headshots! (from me, and a few of me)

I put together the gnome is people headshots, finally. I had a lot of fun doing them, though admittedly they are a touch inconsistent. Cut me some slack- I’ve never really tried to take good portraits before, so you can see the progression over time as I get better with encouraging people to laugh, and as I get better framing and using natural light. Of the ones I took, my favorites (artistically) are:

Of course, I’ve still got a ways to go as a portraitist- Ross and particularly David Z. had great shots of me from GUADEC:

Berkman Center seeks another Sr. Hacker

The Berkman Center is a fun place to work, with smart people and great stuff going on. As a bonus, if you have any interest in thinking big thoughts, the hallway conversations are the best you’ll ever have in any tech job, most likely. And they are hiring: they need a Sr. Engineer for a very cool tool to measure users and their behaviors on a global scale. If you’re interested, click through the link and apply.

standards: microsoft, netscape- is there a third way?

Are there any examples where someone created a broadly deployed standard and did not in time become either MS (high, expensive barriers to entry to use/support the standard, hence hated but wealthy) or Netscape (low barriers to entry, hence loved but dead?) I really can’t think of any, but I’d love to know of any examples out there. Not just software; could be hardware, or really any network effect.

I ask because I firmly believe open standards are a net societal good, but it seems to me that traditional capitalist economic incentives may fail to create this particular good, and I’m interested in what kinds of tweaks might be necessary (or not) to see this happen, while maintaining the best of the competitive, entrepreneurial tech industry.

(I’ve actually turned on comments for once; lets see how spammed they get :)

people switching and other misc. links

  • Totally awesome to see that a couple high profile tech doers and thinkers, Mark Pilgrim and Tim Bray, are switching back to Linux from OSX.
  • In his switching article, Mark makes the point that XCF (gimp’s format) is not particularly open, and is apparently undocumented. Norman Walsh expounds. I think this is a good example of what I talked about at LWE– open standards very often mean more than open source when it comes to protecting and controlling how you use software.
  • This form of re-mapping the world and this form of re-mapping are both very cool, as is bldgblog, where I found them. (see also the incredibly crazy post about the world’s largest diamond mine.)
  • see here for a great, concise list of what is wrong with webapps, though the poster calls it ‘what is wrong with web 2.0’. Despite thinking that webapps have inherent, unconquerable suckiness, likely I will post tomorrow (well, sometime before GUADEC) about why I’m going to abandon Evo for gmail as soon as I finish my job, and why I’m rapidly abandoning abi for writely for any document that other people are likely to see. Sad, but fixable- hopefully my post will explain what is wrong in enough detail that it points people towards what is fixable.
  • It seems unlikely that I’ll ever finish the intended post I had on this, but every developer and every would-be linux desktop marketer should go to Apple’s new ‘Get A Mac’ page. Read the list of features they are pimping; read how they are pimping them. I’m not saying that GNOME developers should work only on things on that list, but every time you start a project or add a feature, you should compare it to that list and if it isn’t on that list, the bar for ‘is this really, really good for users, or for helping developers do kick ass things for users’ must be very high. Similarly, if you’re marketing the linux desktop, think about that list, and how it is presented- really excellent stuff.

More great moments in trolling

By moving much of our flame-inducing conversation to planet, an inherently controlled environment, we’ve mostly killed the most serious GNOME trolls. Hence, we don’t get nearly as many quality moments like this anymore. That post was apparently the web’s first instance of the key phrase, but it was only one of many responses to the classic GNOME troll, oGALAXYo, who would later go on to such successes as goneME. oGo was the classically troubling troll, in that he did actually occasionally contribute something useful, and you wanted to encourage that, but most of the time he was just gigantically irritating, and you wanted to strangle him. The post above suggests which way we leaned. Not coincidentally, oGo also stimulated John Fleck to do some useful pondering on whether or not Free Software selects for people who are nice.