links for 2008-01-28

General Comments Off on links for 2008-01-28

links for 2008-01-17

General Comments Off on links for 2008-01-17

MySQL acquisition by Sun

General 5 Comments

First, congratulations to Sun and MySQL on this surprising marriage! I hope that you live happily ever after.

One comment – I’ve been reading some of the press and interviews around the takeover news – you know the kind of thing, “What does this mean for MySQL?” There’s a lot of “we’re delighted, this will allow MySQL to continue to grow, synergy, reinforce our enterprise offering, etc, etc”.

One thing I’m missing is the joyous bouncing around of the founders & shareholders saying “Yippee! We’re rich! We’re rich! Filthy stinking rich!” Or maybe it would be just me…

But then, they’re not really, compared to the YouTube guys, or the Facebook guy… they’ve only spent 15 years building up a business for a $1bn valuation, compared to working 18 months on a web-app for a $6bn valuation…

Next up…

freesoftware, work 4 Comments

Following on from my previous post, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what comes next professionally for me.

For the first time since I arrived in France, I have no full-time job. But this time, I know the lay of the land, I have 5 years experience extra, in varying roles (including the GNOME Foundation). I have never felt so free to explore projects that I want to work on, and think of different ways to make a living.

One thing is for sure… I don’t see myself going back to being an employee straight away. I would need to get a hell of an offer to consider it. Now that I have the freedom to work on the projects I feel are worth it, I will not be giving it up lightly.

First things first, the low-hanging fruit. Through Wengo, I have been in discussions with lots of people in VoIP, and I will continue to do work related to OpenWengo – in particular, I will be working with companies who can deliver customisation services and support on the WengoPhone getting them clients. Through the ground-work which I have been doing over the past year, I believe that there is a demand there which will not be drying up any time soon.

Following on from my cat-herding experience on the GIMP, and with OpenWengo, I will also be available for product management and project management on projects I believe in.

Finally, I will be Yet Another Free Software Community Consultant – following in the trail blazed by some of the stars of our community. Through long involvement in the free software world, and intimate knowledge of the dynamics of free software non-profits, I believe I can help companies interested in free software get the best for their investment dollars. You want to know how to have salaried employees work well with volunteers? You are sponsoring a project and wondering why you haven’t seen a snowball effect of patches yet? You’re wondering what governance model is appropriate for your pet project? You have a project you’d like to financially support, but you’re not sure how to do so effectively? I can help.

Beyond that, one thing I am sure of: the thing which drew me to free software is the “worth” of it. What we do is important. Not just a way to spend time, like a community drama society, or something where your work benefits only yourself, like running a marathon. What we do changes the world. At a first level, we change people’s expectations of software. We wipe out the assumptions people have about software production and distribution. We change the way programs get built.

But at another level, we allow people access to technology which they’ve never had before. We provide millions of lines of real-world code, helping to create a generation of software engineers better prepared for the world than ever before, and idealists to boot. We are helping bridge the digital divide.

After spending so much time on something so important, I will not be going back to work on any project where the only thing I get out of it is my paycheque, as important as that is. I have lots of thoughts rolling around in my head, but that sweet-spot where my skills, passions and desires meld into a clear idea has been evading me. I really don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m loooking forward to thinking about it.

Facebook spam

General 7 Comments

Twice this morning…

OMG this is amazing…. ever wanted to know who looks at your profile the most? to find out all you have to do is re post this to everyone on your friends list then press alt+f4 together then it should re-direct you to a status screen where it shows

For those who don’t know what Alt-F4 does, don’t do it. I think this has clinched it – the Funwall has to go, and it’s another nail in Facebook’s coffin.

Breaking my silence

freesoftware, openwengo, wengo, work 10 Comments

For the past few weeks (actually, the past couple of months) I’ve been holding my tongue waiting for things to clear up a bit in relation to work. I now have a pretty good idea of where I’m at, and so the time has come to break silence and reveal all.

Along with a number of my ex-colleagues, I was laid off by Wengo last November. Recently, that was noticed by a journalist who follows the OpenWengo project and got announced on the community mailing list.

At the time of the lay-off, a number of us had planned to take over maintainership of the project, move the hosting somewhere else, redo a web-site, and create a company around the project (with the business model of providing customisation services and support). Unfortunately, for a number of reasons I won’t go into, after 5 weeks of work on the new company, that fell through. And so, at the beginning of last month, I started looking around for an alternative solution that I could announce to the OpenWengo community, and to companies building offerings on top of the software.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing explicit I can say yet – the people concerned are still in discussions – but it’s looking like the OpenWengo project will not remain without a maintainer for long. As well as a lot of interest from a number of different companies, there are a number of people in the community who have proposed to pull in the slack, if needs be. That is the great thing about free software – AbiWord didn’t die with Abisource, Mozilla didn’t die with AOL’s withdrawl, and OpenWengo will survive without Wengo.

And so what about me? Well, I still plan to be involved in OpenWengo, in some way. I’m waiting, in some sense, for the battle lines to be redrawn and for procedural questions to be worked out, but I am still interested in working with companies who want OpenWengo customisations, and I plan on helping the project towards its next stable release (2.2) and beyond, on helping the community overcome the tricky step of whether or not to move to the new data model and engine CoIP Manager.

Aside from that, I now have to make a living somehow. And I’ll tell you more about that in a little while.

Clinton ’08 = Muskie ’72?

General 5 Comments

History is repeating itself: Democratic candidates leading early polls have had a history of blowing up in the primaries – Dean in ’04, Gary Hart in ’88, Ted Kennedy, then Ed Muskie in ’72 (coincidentally, the Dolphins were undefeated that season, like the Patriots this year).

Hillary is heading towards being one more in a long line of early front runners, burning bright and then fading away at the polling booth.

Update: Sen. Clinton just won New Hampshire 39-37 (vs Sen. Obama), upsetting all the pollsters. I haven’t looked at the poll breakdown yet, but I heard that Hillary won conclusively with women (the tears worked?) and I wonder if many independents, considering the dem race was done & dusted, chose to vote in the republican primary instead? In any case, it’s a little early for me to eat my words… Muskie also won New Hampshire in ’72.

Buying running shoes

General, running 1 Comment

J5 had a good experience buying runners which has prompted me to pimp my own favourite running store with the story of how I bought my last pair.

I arrived in Spode after having a relatively bad experience buying runners that weren’t suitable for my feet & gait. They sponsor lots of the local races around Lyon, so I knew that they were well suited to suggest shoes for running.

On arrival, I was taken in, was asked to show my old shoes, which were examined closely, and then a couple of pairs were produced.

What happened next was the big surprise for me. The shop assistant asked me if I’d brought socks. Bemused, I said that I hadn’t, and he offered me a pair. I thanked him and said that I had running socks at home.

“You don’t want to try them out?” he asked. And suddenly I understood. Putting them on in the shop and walking around just wasn’t going to give me an idea of what it was like to run in them. So I put on a loaner pair of socks, and headed off out of the store with the new runners on my feet for a 5 minute run. Repeat with the second pair. Both excellent choices, I went with the Vomero 2 from Nike, which had excellent ankle support and really great spring in its step.

So like John, great service, expertise and products, with a surprising touch, means that I’ll be getting sports shoes there until I can’t run any more – and I’ve been telling everyone about the store that lets you test drive your runners ever since.