links for 2008-02-28

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LinkedIn GNOME group goes over 100 members in 9 hours!

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I’m always amazed at the network effect of free software communities – the LinkedIn GNOME group which I talked about 9 hours ago now has 107 members and growing as the time zones move westward. Update: A few hours later, roughly 12 hours after mentioning the group, we’re now at 143 members.

Colour me impressed!

Presenting GUADEC keynotes

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To the surprise of everyone involved in the GNOME project, GUADEC 2008 has been announced, and will be held in AnkaraIstanbul (just kidding).

OK – so this isn’t a surprise to anyone. GUADEC this year will be great, I’m sure, and we’ll all have our fill of Turkish Delight this summer. I for one am looking forward to it.

Some of the things I’m most looking forward to are the keynotes which I have been organising this year. For the moment, we have decided to limit the number of keynotes to 3 invitees – we will add one or two community keynotes, based on what happens in the project between now and the end of March, these will likely be papers submitted through the Call for Papers which will be “promoted” to keynotes by the program committee.

This years keynotes are a varied bunch, and I’m very happy with them.

Leisa Reichelt is a renowned user interface designer whose name is pronounced as “Lisa”, and who comes highly recommended. Some of her past presentations are available online, including this presentation which she gave at the IA Summit 2007, or this one from BarCamp London, or this one from te Future of Web Apps talking about “ambient intimacy, the idea that what we really get from social networks is the impression that we’re close to friends & family whenever we want to be, regardless of distance & time constraints.

Eric Sink is the author of a blog I’ve been reading for a long time – particularly for his articles on “business for geeks”, which talks about stuff as varied as accounting, marketing, sales, fixing prices, … It’s a lot like Joel Spolsky’s blog without the overwhelming sense of self-importance. He also happens to be a founder of AbiSource, the company which funded and wrote the initial versions of AbiWord, before going out of business. He’s going to give a presentation on the business of software, with particular emphasis on free software, and the challenges of finding a business model that will allow people to make money on free software.

Matt Webb, co-author of “Mind Hacks” and consultant in product design and R&D with Schultze & Webb has been described to me as “inspiring and devastatingly smart and just wonderful” – that’s a lot to live up to. He’s promised to speak on interaction design, the future of technology and software, and generally to be entertaining.

So here’s looking forward to seeing you all on the banks of the Bosphorus from the 7th to the 12th of July!

New LinkedIn GNOME group

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A while back I created a GNOME group in LinkedIn (still one of the few social networking sites I find useful).

LinkedIn Groups let you see the profiles of other people in more detail, even if you don’t know them personally, because of the shared affiliation. For that reason, they are moderated, but I will be quick approving group requests.

Those who would like to join the group can join here.

links for 2008-02-27

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links for 2008-02-26

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Back from China

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Great Wall of China at Badaling

Last week I was in China for the first Linux Foundation/COPU China Developers Symposium. I met a bunch of people for the first time, including Jonathan Corbet, Matt Keenan and Andrew Morton from the kernel, Fred Muller, Ollo, Pokey, Anthony and all the others from the Beijing LUG (thanks for the welcome guys!), and Angela Brown from the Linux Foundation.

I also got a chance to catch up with some people I had met before including Jim Zemlin and Bill Weinberg, both of whom had very encouraging things to say about GNOME in mobile platforms. In fact, I will be organising a meeting of GNOME Mobile at the upcoming Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in Austin, Texas in April.

After the conference, Angela organised a tourist trip for a gang of us to climb the Great Wall at Badaling and visit the Forbidden City and Tianemen Square on Thursday, which was great fun. Although after the field trip which we had with the BLUG gang after dinner on Wednesday evening I don’t think either myself or herself were in the greatest of form.

Cool Chinese dude

I gave a presentation entitled “2008, year of…” where I poked fun at the annual articles we get at the beginning of the year claiming that “this year will be the year of Linux on the desktop”, and yet…

Every year, we have seen significant gaps being filled – in the early ’90s, it was application gaps, like Evolution, Mozilla, OpenOffice, Eclipse. There was the advent of successful funding runs for free software-based companies like Ximian.

Then it was corporate support. RedHat, Sun and Novell threw their weigh behind free software and bet on GNOME. Ubuntu making a distribution designed and tailored for a mass market), and increasingly momentum from ISVs who now target the free software desktop. Most recently, IBM releasing a beautifully integrated Lotus Notes comes to mind, previous examples of major ISVs targeting Linux include VMWare and Adobe.

We have seen the importance of standards and data take center stage with the standardisation of ODF, and the move by a number of governments to insist that all public data be stored in open formats – resulting in the (flawed) standardisation process of OOXML being launched by Microsoft.

In addition, we have seen new paths to market open up for Linux based PCs – WalMart selling Everex PCs, OEMs finally offering Linux based desktops, and Dell, Lenovo, HP shipping laptops with a free software OS pre-installed.

We have also seen considerable momentum in GNOME-based UIs outside of desktop computing – hand-helds from Nokia, phones from OpenMoko, lab measurement devices from Vernier, set-top-box applications, and of course OLPC and the Eee PC.

A private tea-house for the Emperor

And through it all, a healthy peppering of massive institutional deployments – Extremadura and Andalucia, the Korean government, the French gendarmerie, Sao Paolo’s telecentros project, PSA in France, and on and on.

And so, as I look back over the decade which saw Linux have its first Superbowl ad, I wonder at how far we’ve come, and I believe I can say without being ridiculous that the ’00s has in some sense been the decade of Linux on the desktop.

We have not yet made a breakthrough in market share, but we have momentum in every sector – the quality of our platform, the number of ISDs developing applications for GNOME, the number of organisations investing cold hard cash in using, developing and deploying our work, the size of our user-base. I am enormously hopeful that we will continue to make progress in the coming years.

links for 2008-02-25

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How to use OpenID?

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It appers I already have an OpenID or two, having Yahoo (for flickr) and AOL (for AIM) accounts.

The only problem is that I have not seen an easy explanation of how to actually go about logging in.

I have a URL, which I can put into the OpenID field, but what do I put in the email and password fields, if anything? For AOL and Yahoo, for example, how do I find out what’s expected?

This may be a stupid question, but it’s the kind of magic step that I often notice is missing in explanations of new stuff, because it’s “obvious”. It might be obvious to others, but not to me.

New GNOME t-shirt on HackerThreads

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HackerThreads has sold t-shirts for as long as I’ve been around the project (since at least 2000, I think). But the design hasn’t changed since then, in spite of updates to the logo, font for the text and so on.

Thanks to Lucas Rocha, there is now a snazzy new t-shirt up on the site – and with any luck, we’ll be able to add some other designs in the near future.

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