Things I get excited about
I tend to stumble over things during randomly reading the daily news, things that really get my juices cooking.. and no I am not talking about nudie pictures. Cool technology, here’s the little list I gathered during my vacation:
Codethink Ltd is doing a revision system based filesystem overlay called WizBit, what this enables is something I have wanted for a long time. All the things a DVCS does for source code but made available for regular files and integrated in the desktop. One simple usecase for this would be saving documents automatically, the user does not have to specify a path or a name since those now are just attributes of the files entry in the underlying DVCS (in WizBit’ case Git), they can be filled in later. The user can thus be safe knowing his work, the thing he really cares about as opposed to the file, is contained for him even if he forgets to click the save button (long term maybe he wouldn’t even need to, the file name and path could be filled in automatically by the application in use). I think in all this recent talk about which system to pick for a project is overlooking WizBit’ excellent example, it is not the DVCS, it’s how you interact with it and integrate it with the job you are trying to get done. E.g. as a Fedora contributor I don’t interact with CVS, I use the scripts provided to help the maintainers that wrap around the underlying system. Regardless, WizBit looks very cool, I look forward to playing with it and seeing how it can play a role in making Fedora a more attractive desktop for me and users everywhere. One thing I wonder about, if we do something like use this technology to do filesystem overlays to seemlessly combine a remote store with the desktop. After my recent harddrive failure I have been wondering about putting my data on something like Amazon’ S3 but this type of service currently does not tie in well with the desktop, I don’t get the experience I desire – namely having a minimal system on my machine but still having it look in every way that all my data is there when I have internet connectivity (maybe even with clever caching to have popular files locally).
Red Hat, everyones favorite Linux vendor, has an interesting research project called razor, which aims to unify parts of rpm and yum to have them share an efficent storage, as a user I hope this is one of those changes I will never notice outside maybe a performance increase. Not every change needs to be wizbang, with PackageKit being the way we interact with the package system, the average user will never notice razor but it will make his life better.. hopefully. I look forward to seeing where this goes, being a research project nothing ever needs to come of it which in a way fills me with joy, these little playful projects are part of what is so much fun about computers.. exploring.
Another Red Hat project, Spacewalk the freed future of the Red Hat Network Satelitte product. I’ll probably never use it, I have very few machines but Fedora isn’t all about me. I can see this becoming a really powerful tool to position Fedora for admins. With all the work the Fedora community puts into making Fedora rock on the desktop, I think it’s nice to see that we also cater to the admin population. Fedora is a platform which you can make into what you need, the defaults for the spin we promote might be set for a desktop but that is easily changed with the tools we have available.
Just 3 of the projects that got me excited, it is one thing I love about Linux, there is always something interesting going on. Just look at the F10 Feature plan as it grows the next month or so, enjoy looking forward to seeing it in action on your Fedora desktop soon and maybe you can catch a glimpse early on Fedora TV vod/podcast. Which is probably if I have to mention something which I am personally the most excited about Fedora TV would be it. I see it as a good advertisement channel for Fedora and a good way for us to show off new features, interesting bits of work, maybe some day conference talks and video interviews. I would love a good Fedora insider podcast to compliment it for the heavier topics, lenghty interviews and that kind of thing.