Joe Liau: Turning the Page with Cory Doctorow
I’m still buzzing from this morning. No, it’s not because of the “crystal meth”1; nor is it because of the amazing cold brew coffee2 that’s sitting in my fridge. I’m on a mental high from listening to a great mind. This morning I went to see Cory Doctorow at the Vancouver Writer’s Fest, and I’m a better person because of it.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t initially too keen on attending the Writer’s Fest, but I said to myself, “hey, this is Cory Doctorow.”
In fact, I’m not really that into books and reading much3… but this is Cory Doctorow.
And, I’m really not that entertained by copyright talk… but, hey, this is Cory Doctorow.
If it wasn’t obvious already, I’m a pretty big fan of Cory Doctorow. He’s kind of an Alchemist of the Internet Age, except that he’s not afraid to share his knowledge. I had followed him for a while on boingboing, and I was inspired enough to read Little Brother. (Before doing so, I thought I should read George Orwell’s 1984, and so I did … for the first time. Yes, I’m not very well-read… yet). Little Brother was so impressive that I continued to buy the audiobook of Homeland. I didn’t have to pay for it, but I chose to because I valued the author and his work, which completely supports Doctorow’s Laws for the Internet Age.
At the Vancouver Writer’s Fest, Cory Doctorow gave an overview of his new book, by eloquently summarizing three laws that he had come up with for the Internet Age. It was followed by a discussion on some of the values discussed in his writing. When asked about his views on “free and open source software,” Cory was quite excited to share Ubuntu with the crowd
The entire discussion was probably one of the best overviews of Internet freedom that I have ever heard, and having such a master-of-language deliver the message made it all the better. I was educated, entertained, and encouraged to read and write more freely. You might say that I have turned over a new page with regards to information.
I’m still buzzing.
If you get a chance to see Cory Doctorow during his current tour, then by all means do so, because, hey, it’s Cory Doctorow!
 Those who attended the event will get the inside joke.
 I learned about this from Cory Doctorow via Little Brother.
 Irlen Syndrome
Daniel Pocock: Positive results from Outreach Program for Women
In 2013, Debian participated in both rounds of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women (OPW). The first round was run in conjunction with GSoC and the second round was a standalone program.
The publicity around these programs and the strength of the Google and Debian brands attracted a range of female candidates, many of whom were shortlisted by mentors after passing their coding tests and satisfying us that they had the capability to complete a project successfully. As there are only a limited number of places for GSoC and limited funding for OPW, only a subset of these capable candidates were actually selected. The second round of OPW, for example, was only able to select two women.
Google to the rescue
Many of the women applying for the second round of OPW in 2013 were also students eligible for GSoC 2014. Debian was lucky to have over twenty places funded for GSoC 2014 and those women who had started preparing project plans for OPW and getting to know the Debian community were in a strong position to be considered for GSoC.
Chandrika Parimoo, who applied to Debian for the first round of OPW in 2013, was selected by the Ganglia project for one of five GSoC slots. Chandrika made contributions to PyNag and the ganglia-nagios-bridge.
Juliana Louback, who applied to Debian during the second round of OPW in 2013, was selected for one of Debian's GSoC 2014 slots working on the Debian WebRTC portal. The portal is built using JSCommunicator, a generic HTML5 softphone designed to be integrated in other web sites, portal frameworks and CMS systems.
Juliana has been particularly enthusiastic with her work and after completing the core requirements of her project, I suggested she explore just what is involved in embedding JSCommunicator into another open source application. By co-incidence, the xTuple development team had decided to dedicate the month of August to open source engagement, running a program called haxTuple. Juliana had originally applied to OPW with an interest in financial software and so this appeared to be a great opportunity for her to broaden her experience and engagement with the open source community.
Despite having no prior experience with ERP/CRM software, Juliana set about developing a plugin/extension for the new xTuple web frontend. She has published the extension in Github and written a detailed blog about her experience with the xTuple extension API.
Participation in DebConf14
Juliana attended DebConf14 in Portland and gave a presentation of her work on the Debian RTC portal. Many more people were able to try the portal for the first time thanks to her participation in DebConf. The video of the GSoC students at DebConf14 is available here.
Continuing with open source beyond GSoC
Although GSoC finished in August, xTuple invited Juliana and I to attend their annual xTupleCon in Norfolk, Virginia. Google went the extra mile and helped Juliana to get there and she gave a live demonstration of the xTuple extension she had created. This effort has simultaneously raised the profile of Debian, open source and open standards (SIP and WebRTC) in front of a wider audience of professional developers and business users.
It started with OPW
The key point to emphasize is that Juliana's work in GSoC was actually made possible by Debian's decision to participate in and promote Outreach Program for Women in 2013.
I've previously attended DebConf myself to help more developers become familiar with free and open RTC technology. I wasn't able to get there this year but thanks to the way GSoC and OPW are expanding our community, Juliana was there to help out.
Svetlana Belkin: Don’t Feed the Giant Octopus!
This Giant Octopus that I’m talking about is GOOGLE. Google has it’s giant arms everywhere in the tech world and it’s mind is only on one thing: PRIVACY INVASION.
Today, I read a post by Oli Warner about Paypal’s app on the android and the permissions that it requires the user to accept when installing or updating (see image on right, credit Oil). Google is the only one that tells the developers that you must allow these permissions when the app is installed. This allows developers to easily take your data, or even a hacker, and use that data and do whatever they want with it. That is a huge risk that people are taking when they don’t read the permissions when they install/update.
I ask to protect from Google’s evil and use CyanogenMod with it’s Privacy Guard or some other app that protects you. Or even better, install F-droid and go Google free. Also, please use Firefox, not Chrome.
There are other evils that Google has but that will be another post for another day.
P.S Read THIS also.
P.S.S.: I want to thank Oli for posting his post. It’s one thing that I was ranted on but never really wrote a post about the issue.
Randall Ross: On Changes, Ubuntu, "Magic Spells", and Real Power
In a previous blog post, I hinted at a recent happy development in my life/career that I would like to share with you today...
Many of you know me from my involvement in building local communities that are passionate about Ubuntu. I've been at this for nearly 7 years now as a volunteer and it's something I'm very passionate about. (Note: Friends and family sometimes use different adjectives.)
Over this time, I've had the privilege to meet and to work with many brilliant people in Vancouver BC, the community-at-large and also in the part of the community that is Canonical. (Yes, it's all community.) I've met rock stars, both literally and figuratively. They've encouraged and inspired me and finally opportunity knocked, and I answered.
I am happy to announce that I am Ubuntu's newest Community Manager.
My focus (at least initially) will be growing a large and thriving community around the architecture that powers the world's fastest computers. Think really big iron. Think Watson. Think chess. But more than that, think solving real-world problems the fastest way possible, with Power!
Ubuntu already has the beginnings of a great story on Power. I am tremendously excited about the potential of the "magic" that is Ubuntu with Juju and MaaS to launch solutions on Power hardware nearly effortlessly. I'm here to help the community that wants to change the world make that happen.
Click me: Push the button to see Power!
Please join me. If you're a Power advocate, developer, architect, systems administrator, researcher, or anyone who's just interested in Ubuntu on Power, please send me a note and introduce yourself. Let's work together!
randall AT ubuntu DOT com
Note: I'm not replacing Jono Bacon, As many of you know, he's moved on to solve some world problems that are "not just software" and Dave Planella and team are filling those big shoes.
image by Thom Watson
and modified by me.
Alan Pope: Sprinting in DC
For the last week I’ve been working with 230 other Ubuntu people in Washington, DC. We have sprints like this pretty frequently now and are a great way to collaborate and Get Things Done™ at high velocity.
This is the second sprint where we’ve invited some of the developers who are blazing a trail with our Core Apps project. Not everyone could make it to the sprint, and those who didn’t were certainly missed. These are people who give their own time to work on some of the featured and default apps on the Ubuntu Phone, and perhaps in the future on the converged desktop.
It’s been a busy week with discussion & planning punctuating intense hacking sessions. Once again I’m proud of the patience, professionalism and and hard work done by these guys working on bringing up our core apps project on a phone that hasn’t event shipped a single device yet!
We’ve spent much of the week discussing and resolving design issues, fixing performance bugs, crashers and platform integration issues, as well as the odd game of ‘Cards Against Humanity’ & ‘We Didn’t Playtest This At All’ in the bar afterwards.
Having 10 community developers in the same place as 200+ Canonical people accelerates things tremendously. Being able to go and sit with the SDK team allowed Robert Schroll to express his issues with the tools when developing Beru, the ebook reader. When Filippo Scognamiglio needed help with mouse and touch input, we could grab Florian Boucault and Daniel d’Andrada to provide tips. Having Renato Filho nearby to fix problems in Evolution Data Server allowed Kunal Parmar and Mihir Soni to resolve calendar issues. The list goes on.
All week we’ve been collaborating towards a common goal of high quality, beautiful, performant and stable applications for the phone today, and desktop of the future. It’s been an incredibly fun and productive week, and I’m a little sad to be heading home today. But I’m happy that we’ve had this time together to improve the free software we all care deeply about.
The relationships built up during these sprints will of course endure. We all exchange email addresses and IRC nicknames, so we can continue the conversation once the sprint is over. Development and meetings will continue beyond the sprint, in the virtual world of IRC, hangouts and mailing lists.