Sweet Planet Action

Lots of cool stuff going on in Planet land at the moment.

  • Mary Gardiner sat down with Rob Collins to add some much needed unit testing love to Planet, and is looking into a bit of sanity-inducing refactoring and optimisation as well.
  • Sam Ruby has massively improved Planet’s Atom support, to the point that it is no longer a faltering wreck! I’ve merged all of his changes into the trunk. I’m seriously considering merging these into the 1.0 branch for its terribly belated release. He’s also done some cool template hacking for his own Planet Intertwingly. Thanks Sam!
  • Phil Wilson is hacking on an XMPP-enabled desktop aggregator based on Planet and other cool Python bits. I’ve often desired the time to hack up a desktop aggregator based on Planet, Twisted and PyGTK+… Perhaps Phil’s work could be adapted to multiple GUI frontends and integrated into the main tree?

Rock on, Planeteers!

WoTD: czechnology

czechnology: Using any means necessary to achieve a technology goal, often by employing ‘hackerly’ methods.

“After not getting any specific date from a local SONY Service and the need to ship the PSP to Prague, I decided to order the drive and apply czechnology.”Jakub Steiner (who credits a neighbour with its coinage)

Public Domain Jazz?

Dear LazyWeb,

I write this blog entry in order to have your advice! Anyone know good sources of cool or quirky Jazz music that has entered the public domain (or old stuff released under very liberal open content licenses)?

Thanks, swingstars!

QoTD: Bart Simpson, Stephen O’Grady

“Let me get this straight. We’re behind the rest of our class and we’re going to catch up to them by going slower than they are?” — Bart Simpson

“[That] is a point that could use some amplification within many of the would-be disruptors out there. Implicit in that statement is the guerilla realization that playing by the rules – in some contexts anyway – [is] a likely path to failure.” — Stephen O’Grady, Bart Simpson and Sun Tzu on Technology Strategy


On Sunday, Pia and I celebrated our first anniversary in the tradition we set during the years before we wed — a cool, windy ferry to Manly, a contemplative wander to Shelly Beach, and a scrumptious dinner at Le Kiosk. We were much happier with the food this year, particularly the pumpkin gnocchi, kingfish sashimi (we stared at it for a few moments before realising that we could pick it up with a fork) and lavender ice cream. To think — we were almost going to break with tradition and go somewhere else!

On Wednesday, Pia celebrated my birthday by making beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes for dinner. Being a vegetarian, she ate fake plastic bangers and mash. Heresy! She gave me a mighty-fucking-huge-lump-of-granite mortar and pestle. It mashes, it squishes, and makes pesto in three different ways! The Ubuntu team didn’t give me a final release to play with (as planned six months ago), but managed to push out a beta instead. It’s the thought that counts, right? :-)


So, the Dapper Drake Beta is out, which marks the first real use of its formal name: Ubuntu 6.06 LTS. The LTS distinguishes our Long Term Support releases from the fast-paced, action-packed, high-energy, six-month time-based releases (with an 18 month support period) we’ve seen so far.

But LTS is just begging for some alternative acronym action…

  • Luxury Theatre Seats
  • Leather Trumps Silk
  • Long Tall Sally
  • Lingering Table Sausage
  • Lunch Time Seminar
  • Leaning Toothpick Syndrome
  • Laser Tracking System (we have one of these on GNOME’s Orbital Laser Platform!)

Add your suggestions in the comments! :-)

QoTD: Tim O’Reilly

“Linux books have lost a lot of their steam, with the category as a whole off 10%, with books on Red Hat hit particularly hard, off 52%. Other distributions, notably Ubuntu and Knoppix, have seen an increase of 37% over the preceding year. As I’ve previously observed, the decline in Red Hat book sales began when they split off Fedora from their main line development, and they have never recovered.” — Tim O’Reilly, State of the Computer Book Market, Part 2

On Heat

Matthew Mullenweg of WordPress fame mentioned CrazyEgg, a web service that can tell you which links people are clicking on your website. The best bit is the cute ‘click heatmap’ image:

WordPress.com Heatmap

Imagine a similar tool for GNOME: We could aggregate click (and mouseover!) data from users and display it on our own systems — not with images, but by highlighting running applications! Doing it for the desktop shell (panel, applets, nautilus) would be somewhat more challenging, given that everything can move around so much. Perhaps the panel could provide a small amount of layout and configuration data to help with visualisation.

The usefulness of raw data such as this is debatable, but gee it’s handy when you’ve got it.