Becoming better by doing good

A mail. And, for a moment I was so happy that I voted during the FAMSCo elections. When good people have the helm, the ship will go to newer places.

There will be the inevitable moaning and groaning. And, to follow a quote I heard during the ‘mail-thread-that-refuses-to-die’ : “if you have to ask whether you are inactive, aren’t you asking the obvious question ?”, this step is welcome, required and can only have upsides.

My take – I love this. Ambassadors are the front-line face of the project. And, an Ambassador can only get better because they owe it to the project. From a personal perspective, I have noted that the daily grind and administrivia leaves me with little time to catch up on events, projects, tools and what not. And, when surrounded by stars, I can get bogged down and wish for hand-holding, I can well imagine what new members or, even some of the existing old ones would be feeling. At some point in time, we all need a structured process of orientation, getting into the saddle. The sponsorship-mentorship link isn’t a gridlock. It is the dynamic combination that allows newer ideas to be shared, experiments to be repeated and, getting good things done.

I’d take this opportunity to brush up some of the stuff that has been on my WishList for long and, get more things done than I do currently. I am sure a lot of the others would too.

GNOME.Asia Summit 2009: The dates are in.

Some days back I posted a small mail to the GNOME Marketing List, which has gone somewhat un-noticed. So, with the obligatory drum-rolls, trumpets, cymbals and usual oohs and aahs, here’s the big announcement:

GNOME.Asia Summit 2009 would be held during the 3rd and 4th of December 2009 at Pune, India.

Ok. That was fairly easy. The big ticket items that would be posted soon-ish are:

  • news about the web-site
  • unveiling of the logo for the event
  • Venue and accommodation related stuff
  • Call for Papers (yes, the absolute thrill of previewing good topics is irresistible)

So, here’ what those of us working towards making this event a success would request you to do.

The GNOME.Asia Summit 2009 is aimed towards a much wider coverage by pulling in users and developers (hmm… what’s new you say ?), ISVs, OEMs (especially NetBook OEMs), tools and infrastructure folks, documentation folks and of course participants from other desktop environments. Since we may (or, most likely may not) know all these folks, if you’d be knowing someone who should be at the event, do help us get in touch with them (drop a comment on this blog entry and, I’ll make sure that we are talking). Additionally, pass the word around to your favorite GNOME folks in order to cajole/coax/tantrum them into attending. And, if you are a company who is interested in sponsorship – you are one person I’d love to start a conversation with the moment I return from my (supposed ;)) vacation.

In short, please give the event some love and, help make this a wonderful summit to attend.

In a spot with F-Spot

F-Spot is my tool of choice when uploading pictures to my albums. Yesterday, I managed, through my sheer idiocy, to mess things up.

Here’s what I did. I had a couple of ‘must upload’ pictures in a folder under another user’s $home on the laptop. So, I

  1. copied them across to my normal user
  2. changed the ownership appropriately
  3. imported the pictures via f-spot
  4. selected a few and uploaded them
  5. deleted the folder containing the pictures

A short while later, I figured that I had to upload a few more pictures from the same folder so, I

  1. copied them across to my normal user
  2. begun to import the pictures via f-spot
  3. saw f-spot crash on me

Anyone can see that during the second time, I forgot to change the ownership. So, figuring that was the issue, I followed the earlier steps, this time remembering to change ownership and, executed the application. It still crashed. So, I have a couple of questions:

  • is this worth filing a bug ? (Given that I did this through my own inexactness)
  • can I fix this so that the application will eventually start and, I can continue using it ? (I don’t want to clean the system of all traces of the application and re-install)

I am currently using f-spot- on Fedora 10

Yes We Did !

A manifesto is defined as a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. The word itself has a genesis in the word manifestus meaning clear, evident.

For those who haven’t been following it, the FOSS Manifesto which was published recently, provides the clearest articulation of the will and motivation of the followers and practitioners of FOSS as both a technology and a philosophy. It breaks new ground from two aspects:

  • by demonstrating that there is a need for the political parties within the system to grow up and embrace the newer issues that are relevant in addition to the existing (and, somewhat age-old) issues that are raised during the time of elections and,
  • by providing ample proof that a completely inclusive process of asking for and receiving inputs in the effort to shape and mould public policy works

There would be some objections on the second point in terms of reach out to the masses, but the very fact that the world of FOSS isn’t limited to the elitist groups of folks who are interested in FOSS for the mere sake of FOSS philosophy is something noteworthy. Having FOSS (where the last S isn’t just software) plonked bang in the middle of a political consciousness is an effort worth applauding. This is thought of to be the elections where the youth of the country are expected to exercise their will, their comprehension and their ability to shape the nation’s destiny. The youth now have an agenda which they can feel comfortable rallying around and strive towards making a change. To borrow a phrase from an electoral process that was filled with hope, optimism and choice – Yes We Can !

For all those who worked tirelessly to make this manifesto happen and, get it accepted into the mainstream political spectrum – here’s a round of applause.

Read more here.

Getting off the grid…

I will be getting off the grid from tomorrow till the first week of April. And, I expect to be significantly telco-challenged. So, if you :

  • have been promised some swag, I’ll try and make sure that I have put them in the courier or, have someone accountable for it. (Note: since this was a week of holidays, I’d suggest that you wait for a response from me on this before talking over various channels about the lack of a response)
  • have been requested to submit the expenses for an event for which there has been a previous ACK, please do send over the bills to my address (check the Pune office one). However, re-imbursements would have to wait till I get back to office
  • want to discuss an event for which you are requesting some funds from The Fedora Project, make sure you put Susmit in cc: of the mail and, we can get a discussion going
  • want to get in touch with me, please send me an SMS (if you have the contact #) or, send a mail to my Gmail ID (which you should have) and, I’ll try to respond if GPRS permits. I’ll be using a mobile device, so please don’t put in attachments or, expect me to traverse hyperlinks. A short mail that states the meat of the story should work out nicely.

Meanwhile, have fun. Don’t forget to use Rawhide. It is awesome.

That lazy,hazy,crazy bug of summer

There was this niggling blog entry which pointed to a bug. And, what a bug it was. A problem that is somewhat well entrenched when it comes to Bengali (India) bits is that of pluralism. There are far too many stakeholders and, a larger number of dispersed data points that need to be lined up before a conclusion can be arrived at. Especially so, because over the years there has been enough discussion about divergence of views on the data points rather than covergence of opinion leading to closing of tasks.

So, Runa poked and prodded a few folks. And, got things done. That’s awesome and that’s what makes her a rockstar.

Some more on education

Taking up from where I left it last time around, one aspect that should work out is producing a distribution that is packaged with applications relevant to education. The catch phrase over here is “relevant to education”. And, it means thinking about something what the Fedora Electronic Labs does.

The Fedora Education SIG seems to have a slightly different approach and, a different objective. Especially the part:

The Fedora Education Spin is the number one goal right now and includes software to use it as a terminal server client. In parallel some SIG members work in integrating K12LTSP into Fedora. Once that work is finished it remains to be seen if we integrate that work into the Fedora Education Spin.

It would be good to try and see if a Fedora based release can be done which gets installed out-of-the-box and, somewhat along the lines of this blog entry, wrap meta-data around the applications so that it becomes relevant to the target consumer. There are a couple of hops to go before LTSP and such can be packaged into a complete ‘solution’ that comes preloaded with relevant content. Getting the bits out there for playing would also allow a lot of volunteer driven innovation to land up and enhance the process.

I guess I am talking more about the modular breakdown of competencies that allow a larger group of people to start contributing in whatever way they can. Having such a bit would help in FiE and OCiE as well. Ideally, this could be something that is possible to be explored by any upstream project irrespective of whether it is a distribution. So, let’s say a GNOME-Edu compose set that let’s one package a lot of educational applications using GNOME bits to make it available as a functional-out-of-the-box installation.

lazyweb …

Dear Lazyweb,

I have forgotten the password on the GNOME Damned Lies. Is there a way I can get it to mail me a password or, send me a reset password link ?


Update: Claude Paroz helped reset the password and make it available. You r0ck Claude !!

Take-away: If someone is interested, looks like a “reset forgotten password” functionality requires some love. Should be a small project.