28 January 2011

Bad Jokes

Over the week-end I will probably be out taking photos, I won't follow the FUDCon happenings so I guess I can do some warm-up throwing a few bad jokes:

bad jokes with fedora

PS: actually I had in mind one more, with a punch line around "call me Caroline", but thought that would be too niche, with only very few figuring it.

27 January 2011

Nicu's Webcomics: Cookies

'Nuff said.


PS: even if reusing some elements, this is not part of my old Fedora comics series, neither is it in any way endorsed by the Design/Art Team, is a personal project.

26 January 2011

"Give back" badge

Since I have a bit of free time I am doing all kinds of Free graphic projects and it was no big effort to provide an option: a round version for the "give back our distro" badge, something for everyone's taste, I guess.

give back our distro

Now you have something to wear/show at FUDCon, FOSDEM and such.

25 January 2011

The Moods Project

Moods is my latest free graphic project and in a long while the first not linked to openclipart.or of Fedora Design (from the first i am on extended leave and from the second on temporary strike). What is this project? Is best described with a quote from its own page:

This project started after I noticed myself saying a lot "pics or it didn't happen" so the idea was obvious: make a drawing, based on my free clipart images, to illustrate this classic line and then just pass a link to it. Obviously, as everything I do, it had to be Free and shared with the world. The next logical step was to develop it by adding additional mood images, which is a never-ending work, fuelled by own mood but also by the feedback received and the usage level, so use the images and it will be an incentive for me to add more.

Of course, it is made with Inkscape and SVG sources are really easy to get hold of if you know where to look (or know my working style). And sorry, but CreativeCommons made me reinvent the wheel with the license.

24 January 2011

Fedora: from bleeding edge to bleeding contributors

At the end of this week will take place the biggest event of the year for Fedora, the North American FUDCon, a place for great expectations with events, talks, discussions and such, is the place from where you expect a "strategy" to come but where in reality we'll see a lot of bating around the bush with the main issue: we are going the wrong way and we are losing contributors - some reduce their work drastically, some step back quietly, some say goodbye with a tear in their eye, some wave their hands from the Debian side, some go away in flames, some are shown the door - all they have some thing in common: they don't contribute any more.

As many other problems, this is a design problem, and I am not talking here about graphic design or interaction design, I talk about a higher level design, one that is perhaps the Board's competence: is the definition of the Fedora purpose and is implemented with policies, peer pressure, the power of example and so on. The problem is: Fedora used to be a distro aimed at advanced users, the ones that are likely, and we want, to contribute back and now is changing into a distro aimed at the Girl Scouts of America. A huge identity crisis, we are tying to become the second Ubuntu and this is not good.

hackers vs. girl scouts

I used to be in Fedora's target audience, now:
  • as an User I don't have the apps (or the app versions) I need for my day to day work, being pushed towards 3-rd party repos and I get bad defaults - this is a big problem, the purpose of a distro is to offer a collection of packages and default options. Also, the way forward is departing from my needs: I use my computer to do stuff, not to watch stuff, if I needed a phone UI, I have used a phone, not a PC.
  • as a Contributor the itch to scratch is vanishing - I do not care about the Girl Scouts, so there is no incentive for me to contribute to a distro targeted at them, I want to contribute to a distro that makes my life better, is targeted at me and solves my problems.
  • as an Ambassador I am embarrassed: Fedora 14 was the lowest so far from this point of view, if I talked about the new features bragging for the single end-user talking point "JPEG pictures are loading faster", I would have been laughed out of the room. So I gathered people for beers, with no talks about features.
That much for "freedom, friends, features, first"...

Do not get me wrong, I am not arguing for making Fedora hard to use or to make it hostile for Girl Scouts (heck! in the local community I am usually considered the public figure for our equivalent of Girl Scouts, so the complaints above coming from me should mean something), I argue for returning Fedora to the target it used to have maybe a couple of years ago, when it was a much better place to contribute. So, please, give our distro back!
give our distro back

I am sure many would like to frame this as a "Red Hat versus Community" problem, which is not the case: Red Had is big enough of a company to not have a consistent policy towards Fedora, leaving enough place to maneuver for interest groups (up to middle management) to play their politics and power games, with people naturally siding with the next-cubicle guy because they have to live together, with people who value their job security and like their workplace and there are also people who do not like the situation but fear to talk in public (and not only a few of them) as there are people who talk in public but not very loud. So loud can be someone like me, who has nothing to lose - I believe we are not yet as low as our green friends who kick out from the community voices out of the "party line".

17 January 2011

Wikipedia - 10 years

Last Saturday a group of people from the local community meet in Bucharest to celebrate 10 years of Wikipedia.


PS: sorry for the briefness of the message but... sometime you have to be brief...

14 January 2011

Let It Snow! - video: Inkscape demonstration at the monthly RLUG meet

What did I do that I have my upload limit increased to over the 15 minutes, unlike the other mortals? Don't know but surely enjoy it, I was limited before and not linking it. Then the second question: how can I ensure my videos are available ASAP for delivery in the WebM format? (I upload in Ogg Theora, Kdenlive in F14 still does not have WebM export, I need Theora also for blip.tv and don't want to transcode once more with my pity CPU).

upload limit

But enough blabbering, yesterday at the monthly RLUG meet I continued demoing Inkscape drawing from December (people asked for it, I couldn't refuse) with making a snowflake (yup, I know we are all feed-up with the winter and looking forward to the spring but... it was requested). As you already suspect, the video recording is up on YouTube, unfortunately not yet in WebM, and also is free format on blip.tv, together with the other RLUG recordings (the other two videos from yesterday are still processing).

Of course, there are also some photos, but they are just usual, nothing extraordinary. And sorry... I have no formal slide, since you can't do one for such a presentation. Maybe, just maybe I would put myself to work one day and do a tutorial one day, but don't take this as a promise.

10 January 2011

GIMP and the falling sky

After an article about the development status and delay of the GIMP 2.8 release, many news sources talk about the app's doom and uncertain future. According to the article, "the only big chunk of work left to do for 2.8 is the optional single-window mode, for which the final design spec is also missing at the time", which is pretty much in line with the talks on the development mailing list. The bad thing is, there is no new release estimate either.

Now here are my two cents: last summer I tried for some months the development branch and this is what I have to say, the biggest and most anticipated feature, the single window mode is expected as the holy grail by those wanting a Photoshop clone on Linux, but are simple users, with no interest in contributing back (many times, they are not even users, making it as an excuse to stay with Photoshop). Trying it, I found it cute (it has an "Inkscape feeling", good for consistency) but not something I want to use, it wastes screen estate and makes harder to work with multiple documents at the same time. This coupled with a number of smaller annoyances made me return to the 2.6 branch with the upgrade from Fedora 13 to Fedora 14 and want to look again at it only after the release.

On the positive things, the news generated interest in donations, I bet the team would have liked coders more, but they will use what they get. There is some cash at hand (thousands of dollars, according to the mailing list) and people trying to figure a best use (bounties, hardware devices). So the sky is still up there, somewhere.

05 January 2011

On strike

So we bent over. And not only bent, also provided the lube and pretended we liked it. I have no intention of joining this play dirty, so I am stepping back for a while, will stop contributing to the Design Team for the rest of the development cycle for Fedora 15, after that we'll see what happens. Have fun.

What I am doing next? On Fedora land will focus mainly for a while on the local community where the things may get to an important crossroad in the next couple of months and there are a lot more FOSS communities in need of contributions. On the artsy things, will probably focus on photography, where I am saving money for another lens, which will probably complete my set for a while. And I have things in my personal life more important than those petty wars, politics and power-grab attempts.

Meet me at the upcoming FOSDEM for a more in depth talk about those things.