Archive for the ‘distros’ Category

I’m going to FOSDEM 2010

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Well, last year was my first time in Brussels and FOSDEM. It was great, but I guess this time, as Barney would say: it’s going to be legen…. wait for it…. dary!!! :-P

This time a lot of friends are going and I hope to meet new not-yet-friends up there.

I’m going with my good friend from Emergya and also great Guadalinex developer, Roberto. Here we are at some spanish FLOSS congress….

Juanje and Rober at the Hispalinux congress

Juanje and Rober at the Hispalinux congress

We are the two guys in the middle… If you are at the FOSDEM we look (kind of) like in the photo.

BTW, If you see the girls you can also tell us :-P

See you there ;-)

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting

lastest Freemind for Ubuntu

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I discovered Freemind few years ago, which is a very nice and useful tool. It is a mind maping application.

I use it for brainstormings (mostly with myself…), for taking notes on meetings, for creating the initial tasks tree of a project, for preparing a talk or even the structure of a document. It’s a great tool.

I’m not very fan of Java and probably this is the only Java application I use and I’m happy with ;-)

But my problem with Freemind is that to find the last binary version for Linux is very painful… Even more if you try to find for your version of Ubuntu (in my case). There is a very old version for Ubuntu on the download section of the site, but too old. I always have to googling a lot before to find someone’s repository with almost last version on debian package format.

The official current version on Ubuntu is 0.7.1-6ubuntu4, but the current last version from the project itself is 0.9.0-RC6, which comes with a lot of interesting features. As you can see the gap is huge…

But Debian has now the last version packaged for sid :-)

Before I discovered this, I found the PPA (Personal Package Archive) of Savvas Radevic with the version 0.9.0-rc4, almost the last one. I saw the sources and I realized that it was just a rebuild of the Debian version, so I looked for the last Debian version and I rebuild it.

So, if you like the last version of this nice application and you are using Debian, you could use the Sid package and if you are using Ubuntu KarmicUbuntu Jaunty (or Guadalinex v6) you could add my PPA and install from there.

If you don’t know, from Ubuntu Karmic (9.10) on you can add easily a PPA doing this:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:juanje/freemind

Then you can install the Freemind’s packages normally. I think I’ll keep this PPA updated until there be a final stable version (0.9.0) in Ubuntu.
I hope you enjoy as much as me this software ;-)

UPDATES:

  • I made also the backport for Ubuntu Jaunty and is already at the PPA. I had to make also a backport for one dependency (simplyhtml), which is at the PPA as well.
  • ScottK commented that the last version is already in Lucid. It seems to be uploaded to the repositories on 3th January.

WiiCan: Easy Wii remote control on Linux

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Félix Ontañón, a very good friend and hacker from my company, has just released a new versión of a systray application which help to configure and manage the Wii remote control on Linux. The application is called WiiCan and is hosted on Launchpad.

The project has been programed in Python and it uses D-Bus to connect with hal (by now) and bluez for tracking the available bluetooth devices and wiimote connection status.

I’ll copy here from the project’s site the features:

Discover if it’s an available bluetooth device for connect wiimote
Display a list of available keyboard-mouse-wiimote mappings
User-defined mappings creation assistant
Mappings manager:

  • New/Edit/Delete
  • Up/Down order
  • Visible/Invisible

Notify the state of wiimote usaging:

  • Bluetooth available/unavailable
  • Discovering wiimote
  • Wiimote disconnected

And here some screenshots:

WiiCan systray

Connected with a Wiimote

Connected with a Wiimote

Mapping options

Mapping options

I haven’t tryied the application because I haven’t got any wiimote, but some friends have already tested and they’ve told me that it work great, and they are very happy with the tool. So I’d like to invite you to test it and share here your experience.

And also I’d like to invite you to colaborate with the project, reporting bugs, patches and translations.

I hope you enjoy it ;-)

Is GNOME 3.0 for users or developers?

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

This question is walking around in my head for some time now…

I’m the first thinking that the old traditional desktop is that, old. And we need something new.

I like things I see about GNOME Shell and so on, but I’m a geek!

I mean, I do use virtual desktops or spaces, but I like to mess with my system and I always have running my Guake terminal.

I remember when Compiz came up, everyone was so excited with the things it could do. It was so cool, so fancy and that was going to be the right tool to attract normal users to our desktop, because it was a lot of better than Vista

That was cool, but I don’t really see much people using those effects nowadays… Ok, transparency and smoothness on windows stuff, is used, but no much more.

So now people who are thinking on the next release of their distros for non-very-tech-users (like Guadalinex), are a bit afraid to be forced to use a very new concept, which is cool when you are geek or somebody teach you about it.

To upgrade a few thousand of users to a very new desktop concept is a quite hard challenge… Even having a helpdesk services, online documentation and forums.

I just hope those new concepts be really easy to catch or somebody make any kind of “first use lesson” for them.

Actually, for regular end users I think I prefer something like Litl OS or Chrome OS. That is a change of concept, but into something they already know: the web. And also the mediacenter and web interfaces.

Well, it’s just a personal thought…

Anyways, we’ll see next year… I wish the best for my favourite desktop and their hackers, so let’s have a bit of faith ;-)

GNOME Hispano meeting and CISL09

Monday, December 7th, 2009

I’ve been in Caceres (Extremadura) the last three days attending the “Conferencia Internacional de Software Libre” (International Free Software Conference), one of the biggest FLOSS events in Spain.

It was a very intense days and I met a lot of friends and new interesting people.

But also was held there the GNOME Hispano meeting with people like Carlos Garcia Campos (aka Kal), Álvaro del Castillo (aka acs), José Ángel Díaz, and others gnomers.

The beginning was actually quite moving for some of us, because José made a retrospective of GNOME’s history and how GNOME Hispano was born. For those who were that night, when GNOME Hispano started this made them draw a smile in their (our) faces :-)

I couldn’t attend all the sessions, because I had to attend also to the other conference, but they told me they were interesting. There was stuff like “GNOME Fails“, “Introduction to the Desktop course“, “The migration of GNOME Hispano’s services to OpenSolaris” and the other two sessions where I was: “Software development using git” and “GNOME and the distributions” (which, actually was mine :-P)

My talk was about how what developers make can be affected by changes on the distribution or by third party people who need to integrate their software with the desktop and more software. We were also talking about the very end users and how is more important to them some small and silly bugs than the next big and fancy feature.

We’ve learned from the experience of thousand of users in Extremadura (GNU/LinEx) and Andalusia (Guadalinex) that the very end users (people from little villages, childrens, old people, and so) don’t care so much about the new fancy stuff but they really do care about crash when they try to perform an email search on Evolution or some dialog is untranslated.

Some of those errors come from the distributions but others are responsibility of the upstream developers. I know it is much funnier to be working in a fancy feature or dealing with a very tricky bug, than take care of a hundred of silly bugs, but it’s probably that a lot of people won’t see the super-feature, just because one those silly bugs… I can tell you…

Anyways, the talk was interesting, the people was participating and we all learnt some lessons, I think. I’d like to write some conclusions to see what do you think as well…

I’ll probably do ;-)

CISL09 and GNOME Hispano

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I’m packaging my stuff to leave to Extremadura. There, in Caceres, takes place the Free Software World Conference this week, one of the biggest FLOSS’ event in Spain.

I’m very excited because it’s my first event in my new position at Emergya and because there you can always find interesting people and interesting projects.

Good place for networking ;-)

I have also to give a talk about GNOME and the Linux distributions there, as part of the GNOME Hispano meeting. It will be about the problems I’ve found several times trying to integrate GNOME with other software into some distributions.

I’ve been working on distributions based on Debian and Ubuntu for almost 8 years and there are some issues that are still there.

Actually, it’s much easier than before to integrate the desktop, but there are always some things hardcoded or not very well documented that make us made some tricky hacks.

Well, these are, mostly, experiences from the past, because now it’s much more better, but I hope this help to be more aware of those things for future changes.

I’ll tell you more after the event and I hope to see any of you there ;-)

i18n bugs are important too

Monday, July 27th, 2009

I’m Spanish speaker and my English level (as the most of Spaniards) was very bad before I went to Ireland few months for learning English. I was kind of lucky because I could have some extra English lessons at the school and they taught me some technical English at the university, although I couldn’t understand well complicated and technical papers.

I think that this is the typical profile of a computer science student in Spain. Of course, there are a lot of exceptions, but I guess you got the idea.

Well, but the Guadalinex/GNU/LinEx/Molinux/Lliurex/Ubuntu‘s users haven’t that profile at all. They usually don’t know any English at all. Most of them (we are talking of thousands of users) are children at schools, people who hadn’t got any contact with computers before using those distributions and people who know the typical few words in English to ask for directions on London or to ask for a pint in an Irish pub…

The most of our problems are about things we (developers) think are very intuitive but they don’t understand well. Even when they are explained in their own mother tongue…

Now let’s say that this people having a problem with their computers, with some desktop application. The most of the warnings and error messages are scary for them. Sometimes they say something useful, but the most of the time people with almost no computer skills or experience get scared and they stop doing what they were doing and think that the “machine” is broken… or whatever….

And now let’s see the same scenario, but with the warning and errors messages in a language they don’t understand… But this is not much better to have an option at the UI you don’t understand. They don’t use it, because they don’t know what is that about and to avoid breaking something…

If they don’t understand options or features, it’s like don’t having them, but also it gives to the user some feeling of “I can break something“.

Ok, this is not always like that. This is the worst scenario. But, trust me, this happen to the most of our users. I also could bet that this happen to non-English speaker users from any country.

All this introduction and explanation is to say: Please developers and triagers, don’t put internationalization (i18n) or localization (l10n) bugs as “Importance: low“.

We are pushing really hard to get the free desktops to the end users, to the schools, to the (non-technical) professionals and we need to have software well translated for that. But the i18n and l10n bugs are worst of having some strings untranslated.
Strings untranslated in one language are bad, but it’s easy to find people for translating those strings than find someone to understand the app’s code, the gettext and i18n stuff and then fix the code.

I think the developers need to be aware of the importance of fixing those bugs and what amount of users won’t use their cool features if they can’t be translated.

I don’t say those bugs are the most important ones, but sure they are not “Importance: low“…

I’ve seen to change this priority level in Ubuntu and GNOME, but I’m sure this is happening in more projects.

I would like to say one more thing, this time, just for Ubuntu. By now, there is no official tag on Launchpad for i18n or l10n bugs. I would like to ask you that if you report, triage, or find one of those kind of bugs and they have not this king of tags, to add it.

  • i18n: For those bugs about something broken in the application that makes the translations not being working, or strings not included at the translations templates (not marked for translations).
  • l10n: This is a localisation issue. Including errors in localisations, typos, etc. Adding locations and weather stations is one example. Correcting date and time formats is another.

In those cases, will be desirable you follow the Ubuntu Translations guidelines:

All translations (internationalization or localization) issues should be filled against the Ubuntu Translations (ubuntu-translations) project. From there the bugs will be triaged and assigned to the right persons and package.

You can also tag the bug with “l10n” or “i18n”.

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of problems that should be filled against an Ubuntu Translations Project (ubuntu-translations):

  • if a string from the application is not available for translation in Launchpad Translations
  • if an application from Ubuntu main repository is not available for translation in Launchpad Translations
  • if a translation made in Launchpad Translations is not updated in the Ubuntu Language Packs
  • a source package has the wrong (or inconsistent) translation domain
  • you find a duplicate template
  • a template/translation is no longer used in Ubuntu and should be deleted from Ubuntu Launchpad Translations
  • errors in spellcheckers or language support

You can find these guidelines and much more useful info at the Ubuntu Translations’ wiki.

Well, I hope this makes sense to someone and more developers get aware of the importance of i18n/l10n bugs.

See you soon and happy hacking! ;-)

Using git behind a proxy

Friday, July 17th, 2009

This is a simple recipe about how to use git behind a proxy.

Right now I’m working behind a very restrictive firewall and I can’t get any port I need open, so I use a proxy socks for working with git,bzr,jabber and so on. I was looking for an easy way to use git with a proxy but I didn’t find easily the solution. After some researches a friend (Roberto) found the solution and we use it at work.

Let’s see it ;-)

Just in case we don’t have it:

$ mkdir ~/bin

Now the interesting part, the wrapper for the proxy:

$ cat <<EOF>> ~/bin/proxy-wrapper
#!/bin/sh
# Put your own values
PROXY_IP=10.0.0.80
PROXY_PORT=22000

nc -x${PROXY_IP}:${PROXY_PORT} -X5 $*

EOF
$ chmod +x ~/bin/proxy-wrapper

Note that you’ll need to have installed netcat (the openbsd’s one: netcat-openbsd) to be able to use the command nc with the option -x.

Then you’ll have to be sure you have setted the ~/bin directory on your PATH and then add the env variable GIT_PROXY_COMMAND. That variable will be used by git for doing pushes through git or ssh protocol:

$ cat <<EOF>> ~/.bashrc
export PATH=~/bin:"${PATH}"
export GIT_PROXY_COMMAND=~/bin/proxy-wrapper
EOF

Now you will be able to use git normally with no worries about the firewall, nat or whatever.

Come back from the GCDS

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Last week was amazing. So many interesting people here in the island where I was born…

I met a lot of friends from different projects and people I didn’t know before, or maybe just from their emails and posts.

Thank to everybody for coming. Thanks to the attenders, to the boards and the local team (awesome job dudes!).

Tomorrow at 8 am I will taking my flight to Sevilla. And the day after I come back to work… I’m not really happy with the idea of having between 35º and 40º C , but the GCDS was a great for collecting new ideas for Guadalinex. New contacts, interesting projects, to know the next steps in GNOME and other desktop projects… All of that give me energy to  come back to the office and do some hacking ;-)

Now I like to hack a bit with some project, like Mago. I was talking with Ara Pulido at the Summit and I think we (guadalinex) will collaborate with them making new test suits. We need them for our project so we like to make them and share with the community.

Well, let’s pack and go to sleep, tomorrow I have an early flight.

Happy hacking :-)

Last advices for the GCDS

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

I know it’s a bit late, but I hope this helps.

I’m from Gran Canaria, the place where the event is going to be, so I like to give you some advices and recommendations:

  • Sun protection. Here the sun can burn you if you don’t take some protections. Some times seems like it’s not so sunny, but it could be dangerous if you are from a northern area.
  • Don’t drink top water. The top water here is supposed to be good enough for human consumption, but the true is that nobody here drink it. We always drink mineral water. And also here was a incident a few month ago about top water’s high levels of boron. That now is normal, but you know…
  • Here there is not so many place with vegetarian food but we try to find all kind places for eat nearby the event. You’ll find that info (which will be updated) at the wiki.
  • The important phone numbers are also at the wiki. Remember the international code for Spain is +34
  • In Gran Canaria (Spain), electricity is provided normally at a voltage of 220 V and 50 Hz. But you’ll probably find adapters at the mall (Centro comercial Las Arenas) just in front the event’s place.
  • Here in Gran Canaria we talk Spanish, so you can find useful the list of common words and expressions we have at the wiki. If you already know Spanish, you need have in mind that here we have some different words (eg. Autobus = Guagua).
  • The most useful lines of guaguas (buses) for going from or at the auditorium are the lines 47 and 17.
  • Taxi is also a good option. Probably you’ll pay 4 € for a normal ride (from the Auditorium to the farthest hotels.
  • There will be a infodesk where you’ll find people who can bring you some help. The contact person will be Fabio, but there will be more people there.
  • I will be also around there during the weekend, I can’t be sure about the rest of the week. Anyways, if you need touristic/local information or just any info of Canarias or Gran Canaria, find me (Juanje Ojeda) and ask me ;-)
  • If you have a group of people who want place for lunch of dinner, ask for me at the infodesk, I’ve been talking with some places to try to arrange this king of things.

I just like to add that Gran Canaria is much more than beaches and sun. So try to get into the countryside or to different part of the island. They are so different between them hat people usually get surprised.

I’ll highly recommend to visit Teror, Tejeda, Agaete, Artenara (and the Tamadaba pine forest), Mogán, Agüimes, Santa Lucía and, of course Maspalomas. There are more interesting places, but with those you’ll get the idea ;-)

Well, we’ll meet you at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit :-)