Social networking, fear it!

An article by Michael Geist, Facing up to Facebook fears, discusses the current trend in government and education to react negatively to Facebook and other social networking sites. The crux of Geist's argument is that these attempts to block social networking are misguided, miss opportunities for important social and civics lessons for all, and further isolate government officials and workers from their constituents. Social networks "are simply the internet generation's equivalent of the town hall."

In my own experience, I live in a small neighborhood that has a history of strong community action, especially when faced with criminal and social issues. We have a mailing list where community leaders are active in discussing issues and ideas, and regular (monthly) meetings. Because of the history of the group, which started in response to cleaning up neighborhood crime, there is a strong connection with the local police.

In fact, on the mailing list are the sergeant in charge of community relations, the lieutenant who oversees the beat cops who patrol our neighborhood, several current and former city council members/mayors, and multiple city staff who oversee services affecting our neighborhood.

This situation is very helpful for all. The police get a chance to educate us on how and when to contact them, to encourage us to keep calling in criminal activity to draw police attention to it, and so forth. City officials and staff get a first-hand knowledge of situations as they are arising, and can provide answers or steer questions. All involved get a chance to hear the concerns of civic leaders before anyone has to march in the streets. :)

This has been put to the test many times, and the value of this combination of citizens and civil servants is powerful and useful.

quaid no like finances, ugh!

One blissful time I returned from a business trip, sat down, and did my travel expenses right away. One time. Every other time, I have procrastinated through to minor or major pain. Ouch. Why do I keep doing this to myself?

So, yeah, here I am again. As usual, there is a good reason I was distracted for so long -- my wife has been in a Crohns flare-up for the last nine, ten weeks. That one started because we made continuous mistakes in yogurt production, leaving un-fermented lactose, which fed bad bacteria, which the body reacted to, and flare away! So began a bleary-eyed last two months, where I worked full-time except for a few weeks where the back-and-forth to the hospital and medical stuff was too much (so I took a few sick days), took care of Debbie, and homeschooled my daughters. Nothing quite like doing 3x the usual duties to distract myself.

Now that we are starting to come out of this situation (there is nothing like an antibiotic to solve a problem that was caused by another antibiotic), we've been looking around and trying to clean up some of the nastiness that has formed in the corners of our life. And I unearthed a small stack of bills from Bank of America, all for travel expenses incurred on the corporate credit card. For some stupid reason, I thought Red Hat paid these bills and I just had to get my expenses in; so I thought I was in arrears to Red Hat for getting my travel expenses turned in very late. Oh, no. Now I'm in hot water with everyone. :(

Is there such as thing as Financial Idiots Anonymous, a twelve-step program for people addicted to doing stupid things with money? Because frankly, every time I sit down to do expenses, my brain freezes, I get sweaty palms, and I don't get through. Meaning it is waiting for me again the next day. And the next. And the next. And now it's today.

FWN -- now with more whoopass

A few months ago, FWN writer/editor/do-it-all Thomas Chung, a founder of the venerable Fedora News, brought the production of Fedora Weekly News into the formal Fedora Project itself.

Since that time, a small but active group of contributors has greatly increase the quantity and quality of content. Beat writers now cover various sub-project mailing lists as the main way of covering what is happening in those projects. For example, the latest issue, FWN Issue 90, has extensive coverage on the heated discussions from fedora-devel-list last week. The summary is thorough, even-handed, and not a single bit boring.

Writing about technical issues for a wide audience of diverse interests is very challenging. The latest evolution of FWN is a great example of both growth in meeting that challenge and the advantages that an open collaboration bring to any endeavor.

For me, a great side-effect of editing FWN each week is actually knowing what is going on in all the projects. If you have news you want to contribute, send email to fedora-news-list, or go ahead and join the project.

Release the Content

As Paul wrote about earlier, lots of content that has been lining up got published tonight:

This release marks the first time that all content work was done in Fedora CVS ( Even with that switch in the middle, requiring translators to get new accounts and learn a few new processes, we were able to maintain the same amount of translation, over-all. In fact, we got translated to one additional language, compared to FC-6. This is with even more content than before.

When you hear that all of Fedora is now external and open to the community, know that the entire content creation and translation process is included in that.

Just a moment ago, I sent off the US English version of the release announcement. It's in the queue of fedora-announce-list, waiting to get released at zero-hour. We hope you enjoy it, it was a blast to write.

Not sure how this experiment is going to work out, but this release we asked Fedora Ambassadors and other native-language speakers to write their own release announcement. They are not translating something untranslateable, as our colloquial English release announcements usually are. This is good, because then we can be as creative as we want in our native language, not worrying about avoiding idioms for translators. These contributors are instead following a simple process that uses a list of talking points.

I also jammed this F7 release summary page together, just copying the introduction from the release notes. It could use something more, most likely.

Agreed that we need to give the overview page some content clean-up.

All-in-all, I am very happy with the performance, the quality, and the quantity of work done by the content writers and translators of Fedora. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Naturally, we don't get to sit still very long. We are continuing work on the Fedora User Guide, the Fedora Administration Guide, and merging the Software Management Guide into those two other guides, retiring that title. In addition, we're going to be directly in the middle of four Summer of Code projects dealing with content editing, publishing, upstreaming, etc.

Spank that webpage, it's been born again

Breathing new life into this URL:

In anticipation of heavy server loads during the upcoming Fedora 7 release, we decided to post a series of lightweight, static HTML pages as the front of Those pages quietly went live today.

This also lets us try out a new style, and decide how much of it we want to roll into the upcoming Plone installation.

The whole history is mainly on fedora-websites-list, and many people contributed to make the pages happen. In particular, Ricky Zhou and Máirín Duffy (design and CSS), Thomas Chung (content control), and Mike McGrath (Mr. Fixit) really pushed to make it happen. From the peanut gallery on fedora-websites-list, Bart, Craig, Paulo, Rahul, John B., Nicu, Adam, Damien, John P., Wilmer -- thanks for the CSS fixes, design and content tweaks, and support throughout.

Karsten sucks ...

... and life is a flamefest.

That is all.

(Post-script update -- sorry for the confusion, I was trying to make an inside joke for Red Hatters who read a recent love-a-thon flame-fest on an internal list about stuff that sucks. No worries about me! Thanks to mis amigos for their concern. Carry on ...)

Surprise visit

Last night, just as we finished The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, my cell phone rang with an unknown number in the CallerID. Surprise! It was Dimitris Glezos, on his way up Highway 1 from San Diego and the Red Hat Summit 2007.

Of course I had a few minutes, so Dimitris and Alex put my house in their navigation system, and a few minutes later we were all in front of my little node, shaking hands for the first time. Very cool for me, since one of my biggest regrets at not making the Summit this year was not getting to meet Dimitris. Although I'm sure there were other people I wanted to meet IRL, he was one in particular.

Dimitris -- thanks for taking the time to drop by. Hope you found somewhere good for dinner, Santa Cruz has waaaayyyyy too many choices. BTW, forgot to ask, everyone in my family thought Alex is your brother. Is that so?

Ah, there's my Red Hat Summit Mugshot group, thanks

Last year at the Red Hat Summit 2006, we introduced the very rad Mugshot. Along with that, the Red Hat Summit 2006 Mugshot group was created. It was a cool thing at the next morning's keynote when people throughout the audience were using Mugshot and the new group to web swarm about the speaker and his topics.

Since I'm not going to be at the Red Hat Summit this year[1], I wanted to join a Mugshot group to keep track of what is going on, while it is happening. One quick search later, and I am now a member of the (open) Red Hat Summit 2007 Mugshot group. Just like I wanted.

[1] We got our time (OGG) last year at the Summit to announce 108. A year later, I am still focusing on developers through 108, Fedora, and other online services. Unfortunately for me, there are more Red Hat developers talking at the Summit this year than there are attending. So, if I want to go spin my yarn in 2008, I have to make it a goal to get the % of developers attending 2008's Summit to be bigger. Maybe if I can double the numbers, I'll get a talk accepted. :)

Chat today about new JBoss strategy (26 April at 1700 UTC) on #108

This week, Red Hat announced an updated strategy for JBoss around community interaction and the future development direction of JBoss middleware/SOA components. I think this is interesting for people inside and outside of Java communities, and its a direction I'm really happy to see.

Today at 1700 UTC (1300 EDT), I'll be assisting in the background on a chat with Sacha Labourey, CTO of JBoss, a division of Red Hat. Moderating the chat is the product manager, Shaun Connolly. The chat is on #108 on, and we'll be taking questions in #108-questions, then feeding those back to the main (moderated) channel. How-to pointers for the IRC-impaired can be found at

The chat topics are around the new and improvements in the user, committer, and contributor experience. Also on the deck are the new Red Hat Developer Studio, the new Red Hat Developer Program, and Developer Subscriptions that support your team from prototyping to development to production. Overall, we'll be taking any questions on the open source-into-product processes around JBoss Enterprise Middleware platforms and frameworks.

Also, I'm curious how this chat format is going to work out. To find out if it is useful for developers. Since chats are a very easy way to interact live with a global audience, we might want to host more of these.

When it is all over, I'll get busy with and post the resulting Q/A from #108.