Categories: Software Many of you will know that I've been following the progress of the Firefox 3.0 browser carefully over the past few months. via ZDNet
Hosted branches are those where Launchpad is the primary public location of the branch. Hosted branches are normally created by pushing a branch directly to Launchpad. Before you do that though, you need to have registered on Launchpad, and supplied an SSH key. This is how Launchpad knows who you are. There are two ways you can push a branch to Launchpad: one is via SFTP; and the other using the Bazaar smart server (bzr+ssh).
As an example I'm going to use my alias-command bzr branch. The complete SFTP location would be sftp://firstname.lastname@example.org/~thumper/bzr/alias-command, and the smart server one bzr+ssh://email@example.com/~thumper/bzr/alias-command. These are a bit unwieldy, so we extended the lp type urls for bzr to support writing if the launchpad plug-in knows who you are. In order for you to do this you use the lp-login command. bzr lp-login will tell you the username that is currently set. If you have not done this yet, you'll see a message like "No Launchpad user ID configured." I set mine by saying bzr lp-login thumper. This stores thumper as the launchpad_username in the bazaar.conf file. This also means I can use bzr push lp:~thumper/bzr/alias-command to push to my hosted Launchpad branch.
Mirrored branches allow you to have your branches stored publicly in some location that you control, and you let Launchpad know where this is. Launchpad will then update its copy of your branch every six hours. This is handy if you don't have an SSH key, or you have a slow network connection, or you just like having your branches available on your own server.
Remote branches are a bit different. Remote branches were sort of created out of necessity. Some people were registering mirrored branches with unreachable locations. Some of these were possibly by mistake, but quite a few were obviously inaccessible. But more strange is that those branches were linked to bugs or blueprints. There was obviously a desire to have branch meta-data there, but not actually allow Launchpad to get access to the branches. So we have remote branches. You cannot get a copy of a remote branch from Launchpad as Launchpad does not have a copy of it.
Imported branches are those branches where Launchpad get the code from either CVS or Subversion, and puts it into a Bazaar branch. I was really wanting to talk about this as I saw two projects recently where we are importing code that I didn't know about. One is my favourite music player, Amarok, and the other was MPlayer. Just out of curiosity I looked at both of these branches on Launchpad. The Amarok one has 12195 revisions as I'm writing this, and the last revision was 11 hours old, and MPlayer had even more revisions, at 26761. However that isn't even the cool bit. What is really nifty is you can go bzr branch lp:amarok or bzr branch lp:mplayer to get the code. Just to check I did just that, and got a copy of the amarok source. It was the first bit of C++ I had looked at in a long time (it used to be all I did).
Anyway, that was what I really wanted to say. Oh yeah, and bzr rocks.
Two weeks ago, an idea struck me while I was extensively cleaning my room. Of course I had to turn off the computer and my modem since I was rearranging everything totally (I need to setup my internet connection and router in the other room one of these days…). I suddenly got the urge to try not to go online, or even open the computer for 24 hours. Knowing my attachment (read: addiction) to IRC, I believe it would be quite a challenge. And so I went through with it. From 09:00 to 09:00 of the next day, I, abruptly and without warning (sorry, online friends), disappeared from the Web.
And I’m glad I took that personal challenge. I’ve been able to give myself, for a full 24-hours, some time to think about my life, where it has been, and where it’s headed, as well as my goals. It came at an opportune time (just after a very hectic first quarter and right before going back to school) to think and reflect. And I actually enjoyed that feeling of being offline, specially from IRC (though I really missed my friends). That 24-hour, computer-free plan turned into (almost) a week without IRC, though I still needed to check my mail and RSS feeds… maybe next time I can try doing without those as well.
It was a great experience. I wish I could have spent a few days in a some sort of nature retreat like a forest or mountain (not the beach :P). I think every hacker should have a sort of “retreat” like this once in a while, to recharge and refocus and avoid burning themselves out. You may not be churning code in those few days, but it’s time well invested. Important, but not urgent, as Stephen Covey would say. Besides, you can also be productive at that time. Not only was I able to gain some perspective in my life, I was able to also able to think about what free software tools I wish I had at my disposal, or the KDE stuff that I want to do. I was also able to analyze how I spent, or rather, procrastinated, my time each day and where the time all goes (IRC and RSS… I love you and hate you at the same time.). Hopefully that realization would help me spend my time better in the future. Hopefully…
But for now, it’s back to the connected and distracted life.
Back in January of 2007 we had looked at Linux Virtualization Performance as we had compared a running native OS against the same operating system running as a virtualized guest OS using Xen, QEMU with the ... via DarkVision Hardware
Red Hat announced that announced that a European branch of the the New York Stock Exchange has implemented its Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Network. via DesktopLinux
I’ve been meaning to comment about this, and was reminded by today’s Coding Horror.
Funpidgin, a fork of the popular Pidgin Instant Message client, was created when Pidgin developers had diverging opinions on how the input box of the chat window should resize by default. According to the Funpidgin website, What makes us different from the official client, is that we work for you. Unlike the Pidgin developers, we believe the user should have the final say in what goes into the program.
Four words I have to say to Funpidgin: Users Are Not Designers.
This attitude takes participatory design to all-new (and very dangerous) level. You go from user-centered design: keeping users in mind while designing a product, to user-directed design: catering to every users’ whim without consideration of the consequences (at least, users who know how to use mailing lists and bug trackers, who are not representative of a broad user audience for an instant messenger client).
What you end up getting is this:
Good luck guys.
– Updated 2008-05-17 00:30 –
Besides all the things I obviously never said nor remotely hint to, between the lines or not, it seems like pantsgolem is the only one who Got It. This isn’t about the [Fun]Pidgin product or the decision to fork, or the design decisions the projects made concerning the text widget. It is about the fundamentally flawed development process Funpidgin has adopted in the name of usability and design and their ignorance (or ignore-ance if they just choose to ignore it) of this decisions implication to the project.
When a project declares that users will have the final say in functional requirements, it is on its way down a slippery slope. Sure, there may be some good examples where a problem was easily solved and a user had a good idea, but what about all the ideas that are obviously a bad design decision? What happens when you have users who have conflicting opinions? Or users who have no knowledge of other users, cases, and scenarios beyond themselves? This is why users are not designers. Even if the real designers are users of a product, they are trained to be objective. They don’t replace the user with themself, but they are empathetic towards the user.
Also, what about the developers? Don’t they want retain the right to create and preserve a certain kind of experience? What if the project wants to focus on a specific user type, but a minor user type requests a feature that will disrupt that group? What happens when developers start to ignore certain ideas and only take the ones they like? Aren’t they acting as the designer and preventing the user from playing designer?
By adopting this mission statement, Funpidgin has set itself up to make some possibly fundamentally poor design decisions. I don’t care about the project itself or the design decisions they’ve made. What I do care about is that the rest of the open source community learn something from it so we don’t repeat these mistakes.
Of course I want to see users participating in open source projects and providing their feedback, that is the basic principle of participatory design. Of course I want to see developers thinking of users besides themselves, that is the basic principle of user-centered design. What I don’t want to see is development driven by users who don’t understand the problem they are experiencing or know who else they will be effecting with their change. We don’t have developers who fully understand how different users of their software might effect each other, and yet we expect users think beyond themselves and do this?
User feedback is important. Open source celebrates the fact that users can take an active part in the community by reporting bugs and driving the development of features through requests. But users are just an indicator of how well we are doing. We want their feedback, but we also want to do what’s best for them.
Right now I am over in beautiful Prague for FossCamp and the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Running and attending these events is always a real treat - there is always a genuine feeling of free software in action; a real meeting of minds coming together with a common ethos. Part of why I love the FossCamp/UDS trip is that it involves a huge amount of diversity. Here at FossCamp we have people from a tonne of projects, including Ubuntu, Jokosher, Sun, EFL, Terminator, Strigi, Xesam, Ubuntu Brainstorm, Linux User Groups, GNOME, Glom, gtkmm, Campware, KDE, Amarok, KOffice, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Tango, Novell, Red Hat, Inkscape, freedesktop.org, OpenSuSE, OpenChange, Samba, Debian, MOTU, swfdec, gvfs, OpenOffice.org, eBox, LKSCTP, Elisa, HAL, dbus…
Its been a busy time recently and I have been out on my travels over in San Francisco, Boston, Cambridge, Detroit and London. Its been a hugely fun time, and I got to meet some incredible people - thanks to everyone who made me feel exceptionally welcome. I also want to give a quick shout out to the folks at ubuntu-ma, PenguiCon, CommunityOne, Creative Commons, Mako, Matt Lee, Barton, and my friends over in Lexington who are making Ubuntu work on things that live in your pocket.
Oh, and as a slight postscript, I have finally fulfilled one of life’s little ambitions - to not only meet, but a share a photo with the venerable tron guy:
Not only did I have a photo taken with tron guy - he came looking for me to deliver a parcel with a fake beard in it. While it was happening I felt like I was in some kind of acid trip. We then had a serious and detailed conversation about MOTU, while he was stood there in full tron regalia. Just when I thought my world crazy, it got a little crazier…
I was going to finish this entry here, but sod it, here are a few other things living in my brain right now:
- The Severed Fifth machine continues to roll - the server is up, the mailing lists are on their way, the announcement is written, the logo ideas are flowing in, the photo-shoot is in post-processing, and the content is nearly there in terms of initial work. Thanks to that group of amazing people that are making it happen.
- You know, gyms never really had an appeal to me, but I have been a few times recently - I had a really good session in there a while back and figured it would be fun to repeat.
- Wow, it seems this post of mine caused a bit of a stir over what is considered music. Always amazes me when people accuse creativity that does not meet their taste as being unintelligent or just noise. I am not expecting people to like the music I like, but I am expecting people to understand and respect the work that goes into any art-form, irrespective of their taste. Everything is worth listening to, even Cannibal Corpse, lounge style or flute beatboxing.
- Someone should invent an “anti-mint”, something you put in your mouth to take away the taste of mint. Imagine those situations when you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth and then want to drink orange juice. Personally, I want both clean teeth and orange juice and to not sacrifice one or the other. Someone…the anti-mint…lets make it a reality.
- I bought GTA4 and it rocks. It also drove me to be involved in a police chase, but that’s a story for another time.
- While in video game news, I got totally whipped at Guitar Hero III, and while despite fervent denial, I got completely annihilated. Mind you, I spent more time posing and prancing around the living room at my competitors apartment than focusing on the game in hand. Well, that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.
- Recently jonobacon.org seems to have been picked up in some of these “top blog” listings. You are as surprised as I am, but for my regular readers, thanks for helping to push my little chunk of randomness up in the blog ranks. It really does go to show how many bored people are populating the Internet.
- You know, Cancun is an amazing looking place, would love to get over there sometime.
- Thinking of a new phone - Nokia N95 8GB or a Blackberry? Any thoughts? It should be good for email, have a decent camera, preferably have a GPS and preferably have an alpha-numeric keypad.
I think that’s enough for now.
"This is good momentum for LiMo, but its not devices. We have to see the devices in the market and they have to be open to developers. [LiMo and the OHA are] head-to-head in my mind, but LiMo seems to be making more serious progress."
The LiMo Foundation, a broad industry consortium of manufacturers, operators and software developers working to put Linux onto the mobile phone, is to launch a major enterprise push later this year. via BuilderAU.com.au
The first day of FOSSCamp in Prague has ended. As with most FooCamp style conferences, the sessions provided excellent opportunies to learn more about upstream projects and find ways to collaborate.
As the day kicked off:
Early in the day, the schedule looked like this:
Eventually, more sessions were added and some sessions continued on to a second time slot.
My favorite session so far? Dan Shearer, from Samba, talking about the latest developments that have opened up interesting opportunities for them. Dan said OpenChange, a feature functional Exchange server replacement should be available by SambaXP next year.
More pictures coming soon!
We’re very pleased to announce the results of the Launchpad Logo Contest!
The number and quality of submissions took all of us by surprise. We are
immensely pleased with the results and are in awe at what the community
has done. We had so many interesting designs that it was very difficult for
us to declare a single winner.
However, there was one design that we felt embodied what Launchpad is all
about. We were impressed by how it summarised so much about Launchpad and
yet remained beautifully simple.
So, we’re delighted to say that the winner is Eugene Tretyak!
You can view his design here: https://help.launchpad.net/logo/winning-entry
The center of the design represents how Launchpad makes it easy for
people to collaborate and connect with one another, while the surrounding
facets represent the different services that Launchpad provides.
Above all, it shows that all projects are themselves a gem and, when
combined with other gems, can turn into something brilliant.
Eugene is both an Ubuntu member and Kubuntu developer and will receive
an official Ubuntu Messenger Bag.
There are also two runners-up whose designs made the selection process very
challenging for us. Mariana Ravicole and Ambroise Coutand will each receive
a 25 GBP gift certificate to the Canonical Store in recognition of their
highly competitive and very popular designs.
Additionally, we would also like to give an honourable mention to Donn
Ingle for his contributions. Donn’s varied designs were a popular
Finally, the Launchpad Team would like to thank everyone who participated
in the contest. We are humbled by the response and are deeply thankful to
all the participants.
This vulnerability was caused by the removal of two lines of code from the original version of the OpenSSL. via Wilson's Almanac
I’m extremely proud to announce that the XFCE desktop environment, well known for being a lighter alternative to GNOME or KDE, is completely translated (upstream) to Brazilian Portuguese!
A total of over 80 different programs and components off the XFCE and Goodies repositories, with over 6000 strings, I believe that XFCE is the first complex desktop environment to be completely translated to Brazilian Portuguese! The core components had been 100% translated for about 1 week now, as can be see in the stats page, mas yesterday I finished my research and noticed that all the other components were also finished. Now I get to keep my eye on any changes that may happen until the 4.4.6 release takes place.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Nicholas Negroponte just posted the following announcement: "One Laptop per Child is announcing an agreement with Microsoft to make a dual boot, Linux/Windows, version of the XO laptop. via Julian Lombardi's Croquet Blog
Those who remember my ancient quest for the perfect IRC solution might be interested in ancient quest for the perfect IRC solution might be interested in these posts by Aaron Toponce explaining how to couple a remote irssi session with GUI notification. I’m still quite happy with my current Bip + Xchat combination, but I’ve always lusted after the 1337ness of irssi. Icecap looks intriguing, but my first instinct tells me that their solution is over-engineered.
Note: If you see duplicated words in the above post, I am aware of them. Wordpress is doing something funny and I can’t figure out what it is. When I get the time I’ll upgrade to 2.5.
LotD: Ubuntu theme for Symbian S60v3 (works on my Nokia N95)
©2008 Sridhar Dhanapalan.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia Licence.
The news is out that OLPC and Microsoft have announced an agreement to “make a dual boot, Linux/Windows, version of the XO laptop”. Nicholas Negroponte’s announcement on community mailing lists (unfortunately HTML only but plain text on the wiki) states:
To enable the Sugar environment to reach as many children as possible, particularly in the poorest areas of the world, OLPC must be able to bid on educational technology contracts, some of which require that Microsoft Windows be able to run on our hardware. The increased volumes will lower the XO-1’s price, already lowest in the industry with capabilities no other laptop shares.
Engadget’s coverage ends with:
As for Sugar? You’ll still be able to get it, but we have a sinking feeling about its future.
Let’s address that right now.
The future of Sugar
First, some quotes from Negroponte’s announcement:
OLPC is substantially increasing its engineering resources and all software development continues entirely on GNU/Linux. We will continue to work to make Sugar on Linux the best possible platform for education and to invest in our expanding Linux deployments in Peru, Uruguay, Mexico and elsewhere.
No OLPC resources are going to porting Sugar to Microsoft Windows, although as a free software project, we encourage others to do so. The Sugar user interface is already available for Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu Linux distributions, greatly broadening Sugar’s reach to the millions of existing Linux systems. We continue to solicit help from the free software community in these efforts. Additionally, the Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu software environments run on the XO-1, adding support for tens of thousands of free software applications.
Sugar as an upstream project
OLPC wants to “enable the Sugar environment to reach as many children as possible” and part of that goal is to have Sugar running on as many platforms as possible. That requires some degree of decoupling from OLPC’s XO builds.
There is now a Sugar roadmap, inspired by GNOME’s release process. It is still aligned with OLPC’s needs for the XO build release process.
Here is the announcement of the Sugar Labs Foundation, Walter Bender’s approach to Sugar development as an upstream project.
Folks, Sugar isn’t going away. We already know that Sugar on Linux can use the innovative features of the XO-1 that XP cannot. Let’s show the world what we can do, standing on the shoulders of thousands of regular people.
(Disclaimer: I work for OLPC. The above opinions are mine.)