Popular Tags:

International Software Freedom Day

September 15, 2007 at 10:28 am

Today I’m going down to check out the Boston Software Freedom Day hosted by the Free Software Foundation (which is headquartered in Boston, and their site runs Plone!), BinaryFreedom and the Boston Free Culture.

This event is part of a larger worldwide coordinated Software Freedom Day, whereby activists from around the world join together to promote free software. Over 330 teams from over 90 countries are participating!

Software Freedom Day is a global, grassroots effort to educate the public about the importance of software freedom and the virtues and availability of Free and Open Source Software.

I’m particularly looking forward to hear the talk about Drupal for non-profits. While I’m a staunch Plone advocate, I often get asked the question, so why should I use Plone instead of Drupal? I know that Drupal is a very capable CMS, but I’m curious to see what the sales proposition is to a non-profit audience.

They are also going to have people on hand to assist in installing Rockbox, an open firmware for portable music players. Maybe I’ll bring my aging iPod and dump Apple’s firmware in favor of Rockbox. It does look quite featureful.

Plone 3.0 released

August 21, 2007 at 5:29 pm

I am really excited about Plone 3.0, the newest version of the content management system built on Zope, which was released today! New features include OpenID support, a new portlet architecture, built in wiki support, improved WYSIWYG editor and lots more. Installers are available for Windows, OSX, Linux and SuSE as well as cross-platform source bundles.

read more | digg story

Birds of a Feather – fostering Plone subcommunities

June 4, 2007 at 11:42 pm

I’m at the PIKtipi sprint right now and thoroughly enjoying the sprinting, camping and socializing among friends old and new. I got a chance to chat with Xavier Heymans (CEO of ZEA Partners), and he was telling me about the new PloneGov initiative. It’s really interesting to see how governments from around the world are coming together under a common purpose to create open source software to serve the public.

This lead to a discussion about the importance of organizing the Plone users within various vertical markets and that collecting case studies about how these sectors are using Plone might be a good place to start. There is already an initiative on Plone.org for this, but it appears to be inactive. What are the policies for posting to this area of plone.org? How does one contribute case studies, news, links, events, etc.?

I’ve also been thinking about how the Plone community needs to do a better job of evangelizing its successes, and helping to facilitate like-minded groups to form sub-communities. Plone is being used in a wide variety of sectors and there are so many interesting use cases: libraries, eLearning, governments, artists, newspapers, mapping and even managing vineyards!

But these case studies are few and far between. As of today, there are only 6 case studies on plone.net. I should not be the one to cast the first stone, because my company, Jazkarta, has not published any case studies yet, even though we have several projects that would be very interesting to document.

I’ve started collecting various “Plone for…” initiatives and sites, and would like to post these somewhere permanent where they can grow into a comprehensive resource for decision makers who are evaluating Plone to see if it will fit their needs. Perhaps this information would be better suited for a home on plone.net? Here is the first shot…

Plone for Libraries

• Plinkit provides Plone-based, pre-built websites for public libraries. See Darci Hanning’s presentation about Plinkit at the Plone Conference 2006.

Plone for Education and eLearning

• eduCommons is an OpenCourseWare management system designed specifically to support OpenCourseWare projects. eduCommons will help you develop and manage an open access collection of course materials. eduCommons is used by Utah State University, Novell’s OpenCourseWare, Rice University’s Connexions, etc. Read more about the history of EduCommons.

Plone for Governments

• The goal of PloneGov is to develop in a cooperative manner, applications and websites suited for public organization for their own use as well as for their citizens’.
• CommunePlone, the predecessor to PloneGov, is a fast growing open source software mutualization project led by local governments. Open to international collaboration, the project outlines the benefits of open source and mutualization for the Public Sector. Read more about CommunesPlone.

Plone for Artists

• Plone4Artists is an initiative to assemble a Plone products bundle with features commonly required for artist community websites. The target audience is artists and musicians who want to build a community portal site where they can showcase their work and network with like-minded artists.
• BI.LIVE is an example of a site that is using the 1st generation Plone4Artists products for multimedia: ATAudio/ATVideo.

Plone for eCommerce

• PloneGetPaid is a lightweight framework for payment processing and commerce in Plone. There have already been two sprints to accelerate the development of the product. The upcoming doc-comm sprint at the Googleplex in Mountain View (June 25-29) will have a team of developers working on improving this product and getting it ready for prime-time.

Plone for Multimedia

• The MediaDB project was developed as a central repository for media files and documents, that were to be used in multiple web sites (referred to as ‘media sites’ here) run by the same company. That means the project not so much implements a media server handling the media content itself (e.g. video streaming), but focuses on storing files in a central place and making them available from (remote) plone sites. Demo of MediaDB

• The Plone4ArtistsSite suite of products includes several components for making it easier to manage multimedia content in your Plone site: Plone4ArtistsAudio, Plone4ArtistsVideo, and PloneFlashUpload.

• Plumi is a GPL licensed video sharing Content Management System based on Plone and produced by the EngageMedia collective. Plumi enables you to create your own sophisticated video sharing site; by adding it to an existing Plone instance you can quickly have a wide array of functionality to facilitate video distribution and community creation. EngageMedia is a website for video about social justice and environmental issues in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Plone for Community Planning

• OpenPlans aims to transform social activism by providing tools that connect people and enable them to share ideas, stay organized, and act collectively to effect change. OpenCore is the Plone-based software which powers the site, and is freely available under a GPL license. Read the getting started guide which explains how they use buildit to deploy the software.

Plone for GIS & Mapping

• PrimaGIS is a collaborative web mapping application for Plone. PrimaGIS is using buildit to easily deploy a PrimaGIS site.
• Pleiades is an international research community, devoted to the study of ancient geography
• GeoServer was started to help build a more open, interoperable infrastructure of Geographic Information.
• GISPython is a resource for all things about Python and GIS.

Plone for Newspapers

• Julius is a project that came out efforts to build a website dedicated to the national elections for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada. Julius has modules to convert HTML exported from QuarkXpress into NITF files, and code to import those files and create an “edition”, which is made of articles and photos. Read Carlo’s blog post on the Plone for Newspapers initiative.

Plone for Public Radio

• While there isn’t a formal project around using Plone for public radio, there have been some discussions about Plone on the Public Broadcasting Open Source Best Practices list which was started after the Beyond Broadcast 2006 conference in Cambridge, MA, and more discussion took place at the Beyond Broadcast 2007 and the IMA 2007 Conference. There are two public radio stations known to be using Plone: KCRW and KJZZ.

Plone for Multilingual Websites

• While the Plone interface has support for 50+ languages out of the box, the LinguaPlone add-on makes it possible to manage the actual content in more than one language. Plone Solutions (the maintainers of LinguaPlone) and Russ Ferriday from Topia are considered to be some of the experts in deploying multilingual Plone-based websites. Perhaps they could provide some case studies to show how Plone is a viable solution for implementing a multilingual CMS.
• ecoagents is an EU funded gaming website whose purpose is to teach kids about environmental issues. ecoagents is using LinguaPlone and XLIFF Marshaller to provide support and translation for 26 languages.

Plone for Laboratories

• Upfront Systems and BIKA Labs in S. Africa have developed LIMS, a web-based laboratory information management system (LIMS), a Plone-based tool for managing. Read the press release.

At the sprint I’ve been working together with some other folks on creating a Plone4Artists distribution using buildout. We are preparing a tutorial that will hopefully pave the way for other groups to create their own distributions of Plone. Right now, PrimaGIS and OpenPlans’ opencore projects are the only ones that I know of that are using any kind of automated buildout software to distribute their software. It might be a good idea to formalize this process, so that if you want your distribution of Plone to be listed in the directory (wherever that may be hosted), it should include a buildout to make it easy for people to download and evaluate.

The goal is to lower the barrier to entry for a would-be Plone user/integrator. If the software is hard to install and configure, people will turn to other CMSes such as Drupal or Joomla which often have one-click installations at a hosting provider. For the first time, we have tools that provide a way to easily set up and configure a Plone site just by typing a couple of commands (1. bootstrap 2. buildout).

Tools like buildout are empowering because it means we can distribute pre-configured Plone bundles that are specifically targeting a particular audience. These specialized Plone distributions demonstrate the real value of Plone – it’s ability to be easily customized and it’s rich library of 3rd party add-on products.

Technorati Tags: ,

SSH tunneling for dummies

June 3, 2007 at 6:54 pm

If you ever find yourself behind a corporate firewall, as I have found myself at the PIKtipi sprint in Potsdam, and need to access a remote IRC server, here is a command to tunnel the traffic over SSH:

ssh -L 6667:irc.freenode.net:6667 yourserver.com

yourserver.com is a remote server (not firewalled) that you have access to. Of course, this assumes that the local firewall is not blocking SSH on port 22, otherwise you won’t be able to access the remote server.

Then you can connect to the remote IRC server by using localhost:6667.

Or if you don’t have time to type these commands in on the terminal, you can just use IRCatwork.com.

Technorati Tags:

September 15 is Software Freedom Day

May 28, 2007 at 3:52 pm

Software Freedom Day is a global, grassroots effort to educate the public about the importance of software freedom and the virtues and availability of Free and Open Source Software. Local teams from all over the world organize events on the third Saturday in September. The most recent event involved over 200 teams from all over the world.

Europe, here I come!

May 26, 2007 at 8:45 am

Tomorrow I’m off to Europe for three weeks. As usual, it’s a combined business/pleasure trip. My tentative itinerary is:

Yes, this trip is a continuation of the ongoing Plone4Artists roadshow with talks at LinuxTag, DZUG and possibly an impromptu talk at Podcamp Europe. The purpose of these talks is to promote the Plone platform as a viable tool for building online communities and managing and publishing multimedia content such as audio and video. My particular interest is to build artist communities and to facilitate networking and the exchange of ideas among a highly niche audience.

I would have liked to go to the Reboot conference in Copenhagen, but by the time I found out about it, the tickets were already sold out, and I had already booked my ticket to Berlin. While visiting the OLPC headquarters in Cambridge, I also found out about the iCommons Summit which is taking place in the beautiful seaside town of Dubrovnik in Croatia the last weekend that I’m in Europe.

Anyways, it would probably have been too much to try to do all of this in 3 weeks. I want to have some downtime to hang out with friends and just enjoy the delightful Danish summer. It’s been two years since I was last in Copenhagen, and I’m really looking forward to visit again.

I’ve got my Plazes profile setup, so you can now track my whereabouts. It’s not GPS but almost as good!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Apple’s iPhone

January 9, 2007 at 2:49 pm


I’ve been looking at getting a new mobile phone for the last few months, but all of them seem to be somehow lacking. I was keen on the Nokia E62, but for some reason they crippled this one to not have Wi-Fi, even though the E61 which is sold in Europe and is identical to the E62 except that it has Wi-Fi built-in. Of course, I could buy the unlocked E61 on Amazon but then I have to pay a premium, rather than get the discounted price from Cingular.
Well, today I decided that I live with my aging Sony Ericcson T637, and wait a few more months for the Apple iPhone. Steve Jobs announced it at Macworld, and from looking at the keynote transcript, I have to say that this looks like the most brilliantly designed mobile phone I’ve ever seen. It even appears to have most of the functionality of the Nokia Internet tablet, which I was considering getting for awhile (although not because I needed one, but because it was cool.)

Of course, like the iPod, Apple lust comes at a premium price. The 4GB version is going to cost $499 and the 8GB will be $599. But I figure that it’s worth it to get in one device:

  • music player
  • video player
  • photo browser
  • cell phone
  • web browser
  • camera

Gone are the days of carrying around four devices: iPod, PDA, camera and mobile phone. With the iPhone, you have convergence of these devices with the beautiful Apple design and usability. I want one!

Technorati Tags: ,

Integration Proclamation

January 9, 2007 at 9:48 am

I just signed the Integration Proclamation, a first step towards encouraging funders, software developers and those of us who work with them to invest resources in making tools that play together better.

Ever since I heard Alan Runyan, co-founder of Plone give a talk “Integration, not Isolation” (video) at the Plone Symposium 2006, this has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your CMS can do-it-all, and solve all technology problems. But the fact is, that no one piece of software can do everything equally well, and the sooner we accept this and look at how to integrate our software with other best-of-breed systems, the better off we will be.

There are already steps being taken to integrate Plone with Salesforce, Democracy in Action, What Counts, and Get Active.

If you want to make tools play together better, sign the proclamation. It only takes 15 seconds to fill out the form. Do it now!

Plone Conference enters Second Life

October 25, 2006 at 1:20 am

I’m on my way to the annual Plone Conference which is in Seattle for the first time. I went to college in Seattle and it’s been a long time since I’ve been back to visit. I’m really looking forward to stay right down in Pioneer Square / Pikes Place market, and see friends who I haven’t seen in awhile.

I will be giving a talk entitled Multimedia and Podcasting with Plone, sitting on the Plone for Enterprises panel, giving a lightning talk about Plone4ArtistsCalendar, leading a birds-of-a-feature (BoF) about multimedia, and coordinating the after conference sprint! Not to mention catching up with all the other Plonistas who I’ve gotten to know at various Plone events and on the #plone IRC channel. Whew – it’s going to be a busy week!

One of the interesting developments this year is the creation of a virtual Plone Conference area in Second Life, the massively multiplayer online world, boasting 1 million “residents” and growing. See more photos on Flickr.

In the virtual conference area, there are viewing stations where you can actually watch live streaming of the conference sessions. So even if you can’t make it to the physical conference you can still participate, and interact with the other people who are visiting.

Created by Christian Scholtz (aka MrTopf), the Plone Conference in Second Life is free to attend, and all you need to do is download Second Life and create a character. See Christian’s blog post for screenshots and read the press release. If you decide to teleport in, look for me – my character is Fergut Huskerdu.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Auto-login to a remote machine

September 26, 2006 at 8:51 am

I often need to login to a customer’s box and get tired of typing my password all the time. Thankfully using private and public keys, I can SSH into the machine securely without needing to type in my password.

First I create a user and add him to the wheel group, so that he has sudo privileges.

useradd nate
passwd nate
usermod -G wheel nate

Then I login as this user and add my public key to the authorized keys. This public key can be found on my local machine in ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

cd ~
mkdir .ssh
vi .ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 700 .ssh
chmod 600 .ssh/authorized_keys

Those last two lines to change the permissions are very important.

Now I can ssh into the machine, and it won’t prompt me for a password:

ssh nate@someremotebox.com

Technorati Tags: ,