Recent blog entries for bolsh

12 Dec 2005 (updated 12 Dec 2005 at 09:06 UTC) »

Hmmm... deleting entries doesn't seem to work.

Seems like I lied when I said I wouldn't be making any more advogato posts.

One last Advogato entry...

Many thanks to Raph for getting me my account back today, I could finally import all my old entries into my new blog, on http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh

Please update your bookmarks, all 3 of you.

8 Jun 2005 (updated 8 Jun 2005 at 14:41 UTC) »

I don't know if Simon will thank me for letting the secret out, but I thought this was so cool.

Apparently, the armature was modelled in skencil somehow, and then the frames were generated (with a custom frame rate), exported to PNG with custom size, imported into the GIMP and turned into an animated GIF, all automatically.

STFU

Every so often you read an essay that holds a mirror up and makes you ask yourself hard questions. This essay on meeting behaviour did just that. Now I know the problem, I will do better.

Thanks to Erinn Clark for the link, and Hanna Wallach for starting the link trail (welcome to planet.gnome.org, Hanna!).

6 Jun 2005 (updated 6 Jun 2005 at 11:22 UTC) »
Multiplier effect

It's times like this I'd love to be able to doodle on webpages, but for the time being I'm stuck in Advogato with text only. Ah, well...

When you spend money, that money has a value to the economy which is more than what you spend. If you buy a shirt for $30, the shop owner uses that money to pay wages, buy groceries. So out of your $30 maybe $20 recirculates into the economy, and then that gets respent. Typically your $30 purchase is worth about $60 to the economy.

Imports are dead money. It's money that is getting taken out of the economy. When you buy an imported product in the supermarket, then a lot of what you pay is going to the importer, and from there going out of the country.

That's basic economics 101.

Now what happens when you buy computer software? Almost all of the computer software for sale worldwide is US produced, and has very high margins. That means when you spend $100 on Windows, $80 of that is probably going to leave the country. There is no multiplier feedback loop, where the money you spend goes towards improving your local economy, buying local products and generating local employment. It's dead money.

One of the things you get with free software is the freedom to choose your supplier. The sources are available, which means that a company supporting the product can sprout up anywhere. You don't need to go to the GNOME Foundation to get a GNOME desktop administered or supported, chances are there's some cocky college graduate living in your town who can do it for you, cheaper.

And this is where all the TCO arguments coming out of Redmond fall flat on their face. Let's say, for arguments sake, that installing and supporting GNOME is 20% more expensive overall for the first 5 years you use it. It's cheaper afterwards, but play along with me for a sec.

So when you spend $100M on Windows, $80M of that leaves the country. You get $20M working for the local economy. When you spend $120M supporting GNOME with local companies, $120M stays in the economy.

This isn't a question of percentage points, it's multiples we're talking about. $1 invested in free software by a government is an investment worth 5 or 6 times the equivalent investment in Windows.

You're spending more, but it's an investment in local industry, the local computer industry. It's an incentive for local graduates to stay in the country to earn a living, rather than moving to the US. It's a cheap way to kick-start your local knowledge economy.

When Jeff Waugh said we changed the rules, he's right. We've changed the way the world works. We've changed people's expectations. We've given people the freedom to choose.

Michael: Even better than the cvs up -r hack:

svn diff

Local changes since last update

svn diff -r BASE:HEAD

Changes in repository since you last updated

Which one were you looking for?

Back from GUADEC

Wow - what a wacky week. I am exhausted and exhilirated. I talked to so many people, got a bunch of things worked on, and heard about so many things that I wanted to jump up & scream about. Wise Nat wouldn't let me.

I was a little disappointed that the GIMP didn't make the list of mentoring projects, especially since we have a bunch of nice sized projects people could work on. Hopefully we'll make it in next time, and start exploiting some of he other opportunities that have come our way.

Everyone needs to go look at the spec for anonymous voting that vuntz and I came up with (with input from Seth, Brian, JRB and a bunch of other people). There are a bunch of elections we want to have this year, so it's important this gets done. And it's a nice simple project for someone intimidated by big old us.

Seeing the board was great, even if there was some tension over a couple of issues. We got a bunch of work done, and have come out of the week with a long list of action items. It'll be interesting to see how we fare against them in the coming weeks & months.

We also talked a bunch about marketing GNOME. It's really weird how a bunch of people have all been thinking the same things independently, and it needed getting everyone in the same place to see that. Three core ideas come out as most important:

  1. We need to grow what we consider GNOME developers to be. Developers on projects like the GIMP, GTK#, Inkscape, GAIM, Audacity and a bunch of others should be considering themselves part of GNOME.
  2. We should be persuading people who use Abiword, Gnumeric, the GIMP, XChat and all the other GNOME apps available on Windows that they are using GNOME, in some sense. They are on the road to enlightenment, we just have to get them the rest of the way.
  3. Our platform is our strongest selling point now. We are winning by default there. While it may leave a sour taste in some people's mouths, OpenOffice, Mozilla, Eclipse, VMWare, Nokia, Adobe and all the other ISVs making software on the GNOME platform are doing so because our main competition's platform is GPL, and ours is LGPL. What we need to do is also win because we listen better to our ISVs, and build a really nice platform.

To grow GNOME, we need to grow the buzz around GNOME, have more developers, more madness, more fun, more mindshare. If we do, 10x10 is easy :)

Watch out for some stuff over the coming months to start on that road, and start generating some buzz.

I have one regret. There were a heap of GIMP people at GUADEC and I got about 10 minutes to sit down and talk - and I didn't even get to talk much about the GIMP. Sorry mitch, Michael, Raphael, Tor, Sven, Roman, and all the others I've forgotten (who said GIMP developers didn't feel like part of GNOME?).

Yet more great news today - roozbeh and friends got their visas, and are arriving in Germany the day after tomorrow. Yay!

22 May 2005 (updated 22 May 2005 at 16:16 UTC) »
LiveCDs galore

Never one to sit on his laurels when a problem presents itself, Luis Villa has created http://torrent.gnome.org - torrent files for the various internationalised versions of the LiveCD (not all online yet).

Pour les français, il y en a un ISO fr, et j'aide pour le "seed"er au départ, alors, allez-y, fonce sur http://torrent.gnome.org/gnome-livecd-2.10.0-i386-fr-1.iso.torrent et bouffez ma bande passante.

22 May 2005 (updated 24 May 2005 at 16:29 UTC) »
GNOME and OSC (2)

It was interesting to see Jeff pointing to some response over at KDE to an article which referred to a press release we sent out this week.

It's interesting to look at the nature of the relationship of GNOME and OSC to see what we're getting out of it, and how that relates to the claim that we're not going after MS market share any more.

Why are we interested in OSC? Here's a clip from the press release:

The move reflects the GNOME Foundation's support for the work of the OSC. Examples of such work include the OSC's involvement with the recent BECTA announcement concerning the future of Open Source solutions for UK schools, and involvement with the Open Source Academy initiative, which promotes adoption of Open Source software amongst the public sector and is funded by the Office Of The Deputy Prime Minister.

What do we get out of it? Here's a quote which Owen kindly provided for the release:

Says Owen Taylor, chairman of the board of directors of the GNOME Foundation, "The GNOME Foundation welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the OSC and increase adoption of Free and Open Source Software in public administrations in Europe. We are excited about the value we can bring to governmental organisations through the OSC."

So where are we positioning ourselves? Clearly, we are positioning ourselves as the desktop environment of choice for public sector deployments of free software. That's hardly surprising - more and more public sector organisations are seeing not just cost savings, but also a release from vendor tie-in by moving to free software. And would anyone really expect us to reccommend anything other than GNOME for these migrations?

We have, after all, a track record in the sector to envy - working with LTSP, we have deployed GNOME on the desktop in the telecentros project in Sao Paolo with an estimated 400,000 users. We have worked with the education ministries of Andalucia and Extramadura ona deployment to an estimated 200,000 student users in schools.

With Canonical, we have a partner who is positioned clearly for the public sector, specifically in Africa. In Sun Microsystems, we have a partner who is working to install 1,000,000 GNOME desktops in China. There are notable deployments of GNOME in the public sector in the UK already.

So the real story here is that GNOME is fast becoming the de facto free software desktop for the public sector, and we are working with the OSC to make sure that GNOME is presented as an option to decision makers in that sector. That's taking market share from Microsoft, and positioning GNOME to take that share. Is that really surprising?

Aside from that, it's interesting to see journalists look for an angle - GNOME vs MS isn't a story (yet), GNOME vs KDE is. It was surprising to see someone read as much into it as they did, though. For the record, the relationship between KDE and GNOME has never been better.

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