This time one year ago, I was peering into 2006 wondering what the year would bring. Back then I worked at OpenAdvantage as an Open Source Advocate. I knew 2006 would be a challenging year, and back then I was gritted and determined to help push free software and myself as best as I could. In the tradition of others providing a retrospective, I figured I will follow the flock like the sheep I am and weigh in on my own 2006. What a year it has been…
- Work – As I just said, back at the start of 2006 I was working at OpenAdvantage. I knew back then that the project was going to finish in March 2007, and I knew that I would likely need to consider a new job by the end of the year. One of the problems with my line of work is that there are very few people paid to be Open Source advocates. As such, the scope of companies was and is fairly restrictive. That was not the real sucker-punch though, oh no. The real kick in the goolies was that being a good advocate means you have to advocate things that you truly believe in. As such, this mean’t I could only reasonably work for companies that make the software and subscribe the ethics and direction that I believe in. From a distribution stand-point this locked out Novell, Yellow Dog, Mandriva, Red Hat and more – they all do great work, but I was and am an Ubuntu guy. As such, Canonical were always my #1 choice for my next step. Back in May when I started talking to Mark about the job, I never anticipated looking for work until later in the year, but this blog entry started the discussion. After a lengthy interview process (apparently the job was very heavily applied for) I got the good news and Mark announced it and so did I. OpenAdvantage was a truly awesome place to work at and I miss them all hugely. Working there was a fulfilling, inspiring experience and I hope to work with my friends there again. Now I am at Canonical and working longer days, getting more email and looking after an incredible worldwide community of Ubuntu contributors. Moving to Canonical was daunting, but has been a great experience and I am loving every moment of it.
- Family – 2006 was a great but challenging year for family. Just prior to new year 2006 my nanna sadly died and I attended and spoke at her funeral in the tiny village of Kirby Hill in North Yorkshire. In other bad news Banger died rather surprisingly and I felt a level of grief and sadness I had never experienced, not even with my nan’s death. It was a dark, intense time, but Sooz, Frankie and I managed to get through it. Despite the sadness, the awesome bundle of joy that is Pepper entered our lives. In non-dog-family related news the Bacon and Curtis clans remained safe, healthy and together for another year.
- Jokosher – This time last year Jokosher never existed, which is nuts. I am hugely proud of the achievements made in the Jokosher team in the last ten months, and I am proud that our little project has gone on to not only achieve success but to also be revered by many as an important project for the Linux desktop. Its been a tough ride, and we have all worked long hours and spent lots of time thinking and working on hard problems, but our efforts have been made easier by the awesome development team that has formed. Laszlo blogged about his views, and I am similarly enamoured to have worked with such incredible people. 2007 is the year when we really kick some ass. No kidding. It is the year when we not only match our competitors, but really stick the boot in and take some names. Keep your eyes peeled folks.
- LUGRadio – After three years of LUGRadio, we always expected the interest to die down a little and the show to hit hard times, but the LUGRadio rollercoaster keeps on rolling. This year has seen yet more growth in the show, and the year saw LUGRadio Live 2006 happen, which was a great success. Our community has grown, we have seen a fan podcast appear in the form of hashlugradio and I feel that artistically the show has remained true to the original recipe. We have had on some excellent guests, covered some important, inspiring and ridiculous subjects and we have always involved our insanely cool community at every step. This year we also became the Award Winning LUGRadio and got written up in a bunch of magazines and websites. I love the LUGRadio community, and again, I am proud to know so many of them. Thanks guys!
- Music – 2006 was a turbulent year for my musical interests. On the Seraphidian side we started out well, doing lots of gigs and finished writing our second album with the working title of Death Blow. We were scheduled to hit the studio to record Death Blow in September when we heard that our drummer Jon needed to take some time away from the band. Since then we have been writing and recording and looking for a new drummer – more on that in 2007. On my solo music side, Recreant View has been getting more and more attention, and my last.fm page has been getting hot too – just need a MySpace page now. In 2006 I wrote and recorded seven songs, and I am tickled pink with them all. I also grew the studio in 2006 and at some point I plan on building a dedicated studio and recording bands and artists.
- Speaking – 2006 has been a good year for refining my public speaking. At the start of the year I set myself the goal of “getting good at public speaking” and throughout the year I did 18 speaking gigs. Included here were my first gigs in the USA and Spain and a UK LUG Tour with my pal and yours Ted Haeger. I am pleased with the progress I have made, and 2007 is shaping up to be a good year for speaking, with four countries and five dates already booked for the first three months. I hope to be in your part of the world next year.
- Writing – 2006 saw a change in my writing. As the year has progressed I have done less and less magazine writing due to time constraints, but pushed out two books – The Official Ubuntu Book and Practical PHP and MySQL. I have written many of my articles and thoughts on my blog as opposed to in article form or on my O’Reilly Blog, as my blog is now far better syndicated and read than it used to be. As such, my views and thoughts and occasional tutorials will now appear here on jonobacon.org. I really wish I had the time to do more magazine work, and I would love to continue writing for Linux Format and Linux User & Developer, but alas, there are only some hours in the day. Not sure what 2007 will see in terms of writing – although I would like to write another book, but on community/advocacy. Who knows?
- Community – This year has been a great year for community. I love the free software community, and it has been great to get to know more and more people. This year I have got to know more and more GNOME, GStreamer, Ubuntu, KDE, LUGRadio and FSF people, and got to meet lots of old and new friends alike. Many people get a kick out of meeting so-called celebrities in the Open Source world, and I have been fortunate in that I have got to know a bunch of these celebrities through work and travelling, but for me, I find the most fun and inspirational people are the guys and girls on the ground. As an example, meeting people like Melissa, Joey, Mark, Jorge, Brandon, Jenda, Scott and Matt from the Ubuntu community, or Edward, Jan, Thomas, Christian, Wim and Tim from the GStreamer community is truly inspiring. The celebrities will always get the attention, and the celebrities will always get the focus, but it is these people on the ground that I love to get to know, drink beer with, exchange stories with and work with in our incredible free software community. We need to never lose sight of this.
So, enough babble from me. 2006 has been one hell of a year, and I know 2007 is going to be even more insane than this year was. Lets all head into 2007 together and really start the free software smackdown.