An Electronic Tower of Babel: “Still, companies in the past few years
have focused more on adding performance and features than on making products
that are easy to use and play well with other machines.”
It always pleases
me that GNOME is doing The Right Thing here.

Pounding
the nail on the head
, CSIRO’s mathematical and information sciences
division uses Debian, GNOME, R and Python for their data mining research and
applications. They’ve shipped it to the Health Insurance Commission, the
NRMA and the Department of Health and Ageing. Rocking.

Much of the first part of today (which has been a very long ‘today’) spent
hacking on release strategy proposal, web planning documents and
library.gnome.org. It’s going to rock way hard when these planets align. I
was really hoping to get the release strategy stuff out of the way today,
but it’s kinda laborious. Cool, but pushing lots of intellectual mess in my
head into understandable (and, well, convincing) prose is hard work. Same
stuff with the web docs, but they’re mostly point form with discusson bits
in between. Actual proper hacking on l.g.o and Planet have been head-restful
which is pretty disturbing. Will be taking a break on Sunday and Monday
(grooving to the tunes/noise/ambience at K’s audio-conf) to get
the release doc out, then hammering out the web stuff as soon as I get back.
That’ll be arduous, but fulfilling. Meanwhile, a pretty front page is up,
and Aaron is getting his head around the current state of things. Ready
to rock.

Very saddened to hear of
another loss
in the GNOME community: Mark Finlay was young, eager,
furiously energetic and just heading into university – where I’m sure he
would have blossomed into a great GNOME and Free Software hacker. I chatted
with Mark a lot during his time with GNOME, helping him grok how GNOME
worked, where cool things were happening, and how to get more involved. I
had no idea he was unwell until an off-hand comment in his diary a couple of
months ago – at first, I couldn’t believe him because he was always so
active, pumped up and ready to rock… I dearly wanted to see where he’d be
in a few years.

My condolences to Mark’s family and friends, I hope they know that Mark will
be greatly missed by his world-wide gang of ‘funny computer friends’. Rest
easy, Mark.

I’ve always wondered what things would be like in 50 years, when our GNOME
friends would be leaving us regularly… But I fear that there are too many
friendly footprints in heaven already.

Love each other, and make sure your friends know you care.

Had a good day today with arch and all this Planet hacking. First off, I had
to merge Scott’s changes into my tree. I had made a few touch-ups here and
there, so Scott’s changes were based on a slightly older revision. Merged
without a hitch, despite some dunderheaded mistakes on my part. I was going
to make sure it worked on Python 2.1, so I worked on a different machine by
pulling the archive over, and merging changes back. Then I decided that
making it work on Python 2.1 was dunderheaded too, so I reversed the stupid
changes and started hacking on the interesting stuff. Tonight, I’m going to
pull my GARNOME and Planet trees off onto my iBook so I can hack on them
this week while I’m at linux.conf.au.

So, while arch can sometimes be inscrutable and petulant, and has a definite
learning curve for the average Free Software CVS refugee, it’s working for
me, and I’m going to keep working with it. Will arch be in GNOME’s future? I
think there are some pretty compelling reasons to try; but it will need more
support for visualisation and code browsing/searching tools (like LXR,
Bonsai) to really sell it.

As Edd would say: Sticking with arch.

Planets in Alignment

Some crazy progress on Planet. Thanks to Scott’s excellent work ridding us
of old horrors, I’ve managed to build multiple output support in record
time. Planet GNOME now supports RSS 2.0 and RSS 1.0 feeds of its
aggregation, and further output formats are just a template away. In the
next half hour, it will provide its blogroll as OPML (which is the world’s
worst XML, but we’re stuck with it) and probably as RDF/FOAF too.

Meanwhile, Zach is experimenting with Planet Lisp. Rock and roll is
where I hide.

spiv points out some Penny
Arcade prescience
of Planet Proliferation. Hell yeah! Scott just sent a
lengthy email describing his massive rewrite of Planet. It is now truly an
awesome aggregator, with none of the old pyblaggisms. He has totally
kicked its arse. I’m going to work on python2.1 compatibility, RDF/FOAF/OPML
output, and then port the desktop aggregator stuff I’ve been working on to
it. Sang choi bao!

I just fixed a breathtakingly bad off-by-one error in the Planet code. You
don’t have to go fossicking for certain entries anymore (such as Dave’s,
John’s, Evo’s, Ximian Desktop’s… all the MoveableType blogs, though it’s
not MT’s fault). This is a deeply pleasing fix, and it has brought warmth to
Dave’s black, black heart.