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Libre Graphics World

Writing is hard. Just look at the post dates for my own blog posts to see what I mean. It takes discipline and hard work to put together any sort of non-trivial writing. If the topic is about a community as diverse and loosely collected as Free Software projects then the effort is exponential. Most Free Software projects don’t have a media/public relations person to interact with.

Libre Graphics World Logo

Today I wanted to talk briefly about both a writer and a PR person: Alexandre Prokoudine and what he’s doing over at Libre Graphics World.

Alex is the main PR person for GIMP and he’s also the guy I turn to when I need or want to publish something for the project. This is just one hat he wears (there’s many others), but those aren’t the reason I’m writing about him today.

LGW header image

Today I’m referring to his work as a journalist. Alex created Libre Graphics World back in 2009 to cover the rather diverse ecosystem of Free Software for creative professionals. The value in reporting at LGW is the time and research spent not only digging out the most interesting bits of news, but also taking the time to interview people in the projects. The reporting is nicely in-depth and explores various aspects of issues beyond simply copying the changelogs (see his recent article on the recent fork of Valentina, Seamly2D as an example of the depth and background provided in his articles or his awesome review of features for the GIMP 2.9.2 release).

I think this type of reporting and community highlights is extremely important to a healthy Free Software ecosystem. Especially one that focuses on projects for creatives and that spans so many genres.

Alex recently stopped running ads on the site and has now switched over to using Patreon to fund his activities. I think this is a great time to head over to his Patreon page and throw a few dollars a month to help him do what he does! Every little bit helps!


Filed under: LGW, writing

darktable

Happy New Year!

Way back in May of 2017 I made my first commit to start a new project for some friends of mine. Seven months later and we were finally able to publicly push the results: a new website for the awesome folks at darktable! (I already published a post about this on the darktable blog.)

darktable logo
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Mastodon (Toot! Toot!)

So, I’m on Mastodon. Well, I’ve been on Mastodon for a while now, but thought I’d talk about it briefly here.

On most modern social networks, you are the product. Your habits, friends, and interests are all consolidated, packaged, and sold to anyone willing to pay a few bucks to rent your attention (whether you like it or not). If not you directly, then your habits, likes, dislikes, age, gender, sexual orientation, and the same information for all of the people you may know (including ones you may never had connected on that network).

It’s ridiculous what information you’re giving away for advertisers and marketers to exploit.

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Cryptography

I updated some old GPG keys last year after using the same 1024-bit RSA key from 2004. (Honestly, I was just impressed that I managed to dig up the private key in order to revoke it.) I had set the new subkeys to expire every year, and while renewing them I took another look around to see if GPG/encryption had gotten any easier.

PGP
As usual, relevant xkcd.

It hadn’t.

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My Muse

My wife needed a headshot recently for a work related thing. So I broke out some old and simple equipment to do a quick impromptu shoot for her. This is one of the outtakes from that shoot (she didn’t like how her hair looked in this shot so it wasn’t used).

Dot headshot
Dot. (On Flickr) ƒ/6.3 50mm 1250 ISO200
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Styling Discourse Embeds

Comments were something that I wanted to include on posts from the beginning for PIXLS.US. My problem was how to include comments in a way that would lessen exposing visitors to third party tracking, that would let users control and keep their comments if they wanted, and that would integrate nicely into the community in some way.

Luckily all of those requirements were nicely met by integrating the modern forum software Discourse.

Discourse sketchy logo
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Atomic Publishing a Static Website

Yes, yes - Static Site Generators are all the rage these days. It seems like there’s (multiple!) options for every language out there (including homegrown options from back in the day).

There’s a bunch of benefits to using them and once you get past thinking you need a “dynamic” site they make perfect sense. I use Metalsmith (NodeJS) for this site and pixls.us. I used Pelican (Python) for gimp.org, and I just got my feet wet with Hugo (Go) for the new digiKam website.

Whichever system you use, the build system normally ends with your website built into a directory. To publish the site you need only transfer that directory of files to your web server. In my case I use rsync to only transfer files (or parts of files) that have changed.

Care should be taken with how the site is updated on the server, though.

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The Wonderful Art of Pascal Campion

I’ve always had a sensitivity to light. I don’t mean in a Mogwai sort of way, but rather I’ve always felt aware of the feeling and mood that light plays around me.

Gremlins was for kids?!

I think this manifests in my photography when I favor single strong light sources for my subjects. Particularly Rembrandt and side lighting. This also manifests in my seething hatred for overhead fluorescent lighting and a general dislike for direct mid-day sunlight…

This is one of the reasons I am absolutely in love with the art of Pascal Campion. Allow me to (ahem) illustrate why…

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Support GIMP at LGM 2017

The Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) is the annual meeting for creatives from across the Free/Libre project spectrum. I’ve written about the previous meetings I was able to attend in Leipzig (2014) as well as London (2016). It’s an amazing opportunity to meet with other Free/Libre Software users and projects.

I won’t be able to make it out to this year’s LGM (I seem to be on a sort of biennial schedule), but most of the GIMP team will be there! So I have a favor to ask…

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Bus Factor

The Bus Factor for a project is usually defined as the minimum number of team members that would have to disappear (get hit by a bus) for a project to stall due to lack of knowledgeable people. A low Bus Factor means that the loss of just a small number of people can stall out a project, while a high factor means there is some resiliency in the project.

This was how PIXLS.US was very early on with only myself writing for the site (Bus Factor of 1). As soon as possible I tried to find others to help and also made sure the code was available on a public repository (along with being licensed liberally using Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0).

In the case of PIXLS.US for example, we aren’t doing too bad…

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