Kommandeering Developers Everywhere

Sunday, December 18, 2005


1) Just saw Syriana last night. Plenty of free seats since other movie patrons apparently selected other triumphs of cinema instead.
2) It's freezing in Minneapolis right now.
3) Canadians aren't allowed to play the Blues, because our neighbors to the north have nothing to complain about!
4) Triathlon off-season training is never helped by holiday season treats.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Excuse me, did you just call me pre-adaptive?

I will echo Aaron's recent blog entry that this paper on co-operative concepts is well worth reading. In fact, I'll be rereading it later today.

For some reason, fighting for food and mates for years has made humans a tad competitive. A necessary evil. I'm all for competition, but in some aspects of life, these core tendencies are counter-productive. Read as: you won't see me in a Walmart any time soon grappling with someone for the same 35-pound block of cheese (yes, those are both shots at Walmart and the related American consumption crisis).

So how does this apply to KDE?

Biological explanation:
Because we, along with our desktop peers, have reached escape velocity for survival. The risk of the software ecosystem making us extinct is asymptotically approaching zero. Apart from some unforeseen technological cataclysm, the current players (and maybe some new ones) are here to stay. So as our surroundings stabilize, we need to drop the survival instincts and move to more advanced ideas about societal structure and its benefits. Let's move away from food and shelter concerns and move toward actualization and philanthropy.

Marketing explanation: As I've ranted before, new markets trumpet the importance of the paradigm, not of their own product or service. It's counterproductive and dissonant to chirp about how one desktop is generically better than the other; that turns off potential "consumers." Will someone view a solution as mature if the creators are not?

So, what's important? Preaching the viability of the open source desktop to certain user profiles. Once educated, the prospective user can then determine whether GNOME, KDE, Xfce, or other that best suits their needs. Example: At trade shows for new markets such as EAI/BAM/SOA/Web Services, speakers talk about the importance of the solution, not about their company. Insightfulness and credibility lead interested parties to learn more about the speakers and their respective solutions, not bullet point arguments of superiority.

Cooperation on cross-platform solutions only help to mitigate new user risk. Why would we want to introduce some sort of open source vendor lock-in?

Technology explanation: It's easy to make fun of some standards committees. It's easy to make fun of bureacracy. But when it comes together, it's high-fives all the way around. But let's be clear: By standards I mean interoperability, not homogeneity. I don't want people locked into KOffice any more than MS Office. TCP/IP, XML, ODF: decoupling, modularity, choice. Good and successful standards flourish when they allow for and foster heterogeny.

Conclusion: Efforts such as this project are hopefully pre-adaptive. These efforts (along with past collaborations) set the stage for a mature Linux desktop for more and more user profiles. I'd rather that KDE have 45% of 20 million new open source desktops than 95% of 2 million new open source desktops.

So many thanks to those that are putting in the hours from the various software communities on such co-operation; everyone's going to benefit.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

KDE India

I'd like to welcome KDE India, recently announced on the Dot. Having a KDE group representing India is certainly needed, and most likely overdue.

Congratulations to all of those individuals who helped lay the foundation for this new group, and hopefully they have the success of some of KDE's other strong regional groups.

We'll all be taking notes on the work involved with KDE India, so that each new group can learn from the previous ones.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Productivity gains - two monitors

Why do I even bother? Two monitors can certainly be useful; and my current contract is a perfect example. I constantly need more virtual real estate. Who knew that a 15" laptop display could be insufficient? You knew.

The problem: My Windows XP build. I've never really had problems with Windows' ability to either clone or extend desktops in the past, but now when I need it the most (now), I'm handcuffed.

Any gain from temporarily having two monitors is lost from the constant tinkering needed to keep this house of cards going. I'm not talking quirky energy-saving/hibernation/shutdown behavior. I'm talking:
* One screen randomly shutting off while I'm typing
* Constant reordering of which is the primary monitor
* Inability to even hold the settings that I've chosen
* Inability to figure out what display device might be attached to a laptop, and what is attached through VGA
* Launching downsized applications to a display that doesn't exist because you gave up on dual monitors for several weeks, and have rebooted several times with no ill-effects, and are now suddenly forced to turn on the 2nd monitor and re-setup dual monitors just to get at your application.
* Being forced to use the same resolution in the best of circumstances because all of these inconsistencies totally JAM your ability to view anything when resolutions flip-flop.

Short of randomization routines or playful elves in my memory registers, I'm at a total loss as to how this interface works. It's a total shell game. I would rather solve a Rubik's Cube with my feet.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Honey, I shrunk the processor!

Apparently those Walt Disney imagineers are at it again, taking the ray guns from a laugh-a-minute 1989 movie and using their powers over at Intel.

45 nanometers? Are you kidding me? A short list of things easier than making a multi-core 45nm processor stable:
* New Olympic extreme sports
* Peace
* Network television shows that aren't totally insipid (with apologies to Arrested Development and Family Guy I suppose)

Dare I say: in the upcoming years the processor wars will be ... heating up?

Get ready for people bragging about dual-core PDAs and quad-core video cards and dodecahedron-core curling irons, because it's coming.