GUADEC Day 4

So my post yesterday was written before a number of the most interesting talks. Similarly this post is also written at lunchtime and things from this afternoon will be in tomorrow’s entry.

In chronological order, first Nokia announced a gecko based browser for the N800. This is obviously cool (and has already been noticed outside GUADEC but doesn’t seem to me to be the most important thing happening here.

Next there was quite a clear talk by the Morpheus-esque James Vasile from the Software Freedom Law Center, there was nothing dramatically new but he did talk about some interesting licensing edge cases – should a pace-maker manufacturer be able to prevent you installing Apache on your own (GPL’d) heart?

The Final talk yesterday was the keynote by Havoc Pennington on the Online Desktop (GUADEC slides available at that link and there are also more thoughts from Havoc on his blog). Technical conversation at the free party afterwards (sponsored by Opened Hand and Collabora – thanks!) was dominated by Havoc’s talk. About 50% of people seem to love it and the remainder hate it – but many of the GNOME “rock-stars” are behind it so I think it’ll become a definite future GNOME direction. Personally I’m really excited by it (though before the talk I hadn’t got it at all).

He’s not just talking about about replacing GNOME with Firefox and a series of book marks but about tightly integrating GNOME and its apps into the web services world. For example logging in on any computer and being giving all your IM buddies, access to your flickr pictures (and those of your friends). There are obviously security concerns; data would have to be able to be black/whitelisted for syncing in this way. There was also a lot of discussion about whether we should be trying to integrate with proprietary web services. It looks like some kind of definition of an “Open Service” will be created and they can be used as defaults but users will be able to connect with any web service.

The Open Service definition will be interesting – presumably containing talk about privacy, export of data and access to the source code but that’s a different blog entry.

Then this morning Mirco Muller gave a talk about Lowfat, a sort of replacement for the desktop paradigm. The code he has already is very impressive but his vision is very, very ambitious with viewer apps for each document type all being integrated into his tacile, natural interface. Without a screencast it’s hard to describe but basically to find documents you search. All the results are deplayed as the documents are display as what look like thumbnails but as well as being able to pick them up and move them around you can also zoom in to see the full document (or a detail of it). That’s how it works for pictures/text, how it’ll work for files like audio is less clear – but I advise you to try and see a demo – it’s definitely worth a look.

Right, off for lunch.