Archive for the ‘Vanilla 2’ Category

Vanilla in Montreal

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009


We’re heading out to Montreal today, and we’re going to be speaking at Last Drinks of Summer for the Montreal tech community. Looking forward to telling people about Vanilla & TechStars!

If you’re in Montreal, come out and say hi!

A Brief Retrospective

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

I plan on writing an epic post about my experience at TechStars after I recover from the wicked hangover I’m experiencing from last night’s founders party at our crappy apartment. In the meantime, I thought I’d post this video interview I did with one of my favourite people in Boulder, Chris Moody. It’s 22 minutes long, and I think watching it you can get a sense of how exhausted I am after the end of TechStars. I can quote Todd saying that TechStars has been “the best experience of my life”, and hopefully that comes across in the interview as well. Here’s Chris’ post about it, and here is the interview:

Vanilla Interview with Mark O’Sullivan from Chris Moody on Vimeo.


Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I had a brutal summer cold last week that left me bedridden for a few days. I’m finally over it and working away furiously at our task-list.

I’m currently finishing up the new addons site. It’s looking nice!


Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

A few months ago I posted about how I went down to Boulder, Colorado to attend TechStars for a Day. TechStars is a mentorship-driven seed-stage investment fund. In human terms, it means that they invest a small amount of money in your business and provide mentorship to help you get off the ground in exchange for a small stake in the company.

I stumbled upon TechStars when I decided that it was time to take Vanilla to the next level. Garden and Vanilla 2 were nearing completion, and I realized that without some kind of small investment, I was going to fall back into the pattern of trying to support my open-source efforts by doing side-projects. And inevitably those side-projects become my main project, and Vanilla becomes the side-project in turn. I started emailing and calling everyone I knew asking if they had any ideas for how I might make a real business out of Vanilla. One of my good friends referred me to Jeffrey Kalmikoff at Threadless, and Jeffrey referred me to David Cohen from TechStars.

I honestly didn’t think TechStars was a viable option for me. In my mind I just needed some money so I could continue to develop and pay my monthly bills. Furthermore, I didn’t think that I’d get in if I did apply. After speaking with David, I realized that the money wasn’t the important piece at all – the mentorship was. I decided to attend TechStars for a Day so I could get a better glimpse of what it might be like. Eventually I understood it to be an instant network of people who are all interested in helping me succeed. Living remotely in Saskatchewan, I had nothing of the sort. I could have moved to Toronto or Vancouver and attempted to build a network like this on my own, but getting access to the types of people that TechStars boasted would have taken years.

The most important thing for me was to have the ability to work at Vanilla full-time. I realize that there are so many things about it that could be so much better, and those things would be better if I could just devote 100% of my “office hours” to the job. So, I applied. A few weeks later I discovered that I had been accepted. At that point I scrambled to get as many contract-work hours as I could, scrounged every penny I could, and development on Vanilla ground to a halt.

I’ve been in Boulder now for just over a month, and I still haven’t really had any time to do any development on Garden & Vanilla. The first month was totally devoted to meeting this network of people. I’ve met people from Mozilla, Facebook, Digg, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, AOL, and many many more. All of them have been excited about Vanilla and very supportive of my efforts. They’ve shared advice, support, contacts, and so much more than I really could have imagined.

So, why am I telling you this now?

There are over 300,000 installations of Vanilla out there that I know about. Over 1,000 plugins are downloaded from our addons site every day. Vanilla has been adopted by Mozilla, O’Reilly Media, and many other companies. There are over 10,000 members in the Lussumo Community. I’ve left my wife and family behind in Canada to spend the summer down in Boulder living on beans.

I wanted everyone who uses Vanilla to understand just how committed I am to making Vanilla better.

The Road

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Vanilla 2

It is long overdue that I post an update to the Garden & Vanilla 2 development. First: if you find that I’ve not been posting on my blog, you can take it as a good sign meaning that I’m busy doing other things.

Myself and a great friend of mine (Todd Burry) have been working full-time on the project for the last four weeks.

Next week we will be moving our current issue tracker over to GitHub and simultaneously releasing the Garden and Vanilla 2 code there. The code is still under heavy development and is absolutely not ready for production use. However, it does work and we need your help getting it finished.

Although Vanilla 1 is an open source project, I have always been the bottleneck that keeps it from really taking off. I refuse to let this happen with Garden and Vanilla 2. So, we will be doing our best to allow everyone in the 10,000-strong Lussumo community to help us out this time around, and the release of the code on GitHub is just the first of many steps in this direction.

Following the GitHub move, I will be contacting the authors of the most popular plugins for Vanilla 1 and helping them to get their plugins ported to Vanilla 2 so they can be fully functional and compatible for the Vanilla 2 release. If, for some reason, the authors are uninterested in porting their plugins to Vanilla 2, I will be making announcements here to find anyone out there who is interested in picking up where the previous authors left off, so keep your eyes peeled. If you have a new plugin idea that you want implemented for Vanilla 2 and you want a hand with getting Garden, Vanilla 2, and understanding how things are done: feel free to contact me here on this blog, via twitter @navvywavvy, or directly via email at mark [at] lussumodotcom.

The future starts here!


Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

In recent weeks I’ve been working closely with Jon Contino of Onetwentysix to overhaul the branding of Lussumo products. Recently we settled on the new logos for Vanilla, Conversations, and Garden. Thanks Jon!

Vanilla, Conversations, Garden

Jon posted a walk-through of how all of these logos came to life. Check it out!

Vanilla 2 Public Beta

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Vanilla 2 Public Beta

The Vanilla 2 Public Beta is online now. Please read this entire post before clicking away, as it contains important information about questions you will surely have after getting there.

Development Status

I wasn’t sure if I should call this an alpha or a beta. There are a number of core features that are not yet in the version of Vanilla you are about to see. The most glaringly obvious of these is a search page. In the end I chose beta simply because it rolled off the tongue. Regardless, rest assured that the application is not yet feature-complete.

Feature Suggestions

I know that many of you will have feature suggestions after playing with the application. Please use the Vanilla category at the community forum as a place for your suggestions. Also, please remember (a) that the application is not yet feature-complete, and (b) to be nice when making suggestions, and (c) if your suggestion is not implemented, Vanilla 2 is a pluggable system (and more easily pluggable that Vanilla 1 was), so your feature ideas can easily come after Vanilla 2 is finalized.

Whispers & Data Loss

There are no whispers in Vanilla 2. Instead there are “conversations”. The installation you are about to see is a copy of the community forum from about 3pm on April 3rd, 2009. All of your whispers from that database have been transformed into conversations. Also note that as bugs are encountered and fixed, it may be necessary for us to roll the database back to the April 3rd date. So, don’t be surprised if your discussions, comments, replies, conversations, messages, status updates, profile changes, etc get wiped out.

Reporting Bugs

We’ve set up a trac issue tracker at If you discover a bug, please register there and then search for it before submitting it.

Not For Download

This is a public beta. You do not get to download and install Vanilla 2. You just get to use our installation.

Without any further ado, I give you Vanilla 2.