28 Aug 2000

Ryan: Nooo! Don’t quit posting to your journal just because you got a complaint… Your quirky diary entries make me giggle, and I don’t often giggle. :) Baby Got Back was a favourite song of mine. You know how songs can remind you of people? Well, that one reminds me of my first high-school romance. Not healthy at all, huh?

Skud: Thank you for saying the word ‘mentorship’ again. For some reason, the word keeps coming up at the moment, both in chats about development and general life. There’s a bit of mentorship missing in both, methinks. I’m sure we can come up with a way of promoting mentorship in the FS/OS community – the more conversation in the mean time, the better.

Raph: Person tags! Thou art groovy.

ralsina: Before you read Xenocide, I hope you’ve read Ender’s Game and perhaps Speaker for the DeadEnder’s Game is one of my truly favourite books. Soon enough it will be petrified on celluloid (or matter near enough) – shall it survive?

The SLUG Installfest went very well. Not so many Debian installs (until the end, when the gurus hung around), but heaps of Helix GNOME. Heaps. It was fun to watch the reactions…

“Wow, what’s that?!?”
“That’s Helix GNOME”
“It looks so… scrumptious.”
“That’s tigert’s fault.”
“Whose?”
“tige- this Finnish guy who likes flowers.”
“Mmm. I can tell. Can I have it?”

Organisation for linux.conf.au continues apace. Within three minutes of my posting the recent press release, Jonathan Corbet of LWN managed to get back to me and have an entry on the daily updates page. The man isn’t human.

Ever more websites and no “proper” hacking. I must get over this, “If it appears on the INTERWEB it’s not real hacking” problem. I guess I’m just cynical and jaded. “Will this feature make me money?” “Will this upgrade cost nothing?”

Voluntary stuff is all that keeps me sane at the moment. Funnily enough, that’s starting to affect my lifestyle. ;)

22 Aug 2000

People

Had good discussions with Telsa, Raph and many of the #gnome gang about the GNOME community’s acceptance of new users and contributors. It’s a discussion that really applies across the entire Free Software community, and will become more important as more people become involved.

Telsa mentioned (quite rightly) in her diary that the outer world ignored Miguel’s reiteration of Free Software (GNOME in particular) being about people. A number of the hackers present at LWE have commented that so many people “just didn’t get it”.

One thing I’d like to see in the computer industry (but believe it can only start here, in our community) is mentorship. No more newbies – apprentices. No more ‘teasing’ – guidance. No more ‘ownership’ – delegation. No more manhandling – leadership. Yes, I’m using strong words to make these comparisons. That’s what the outside world feels like, and we certainly don’t want to find ourselves in the same rut.

Back to mentorship. Why do we have 57 IRC clients? Why 57 ppp dialers (apologies :) to glenn)? Often enough it’s the dreaded NIH Syndrome, but another cause is people not knowing how they can contribute. Who do they speak to? One of the delights of participating in Free Software is it’s (virtual) face-to-face nature. Simple things like submitting bug reports. I submitted a bug report for a Debian package the other week and got a personal thank you, a solution and guarantee it would be in the next package revision. A couple of days ago, I submitted a bug report to Helix Code regarding an installation issue – Miguel (who was supposed to be on holidays!) answered it. In both cases, I felt involved and welcome.

If there’s a kind of ‘marketing’ that matters in Free Software, it’s this. Welcome people. Involve them. Inspire them. Remember what a klutz you were when you started out, and the person who gave you the warmest welcome. Flame begets flame, but “being kind” is the ultimate network effect. :)

I sat in on Raph’s typing of the GNOME Press Conference. I had to type a bit of it whilst he took a phonecall. There is a remarkable difference in quality (and if you were there, speed)! I put up a log on the SLUG website, which took a few hits after being announced on LWN. Cripes Jonathan is fast on the newsfeed.

Hacking

Dammit! All I get to hack these days is websites! ;) Almost.

Lots of things going on with linux.conf.au which is going to rock very hard. When I was asked to join the committee, I feared that noone would want to come to Australia… I was so wrong. It seems everyone has a happy little memory! For instance, Dave Miller actually specified that for him to come, someone had to take him to Soup Plus. What a laugh – I used to go there all the time as a teenager. It’s a cool little jazz club that serves, well, soup. I can’t wait for January.

I’ve been reading all I can about Glade and libglade, with a leaning to Python. There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there to be read (most in .py files, but who am I to argue?) Turns out James Henstridge is jamesh, both here and on #gnome, and happens to be an Australian. One of the strange Western variety, but Australian nonetheless. This is pleasing. :) So is libglade. What an excessively good tool.