How long does it take to create a website? (and why your FLOSS project doesn’t need one)

The 20192020 period was a long R&D cycle for me, with a whole herd of yaks to shave, however it did give me new tools and abilities, such as the capacity to rapidly develop modern-looking websites without hand-coding them nor spending hours fruitlessly searching for—and being disappointed by—”suitable” themes.

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Reviewing the Librem 15

Following up on my previous post where I detailed the work I’ve been doing mostly on Purism’s website, today’s post post will cover some video work. Near the beginning of October, I received a Librem 15 v2 unit for testing and reviewing purposes. I have been using it as my main laptop since then, as I don’t believe in reviewing something without using it daily for a couple weeks at least. And so on nights and week-ends, I wrote down testing results, rough impressions and recommendations, then wrote a detailed plan and script to make the first in depth video review of this laptop. Here’s the result—not your typical 2-minutes superficial tour:

With this review, I wanted to:

  • Satisfy my own curiosity and then share the key findings; one of the things that annoyed me some months ago is that I couldn’t find any good “up close” review video to answer my own technical questions, and I thought “Surely I’m not the only one! Certainly a bunch of other people would like to see what the beast feels like in practice.”
  • Make an audio+video production I would be proud of, artistically speaking. I’m rather meticulous in my craft as like creating quality work made to last (similarly, I have recently finished a particular decorative painting after months of obsession… I’ll let you know about that in some other blog post 😉
  • Put my production equipment to good use; I had recently purchased a lot of equipment for my studio and outdoors shooting—it was just begging to be used! Some details on that further down in this post.
  • Provide a ton of industrial design feedback to the Purism team for future models, based on my experience owning and using almost every laptop type out there. And so I did. Pages and pages of it, way more than can fit in a video:

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Helping Purism structure its messaging

I meant to finish writing and posting this a month or two ago, but urgent tasks and life kept getting in the way. I don’t often talk about client work here, but since this is public-facing ongoing work for a company that is insanely pro-Free-Software (not just “open source”), a company that ships GNOME3 by default on their laptops (something I have awaited for years), I guess it makes sense to talk about what I’ve been up to recently.
So, for a few weeks three months now, I have been helping Purism structure its messaging and get its business in a better shape. Purism is, in itself, a hugely interesting endeavour. Heck, I could go out on a limb and say this venture, alongside the work Endless is doing, is quite possibly one of the most exciting things that has happened to the Free desktop for the past decade—and yet almost nobody heard of it.
Before I can even consider visual branding work (maybe someday—when I get to that point, that would mean things are going really well), there was a fundamental need to fill various gaps in the strategy and daily operations, and to address messaging in a way that simultaneously resonates with:

  • hardcore Free Software enthusiasts;
  • “Linux” (GNU/Linux) users and developers just looking for great ultraportable workhorses;
  • the privacy/security-conscious crowd;
  • the public at large (hopefully).

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GUADEC 2016, laptops and tablets made to run GNOME, surprise Pitivi meeting

I went there for the 2016 edition of GUADEC:
I arrived a couple of days early to attend my last GNOME Foundation board meeting, in one of the KIT’s libraries. The building’s uncanny brutalist architecture only added to the nostalgia of a two years adventure coming to an end:

And so I made a new talk proposal at the last minute, which was upvoted fairly quickly by attendees:
The conference organizers counter-trolled me by inscribing it exactly like this onto the giant public schedule in the venue’s lobby:
The result was this talk: Laptops & Tablets Manufactured to Run a Pure GNOME. Go watch it now if you missed it. Note: during the talk’s Q&A session, I mistakenly thought that Purism‘s tablets were using an ARM architecture; they’re actually planned to be Intel-based. And to make things clear, for laptop keyboard layouts, Purism is currently offering US/UK, which are different physical layouts (different cutting etc.).
Also relevant to your interests if you’re into that whole privacy thing:

Vice-President’s Report — The State of the GNOME Foundation

Hi! Long time no see. My blog has been pretty quiet in recent months, in the big part due to my extended commitment on the GNOME Foundation‘s Board of Directors (for a second year without an executive director present to take some of the load) and the various business engagements I’ve had.
Generally speaking, this year was a bit less intense than the one before it (we didn’t have to worry about a legal battle with a giant corporation this time around!) although we did end up touching a fair amount of legal matters, such as trademark agreements. One big item we got cleared was the Ubuntu GNOME trademark agreement. We also welcomed businesses that wanted to sell GNOME-related merchandise, you can find them listed here—supporting them by purchasing GNOME-related items also supports the Foundation with a small percentage shared as royalties.
gnome 2016 merchandize - 1 gnome 2016 merchandize - 3 gnome 2016 merchandize - 4 gnome 2016 merchandize - 2
In the summer of 2015, I thought I’d take a break from my presidency from the year before, so I was pretty happy to have a new president and vice-president starting at GUADEC 2015 and me just being a regular board member. Some months later, Christian Hergert had to step down from his role as vice-president because he joined Red Hat, and the GNOME Foundation has a rule where the board of the directors cannot have more than two members (out of seven) from the same company/employer. I took over his role as vice-president then.

And so it went:

tails flying and supporting sonic
Pictured: me, helping Shaun tackle the big things. Sonic boom!

The board has done a lot of work in recent months. In addition to the legal agreements mentioned above, since my last report we’ve held 50 meetings (double the amount from last year; it seems bi-weekly meetings were not enough to cover all that we had to discuss!), over 2400 emails were exchanged on the board mailing list, and we wrote over 24,800 lines of discussion on our IRC channel.
When the 2016 elections came up I thought it was time to let new blood come in and participate. I needed to move on and focus on growing my own business that I have been neglecting for two years, anyway. As the new board came in, I have been gradually winding down (my role after the election and until GUADEC is mostly advisory, as I do not hold voting powers).
I am excited about the team that composes the new Board of Directors and I trust that they will do a great job. The GNOME Foundation always needs a team of experimented, positive and energetic people to come together to think, discuss and make decisions regarding the various challenges its faces. As I wrote during last year’s elections period:

For this to work, we need people that are what I call “powerhouses”, because the GNOME Foundation Board is an “active” board. This means great thinkers and proactive doers ready to deal with anything while being very capable in the board room.
The best metaphor I have for a healthy GNOME board is taken from role-playing games: a well-coordinated “level 45-70” party that will not be afraid to crawl dungeons together for a year. You need polyvalent classes just like you need specialists (analytic mages, “massive damage” knights, resourceful healers, quick & agile rangers, etc.).
So if this makes sense to anyone, I’m a hybrid mage-knight with a ton of HP/MP potions and phoenix feathers 😉

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Capturing the essence of a cool symphonic orchestra through video

One of the things I do as part of my varied service offering at idéemarque is filmmaking, sound and video editing—as some of you must have realized by now, I have this undying passion for storytelling and the making of motion picture.
So when a symphonic orchestra requests my help to make a promotional video for them, and gives me carte blanche when it comes to creative freedom, you can imagine I’m pretty thrilled!
2015-07-31-1 2015-07-31-2
When thinking of a symphonic orchestra, one typically imagines a bunch of musicians on a stage in a symphonic house or in a pit during an opera performance. In this case however, that’s only part of their activities. As you will see in the video, this particular orchestra puts a lot of effort into creating social events for people to attend—cocktails, circus shows, dinners, art exhibitions, etc. Pretty cool.
For the video’s soundtrack, they initially suggested the “galop” of Igor Stravinsky’s Suite n° 2 for chamber orchestra. After my first two draft edits however, I came to the conclusion that it was not a good fit: the tempo was very fast and nearly constant throughout the piece, with no place for respite, leading to a frenetic chain of cuts all over the place that left you bewildered at the end. The folks at the FOSDL thought it was pretty good already, but I was not satisfied with myself.

— “How about I dig around for a more dance-like tune we can use?”, said I.
— “Sure. Surprise me!”, they replied.

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