September 22, 2003

I'm not dead yet...

Well it appears the storm kinda puttered out when it got to NoVA. It hit DC and MD with much more force, and the rain wasn't really the big issue. Good news for me, no damage. Didn't even lose power (which meant I could watch Survivor!). I did have to boil water for several days, I'm still waiting for the all-clear, but that's workable. The cats even got bottled water, bless their hearts.

I'm sure the producers are really angry that Nicole got booted off Survivor so quickly. I'm sure everyone wanted to see how she'd last with no underwear in that tight dress for more than three days. Oh well.

Posted by pinkerton at 11:06 AM

September 18, 2003

Storm on the road

The hurricane is on its way. Lots of rain so far, lots of wind. The eye is supposed to be over northern VA at about 4am Friday EDT. I'll keep everyone posted as long as I have power.

Posted by pinkerton at 4:40 PM

September 17, 2003

Time, Time, Time

I'm glad to see that my recent post on a 0.7.5 release actually got a few people talking. I just wanted to update everyone as to my current status:

  • I'm teaching CSci 297-10 at GWU this Fall, which is basically a second job. Most of the time I spend not at work is spent either teaching or preparing lectures or projects. I haven't even started grading.
  • My day job is really heating up, and will only be getting worse as we get closer to Spring.
  • The last tidbit of time is spent with my new band, jamming and preparing to do some small gigs.

If you can't read between the lines, my schedule is chock full. I love Camino. It will not die on my watch, but it may have to remain slow until the new year. I emplore the people who have stuck with it so far to continue, especially those who have contributed patches. We will be driving to 0.8, I just can't promise when. Your work does and will matter.

FWIW, I love teaching. My class of 16 people is full of students that (surprisingly) seem interested in what I've been doing for the last six years of my life. I tell you, though, a 2.5hr lecture is mentally (and physically) exhausting. I'm spent by the end, and then I get to spend all week preparing to do it again.

Can't wait for the hurricane. It's pointed right at Dulles! Good times!

Posted by pinkerton at 9:52 PM

September 5, 2003

Lovin' It

Tonight I was talking with my girlfriend about the movie Top Secret! and how much I love it and how she really needed to see it, being a fan of Val Kilmer. Not three hours later, I checked the "Now Playing" list on my TiVo and guess what it was recording. That's right.

Don't listen to any cable company advertisement that says that TiVo is just an over-priced PVR. My TiVo loves me. It's magic in a box.

Posted by pinkerton at 11:16 PM

September 2, 2003

Camino 0.7.5?

A number of people have floated the idea of a Camino 0.7.5 to take the place of the nebulous 0.8 release that seems to not have a solid date, a solid feature set, or a solid commitment of time from anyone.

One of the tenents of a bazaar-style model of open source development is "release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity (-ESR, CatB)." Camino has gathered its success, in all honesty, by giving at least the first two ideas the proverbial finger.

Initially, Camino (then Chimera) did release early and often and it garnered a loyal following who couldn't wait to get their hands on the next release. The problem stems from our own success. Camino 0.7 was so stable and polished that people came to treat it as they would a 1.0 product. Releasing another version of lesser quality would be seen as a black-eye to the project as a whole, that quality was slipping, and what once was a promising product was now beginning to collapse under its own weight.

Secondly, While "listen to your users" has a wonderful ring to it, Mozilla is a perfect example of what happens when you delegate UI to a self-selecting group of developers. Camino needs strong direction and someone in charge who has no qualms about saying "that sucks, fuck off". Bad ideas aren't suddenly good ideas just because they come from the open-source community. The project has succeeded because those of us in charge had a singular vision to keep it simple. Apple saw the benefit themselves and Safari shares the same belief.

What we haven't done lately is communicate, to be open and slutty with our direction. We haven't done a good job promoting Camino since 0.7 shipped. That's where we can take a cue from the Firebird Browser team. A roadmap is needed, as is a "Why Use Camino Over Safari?" webpage. We need to get people interested again. Will 0.7.5 help that? Maybe it would, but it could be equally as dangerous.

Right now it seems we're stuck in a catch-22: we can't gather developer interest without shipping a version and we can't ship a version without developer interest. We're triaging bugs because being able to point developers to a single list that we can drive to zarro boogs is, in my opinion, the best way to engage the development community, and what this project has been lacking since AOL began to fund its development. Now that AOL has fully withdrawn all support (even for Gecko itself), we need developers more than ever. I understand that the end-users on the various lists don't give a donkey about bug triage, they simply want new bits to play with. I just don't think we can get them bits without focused development.

Pehaps I need to start doing a road-show, armed with a "why the trunk sucks less" web page and why people should start pulling nightly builds and giving them a test drive. Could that be more important than bug triage, or the same, just different?

Posted by pinkerton at 9:25 PM