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William Jon McCann
Worked at Red Hat
Attended Johns Hopkins University
Lives in Mount Holly VT
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William Jon McCann

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Apropos of nothing
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William Jon McCann

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Please help us defend our trademark from Groupon and support GNOME!  

"GNOME" the trademark has been a familiar name for the past 17 years in the Free and Open Source Software community. The GNOME project has been a staple desktop for GNU/Linux and BSD desktops. It was the default desktop for Sun Microsystems workstation class machines, continues to be the default desktop for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server distributions, and it is the default desktop of Fedora and Debian. SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service solution for the retail industry is based on GNOME. GNOME technology can be found in TVs, tablets, phones, consumer devices, and in common software everywhere.

Recently Groupon announced a product with the same product name as GNOME. Groupon’s product is a tablet based point of sale “operating system for merchants to run their entire operation." The GNOME community was shocked that Groupon would use our mark for a product so closely related to the GNOME desktop and technology. It was almost inconceivable to us that Groupon, with over $2.5 billion in annual revenue, a full legal team and a huge engineering staff would not have heard of the GNOME project, found our trademark registration using a casual search, or even found our website, but we nevertheless got in touch with them and asked them to pick another name. Not only did Groupon refuse, but it has now filed even more trademark applications (the full list of applications they filed is available on our groupon page linked). To use the GNOME name for a proprietary software product that is antithetical to the fundamental ideas of the GNOME community, the free software community and the GNU project is outrageous. Please help us fight this huge company as they try to trade on our goodwill and hard earned reputation.

We want to show that our brand matters and that you care. Of the 28 trademark applications Groupon filed, we have to file formal proceedings to oppose 10 of them by December 3, 2014. Help us raise the funds to fight back and most of all call public attention to this terrible behavior by Groupon. Help us make sure that when people hear about GNOME software they learn about freedom and not proprietary software. Our counsel has advised us that we will need $80,000 to oppose the registration of the first set of 10 applications. If we are able to defend the mark without spending this amount, we will use the remaining funds to bolster and improve GNOME. Please help us raise the money to protect GNOME's trademark and strengthen Free Software!

Please donate here:
http://www.gnome.org/groupon/
"GNOME" the trademark has been a familiar name for the past 17 years in the Free and Open Source Software community. The GNOME project has been a staple desktop for GNU/Linux and BSD desktops. It was the default desktop for Sun Microsystems workstation class machines, continues to be the default ...
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William Jon McCann

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Much of the Open Source community tries to advertise the community as one happy place to the outside. Where contributions are valued only by their technical quality, and everybody meets at conferences for beers.

Well, it is not like that. It's quite a sick place to be in.

I don't usually talk about this too much, and hence I figure that people are really not aware of this, but yes, the Open Source community is full of assholes, and I probably more than most others am one of their most favourite targets. I get hate mail for hacking on Open Source. People have started multiple "petitions" on petition web sites, asking me to stop working (google for it). Recently, people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a hitman for me (this really happened!). Just the other day, some idiot posted a "song" on youtube, a creepy work, filled with expletives about me and suggestions of violence. People post websites about boycotting my projects, containing pretty personal attacks. On IRC, people /msg me sometimes, with nasty messages, and references to artwork in 4chan style. And there's more. A lot more.

I am used to rough discussions on mailing lists, and yes, when I was younger I did not always stay technical in flamewars, but nowadays I am pretty good at that, I am sometimes articulate, but never personal. I have a thick skin (and so do most of the others involved in systemd, apparently), and I figure that plays a major role why we managed to bring systemd to success, despite all the pressure in the opposite direction. But from time to time, I just have to stand back and say "Wow, what an awful community Linux has!".

The Internet is full of deranged people, no doubt, so one might just discount all of this on the grounds that the Open Source community isn't any different than any other community on the Internet or even offline. But I don't think so. I am pretty sure there are certain things that foster bad behaviour. On one hand there are certain communities where it appears to be a lot more accepted to vent hate, communities that attract a certain kind of people (Hey, Gentoo!) more than others do. (Yes, the folks who post the stuff they do usually pretty clearly state from wich community they come).

But more importantly, I'd actually put some blame on a certain circle of folks that play a major role in kernel development, and first and foremost Linus Torvalds himself. By many he is a considered a role model, but he is quite a bad one. If he posts words like "[specific folks] ...should be retroactively aborted. Who the f*ck does idiotic things like that? How did they not die as babies, considering that they were likely too stupid to find a tit to suck on?" (google for it), than that's certainly bad. But what I find particularly appalling is the fact that he regularly defends this, and advertises this as an efficient way to run a community. (But it is not just Linus, it's a certain group of people around him who use the exact same style, some of which semi-publically even phantasize about the best ways to, ... well, kill me).

But no, it's not an efficient way to run a community. If Linux had success, then that certainly happened despite, not because of this behaviour. I am pretty sure the damage being done by this is quite obvious, it not only sours the tone in the Linux community, it is also teaches new contributors to adopt the same style, but that only if it doesn't scare them away in the first place.

In other words: A fish rots from the head down.

I don't mind using strong language, I don't mind the use of words such as "fuck", I use the word all the time too, it's really not about that. I must simply say that I wished it would stay at that, because what actually is happening is so much worse, and and so much more hateful.

If you are a newcomer to Linux, either grow a really thick skin. Or run away, it's not a friendly place to be in. It is sad that it is that way, but it certainly is.

The Linux community is dominated by western, white, straight, males in their 30s and 40s these days. I perfectly fit in that pattern, and the rubbish they pour over me is awful. I can only imagine that it is much worse for members of minorities, or people from different cultural backgrounds, in particular ones where losing face is a major issue.

You know, I can deal with all this shit, and I guess in a way with the energy we are pushing the changes we propose with we are calling for opposition, so this post is really not intended to be a call for sympathy. The main point I want to make with this is to correct a few things about our communities, and how their are percieved. Open Source isn't a kindergarten. Open Source is awful in many ways, and people should be aware of this.

Not everybody in the Linux community is like this, the vast majority isn't. Not even all our different communities really have a problem with this at all. But many do, and the most prominent one, the Linux community as a whole certainly has.

I am not the one to fix any of this, I cannot tell you how one could do it. And quite frankly, I really don't want to be involved in fixing this. I am a technical guy, I want to do technical things.

My personal conclusion out of all this is mostly just that I don't want to have much to do with the worst offenders, and the communities they run. My involvement with the kernel community ended pretty much before it even started, I never post on LKML, and haven't done in years.  Also, in our own project we are policying posts. We regularly put a few folks on moderation on the mailing list, and we will continue to do so. Currently, the systemd community is fantastic, and I really hope we can keep it that way.

And that's all about this topic from me. I have no intentions to ever talk about this again on a public forum.
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William Jon McCann

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It is possible to support the GNOME Foundation through your Amazon purchases!
Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com. Questions?
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William Jon McCann

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Schlieren Flow Visualization:
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William Jon McCann

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The illegal militarization of our police forces continues.
 
Cameras weren’t enough to stop Albuquerque police from killing a mentally ill homeless man. http://bit.ly/1hVjXh9
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William Jon McCann
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This is great news. Be sure to check out
https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Geary for how to get involved.
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+Hans Wolters I am pretty sure it has been GTK3 since inception. It is in Debian.
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William Jon McCann

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Those who have spoken to me know that I'm not a big fan of packages for shipping software. Once upon a time, I was wowed that I could simply emerge blender and have a full 3D modelling suite running in a few minutes, without the fuss of wizards or unchecking boxes seeing the README.
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+Igor Gnatenko I don't know what that means.
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William Jon McCann
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Hey gang. Great to see GNOME well in the lead here. Would be nice to see that continue.
Whether you're customizing your Linux install or choosing a distro to go with, one of your many options is the desktop environment you use. There are tons to choose from, all with different benefits and features. There may be no one single best, but this week we're looking at five of them, based on your nominations.
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Again, very satisfying moment :)

#apple   #adwaita  
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The similarity is even more obvious with GNOME 3.10 Epiphany. Apple missed the latest trends here, copying year old system. Tsk tsk...
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William Jon McCann

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Happy and proud to see Mozilla employees taking a stand to promote the "openness and opportunity" of/for marriage. The CEO should too.
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William Jon McCann
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We've been working on some nice enhancements to Web this cycle. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks to the +Epiphany team!
It may not be as fast, featured or famous as the big-name browsers but GNOME's 'Web' is quietly emerging from the sidelines as a competent, compelling alternative.
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Have him in circles
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Education
  • Johns Hopkins University
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Work
Employment
  • Red Hat
    2008 - 2015
  • Johns Hopkins University
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Currently
Mount Holly VT
Previously
Cambridge, MA - Baltimore MD - Cambridge MA - Arlington MA - Boulder CO - Stratford CT