FOSSCamp

Friday, Dec 5. 2008  –  Category: OpenSolaris, Songbird

Aside from 2 hours spent idling on 880 today, I spent most of the day at FOSSCamp… congrats to Jorge of Ubuntu for putting together a great unconference. I sat in on a session led by Jono regarding how distributions (with a bias towards Ubuntu of course) could facilitate less fearful (my emphasis, not his) experimentation with packages by users. He raised some good points that were inhibiting users from trying out new programs because of how programs wouldn’t (or couldn’t) necessarily clean up after themselves. From the OpenSolaris perspective, IPS + ZFS snapshots obviously solves this quite easily… it was interesting to see people discussing various solutions that seemed more like workarounds to me. Honestly – it seems better/less-work to just port ZFS (or implement filesystem-level snapshots on Reiser/ext3/etc.) and use that.

After a lunch break graciously provided by Google, I sat in on an interesting session about open source business models. This was sort of a free-form session that had the potential to be really interesting, though the 1 hour was not nearly enough. We spent half an hour listing open-source companies that were successful (monetarily speaking) and a few that weren’t). We then classified them into various classifications of business models (acquisition, consulting, support, carrier/affiliate/referral, etc.) and then tried to break it down into pros and cons and general thoughts about each business model. It was an interesting exercise, and it was interesting to discuss some companies (big and small) that have tried (or are trying) with multiple models (Sun being an oft-repeated example).

At this point I broke off to have a session about visualising digital media collections. This is something I’m pretty interested in to try and break the spreadsheet style of navigating and interacting with my music collection. I’ve done one experiment with ♪Photo, and am interested in doing some more, so I wanted to chat with some folks to see different ways people interact with their media libraries. Dan Mosedale of Mozilla Messaging fame was there and brought up some interesting points on how interacting with mail contacts shared some interesting organisational challenges with media. We talked some about music recommendation services, and anti-recommendation services (more on this later). mpt of Ubuntu offered up some good thoughts on trying to classify artists by similarity … perhaps either by visual organisation (e.g. visual ordering), or as a way to influence playback. Dan mentioned it would be interesting to choose moods of music for playback (citing Tangerine as a similar model) so that he could play ‘upbeat’ or ‘mellow’ music based on properties like BPM.

At this point, Chris Blizzard wandered in… it was great to meet him finally after reading many of his blog entries from Planet Mozilla. From here we diverged into showing off a few other features of the newly launched Songbird 1.0, resulting in Chris installing it for the first time. Yay!

From there we went next door for Dan’s talk on Mozilla Messaging where there were some good (and opposite end-of-the-spectrum) questions from Ubuntu folks interested in Thunderbird on the enterprise, and Thunderbird on mobile devices.

At the end of that session Jorge brought a few folks over who had just installed Songbird for the first time who had some really great praise and comments for us. It’s super gratifying to have someone come up who has just installed Songbird for the first time and gets it… especially having worked so hard on it for the past year. We got lots of warm praise and supportive words for getting Songbird into Ubuntu’s repositories.

To that end, I’m really looking forward to going back down to Google again on Wednesday to meet with Jorge and the rest of the Ubuntu MozillaTeam to go about seeing what we can do to resolve that.

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