Archive for May 31st, 2006

Mugshot? Mugshot you said?

The always classy Havoc Pennington of Red Hat today announced a new project, named “Mugshot“. And I ask you: what is Mugshot? From the front-page of the project you get absolutely no information of what it does. Reading its “About” page we get a bit more information, but we still can’t quite pinpoint what it is exactly: “Mugshot is an open project to create a live social experience around entertainment.” We had to read the… Terms and Conditions page just to get a better idea: “Mugshot is an online service that enables Users to share information and communicate with others.

In other words, this Mugshot thing, is nothing but yet another Orkut/Friendster/MySpace-kind of social networking site and client, but with a twist towards entertainment and media sharing. What a useless project. Is this Pennington’s super secret project that he has been working on for the past year? Is this what he spent Red Hat’s money on? On yet-another social networking site? Instead of using his team, money and energy making Linux and Gnome better (e.g. adding a full Bluetooth front-end, fix the damned phone/pda sync app that’s been in alpha for 4 years now, or add video chat on Gaim, or make Nautilus ask for the root password when you try to copy/delete files outside of your ~ folder), he spends it on this thing that only interests teenagers — and only for a fortnight until they move on to something else? I am in complete shock.

Update: Here’s the slashdot discussion btw. To make something clear: while everyone is free to work on whatever they want, Red Hat is not. They have an obligation to their customers and shareholders to keep improving their core products and sell more. And removing key engineers from their core products’ teams in order to create… Mugshot, is inexcusable. Except of course, if the company changed its focus away from servers and OSes and got into social networking. If that’s the case, then the SEC should investigate them for not doing a proper press release about it. If not, then as I said, there is no excuse of pulling someone like Owen Taylor away from GTK+ developement in order to write a vague meta-service for teenagers.