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Nat Friedman on the Future of Collaboration 134

sp3298622 writes "Nat Friedman, co-founder of Ximian, expresses his excitement about the Hula collaboration Server, talks about the plugins in development for Evolution 2.2, the potential of XGL and the revolution of the Linux Desktop. The interview is a 30MB MP3 file."
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Nat Friedman on the Future of Collaboration

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  • No OGG? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zygoon ( 809512 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:37PM (#11772498) Homepage
    How the heck am I going to listen to this on Fedora?
    • Actually this is *not* funny.
      Fedora should have EU-friendly variant with mp3 goodness in fedora-eu repository waiting to be installed by DEFAULT. Wake up people, US is not the only place in the world.
      • Re:No OGG? (Score:3, Informative)

        by LnxAddct ( 679316 )
        It doesn't matter... the company that is responsible for Fedora's development is in the US and is still held legally liable for holding US copyright law. Do you really think that if I'm based in the US and selling something to Europe, that I can violate US patent law? It works both ways as well iirc, if you sell something to us then you must respect our patents. Fedora is one of the few distros that includes only fully free software, and they stick to their guns on it. Its actually really nice running fedor
        • I'm not a lawyer but I'm not so sure about US company being unable to provide something (in EU only) that is legal in EU but illegal in US. Let's leave that behind.

          If I were to fork Fedora I'd add a big EU logo and a text informing people that you got all the usefull software BECAUSE no software patents hold us back. Fedora feels crippled by default. The repository plug you mentioned has two drawbacks.
          First it is not supported, this suxx. Second livna and other repos dont play along. This is even worse, I
          • it sounds like Fedora needs something akin to the "plf" urpmi mirrors that mandrake has.

            They sure make it easy to do things like mp3 and dvd

    • Re:No OGG? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wordsmith ( 183749 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:46PM (#11772596) Homepage
      It's modded as funny, but this is a valid point when it comes to collaboration. If we can't all use the same resources - media files being one example - we can't effectively collaborate.

      MP3 is the defacto standard for compressed audio and WMA has major support, so virtually no one uses Vorbis. After all - most windows and mac users wouldn't know what to do with an ogg file. But mp3 is patent-constricted, so fedora users can't listen to an mp3 without going outside the distribution for semi-legal support.

      There's a collaboration problem.
      • Re:No OGG? (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rei ( 128717 )
        There's a collaboration problem.

        When I saw the term "collaboration" in reference to someone talking about the Linux desktop, all I could think of was "if this were a KDE developer that they were interviewing, would they be talking about 'Kollaboration'?"

        I can actually picture a piece of KDE software called "Kollaboration" - perhaps a netmeeting type piece of software or something ;)
      • Re:No OGG? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by LnxAddct ( 679316 )
        "But mp3 is patent-constricted..."

        Yes, but whose problem is it? Refusing to use a superior and free product just because it doesn't have mass market is stupid and linux would still be no where if everyone thought like that. They should either use both formats, or tell windows and mac users instructions for playing OGG. Its a better sounding format anyway. Don't support mp3's and software patents just becuase its easy to do. Let people know that its not okay and make a difference. Real Player supports ogg
      • Re:No OGG? (Score:4, Informative)

        by dvdeug ( 5033 ) <dvdeug@em[ ].ro ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @10:10PM (#11773123)
        After all - most windows and mac users wouldn't know what to do with an ogg file

        Assuming WinAmp is installed, they'll get the nice music icon and in theory, it will automagically work without them ever knowing it was an OGG file.
      • They could have considered HE AAC perhaps. It has decent playback support, and would sound worlds better than mp3 (or keep same quality, but with lower bitrate, hence smaller file, less bandwidth costs...) AAC is getting more and more popular (part of the mpeg4 standard, used by iTunes, nero, quicktime, and a lot more software)

        WMA is just a poor choice. Worse sound quality than mp3, and windows only (unless someone wrote some filters to playback wma on linux, I never checked).

        Ogg is only marginally better
        • MP3 sucks the sweat from a dead man's balls when compared to WMA, especially bitrate-for-bitrate. You might not like what Microsoft do with the format (I don't want to schlurp down that DRM either), but you ought to take your blinkers off. The WMA forat has been under continual refinement now, and MS can afford lots of research to improve it. MP3 as a format hasn't really changed since it came out.

          Having said that, my 4500 music files are all MP3 - I just rip at quite high settings, VBR @ 128-320kbps.
          • I am a realone radiopass member. Pay $5 for my favorite stations in broadband. They get money too.

            Lets say. If WM Player worked here on os x (which doesn't) I wouldn't even think of it.

            I sat down and sampled all my original CDs (1000s) to AAC. If it was WMA format, I wouldn't even think of it.

            I respect Ogg too, it has a real good quality. I used ATRAC3 on my windows days (being realplus user) for same purpose, mastering my own cds. It was a good format while yes, lacked some bass. I practically use the h
          • Sweaty Dead Guys.
            On the other hand, great band name.
      • Re:No OGG? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        MP3 is the defacto standard for compressed audio and WMA has major support, so virtually no one uses Vorbis.

        Who said anything about Vorbis? The parent mentioned Ogg. For interviews, I'd expect that to be Ogg Speex, a codec designed especially for voice.

        But hey, everyone knows that Ogg == Vorbis, much in the same way everyone at the office uses "Microsoft 97" to surf the web and open their documents, right? And anybody who points out otherwise is a nitpicker or troll?

      • That's a shame that the open source and GNU/Linux community doesn't exclusivly (or at least always propose) use OGG Vorbis. I don't see the point using crappy formats (mp3, wma and others) when you get virtualy not a single advantage.

        The only thing I can see is for Windows users who don't have a clue what Vorbis is. The thing is (like others said

        Assuming WinAmp is installed, they'll get the nice music icon and in theory, it will automagically work without them ever knowing it was an OGG file.

        So their is

    • The question is "How the heck can I move to another distro?"

      Why anyone would use a distro that won't play one of the major audio file types is quite beyond me.
      • Because all the things concidered Fedora is quite good. For example it has, by default UTF-8 locale.
        While it's possible for any "distro" to do anything you like (you simply have to tweak it) it's not going to be that distro anymore. I want out-of-the box. I want works-for-my-parents.

        Believe me I'm looking at other options but Fedora is still very good IMO.
    • You use a clueful non-U.S.-based Linux distribution or one that is not a public corporation scared of lawsuits.
  • The interview is a 30MB MP3 file

    *snickers* This was really a great idea!
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) *
    Really, I love you guys, but "The interview is a 30MB MP3 file." is telling me you're fscking nuts. For how many days is he talking here? Is this 5.1 surround or something? How high a sampling rate is necessary for this kind of thing?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here's Stalin speaking about the merits of Democracy!
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:43PM (#11772570)
    "Nat Friedman, co-founder of Ximian, expresses his excitement about the Hula collaboration Server [ ... ]"

    Thursday afternoon is here,
    Boobies links and time for beer,
    We've been good, but we can't last,
    Hurry Slashdot, hurry fast,
    Knock your server for a loop,
    Collaborating hula hoop,
    We are those shall not mate,
    Please Slashdot, don't be late!

    - CmdrTaco and the Chipmunks

    > The interview is a 30MB MP3 file.

    Not for long, it ain't. ALVIN! Put that server cable down!

  • by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:43PM (#11772572)
    I want a calendar that I can maintain on my own, yet, allow for a dynamic overlay of a subset of this calendar to be viewed and/or maintained in other user calendars.

    For example:

    I have a work calendar and a personal calendar. It would be nice if I could see both my work calendar and personal calendar at both home and work (yes, I know it is possible to fudge this...). Also, I'd like to add my wife's calendar info to my view as well. And verse vica.

    So we can all maintain our calendars anywhere and have realtime info from anywhere. A simple sort-by would allow me to see only work or only personal, etc. Friends could publish overlays for other friends to see (allowing for public and private data, of course).

    This would be huge. Is it possible?

    As I see it, we'd need a local copy of the calendar data as well as a server copy that is publically accessible (insert security concerns here). Standardize an "overlay" file and it would be pretty simple to send someone the link to a subset of your calendar.

    I would imagine that, for tomorrow, my public-to-friends overlay would look like:

    Darren, 2/25/2005, 5PM EST to ?, Beer and movies at my place.
    • I want a calendar that I can maintain on my own, yet, allow for a dynamic overlay of a subset of this calendar to be viewed and/or maintained in other user calendars.

      You mean like Yahoo! Calendar, Outlook, and just about every other kind of groupware offers?
      • You mean like Yahoo! Calendar, Outlook, and just about every other kind of groupware offers?

        So you are saying that existing software will allow me to maintain separate personal and work calendars from any location, view both simultaneously as needed from any location and maybe throw friends and family into the mix as well? Where do I sign up?

        I use Lotus Notes at work. I have a Palm Pilot at home. I *can* use Lotus EasySync to get Lotus Notes on my Palm Pilot but that erases my personal calendar. So I
          1. Regardless of calendaring software of choice, a tool continuously syncs calendar data to server on internet. This is helpful for work calendars. The sync is two-way so my Lotus Notes or Outlook calendar at work can be maintained from home.

          What's wrong with the ical protocol? I subscribe to a couple calendars, allowing me to see national holidays as well as the current release schedules for a few projects. If I published my personal or work calendar, others could subscribe to one or both.

          Your app nee

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:59PM (#11772701) Homepage
      I might be misunderstanding what your asking for, but something like this already exists in both iCal and Evolution. You can subscribe to a calendar that's hosted on a server. Then, when you're viewing calendars, you have a sidebar with the list of calendars you have access to. Each calendar is assigned its own color, and the appointments for each persons calendar appear in the same calendar. The appointments are shown in the color associated with the calendar it's from so you can tell which appointment is whose. You can view all of them at once, or just one, or whatever combination you like. Not only can you subscribe to someone else's calendar, but you can create multiple personal calendars (home/work/whatever), each with it's own color, and do the same thing.

      Like I said, I don't know if that's what you're asking for, but if you are, it's already available on OSX with iCal and Linux with Evolution. Evolution is also being ported to Windows. Also, I wouldn't be surprised to Sunbird had similar capabilities, but I don't use Sunbird, so I'm not sure.

    • This exists already. []
    • You can already do this with Kontact/KOrganizer in KDE 3.3 and 3.4. You can add as many calender "resources" as you want. A resource can come from many things... an iCal file on a local machine (or a remote machine via any protocol KIO supports), a GroupDAV server, an Exchange server via WebDAV, Blogger API, Bugzilla TODOs, many others.

      If you add many resources, they are all merged into one calendar. If you add a new event to the 'merged' calender, the app will ask you which of the resources you want it sa
    • Wow, sounds like iCal.. I subscribe to a number of calendars, including the US Holidays, DVD releases, etc.. Not only can I overlay them (check on calendar in the subscription pane, it pops up) but I can select which sync to my various devices.

      Pretty handy. And it works with bog standard WebDAV so if you and a bunch of your OSXer friends want to do a collaborative calendar thing, it's easy as hell.
    • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @11:27PM (#11773549) Homepage
      Apple's iCal [] does pretty much what you're asking. a breif introduction on how the program works:

      events are placed on a 'calendar' which is basically a topic or category for the event. events from each calendar are overlaid on top of each other as long as you've got the little box checked next to the name of the calendar. evnts are color-coded by calendar.

      you can choose to publish any of these calendars on .mac or a WebDAV server (someone wrote a small PHP script [] which emulates the function of a WebDAV server, so you can do this on just about any server. the script also includes a frontend for parsing and viewing the calendars through a web browser). Other users can then 'subscribe' to that calendar, and it appears just as another calendar on the list. updates are sent and retrieved automatically in the background.

      best of all, iCalendar (formerly vCal) is an open standard, the same which was used by outlook until version 2000, and the same as is being used by the upcoming mozilla sunbird project, so in a year or so, we'll have the same functionality on all platforms

      all in all, it's my favorite of the iApps and definitely the most underused and underrated
    • I use phpicalendar [] and Apple's iCal [] to do this. You have to have a separate calendar for each subset of information, but they all appear at the same time (in different transparent colors) and it works really well. You can even password protect different calendars (although I don't bother). It requires some admin work to get setup, but once it is running it is rock solid.
  • XGL seems fine, but (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ardor ( 673957 )
    I can't use it, since I do have a Geforce 6600, and afaik I can't use XGL with the server. However, if I'm wrong, please post how it is possible to integrate XGL into an existing server, so that I can use the nvidia glx module.
    • It can use the existing proprietary drivers. If you actually listened to the interview, Nat even explicitly says that the best driver to use right now with XGL is the NVIDIA drivers.
      • I don't have enough traffic left to listen to a 30 MB MP3 file. Sorry. However, the question remains unanswered: how to install XGL to use the propietary nvidia-glx drivers? If Nat answers that in the MP3, sorry, can't listen to it, see above.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:47PM (#11772604)
    9 February 2005 #

    I'm really tired but also very excited so I have to type a few words about something.

    David Reveman, who became a Novell employee a couple of weeks ago, has been writing a new X server on OpenGL/Glitz called Xgl. Because Xgl is built on GL primitives it naturally gets the benefit of hardware acceleration. For example, window contents get rendered directly into textures (actually they get copied once in video memory for now), and so you get the benefit of the 3d hardware doing the compositing when you move semi-opaque windows or regions around.

    But there are other benefits too. Simple GL operations on the windowing system can suddenly produce incredible results. Want live, running thumbnailed versions of iconified windows? Done. Want your six virtual desktops to be the six faces of a cube that spins, with lighting? Done.

    David has a lot of ideas like these, and you probably do too. Apple's cute hacks, like Expose, are inspirational but now that space can be ours to explore. Xgl opens up a whole world of hardware acceleration, fancy animations, separating hardware resolution from software resolution, and more.

    I'm personally pretty excited about this. I think running the X server on hardware-accelerated GL directly seems like a very elegant way to go. David was educating me tonight on how X's last lingering limitations are being cast off. With Gtk moving to Cairo, the X server running on Glitz/OpenGL, and hardware vendors providing 3d-accelerated OpenGL drivers for their cards, we will have a UI/graphics platform as powerful as OS X or Windows.

    David is going to be demoing his server at XDevConf in Boston this weekend. The source code for Xgl is here.

    Update: Thanks to David's help, I am now running Xgl on my laptop (ATI FireGL T2). Some observations: dragging windows doesn't generate any expose events, and is incredibly smooth and solid; antialiased text rendering is hardware-accelerated and so vte now screams (though it still uses all my CPU, so is not useful for compiling); it is a bit unstable, but far better than I expected.

  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:50PM (#11772638) Journal
    Somebody please make sure that ATI and nVidia notice that this is on the horizon, in the oft chance that they don't hear about it.

    It's not like they couldn't handle it now, but I'd rather like it if they actively noticed and considered an additional use for their hardware.
    • Nvidia was at the Xdev conference and said they would support XGL as soon as we work out the exact interfaces at the lower levels.

      ATI has not made any comments so far. ATI is definitely aware of the XGL project.

      XGL needs to get a full reference implementation in place first before ATI/Nvidia can really start working on their versions.
  • Hula main site (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlueEar ( 550461 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:53PM (#11772661) Homepage
    To see what Hula is about go to Hula Server [] site. You can also view a few screen shots []
  • A preemptive mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by whizkid042 ( 515649 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:55PM (#11772679) Homepage
    Just in case it gets slow, here is my new server (you can help me load test):

    30 mb mp3 file []
  • by nicpottier ( 29824 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:56PM (#11772686)

    I mean they are horrible. I know this is the latest trend, podcasting and all, but it's freaking useless.

    I don't care what Nate sounds like, I just want the content, and I want it in txt so I can index it, search against it, quote it easily etc..

    Not only are these shows just incredibly badly done (wtf is the first 3 minutes of this thing?) but the format itself is just asinine. mp3's are great for music, they are not great for interviews.

    For the love of god, at least give us a transcript!

  • XGL is great but.... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    XGL seems great but AFAIK you need a recent Graphic video to use like nvidia or ati.

    AFAIK (nvidia at least) their drivers are XFree86/ only. They won't even work with fb.

    So, we need XFree86/ to run XGL on top of it?!?
  • Nat = a guy to watch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @09:09PM (#11772772) Homepage Journal
    Nat is a great guy to watch if you want ideas. His blog [] always has nice little insights into the technologies he's working on, or on things he thinks should exist. He has some great projects up his sleeve, particularly Dashboard [] which gives Tiger's Spotlight a real run for its money.. and it's all on the Linux desktop!
  • Nah. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Agent R ( 684654 )
    30MB in MP3 format. I'd probably get 10 times the lawsuits from the RIAA. I'll pass on downloading this pup.

    • You probably get a whole heck of a lot more if they consider each pause between words to be a sample of a certain John Cage tune. Either that, or a sample of a pirated iTunes song.
  • I read "Nat Friedman" (which is funny by itself) as
    "Nat friendly" :(

    i'll go outside now...
  • Novell Servers VS Slashdot Effect, Round 1

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @10:18PM (#11773206) Homepage Journal
    What we really want is for Novell to license Microsoft's ActiveSync for Exchange protocol, and include a module for it in the GPL source for one of these Novell servers. So we can "embrace and extend" Microsoft's only hope of keeping their "desktop" monopoly as it moves away from Windows desktops, and onto the "Webtop", distributed across all manner of Internet devices. PalmOne has licensed it, among others, and Novell could really get the Internet Age going again with that kind of interop.

    • What we really want is for Novell to license Microsoft's ActiveSync for Exchange protocol, and include a module for it in the GPL source for one of these Novell servers.

      Do you really think Microsoft would sell Novell a license that allows them to implement ActiveSync in GPL software? I doubt that very much.

      Maybe they could release it as a free as in beer library, and then include it in SuSE Linux. But that would not really help open source collaboration software, would it...
      • Actually GPL software could detect the existence of the library and use it if available. Plenty of people write GPL software that runs on Windows, despite the fact that it will not work without Microsoft's copyrighted and secret libraries.
  • no maildir support? (Score:2, Informative)

    by unger ( 42254 )
    unfortunately hula doesn't appear to support maildir. only mbox.

    the hula project also has some BS on their website about maildir being slower than mbox. this myth was disproven many moons ago:

    mbox versus maildir []
  • by teneighty ( 671401 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:09AM (#11774180)
    MP3 and other audio interviews are completely and utterly useless to me. Why? Because I'm DEAF. No "insensitive clod" appeded to the comment here, because I'm not trying to be funny. It's true. Besides, most people have a hard enough time writing in a way that is presentable to a wide audience, even after a great deal of editing - let alone SPEAKING in a way that comes across as polished. Until you can afford a studio, professional editors, and someone to transcribe your speech - please, FOR THE LOVE OF THE GODS - stick to text. It's harder to mess up with text. Trust me on this. Until we have real-time text-to-speech transcription for arbitary speakers, I'd be extremely grateful if the internet stuck to what it's good at: text. While I have my own agenda for this, there's another factor to consider: audio files cannot easily be indexed or searched, so they're really just kind of useless on the internet - after all, a great deal of the power we get from the net today comes from the information being available via search engines.
  • RTFA! (Score:3, Funny)

    by wiresquire ( 457486 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:44AM (#11774354) Journal
    Typical slashdot.

    Damn *no-one* has read the fucking article.

    Err, hang on....
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by samael ( 12612 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:24AM (#11775772) Homepage
    when is this "Evolution" program being released for Windows?

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal