Archive for May, 2005

31/May/2005

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Announcements

Very good news this week for Free Software in general, and GNOME
in particular. Apart from the announcements made at GUADEC (Nokia’s, Glynn’s, Havoc’s), Novell has signed
a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
, which will
involve many products from Novell’s portfolio, included SuSE Linux and, of course,
GNOME desktop.

30/May/2005

Monday, May 30th, 2005

GUADEC

Kudos to Fluendo for the
GUADEC streaming.

European Constitution

Once more, the French came to our rescue, for us poor ignorant Spaniards, who voted
YES for the European Constitution. The French voted NO, which, from what a few
polititians have said, doesn’t matter at all. But, in my opinion, the French NO
should force polititians to review the constitution and change it to be more oriented
to the European people, not to European corporations, which is what it is right now.

27/May/2005

Friday, May 27th, 2005

GUADECS

Although I decided on my own to not go to Stuttgart (because of all the travels I’ve
been doing recently), reading now about all the people that are packing for going,
I feel a bit jealous. It is indeed the first GUADEC I’ll miss, since I’ve been to all
of them, so I’m gonna miss you all :)

Apart from that, in the recent GUADEC-ES,
some people from the Spanish translation team raised their concerns about the need of good and
powerful translation tools, and the ones from Sun
were specifically mentioned, missing its open sourcing. But this is fixed now, since Sun just
announced them!
From what the translators said, these tools should help a lot in the translation of the
user documentation, which, more or less, needs to be re-translated for every release.

23/May/2005

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

GUADEC-ES

Came back yesterday from the II
GUADEC-ES in CoruÃ&plusmm;a
, so here’s a somewhat long summary of all we
did
.

I arrived on Thursday afternoon, so missed most of the talks of the first day. I
got in time to attend the end of the BOF about Free Software migrations that
Fernando
was conducting. Missed most of the context, but when I arrived there was some polemic
discussion about the corruption of hackers by hiring them for companies,
which I didn’t understand very well. Then, to the last talk of the day, How
to become a GNOME person: gnome-love
, by Fernando (Herrera).
After this last talk, we went to the Castro de ElviÃ&plusmm;a, for a guided
Conan & Belit
visit to this pre-romanic town, which was built (in around 900 BC to the Ist century AD)
by the people that lived in CoruÃ&plusmm;a at that time. It was a very nice visit indeed, with
a perfect guide: the director of the site excavation, who taught us a lot of things.
After that, we went to a folk concert, although a group of us didn’t watch it at all, since
as hungry as we were, we went to another place for some food. The dinner took a long time,
talking and having some beers, after which me and other people just went to the hotel to
sleep. Others stayed for a few hours more of crazy drinking and naked bathing in the sea.

On the second day, the talks started with Alex’s, from Igalia,
about ORBit2 and how they have used it in their Fisterra
ERP
. After that, I gave my talk about extending Evolution with E-D-S backends and
EPlugin’s. I wanted to make it more practical, and have people working on plugins after it,
but the short time I had made that almost impossible. I also explained Novell’s policy
on requiring Copyright assignment for contributions to Evolution, and seems
some people got upset
, I guess because they didn’t understand what I said.
Then Marcos Mazoni, polititian from Brazil famous for his involvement in the Telecentros
project in that country. Was pretty good overall, only one bad thing, which is that the
party that won the last elections in Paraná (different party than the one that made the
Telecentros) has closed all of the Telecentros, I guess because it’s hard for polititians
to recognize publicly that their rival party did the things correctly. After this talk,
Fernando
gave his talk about the PyGestor project and his experience in migrating a whole company
to GNOME. Then a Freedesktop talk from Alejandro, the KDE guy, and after that
Carlos Garnacho
gave his talk about the latest developments in the GNOME System Tools. Very nice indeed, since
he has created a C
library
that allow access to the GST’s backends from any application, which can
help a lot in many applications. Then, Diego Torres, from Argentina, gave a talk about
PXES, a tool for easily installing
and using thin clients with any OS. Very nice project indeed which, as Diego said, can
help a lot as an intermediate step in the migration from other evil OSes to GNOME
desktops.

When the talks ended, it was time for the first annual meeting of the GNOME Hispano association, which
is, since a few weeks ago, officially incorporated to the Ministry of Interior in
Spain. It is indeed very nice to see the ideas that flourished a year ago in the I GUADEC-ES
around many beers and other spirits become true one year later. Now, looking forward,
we have started a detailed plan of action. First of all, we needed to clean up the
financial situation (a deficit of 20 Euros), so we decided, with the support of most
of the attendees, to have a yearly fee by all associated people. Since we are
not going to be many, the money will be not much, but I guess enough to not have the
current board pay some things from their pockets. It was so decided to have a 30 Euros
fee per year, 15 for students, and we had the first members signing in (until then, only
the current board were members of the association). Also, it was decided to try to
get more universities involved in the organization of hackers meetings, like the 2
we did last year (in Pamplona and Madrid), and to try to get the necessary people
(like organizations for disabled people) together for some accessibility, translating
and hacking sessions. Once finished, people went to the official dinner of the event,
which I didn’t attend, as I went for dinner with Yolanda and our friend Conchi,
who lives in CoruÃ&plusmm;a, and who we always visit while in the region. We went us three
to the old part of the city, which at night is plenty of open bars and people,
so had lots of tapas and lots of beer, to end up going to sleep at 3 AM.

On the third day, I was a bit exhausted, so slept till 10, and showed up at the
conference at 12, enough to miss Fernando‘s talk
on accessibility, which we were all joking about the day before, saying that after
the crazy Friday night, almost nobody would show up. Unfortunately, it seems we
were right, and only a few people showed up early. I also missed Alvaro‘s talk on hardware
integration in the desktop. But had time to attend Lorenzo’s talk on Kiwi2 and
Gazpacho, which,
together, offer a very good framework for rapid development of management
applications. After that, Alvaro,
Alberto and
myself conducted a BOF on present and future of GNOME. We did a short introduction
on what GNOME 2.10 included and what 2.12 will include, apart from some other
parallel projects (like Beagle,
Luminocity and
Cairo) as
well as some ideas from the 3.0
planning page
. Then, we left people comment on how they think GNOME was
missing, and this is the list I wrote down:

  • Problems with the distribution of multimedia CODECS.
  • Remove the need for the terminal, maybe by writing lots of Nautilus plugins that
    give access to many operations that are still done in the terminal.
  • More applications: management, CAD, video/audio edition.
  • Better IDEs.
  • Improve already existing applications. This is obvious, but people gave some examples
    which I didn’t write down, and now can’t remember.
  • A frontend to xvidcap, which I just found out already exists: gvidcap.
  • Better support for graphic design, SVG, CMYK support in Gimp.
  • Better API documentation. Simplification of the tree view, for simple cases
    when you just want to show a list of strings. GTK# offers some simple ways
    to do so, so for those simple cases, people don’t need to deal with the model
    directly.
  • Database-bound widgets. This is already available in libgnomedb.
  • A decision on the IPC mechanism, either continue with CORBA or switch to
    D-BUS, needs to be made. This would allow, at last, to create a set of
    generic interfaces that applications can implement, as well as a way for those
    applications to install actions in the system that could be called from
    scripts and other applications. Something similar to AppleScript, that would
    provide us with a better integration of the applications, as well as a very
    powerful way for users to write their own high level scripts.
  • Better application integration, like connecting the network applet with the
    online/offline modes in Evolution and other applications.

After the BOF, we had the opportunity to see Miguel

videconference, which was possible after many tries. Miguel had to wake up pretty early
(as you can see in his face) to talk to us, so we really appreciated, even though we did
not have much time for the conference, since food was waiting for us and, after that,
the bus that took us to Santiago,
where, again, we had a guided tour to a museum, and a visit to the cathedral.

Then we went near Santiago for dinner, to a very nice place, very old and with typical
Galician food being served. Alcohol started running like crazy, and we ended up dancing some
Galician folk, as well as drinking a very nice queimada (a drink made of
almost pure alcohol, with coffee grains and some fruit, which is burnt for a while to reduce
the alcohol), accompanied by the typical conjuration, made by a local person, in Galician.

From then on, better not to talk about what we did, because that would make lots of users
switch to other desktops. I’m just going to talk about the good abilities of Jose and
Alvaro for singing folklore.

As soon as we came back to CoruÃ&plusmm;a, I went with Yolanda to the hotel to sleep, and woke up
on Sunday with a little hangover, that made the 7 hours trip to home a bit harder.

Overall, I’d call this II GUADEC-ES a complete success, something that the Spanish-speaking
GNOME community should be proud of, and something other local communities should copy. We
are indeed planning the III GUADEC-ES, to take place next year in Las Palmas, in the
Canary Islands. Also, to come more hacking meetings, like the two we had last year. Only
one bad thing, which is that even though the conference was in a university, there were
very few students, which is a pity, since getting the computing students interested in
Free Software in general and GNOME in particular would be a great thing. But well, let’s
hope at least a few of them got interested.

12/May/2005

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

SPAM

Spammers tools are awesome! Since my last
post
, where I talked about bacteria, I’ve been receiving spam about
reducing bacteria in your body.

10/May/2005

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

India

I made yesterday a week in India and although I really wanted to blog more about it,
lack of time has prevented me from doing it. But better comes late than ever, so here are
a few facts about my stay here, which will continue till next Friday. For photos, look
here.

  • The most funny way of transport in Bangalore are autorickshaws,

    a kind of mixture between a Vespa and a car, which you can find by thousands. They
    don’t get too much speed, but enough to get you scared the first time you get them.
    Once the initial surprise goes over, you start to like getting into them. Apart
    from that, going over the traffic in Bangalore is an experience in itself, specially
    when being a pedestrian and want to cross the street. At those times, before you
    get used to the way of crossing streets here, you really are afraid of your life. As
    with autorickshaws, once you get used, it’s as easy as any other thing you would do.
  • All food is spicey, which is great if you like it, which I do. You have to take care
    though of what you eat, since there are bacterias all over, specially in salads.
    Michael Zucchi can confirm it, since he just had some intestinal infection because
    of something he ate, and is staying sick at the hotel. Don’t worry though, today he
    was much better, and hopefully tomorrow will be able to come back to work.
  • All software companies (or at least the most important ones) have their own shuttle
    buses that pick employees up in many parts of the city to get them to their offices.
    This is, of course, the case for Novell, which has many different buses.

    It is indeed nice, not only because it feels good to go around the city on a bus
    with the Novell logo on it (and watching other companies’ around), but because it
    makes you avoid getting into the highly crowded buses of the city.
  • As part of my transition work from the Evolution team to the Desktop team, I’ve been
    writing a lot of documentation. First, some calendar
    architecture docs
    (yeah, at last!). Then, I’ve been documenting all the
    calendar API in Evolution Data Server, which should not only help the new Evolution
    calendar team, but anyone wanting to use E-D-S’s calendar APIs. Now, if I could get
    damn gtk-doc to build them correctly, they would have been published now for a few days.
    So, for the time being, they don’t get generated correctly, but really, believe me,
    the APIs are now documented, you can check that I’m saying the truth by looking at
    the source code.