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Safe as Milk
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Dave Neary's view of the world
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Connecting Apache httpd to Tomcat with mod_jk: The bare minimum

Safe as Milk - Fri, 09/12/2011 - 8:55pm
Earlier this week, I wrote: I hate docs that tell you what to do, but not why. As soon as a package name or path changes, you’re dust. This is maybe the 4th time I’ve been configuring Apache to delegate stuff to Tomcat using mod_jk, and every time is just like the first. For those [...]

Community Software Development training course

Safe as Milk - Wed, 07/12/2011 - 4:33pm
For the past few months, I have been offering a new service – a training course tailored to helping a team be effective working with community projects – whether that is engaging an existing community, or growing a community around new code. Details of the topics I cover are up on my site. Developing software [...]

Jeudi du Libre: “How to use Git to look good”

Safe as Milk - Mon, 21/11/2011 - 4:56pm
I will be giving a short training session on Thursday December 1st 2011 at 19h30 in the Maison pour Tous, la Salles de Rancy, on the subject “Présentation et initiation à l’utilisation de Git pour la gestion d’un projet communautaire (ou comment donner l’impression qu’on est un super codeur ?)”(roughly translated: “A presentation of Git [...]

Encouraging empathy

Safe as Milk - Fri, 18/11/2011 - 12:03pm
A couple of days ago, I tweeted this: “Insight of the day: All “community norms” documents come down to one word: Empathy. Think how others will feel before you act.” I think that’s worth developing on. Here are a few examples: GNOME Code of Conduct: “If someone asks for help it is because they need [...]

What community?

Safe as Milk - Thu, 06/10/2011 - 8:00pm
With the announcement of Tizen (pronounced, I learned, tie-zen, not tea-zen or tizz-en) recently, I headed over to the website to find out who the project was aimed at. I read this on the “Community” page: The Tizen community is made up of all of the people who collectively work on or with Tizen: Product [...]

Humanitarian Software – Using technology to help humanity

Safe as Milk - Thu, 22/09/2011 - 2:37pm
Tomorrow, Friday September 23rd, the Humanitarian FOSS track at the Open World Forum will bring together leaders from some of the most important humanitarian software projects and case studies of the impact these projects are having on people’s lives around the world. I’m happy to have been allowed to chair the track, and I am [...]

Humanitarian FOSS at Open World Forum 2011 – schedule online

Safe as Milk - Mon, 19/09/2011 - 5:39pm
After some last minute confirmations, cancellations and other trials and tribulations, I am very happy with the final line-up for the  Humanitarian FOSS track at the Open World Forum this year. We have a range of projects attending and speaking this year which will cover both crisis response (crowdsourcing first responder information, document and information [...]

The Cost of Going it Alone

Safe as Milk - Thu, 01/09/2011 - 9:38pm
These are speaker notes from a presentation I gave at the Desktop Summit 2010, on a topic I’ve written about in the past. The slides for the presentation are on the conference website (PDF link). I’m going to talk about the costs associated with modifying and maintaining free software “out of tree” – that is, [...]

Tips for attending conferences

Safe as Milk - Thu, 01/09/2011 - 3:54pm
The Blue Advocado (formerly Board Café) is one of my favourite newsletters – there’s always at least one article I want to read, and the area of non-profit management is such a broad and deep one that there’s always something to learn. This month’s issue has some great tips on how to get more out [...]

The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight « You Are Not So Smart

Safe as Milk - Thu, 01/09/2011 - 1:17pm
While reading “The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight”, it occurred to me that the real cost (and tragedy) of Unity and GNOME Shell, or KDE and GNOME, is that it turns us into “us” and “them” – and at that point it is really easy to fall into the trap of reducing all criticism to “haters [...] in Apache: The Next Step

Safe as Milk - Fri, 15/07/2011 - 9:22am
A few weeks ago, I wrote about what submitting OOo to Apache meant for the various parties involved. In particular, I said “IBM can continue to develop Symphony, with a licence it’s happy with.” Yesterday, I saw that  IBM will contribute Symphony to This is a natural next step for them for a number [...]

Harmony Agreements reach 1.0

Safe as Milk - Wed, 06/07/2011 - 6:00pm
The Harmony agreements reached a significant milestone this week, as they were tagged 1.0 and left the “beta” stage. As someone who has previously taken position regarding contributor licensing agreements, I was asked this week what my thoughts on Harmony are. First off, let me say that I have not followed the Harmony process closely. [...]

Searching for Matt Damon

Safe as Milk - Fri, 01/07/2011 - 2:13pm
I’m hoping I have some well connected readers out there… As the co-ordinator of the Humanitarian FOSS track this year at the Open World Forum, some issues are coming up over and over as areas where free software is making a difference: providing infrastructure for microfinancing, linking donors with local community doers more efficiently for [...]


Safe as Milk - Fri, 24/06/2011 - 7:20am
Does everyone know about GNOME News? Since we moved to WordPress, we have a news channel, syndicated “below the fold” on the front page of, and updated regularly with news, announcements and articles from around the GNOME world. In the past few weeks, we have published interviews with Desktop Summit keynotes Thomas Thwaites [...]

Humanitarian Free/Open Source Software at the Open World Forum

Safe as Milk - Fri, 10/06/2011 - 9:49am
I’m happy to be co-ordinating the “Humanitarian Free/Open Source Software” track at this year’s Open World Forum. The call for participation is now open. I’ve already been in contact with some great organisations including Ushahidi, CrisisCommons and Akvo, and I plan to contact Sahana and Benetech about the conference too. I’d love to get more [...]

Article: Collaboration Myths from Gartner

Safe as Milk - Wed, 08/06/2011 - 1:48pm
Interesting article from Gartner which has some relevance to my recent proposal for a gnome-design mailing list: Gartner Identifies Five Collaboration Myths. Exerpt: Myth 1. The right tools will make us collaborative Technology can make it easier to collaborate when applications mirror a more intuitive, fluid work style, but selecting a tool without addressing roles, [...] to Apache: What does it mean?

Safe as Milk - Fri, 03/06/2011 - 4:10pm
As many have probably heard, Oracle and IBM jointly proposed that become an Apache project this week. The news surprised me, and made me think about what’s in it for each of the parties involved. What does it mean for Apache project status brings with it a number of prerequisites which will affect [...]

Effective mentoring programs

Safe as Milk - Tue, 31/05/2011 - 3:36pm
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about mentoring programs, what works, what doesn’t, and what the minimum amount of effort needed to bootstrap a program might be. With the advent of Google Summer of Code and Google Code-In, more and more projects are formalising mentoring and thinking about what newcomers to the project might be [...]

Patches – gifts, or pooled resource?

Safe as Milk - Fri, 20/05/2011 - 10:42pm
During UDS recently, Mark Shuttleworth talked about contributor agreements during his keynote. Mark compared contributing a patch to a project while refusing to sign a CLA, to giving someone a plant for their garden, while attaching the condition that they couldn’t sell the house without your permission. This got me thinking. Is a patch really [...]

Desktop Summit t-shirt design contest

Safe as Milk - Thu, 12/05/2011 - 9:51am
The closing date for the Desktop Summit t-shirt design contest is coming up fast! I have not heard much about it, so it seems like we need to get the word out about it. You can submit a t-shirt design by email to ds-team@desktopsummit.orgin SVG format, and the winner will get printed on the official [...]

Getting people together

Safe as Milk - Mon, 09/05/2011 - 4:27pm
One of the most important things you can do in a free software project, besides writing code, is to get your key contributors together as often as possible. I’ve been fortunate to be able to organise a number of events in the past 10 years, and also to observe others and learn from them over [...]

Media Training at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit

Safe as Milk - Fri, 18/03/2011 - 2:25pm
One of the things which is often lamented in free software projects is our marketing and press relations. While it’s important to avoid unfair generalisations, we have traditionally been reactive, not proactive, in dealing with the press. A few months ago, I was talking to Jennifer Cloer, the Linux Foundation’s Director of Communications, and I asked [...]

Lessons learned

Safe as Milk - Fri, 11/03/2011 - 12:51am
After my rather controversial question a few days ago and multiple reactions from around the KDE & Canonical world, a lot of reading and digging into archives, and a lot of conversations with people across the spectrum, I have some preliminary findings and lessons which I hope can serve us going forward to help improve [...]

Has GNOME rejected Canonical help?

Safe as Milk - Mon, 07/03/2011 - 3:14pm
Through the fall-out from the Unity decision, and now the fall-out from the packaging of Banshee on Natty, I have repeatedly read Canonical & Ubuntu people say “We offered our help to GNOME, and they didn’t want it”. Exhibit #1: For starters, some people in the GNOME community moan about how Ubuntu doesn’t pull its weight [...]

Where do we go from here?

Safe as Milk - Wed, 16/02/2011 - 11:43am
The post-Elopocalypse angst has been getting me down over the past few days. It’s against my nature to spend a lot of time worrying about things that are decided, done, dusted. It was Democritus, I think, who said that only a fool worries about things over which he has no control, and I definitely identify [...]


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