Dang it! Another week has only gone and flapped past my ears while I sat here squinting awkwardly at Twitter.
And what of the tweets that whizzed by my eyeballs this week? Well, most of ’em concerned Red Hat.
The billion-dollar Linux giant has basically sponsored my stream for the entire week (that or I simply follow too many Red Hat employees. It’s Probably the latter).
Red Hat started May by unveiling a (surprisingly uncontroversial) new logo, then they slipped into killer conference mode for the Red Hat Summit 2019 (stocked with the most EPIC of conference swag) and then they found a couple of spare minutes to serve up their bread and butter, namely RHEL 8.
Not that I plan to talk about any of that in this post, though!
I Just wanted a passable excuse prepared for when you get to the bottom of this post — don’t scoff, it is possible — and learn that, contrary to the title, I didn’t learn anything from Twitter this week.
1. Purism Librem Woes
If you’d told me a couple of weeks ago that the FOSS community would be raising a collective eyebrow at Purism, the hitherto hugely respected privacy-orientated computer company, I’d have muted you.
But this week the FOSS community did exactly that.
The crowdfunding campaign for Librem One, a set of free mobile apps built around open, data-friendly services, has attracted a lot of attention since its launch last week and not all of it has been good.
First Purism’s fork of Mastodon, a decentralised alternative to Twitter, came without some of the safeguards Mastodon was built with:
Then some the folks behind the various open-source Android and iOS apps Purism forked for Librem One expressed a few “mehs” at the lack of mention in the initial press bumf Pursim sent out:
Now questions about the campaign’s pledge accuracy are emerging:
In all, a bit of squeaky-bum time for a company that had enjoyed an otherwise silent posterior.
Purism has, to their credit, engaged and responded to many of the complaints, providing explanations and answers and apologies and corrections, and so on.
And on the pledge front, things do appear to still going great for them.
They’re now over 50% of the way to their initial goal of 5000 backers, with plenty of room left to tackle a stretch goal or two and deliver additional services to users paying $7.99/month.
2. Google I/O Wow
Aside from the Red Hat Summer and Microsoft Build 2019 this week also saw Google I/O 2019 kick off with a demo-packed keynote.
Like many I watched the Google I/O keynote on a laptop screen, cheering on the company’s renewed focus on privacy, and cooing at all the cool devices like the absolute Android fanboy that I am.
My main thought after the keynote wrapped up was “I wish I was rich enough to drop £400 on the Pixel 3a because GOSH DAMMIT I want to take awesome night-time shots of my cats too”.
Then I saw this tweet from Owen Williams which made me remember there were other, non self-hating parts of the keynote to focus on.
Google Assistant has gone (somewhat) client-side, which means it can can work offline.
And that’s a bit of a game changer.
All of the voice-detection assistant-y translate-y features have been whittled down to 500MB in size, which is small enough to ship on devices, even low-end ones.
No cloud intermediary is a really compelling lure on its own, but combine that with these awesome new “smarts” and the huge increase in speed, and… Well, it’s really quite something!
3. Simple things…
Don’t let the above two choices fool you: I haven’t picked up a brain, I’m still way too into trivial fluff.
Such as hearing that Dash to Panel, one of the best GNOME extensions (if rarely used because I try to keep to a “stock Ubuntu” layout for screenshots on this blog) has picked up a little feature from Unity (back in the day):
Derived colour app highlights are totally trivial, totally useless, and yet wonderful to have because I say so.
Annnnd that’s it for this week! I didn’t manage to squeeze anything else of note out of the Twitter sponge this week — but do check back same-time, same-place next week for another hopeless helping of my thoughts on other people’s thoughts.
Also: I finally made a thumbnail for this series. My brief was “MTV meets Headmistress’s reaction to lewd drawings on exercise books” and, not gonna like, I think I pulled it off 😉. Let me know what you think!