[nSLUG] Incubating a project of my own: Debian You

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 07:32:57 AST 2012

Great project.   I use an older Garmin with a serial cable to capture
cycling tracks (position and elevation) so I can analyze it with

There is considerable interest in the community around the open source R
stats software ranging from GPS tracking of wildlife (don't want hunters to
be able to use the GPS data -- historically tracking collars have tended to
produce excess mortality) to high performance sports training (don't want
competitors/journalists to have access to details of training programs  --
imagine the effects on sports betting if someone could get data on top

<http://www.r-bloggers.com/garmin-data-visualization/> discusses the Garmin
fit format (also used by cyclists as well as runners) and privacy issues
associated with the common Web-based apps that require you to upload your

On Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 9:45 PM, Ben Armstrong
<synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca>wrote:

> I briefly shared with the people at our last meeting a project idea I've
> been kicking around for months which has the working title "Debian You".
> The idea is to, within the Debian project, focus on software for
> "personal improvement" of various kinds, be that in the area of personal
> health, nutrition, sports training, or at the other end of the spectrum,
> simply tracking things about your life for the purpose of gaining a
> better understanding of yourself and possibly gain insight and improve
> yourself as a result.*** What you're getting in this post is a tiny
> preview of that idea in progress, as I have not officially announced it
> yet, nor do I intend to until the new year.
> Where I started was with our family doctor's suggestion to buy a
> pedometer. This led me to the purchase of two Omron 720IT pedometers,
> one for myself, and one for Ariannah. This was partly due to my
> discovery of a rudimentary driver available at http://www.openyou.org/
> called libomron. I thought it would be great if this software were
> finished and made truly usable by end users, then packaged and placed in
> Debian. Indeed, any of the other software produced by this project would
> make good candidates as well.
> But I wasn't satisfied with just this idea. This led me to think about
> the state of drivers for health monitoring devices in general, and
> beyond that, end-user software not only to support one's own health
> regime, but also to support personal improvement projects of various
> kinds. In short: "how do I make Debian work for me to help me fulfill
> personal goals of all kinds, health and otherwise?" Thus, the idea of
> "Debian You" was born.
> The more I discussed the idea on irc with Kyle Machulis of the OpenYou
> project, the more I realized that it's not just the lack of drivers that
> holds people back. Equally important is the fact that a lot of software
> out comes in the form of social sites where you track things and/or
> share them with others. With web sites tidily filling this niche, why
> bother making software for the desktop?
> Why indeed? Well, I happen to be of the opinion that where your personal
> data is concerned, you can never be too paranoid. Even when such sites
> are built on open source software, and even when they have privacy
> features allowing you to share as much or even none of the information
> you collect about yourself with other users, that is still not good
> enough. The only way to be 100% sure your personal data isn't used by
> others is to ensure it never leaves your system.
> This post is getting a bit too long, so I hope to share more in a
> followup to this later. For now, I'd just like to spill the beans to the
> rest of the group in advance of the official project announcement and
> say I'm working on this idea, and may even have a tiny demo slapped
> together using Debian Live to sample the personal improvement software
> already in Debian (and Debian derivatives) within the next couple of
> weeks. Out of this humble first artefact of the project, I hope will
> come some early discussion to give the project a bit more substance for
> the eventual release announcement next year. I would like for my LUG to
> be able to be a part of that.
> Ben
> *** Those who know the lingo will recognize this as a kind of "Debian
> Pure Blend" http://wiki.debian.org/DebianPureBlends
> Also, you may recognize some of the ideas of "quantified selfers" woven
> into my plans here. While I don't consider myself a part of that
> community, I certainly hope what we produce will be appealing to them.
> See http://quantifiedself.com/
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George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia
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