CivicSpace finds a sponsor, becomes magical

CivicSpace + CompumentorMeant to blog this yesterday, but you know how that goes.

Zack‘s full of big announcements this month over at CivicSpace, this time revealing that CompuMentor has assumed fiscal sponsorship of the 501c3 arm of CivicSpace (to complement CivicSpace, Inc., which provide hosted services a la Bryght).

So while his press release could use some Pinko Marketing love, I’ve gotta give him props for a great screencast of a project that’s been underway for sometime called Magic Groups (a mashup of Organic Groups and other Drupal modules). I’d love to use this for Barcamps and at it the CivicForge collection of tools.

So besides software announcements, I also discovered that they’re organizing something called Drupal Camp (in case you missed it in my asides). Less Barcamp, more seminar, but still worth checking out!

CivicSpace Announces Hosted Alpha Test

CivicSpace LogoMy buddy Zack Rosen over at CivicSpace Labs has announced an alpha testing period for hosted CivicSpace sites, along the lines of or Bryght. Back when I worked there, this was something that we spent much time discussing, and I’m thrilled to see this available:

Yes, that’s right, we are going to begin alpha testing a hosted CivicSpace service shortly. To say this has been a long time coming is quite the understatement. Three years, 30+ major software releases, thousands of sites, and the shared vision of thousands of supporters have gotten us to where we are today and have (hopefully) prepared us for this next giant leap forward.

The service will be similiar to Drupal hosting offered by Bryght but will provide the CivicSpace 0.8.3 Drupal distribution. In the future we hope to launch the ASP publicly as a low cost service for the non-profit & advocacy sector, but for now we are looking for a few brave CivicSpace community members to help us test it. Please fill out the form if you are interested in participating and we will be in contact with you shortly.

Go sign up!

Drupal Camp NYC is looking for a venue

Drupal Camp BoyAnother offshoot of Bar Camp, Drupal Camp is looking for a venue in NYC. As Amit can attest, finding a venue, especially in NYC, is the hardest part of organizing a camp.

So, if anyone has ideas for May 13-14Node 101 folks? — please let Noel know on the wiki. More details on their planning page.

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Moving on from CivicSpace

Round Two logoAfter much deliberation and careful consideration, I have decided to move on from CivicSpace.

Though there were many, many things that weighed in to my decision, the clincher came last week when I received an offer for a senior position within Round Two. The position puts me in a strategic position to advance the culture of open source as one of my duties will be to act as an ambassador of open source to other projects, organizations, officials and wider audiences, extending the work I started with Spread Firefox. I am very excited about this part of my duties as it will enable me to create allies and forge the kind of networks that open source will need to become the dominant development standard throughout the world (yes, big goals!).

Indeed, I see this new opportunity for me as both a necessary step forward for myself as well my work on CivicSpace. As such, I have every intention of maintaining a close relationship with CivicSpace and making sure that my work will continue to benefit the CivicSpace and Drupal communities.

It’s truly been a privilege to work for CivicSpace and to have made as many good friends as I have. I continue to believe that the CivicSpace concept will continue to grow, mature and empower communities the world over.

The Commons gets spread

spreadCCSo after a false start at a guerilla marketing campaign to spread the Commons, Creative Commons seems to have bitten by the Spread bug.

This is truly fantastic and something I couldn’t have hoped for sooner. In fact, I really really want to get involved, but I’m biting my tongue for the moment since there are other pressing projects at hand… and, frankly, the CC guys typically know what they’re doing and well, I’m clearly already overstretched. What else is new?

…But man, talk about a project near and dear to my hear. If they do happen to be interested in any of my experiences with SpreadFirefox, I’d be happy to share. Consider that an open invitation.

It’s been one hulluva week

One of those weeksWhat can I say other than it’s just been one of those weeks? I can’t even characterize it so much as sense the depth of the changes happening in and around me. Nor can I chalk it up to any singular thing, there’s just a lot goin’ on!

So first off, lemme give props to Matty Mullenweg, for topping 200K downloads of WordPress, the software the powers this very blog. 200K. That’s just friggin’ sweet.

Moments before and in no way diminishing Matty’s accomplishment, Firefox hit the big 50 mil. Even if the quality of design at Spread Firefox seems to tanking since I left, I’m really proud to have been part of the effort to get the word out about the Fox. And having a hand in the launch of the rather successful syndicated download counter thing feels pretty tasty too (to use an Ericism.) Oh, and it seems SFX just hit the 99,000 member mark. Day-mn…

Ok, so other schtuff.

Well, I’m deep into rewriting my CivicSpace themes from the ground up, gutting all my previous code and aiming at a consistent codebase. I still don’t know how big a project this is and I’m having some trouble keeping focus on it. The good news is, this overhaul will have very positive results, both for CivicSpace, Drupal and, I hope, themers in general. We shall see.

In other news, my nascent work on SpreadOpenOffice seems to have suffered a bit of a blow, with one of the originators of the project being blown off by the OOo proper folks. I mean, it never makes me happy to see people fight, and it makes me even less so when having seemingly silly disputes over apparent falsehoods. I mean, Charles Schulz’s line “It is a very smart attempt to fork the community.” just seems preposterous. In an all the discussions about this effort I’ve been privy to, it’s never seemed like an effort to fork anything… The way I see it, if the OOo community doesn’t develop a way to harness the efforts of its grassroots supporters, there’ll eventually be more forks than a UN dinner party anyway…

So while I have a few other related projects going on, none warrant much discussion… except the nascent SpreadCC discussion and SpreadButter

…which is, mind you, yet another CivicSpace site. Speaking of… this week was probably one of the most tumultuous for us so far. But I’m not too worried; from adversity and conflict usually springs innovation and clarity, which is precisely what we’re in need of. I’m willing to give it some time and see what happens, but between balancing theming, module improvement, Drupal development, relationship building, promotional efforts, and business model planning, it’s been a helluva week.

Oh, and in the meantime, the Web 2.0 arrived. Backpack, Rojo, and hmm… something else… all launched… Firefox got SVG, Tiger finally dropped and… oh yeah, I moved (which has nothing to do with anything).

I forget what I was going to write next. But oh yeah, it’s really been one helluva week.

A vision for CivicSpace; or Why CivicSpace hasn’t been eating its own dogfood

CivicSpace is at a point in its adolescence where it’s beginning to question just who it really is. I will attempt to describe why we’re struggling with this issue, how it is affecting CivicSpace and ways to think about our work from this point forward.

There’s a common expression in software development that recommends “eating your own dogfood” as soon possible. The idea is get to software developers to experience firsthand their work from the users’ perspective earlier in the development cycle. The thinking suggests that this will allow for proper adjustments to be made before a product ships. It’s common sense really; you wouldn’t feed yourself crap, so don’t feed your crap to your users.
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