1. Yesterday was Day One of Linux Conference Australia (LCA), being held in Hobart, Tasmania. I mostly hung out in the sessions on the business side of free and open source. David Rowe did a nice job advocating for open hardware—something we never were quite able to achieve when I was at OLPC. Most of the speakers delivered pragmatic talks: how to engage with government (Pia Waugh), with large companies (Bdale Garbee), marketing (Joe Brokmeier), etc. The last speaker of the day, Lawrence Crumpton, talked about Microsoft's embracing of open source; his talk was titled Did Hell Freeze Over? Alas, the title was the highlight of the talk. The efforts he described as successes were all shallow and clumsy efforts at engagement with lots of strings attached. I don't think he once mentioned "free as in speech" and he essentially delegated FOSS efforts to the non-commercial sector. I, for one, remain skeptical. Actions will speak louder than words.
Pia and I did get started on a discussion about how best to move forward with one laptop per child in the region. She is rightly still enamored with the OLPC-XO-1 hardware, as it meets the needs imposed by the harsh environmental conditions faced in many of her potential deployment sites. We discussed strategies for building sustainable local support and the need for global cooperation in order to increase efficiency. We'll keep brainstorming. We've got a Birds of a Feather session at the end of the week that promises to bring more minds to the table as well.
I had dinner last night with Rob Savoye, among others. Rob continues to make progress on Gnash. He has some very nice results on the XO hardware—yes you can play Youtube videos and yes you can run a stand-alone SWF player for which we talked about putting together a simple Sugar wrapper. Rob's other big project right now involves finding workarounds to the plethora of proprietary codecs that encumber FOSS projects.
2. Occasionally my tendency towards addictive behavior emerges. I haven't been able to kick the habit of coding. I started working on the portfolio fork of Turtle Art last week during XO Camp and I wrote Python across the Pacific and I stayed up much to late last night after visiting some pubs coding. In the spirit of "eat your own dogfood", my goal is to get things into sufficient shape so as to be able to give my LCA talk using Turtle Art. I am close, but my Python and GTK skills are still pretty lacking. You can track my progress in gitorious—I am making frequent commits—and feel free to submit patches!! And my apologies to everyone for lack of eye contact.
Community jams, meet-ups, and meetings
4. As mentioned above, on Friday afternoon, 23 January, is an OLPC BOF at linux.conf.au in Hobart. It is an open discussion to explore strategies for community development and paths forward for OLPC and Sugar in the region. We expect attendees from Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific.
5. David Nalley blogged about Fedora and Sugar at the Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts January meeting this past week. He reports lots of enthusiasm now that getting involved with OLPC development is as easy as getting involved with Fedora.
6. Sugar Labs will be participating in Google Summer of Code. We are soliciting projects and mentors. Details soon.
7. As several people have pointed out, Gdium is donating laptops to developers (See Gdium) who might be interested in working on Sugar. The machines run Mandriva (which also runs on the Mobilis that is being considered for use in Brazil). Aleksey Lim has Sugar working on Mandriva (SeeCommunity/Distributions/Mandriva) and we hope to have Sugar packaged as part of the next release of Mandriva.
8. Tomeu Vizoso reports that he, along with Gary Martin and Ben Schwartz, has been "tricked" into starting a new mind-mapping Activity (See http://git.sugarlabs.org/projects/mindmap). Some of the interesting ideas that they are exploring are:
- the view widget can be embedded in a GNOME application
- collaboration using both Telepathy and Groupthink, working both in GNOME and in Sugar
This could be a model for making Sugar Activities run both within and outside of Sugar.
9. Recent software updates:
- etoys 4.0.2205
- telepathy-gabble 0.7.18
10. Gary Martin has generated another SOM from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see SOM).