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GNOME in Boston, 2007

Asheesh Laroia, October 11th, 2007

We love to see Creative Commons metadata everywhere. Thanks to the work of Scott and Jason this summer, we now have a library called liblicense and some demos for how to integrate that with desktop applications in GNOME and KDE, the two most-used Free Software desktop environments.

So I went to the GNOME summit last weekend in Boston. Owen Taylor organized this meeting, mostly of developers who have been working on the core of GNOME or widely-used GNOME apps, but the group was very friendly to newcomers like me.

I gave a lightning talk on liblicense and our metadata in general. People asked great questions, ranging from, “Does any distribution ship this yet?” to “Can liblicense help users see which licenses are compatible?”. To mention a few presentations that stuck out in my mind, I saw talks on the famous Online Desktop, Lennart Poettering’s Mango Lassi, and a granular desktop privileges system called PolicyKit. Though I didn’t see a presentation, Hanna Wallach‘s work on pushing machine learning into the desktop struck me as being right on target. Debian, Novell, RedHat, OLPC, and other organizations were represented, and of course the people themselves were talkative and interesting. Later on, I was pleased to see that Owen recalled my interest in software freedom and RDFa.

While I was in town, I met with Harvard Free Culture at an OLPC listening party they were having. I also had dinner with developers of the Miro video player. I stayed with the generous Mako Hill. After years of knowing him on IRC, I finally met Matt Lee, the chief GNU webmaster. It was great seeing all these GNOME hackers and revisiting the rich Free Culture and Free Software communities in Boston.

By and large the attendees paid more attention to their laptops than to presentations. But at the wrap-up, everyone was alert when an attendee asked, “Shall we do this again next year?”. “Yes!”

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