Category Archives: review

OCLUG and “The Art of Community” by Jono Bacon

I have started reading this book, I am about half way through.
I have already found useful info that I can use in OCLUG.

I consider my role as President of OCLUG to be similar to the role of Community Manager that Bacon describes. The committees that we struck at the AGM have “objectives” that would be “objectives” for the club, as the book defines them. We would need to add other objectives as defined at the AGM and in recent board meetings, but this is a great start on a “Strategic Plan”.

As someone said in a committee meeting recently, “talking about mission … again”. Well, maybe. Jono Bacon considers a Mission Statement to be useful, but I think we have one already. It’s somewhere in the minutes and I will make it more prominent Real Soon Now(tm, but not by me).

The book is a detailed how-to, a tool for planning, executing on the plan, tracking progress on the plan, and reporting. In fact, I intend to take his notes on “Reporting”, and use them at work. I will also apply his recommendations on reporting transparently at work and in the club.

Speaking of work – Bacon even tells a story of what not to take from work and apply to community, thereby highlighting that this can be an issue, and to remember it.

I appreciate the work that Jono Bacon has put into this book. It will be a reference that I will keep and refer to, and recommend to others involved in leadership of any sort of community, from festival to software project.

I must note that my copy is missing all its “Figures”, which probably means it is a pre-release copy. I am curious to see several of them, (What does the “dot” family look like?) but it has not hindered my learning.

I have learned about organising a group from one of the best – Toastmasters International – and from numerous short training courses. This book brings together a lot that I have learned, packages it for theoretical consistency, and adds new material that I can act on. And I still have half of it to read yet.

Blog tools in Linux

I decided to look at what blog tools are available in Linux. I want to  use them with my blog, of course, so that is how I tested them.

I have only checked out a couple of tools, but I find them mostly not working very well with The only one that has worked at all is QTM, so far.


This is the recommended tool for Linux, according to the WordPress site. It won’t install in Oneiric. I expect I could make it work if I fiddled with some settings for apt-get, maybe. But the author is not working on it, so no real desire to try.


Broken. Intended for Gnome 2. One of the libraries is not compatible with Gnome 3: “python-gnomeapplet”. Maybe there is no concept of applet in Gnome 3?


I tried it. Editing a new post worked. There were error messages connecting to I was not able to post the blog because it could not get permission to write.


This one was able to post a message, but left the message in the “draft” state on That may be my fault – there is a “draft/publish” drop down on the app.

Because it was “posted”, it put the file into some sort of archive state, so that the next time I went to edit, I had to fiddle around to be able to see it. Finished editing the post on

Other options

There is at least one plugin for FireFox for editing blogs. But I was looking for tools for Gnome so I can try out Gnome 3, so I haven’t tried it yet.

Installing Mint 12

I installed Mint on my laptop the other day. Then I installed Cinnamon, which is Mint’s Gnome 3 based interface. I wanted to learn about Gnome 3’s powers, but without all the Gnome 3 hassle.

Installing Mint

I have to get some DVD’s – they want to put a GB in the installer. Fortunately there is a CD version without Office software and without codecs. Somepages indicate there are Windows installers, but I didn’t find one. It would be nice to have one for my work computer.

Installing Cinnamon

Installing Cinnamon was easy. Select Cinnamon in Synaptic and install it. Err, no, not in the list of selected items when I tried to choose at login time. Select cinnamon-session and install that (the notes said to do that). And now I am in Cinnamon.

Actually, I liked “Nate”, Mint’s Gnome 2 interface, a bit better. I liked having the menu as one of the choices when you select the thingy in the top left corner. In Cinnamon, the menu is in the bottom left.

Cinnamon Menu

In the Cinnamon menu, there are three columns. The left column is favorites, with some stuff you can’t get rid of like shutdown and lock screen. When the mouse is over an item, the bottom of the menu block, on the right (as far away from the favorites as possible) is the name and one line description of that application.

It actually makes sense to be on the bottom right, you should soon know what your favorites are, and the right column is the apps of the highlighted category in the middle column.

Faves can be removed using the right click menu. Also, you can right-click on a program to add it to favorites.

Firefox mysterious disappearing menus

By default, the Firefox menu system is missing. It turns out that Ubuntu disappeared it by installing a plugin that moved it to the Unity menu location, which is presumably some Mac-like common menu location.

So I could not use Firefox menus to get at the Addon Manager to kill the creepy addon.

I used a command line parameter to get at it, which I got from some web page I can’t find now. However, you can type “about:addons” in the address bar to get there.

The Guilty Addon is called “Global Menu Bar Integration”, and you can’t uninstall it, you can only disable it.

Broadcom Drivers

My laptop has Broadcom wifi, 4318 style. On all the other Ubuntu versions I have installed, I had to install the right thing, run the right script and then maybe remove the right lines from a config file.

This time, I was able to search in Synaptic for “Broadcom”, and install the package b43-fwcutter, and it worked! Wow!

Review: Ottawa Android Developers Group

The Ottawa Android group met at 6:30pm at The Code Factory. More people should know about this group. It was a lively meeting with useful information every minute.

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Redmine, please copy Bugzilla

And other projects with multiple dependencies that depend on other things, please copy Bugzilla.

Redmine, like Bugzilla, has this library installation problem. I installed Redmine yesterday, and installed it and installed it and installed it.

I had just installed Xubuntu, so I didn’t even have ruby on the system, and then I couldn’t install the gems, until I found out the package name for “gem” is “rubygems”. That was my second guess, so I didn’t even have to go to Google.

You might think that a place like Redmine would have the list of dependencies in order, but no, the installer page lists “gem install rake” and “gem install rails” before they list “Rubygems 1.3.1 is required”. It’s something you only notice when you are new to installing apps for a specific language. (Note to self: set up an account on their bug site and tell them directly. 🙂 )

Yup, I just said I found the answer on their web page, one inch below the question, or maybe 3 cm.


After only 10 years, Bugzilla finally solved this problem in version 3.2, with a little help from Perl and CPAN. When you install Bugzilla, or update it, it checks if all the requirements are in place. That’s where it used to stop, with a list of work for you. Now it installs them for you. Yup, it asks first, because it wants to know if you want them in the “global” site library for Perl, or the “local” one for the Bugzilla user.

And then it goes off and gets them, and their dependencies, and their dependencies dependencies, and compiles things that need to be compiled and generally works hard while you work on something else, checking for any questions it might have.

Redmine, and many other apps, could learn from this.

Maybe Ruby can go one better, as a community, and create a generic dependency tool that takes your list of dependencies, and calls “gem” for you, installing the rubygem package, if necessary. You could call it an obvious name like “gemcase” if it’s available or come up with something creative.

This may seem obvious, but I will say it anyway: This gem installer thing can’t be a gem. More obvious stuff: The gem installer thing needs to know how to install rubygem on several OSes or platforms, including Microsoft platforms, by whatever name or means necessary on that platform. You should have it available in your top level folder when you untar your new toy, kinda like configure, although hopefully not so slow.

And no, you don’t want me to scratch this itch, or you might end up with a shell script. Although, maybe that’s just what you need here? 😉 Nah, you can assume Ruby is installed.

Cherrypal underdelivers

I got my Charrypal ‘Africa’ Linux on Thursday. I am happy to report that it works. Except for some pages that the broswer doesn’t like – it crashes consistently on Continue reading

Review: IGDA round table

The International Game Developers Association, Ottawa chapter, had a round-table meeting. I enjoyed the round-table called “Managing Your Way Through a Project Lifecycle”. I found the active presence of software managers a useful part of the meeting. Continue reading