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    Blog has moved to, see December, 2003 on new site

    Blog entries for December, 2003

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    PowerPoint and Impress really are a bit clunky. I want to try Keynote. Was Keynote really implemented by one guy in one year? If so, why hasn't someone cooked up a nice open source alternative? Seems like a fun project to me.

    2003-12-30 (TUESDAY)
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    Having trouble updating this page lately; way too much going on, and the holidays combined with my trip to are enforcing enough downtime to make the uptime even more frantic.

    Tonight's Daily Show rerun had clips from MSNBC where they had constructed a model of Saddam Hussein's hole from plywood. The MSNBC anchor climbed inside it to demonstrate... how to lie in a hole? Some things can't be explained, even by Jon Stewart.

    I loved Lost in Translation.

    Ramble for the New Year

    Are we at some critical point where Microsoft starts to lose big? I don't agree with many of the specific comments/rationales in that article, it is the Inquirer after all. But coming into 2004, I do share a sense that a corner is being turned, in part because Linux is moving beyond the server, where UNIX was historically strong. The Linux desktop is finally gathering real momentum.

    If you count questionable flamewars I've been following the Linux desktop daily since at least 1997. At some point in there I started writing some awful code and later on learned what I was doing, thanks to copious cluebat from people such as Owen and Darin and Jon Trowbridge and the many others who taught me to write software.

    When I got involved I had no idea it would be six years of my life before things really started to heat up. Matthias Ettrich started KDE a year before I was even involved, and I faintly remember the early GIMP and GTK+. Can you believe it's been so long? Many people have been working far longer, of course.

    I feel exhausted sometimes; but everything up to now has been small! We've achieved perhaps 1% desktop marketshare, and the resources and effort around the Linux server have dwarfed what we have for the desktop. In the big picture we've barely gotten started. Joel says good software takes ten years.

    The hardest and longest work is only beginning. No matter how delayed it turns out to be, Longhorn will be here before we know it. Most of the code we need to write hasn't been written, and even as we face the technical challenges we'll have the organizational task of scaling the community to accomodate many more users and developers.

    Will Longhorn mean we move from HTML to XAML, or will as many people move to Linux as move to Longhorn? How will C# play out vs. Java? How will multimedia and DRM fit in? Will Microsoft have to change course on open source as it did with respect to the Internet? Will the open source movement be confined to the Linux operating system, or as Red Hat is hoping be a broader phenomenon? What will happen to Apple? What legal and political challenges will we face? When will we meet regular, nontechnical people on the street who take Linux for granted? Will we ever see the long-predicted move away from the general purpose desktop OS in favor of appliances and set top boxes? When will we go from 1% marketshare to 2%, and to 5%?

    It will be many years before we know if the original dream of a widespread free software desktop will come true -- that's the scary part. But the exciting part is that it seems on track so far, in fact it seems to be catching fire. And there are countless opportunities for anyone to dive in and have a huge impact on what our desktop is like, and whether it succeeds.

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    BTW, if you apply for a Red Hat job, you may want to send an extra copy of your resume to

    I'd encourage applying as soon as you can if you're interested, even if you aren't available to start immediately. We tend to fill positions quickly.

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    My first memory of Ettore is at GUADEC in Paris, where people went around yelling "Ettore!" because it was fun to say.

    It's not so fun to find out he's gone. Deepest sympathies to all his friends and family, and especially to the Ximian team.

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    If you're graduating this year or just interested in something new, you might consider these available positions at Red Hat.

    2003-12-06 (SATURDAY)
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    Some desktop developers at Red Hat have migrated to our Boston office over the last couple of years. Plus some new hires have started out there. Net result, it turns out everyone is in Boston and I'm in Raleigh. So I decided to follow the trend and go where the action is.

    This week we made a second trip to look for a place to live, and finally succeeded despite a massive snowstorm. One less worry, though something could still go wrong in theory.

    The house we may soon own was built in 1890 and has a white picket fence and an apple tree. We looked at a lot of houses and condos, and the choices are old and classic or new and sort of blah. A couple of new-ish houses that were nice, but not a lot. Mostly designed with a view to bullet points instead of good taste.

    I love modern houses, this one is really nice for example, but these houses exist primarily in magazines. The opposite extreme can be fun too though.