In the marketing world, content is still king. The internet is an endless ocean of content that is easily accessible at any time, on any device.
I'd been hired to work on Dasher, an information-efficient text entry system. It had been developed by one of David's students as a practical demonstration of arithmetic encoding after David had realised that presenting a visualisation of an effective compression algorithm allowed you to compose text without having to enter as much information into the system. At first this was merely a neat toy, but it soon became clear that the benefits of Dasher had a great deal of overlap with good accessibility software. It required much less precision of input, it made it easy to correct mistakes (you merely had to reverse direction in order to start zooming back out of the text you had entered) and it worked with a variety of input technologies from mice to eye tracking to breathing. My job was to take this codebase and turn it into a project that would be interesting to external developers.
In the year I worked with David, we turned Dasher from a research project into a well-integrated component of Gnome, improved its support for Windows, accepted code from an external contributor who ported it to OS X (using an OpenGL canvas!) and wrote ports for a range of handheld devices. We added code that allowed Dasher to directly control the UI of other applications, making it possible for people to drive word processors without having to leave Dasher. We taught Dasher to speak. We strove to avoid the mistakes present in so many other pieces of accessibility software, such as configuration that could only be managed by an (expensive!) external consultant. And we visited Dasher users and learned how they used it and what more they needed, then went back home and did what we could to provide that.
Working on Dasher was an incredible opportunity. I was involved in the development of exciting code. I spoke on it at multiple conferences. I became part of the Gnome community. I visited the USA for the first time. I entered people's homes and taught them how to use Dasher and experienced their joy as they realised that they could now communicate up to an order of magnitude more quickly. I wrote software that had a meaningful impact on the lives of other people.
Working with David was certainly not easy. Our weekly design meetings were, charitably, intense. He had an astonishing number of ideas, and my job was to figure out how to implement them while (a) not making the application overly complicated and (b) convincing David that it still did everything he wanted. One memorable meeting involved me gradually arguing him down from wanting five new checkboxes to agreeing that there were only two combinations that actually made sense (and hence a single checkbox) - and then admitting that this was broadly equivalent to an existing UI element, so we could just change the behaviour of that slightly without adding anything. I took the opportunity to delete an additional menu item in the process.
I was already aware of the importance of free software in terms of developers, but working with David made it clear to me how important it was to users as well. A community formed around Dasher, helping us improve it and allowing us to develop support for new use cases that made the difference between someone being able to type at two words per minute and being able to manage twenty. David saw that this collaborative development would be vital to creating something bigger than his original ideas, and it succeeded in ways he couldn't have hoped for.
I spent a year in the group and then went back to biology. David went on to channel his strong feelings about social responsibility into issues such as sustainable energy, writing a freely available book on the topic. He served as chief adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change for five years. And earlier this year he was awarded a knighthood for his services to scientific outreach.
David died yesterday. It's unlikely that I'll ever come close to what he accomplished, but he provided me with much of the inspiration to try to do so anyway. The world is already a less fascinating place without him.
In February, 111.75 work hours have been dispatched among 10 paid contributors. Their reports are available:
- Antoine Beaupré did 8h.
- Ben Hutchings did 12.75 hours (out of 11 hours allocated + 7.25 extra hours remaining, meaning that he still has 5.50 extra hours to do over April).
- Brian May did 10 hours.
- Chris Lamb did 7 hours (instead of the 14.25 hours he was allocated +, compensating the extra hours he did last month).
- Damyan Ivanov did nothing out of the 7.25 remaining hours he had, he opted to give them back and come back to LTS work later.
- Guido Günther did 13 hours (out of 12 hours allocated + 4.25 remaining hours, leaving 3.25 extra hours for April).
- Markus Koschany did 14.25 hours.
- Mike Gabriel did nothing and opted to give back the 8 hours allocated. He will stop LTS work for now as he has other projects taking all his time.
- Santiago Ruano Rincón did 10 hours (out of 12h allocated + 1.50 remaining, thus keeping 3.50 extra hours for April).
- Scott Kitterman did a few hours but was not able to provide his report in time due to sickness. His next report will cover two months.
- Thorsten Alteholz did 14.25 hours.
The number of sponsored hours started to increase for April (116.75 hours, thanks to Sonus Networks) and should increase even further for May (with a new Gold sponsor currently joining us, Babiel GmbH). Hopefully the trend will continue so that we can reach our objective of funding the equivalent of a full-time position.
At the end of the month the LTS team will be fully responsible of all Debian 7 Wheezy updates. For now paid contributors are still helping the security team by fixing packages that were fixed in squeeze already but that are still outstanding in wheezy.
They are also looking for ways to ensure that some of the most complicated packages can be supported over the wheezy LTS timeframe. It is likely that we will seek external help (possibly from credativ which is already handling support of PostgreSQL) for the maintenance of Xen and that some other packages (like libav, vlc, maybe qemu?) will be upgraded to newer versions which are still maintained (either upstream or in Debian Jessie by the Debian maintainers).Thanks to our sponsors
New sponsors are in bold.
- Platinum sponsors:
- TOSHIBA (for 6 months)
- Gold sponsors:
- Silver sponsors:
- Domeneshop AS (for 21 months)
- Université Lille 3 (for 21 months)
- Trollweb Solutions (for 19 months)
- Nantes Métropole (for 15 months)
- University of Luxembourg (for 13 months)
- Dalenys (for 11 months)
- Univention GmbH (for 7 months)
- Université Jean Monnet de St Etienne (for 7 months)
- Sonus Networks
- Bronze sponsors:
- David Ayers – IntarS Austria (for 22 months)
- Offensive Security (for 22 months)
- Seznam.cz, a.s. (for 22 months)
- Evolix (for 21 months)
- Freeside Internet Service (for 21 months)
- MyTux (for 21 months)
- Linuxhotel GmbH (for 19 months)
- Intevation GmbH (for 18 months)
- Daevel SARL (for 17 months)
- Bitfolk LTD (for 16 months)
- Megaspace Internet Services GmbH (for 16 months)
- Greenbone Networks GmbH (for 15 months)
- NUMLOG (for 15 months)
- WinGo AG (for 14 months)
- Ecole Centrale de Nantes – LHEEA (for 11 months)
- Sig-I/O (for 8 months)
- Entr’ouvert (for 6 months)
- Adfinis SyGroup AG (for 3 months)
This episode we are going to have an interview with Matt Davis, to talk about his work with Weather Underground, and decoupling Drupal from the presentation layer, or die trying. This is our second third take on Episode 18, and we need to thank Oscar Mejivar for coming on. We will be re-recording that episode at a later date, so please tune in because outside my horrible production skills, it’s was a great topic and we want to share it with you. Stay tuned.
Drupal core announcements: Drupal core security release window and 8.1.0 release on Wednesday, April 20, 2016
The monthly security release window for Drupal 8 and 7 core will take place on Wednesday, April 20.
This does not mean that a Drupal core security release will necessarily take place on that date for any of the Drupal 8 or 7 branches, only that you should watch for one (and be ready to update your Drupal sites in the event that the Drupal security team decides to make a release).
This is also the release window for Drupal 8.1.0, the next scheduled minor release of Drupal 8. To ensure a reliable release window for the patch release, there will be a Drupal 8.1.x commit freeze from 12:00 UTC Tuesday to 12:00 UTC Thursday. Read the release candidate announcement for more information on the minor release.
The next window for a Drupal core patch (bug fix) release for all branches is Wednesday, May 04. (Drupal 6 is end-of-life and will not receive further releases.)
While we are above the tech average, we are still always striving to foster inclusivity and embrace the involvement of individuals across the gender spectrum. To help celebrate where we are and where we are going, we would like to formally invite you to Tuesday's Women in Drupal event. This event is open to all women, trans* individuals, those who identify outside of the gender binary, and allies.
Palantir: On the Air with Palantir podcast, Ep. 04: Everything You Need to Know About DrupalCon New Orleans
DrupalCon is just a few weeks away in New Orleans, so this time around our Account Manager Allison Manley is joined by our CEO and Founder George DeMet, Drupal veteran and PHP guru Larry "Crell" Garfield, and Senior Front-End Developer Lauren Byrwa. They share thoughts about the conference generally, what they're excited about specifically, and what they're expected from the Driesnote, among other topics.iTunes | RSS Feed | Download | Transcript
We'll be back next Tuesday with another episode of the Secret Sauce and a new installment of our long-form interview podcast On the Air With Palantir next month, but for now subscribe to all of our episodes over on iTunes.Heading to DrupalCon this year? On the fence and need to be convinced? Let's schedule a time to talk so we can explain why you should attend this conference.
Allison Manley [AM]: Hi, and welcome to On the Air with Palantir, a podcast by Palantir.net where we go in-depth on topics related to the business of web design and development. It’s April 2016, and this is episode #4.
I’m Allison Manley, an Account Manager at Palantir, and today we are going to give a preview of what to expect from the upcoming DrupalCon in New Orleans which is taking place May 9th through the 13th. The website is drupalcon.org if you want to see more. I’m a newbie to DrupalCon — this will be my very first one — so I gathered a bunch of my seasoned colleagues here at Palantir who have attended in the past to get their thoughts on the upcoming conference.
I am here with three of my fabulous colleagues that are going to be attending DrupalCon with me. So I have Lauren Byrwa, who’s one of our senior front-end developers.
Lauren Byrwa [LB]: Hi!
AM: George DeMet, founder and CEO.
George DeMet [GD]: Hello.
AM: And Larry Garfield, Senior Architect and Community Lead. How are you?
Larry Garfield [LG]: Hello, world.
AM: So what we’re doing here is basically a preview of DrupalCon. DrupalCon is coming up in a couple of weeks, in New Orleans, which is very exciting. How many DrupalCons is this for
each of you?
LG: I think this will be #21.
AM: Out of how many? How many have there been?
LG: Maybe 25? I’m a staple at this point [laughs].
GD: It’s a good question. Not as many as you, Larry, but probably, if I had to guess, between 15 and 20.
LB: I’m actually only at #2 for Cons. So not a whole lot compared to these guys.
AM: I’m a complete newbie, so we’ll get to that later — what I can expect — but before we get to what most people or new people can expect from DrupalCon, or what DrupalCon is about — we know that Drupal was started by Dries Buytaert. Did I pronounce that right?
LG: Close enough for an American [laughs].
AM: What is the correct pronunciation, please?
LG: Well, I’m an American too. ‘Drees Boy-thart’ I think is closer, but don’t quote me on that. Dries, feel free to correct us.
AM: I’m sure he will later [laughs]. So what is DrupalCon about?
LG: DrupalCon is the summit of the community. It is the largest Drupal in-person event in the world by a very wide margin. It’s a place for the whole community of whatever stripe to gather and discuss, learn, teach, plan, work, play, drink, and several other things along the same lines. A lot of conferences are very developer-centric or very business-centric, or very whatever. DrupalCon is — these days, DrupalCon is a Web conference with a Drupal angle to it. There’s sessions for back-end developers, there’s sessions for front-end developers, there’s sessions for project managers, there’s sessions for content strategists, there’s sessions for business owners — whatever you do, if it involves Drupal or the Web in some way, there’s at least a couple of sessions that are worth going to for you.
GD: I would agree, and I would say that even if you don’t do Drupal or you’re not someone who’s really immersed in the technology or the community, it’s still a conference with really great value. You can get a lot out of it, and I think particularly for folks who are new to DrupalCon, it’s a really great way to get immediately connected with the community. And it’s often a very overwhelming way. We’re a very friendly and welcoming community, sometimes overly so.
LB: I would like to think of DrupalCon as our family reunion, for all Drupalers. We’re there to learn, we’re there to share, but mostly we’re there to collaborate. And that can happen in sessions, that can happen at happy hour,that can happen anywhere. But it’s a great way to get plugged into the community.
AM: So I am a newbie, as I said — this will be my first. So what should I expect from DrupalCon? Am I just going to walk in and be completely overwhelmed at first?
LB: I think at my first DrupalCon — overwhelmed? Yes, definitely expect to be overwhelmed no matter what. But feel comfortable, feel welcomed. Everybody is excited for newcomers. Everyone is excited to get to know you, to hear your ideas. So stand up and talk, and listen, and ask questions. And go up to people that intimidate you, and tell them that you’re a huge fan and that you work with their tools every day and that you like what you saw in this blog post. And they’ll be flattered and want to know what you think and why or why not you agree or disagree. But talk to everybody. Talk to them on Twitter, talk to them in person, talk to them at bars — everything you can do to soak up as much information as possible. That’s always my number one.
LG: The main thing you should expect at DrupalCon is 3000 introverts playing extroverts, who really want to talk to you and teach you things because that’s what they do. And if you’re up for talking to people you’ve only heard of, or never heard of, and just learning from every person you run across, you’ll do just fine.
GD: And I think — so when we’re at our booth, every year without fail I’ll be standing there and someone will just kind of come up to me, and they’ll have The Look in their eyes. It’s very clear that this is their first time, they’re feeling very overwhelmed. And it’s really funny, this happens every time, they’ll make eye contact, come over to the booth, pull out their program guide, and be like, where do I go? And there’s so many different things you can do and places you can go and sessions you can experience, and it really is about — I think for folks who are going, it’s really taking a look at the sessions, figuring out ‘what do I want to get out of this event’, and focusing on that. And if you are getting overwhelmed, just find a friendly face, and they’ll more than likely be able to help you out and point you in the right direction – ‘oh yeah, I know the person doing that session, they’re awesome, go to that session if you want to learn about this, so-and-so is like the world’s expert on that’. All kinds of opportunities to just soak everything in, and learn what you can. It’s a really fun, really intense time.
AM: Great, I’m really looking forward to it. So every year Dries gives a keynote. And it’s fairly spectacular, I’ve seen a bunch of them on YouTube. They’re very involved. So what are you anticipating this year from the Driesnote, as he calls it?
LG: I have no idea what Dries is planning. I think the best keynote he’s given in recent years was in Amsterdam, where he was talking about actual practical changes to our process. That’s where he introduced the plan for putting credits on the site, which got implemented later. And I think that’s been a great thing to encourage contributions from companies and clients and commercial organizations, which we absolutely need.
I’d like to see something inward-looking. By that point Drupal 8.1 will have just come out, and that’ll be the first time we’ve done that type of release in, I think, ever in Drupal. So I suspect he’ll be talking about that and the implications of being able to evolve the system more smoothly than in the past. That’s my prediction, such as it is.
[this was cut from the original recording due to audio issues, but is left intact for the transcript]
GD: I’m hoping that Dries will take this opportunity to talk a little bit more about what the vision and future direction of Drupal is going to be, not just from a technical standpoint but really from an — answering the question, why does Drupal exist? What we’ve seen over the last few years, particularly as we’ve been through the Drupal 8 cycle, is that Drupal has changed and evolved tremendously. And at the same time the kinds of people that use Drupal, and the ways that they are using it, have changed tremendously. And I think that a lot of folks in the community have moved along with those shifts, but others might be feeling a little left behind, like they’re not really sure. Maybe if you’re somebody that’s joined Drupal at a point in the past, and you’ve had a particular motivation for doing so, the project and the community may be very different now. I think as we go through that change and that evolution, having a shared understanding and grounding in what our shared values are as a Drupal community and a project would be really cool to hear from Dries.
LB: I would say we’re actually at a place right now where we don’t entirely know what’s next for Drupal. We’re not waiting on D8 any more — there’s a whole slew of things out there. And so I agree that the future of Drupal is going to be a big topic. I think in addition to that, this is our good chance and this is Dries’ good chance to really press on contribution, and to recruit people.
A lot of our hardcore developers that helped build D8 are feeling a little burnt out. They too are celebrating the release, but in addition to that, they’re feeling a little burnt out after years and years of press to get it there. So I think contribution is going to be a really big topic this year — trying to figure out how to get people involved and how to get new blood in the system and new
ideas. To really push us towards that future, that’s going to be important.
AM: That’s a lot to cover in one keynote [laughs].
GD: The expectations are always incredibly high for these things. And it’s really often almost too much to ask, that one person will be able to cover this much in an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. One thing I’ve seen is that sometimes, when Dries delivers, he really delivers in a really great way. But I also know that it’s really hard to do that. So hopefully everything will click in place. I’m looking forward to it.
AM: Me too. So what are the big talking points in Drupal right now? Obviously I can assume Drupal 8. What else do you think will be the big things?
For Debian Jessie, the version of apt-offline available is: 1.5.1. This version has had some issues.
- 08f4f74 Implement export all items - #13
Full list of changes in 1.37.1:
- Properly report errors in HEX encoded strings from SMSD SQL backends.
- Configurable SMSD table names.
- Improved support for Huawei E303.
- Improved support for Vodafone K4511.
- Improved support for Telit M2M modules.
Full list of changes in 1.37.2:
- Fixed compilation of SMSD.