update and tidbits

It’s been a while since I blogged last, time for a brain dump.

Edubuntu

The newly elected Edubuntu Council is kicking of the Lucid Lynx cycle. They are scheduling a bunch of focused work days to look at bugs, the wiki, the website, docs, etc. It should be pretty productive and I wish them well on their endeavor to make Edubuntu 10.04 a solid educational OS. Check out the meeting minutes for more info if you’re interested. There is going to be a Bug Day on the 12th and the wonderful HedgeMage has come up with an outstanding redesign of the Edubuntu website (see here and here) .

No Longer a Developer

As much as I have loved working on Ubuntu, real life has been such that I haven’t had time to really keep up with development policies and practices. Ubuntu is a huge project and so it takes a fair amount of effort/time to keep up with. With my chemistry carrier actually going somewhere I don’t see for the foreseeable future that I’ll have enough time to keep up. Since I don’t like the idea of staying in Launchpad groups I’m not actually involved with I decided last week to deactivate from the Ubuntu Core Developers team. Instead, with what little time I have to devote to FLOSS I’m going to be working on small, upstream projects where I don’t have so much to keep up with. Recently I took over the development of Plotdrop (a GNOME frontend to the graphing program, gnuplot) from John Spray. I’ve also been working on a few patches to GChemUtils (awesome set of chemistry GTK libraries and programs) and gnome system tools (specifically on users-admin).

Politics

Some people might find this utterly boring so I put it last but I’m a bit of a political junkie. So in 2004 after I moved to Nevada to go to grad school my party won the presidential election but lost the senate race. Now I’ve recently moved to Massachusetts and my party lost the last presidential election and there is a senate race in just a couple weeks. I wonder if the trend (win one, lose one) will hold and we win a crucial senate seat. It’s certainly a long shot in Massachusetts, but who knows, stranger things have happened. 🙂 It’s a least some motivation to get to the polls.

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Chemists can code! sorta …

Anybody who knows me knows that I’m not a programmer, I don’t even play one on TV 😦 .  I’m a PhD Physical Chemistry student and an experimentalist at that. I knew nothing about distro or software development for most of the time I’ve used Linux. A little over a year ago I figured out how to get on freenode hopped on #ubuntu-motu . I was sucked into the MOTU world and have been known as a raging Ubuntu-holic MOTU.  So now that I’ve experienced a little distro development I’ve been itching a little to do some software development.  Well, the short story is through a series of events I found Gnome Chemisty Utils (and it’s author Jean Bréfort) and a group of chemists interested in open standards and open source in the area of chemoinformatics called Blue Obelisk. Now, putting this all together I ended up learning a little C++ and GTK to create a new color scheme for the gchemutils periodic table app that reads in data from the Blue Obelisk Data Repository (BODR). The new scheme “colorizes” the elements by family (noble gases, alkali metals, etc. ). The fruit of my labor, released today as a part of Gnome Chemistry Utils version 0.7.4, is shown in the following screenshot:

GChemTable

So if you happen to be interested in periodic tables (you know you are) then grab BODR 4 and gchemutils 0.7.4 and have fun.

Next step: figure out how to get all this fun stuff in Universe for Feisty!