The nature of the community

by Jono Bacon

Well here we go. I suppose every blogger needs a first post, and this is my first foray into the world of an O’Reilly weblog. There is a good possibility that many of you are wondering who I am, why I am writing here and if you should give me a tip. No tip required, but here is the low-down.


I am a full time writer and developer living in the sunny Midlands in the heart England. I have been a Linux user since 1998, and I write for a variety of magazines include Linux Format, Linux Pro, Linux Magazine, PC Plus and others. I have a great interest in Open Source and free software and I want to see it succeed in as many places as possible; yes, this includes it running on your toaster and electric toothbrush. As such, I write a lot about advocacy of free software, thoughts on how it should mature and ideas about getting it into places that matter such as schools, education, hospitals and your office.


The reason I am into Linux is that it satisfies both a technical and humanistic part of me. I love the fact that I can get hold of some fantastic, stable, secure software and I also love the fact that it is free, open, and developed by a community of volunteers, each of which has an email address and personal impact on the software. In my view there is no real technical goal that cannot be reached with a development structure such as the one we have. There is always going to be a bright spark somewhere that will pull something out of the hat and surprise us.


Take as an example the recent work being done by Robert Love and the other Project Utopia hackers. This kind of innovation is what will make the Linux desktop stick in 2004. What I find interesting is that the various limitations of free software components are often surpassed by the fact that someone questions the validity of established processes while still keeping in with the norms of the application structure. This can of course make a free software project flourish under the condition that the development community are open to well founded sensible decisions on architectural change. In essence this keeps things fresh and stops a community getting stuck in a rut.


When reading this blog, you should prepare for some rambles. I am an incessant rambler (no, not a keen walker of public footpaths, just a keen talker about things that are interesting to me) and I like to discuss different issues and problems with the hardware and software that I use every day. Much of this technology we use works, some of it does not, and when I ramble about it I hope to open some interesting discussion about these issues. In many ways you can consider this blog a more technology focussed elder brother to the blog on my homepage. In this blog I will spare you what I ate for my lunch, did at a gig last night and what I think of the demise of Friends on TV. This blog sticks to the technology and I expect you all to be wearing sandals and growing a beard while reading it. :)


This blog is not a one way concept by the way. I would love to hear your thoughts about the content of my blog posts. You can do this either by submitting comments below or by emailing me at blog AT jonobacon D-O-T org, logging onto my forum at http://www.jonobacon.org/forums/ or by shouting at me in the street.