So here we are, drawing 2007 to a close, and what a year it has been! Understatement of the century.
I think 2007 has possibly been the most turbulent year of my life, filled with its share of good and bad times, and a year in which I have felt a great degree of personal growth. Around this time of mince pies and glorious overeating, I think its always important to evaluate the past year, and flesh out some core plans and changes. I did this last year, and found it pretty useful – I would love to see other people’s year in review, and have seen a few already.
Open Source and Projects
2007 has been a stunning year for Open Source – the machine continues to get sleeker, smoother, and is rampaging on in its mission to kick arse and take names. Irrespective of competition, distributions, companies and brands, I think 2007 has been an excellent year for the core ideal and ethos of Open Source and Free Software. We have seen growth, acceptance, successes and a continuation of form that sees our world blur into the wider world, while retaining our core principles and ideals.
It has also been a great year for Ubuntu. This is my first full year working at Canonical, and it has been a joy to not only see the growth in the community but a growth in the business impact of Ubuntu and the technology continue to grow, mature and refine. I am really pleased to see more and more OEMs shipping with Ubuntu, and I have been chuffed to bits to see the community evolve, and our processes scale when the crunch is on. We still have lots of work to do, but we are getting there, and boy do we have a great community to help us all get there together. There has not been a day pass by when I haven’t felt privileged to work with such an inspiring group of contributors.
What a year for a LugRadio too! Two new presenters was enough of an upheaval in the LugRadio camp, but we also realised that Season 5 was going to be make or break for the show and fundamental to its future. Four years in, we knew that we need to constantly move and change to keep the show fun, interesting, educational and irreverent – four years of the same approximate formula can get old, and we never want this to happen. Season 5 has involved a lot more work, but it seems the LugRadio fans are enjoying it, and this makes us happy, so much so that we regularly celebrate with beer and kebabs. This year has also seen LugRadio Live grow – we held the 2007 event which was was a great success, and plans are afoot for LugRadio Live 2008 UK, and the new addition to the LugRadio Live family, LugRadio Live 2008 USA which will take place in San Francisco. We are looking forward to both events, and are all prepared for the oodles amount of work that they will entail.
2007 has been a difficult year music wise. Seraphidian has been a slow moving machine with the departure of our drummer, and I have taken over the reigns of drummer and we have sourced a new singer, Chris. We have written a stack of new material, which we are hugely proud of, but this has taken time to write, and we are looking forward to getting out gigging in January with the new line-up. I have personally found the new role of drummer in the band to be a pretty taxing and physically demanding goal – Jon set a high bar to match. This has mean’t lots of rehearsals, working out to get my legs and arms fit enough, and working hard to get the speed, stability and finesse of my playing up to scratch. I am getting there, but I am not at the end of the road yet.
The Big Red Recording was another key musical event this year, and was a fun but hugely exhausting challenge to meet, far more exhausting than I expected. I remember when I was mixing the tracks, I had been awake for two days solid and was falling asleep at the desk. It was however, an incredibly worthwhile experience, and I am proud of the end result. I am also proud of everyone who donated and contributed to the Â£1200+ final wad of cash for charity.
Recreant View, my solo music project has seen a stack of tunes added, but in the tail end of this year I have not added so many songs. This is largely because I am the process of writing my first solo metal album, and it is taking time, I want this one to really impress – I don’t expect to start recording until February or March in 2008.
2007 has been an insane year (good insane, like Keith Richards, not bad insane like Fred West) for work at Canonical and with the Ubuntu community. I am still really enjoying my role, and I get up every day and look forward to going to work, which I feel is a real privilege.
This year saw a lot of travel – over to Sydney, Porto Alegre, Los Angeles, Portugal, Boston, Oregon, Limerick, Berlin, Hannover, London, Seville, San Francisco and various other places. It has been great fun travelling and meeting so many people, and I am really pleased with the success of How To Herd Cats And Influence People. Looking forward to getting back out on the road in 2008 to meet a bunch of people, talk about Ubuntu, make connections and of course, quaff some local brews in the evenings.
This year also saw me more formally become a manager and have two people working for me – Daniel Holbach and Jorge Castro. I couldn’t wish for a better team, and it has been a change for us all – Daniel moving to the community team, Jorge starting a new role and me becoming a manager for the first time. Becoming a manager is a pretty ominous prospect and there are a great many ways of approaching management – different styles, techniques, methods of application and other theories. Bombarded with so many options, I figured it is best to just be myself, and the team has found a comfortable balance in working together. I have also been more deeply embedded in the engineering side of Canonical with the developers who work on Ubuntu; this has helped my team become better clued into the development aspects of Ubuntu as well as the pure community processes.
Canonical is an excellent place to work, filled with smart, inspiring, clueful people, and our growth has been huge in the last year. It is a tough working environment at times with so much going on at one time, and everyone has developed a pretty high bandwidth for managing so much at any one time, but it is a satisfying and engaging place to work, and I look forward to riding into 2008 with Canonical paying my salary that funds my exuberant life of over-indulgence and excess.
2007 has been a tough year in my personal life. As some of you will know, back in March I split up with my girlfriend of 11 years, and this brought about many different changes. Fortunately, Sooz and I have a very amicable relationship, we are still very good friends, and we share our two little miniature sausage dogs, Frankie and Pepper. It has been an interesting time becoming single again, considering I was last single when I was 16. This brings about all kinds of things – getting used to living by yourself, doing your own chores, getting into the swing of a new social life, meeting new people etc. It has been tough, I am not going to deny it, and there has been many dark moments in 2007. Luckily, I have an incredible family, and stunning friends and colleagues who have helped me over the obstacles, and this is where I have felt the personal growth I mentioned at the start of this post – stepping through your fears and coming out the other side with your head held high does wonders for thickening your skin and solidifying your philosophy of life.
With 2007 pretty much out of the door, it is time to look forward to 2008. I am generally not one for new years resolutions, but I do have a few things I want to focus on:
- Oil the Ubuntu machine – I am pleased with the progress of the Ubuntu community in 2007, but I am keen to make 2008 a year in which the community really notches up a gear in every area, making the Ubuntu community more fun, enjoyable, inspiring and engaging than ever. I have many plans and ideas for how to do this, and 2008 is going to be a hugely busy year for firmly putting the Ubuntu community in the kicking arse and taking even more names category; there is nothing finer than a spectacular arse-kicking, and we are going to see it in 2008.
- Spend more time with friends – this was my goal for last year, and I want to continue with this. This year I took very little holiday to visit friends and relax, and this is going to change in 2008. I have a bunch of friends who live in different parts of the UK and abroad, and I want to get out to visit them more in 2008. I also plan on organising a few big house parties.
- Focus on my music and get back out performing – I want to get Seraphidian back on the tracks, get my solo album released and build more into my solo work. I want to make 2008 a big year for my music, and I am itching to get going.
- Take LugRadio to the next level – I am so intensely proud of LugRadio, I can’t begin to tell you how much it makes me smile. The show continues to do its thing, but there is so much potential available there, and I am keen to help make 2008 the year in which we crank up the heat, get out on the road with LugRadio on tour, produce the best LugRadio Live events yet, and continue to grow our incredible community of listeners. Season 5 has been incredibly exciting and planted much of the seeds for this, and I am looking forward to pushing things forward.
- Hammer through my 101 list – in my life I have lots of things I want to do, so I wrote this 101 list of things I want to do in the next three years. This year I want to make some serious inroads into this list and knock a bunch of things off it.
- More charity fund-raising – I have really enjoyed doing fund-raising for charity, and I would like to continue with this and do a few more stunts, or as a bare minimum, factor in fund-raising into my other activities.
- New book – I have the seeds of a new book growing in my head. I want to start thinking about this in detail – I may not write it or finish it in 2008, this one is going to take a lot of preparation.
So there we have it, 2007 covered and 2008 planned. Much of the reasoning behind these thoughts and overt ramblings is basically to avoid possibly my biggest fear in life; when I am an old man, sat in a large chair in front of the staring window, possibly having lost the control of my bladder, the one thing I want to comfort me through my final years is the thought that I gave life a pretty good crack of the whip and that I experienced it and did it right. The last thing I want to feel is that I wished I had done this and that. Regrets about bad decisions are fine, but I don’t want to feel I wasted my time on this earth, and this does not just apply to career ambitions, but the whole gamut – career, different experiences, love, family, friends, ambitions, fun etc. I think much of this can be evaluated by stories – each amusing and interesting little story you have to tell is an experience and a memory, and it is this patchwork of stories that signifies to me that things are going to plan. So, onto 2008 and lets see where the road takes us all…