I’m now in my second full day of being homeless. Yep, the movers came and packed all our stuff away, and we don’t sign on the new place in Albuquerque until next Monday. We’re using the time inbetween to drive our families crazy and make them be happy that we’re leaving. 😉

So I’ll be offline or only briefly online for a couple weeks. Hopefully no critical Metacity bugs are uncovered between now and then (oh, and distributors should feel free to ping seb128 for IRC conversation logs regarding bug 433253 if need be).

Life changes

i finaly done gradeeated! Ain’t no one can say im an uneducated fool. They have to drop the adjective now. 😉 It’s time for me to bid a fond farewell (good riddance!) to graduate school.

In about a month, I’ll be moving to a magical, far away place where the sun is always shining and the air smells like warm root beer and the towels are oh so fluffy to start a new job. The job search took longer than I expected, but I ended up being really lucky. I had four favorites from among the list, and I hit a jackpot: got offers from three places, all from among those top four. I had a hard time choosing between them, knew that I’d be second guessing myself regardless of which one I picked, but ended up picking the postdoc position at Sandia National Laboratory last month (despite being a temporary position–maximum 6 years). I’ll be in the Thermal/Fluid Computational Engineering Sciences Department. It’s time for an exciting adventure!

I guess this means I’ll have to be removed from the Utah Open Source Planet, but GNOMErs should definitely expect to see me remain involved in GNOME. I’m sure the new job and home ownership will have some affect on how much I can be involved. I don’t know how much yet, but I do know that I’ll still be around. I’ll play it by ear and resign from some of my responsibilities when/if needed.

Reminder: The stable branch is still frozen

…and will be for the rest of forever. The hard code freeze is lifted with the .0 release, but API/ABI, feature, UI, and string freezes remain in effect.

It appears we (the release-team) have failed to communicate that any API/ABI, feature, UI, or string change or addition for the stable branch needs to be approved. I’ve been surprised multiple times in the past (most recently today) that there are developers who do not know that most freezes remain in effect after the .0 release goes out the door. This includes some pretty core hackers. Does anyone have suggestions on how we can make sure to get the word out better? (We’ve mentioned this fact on the 2.17 schedule next to the 2.18.0 release, on the new live.gnome.org/Schedule (which in general is the fastest way to get a reminder of which freezes are active during any cycle), and we have sent reminders in the past to devel-announce-list.)

Timing is everything…and my timing sucks

A bunch of flamewars appear to have cropped up in some mailing lists, and have spilled over into Planet GNOME and Slashdot. Sadly, it was a flamewar that already ended about a year ago before some random troll decided to reignite it. A good thing did come out of it in that Linus provided a bunch of patches that appear to have some needed code cleanups (thanks Linus!). Sadly, however, I’ve been utterly buried between job searching and trying to finish up a paper I’ve been working on, and haven’t even had the couple days I needed to finish up my dissertation.

I spent the last several hours trying to catch up on email, or at least the important ones, but I haven’t even finished that, let alone had time to review patches…from Linus or anyone else since last September. 🙁

I wonder if people are beginning to disbelieve my claims that I really will get more time at some point to catch up and take care of these things. I really do think I’ll be able to start on the process of catching up before too long (maybe after 2.18 is out?). But the timing of this latest episode isn’t so great.


New web page to help notify and remind people of various major GNOME
events: http://live.gnome.org/Schedule

Reasons for its existence:

  • Vincent pointed out that others apparently had a hard time remembering which freezes were active and the full release schedule apparently takes too long to parse for that information.
  • I often know events are coming up, but can never remember their official webpage (e.g. live.gnome.org/Boston2006, www.guadec.org, foundation.gnome.org/elections/).

Watching Vincent Rock

Vincent is one of my heroes. If he sees something that isn’t being handled that’s important in GNOME, he tries to find someone to do it. If he can’t find anyone, he picks up the responsibility himself. He’s basically handled all the release stuff for the last month, including the 2.16.2 and 2.17.2 releases. Vincent, you rock.

Oh, and sorry to everyone that I haven’t responded to in various communication. I haven’t even yet had time to read the subject lines of all my emails, let alone actual contents or composing actual responses (even if I responded to a prior emails in the same thread…). I’m basically still out-of-action for the rest of this month. Anyway, I’ve only had 4 hours of sleep in the last 2 days or so, so it’s time for me to go crash…

Update: Thanks Dave; indeed it let me set titles again after I reset my password

How bad were GNOME’s CVS build problems during 2.16.x?

GNOME CVS is supposed to be buildable and dogfoodable at all times. Those who were watching during the last release probably noticed that it was rarely true during that cycle. Lots of people pointed it out, and I argued a number of times that the problems were driving away potential contributors and cutting too much into developer time. I was surprised today to find that I didn’t quite have it right. It didn’t just cut into developer time, there was at least one case where module maintainers were prevented from working on their module! That sucks.

I hope that the new external dependencies handling fixes much of this. I wish I had more time to push things in this area to improve things further, but I’m handling all I can with various release-team tasks right now (also, sorry Carlo for not getting to your metacity patches yet…). I’m glad we have Frederic Peters around kicking butt by constantly monitoring for build problems and filing bugs and alerting people when issues come up. The Build Brigade also excites me; some great work has been done and if they can accomplish even a fraction of the listed tasks then things will improve a lot.

Some heroes in GNOME

GNOME has a lot of insufficiently praised heroes. There are far too many to name individually, which usually means that I don’t name any of them at all. But I thought I’d try to fix that a little bit and just mention a few with recent examples of their heroics:

  • Vincent and Kjartan. Both of them as well as I mentioned that we might be able to help with the GNOME 2.17.1 release but all of us had some tough time constraints; them more than me. No one committed firmly. So, all three of us felt responsible. Sadly, it meant that all three of us basically did 95% of the work of the release, duplicating a lot of effort before realizing that we had all done it separately. I happened to finish first and did the announcement, but they did as much work. While it’s kind of sad to see the unnecessary duplication, it’s inspiring seeing others make sacrifices for the community.
  • Joseph and Karsten (who need blogs). GARNOME really doesn’t get the press it deserves. These guys are filling a vital role and know the status of current tarball releases well enough that we in the release team tend to lean on them heavily.
  • Karsten (who still needs a blog) and Andre (who also needs a blog). Have you seen bugzilla in the last month or so? The rockingly new easy-to-use bug-buddy (thanks Fer and Olav!) has meant a skyrocket in number of bugs reported — nearly triple what we used to get not so long ago. That’s great in some ways, but also means tons of new work. These two have been keeping things sane.
  • Olav. GNOME Bugzilla rocks (especially in contrast to the current upstream version). Ultrazilla will continue that tradition. And upstream Bugzilla is going to benefit because of Olav’s heavy efforts to port our stuff upstream (an area that I have sadly neglected and have had difficulty finding time to do otherwise).