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Safe as Milk
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Dave Neary's view of the world
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Drawing up a roadmap

Safe as Milk - Mon, 07/02/2011 - 9:05pm
One of the most important documents a project can have is some kind of elaboration of what the maintainers want to see happen in the future. This is the concrete expression of the project vision – it allows people to adhere to the vision, and gives them the opportunity to contribute to its realisation. This [...]

Cross-Desktop devroom at FOSDEM

Safe as Milk - Tue, 01/02/2011 - 5:28pm
I’ll be giving a revised, updated version of my “Community anti-patterns” talk at FOSDEM this Saturday in the cross-desktop devroom, room H.1309, at 14h. While the talk definitely looks at some things that can be wrong in a community (or indeed any organisation), I also try to give some tips on how individuals can make [...]

The Ladybird Guide to Business Intelligence

Safe as Milk - Wed, 26/01/2011 - 11:33am
Recently I have found myself frustrated by the lack of a very simple, compelling overview for Business Intelligence explaining what problems it solves, and how. For example, the Pentaho BI platform FAQ has a promising first question: “What is a business intelligence (BI) platform?” The answer is typical of BI overviews I have seen: A comprehensive development [...]

The Lifecycle of a Patch (or: Working Upstream)

Safe as Milk - Fri, 14/01/2011 - 3:45pm
Reposted from Neary Consulting Yesterday I looked into what it means to be a maintainer of a package. Today, I’m going to examine how to affect change in a distribution like MeeGo, and what it means to work upstream. To do so, we’re going to look at how code gets from a developer’s brain [...]

What’s involved in maintaining a package?

Safe as Milk - Thu, 13/01/2011 - 5:06pm
Reposted from Neary Consulting An interesting question was asked on a MeeGo mailing list recently: What does it mean to be a maintainer of something? How much time does it take to maintain software? It resulted in a short discussion which went down a few back alleys, and I think has some useful [...]

Community Building Guide

Safe as Milk - Thu, 06/01/2011 - 2:00pm
I wrote another guest article for the VisionMobile blog last week, which just went live yesterday, titled “Open Source community building: a guide to getting it right”. Exerpt: Community software development can be a powerful accelerator of adoption and development for your products, and can be a hugely rewarding experience. Working with existing community [...]

Follow-up to “Shy Developer Syndrome”

Safe as Milk - Sat, 18/12/2010 - 9:29pm
Reposted from My article on “Shy Developer Syndrome” a few weeks ago garnered quite a bit of interest, and useful feedback. Since a lot of it adds valuable perspectives to the problem, I thought I should share some of my favourite responses. Here on, Rodney Dawes argued that developers tend to stay away [...]

Curing “Shy Developer Syndrome”

Safe as Milk - Wed, 08/12/2010 - 7:39pm
From the Neary Consulting blog: One of the most common issues I have seen with experienced professional software developers who start to work on community software is a reluctance to engage with public communication channels like mailing lists. Understanding the reasons why, and helping your developers overcome their timidity, is key to [...]

Novell acquired by Attachmate: What does it mean?

Safe as Milk - Tue, 23/11/2010 - 3:45pm
Novell will be bought by a North American group called Attachmate that appears to be made up of financiers buying assets as investments. As someone who has seen one acquisition of a company by financiers up-close, and an acquisition of legacy products, where they languished as cash cows, I feel partly qualified to guess what [...]

MeeGo Conference: building bridges (literally!)

Safe as Milk - Sun, 14/11/2010 - 1:06pm
As part of the early bird events before the MeeGo conference this week, I ran a lollipop bridge building contest last night at the conference venue. The rules were simple: 100 lollipop sticks, a glue gun, and you have to bridge a 40cm gap, and resist as much weight as possible. We had about 40 [...]

MeeGo Progress Report

Safe as Milk - Mon, 08/11/2010 - 7:37am
Some of you may be interested in a guest article I wrote for the VisionMobile blog reviewing the state of MeeGo eight months after its announcement: “The MeeGo Progress Report” Some excerpts: On the state of the MeeGo application developer story: From the point of view of tools, documentation and software distribution channels, MeeGo is undoubtedly behind [...]

Thought of the day

Safe as Milk - Sat, 06/11/2010 - 11:05am
When I was growing up in a small village in the West of Ireland, we had a bitter rivalry with people from Belmullet, the next town over. In sports, and in school, it was always “them” and “us”. I went to boarding school in a much bigger town, Ballinasloe. It’s fair to say that not everyone [...]

Flashback to 2007: “GNOME will be a platform or a big tent”

Safe as Milk - Thu, 28/10/2010 - 3:54pm
I was more than a little amused when (in a vanity exercise) I re-read Joe Brockmeier’s 2007 profile of me while I was OpenWengo community manager. Among the topics we talked about was where I saw GNOME going, and I said this: Neary says he thinks GNOME will either grow into different projects — such [...]

A modest proposal re. Unity

Safe as Milk - Tue, 26/10/2010 - 10:13am
Having slept on it since writing my initial reactions yesterday I now have a proposal for Canonical & GNOME, which I hope the people concerned will consider. Yesterday, I said “the best possible outcome I can see is that one of the two projects will become an obvious choice within a year or so”. So my [...]

Ubuntu to move to Unity as default desktop for 11.04

Safe as Milk - Mon, 25/10/2010 - 6:19pm
At this stage, most people will have heard the news: Ubuntu 11.04 will ship with Unity as the default desktop shell. This raises a few questions: what does this mean for GNOME, and the adoption of GNOME Shell? Will this further affect the relationship between Canonical developers and others working on the same problems? First things [...]

Oracle,, LibreOffice

Safe as Milk - Thu, 21/10/2010 - 9:03am
There has been a lot of commentary in recent days about the community council decision to ask people who have aligned themselves with The Document Foundation (TDF) to resign their seats on the council. So, of course, what we need is a little bit more commentary. First, when reading the minutes, it’s worth noting that [...]

GNOME Census report released

Safe as Milk - Thu, 29/07/2010 - 3:00pm
I was delighted to see that the GNOME Census presentation I gave yesterday at GUADEC has gotten a lot of attention. And I’m pleased to announce a change of plan from what I presented yesterday: The report is now available under a Creative Commons license. Why the change of heart? My intention was [...]

GNOME Census

Safe as Milk - Wed, 28/07/2010 - 11:15am
(Reposted from Neary Consulting) Today at GUADEC I presented the results (Slides are now on slideshare) of the GNOME Census, a project we have been working on for a while. For as long as I have been involved in GNOME, press, analysts, potential partners and advisory board members have been asking us: How big [...]

Rotten to the (Open) Core?

Safe as Milk - Mon, 19/07/2010 - 2:01pm
Open core, Open core,  more Open core… the debate goes on and on, with Monty the latest to weigh in. When you get down to it this is a fight over branding – which is why the issue is so important to the OSI folks (who are all about the brand). I don’t actually [...]

GNOME Training confirmed!

Safe as Milk - Fri, 02/07/2010 - 5:50pm
A few days ago, I took the risk of setting off alarm bells on the GNOME developer training sessions planned for GUADEC this year. It was a risk, and comments from the naysayers reminded me that it’s easier to do nothing than it is to take a risk. I’m happy to say that the risk [...]


Safe as Milk - Fri, 02/07/2010 - 9:46am
No, not the film. While I’ve been back in Ireland it’s been impossible to avoid “Discover Ireland” promoting the country as a tourist destination for locals, with ads backed by an infectiously catchy tune. I’d never heard the group before, so I went hunting and found Heathers, an Irish duet of teenage girls who seem just a [...]

GNOME Developer Training in danger

Safe as Milk - Mon, 28/06/2010 - 6:01pm
The take-up on the GNOME Developer Training sessions at GUADEC (pdf brochure) has been below expectations. Without going into the details, we’re in a situation where running the training would cost the foundation and the organisers more money than canceling. If we have not had a number of people sign up for the training by Wednesday [...]

links for 2010-06-18

Safe as Milk - Fri, 18/06/2010 - 10:01am
Lunchtime run 17/6/10 (tags: running training)

Sabotage and free software

Safe as Milk - Wed, 16/06/2010 - 10:50am
Who knew that educating people in simple sabotage (defined as sabotage not requiring in-depth training or materials) could have so much in common with communicating free software values? I read the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual (pdf) which has been doing the rounds of management and security blogs recently, and one article on “motivating saboteurs” [...]

Last chance for early bird rate for GNOME training

Safe as Milk - Fri, 11/06/2010 - 3:40pm
Registration for the GNOME Developer Training courses at GUADEC is still open on the GUADEC registration site – and the early bird rate of €1200 is available for all orders received until next Tuesday June 15th. So if you’ve been hesitating or delaying signing up, the time is now! As a reminder of what’s included in [...]


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