Changing Roles

About 6 years ago I started working for Novell to develop Banshee into much of what it has become today. I’m quite fond its evolution, but perhaps more proud of its community. As is likely obvious, I have not been too technically involved with Banshee over the past year. The last major thing I developed to production was the Amazon MP3 store integration and downloader, which was over the summer of 2010 (and is currently bringing in a respectable amount of revenue to the GNOME foundation!); yet Banshee has kept on growing – at a fantastic and exciting rate. This is all thanks to the numerous people actively and passionately involved in the project.

Over the last two years I found my duties leaning much more towards the Linux distribution side of things at Novell – specifically engineering of SUSE MeeGo this year, and SUSE Moblin the year before. My hands were in pretty much every aspect of the projects, and I found myself working closely with so many great people, many with whom I had not previously worked. This includes talent from both Novell and Intel.

Out of the MeeGo project arose an opportunity for Banshee as well. Working closely with the team at Intel, it became the default and integrated media player not just for our SUSE version, but also for Intel’s reference version of MeeGo for netbooks.

Recently I found myself faced with an opportunity to work with a new set of talented people on something fresh. Today was my last day at Novell, and next week I will be starting at Rdio, where I expect to take Banshee into yet another new direction. I’m excited about the possibilities ahead, but will save my thoughts for another time.

I’ve been a happy Rdio user for quite some time, and have been very inspired by its fresh and unique take on a few aspects of media playback and management. And while there’s much I’d like to do in Banshee that Rdio is already doing, there’s perhaps even more I’d like to see Rdio doing that Banshee does. It will be an exciting time to come, and I’m eager to jump in.

I intend to continue to be involved in Banshee as an application and community. I am looking forward to again spending more time in the project. Similarly, you won’t find me leaving the GNOME and openSUSE communities I’ve grown quite fond of over the years. Apologies for that!

As I write this I am headed to FOSDEM, and I am very much looking forward to seeing so many great people again, and I look forward to the times in the future where we will continue to meet, preferably over copious amounts of beer!


Miguel calls this the new "abock lolcat."
The only problem is that it’s a dog! But this is fine with me…

Real American Heroes: Toilet Trouble

Friends, in these tough economic times, we’re all expected to go above and beyond the usual call of duty. My very dear friend Miguel regularly executes on this mantra and today was no exception.

This afternoon, he was spotted tending to a toilet emergency. Miguel went above and beyond, demonstrating his fearless leadership and improvisational skills. He has declined to comment on the matter however.

Miguel stops an overflowing toilet
Miguel stopping an overflowing toilet
at the Novell Cambridge office.

We’ve yet to generate any leads in this case of backlog, but we will be setting up an anonymous tip-line. Stay tuned.

Miguel wading through toilet water
Miguel wading through toilet water in his boots
after the overflow was stopped. Bless him.

VP of developer platform & visionary by day, plumber by… day as well.

Superhero Gabriel Burt joins Novell

Gabriel Burt

Community member extraordinaire Gabriel Burt (“gabaug”), of Banshee, F-Spot, and many other fames, has joined the desktop team at Novell to help work on Banshee and general multimedia support in openSUSE and SLED!

Gabriel has been an active and enthusiastic developer on Banshee for the last couple of years, contributing very notable components to the project, including Smart Playlists, Generic USB mass storage audio player support, and the Bookmarks plugin along with lots of general bug fixing, feature enhancement, and community support.

He also helps maintain F-Spot and has done a lot of work on the tag view and contributed the very innovative drag-and-drop tag searching.

Our first joint task on Banshee will be to construct a new road map for the project, so stay tuned, Banshee enthusiasts — many exciting new things are in the pipeline!

Welcome to the team Gabriel!

Boston

After 18 hours on the road on Saturday, I finally landed in Boston. My friend Connor and I left Raleigh at about 4:30 on Saturday morning, arrived in Wilmington, DE around 12:30 to eat lunch with my grandparents and take a short nap at their house (neither of us slept on Friday night), picked up the keys from my landlord at about midnight and stepped into my new apartment shortly thereafter. We spent all day Sunday doing touristy stuff around Boston since it was Connor’s first time here, and I drove him to the airport at about 5:30 this morning.

I haven’t had much sleep since Thursday night. Hopefully all my furniture and other belongings will arrive sometime this week so I can actually settle in. I have a sheet, a pillow, a blanket, and an air mattress until then. At least there are a bunch of unsecured access points around my building to hold me over until I can get the cable hooked up.

Surfing the Tubes

  • Novell and EFF team on patent reformAwesomeness

    “I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been talking a lot about patents within Novell in the last twelve months. More than we have in the past,” he said. Novell concluded that the patent system is broken and that patents are hobbling innovation and open standards, by putting companies on the defensive.
    –Nat Friedman

  • My good friend Jeff Tickle is working on an awesome Tomboy/Gtk# project called Virtual Paper, and has been making some wonderful progress. He could really use some expert Cairo advise regarding custom gradients on a stroke. I think Jeff should always blog from Virtual Paper itself and never again use the keyboard.

  • Late last week Miguel started white-boarding the drawing engine for Moonlight, and has made some progress since getting his canvas to draw a rectangle.

  • After a frantic brute-force apartment hunt in Boston last Thursday and Friday, I found a nice place in Kenmore/Back Bay, and will be moving out of my apartment in Raleigh at the end of next week. I’ll spend a week at my parents’ house visiting with family we have coming into town, and then will drive up to Boston on the 10th. I can’t wait!

  • I have been working on some major performance improvements in Banshee and will write more about this later. 0.13.x is going to be completely awesome and noticeably faster. Unfortunately I’ve spent so much time this month preparing for the move to Boston that I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I want hacking. The good thing is that I am in one of those mad-hacking moods where I stay up all night and get real work done. These come and go in cycles, and usually last a long time.