Yesterday I left my perfect little Häuschen and I'll be in a Pension when I get back to Linz. I'm in Nuernberg all this week, then I plan to walk around the alps for a week or so – Probably the Dachstein, and probably nothing too serious because the weather is becoming dangerous.


I find bookcrossing fascinating. Anything that connects cyberspace to the real world starts to look like a phenomenon. I hope that the recent word-of-mouth and activity is the start of a great success. I love to look at the lists of locations for cities that I know. For instance, Munich, Linz, Nuernberg, London. There are people out there, acting dangerously like individuals.

GNOME release team

GNOME 2.4 is in the last stages now, as stable as you'd expect an incremental time-based release to be. jfleck is working on the release notes again, so we can make a suitable hooha about the final release.

There's a hard code freeze (not for translation and documentation) that prevents any nasty instability creeping in when we don't have time to fix it. At this point we always get lots of freeze-break-requests. Most of them get approved and that's OK because the point is to force people to think very carefully, slow down, prioritize, and work with the relevant groups. We just check that they've considered what they should consider and talk to whoever they should talk to. Our response rate seems a bit better this time but I do always worry that, because we use a private mailing list, people don't see the queue of requests. They might think that they are just being ignored and they can't see how the process is working for other people.

At this stage, it seems to be the translators who are most active. I'm really impressed at the firm, considered way that menthos has been dealing with the string freeze-break requests. The GNOME internationalization/translation project is a great example of how a large group of people can build something together because they have the benefit of working withing a clear structure that functions only according to their needs.

I'm officially stepping down from the release team after 2.4. My reasons are

  • I try to do the stuff, or push for the stuff, that doesn't get done otherwise, and that's stressful.
  • Between my recent paid-work overtime, vagrant lifestyle, and connection problems, I can not give the time that I would like.
  • Hopefully I've documented us a bit more and made the process a little clearer, so I don't need to stick around to do more of that. An important part of that was making it very clear how people can get involved.
  • I strongly believe that people should not stay in positions of power for too long. We don't have much real power, but I have been able to make a fuss without people telling me to hush, a privilege that few of us deserve more than others. I hope that the release team membership continues to balance between continuity and flux, so it has the benefit of fresh ideas, attitudes, and perspectives while energising contributors and spreading the time-based release-process religion.

I will be missing out on the exciting GNOME 2.5/2.6 phase, which would have given ample opportunity for abuse of power:

  • You should see a questionnaire to the lists soon which will form the basis of some rough aims/roadplan for 2.6 and 2.8. It's like a higher-level How-To-Help lists of things to do.

  • GTK+ 2.4 will make a big difference, allowing us to make sense of the GNOME API that's been a bit confused recently. Some of that will probably wait for GNOME 2.8, but hopefully it will start in 2.4. I want to say “This is how it's done.” , rather than “Some people do this, some people do this.”. It should also make HIGification much easier, and of course it'll have the file selector dialog that Joe Slashdot has been going on hunger strike for.
  • The new modules that didn't make it into GNOME 2.4 (e.g. the media player and the keyboard switcher) should be ready for 2.6 and probably 1 or 2 more, so this could really be the GNOME that starts to look frighteningly complete.

But instead I can get back to the pleasant job of wrapping the new GTK+ 2.4 API in gtkmm and sharing in the resultant glory. Hopefully I'll do some actual hacking on GNOME itself.</a></a>