Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't worry about them, worry about yourself.

This is a response to Jono's Blog about "Making our world more respectful".

There's always going to be debates in life, whether it be your job, your hobby, your mother, your spouse etc.. there's no avoiding it wherever you go.  The debates that Jono mentions are those between different FOSS communities, we're all in it for the same goal, but we all want to go in different directions.  Depending on the individual and how strongly they believe in their side will determine how your interactions with them will be.

In my opinion, I see the following four groups individuals can be put in for debates:

These type of people are the newbies to the topic.  They typically start by picking a side and getting a feel to start with.  The ability to change these peoples minds are fairly easy, and they are a common target for the spirited individuals which I will mention later.  The most common mistake of the unknowledged is jumping straight into unchangeable without getting any feel for both sides.

Good Grasp
These type of individuals are those who have hung out as the unknowledged for long enough that they have enough information to reasonably pick a side, and really have a good grasp on the topic.  They can now expand their knowledge by talking to the spirited individuals on their side.  The ability to change their minds will take a fair amount of discussion, but is definitely in the realm of possibilities.

These individuals have spent a good amount of time talking to others about their topic that they start to really believe in their side.  These individuals are still open to viewpoints on the other side, and will give a great analysis about their side, and make for a very intriguing discussion.  It would take a great realization for these individuals to change sides, but these individuals tend to agree to disagree and move on.

These individuals have gone overboard.  They have taken their side as the only way to go.  To these individuals there are no alternative options but their own.  Getting into debates with these individuals is futile.  They will continuously harass you, with the sole intention of forcing you to see their side only and berate you until you do.  There is no agreeing to disagree.  You've already told them you don't agree with their viewpoint and therefore you are deemed an enemy for life.

The place where I hope to see everyone in every community is in the spirited department.  I love having discussions with those who believe strongly in an opposing viewpoint that will give me a very intriguing and philosophical discussion.  If it comes to agreeing to disagree, then so be it.  It's funny, but it's those that I agree to disagree with that I become good friends with.  I believe this to be the case for a lot of others out there.

The effect of the unchangeables is that they are the most visible in the communities.  They strive to make a scene, spread their viewpoint, won't take no for an answer.  From the outside, it can commonly appear scary to those who are in the unknowleged category, and are yet to really take a side.  They see the hostility, and they just walk the other way.

For those who are reading this, I don't want you to worry about the unchangeables.  It's pointless.  You should worry about yourself, and make your way to the good grasp and spirited categories.  Ignore the commotion, and make those in the spirited community more visible by being a part of their group.  It's not up to others to form your opinion about the FOSS community, it's solely up to your ability to look past the unchangeable and communicate with those who are truly open to discussion without hostility and make your own opinion.  The more we can learn to communicate with each other in a non hostile way, the better everyone and everything turns out in the end.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Response to Mark Shuttleworth
"Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption"

Since the comment feature was broken on marks blog, I figured it was enough of a response that a blog entry would be worth it.

I have long been toted by friends that I can have an inspirational tone to my words at times when my friends need it most.  For sure Mark has trumped me in the inspiration department, and I can't say this is the first time either.

I have had the privilege of "growing up" with a lot of the people Mark mentioned in the article.  Although I've never met 99% of the people I interact with on a consistent basis in person, I have a strange connection with them all and I consider most of them friends.  The bond of people working towards a similar goal has allowed this to happen, and I think thats among the things that Ubuntu offers as well that can easily get overlooked.

My LoCo (District of Columbia/ Washington DC) spent this past weekend sitting at a booth at a local folk festival promoting Ubuntu.  What I was expecting to hear most of the day was that people haven't heard of Ubuntu or Linux, and that I at least would get some great practice in saying the same thing over and over again.  In fact it was quite the opposite.  There were a lot of people that have heard of Ubuntu, most hadn't used it, but some had.  We "gave up" our own laptops that day so we'd have something to demonstrate to the festival participants, and to those people that hadn't used it before but heard of it were quite interested in trying it out after seeing it in action.  The coolest part of the entire day was every time that I handed a free Ubuntu CD to those interested and mentioned that they could try the OS out without any risk of damaging their current OS, they all had this shocked and surprised look on their face with how easy it really was to try Ubuntu out.  I have worked at booths before and never have I had so much fun.  Talking about Ubuntu made the day go by way too fast, I wanted to be there for longer.

I'll continue doing what I have been doing for a good while now.  Making a difference with every opportunity I get.  Ubuntu is one of many, but it definitely makes it easier when everyone I interact with in the Ubuntu community has the same goals that I do.  Although the outside sees contributions in code, those of us on the inside know that what we really do is far greater than bits and bytes will ever be.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Introducing new Ubuntista (and Ubuntu Trap author) Philip Kneitinger

Hey Ubuntistas,

I'm extremely pleased to announce a new author for the Ubuntu Trap.  I decided to ask him a few introductory questions to help you get an idea of how epically awesome Phil is.

Who is Phil K?
I'm a native son and ardent supporter of Buffalo, NY, and also the author and editor of Black & Blue & Gold. I'm a single dad with a kick-*ss son and I'm into heavy metal, being an amateur foodie, collecting hockey jerseys and vinyl records, and watching freaky foreign flicks.

Everyone has their story about getting into Ubuntu, what's yours?
My brother is a huge evangelist for open source. He heard me yelling at my laptop in frustration one day, and suggested Ubuntu. Then he suggested it again, and again, and again, and again. Finally I relented and haven't looked back since.

People are always weary about switching to Ubuntu from another OS.  From your experience how would you go about enticing them to join the Ubuntu community?
There are two ways to go about this: push inclusion on big box desktops and push the improved casual user experience. Dell already includes the OS, but doesn't do a very good job marketing it. If my own experience with Ubuntu is the norm, then it's a far superior casual user experience over Windows and ought to be presented as such. Sure, it takes getting used to the new application installation process (.deb instead of .exe), but it's WELL worth it.

What do you most look forward to in Ubuntu MM?
I'm most excited for the streamlined and upgraded graphical presentation and application integration of the desktop/laptop version of Meerkat, but the Unity interface for netbooks has me giddy. I'm most likely getting a netbook as my next computer, so I'll be keeping a close eye on its development.

I can't wait for the day that Canonical announces the beginning of the Ubuntu tablet project so I can get something kickass like an Archos 9 or the like and be able to load up a fully touch-functional build of Ubuntu.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Empathy, you redesign the contact entry!

Hi Ubuntistas,

There is discussion going on in GNOME for Empathy on where a great place to put the protocol icons would be.  With some new enhancements that are on their way into Empathy, there will also be a cell phone icon signifying those contacts that are mobile.

Currently the contact entries look like this:

Notice that the protocol icons are in the status icon.

Now since there is the soon-to-be addition to Empathy for mobile statuses, there is going to be a cell phone icon to notify you of this case.  The issue that is going on in Empathy is one about where this cell phone is to be placed in the contact entry.  Look at the following empathy-dev mockup:

Without having to read through the bug, the gist of the issue is that the icons on the right are really for user interaction (i.e. the camera can be clicked on to start a voice chat with someone), and the phone should go somewhere else.

I have since then submitted a mockup of my idea for a placement of the protocol and phone icons as follows:

Now, where do you come into this picture?  I would like to get users submissions as to new mockups for contact list entries.  I'm not just talking about the protocol and phone icon placement, I'm talking about a complete redesign of the contact entry.

There has to be the following items in the contact entry:
  a)contact name
  b)contact icon
  c)status icon
  d)protocol icon
  e)phone icon
  f)webcam icon
  g)status message

Please submit them to me in an e-mail to, but don't attach any mockups you make, please upload them to an online source and send the link in the e-mail.  You can also post your mockup links in the comments section of this blog for others to look at.

Happy Ubuntuing!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Website Help Request

Hey all out there in Ubuntu land.

I host a space weather forecasting contest on my Ubuntu machine at work.  (Yes, I was brilliant enough to convince my employer to use Ubuntu).  I am looking for some help making the site design much more up to todays standards, I am not a design expert hence why you'll laugh at seeing my site.

If you are interesting in making the site look better than what you see in the picture, you can read more about it at my other blog


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adium Theme Ubuntu Changes

There has been a small change to the adium-theme-ubuntu made for maverick (a patch by om26er on freenode irc) that everyone can now check out on Lucid through my PPA.

What you should notice (and only notice) is that there was a change in the font.  If you didn't know already, Gwibber and Empathy both use the same theme, but Empathy's font was noticeably smaller.  This change probably won't make it into Lucid based on talks I've had with the maintainers, but if there is enough interest in this change based on the comments in this post, I will talk to a few of the maintainers and see what I can do.

To the left is the maverick adium-theme-ubuntu and to the right is the lucid one


Happy Ubuntu-ing
~Brian C.

Friday, March 12, 2010

2 reasons not to use when claiming Lucid changes are bad

This blog is in response to

1: Ubuntu users aren't used to the change
I'm getting pretty sick and tired of the Ubuntu users out there that revert to saying that all changes that canonical has made to Ubuntu for 10.04 are bad "because Ubuntu users aren't used to them".  I don't really see how you can consider anything change unless something has ... well ... changed.  Yes, these same people that are making those claims are the same people that are out there complaining about there being no changes.

What's wrong with there being change for the sake of change?  I learned Ubuntu not by someone telling where every little button is, but by playing around with the UI and seeing where everything is for myself.  Even the typical egghead when it comes to computers knows that there will be a close/maximimize/minimize button somewhere in the top of a window.  Just because it's magically been moved to the other side doesn't mean Ubuntu's gone to the crapper.

2: Windows users will get confused if they want to switch
I'm kind of expanding on my last statement here, but it's not exactly rocket science here trying to find out where things are on the Desktop GUI.  I would imagine that most people that want to make the switch to Ubuntu aren't going to go crazy and get depressed because things "aren't where they should be".

I don't see the macintosh users out there going "hmm, I'm not sure if the windows users who switch over to macintosh are going to like that the title bar menu options are now right next to the window title" or "oh gosh, windows users are going to spontaneously combust when they see the close/maximize/minimize buttons on the left hand side".

The ability for the new Ubuntu user to use their common sense is something that too many people are ignorant of.  There is no reason that a single change made so far by the team at Canonical should be seen as something any new Ubuntu user can't get a grasp of with the use of a little common sense.

I for one am happy that Canonical has finally decided to make some decent UI changes to Ubuntu, because thats something that I get to look forward to on a constant basis as I test of the newest versions of Ubuntu.  There are too many lazy users out there that just aren't willing to accept the changes because IMO they have gotten into such a routine with their daily computer lifestyles that any and all changes are the straw that broke the camels back.