Category Archives: MetaBrainz

Restructuring MusicBrainz’ management

In the recent past, the MusicBrainz community has become more fractured with evident tension rising between members of the community, the dev team and myself. I’ve been struggling with trying to find a good way to fix these problems and I’ve attempted making a number of changes over the past few months. Mostly with mixed or bad results, which further increased the frustrations for everyone involved.

While I was on vacation the past two weeks, I had some distance from work and at random points during this vacation a few key issues/solutions became clear to me. Over the next few weeks I will be announcing changes to how I manage this project and possibly some changes to some of our core policies to support these changes. Stay tuned on this blog for more announcements regarding this restructuring.

In the first round of changes, which I will detail in a subsequent blog posts, I would like to:

  1. Re-emphasize that we are an open source project and that we must do all of our work in public. Point 3 of our social contract states: “We won’t hide problems and policies: We will keep all MusicBrainz related discussions open for public view at all times, regardless of their content. All problems and policies related to MusicBrainz will be visible to all.” As problems in our community grew, factions hid from the public view. A lot of development work and development discussion went underground in private communication channels that had no transparency at all. Fixing this will be my most important goal moving forward.
  2. Take control of tasking the development team. Starting this monday, during our weekly development chat, I will take the lead on discussing what tasks the development team should be focusing on. I will need to catch up on a lot of happenings that I haven’t paid attention to recently. I also suspect that we will need to talk quite a bit about which tools we would like to use to manage our short, medium and long term plans. Don’t expect us to magically revamp this process on Monday — Monday will simply be the first step in what could be a long journey to improve how the MusicBrainz dev team is currently managed.

More posts are coming in the next few days!

Team change

Ian (ianmcorvidae), our senior developer on the MusicBrainz project, has decided to leave the project due to personal reasons. I’m sad to see a very skilled engineer leave our team — Ian has done a tremendous amount of great work for MusicBrainz and the MetaBrainz hosting infrastructure. Thank you for all of your hard for in the past few years, Ian!

Ian will remain on our team while he seeks a new professional position, so the change won’t be immediate. That said, now is the time to ask Ian to document whatever pieces of his work that still need documentation.

If anyone knows an experienced perl developer with experience using web technologies, Postgres and the myriad of technologies that MusicBrainz uses, please let us know! I’ll be posting an official job posting next week.

New MetaBrainz site, new look and Live Data Feed access tokens

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll be aware that we’ve been working on a complete overhaul of our branding and the look and feel of our web sites. While we still have a few minor adjustments to make here and there, we are happy to present you with our newly re-designed MetaBrainz Foundation web site.

MetaBrainz

New features of this site include our new site design, new logos, showcasing our projects and our customers, and HTTPS support. But the most important feature of this new site include online sign-up for commercial use of our data and access token generation for our Live Data Feed.

Two months ago we announced that as of today our Live Data Feed would require an access token in order to download the replication packets. These access tokens are available for free for private use and available on a sliding support scale for commercial use. Starting right now, you may go to the new Sign Up page and associate a new MetaBrainz account with your existing (or new) MusicBrainz account. Once you complete the sign-up process, you will be able to generate an access token to use with our Live Data Feed. We will post details on what to do with this access token after the schema change release takes place later today.

We’ve needed this new site for years and years, but have always been too busy focusing on our flagship project MusicBrainz. But, with help from Roman Tsukanov (aka Gentlecat) and MonkeyDo, we have finally released a web site that both brings us into modern times and streamlines the process for commercial users to start using our data.

If you are curious about what logos we chose for our other projects, see the animation on the MetaBrainz home page. Soon we will roll out the new site design onto CritiqueBrainz, BookBrainz, Cover Art Archive and our Picard site. However, since MusicBrainz is not built on the Bootstrap toolkit it will take us a while to roll the design out onto that site.

Thank you to Gentlecat, Nicolas at MonkeyDo, and everyone who gave feedback on the many logo and site designs that have been floated here for the past few weeks.

Nearly final round of logos!

Most of the logo decisions have been made and we’re ironing out the last details of font placement. Open questions are:

  1. What text placement do we like?
  2. Which of the new AcousticBrainz logos we we like?
  3. For the large MusicBrainz logo, do we want to have the drop shadows?

MusicBrainz_logos_12-05-15_v2

As usual, let us know your thoughts on our blog!

(P.S. Some of the logos have some minor artifacts on them — we’re aware of them and we’ll fix those in the final logos)

Congratulations to our Summer of Code Students!

This year’s Summer of Code participants have been announced. For the MetaBrainz Foundation, we will have these four students hacking:

  • Roman Tsukanov (Gentlecat): After having made a name for himself last year, Roman returns to hack on AcousticBrainz for us this year. His project, that he is already a good ways into (surprise!), is to create a data set creator for AcousticBrainz. This project will allow anyone to create a data set that will be used to train the high level descriptors in AcousticBrainz. We’re hoping to crowd source this data set creation task in an effort bust open the walled gardens that normally contain this type of work/research.
  • Shadab Zafar (dufferzafar): Duffer is also a returning student for us. Last year he hacked on the Picard website and this year he will pick up where Roman left off working on CritiqueBrainz. He will work on the moderation interface and if there is time he will add support for reviewing places, events and works.
  • Ruchiranga Wickramasinghe (ruchiranga): Ruchiranga is new to MetaBrainz this year and will be working on a unified browse and search interface for MusicBrainz. Our current search facilities are still quite primitive and we’ve recently turned off our browsing features since they were effectively useless. This project aims to bring MusicBrainz browse and search into modern times.
  • Jeff Weeks (weeksio): Jeff is going to continue Mineo’s work on moving our search infrastructure over to SOLR. This project was started last year, but we knew that it might not be completed in the course of the summer. Unfortunately Mineo was not available to continue the work on the project, but we have high hopes that Jeff will move the project along, in hopes of us pushing it live towards the end of the summer.

I wanted to give a warm welcome and wish our students the best of luck for the summer! Now one final parting observation: This is the first time that we have an equal number of MusicBrainz projects to non-MusicBrainz projects. We’re finally growing the scope of efforts of the MetaBrainz Foundation!