Bringing Things Together

Hardy Party In Michigan

Posted by Greg on April 21, 2008

If you are any where near the South East Corner of Michigan on Satuday, you should come to our Hardy Party.

Saturday the 26th
Ann Arbor Brewing Co. [0]
7pm – ?
I’ll have stickers (both case badges and those bigger white ones)
Bring your friends.

See you there!

[0] Address:
114 E Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
There is a parking ramp across the street from the pub.


Posted in LoCo, Ubuntu | 7 Comments »

Shells Shells Everywhere Shells!

Posted by Greg on April 10, 2008

I wasn’t going to post in response to the meme, that is, until I saw my history.

$history|awk ‘{a[$2]++ } END{for(i in a){print a[i] ” ” i}}’ |sort -rn|head
87 add-5-a-day
54 screen
52 sudo
52 cd
46 ls
22 dpkg
21 cat
20 irssi
13 bzr
10 tail

Can you tell I am a part of the 5-a-day team on Launchpad?

And, again, why isn’t Ohio on the stats page?

My 5 today: #213251 (pulseaudio), #215005 (jockey), #212709 (linux-restricted-modules-2.6.24), #213585 (flashplugin-nonfree), #213852 (poppler)
Do 5 a day – every day!

Posted in LoCo, Ubuntu | 2 Comments »

Since it hasn’t been talked about enough already…

Posted by Greg on March 24, 2008

So, why should LaunchPad (Malone) be open sourced?*

I’m not going to say because other groups need to use the bug tracking/code hosting/question answering/multi-project-resource unifying features. No, I do believe that it wouldn’t make much sense for there to be multiple Launchpads out there dealing with bugs/code/etc (maybe a little of sense, but not much).

That market is already taken by and others (bugzilla, trac, savannah, et. al.)

Ok, so what market am I looking at? Scholarly communication <BORING!>

Not really boring actually. If you haven’t been paying attention to the scholarly communication world lately, let me tell you, a lot is changing. University libraries are spending more and more money every year on electronic journals. The rate of increase for the same product is higher than that of inflation, for a product which doesn’t improve (can we say monopoly/oligopoly?). In response many institutions (university libraries) are beginning to provide competing services. Full disclosure, my current employer is the Scholarly Publishing Office at the University of Michigan where we publish scholarly journals in an online and Open Access fashion. So, we are providing an alternative to the current commercial publisher vendor lock-in.

What does this have to do with LaunchPad and Open Source Software? Well, we are now in a global situation where there are many many many many open access journals and publications out there. There are some services out there than can help you navigate them, like the Directory of Open Access Journals. But, that service only indexes Open Access journals. Plus, there are now these things called Institutional Repositories, which are collections of preprints and articles and data from the “scholars” in a given “institution” (university, research lab, etc).

Then you have the commercial vendors. They don’t like people looking at their stuff, they don’t play nice with others unless they think they will lose money if they don’t. Libraries are getting better and better at letting their patrons search both sets of journals in one place, but the interface ALWAYS is hideous and creates MANY hoops the user has to jump through. In a word, it is LAME.

I haven’t answered what LP has to do with this yet. I’m getting there, I promise.

What does LaunchPad do really well? Linking various bugtrackers so that people can work together more efficiently to solve problems, right? That was the whole goal of Launchpad, otherwise Ubuntu would have stayed with bugzilla. What is the analogue for the scholarly publishing/communication world? You have those many distinct collections of articles (Open Access journals, Institutional Repositories, and commercial vendors) that do not talk to each other, ever. Yes, there are groups out there trying to improve this situation like the Open Archives Initiative where they are setting metadata standards and standards for transferring that information to others. That is a great thing, but it is only a start.

<The Answer, Finally> If we created a LaunchPad for scholarly works, we could solve many of the beginning access issues associated with this crappy situation. Here’s the idea:

Think of a bug, that is the article in this case. The article (bug) can have a published status like draft version or published in a journal (New, Incomplete, Fix Committed). But for it to even be an article in this Scholar’s LP it needs to have a reference to where it is, physically. So instead of a bug originating in LP and then being linked to other trackers as time goes on, the article needs to have an initial link to some place (OA journal, IR, or Comm. Vendor) using some standard like Digital Object Identifier or (which assigns a unique id to object online that can point to any address, so the changing of URLs won’t effect findability).

Then, this article (bug) can also have different versions linked to it. So, example: I publish an article in a prestigious journal, Nature, and I’m proud of it. So, I go to the Scholar’s LP and submit a new article. I give it the DOI or id and it automagically retrieves the metadata from the article’s current place of residence (that is if the provide it, if it is a commercial vendor, I might have to fill it in myself). Then it shows up as a new article in the system. My advisor, who thinks the work I did was cool, thinks that my previous drafts before publication are also pretty good. Since the version in Nature is not available to everyone for free, he links the preprint version that resides in my University’s Institutional Repository to my article. That is just like linking to an upstream bug in LP.

Of course, all the metadata is editable and updatable with information like author(s), publication data, place, copyright status (license), etc etc. Plus, if we wanted, we could limit certain metadata elements (like copyright status) to only the article’s author(s), we can do that by verifying emails with respect to what is in the actual article’s author list.

This Scholar’s LP could provide a wonderful unified interface so that “scholars” (define that however you want) can navigate this crazy mess of publishing easily (or at least easier). The “killer app” part of this is the ability to link a published article which is under crappy copyright restrictions to other versions which are available for everyone via institutional repositories or other places, in one place.

There are plenty of fancy cool things which could be done with this model, and I will talk about those later. One example is automatically linking to works cited to another Scholar’s LP or to an external link. But for now, I just wanted to get this idea out there and see if anyone has any comments.

* yes, you are right, we don’t need LaunchPad to be opensourced to do this, it was just a way to get you to read this, sorry.

Posted in Freedom, open access, School, spo, Ubuntu | 10 Comments »

Who’s number 1?

Posted by Greg on March 23, 2008

I’m just taking a break from writing papers to show you something interesting that proves the fact that Michigan is probably one of the best LoCos out there:

5-a-day Stats

Go past all of the individuals and look at the bottom where the teams are listed. See which team is #1? GO MICHIGAN!

I couldn’t help but notice that Ohio isn’t on the list…..

edit: yes yes, we aren’t number 1 for today, but, we are more of a long term focused group anyways.

My 5 today: #205715 (linux), #91498 (gnome-screensaver), #205742 (language-pack-sv), #193617 (gnome-power-manager), #205681 (ubuntu)
Do 5 a day – every day!

Posted in Freedom, LoCo, Ubuntu | 2 Comments »

Social Meet ‘n Greet for the Ubuntu people in the US

Posted by Greg on March 13, 2008

What are you doing tonight at 8pm MST (7 PST, 9 CST, 10 EST)? Wanna hang out with some great Ubuntu people? Good deal, just join the #ubuntu-us channel on, there’ll be a lot of us. And it is sure to be a good time (the last one was!).

New to IRC? Check out this guide on the Michigan team’s wiki page (shamelessly copied/modified from other guides).

See you there!

Posted in Freedom, LoCo, Ubuntu | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Greg on February 22, 2008

Yesterday was a very busy, stressful and long day.

But, no day is ever completely worthless. I had some good things happen yesterday. Got to talk to Rachel for a while, won some money for the video a group of us made for a contest, and….

I became an Official Ubuntu Member! w00t!

Thanks for all the cheers everyone!

Also, if all goes well, this should be my first post on planet.ubuntu. Hello all you Ubunteros!

My 5 today: #190731 (gnome-settings-daemon), #190777 (poppler), #194086 (ubuntu), #184449 (ubuntu), #189318 (ubuntu)
Do 5 a day – every day!

Posted in LoCo, Ubuntu | 2 Comments »

I’ve done my five…

Posted by Greg on February 19, 2008

have you?

After a false start with the 5-a-day reporting program, I have now set it up and submitted my “5-a-day” since I joined the 5-a-day team.

Where are yours?

PS: Anyone smell a Michigan-Ohio competition starting from this? I do.

My 5 today: Bug 161961 (firefox), Bug 158874 (ubuntu), Bug 162031 (wine), Bug 162424 (gnome-utils), Bug 173271 (thunderbird)
Do 5 a day – every day!

Posted in LoCo, Ubuntu | 1 Comment »

Request for Help

Posted by Greg on February 8, 2008

We need your help.  Your expertise.  Your perfect eye.  Your creativity.


Pete (from GuerrillaTech) is putting together a flier, codenamed the “Bad Vista Flier.”  It still needs work.  It needs polish.  It needs to look great when printed out.  It needs to be powerful.  Again, it needs you.

Posted in Freedom, Ubuntu | Leave a Comment »

I’m going to D.C.

Posted by Greg on February 7, 2008

The school I attend, the University of Michigan’s School of Information, has a neat little program called “Alternative Spring Break.”

Alternative Spring Break, or ASB to the “in people,” is an opportunity for students to work with organizations for a week; basically a mini-internship.  The positions range from usability testing of a website to archive managing at the National Archives to policy oriented positions.

I, being of the policy persuasion, applied for those positions.  A couple with ALA (American Library Association) and one with EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center).  The place that took me is EPIC.

So that means I’m using my spring break this year to go work with a group that tries to protect your privacy rights online, fight for a more open government, and make sure you can speak your mind wherever you are.  Yeah, you’re welcome.

Any questions you want me to ask the people at EPIC for you?  let me know.

Posted in Freedom, School | 2 Comments »

One goal down…

Posted by Greg on February 3, 2008

I am now a member of the Ubuntu Bug Control team.

What does that mean? On the lowest level it means I have more “power” in Launchpad; I can set options I couldn’t set before.

What does it really mean? It means I am now a member of a group which you can go to for help when submitting/triaging/working on bugs in Ubuntu (or anything on Launchpad really).

Not sure what package that bug should be assigned to? Ask me. Not sure if that bug is of Low, Medium, or Critical importance? Ask me. Confused on how the hell you are supposed to do something in Launchpad? Ask me.

Posted in Ubuntu | Leave a Comment »