When I found out last month that the Automattic crew was going to be in the area, I knew I had to do it. I wanted to give them something back as a token of gratitude for the beautiful code they set Free (as in Free speech) under the GPL; and the excellent service with outstanding support that they give for free (as in free beer) to lazy people like me who do not bother to run their own WordPress.org install (actually I used to, but WordPress.com is too convenient). So I offered them a Free (as in speech and as in beer) little planet photo shooting. They accepted! They kindly made a little time slot in their busy schedule and off we went.
This was one of the best photo shooting days I had this year. In fact, it was one of the best photo shooting days ever. I enjoyed every single minute of it. A crowd of smart, articulate and interesting people with a varied and interesting international background. Stimulating company. Too little time.
In the same spirit as WordPress, the result of that hour is Free. Pending clearance of the model release forms (which are somewhere in the mail), the images on this post will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike (CC-BY-SA) license. Exactly like WordPress, they are Free. You can make what you want with: coffee mugs, T-shirts, screensavers, WordPress themes, wall clocks (requires a modern browser to display). And you can also sell them: CC-BY-SA, like the GPL, is a commerce friendly license. It just restricts downstream distributors with the “copyleft” clause that forbids taking things private.
If you distribute a derivative of these images, you must attribute them to “Yuval Levy http://www.photopla.net/“ and you must release your derivative works under the same conditions, i.e. make them Freely available to the public. Which does not mean you can’t charge for them. It only means that you have to give your sources and allow unlimited copying.
The first image is the one that has been chosen by the Automattic crew. It is also the “official” little planet. Click to enlarge.
Beam yourself in the middle of the action!
The next one is Matt at work, directing his crew to stand for a more traditional group picture. Can you see Matt on the Southern hemisphere? At seven o’clock. In the interactive version you can pan to the point of interest with the mouse and zoom in and out of i twith the SHIFT and CTRL keys.
And the last planet is my favorite. The Automattic crew all lined up for an official group photo. Difficult to keep opened eyes and a relaxed smile against the sun, but that’s the direction of the slope and the crew is growing. I understand it is an Automattic tradition to take a group picture at every meet up and to hang it in the corporate lounge. How will they solve this in the next years, as the company goes the traditional hockey stick slope of successful startups?
Hugin is the solution! There is plenty of space in the picture below, about three times wider than traditional wide angle lenses can capture. It’s a Panini view, extracted from the same equirectangular that was used to produce the above little planet. Have I lost you with all of these technical terms? Check out some Hugin tutorials. Or feel free to ask.
Thank you, Automattic. WordPress.com rocks!