the verb calificar and the dance sardana

9 August 2006 1:48 AM (gnome | music | rain | montserrat)


It is an amazing night tonight! I cannot hold it in. Change is in the wind.


Went to the Montserrat monastary last weekend. It occupies an odd place in the Catalan world, but I didn't really plug into that -- the space was what occupied my mind.

Montserrat perches in a fold of a geographically improbable mountain range, like a piece of pepper in a disorganized collection of molars. The rocks lean out, project up, mold the air.

While wandering through their sage-scented trails, I started to remember more about the extraurban life. I spend too much time in the city these days. It's rather stupid, given the availability of transport and the good state of the GR trails.

Unfortunately my camera died after one measly photo. Lame!

more writing about weather

Barcelona had its first healthy rain today in a long time. I biked home in it, the Ciutadella refreshed and alive, the streets washed clean of months of pollutants. Tomorrow's probably not a good day for swimming...

last fm

Been getting a bit more into, but just for its ability to visualize what I'm playing and to see what Thomas is listening to. Thumbs up, compatriots!

I think Havoc has some interesting points about the identity of GNOME with regards to web services. We control a large platform and have huge possibilities for integration, not just within the context of one computer, but between all of us. Yet we're not the ones making flickr or lastfm or myspace or what-have-you. Why is this, and what kind of an organization would be able to make such an application in an open manner? Also, should GNOME be that kind of organization, and if so, how?

Such an endeavor would take capital and infrastructure costs. Here is where I will let the Ribeiro wine talk. It seems to me that the most infrastructure-capable organization we have, the foundation, actually has interests opposed to the creation of a stronger GNOME brand and unified online user experience. This is because its funders (the advisory board) are mostly distributions and embedded device makers. In both cases, GNOME as an experience is value-added down to the level of a support library, a lower box on the component diagram of their UI offering. If what you get is GNOME, why care about SLED vs Ubuntu vs RHEL? So that's not the way they work, they build their own brand identities. Try finding the word GNOME on RHEL or SLED's initial web pages.

I'm stil mulling over how to create a Free web service, though. No quick fix from this side for the moment.

6 responses

  1. Alan says:

    I think the simplest thing as a starting point for the Web Services intwegration would be to do more stuff like F-Spot does with Flickr, where you find Web Services that are used a lot (Myspace,, etcetera) and integrate them into the platform. A somewhat-related example of this is Apple's .Mac service, where your desktop applications are integrated with some services that Apple hosts, such as online file backup, website publishing, and calendar sharing. Online file backup is fairly simple; find a few popular online file storage sites (I hear AOL is going to offer something like this soon) and get some sort of API that allows you to check available space and to upload files. Then create a simple desktop application that integrates with these services, allowing the user to select which service they use, and then doing the standard backup thing. Take this simple concept and continue to apply it where possible.

  2. Daniel says:

    Hi, my name is Daniel and I'm catalan ;-) though I'm now living and working in Brasil for a time.

    I only wanted to write that you made my day happier reminding me of Montserrat. I'm so of this mountain. I have it always in my mind, and the times I return to Barcelona I need to climb it. What a beautiful mountain!!

    By the way, the other thing I miss the more are the GR's in Catalunya and in Spain. Here, in Brasil though they have so a beautiful nature, they have not a trecking culture so deep as we have there in Catalunya. I'm looking forward to return by my holidies ans spend some days in the GR-11 again.


  3. Matthew says:

    My current thinking is similar to that of Luis Villa's...

    To be able to do means providing a web stack that's better than Vista and OSX. To me this initially means a better GUI toolkit (XUL) so that we can access the home desktop remotely (to compete with GMail) and to encourage web developers to provide more complete web interfaces for GNOME in apps like

    This doesn't work for 3d stuff, but then web doesn't do 3D well yet and it's winning. Most local apps are 2D, and we could have web access on most net connections.

  4. Luis Villa says:

    Whoa. Whoa. I did not say XUL. I think javascript and XML are a pretty terrible way of building a desktop app, and buy you nothing in terms of web integration. I think the Rails guys have made a pretty convincing case, in fact, that Javascript and XML are pretty terrible ways to build a *web* app. (They hide both of those things from Rails programmers pretty well.) I'm a little irritated that page takes me so far out of context.

    More response in-blog.

  5. Luis Villa’s Blog » more ramblings on GNOME and the web says:

    [...] Andy: The more I think about it, the more I think ‘where do we find capital’ is not going to be an approach that is successful for us as a community, despite what I’ve said about .gnome. Centralized capital means a centralized point of failure; it means reduced competition; it means that the little guys on the end points have a harder time getting involved. And it means problems scaling- the foundation is just never going to be able to support something like flickr or for all GNOME users, IMHO- the requirements are just too large. And that is even with our current user base. [...]

  6. Matthew says:

    (I didn't mean to imply that you meant XUL.)

    Using XUL doesn't mean using Javascript, obviously, and by all means use Python or whatever binding suits. And even then using XUL doesn't mean that the XML is what the developer deals with... Rails results in HTML just like any process could result in XUL.

    And this does buy you many types of web integration. For example let's say this platform is called Gnome Web Desktop... if you had this installed at home and then on a windows box you opened Firefox and went to "" and got a Gnome desktop with Evolution or Tinymail this would obliviate the need for GMail, Writely, Blogger, etc.

    XUL may not be what's chosen but that kind of browser based UI is the right direction IMO. Kragen Sitaker seems to be advocating a browser too.

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