Archive for November, 2004

29/November/2004

Monday, November 29th, 2004

GNOME Local Groups

Sven:
you are right, I completely forgot about organizing events, which is indeed the best thing
since, as you said, you get to know in person the people on the IRC channel, and that
makes a better relationship. Indeed, the success of the small-but-very-active group of hackers
in GNOME Hispano is due to us knowing each other quite well, and having been together for
hours, in conferences and bars. So indeed, one thing to do, once there’s enough people to
meet together, is to do some meetings regularly. The GNOME Hispano people from Chile started doing hackers meeting
(5 so far) and we copied them here in Spain (2 so far), which have helped a lot in
getting new people to collaborate in some projects.

Luis: good idea
having some documentation on creating local groups, so I’ve now created a new page at
live.gnome.org. Sven, Ronald, and
others, please help me completing it.

28/November/2004

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

GNOME-nl

Ronald, I’m
very happy about your idea of setting
up a GNOME-nl group
. It is something that we should try to do in more places, since
it helps a lot in getting more hackers. Some advice about it, from my experience in the
Spanish speaking group. First of all, don’t desperate when you get no help, since people
are difficult to engage, so at the beginning you’ll have to do all yourself. For that reason,
don’t start huge projects, since maintaining them is a PITA, so I would suggest you keep it
as simple as possible. In GNOME
Hispano
we engaged on some huge projects (including the organization of the
3rd GUADEC in Sevilla) that started dying as soon as they were created (not the GUADEC,
of course, but some news site, software projects, etc). So, after many years, we have
just a web site, mainly to have documentation in Spanish, an IRC channel (the best thing
we have, and the first you should try to have for the GNOME-nl group), a few mailing
lists, and little more. We also have a CVS repository, but after the failure of some
projects started there, we now just try to get people to hack on existing GNOME projects
in GNOME CVS. At the end, we came up with a small but very active group of hackers, most
of which are now part of the GNOME project, so once you get that in .nl, I’d say you’ve
succeeded.

Egypt and GNOME

GNOME at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina
And all this comes to my second thought today: while visiting Alexandria,
I went to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the new Alexandria Library, an ultra-modern building, with
22 floors and over 400,000 books, which represents a project for the future of knowledge in
the world, while trying to keep the spirit that the ancient
library had in the ancient world. This awesome library was built with a lot of help from many countries and companies
all over the world, so I came to see the sponsors list and found, yeah, what a pity, Microsoft
Egypt on the list, so went to see the computers in the building and all were running
Microsoft Windows. At the time of the building of the library (2000 or so, IIRC), where were
Novell,
Red Hat,
SuSE and all other Linux-related software
companies? It is a pity to have lost such an awesome project.
So, after having been for days visiting monuments more than 2,000 years old, visiting
the library in Alexandria, with all its technology, got me back to my time, and,
of course, GNOME, and I started wondering about a GUADEC (GNOME Users and Developers Egyptian
Conference) there, that would be just awesome, and a good excuse for me to go back to my beloved
Egypt. So, I went to a couple of computers in the library and left them with the GNOME home page
loaded on them, so that the next person to come to that computer could have a look at what GNOME is.

27/November/2004

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

Back from Egypt

Unfortunately, I came back last night from my holidays in Egypt. Right now, I feel a bit
sad to be back, since I’ve been having a great time, and I’ve really fallen in
love with Egypt; not only the temples, pyramids, landscapes are awesome, but also the
Egyptian people are just wonderful, all the time laughing and trying to pull your leg,
while being very warm and polite, and with a lot of things similar to the Spanish
people, which made a perfect combination for Yolanda and I to fall in love with the country.

Only a couple of bad things, which were the tourist guides, who try to get all your
money whatever you tell them, by asking for a mad amount of money for all optional
visits (33 ¤ for a ride in van and a ticket to a museum/temple, the ticket being just
a little more than 2 ¤), bringing you to shops with European prices (while you can
buy the same stuff by a 1/5, or even less sometimes, in other places) for getting a
commission of everything you buy, lied to us telling Egypt was really dangerous to go on our
own, so that we paid the optional guided visits, and the hyperquick visits to some
temples, with 1000s of tourists and being unable to really enjoy the temple. Fortunately,
as we are experienced travelers, we paid only one optional visit (to
Memphis and Sakkara),
and we did the rest on our own, to find out that things are much more cheaper and that
tourists are looked after much more than the monuments themselves.
There is a special police, Tourist and Antiquities police, which is all around, while also
the Egyptian people need the money from the tourists, so everybody treats the tourists very well,
no danger at all. Also, while going on your own, you really get to know the Egyptian way of
life, which we really should learn about a bit (no heart attacks and no stress in Egypt at
all). Going on organized travels have a few good things though. First, is that you meet other
people (good thing if you just go with your boy/girl/friend); second, is that you don’t have
to take care of the bags, which was a good thing on the way back, since we had a lot of extra
baggage. So, if anyone who reads this wants to visit Egypt, please drop me a mail and I’ll answer
back with lots of tips about it. With those and if you read enough about Egypt history before
going, you’ll save a lot of money and enjoy your visit much more. It was indeed a very clever
thing to read all about the places I was going to visit before actually going there, so
I really enjoyed all the places and I even came to see much more places than what was
scheduled on the organized trip.

I have been writing a journal of the trip, which I’ll put on electronic format soon. For
the time being, all photos (over 600, so take your time) are here.

12/November/2004

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Which OS are you?

You are Debian Linux. People have difficulty getting to know you.  Once you<br />
	finally open your shell they're apt to love you.
Out of curiosity, and after seeing many people doing this, I took the “Which
OS are you?” quiz and… It is indeed quite strange, maybe just a coincidence, but it is really the OS I’ve been
using for years (now mixed up with some NLD installations), so does the OS you use really
reflect your personality? If so, we have a lot of broken people in the world, since millions
use Windows.

11/November/2004

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

GNOME Events

Luis forgot about the
GNOME hackers meeting in
Móstoles (Madrid)
, which is taking place as we speak. I finally was not able to
attend, since I’m leaving on holidays next Monday and still have a lot of pending work
to finish, so I decided to not go.

There are some very interesting things about this meeting. First, that there are more attendees
than in our first
meeting in Pamplona
. Second, that there will be, tomorrow, a hackfest coordinated, via
IRC (#gnome-hispano on irc.gnome.org), with the people attending
the GNOME Forum in
Brazil.

Holidays

It’s now official that I’ll be going, during my 2 week holidays starting next week, to
Egypt, for a lot of sightseeing. I waited so much to buy the tickets, even though I had
already planned the trip months ago, because there are, at the beginning of November, a lot
of new offers for the new season (which starts in November), so I could buy better and cheaper
tickets. So, yeah, going at last to Egypt, after so many years wanting to do so, finally
I’ll be able to travel to a different culture than the western one. Indeed, I’ve only
travelled around Europe, 2/3 times to the US, and once to Chile,
which although a bit different, is still very similar to the Spanish culture. So I really
wanted to travel to a different place, with different culture and customs. Next time I’ll
go to India, to see the Novell India guys.

Egypt is, as I read,
a paradise for photographers, so even though I am a bad one, expect a lot of nice photos.
The itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1: flight from Barcelona to Luxor, where a boat will be waiting for us.
  • Day 2: visit to the fabulous temples of Karnak and
    Luxor, then sailing to Esna.
  • Day 3: visit to temple dedicated to Horus in Esna, then saling to Kom Ombo.
  • Day 4: visit to the high dam of Assuan
    and to the unfinished obelisk in the quarry in Assuan. Visit to the temple of Philae with
    a light and sound performance at night.
  • Day 5: all day in Assuan.
  • Day 6: sailing to Kom Ombo and visit there to the temples dedicated to Sobek
    and Haroeris. Then sailing to Edfu.
  • Day 7: sailing to Luxor, passing by the lock of Esna.
  • Day 8: visit to the necropolis of Tebas, the valley of the kings and the
    graves of the pharaohs, the temple of Medinat Habu and the Colossi of Memnon. Then to the
    airport and flight to Cairo.
  • Day 9: Cairo,
    visit to the pyramids of
    Gizeh and the Sphynx
    .
  • Day 10: all day in Cairo.
  • Day 11: stay all day again in Cairo
    or, optionally, go visit Alexandria.
  • Day 12: flight from Cairo to Barcelona, end of the trip.

A lot of places, yeah, and the only thing I really don’t like about the trip is it being an organized
one, that is, with a guide and a group of lost tourists running after him/her. But
since I knew nothing about Egypt, I guess that’s the best way for the first travel. If we like it (which
I’m sure we’ll do), next year we’ll go on our own.

8/November/2004

Monday, November 8th, 2004

GNOME Session Daemon

Yesterday I came into the discussion
about proposing libnotify and notification-daemon for inclusion in GNOME 2.10
,
specifically to the too
many daemons
part
. So, after some mail exchange with other people,
I started last night to write (by hand while watching TV) a proposal for an extensible daemon process, and here it
is, now in electronic format.

The Daemon: The number of daemons is starting to grow too much, and if
we don’t do something, we’ll end up having lots of them. So, putting a daemon in gnome-session
that can be extended is a possible solution.

gnome-session itself is always running, but since it is an important process that can’t crash,
it makes no sense to allow dlopen’ed code there. So, my proposal is to have a gnome-session-daemon
process which will:

  • start a D-BUS/CORBA interface for other applications to contact it. Things that can be done
    by this interface include loading/unloading of plug-ins, getting the list of loaded/available
    plug-ins, etc.
  • load all extensions from a list of well known directories (.xml files in them).
  • listen to session changes and call extension plug-ins as appropriate.

Extension plug-ins: Extensions are hooks, which are actions defined to be
run on session events (“session_starting”, “session_closing”). They are shared libraries provided
by 3rd parties, accompanied by a XML configuration file which defines the hook part
(“on_session_starting/closing”) and the entry point in the library to be called for
each of those session events, as well as the priority order of the hook, which defines the order
in which the hook entry point will be called.

Example plug-ins include the current gnome-settings-daemon, the Evolution alarm notification
daemon, and any other daemon-like processes (notification daemon, beagled, etc).

Library: gnome-session will provide a libgnome-session library to be used by
3rd parties. This library will include the needed code for loading/managing the available
plug-ins. One of the classes included is:

        class GnomeSessionHook {
	     gboolean invoke (GnomeClient *client);
	}

This class loads the GModule’s for each plug-in and maps the invoke method
to the entry point in the loaded shared library.

This library will also include several utility functions:

        GList *gnome_session_get_hooks ();

This loads all GModule’s and creates GnomeSessionHook objects for each of them (by calling
a gnome_session_hook_new_from_file function).

We also need the ability for applications to load/unload plug-ins as needed. For instance, there
could be a control-center applet that allows users to configure which plug-ins to load and which
to not load. Thus, functions like the following are also to be included in the library:

        gboolean gnome_session_load_hook ()
	gboolean gnome_session_unload_hook ()

3/November/2004

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

US Election

Seems Bush is going to be around for 4 more years, which seems to be a bad
thing (not that with Kerry it was going to be much better). But instead
of desperating, I’ve came up with some ideas on how to manage these 4
years to come.

  • If your country has no petrol, there’s nothing to fear about. If your country
    does have petrol, move to another one before it is too late. There is plenty
    of space in the US, so you can move there.
  • While the Bush administration vs terrorists war continue, we can have terrorist threat applets,
    even localized
    for Australia
    , which is a feature other desktops don’t even dream of having!
  • If you’ve got weapons of mass destruction, hide them, destroy them, sell them, that is,
    get rid of them as soon as possible….unless you are in the US. In
    that case, inspections are not needed.
  • For Americans who will suffer from seeing Bush in the White House, just think about all
    the years we had to stand Aznar here in Spain, or Mrs Thatcher in the UK, or Fidel
    Castro in Cuba, or, even worst, Tom Jones remasterings all these last years, so, again,
    don’t desperate, 4 years is a short time.

Also, as part of the US election night here on TV, I learnt a lot of things about the
US electoral system that, at least, surprised me. For instance, minorities, such as
native Americans (Indians), will never get any representation whatsoever in the congress,
since you have to win the elections in a whole state for this to happen. While the Spanish
electoral system is also a bit unfair in some points, at least it allows minorities (like
regionalist parties) to have some representation in the congress in Madrid. I wonder who’s
going to defend the rights of those minorities if nobody represents them. The same happens
for parties other than the 2 big ones. In 2000, for instance, Nader had almost 3 million
votes
, but since he didn’t win in any state, those 3 million Americans were
not represented in the congress at all.

But really, while the US politics and polititians suck (as they do in every place of the
world), I myself like very much the US and the US people I’ve met so far, so, even
though there is some anti-americanism feeling over here in Europe, it is not as
strong as some Americans might think. People continue to wear jeans, to eat at McDonald’s, to say lots of words in
English, to watch American films (80% of films in Spain are from the US), to celebrate
Halloween, etc, etc. There is a lot of anti-Bush feeling, that’s it, which is normal
I guess, since it’s difficult to like someone who has started 2 wars in 4 years. Let’s
hope the average of wars per year gets lower in the next 4 years.

I only regret that our lifes (those of US people and those of the
rest of the world) are always in the hands of a small group of people that declare themselves
as the leaders for a whole country. How sad, if only they were as nice as our GNOME leaders!

Basketball

I know everyone is busy with the elections, and maybe nobody cares, but November has seen
the start of 2 great basketball competitions. First, yesterday, the NBA (with no TV coverage here yet, sadly).
Today, the Euroleague,
the European NBA, which has this year the great Estudiantes, after a
successful
2nd place
last year in the ACB
(Spanish basketball league). The Euroleague, at least, has TV coverage here.

2/November/2004

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004

Apple CD Burner

Seems Apple might be
looking at GNOME more than we think. At least, that’s what I thought when reading
this
article
about the new burnable folders feature in
the upcoming Mac OS X Tiger. It looks to me very similar to our Nautilus
CD Burner
.

Not that this is a bad thing, on the contrary, it means we might be doing it right
if companies like Apple look at what we do.