Re: GNOME needs VA's help?

Hi Dan!  Wow, you guys really keep your ear to the 
ground in terms of what's going on in Gnome-Land here!  Great!  

Yes, well, I've bandied about the idea that perhaps VA might be able to give 
us some kind of discount on a YMP system for doing constant builds on the 
Gnome source tree.  This would ensure stability of the desktop that (I 
presume) will eventually be shipped with most VA computers.  The 
Tinderbox method that Mozilla/Netscape has devised seems (from my own 
observation) to be a really effective way of ensuring stability and 
accountability for bugs introduced by CVS commits.  Up until a few days 
ago, having a stable source tree wasn't such a big issue, as everyone was 
feverishly working to get their bells-and-whistles into the code for the 
feature-freeze anyway.  Now that we have a "stable" branch of feature-frozen 
code that is being groomed for a dynamite (and relatively bug-free) Gnome 
1.0 release, I 
think the time is probably right for a Tinderbox to be set up.  

Well, with all this 
whining and talking that I have been doing, the question has been asked 
"why don't you set one up yourself, Shane?"  Although I do have a 
cable-modem connection to the internet (making CVS downloads a breeze), 
my computer is a paltry AMD K6-233Mhz w/64M SDRAM (and a 4.0G Linux 
partition that is bursting at the seams as is).

As you probably well know, compilation is a very processor-intensive 
activity.  Compiling the entire Gnome source tree CONSTANTLY is 
back-breaking labor for any lesser system :-)  If, however, we could set 
up a dual-processor VA YMP server (with the latest SMP Linux 
kernel) to do these builds around the clock, I think that the Gnome 
source tree would see an exponential rise in stability.  This way, by 
simply visiting a web-page, developers would know whether the tree is in a 
cosistent, "safe" state or up in flames.  It would also increase 
accountability, as "blame annotations" could be placed on the web page 
(as you see at and emails 
could be sent to gnome-list and all developers who made commits to the 
server since it caught on fire.  

I don't claim to be that much of a representative of the Gnome hacker 
community.  I'm more the type who is constantly downloading the tree to 
build the cool new features that are being added to gnome on a daily 
basis and then complaining about the build breaking (and begging for 
help on gnome-list, hopefully contributing some semi-useful bug reports 
in the process :-).  But I would love to continue helping out along these 
until I do know the API's well enough to contribute as a "hacker."  
Perhaps there is someone at RHAD who would be a better contact on the 
Gnome end for a collaborative hardware relationship.  But, if they are too 
busy hacking (as I suspect they are), I would be happy to help 
coordinate the acquisition of and/or administrate a 
Tinderbox server if appropriate.  

Thank you for your time,
Shane Lenagh

On Thu, 17 Dec 1998, Dan Bethe wrote:

> 	Hi there, Shane and friends!  I got a forward of a message
> from  It says that you're interested in someone
> getting you a good deal on a huge machine or array of machines to use
> as Tinderbox.
> 	My only personal knowledge of Tinderbox comes from the listed
> url,  Looks good!  I dig it.
> You have at this point, at the very least, the moral support of VA
> Research's president Larry Augustin, and various others who know of
> your need.
> 	I'm contacting you now because it needs to be done, although
> I'm brand new to VA and don't know the procedures for a full scale discounted
> community research machine.  I just know 
> that things like this are part of our complete total direct
> objective.  And I know that someone needs to get the ball rolling!
> 	Chris DiBona (vice president of SVLUG and director of VA
> marketing) might be the guy to start with?
> He'll be back from New York at some point, and then we have the
> holidays coming up.
> 	You can call our normal sales channels at 1-888-linux-4u, to
> get a feel for what's available and an "official" price quote.  Just
> somewhere to start.
> 	Then, you have Rob Walker and I who are VA's 'IT' department.
> Perhaps we can help discuss your application, and if you need network
> hosting, we'll colocate it here definately for NO CHARGE to you.
> And you have Larry, who says "let's help these guys!"
> 	So now I've said hello to everyone, and you know who's who.
> So what's up?  Have you any idea of your hardware requirements, other
> than "really big and cheap"?  ;-)
> 	BTW....Mandrake might remember me from #e, and from bugging
> him and Rasterman about how I can help with GNOME and Enlightenment.
> I've since then moved to being sysadmin of VA Research, so there ya
> go!  And if I can help with the relationship that Mandrake painfully
> details on the front page of, my services are available
> there as well.  :}

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