I’m here at UDS and I must say it’s a great atmosphere. I’m very much enjoying my time here and getting a chance to talk to some great minds about where ayatana is going and how it’ll be getting there. I’d really like to thank Mark, Jorge, David Barth and anyone else I haven’t mentioned who were involved in getting me here as it’s a great experience to meet people you’ve been working with face to face.
People ask, what are you doing for canonical?
?My current work involves improving the keyboard preferences and keyboard indicator, as well as getting involved in many of the other indicator bugs. Effectively, what we’re working on with keyboard is a merging of the current mess of preferences capplets. These include;
- Keyboard preferences
- Input Method Switcher
- Keyboard Input Methods
- Keyboard Shortcuts
Having 4 separate capplets is confusing, and it makes it difficult for users to figure out what they need to do just so they can type in their own language. The current path is based on the idea of having Keyboard Input Profiles, each profile consists of a Keyboard Layout, an optional Keyboard Input Method (using ibus) and the Input Method options. What we’re looking to do here is to provide a single place which is sensibly designed, has improvements to usability and utility, as well as reducing the number of capplets and the removal the separate ibus indicator which happens as a result of the merging of the preferences UI’s and the introduction of the Input Profiles.
There’s information on a wiki page detailing this work here. Including some mockups and a full explanation of what needs to be done. Feedback welcome.
We have a Keyboard Menu session tomorrow at 9am, and I’d like to appeal to any ibus users here to come, discuss, rant and rave so I can get a better understanding of what it is they want. Even if you’re not here, we’ve got IRC in each of the rooms so we can see your questions, and streaming audio so you can hear the discussion.
The elephant in the room
Ok, so unity as the default on the desktop? People have a problem with this? Why? For heavens sake, isn’t it time we stopped fighting amongst ourselves on items which can become religious issues? Really, it’s time this community got a grip and accepted competition rather than denouncing it.
In-fighting never helped any disruptive social group, for instance, ever wonder why animal rights protesters don’t really get much done? It’s simple, it’s because some of them think it’s OK to dig up human corpses, and others that it’s just not cool to wear fur. More extremist people try and force the less extremist people to follow their views (See numerous debates on GNU/Linux or, well, a hell of a lot of other subjects, but I’m sure you get the point).
There’s much much more I could say about the subject of extremism and how it works in society and how it becomes a force for bad rather than a force for good, if you’re religious about free software, you’ve already missed the point about disruptive technology. If you think you can change things by criticising a free software user because e.g. they own a Mac, then you’ve got the wrong idea entirely.
Something that’s really really hard to do
Building a free software desktop is something that is really really hard to do, this is something that lefty pointed out recently. He’s most certainly right in his overall analysis. However, to agree with him in one sense but disagree in another is to say, that what it takes to build a free software desktop is dedication, continuity and direction.
Ubuntu has all three of these things going for them, unity isn’t being created purely so they can compete with the GNOME shell, it’s being created so they can direct themselves without waiting any longer. So they can direct themselves toward a product not a simply linux distribution. So they can put Linux and GNOME in the hands of millions more people than is possible when you’re religious about software freedom, and won’t ship drivers, codecs and other bits and pieces that users actually NEED in order to do their work.
If you think it’s OK to substitute user satisfaction with a moral code then you’ll never be able to penetrate the market of the desktop operating system. If you realise that you have to make compromises on your own moral code in order to improve everyone’s experience with computing, then you’re on the right track.
The sum up
- Extremism = BAD, if you think digging up a dead person to prove a point about guinea pigs is OK, get your head looked at!
- Moral High Ground - Doesn’t convince ANYBODY, everybody lives in a glass house, stop throwing stones!
- Competition = GOOD, if you don’t like unity, make something better, get involved in competing projects and push things forward rather than back.
- If you want to change peoples perception about software, and show them a better way, don’t fight with the people who share the same views, fight with those who oppose you. I know it’s easy to avoid this because enemies are scary things when you only see them from afar, and it’s much easier to create enemies closer to home.