Live CD was available in 12 languages.

After a couple of releases of a lapse, they’re back! We have revived (with many thanks to Corey and Michael from OSU OSL for installing the server so quickly, and for providing the rack space and bandwidth, and to Intel for the 5U (!) server that it’s running off, and to Olav for getting things configured).

Ken van Dine is the man to send all the accolades – he’s one of the people behind Foresight Linux, the most GNOME friendly distro around – they release with the latest GNOME release on the same day as GNOME.

Not only do we have a LiveCD ISO image for download this time, though, we also have VMWare, QEMU and VHD Virtual Server images available for all you virtualisation freaks out there.

LiveCDs and VM appliances are good for a few different things – giving away at trade shows and conferences, showing off GNOME to your boss without having to spend all day installing, or writing and testing GNOME software for the latest platform without being on the bleeding edge for all your user needs.

So head on over to and start seeding.

GNOME annual report

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Here’s my foreword to the GNOME annual report which I just announced on foundation-list. The report is available on the Foundation website. This is the first time we’ve done an annual report, and I’d really love to hear what people think of it.

Dear Friends,

All traditions need a starting point, they say. What you now hold in your hands is the first annual report of the GNOME Foundation, at the end of what has been an eventful year for us.

Each year brings its challenges and rewards for the members of this global project. This year, many of our biggest challenges are in the legal arena. European countries have been passing laws to conform with the European Union Copyright Directive, and some, including France, have brought into law provisions which we as software developers find it hard to understand, but which appear to make much of what we do illegal. We have found ourselves in the center of patent wars as bigger companies jockey for position with offerings based on our hard work. And we are scratching our heads trying to figure out how to deal with the constraints of DRM and patents in multimedia, while still offering our users access to their media files.

But for each of these challenges, no matter how much they weigh on our minds, we also have liberating moments when we feel like the work we have done is changing the world. GNOME software will be included on the 1.2 million laptops which will be distributed to every Libyan schoolchild, ensuring that the world gets a new generation of free software developers in 10 or 15 years. The blood and sweat that we and other free software developers pour into our work has made it possible for people to have a real alternative to monopolistic hegemony—even if
we are not yet at a level where mass adoption is realistic. Social movements like the Software Freedom Day and the Free Culture movement spread our ideas far and wide. The enthusiasm and passion in the eyes of the people who use our software, and who love it for the price, but also for the freedom and community, makes all those evenings and nights spent in front of a screen feel worth it.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams, Eleanor Roosevelt once said. And so I give you the first GNOME Foundation annual report — the first of many. I invite you to join us in sharing the burden of our difficulties, and in celebrating our many successes. Let the future be ours, because our dreams are beautiful.

Dave Neary
GNOME Foundation, Chair

The future of GNOME?

gnome, maemo 16 Comments

A few days ago, I was asked for an interview what I thought the future of GNOME held – in the context of the recent LUGRadio episode (where GNOME’s lack of direction and leadership was cited as a major reason why we’re not making any revolutionary change to the desktop) I thought it was relevant and worth wider distribution.

We will see is one of two things happen – either GNOME will grow beyond what it is currently, and develop a number of different façades which will become GNOME releases (such as OLPC GNOME, LinEx GNOME, Enterprise GNOME, Home & Small Office GNOME, etc) or we will end up shrinking to something smaller than we currently are – the most important GNOME product will be the platform, which will then be re-used by third parties to build the interfaces they’re interested in on top of it.

We have already started to see this trend – distributors cherry-pick the applications they are interested in for their own desktop projects, which are then themed and targetted for their core audience. The variety of platforms and human interfaces being built upon the GNOME platform is dazzling – these go from small form-factor interfaces like the Nokia N800 and the Maemo application framework and OpenMoko and GPE through to innovative interfaces like Sugar from OLPC, which is totally unfamiliar to someone used to the GNOME desktop, but which is undeniably GNOME based. Even the major distributions have modified the GNOME interface to suit their needs – the OpenSuse, Red Hat Enterprise and Ubuntu desktops all behave in different ways, and have different target audiences.

Clearly, when you see groups like ACCESS, Nokia, OLPC, Sun, Novell, Red Hat and pretty much every other software producer and distributor in the free software market opening up their own internal sources, their preference is clear – they want to encourage common spaces of collaboration, and concentrate only on differentiation.

The project has the choice of embracing this trend, and becoming a place where this kind of targetted development happens in a co-ordinated (free software) way, or letting the trend pass us by, and have each distributor in the market have their own specialised interface, or search for collaboration elsewhere, and simply use the GNOME platform as just another building block.

GNOME user groups around the world

gnome, marketing 3 Comments

I used one of those sites that generates a world map from country lists to see what amount of the world was covered by GNOME User Groups:

I know of a few smaller groups (like in Seattle, although I don’t know if Lion has actually done anything with that) and there are certainly countries represented by GNOME Hispano and gnome-fr which I haven’t put in there – I’ve tried to limit myself to countries where I know that there are GNOME User Group members.

There are some surprising absences from the list – the US, for a start.

It seems like US-based GNOMErs think of the foundation as their GNOME User Group. This year, there are exactly 0 US residents on the board, and only one North American (who’s actually an Iranian). So don’t let that myth take hold.

We need local volunteers like Eitan and Brad to man stands and spread GNOME Love thick in conferences like LinuxWorld Solutions, EclipseCon (kudos to Billy Biggs and Ben Konrath for taking this on), OLS, SCALE, the Desktop Linux Summit (which probably isn’t going to happen this year) and OSCon, as well as a decent contingent of people representing us at things like DDC, desktop architects & FSG meetings.

I would love to see an initiative to create a GNOME US Users Group, or even state-wide GNOME User Groups (or even US LUGs who let us know they were fans of GNOME).

This echoes what Jono Bacon mentioned about the Ubuntu community – up until a few months ago, there were no grass-roots Ubuntu advocacy groups in the US. Anyone have any ideas why that might be?

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.

Jono’s quest

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It looks like Jono made the mistake of aiming too low…

After reaching his target of £1000 in under 5 days, that total has barely moved in the last week.

Unless you want me to be completely wrong in my suggestion that he would blast through that target, Jono needs to raise another £1000 at least for comic relief – so if you haven’t done so yet make a donation.

July is conference season

General 2 Comments

Gerv: Was that someone me?

The conference trail I had in mind was:

  • 27 June – 30 June: OLS (Ottawa, Canada)
  • 29 June – 7 July: Akademy (Glasgow, UK)
  • 7 – 8 July: LUGRadio Live! (Wolverhampton, UK)
  • 10 – 14 July: LSM, (Amiens, France)
  • 15 – 21 July: GUADEC (Birmingham, UK)
  • 23 – 24 July: Ubuntu Live (Portland, OR, USA)
  • 23 – 27 July: OSCON (Portland, OR, USA)

And for good measure, you also have: <snip> the COPU Summit in China, 27 – 28 June, Gartner Open Source Summit, 19 – 20 July, Rome, and UTOS, 2 – 4 September, Utah.

Oh – and toto is arriving around the 15th ;)

Update: A couple of events removed – thanks to corrections from hub and colmacc. This calendar needs updating. And DDC will not coincide with OLS this year, since it would be just before both the major free desktop conferences.