guadec thoughts #3: where is .gnome?

Seeing so many of us using proprietary software for some of our most treasured possessions (our pictures, in flickr) has bugged me deeply this week. Just as bad, it strikes me as a fairly large and self-sustainable business opportunity- a small but growing number of people are willing to pay for services which give them the kind of control that flickr and others can’t or won’t give. Further, 37 Signals and other things has convinced me that it is possible to build small, basically self-financed web businesses. We now have millions of GNOME users out there; just 100,000 (hell, 10,000) GNOME users paying $5 a month for hardware, bandwidth and some software would finance a lot of software development. So I believe firmly there is a big opportunity out there for someone to do a free software based for-pay web service that integrates well with tools like f-spot, gnome-blog, evo, gossip, ekiga, nautilus, etc. It should be easy for GNOME users to sign up for one account, pay a small monthly or yearly fee, and be able to easily (no further configuration) publish their photos, blogs, etc., and communicate via email/jabber/voip/etc. Could be a small for-profit (like 37 Signals) or it could be the funding source for the first free-software cooperative. Either way, the opportunity is there for someone to do some agile, rapid development and have this in place soon.

20 thoughts on “guadec thoughts #3: where is .gnome?”

  1. You can’t undo/redo through a remote users changes. You can type over then, delete them, put them in table, change font colour etc.. but you can’t undo them. Also as Marc said, we’re moving towards a Luis compliant business model too :-) Comments here

  2. .gnubuntu Luis, something like this (as yet just a low priority specification, unlikely to be done any time soon unfortunately). (# :: posted 14 hours ago in Gnome :: Comment)

  3. Luis Villa is entirely right in asking where “our” flickr/blogger/online-storage place is. We talked about this a bit at Guadec (and about “gnome on rails” (which has nothing to do with Ruby, but is about being able to build Gnome apps really quickly and agilely, as you can build web apps). I keep thinking about doing something like

  4. Alex Graveley. Also the BoF session about the revamp showed that there is a will to obtain in the mid term a more continuous and integrated user experience between the GNOME desktop and website. And now I see that Luis Villa has just posted some ideas in a similar direction, stressing the problem of ownership and leadership the desktop faces versus the growing universe of web applications. Additional links and pointers are welcomed.

  5. […] Luis, I agree with you – we need to have free alternatives too. But the small, open web service lacks one important aspect – the other people you know and love. I think the reason most people are excited about Flickr, for example, is because it is of course easy to use, but also that it is so easy to share your own photos with it. You have an account, and most of your friends do too. All that is left is a matter of finding their usernames and checking the “friend” checkbox. Or like at Guadec, someone just added a group and came up with a tag, and people started tagging their photos with it – so it was possible to follow the feed from everyone. Yes, we do need free services. But it would be very important that we get this social part right. The services need to network somehow, and also they need to somehow link to those big ones. It’s about people communicating, after all things. […]

  6. […] Andy: The more I think about it, the more I think ‘where do we find capital’ is not going to be an approach that is successful for us as a community, despite what I’ve said about .gnome. Centralized capital means a centralized point of failure; it means reduced competition; it means that the little guys on the end points have a harder time getting involved. And it means problems scaling- the foundation is just never going to be able to support something like flickr or for all GNOME users, IMHO- the requirements are just too large. And that is even with our current user base. […]

  7. […] For those of you out there wondering why not simply use Writely, I think this approach offers some advantages. For example, you can edit your documents using a full blown word processor with all it’s capabilities. In my opinion, hacking a word processor in a browser is a bad idea. On the other hand, with Writely you only need a browser to access your documents, which is a massive plus. Oh, and finally, this approach might finally shut Luis up with all his we-should-integrate-the-web-with-our-desktop-whining :-P […]

  8. […] Jono Baconin (Lugradio) ajatuksia Gnome 3.0:sta. Villan ajatuksia Gnomesta ja sen tulevaisuudesta noin yleensäkin. idoita molemmilta. Alkaa Gnome 3.0 keskustelu taas nostamaan päätään.Mielenkiinnolla odottelen … […]

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