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Name: Edd Dumbill
Member since: 2000-04-15 01:03:47
Last Login: 2008-12-19 16:54:35

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Homepage: http://heddley.com/edd/


Managing Editor of XML.com. Creator and editor of XMLhack.com. Chair of XML Europe.

I program these days in C, Python, Java (when I have to), and have a strong interest in GNOME, Bluetooth and the Semantic Web. I maintain the RDF Interest Group IRC scratchpad. You can find me on IRC at irc.freenode.net, channel #foaf.

I use Advogato for talking about my open source activities, for fuller details and comment from me check out my weblog, Behind the Times.


Recent blog entries by edd

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Finally got around to uploading the new versions of bluez-utils and bluez-libs to Debian. Took me a little bit of time to get my Debian accounts working again after the break-in. Noticed that Marcel has put up a new web site for BlueZ. Looks cool. Now I'll have to amend the various references to in the Bluetooth chapter I'm writing!

Long time without updates here, largely because my free software hacking has been sidelined by various bits of paying work. I hope that the Christmas holiday season will give me enough time to catch up on the free software front.

Between the months of December and July my life is much dominated by conferences. My preparation for XML Europe is now well underway (there's still time to submit an abstract, please do!) Now the call for participation for the O'Reilly Open Source Convention has started.

I've been involved with OSCON for about 4 years now, give or take a year of hiatus. One of the things I'd most like to see this year is a solid selection of talks on desktop Linux. I tried to get more talks in on this topic last year, but unfortunately some people had to pull out at the last minute and we missed presenting freedesktop.org and GNOME 2.0.

Nat Torkington, the programme chair, asked me what sort of talks I'd like to see on this topic, and I responded with this list. This was pretty much off the top of my head, but it gives an idea of what I want to see.

  • Deployer/Advocacy level
    • Architecture of the Sun Java Desktop
    • Migrating users from Windows to GNOME/KDE
    • Deploying OpenOffice.org to large networks
    • Why free software developers should use free desktops
    • Accessibility on the desktop (loads of great work going on here)
    • Why governments are choosing free desktop software (several large deployments that it might be possible to get case studies of)
  • Developer/User level
    • The freedesktop.org project
    • Top ten challenges for the Free Desktop
    • Innovate or imitate? Getting the best features into the FD
    • Desktop aspects of the Linux kernel (Robert Love just got hired by Novell/Ximian.)
    • Evolution 2.0
    • Making usable free software (story of Sun's usability work on GNOME)
    • Taming OpenOffice.org (story of how OOo is gradually being turned from a baroque monster into something that integrates well)
    • Managing my data: the future of the desktop (covering stuff like Dashboard and Storage.)
    • Going mobile: synchronisation, instant messaging, data portability
  • Programming (I only really know GNOME topics here, but you get the idea)
    • D-BUS: lightweight RPC for the desktop
    • Cairo: cross device vector graphics (very cool, similar to OS X's rendering model)
    • libegg: all the coolest new widgets for GTK
    • Python and GNOME (this stuff is just so cool)
    • Free graphical IDEs
    • Putting a pretty face on gnarly Linux/FreeBSD devices for the user (aka how to avoid making the user type /dev/ttyS0 or other somesuch into a config screen.)
    • GPE: shrinking the desktop onto handhelds
    • Eliminating latency on the desktop (Jim Gettys did an excellent presentation on this at GUADEC earlier this year, lots of cool stuff done by analysing X server traffic)

If you're involved in or around any of these areas and want to go to Portland, Oregon, next July and talk about them, then please submit a proposal. OSCON is always great fun.

I believe that free desktop software should be represented more strongly at OSCON. Last year I saw way too many OS X machines used by developers of free software, which seems most perverse. The only way to change this is to get more vocal. I'll be campaigning on a mailing list near you!

GNOME Bluetooth

Spent two days solid working on GNOME Bluetooth this week, great to get the hacking time. Have reimplemented the libraries extensively, excising the redundant and failure-prone Bonobo component, and adding in asynchronous device discovery and Python bindings.

All in all, things are heading in the right direction to give GNOME users a decent set of Bluetooth tools. Hopefully I'll be able to get a point release out soon, as a lot has changed.

Busy, busy. Just completed a slew of work on updating my strategy for XML.com. Actually got quite excited by stuff that's going on, but it's clear that the action has shifted away from the more traditional standards track of development we're using to following with XML. XQuery's just about the last core XML spec from the W3C that's likely to have an impact.

Been keeping my Debian maintaining work going on as usual. Trying to write more on my blog, but my scheme of regular writing fell flat when a friend came to stay and I spent my spare time having a real life.

My submission on Dashboard has been accepted for the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies conference next year, and I intend to pick up on some recent patches and work done on Dashboard. I also have a stock of airport codes ready to add into my location-sensitive Dashboard plugin.

Also on the level of things I need to get round to doing, I'll be showing off foafbot at the XML 2003 conference this year, so it needs updating and reviving.

Finally checked gnome-bluetooth into GNOME CVS. hadess has started to do some much needed clean-ups on the code. The consensus seems to be that using Bonobo is pretty pointless, and that the bonobo-centered bits of the code should die in favour of a normal GObject. The rationale for using Bonobo in the first place was that it might make interfacing to other languages easier, but it seems there is more will to generate a handful of language bindings for the GObject than to use Bonobo.

Unfortunately this means a little bit of code-rewriting. I have to say that writing GObjects in C isn't particularly pleasant either, but there we are. I think it's the right decision, although I feel a little guilty about it.

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