Hi all,
Today’s post would be about day 2 of gnunify09.

Disclaimer :- Probably have bias about FOSS and wikipedia as use and contribute in both

I attended 3 talks/presentations and a BOF today. The first was of Mozilla. It was an interesting interactive session. There were pretty interesting threads he touched upon, right from how Mozilla was born from Netscape to the success its enjoying on the desktop these days. They also showed where mozilla is heading in the near future (a snapshot of the mozilla trunk) as well as open standards. Couple of things they showed were SVG renderings (compared to plain .jpg) as well as the video element of HTML 5 . They were pretty gung-ho about .ogg and h.264 as well.

I do have concerns about not having .svg tools both on Windows as well as GNU/Linux for widespread use.The only one which is known to a few is inkscape and Apache’s Batik by a lesser number of people still . There should be atleast 2-3 alternatives. Infact the wikipedia page for SVG gives a much more realistic view both to the tools as well as browser support for the same.

In fact mozilla should take leadership and have a tool for the same. Also perhaps work with the inkscape developers. Infact Mozilla does have a google group to discuss these topics.

One of the more interesting things they showed was the bespin IDE which had just been launched by mozilla few days ago. It has support for rendering in different browsers within the same interface as well as an integrated chat interface. It was missing notably the Google Chrome Browser as well as not known if support for XMPP would be there. For those who don’t know XMPP eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) (formerly known as Jabber) is an open, XML-inspired protocol for near real time, extensible instant messaging (IM) and presence information (a.k.a. buddy lists). The protocol is built to be extensible and other features such as Voice over IP and file transfer signaling have been added. Simply put something like IRC (which unfortunately never became a standard but having presence (where you are) alongwith other things outlined.

Another There were lot many interesting things as well as mozilla is large and there still were many things which needed more time. They are doing something tomorrow as well so perhaps those queries/questions could be answered as well.

While the demo was cool, the only query I had was with their messaging client built-in. Arun didn’t know whether they would be supporting or not the xmpp protocol.
for thousands of users ‘View Source’ has been a boon 🙂

Please do keep in mind, this is also in the backdrop of Mozilla joining EU’s fight against MS.

The other interesting talk was ‘User as Contributor: Best Practices for Growing Open Source Communities’ by Alolita Sharma.

The only issue I have/had with that one is the word ‘Best Practises’ as I feel its still evolving but that’s my take on the same.

That was also good and she shared some of the characteristics of large, open projects having distributed development and feedback.

One of the more interesting points that did come up for discussion was how sometimes one person personifies the company, for e.g. Steve Jobs for Mac, Bill Gates for Windows and some place behind Mark Shuttleworth for Ubuntu.

While Alolita was right that any news of Steve Jobs has a positive or negative rating on Apple Inc’s I’m not so sure about the same for Mark Shuttleworth. His blog does show some interesting stuff as to where he feels things should move and asks the community for opinions on the same. Something which I read about a month ago or so is while Ubuntu is close to being break-even Mark wants to invest more in the desktop integration space so they do continue to have a leading edge on the same vis-a-vis other distributions.

In fact, there was lot of ground to cover in the highly interactive session and it did overshoot the original timeslot given.

The next talk I attended was FREEeconomics:the economics of free/open source given by Navin Kabra of PuneTech . This was directed more at start-ups and businesses that are courting/starting to use and understand FOSS for their business. That again was an interesting talk as he tried to share with people the various business models which most of the FOSS companies/projects compete. One of the models which he opined as threatened is the Gift Economy model of which wikipedia is one of the biggest examples/users.

While its true they had issues raising the money required for this year, its also true that they have had to scale up as well.

What has been perhaps overlooked in the process is the scale at which this problem/situation is happening. From an interested, yet party from afar the only issue I have seen in the entire scene is Jimmy Wales not being either an effective communicator (or as some people feel not enough transparent) and it has been having an effect on Wikipedia as well.

Another interesting point he made about was the ‘Attention Economy‘ as well ‘Reputation Economy‘ both of which are more or less share a convergence of the same idea.

There was an attempt to get into free software vs Open Source which I didn’t really want to get into as there are many many views, perspectives and all. Once you touch that, you have to get into licensing, copyright, copyleft and the various shades of stuff in-between and it was too late in the day for that.

All in all, from a B.Com guy’s perspective, made me remember my earlier days, fascinating to say the least 🙂

Last but not the least was the BOF of OLPC .

The issues I have with the project is

a. Its only limited to kids :- Nothing for adults like me with big hands 😦

b. While it gave birth to the whole class of netbooks they could give serious competition.

Of course the advantages of it is people who would be learning/deploying it should become intimate with :-

a. The hardware itself
b. Small repairs to the XO
c. Troubleshooting and maintaining small wi-fi (mesh) networks
d. Teamwork
e. Understanding of Constructionist Learning the basis on which sugar OS and OLPC itself is based.

Although I also have to say, I had mixed feelings with my last experience.

That’s all for now. /me out.

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