Don't trust me. Trust the voters.

On 9 March, when I was the only member of the Debian community to submit a nomination and fully-fledged platform four minutes before the deadline, I did so on the full understanding that voters have the option to vote "None of the above".

In other words, knowing that nobody can win by default, voters could reject and humiliate me.

Or worse.

Happy St Patrick's Day, IFSO AGM and meeting sock puppets

Happy St Patrick's day (17 March)

In February, we had an annual general meeting (AGM) of the Irish Free Software Organization in Dublin.

If you are in Ireland, please consider joining IFSO or making a donation.

The sock puppet next door

There is a very interesting story about how this meeting came about.

The risks of secret punishments in online communities

While the controversy over the integrity of elections in free software communities is significant, a far more serious issue for all communities right now is the spectre of secret punishments and other practices that involve shaming people. Debian has recently experimented with these reckless practices and it would be wise to ensure they are not repeated or replicated in any other community.

How does this help free software?

Have you ever caught somebody in the act, committing an act of character assassination?

I simply couldn't imagine myself writing an email like the example below about another volunteer. Maybe that's why people are fighting tooth and nail to keep me from running for Debian Project Leader.

But it now appears that there has been more than one case where a member of the Debian community has been betrayed like this by the leader.

What does democracy mean in free software communities?

Yesterday, the message below was posted to the debian-vote mailing list.

Censors blocked it. It wasn't received by list subscribers and it isn't visible in the debian-vote list archive.

Can you see any possible way that this message violates the code of conduct used by this free software community?

In many free software communities, we accept that we contribute without the promise of anything in return.

Film Review: In the Name of the Father, 1993, Brexit and Toastmasters

In the lead up to St Patrick's Day and Brexit, it is a great time to catch up on Irish history with a little help from Hollywood. Having spent many years as an expat in the UK, my sympathies are with all those IT workers, especially contractors, who are struggling to plan for the future under the uncertainty. And let's not forget the British expats many of us interact with on a daily basis in so many other great European countries.

SFK, OSCAL and Toastmasters expanding into Kosovo

Back in August 2017, I had the privilege of being invited to support the hackathon for women in Prizren, Kosovo. One of the things that caught my attention at this event was the enthusiasm with which people from each team demonstrated their projects in five minute presentations at the end of the event.

Debian's human rights paradox

It all started with a non-native-English speaker choosing the wrong pronoun in reference to a developer who identifies as non-binary. What, then, is the basis for this concern? Why do we give a damn about it?

Is it because Sage Sharp is a great friend of Debian? Or is it because we would have the same concern for all LGBTQ+ people? In other words, is it about egos or is it about principles?

Merry Christmas from the Balkans

This Christmas I'm visiting the Balkans again. It is the seventh time in the last two years that I have been fortunate enough to visit this largely undiscovered but very exciting region of Europe.

A change of name

On Saturday I visited Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. Next month their country will finalize their name change to the Republic of Northern Macedonia.


From Skopje, I travelled north to Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo.

Smart home: where to start?

My home automation plans have been progressing and I'd like to share some observations I've made about planning a project like this, especially for those with larger houses.

With so many products and technologies, it can be hard to know where to start. Some things have become straightforward, for example, Domoticz can soon be installed from a package on some distributions. Yet this simply leaves people contemplating what to do next.