Congratulations jQuery, winner of Open Source JavaScript Libraries Award

I participated as a judge for Packt Publishing’s open source JavaScript libraries award. Today, they’ve announced the winner: jQuery. Open source JavaScript is stronger than ever, and all of the entrants in the award have made great strides in the past year. Runners-up Raphaël and Mootools deserve great praise for the work they’ve put into both their products and community.

Packt’s press release is below and includes a quote from this blogger.

jQuery wins the 2010 Open Source JavaScript Libraries Award

Birmingham, UK. 18 November 2010

Packt Publishing is pleased to announce that jQuery has won the inaugural Open Source JavaScript Libraries Award category in the 2010 Open Source Awards. The Award is a new category introduced to the Open Source Awards this year, featuring libraries of pre-written JavaScript controls which allow for easier development of RIAs (Rich Internet Applications), visually enhanced applications or smoother server-side JavaScript functionalities.

“On behalf of the entire jQuery Team, let me first say thanks to Packt Publishing for this award.

I’d also like to give a huge thanks to the community of designers and developers that use jQuery daily and felt the urge to vote for jQuery as their favorite JavaScript library. We’ll use this prize to further the development of the jQuery Project.” Said Ralph Whitbeck, jQuery core team member.

“While jQuery hasn’t undergone any radical change in the past year, the project has continued to evolve at the same frenetic pace and the 1.4 release included a wide range of small but important improvements.” Added Michael Mahemoff, Google developer advocate, HTML5/JavaScript specialist and one of the judges for the 2010 Open Source JavaScript Libraries category. “jQuery covers all bases as its performance is high priority, it is easy to use, has a huge community, great documentation, and an excellent plugin ecosystem.”

While jQuery occupied the top spot in the 2010 Open Source JavaScript Libraries category, the other two extremely popular finalists Raphaël and Mootools tied and both projects will be awarded the first runner up position.

With this announcement, the 2010 Open Source Awards has two more categories left, including the Open Source CMS category, for which results will be announced November 19th.

Live Blogging Open Source Show and Tell (OSSAT) at TheTeam, November, 2009 (Part 2)

standard live blogging warning

Continuing on from part 1

Phil Hawksworth: Playing with Each Others’ Toys

Phil describes the open source spectrum, from open-fan to open-curious to open-skeptic.

Open source is about sharing, so in that spirit, he’s going to show us some toys he’s made.

First up, Polaroiderizer. One of his lessons from this was don’t register a domain name that can be spelt and pronounced in many different ways! But back to Polariser…

The tool is made with simple technologies, requiring nothing more than some text files. HTML and CSS, JQuery, Flickr API. Able to be put together in just a couple of evening’s work.

Next specimen is Pinboard. Similar tech. This time, there’s a server, so he’s used the excellent Sinatra. Along with Ruby and SQLite. He did the whole thing in Heroku, pushing to it via Git.

And then there’s vlolly, Phil’s ticket to an early retirement as soon as it goes viral. Another open source project with Ruby, using base62 gem to generate unique IDs.

Rain Ashford: Open Source Gaming for Handhelds

Having convinced us she is a true gaming geek, Rain walks through a few of the nicer open source games out there, including:

  • Malice
  • Lemmings
  • Word Up!
  • Meteorea
  • Setsuzoku no Puzzle (hosted on “DS Scene” so it must be cool)
  • Pocket Physics
  • NitroTracker
  • FreeDroid Classic (based on C64 “Paradroid”)
  • XRoar (Dragon emulator for DS and GP32)
  • Nethack (DS and GP32 ports)- still going on strong

This session yielded the most challenging question of the night: Can you smell a wumpus?

Robbie Clutton: iPhone Dev

What’s all this objective C? A bit like C and C++, but also message based like Smalltalk, which is dynamic but not, and object-based like Java. In other words, it’s a different paradigm to what you’re probably used to and it gets tricky working out which languages to take design patterns from.

When Robbie started looking at how developers can embed a web view into their app, he started wondering about the possibilities of developing an app that’s mostly a plain old web app. Doing this would make development incredibly easy and you could get data from the local device in addition to the cloud. However, you don’t get any device integration, and some events like gestures don’t translate well.

Enter Phonegap. It’s open source, cross device, and gives you integration with native features like vibration and the accelerometer. The way they do this is quite neat – your app basically connects to a phonegap server. So you do things like vibration by making standard Ajax calls. (The calls actually go to URLs with “gap://” protocol). Demonstrating the power of open source with a strong community, Robbie’s submitted patches which have gone back into the product.

HTML 5 is a better way to do it in some respects. One of the obvious downsides is it doesn’t show up as a native app, though you can still provide a HTML5 manifest so the app loads straight from the phone. There’s also the question of talking to specific device features. You can do it in a limited form with device-specific meta-tags, but of course it ruins the whole standards-based approach to web development; move to another phone and you’ve got a port job ahead of you.

One of the nice things about this approach is you can use it elsewhere too, e.g. if you can put the whole thing in standard HTML, CSS, and Javascript, you just create a simple XML file, run “adl application.xml”, and you now have an Adobe Air powered desktop app.

Live Blogging Open Source Show and Tell (OSSAT) at TheTeam, November, 2009 (Part 1)

standard live blogging warning

I’m here at TheTeam offices in London Bridge, with a number of my Osmosoft colleagues for this open source event.

Event Announcement

The agenda:

  • Iain Farrell, Canonical – Ubuntu Update
  • Julien Fourgeaud, Symbian – Managing the Symbian community
  • Jeremy Ruston, Osmosoft – HTML5 and the slow death of Flash
  • Leisa Reichelt, – Drupal 7 Update
  • Phil Hawksworth, The Team – Playing with each others toys: Developing with open technologies
  • Rain Ashford, BBC – Open Source Gaming for Handhelds
  • Robbie Clutton, BT – iPhone development using web technologies

Canonical: The Ubuntu Developer Summit

Iain explains the process of updating Ubuntu. Happily enough, the release cycle is 6 months, coinciding nicely with these OSSAT events, hence the trend is set for an update each OSSAT.

Every 6 months, there’s a big Ubuntu shindig; this is (I think) just after the last release ships. All ~240 employees invited and ~30 invited people from the community. Room for talks – the schedule is always evolving even during the conference – and spaces for just hacking. Very online too for those who can’t make it – stereo recording in every room. All the audio, mixing, publishing, and so on is power by the magic of open source. Naturally.

The design process is generally speaking 6 months ahead of the development process, i.e. in cycle t, they’re thinking about what they’ll be developing in cycle t+1. For users, a 6 month cycle means lots of incremental improvements, as opposed to

Julien Fourgeaud: Symbian’s Community Programme

Nokia started as an alliance and Nokia then purchased Symbian Ltd. When that happened, there was a move to open source the code. Julien explains the ecosystem – 90 people maing up the foundation (people in US, UK, Finland, Japan, China, elsewhere) – working with a large community of consumers, ODMs, OEMs, and operators. They often run BOFs embedded in other conferences.

What’s Symbian doing to get consumers what they want? They’re creating initiatives to get agile and engage in dialogue going with consumers. [I would have liked to see more on this, but it sounds like they’re just at the start of the path here.]

Of possible relevance to the next talk, Symbian’s portal is a Flash-heavy representation of standard web technologies such as hyperlinks …

Jeremy Ruston on HTML5 and the Slow Death of Flash

Jeremy points out he’s dogfooding by presenting in Cecily, his 3D zooming and panning interface powered by open web technologies. He points out the anti-Flash vibe isn’t new, with Jacob Nielson having declared Flash “99% bad” back in 2000. A few of the problems with Flash are:

  • Battery drain
  • Crashy
  • Can’t exploit hardware acceleration (except video and certain blitting operations) – the operations of HTML5 have been designed to take advantage of it
  • Big opaque ball of bits – can’t reach in and get at the data/content inside
  • Controlled by media interests (e.g. to ensure ads are watched)
  • Breaks the web UI, e.g. browser navigation, text selection, accessibility
  • Not properly open – the license stipulates for what purposes you can use it (restricts uses such as downloading video)
  • Not compatible with open source – can’t ship as part of open source; so a pain for users as it requires a separate download.

Jeremy shows Chrome Experiments and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Flash (the site I made with @philhawksworth which should really be launched at some point. ahem.)

He walks through the history of Flash. He explains there was a time when they looked quite innovative, but it’s become more closed systems and walled gardens, with silly license fees. So a young person who wants to get into the industry is required to pay 500 quid to get started with it.

Where does HTML5 fit in? A couple of weeks ago, When Can I Use launched, and the meta-message of that site – when you look at the complicated matrix of HTML feature support – can be interepreted as “Damn, HTML is complicated”. This led some to say – why would I want to use HTML5 when I can get it up and running, cross-browser compatible – with Flash right away. So Jeremy’s call to action is to take a few steps back and build some kller authoring tools that let us do similar things in Javascript.

In Q&A, @psd points out that Flash lets you make nice toys, but HTML5 lets you build something better than Flash, i.e. the data inside there.

Drupal 7 Update

Leisa Reichart explains the design work going on with Drupal 7. Where most open source (including Drupal) is done bottom-up, grassroots, stuff, there’s an element of top-down design here. Leisa’s talking about “open source design” (#d7ux), where she’s spent around 85% of her time engaging the community to help with design, rather than just doing it herself. The community includes end-users, agencies whose customers are using the CMS, and also other designers and usability studies. (Reminds me of the message in the community session at OWF – don’t just engage programmers, but also translators, designers, tech writers, etc.)

They set up a WordPress, yes WordPress, blog to act as the community portal; because (a) Drupal takes too long to get a very nicely designed blog; (b) it sent out a message to the Drupal community and got them engaged.

She also shows a nice eye-tracking study, something you don’t see much in open source land.

Open World Forum Notes

As mentioned in the previous post, I was at Open World Forum in Paris these past couple of days. Previous notes covered today’s FOSSBazaar workshop, here’s a veritable panaply of miscellany from the other sessions.

Opening Keynotes

Risk of balkanisation in communities govt (mil.forge) commercial (gcode) ?developer (eclipse)

Worldwide IT spend 3.48T 18% of apps abandoned 55% “challenged”

Poprietary software quality 20-30 defects/kloc Open source 1-2 defects/kloc

Redhat vp (tieman) “free” means the product “ceases to exist” … It’s all about services

OSOR – Exit costs as or more important. If the cost to enter is free, exit costs become very important. Vendor lockin=no exit.

James Besson – Whiter Open Source

Open source isn’t new. e.g. Steam Engines – exchanged detailed information about their engines and what kind of efficiency. Personal exchanges, visits, publications, industry/engineering institutions.

Great inventors – had great PR. [similar comments in recent BBC IOT podcast on Leibnitz vs Newton]. We have “hero” status partly because of proprietary conditions. [Also it’s human nature].

The great innovations were limited in locale and time. e.g. steam workers in Cornwall. Shows examples of industries lasting 10-30 years.

Applies to open source? – Consolidation

  • User-friendliness? not a great concern; 2/3 of demand doesn’t require UI

  • Coexistence (commercial software, patent trolls) Uneasy, but institutions are forming to deal with patents and they’re not fatal threats. Also, there’s a “proprietary burden”; MS one of the most sued companies.

… FLOSS will be sticking around


Sourceforge talks stats (by mahemoff)

ohlo stats - language choice in open source repos (by mahemoff)

ohlo stats - jquery vs prototype in open source repos (by mahemoff)

Recently acquired ohlo – massive open source study

Git 25% / Subversion 63% / CVS 7%

Growing language – “it galls me to call Javascript a language, but

Fastest growing: Javascript Python C*

Most popular: Java Python PHP

W. Europe 48%, EE 11%, speaker points out AUSTRALIA is vastly over-represented as a contributor.

Communities Session

This was three talks from people running open source communities – Apace, Eclipse, Linux Foundations.

Apache talk

Covers how to get involved in the community, even simple things like submit a bug are a good start.

Know who you talk to – don’t lecture Roy fielding on the http spec


Was never intended to be just an IDE, the IDE was supposed to be the killer app for the platform, which was supposed to be tools around java.

After launching eclipse foundation in 2004, completely independent, unlike jcp you can’t find any small prit about IBM vetoing, and membership is set so IBM can’t control the vote.

Eclipse guy: If you’re in a commercially led ecosystem a la Microsoft, your only exit strategy is they eat you or they kill you. In an open source ecosystem, you’re working with a trusted partner.

Eidystem for innovation needs: * Licensing model * Project model * Governance model * Tech architecture • open source organisations like Linu, apache, eclipse give you these out of the box…so it’s crazy when people start their own – end up paying legal fees etc. Wastage.

Eclipse projects hidhlighted – the browser, modelling, CDT.

Jim Zemlin – Linux foundation (the best speaker of the conference IMO)

Different to apache with its alkos all volunteer staff. Budget of around $3M and 16 full time staff. Monthly conf calls, f2f once a quarter.

“everyone want linus’s autograph. I count myself as the only autograph Linus wants, he wants it every 2 weeks”. CEO, Linux foundation.

Runs big legal defence projects – patent commons, linux911 …

Linux roadmap – growing in every segment from embedded to supercomputers. Becoming de faci standar and supporting cross frtilisation eg a mobile manufacturer opted for Linux, contributed coed to reduce battery usage which went into the kernel, and saved power and cooling costs for supercomputers.

The Tweets

  • Brazil olympic victory overshadowed by today’s #OpenWorldForum #owf victory for most open sourcey government. The games relegated to page 7. Fri Oct 02 22:31:48 +0000 2009
  • Fossbazaar Conference — OpenWorldForum, October 2, 2009 Fri Oct 02 21:48:56 +0000 2009
  • Enlightened self-interest – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Fri Oct 02 15:42:16 +0000 2009
  • Australia is vastly over-represented as an open-source contributor :)) W Europe biggest region at 48%. #ohloh #owf #openworldforum Fri Oct 02 15:11:28 +0000 2009
  • no prizes for guessing fastest growing language. “it galls me to call javascript a language, but …” #owf #openworldforum #ohloh Fri Oct 02 15:08:15 +0000 2009
  • SourceForge speaker talking Ohloh stats: GIT now has 25% of commits! SVN 63%. CVS 7%. #owf #openworldforum Fri Oct 02 15:05:46 +0000 2009
  • report of open source used as an internal battle – product open sourced in a failed attempt to become the corporate standard #owf Fri Oct 02 13:58:12 +0000 2009
  • captchas drop conversions by 7.3% (and presumably bug the remaining 92.7%) (tx @usa2day)#fowa #ux Fri Oct 02 13:55:07 +0000 2009
  • removing barriers to access is key to a successful open source project – e.g. encouraging localisers, docs, feedback. #owf #openworldforum Fri Oct 02 13:49:58 +0000 2009
  • RT @wadje12: Q: How about countries or contributors who are not allowed to contribute? Such as Cuba vs US, or a 14 year old contribute #owf Fri Oct 02 13:43:23 +0000 2009
  • open source “community management” does not exist because you never manage people, you commit to them #owf Fri Oct 02 13:37:36 +0000 2009
  • @SiriusCorp i confirm #owf wifi is definitely of dubious stability. Fri Oct 02 08:55:26 +0000 2009
  • Shuttleworth on #ubuntu UI: want buddhist medidation style of attention: focus in one place, but aware of surroundings (==”ambient”?) #OWF Fri Oct 02 08:53:19 +0000 2009

    Mark Shuttleworth interviewed (by mahemoff)
    (getting interviewed, not his keynote from which the above tweet came)

  • Ingres CEO: not that all customers contribute code, but for those who do, that’s a strong vote for the feature they’ve built Thu Oct 01 10:27:58 +0000 2009
  • “Is Oracle an open source company?” if there was ever a moment to “pull a kanye” … l:safe-distance-from-the-stage #OWF #OpenWorldForum Thu Oct 01 09:57:27 +0000 2009
  • cloud speaker talking up and #OWF Thu Oct 01 09:41:17 +0000 2009
  • Lots of “gratis” and “libre” from our keynote speaker. Appears to be talking about beer. #owf #OpenWorldForum Thu Oct 01 08:55:58 +0000 2009
  • Keynoter announces he’s still in Paris, admonishes previous speakers for English usage, and proceeds with keynote en francais #owf Thu Oct 01 08:48:51 +0000 2009
  • no big surprise, but government IT is the big deal in the businessy end of the open source community #OWF #OpenWorldForum #NoOfficialHashTag Wed Sep 30 22:42:47 +0000 2009
  • back from #OpenWorldForum mingling in the fine setting of l’hôtel de ville, paris (“town hall” just doesn’t…well it just doesn’t.) #OWF Wed Sep 30 22:38:24 +0000 2009

    IMG_0024 (by mahemoff)

(via List Of Tweets)

IMG_0106 (by mahemoff)


p>(We thought the entire audience was going to be invited on stage, but they stopped short at surnames beginning with “K-N”.)

FossBazaar at Open World Forum (OWF), Paris, Oct-2009

Quick notes from today’s FOSSBazaar event at Open World Forum in Paris. Usual caveats on typos etc as I was writing these notes live.

Martin Michlmayr overviews FOSSBazaar

IMG_0069 (by mahemoff)

Procurement – might like to avoid, but they have a really important role to play. With open source, it’s easy to ignore procurement – why go through procurement when you can download it! Great, that saved me several weeks of work, I can go home now :). But then you ship the code a few months later with GPL.

Make FOSS “business as usual” – how acquired, chosen, used, supported, updated, project tracked, licensed, mature.

FOSSBazaar to help people manage these issues. Good to have members outside of the US (Europe and maybe some now joining from Asia) as issues are different; this is the first FOSSBazaar meeting here.

FOSSBazaar for experienced users – working together to define standards and best practices

FOSSBazaar for inexperienced users – learning about open source issues, reducing the fear

Discuss, resolve, and document the “hard” issues related to adopting FOSS in the enterprise.

Question – why is HP spending money supporting the community? Martin explains HP has some experience dealing with compliance issues. Want to share experiences, e.g. we explained how we explored Palamida; other companies might do the same with Black Duck. It’s been a really good experience, talking to people who we might otherwise have not talked to.

Open Source Compliance – View of Validos. Martin von Willebreand (lawyer basedin Finland).

IMG_0070 (by mahemoff)

Vaidos has DB of 130+ packages validated.

“Shall we use this package or not?” Validos adds legal validation

Shows DB report showing licenses being used in a package.

Talking about typical guidelines, e.g. distributing the licenses with the code. Putting license on your website isn’t really redistributing it.

Showing how they prepared a document for republication. It’s big, it’s scary, and it’s very likely necessary for legal purposes. [Kind of sad that open source gets this complex – makes me feel like just releasing all my code as public domain; losing attribution would be a shame, but the real downside would be the risk of liability if there’s no warranty. It also makes me think that licenses should be embracing the web more, instead of forcing all this stuff to be repackaged – cut-and-pasting a URL would be a good start to what is a long path.]

Martin comments FOSSBazaar has been thinking about standardising some of this license declaration stuff; and there was a parallel effort recently which he’s hoping to work with.

IP Tracking Methodology at INRIA

IMG_0074 (by mahemoff)

On the forge: 1600 projects; 400 open source.

Done various tracking and would be good to compare methodologies, work together on tools.

Discussion session – Working on a Creative Commons contract to establish relationship with contractors, ensuring they use open source the right way.

TiddlyGuv Tool (the bit with me in it)

Steve Barnes motivated the tool from his perspective as a governance administrator. I then gave a demo and explanation.

IMG_0081 (by mahemoff)


  • Possible to get metadata e.g. to get XML feed. [Yes. Showed the bags/tiddlers model in the browser and how you can easily get a list of JSON or txt. Made the mistake of not demoing xml, which would have taken all of 5 seconds. Take off the pro-json blinkers next time!)

  • Can I see which packages (components) are using a paricular license?

  • What does a software policy look like? Do we need them at all. [Steve explained we probably wouldn’t want to have a blanket policy like “don’t use GPL”, though others could; the tool lets you declare whatever policy you like.]

  • It should be more about training than official policies. [I explained TiddlyGuv is intended to be a tool for developers and governance authorities to work together, share information, leave comments, etc.; not a rigid policing-the-masses weapon]


IMG_0089 (by mahemoff)

Disclaimer that you need more than just tools and need other tools too.

Looks at every single file in a package – fuzzy match against a library of >400 known license.

Walks through demo. Can try online.

Many new features – email notifications, new licenses, tutorial section, cleanups.

Plans – new license analyser (based on phrases); concept of license categorisastion (e.g. “good license”/”commercial license”)

Question regarding international labour organisation – what happens if a child developed code and contributed it? Do they have the legal authority to donate the code etc. Is there a child labour question? Martin notes international treaties as a similar issue – notes you’re not allowed to distribute code from one country to another; how do you accept contributions across that boundary. It’s a potential FUD issue people can use against open source in government.

Community Management and Project Governance: A checklist with an attitude Charles-H Schultz

IMG_0094 (by mahemoff)

Good “HowTo”/tutorial presentation of governance on a particular projct.

Not just about making code available. but make it easy to find – e.g. when it’s on sourceforge, but not linked easily from project page.

You never manage your community; so “community management” doesn’t exist. – fair, transparent rules and governance – soft power – trust employees like you trust other contributors

Will Bespin really end up with multiple backends?

Google groups thread

Bespin has the idea of multiple backends attaching to the same client. Right now, Python is apparently “winning” while Java has fallen behind and PHP appears to have faded away.

The situation is very analogous to Shindig ( which has a strong Java back-end, a PHP back-end that took a long time to get started in earnest and AFAICT from a quick glance has tapered off, and a number of non-starters.

I do wonder whether something like this is really viable – can you have a vibrant ecosystem of back-ends in different languages? Granted, there are hundreds of implementations of SMTP, FTP, and so on, in all the languages of the rainbow. Those are actual protocols based on strong standards. Likewise, Shindig had a fair crack at it because it’s based on the OpenSocial standard (but the diversity effort is probably hampered by the fact that most companies who want to be OpenSocial hosts tend to fall in the Java camp).

Bespin would need to formalise things and establish proper standards to support multiple backends. Nothing as onerous as the IETF standards, but still, they’d need to nail down all the subtle issues and edge cases in order to support multiple backends. Good for cleanliness perhaps, but at the expense of project velocity. Years ago, I asked SpringSource’s Rod Johnston about why one should use Spring over the upcoming EJB3, and one of his reasons – quite rightly – was that his code was available NOW while the committee-driven EJB standard and subsequent implementations were a long way off. In other words, Spring demonstrates that working, open, code is in many respects far more powerful than a standard. I can’t imagine Bespin will want to formally document its protocols; instead it will rely on code. But of course, if the code is a moving target, how easy will it be for different backends to keep up?

Also, how motivated will the second, third, and fourth guys be? It’s more fun being the first to see the concept become reality; less so to be building a port from one language to another. As with the previous point, though, I stand to be corrected; some people might enjoy the engineering challenge of building a parallel backend. (Maybe I’m being solipsistic here, as I’m personally 20x more motivated by user stories than implementation details.)

Java hosting is notoriously painful compared to the ease of cheap PHP hosting, so I can see the argument for both; companies will want to host Bespin on their own shiny enterprise Java servers, while rebellious little startups will want to do the same thing for a sliver of the cost on commodity iron.

Update: Ben Galbraith responds

TiddlyGuv-FOSSology Collaboration

I will round out the FOSSBazaar workshop series with some comments on collaboration between TiddlyGuv and FOSSology.

First, what’s FOSSology? Simply put, FOSSology in its current state is a code/license scanner. You upload content, like a RedHat ISO, and it recursively explodes it into individual files, also recognising by way of checksums when a file is duplicated (across all the RPMs in a RedHat distro, you will probably see some files appear thousands of times). It then walks through each unique file/archive and tries to determine its license. At the end, you get a report telling you, for example, that the ISO contains 2120 GPL 3 licensed packages, 175 MIT licensed packages, and so on.

The underlying philosophy is to automate the license discovery process. Let developers get on with their job pulling in what they need to, in accordance with their companies policies, and then use the tool to audit what’s there. This is in preference to requiring developers to manually declare all that info – and even if they did declare that info, it provides a suitable audit mechanism to check against their report.

TiddlyGuv will eventually keep track of projects and as much as possible, we’d like to automate the process of tracking those projects’ components and licenses. Therefore, we’d like to call on FOSSology to capture this info. As a completely orthogonal side benefit, it would be a nice proof-of-concept if two open source projects, each primarily motivated by the needs of the developers’ own organisation, could talk to each other.

I was fortunate to meet Mark Donahoe from the FOSSology team at the workshop and discuss how we might get the tools talking to each other, along with my colleague Andrew Back. The first thing to say is we all want to just get some simple proof-of-concept integration happening. This is the agile process at work – a proof-of-concept would help us understand whether it’s worth proceeding and may inspire interest from others, as well as project sponsors (at least in the case of TiddlyGuv).

We see a proof-of-concept working like this. TiddlyGuv user creates a new project; server kicks off a FOSSology code scan and updates TiddlyGuv project record with a link to the code scan report. It’s as simple as that; in the future, there might be an email notification when the code scan is complete, and other niceties, but for now, this simple story is enough. All of this would take place in the same network by the way; both TiddlyGuv and FOSSology are tools intended to be run by a company inside their own estate (rather than in “the cloud”). If we implement this integration scenario, we will probably run TiddlyGuv and FOSSology on the same box. TiddlyGuv requires Python; FOSSology requires PHP and MySQL. Not the same, but both easily installable on a run-of-the-mill Linux server.

To get this proof-of-concept working, we each have some steps to take.

Osmosoft will need to introduce a project data model, using the TiddlyWeb data structure, and the UI to maintain it. This is the biggest step for us, because we haven’t really started that yet. We will then need to introduce a TiddlyWeb plugin that kicks off FOSSology when a new code repository is specified, and to store the resulting scan ID.

On FOSSology’s side, we need two things. First, FOSSology would need to allow “upload” of a URL rather than a physical file. i.e. you could just give it the URL of an archive or a SVN URL pointing to the project root within Subversion; and FOSSology would then pull the content from there and treat it as if you had uploaded it. Second, FOSSology’s command line mode would need to return the scan ID. I believe this is generated at kick-off time, so it could be returned even though the report isn’t yet present. From the scan ID, TiddlyWeb can calculate the scan report URL, which it can store and display in the project’s TiddlyGuv page.

Since the project functionality hasn’t even begun yet, all this will take a while even to build a rudimentary proof-of-concept, but from last week’s meeting, both parties are keen to make it happen.


I’ve just presented TiddlyGuv at the FOSSBazaar workshop, the event I wrote about yesterday. It’s a good time to introduce TiddlyGuv – I’ve mentioned it in some talks and tweeted about it on occasion, but this is its maiden appearance on Software As She’s Developed.

TiddlyGuv (that’s a code name we’ll use for a while) is a web app to support open source software governance. In promoting and supporting open source at Osmosoft, one of the activities is a governance process. This means establishing policies for open source usage and auditing projects against it. TiddlyGuv is the tool we’re developing to support this process – it will support community discussions, policy publication, project tracking, workflow, and alerts about potential problems.

A few things about TiddlyGuv:

  • TiddlyGuv is in progress, it’s not complete and still needs work around a clean installation package. (We’re currently re-working how all this is done with TiddlyWeb verticals; once that’s done, there will be a package so people can try it out.) In any event, the code in some form is online in Trac.
  • TiddlyGuv is a web app. No surprise there :).
  • TiddlyGuv motivated the comments plugin, which has now been used in various other projects, including the live TiddlyWeb documentation wiki.
  • TiddlyGuv is built on the TiddlyWiki-TiddlyWeb stack, like TiddlyDocs. We see a general trend of CMS apps emerging on this stack, which has been called TiddlyCMS. (TiddlyCMS is an architectural pattern.) The aim is that TiddlyCMS apps share a large suite of common components such as the comments plugin.
  • TiddlyGuv is open source. The license hasn’t been finalised, but will likely be BSD, same as TiddlyWiki. We hope other organisations use TiddlyGuv in ther own organisations; TiddlyWiki and TiddlyWeb offer highly flexible architectures which lend themselves to adaptability.

Functionally, the first thing we’re aiming for is a tool with document wiki, for general discussion about open source usage, and a license portal, showing a list of licenses and information about each one. The comments plugin ensures each document and each license can be commented on too. All of this is there today, albeit in an untested state. Later on, we will add info about projects and further still, a workflow tool – for example, “Once the project form has been submitted, it must be reviewed by two named reviewers. They will each receive an email notification when a project is ready for review.” We would want the system to follow rules like that, and we would want to allow site administrators to maintain such rules. The TiddlyWiki model is to encapsulate rules like that inside tiddlers. I foresee some kind of Javascript-powered Domain-Specific Language (DSL).

The FOSSBazaar slide pack:

The feedback from the workshop was positive; there’s interest in the project and there was also interest from one vendor of a commercial product about ways to introduce the wiki or commenting aspects into an existing product. A good example of this sort of thing is Amazon – the way it has a structured product page, which incorporates a forum and a wiki. It raises some interesting architectural issues about how a TiddlyWiki/TiddlyWeb app could be embedded onto a page as a widget-style component, with identity and permissioning handled too. I also had an extended discussion with Mark Donohoe about how TiddlyGuv could talk to FOSSology. Of which, more in the next post.

Clay Shirky Talk – London ICA Feb 4, 2008

Just back from Clay Shirky’s talk. I’ve been following him for years, so it was great to see him live.

Notes taken on my phone, typo beware!

Today – launching softback edition of book and updating thesis since then (incl recent events includig Obama). “speculative”

“group action just got easier” So what happens when u lower the cost of doing these things

3 weeks ago – international taking off pants off on mass transit day!!! (and keeping a straight face) — the event had no special technology but was only made possible by technology

It’s tough to get a group to do anything … Traditionally required public sector (if social cause) of private sector (if profit motive) – pants off day , neither public nor private motives but cost so low it was possible to take place anyway

  • ryerson study group on facebook. Student charged, uni’s model is a newspaper publishing results and many students will be leeching.

students model-just a regular study group, updated for modern tech.

  • the thing facebook is most like … Is facebook! How do we update academic culture to take advantage of these possibilities. There’s no easy way out of consolidating these two mindsets. The changes will come bottom-up.

Thai fashion student. Article about fly fishing iphone game. If you ask why would she write it, answer is “she’s not speaking to you!” and why not wrote it, it’s cheap.

So then she was the first to post the coup. Everyone was watching and her next post was about a hello kitty iPhone!!!! She’s not a professional journalist and doesn’t want to be one, but she committed an “occasional act of journalism”. But an occasional act times a billion people …. !

Obama. In 2006 a black president seemed impossible. Always a sense he was noble cause but not going to get anywhere. The “yes we can”. Will I Am music video set in peoples minds the thought it might be possible.

The artist never asked obamas permission and nor was be asked to do it. But u could say the permission was there implicitly by certain things released as creative commons and also by the whole ethos of the campaign Which made lots of media available. In contrast mccain campaign wanted complete control eg provided quotes to cut and paste. plenty of obama media like that.

“sing for change” shows the republicans can play this game too…screw up by an obama supporter but no-one blamed Obama. Those days are past, when the organisation was held completely responsible for the actions of a supporter.

Obama site v functional, mostly for organising groups to ** take action **.

Group “pres Obama, pleaase get FISA right” groups popularity meant that obama had to respond.

The big question now is, will he govern like he campaigned. launch the day after he got in …. Said “wisdom of crowds”

no. 1 issue was legalisation of marijuana. Clearly special interest group pressure.

Question and Answer

Q How to build org when lieutenants don’t want to, want command and control?
A One way is to Find pressure from outside eg Obama can try to rely on pressure from the media to stop senators negotiating insanity. “institutions at homeostatic”

Q Codes of conduct for social media in public spaces
A The “invisible college” – historic concept of practices of reporting and conducting research.

Q ??? A Doesn’t matter that people can game Digg because of just a media outlet and people can leave it and go elsewhere. but u can’t easily change countries. So still not solved how u can take voting seriously.

Q By can’t we learn from open source mechnanisms?
A Gov mechanism that works best is benevolent dictatorship. Linus, jimmy Wales, guido. Because there’s always the threat of forking of the project goes astray. Again, we can’t easily switch governments of move. Moving from the Uk to France is harder than switching from openbsd to freebsd.

Q New business models that will emerge from the current crisis?
A Sanger and Linus exceedingly modest when introducing their products (ie predictions – hard to say). P2P models for money (eg – lending from small groups, typically people who know u and will watch u like a hawk). these models – based on emotional connection – may be more accurate than algorithmic models. “mutualisation”. The big questions whether states will support it.

Q Diff bn fisa and marijuana example.
A Fisa result – in a group that opted in, during a campaign. Once u have to govern u have to govern everybody.

Q Role for Holders of cultural content at museums.
A Smithsonian project uploading to flickr. Only got 6000 images out. The tech is available, the institutional change is the key concern. Every day, gets someone in their design dept to watch a user working ok their website. Similarly museums etc should do the same thing,low key.