The Pennyworth Project

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New directions for the Pennyworth project

First of all, welcome to the new weblog for Pennyworth and other context-related work. In the coming days, I’ll be shutting down the Context Blog in favor of this one. I’ve already imported the content from that site, so there is no reason that you shouldn’t update your bookmarks accordingly.

Second, I wanted to share some details about new Pennyworth work and how things will proceed moving forward. There are some big changes afoot, and this post describes how the project will move forward.

As some of you already know, I am leaving my graduate program at Northwestern University in order to pursue a full-time job as a software entrepreneur. My new venture is called Audacious Software and I’ve been busy over the past couple of months putting together a new company. The work isn’t complete, but progress is steadily being made.

The original plan was that my new company would continue Pennyworth development as a research activity. I’m still a strong believer in the idea of context-aware computing and I have concrete plans to develop and market a variety of context-aware applications and services in the months ahead. However, after some discussions with other people, I came up with the idea that the Pennyworth work should be its own separate entity in order to make collaborations with others simpler and more efficient. Consequently, I’m in the process of setting up a non-profit corporation to manage and hold Pennyworth and other related properties. I’m using the same model followed by many other open source projects, such as Mozilla, Software in the Public Interest (Debian), and FreeBSD.

My goal in establishing a standalone entity for Pennyworth is to engage other parties interested in collaborating on context-aware technology so that we can collectively put this technology in the hands of users everywhere. Audacious Software is the first sponsor of this work and I hope to find other companies, universities, and organizations willing to partner with in the months ahead. I’ll post more details about this as they become available.

So, what activities will this organization pursue? At the moment, there are three:

1. Continue the Pennyworth and Jarvis work to create and distribute a robust context-inference system for Mac OS X and Windows desktops.

2. Develop and distribute a variety of “example” applications that demonstrate how to use context effectively and spark others’ imagination about what’s possible with using context.

3. Continue to research how to better sense and distribute context in new environments. This includes mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, Maemo, etc.), alternative operating systems (Linux, *BSD), and emerging computing platforms (Chumby, Arduino, etc.).

In the weeks ahead, I plan on resume posting to this weblog regularly so that the work I’ve been doing becomes more visible to outside readers. In the chaos of starting a new company (or two) and managing the transition from graduate school to startup, my updates became less frequent than I would have liked. To make for this, I have a series of posts in the works that should hit all three points mentioned above.

Posted by admin at 9:42 pm on March 23, 2009 . Filed under Meta.

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