This is my (in)activity log. You might like to visit my employer
Novell which is an amazing company, and also
Dell who in days of yore provided me with a
free laptop for Gnome development / conferences.
Also if you have the time to read this sort of stuff you could enlighten
yourself by going to Unraveling Wittgenstein's net or if
you are feeling objectionable perhaps here.
Stuff Michael Meeks is doing
The story behind the story behind the news today
Up early; the marathon is over - and here we are: LibreOffice
and the Document Foundation have been announced. Finally we have
a project that will be fun to hack on, and not beset with keep
out signs (many sadly still invisible to the existing owner).
If you want to get involved, there is no better time than now
(at the beginning), and there is no better place than
So, many others have spoken about the sea-change in the
community and industry that made LibreOffice possible. And indeed,
I'm almost a convert to the idea that total non-developers can
provide lots of tangible value now, despite myself. Clearly it took a
lot of courage and accomodation to work together as a team, which
was for the most part a pleasure. I hestitate to call out any of
this rich set of characters I'm growing to love; you can see them
Having said all that, I'd like
to point out some of the super-stars that you won't perhaps see
on the web-site with bow-ties, in glorious monochrome.
First Jeremy Allison, Bradley Kuhn and Jonathan Blandford, old
friends without whose wise counsel and assistence, nothing would
have got done; thanks too to Michael Dexter and Karen Sandler
who put in lots of hard work behind the scenes. Simon Phipps'
whose sage support is much appreciated - eg. tweet of the day: "If
the company sponsor stands still and the community moves on,
who forked ?", and Christopher Aillon for his indulgence.
Then of course Fridrich Strba and Petr Mladek generating
builds for Windows and Linux, (and Thorsten for OSX) - and
re-spinning them until late at night, with Peter Poeml doing
wonders with mirror services. My entire product
management hierarchy were flexible, supportive and decisive under
time pressure: Pete Chadwick, Holger Dyroff, Carlos Montero-Luque
and more. Finally - in the last minute panic
of hourly revisions to the 'final' press release, Guy Lunardi
stepped into the breach and over many hours (with help from
Christophe) made the website both beautiful, and complete -
I'm honoured by his friendship.
Stepping back, it has been amazing to work towards this
goal, perhaps unwittingly with a team of great developers around
the globe; many of whom have stuck through thick and thin,
persisting even when the fashion was against them, to bring us
to where we are today.
Apparently positivity is a key attribute - so, it must be good
that tons of people suddenly subscribed to my twitter feed (that I
almost never use), how gratifying. It has been wonderful to get lots of
personal mails of congratulation from many including, several ex-OpenOffice
hackers, saying they might get involved again. It was great to see a good
number of people jumping into the #libreoffice (developers) IRC channel on
freenode, helping improve the hackers documentation, downloading and building
the code, and getting eager about doing some of the Easy
Hacks (nice entry level tasks), and merging some of their first
Similarly, from a web infrastructure perspective, it was
great to see a reverse slashdot effect, with the site going slow as
(presumably) people refreshed slashdot.org in a loop waiting for the
libreoffice.org announcement to hit the wire.
Another pleasure was the first technical steering call
planning our next moves and tentative schedule (minutes).
We made a number of clean decisions in 30minutes of pleasant, friendly,
collegial conversation; something new. It is great to have a solution
for every problem, rather than a problem for every solution.
It seems our first patch posted
to the list, was by Neil Brown - ace kernel block layer (and elswhere) hacker - (who
works for Novell, but whose contribution had got wedged between the cracks
somehow), to fix some misbehaviour of the blocks in Impress' disolve
transition (fun). After three years of being ignored
(interestingly it is still assigned to Thorsten, now at Novell, who left
Sun shortly after getting the bug) it finally made it into LibreOffice -
go Neil !
In another turn up for the books, the documentfoundation website
was slashdotted, and yet continued to serve pages, while at the same time
git, bugzilla and mailing list worked normally without interruption. Thanks
no doubt to Florian Effenberger's skill and cunning.
- LibreOffice is going to be a fun place for developers to live,
and strike their blow for freedom - without a doubt. Get involved now,
and help to shape the software and the social life for the next
In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my
own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of Novell, The
Lithuanian Gov't or Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's also important to
realise that I'm not in on the Swedish Conspiracy.
Occasionally people ask for formal photos for conferences,
Michael Meeks (firstname.lastname@example.org)