Google Summer of Code Adventures

polari-generalThis summer, I’m about to start a great learning experience. I’ll be busy as a bee working on GNOME’s IRC client, Polari. My aim is to improve the chatting experience of this app, for the benefit of GNOME contributors and users alike. There’s currently 87 bugs filed against Polari. I’ll focus on the following four areas and possibly more:

  • Keyword notifications
  • Error-handling
  • Paste service support
  • Initial setup experience

My intention is also to file bugs against developer documentation along the way.

Currently, I’m working on bugs here and there to get some insight into Polari’s infrastructure and some experience working with Telepathy, Gjs and GTK+. I think finding a good workflow for approaching new problems (bugs) is the most important. Many coffees to Florian for being my mentor and a great help so far. (:

EDIT: More information here.

Another release, another release video

GNOME 3.16 has been out for a week by now and so has the GNOME 3.16 release video. It’s always a great feeling to publish a production after having it in work for a long time. Spread over 3 months I have spent approximately 30 evenings in total on this thing and I will gladly do that again! I learn a lot from making them.
01-04-15 time-spent

During this period the engagement mailing list has given me valuable feedback on everything from manuscript to animation. Karen Sandler and Mike Tarantino has also been a great help, providing amazing voice-over for this release video. High-five!

You might find a few new things in this release video compared to past release videos:

  • I have focused more on making the content shine and only utilize on animations when they can compliment the content. A big thanks goes to GNOME for letting me borrow a HI-DPI screen to make this possible.
  • I was out early with the first draft of the release video, which meant there was some time before release available for the translation team to create translated subtitles for the video.
  • 01-04-15 subtitles

  • Another nice touch is that I had time to make a custom thumbnail for this release, so the video appear nicely on social media.
  • 01-04-15 thumbnail

There’s been some nice hype around the release. I’ll share a few opinions with you:

Most polished and nicest looking desktop on Linux. Period.

GNOME 3.16, I wanna kiss you.
-Lucas Zanella

Would like to congratulate the +GNOME folks and everything else who has contributed to the project for this fantastic 3.16 release. It has become a tradition for every new Gnome release to be a lot better than the previous one and 3.16 continues it.

Oh, and there was some cool guys on youtube who featured the GNOME 3.16 release video in their show.

Huge credits goes to the GNOME Design Team for awesome assets, Anitek for the awesome music, engagement team for the awesome feedback and translation team for the awesome subtitles. Also thanks to everyone who helped me by fixing visual bugs early so I could record the new improvements. GNOME 3.18 will be amazing.

A guide to git in GNOME for the simple minded

I’m not too fond of terminals. This guide is for new GNOME contributors like me whose brain capacity for terminal commands is only so-so big. I will introduce you to 8 git commands worth remembering. I assume only vague familiarity with git: pulling, pushing and committing.

In GNOME you need to

  • keep your commits clean.
  • let your commits go through GNOME’s bugzilla as a patch.
  • make modifications to your commits based on feedback.

To do this, first, start doing your work in local branches. A branch is like doing a Save-As of your current git project including history and everything. The branch is independent and you can freely jump back and forth between “master” and your own branch.

Create a branch:
git branch yourname/yourbranch

Open a branch:
git checkout yourname/yourbranch

Delete a branch:
git branch -D yourname/yourbranch

Okay. Now, you have done your work and you need to file a bug on bugzilla. Commit your work with a max 80 character commit message and then make a *.patch you can upload.

git format-patch HEAD^
(creates a patch from your latest commit.)

Soon you receive an e-mail saying someone reviewed your patch, and they tell you to make some changes. So you make the changes and now you want to put them into your existing commit. You do this by first doing git add , and then do:

git commit --amend
(modifies your commit to include your changes.)

You can then create a patch from your commit again and upload your new work to bugzilla. Remember to mark the old patch as obsolete in there.

Let’s say you need to test someone else’s patch then. To do this you can do a:

git am mypatch.patch
(applies a patch to the top of your branch.)

This will apply a patch named mypatch.patch to your git folder. If you want to revert back to how it was before, then you can do:

git reset --hard HEAD^
(reverts the top commit of your branch.)

This will revert the latest commit so be careful. Work on a copy branch so you safely can mess around. There’s no easy ctrl+z here. You can run this reset command several times to go several commits back in time. You can keep track of where you are with:

git log
(shows the 5 latest commits on your branch.)

..and that’s it. I think this is everything you need to know to start contributing small patches to your favorite FOSS project. You can revert, copy, create and modify patches. Never be afraid of filing bugs, especially when you attach a patch to them. :)

Docs / Developer Experience Hackfest 2015: Tuesday

Me and my computer have been attending the Docs/DevX hackfest happening in Cambridge, England between Sunday the 25th january and Thursday the 29th january.

2015-01-29 DevXHackfest

As you might see in the picture above, we are all seated in a cozy conference room at the Collabora office. I’m sitting with a whole bunch of people from the #docs team being a busy bee.

Tuesday whereabouts

  • Shobha (curiousDTU) has been doing some review of the documentation for GNOME’s games.
  • Ekaterina (kittykat) and Shaun (shaunm) have been discussing how new contributors could be attracted to the documentation team. Furthermore they have also discussed Mallard and how the future could look for it.
  • Ekaterina has also been fixing application documentation bugs here and there in the vast collection of GNOME’s.
  • Peter (pmkovar) successfully converted the translated release video subtitles from *.po and back to *.srt. This means that the GNOME 3.14 release video is now available in 14 different languages! A big thanks goes to the translation team for translating them.
  • Jana (jsvarova) got a public GNOME blog and carried on fixing bugs from the cue that were in scope for this hackfest.

I myself have been focusing on rewriting the Getting started with GTK+ tutorial and learning how to make applications with GTK 3 along the way. My patch is currently undergoing review. Furthermore the GNOME Platform demos has gotten an overhaul – which also is something that currently is going under review. Once the patches land, new developers should hopefully have a better experience which is more up-to-date with how we currently recommend making applications with GTK 3.

Hackfest overall

I am writing this blogpost while I’m on my way back to Denmark. The hackfest has been a great experience in many ways. First, it is great to meet with fellow GNOME contributors face-to-face. This hackfest has also been a big learning experience for me in terms of Git, Mallard, GTK3 and C. I have gained knowledge much more rapidly because I have had great people right next to me, ready to answer any questions of mine (+whisky) and review my (initially poorly written) patches. Thanks everyone!

Once I get home I will probably have a few more patches to submit. Afterwards, it is time to work on planning the GNOME 3.16 release video again. I would definitely love to work further with the developer experience again in the future. And I would definitely attend another GNOME hackfest.

a Website, a Fundraiser, a Game and a crashing Spaceship

Long time no see. While the rest of the internet too has been buzzing, I have been hiding offline in my computer, creating things. The last three months I feel I have produced more media than I have even consumed. It’s been half tiring but double up amazing. Wait no longer, I shall now take you onto a flashback journey of my last three months.


This semester of my studies in Medialogy introduced a course in A/V Production. I and together with six others created a short film with sci-fi theme. It’s been a fantastic learning experience: motion tracking, color grading, compositing – All the VFX I did were done using Blender.
08-01-15 LEGACY

Builder Video

With help from Jakub Steiner, I have worked on a fundraising video for Builder. This is the first video I have made of the fundraising sort, and the first time I have done a video in remote collaboration. An interesting experience! I also encourage everyone to support Christian Hergert in his adventure.
08-01-15 Builder

Hack That!

From 2015, programming will be part of the curriculum for pupils in elementary school in Denmark. My study group’s main semesterproject has been the creation of Hack That! – A puzzle game, taking the entertaining approach of teaching programming. The main theme for the semester was image processing. To meet this theme, we constructed a table with a screen. Using OpenCV and C++ we implemented object detection and touch recognition.
08-01-15 Hack That

In the near future I’ll be attending the Developer Experience Hackfest in Cambridge. I would like to try getting started contributing to GNOME Apps. I want to try using Builder and I want try GNOME Developer Center. In the process I’ll take note of my experience and make observations. If there are other ways you think I can contribute at this hackfest, do come with suggestions.

Secondly the planning phase of the 3.16 release video is approaching and I’m already looking forward to it. So far I feel that each video I create has improved my skills, not just within Blender but also in terms of graphics and design. For that reason I decided to spend my christmas vacation making myself a little commercial home: I am now opening up for video commissions as a sidejob to my studies.

I wish everyone a creative 2015.

Väldig bra (-:


It was a pleasure to meet up with people and cats from the GNOME and FOSS community again. This time things took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. Good food, fun conversations, awesome pear cider and too much cheap candy. Most of FSCONS also went by with either staying around the GNOME booth or holding talks.

Thanks to Tobias we had a humungous amount of swag and sass for the GNOME booth. That event box and that box of t-shirts is heavy duty. I can easily imagine what trouble he must have had, bringing that all the way to FSCONS! With the booth set up and everything we quickly had GNOME 3.14 running for the curious folk to try. Most of my time at the booth was spent either showing off some of GNOME’s awesome features or talking about GNOME as a community.

11-04-gnome-boothSource: mozlib

FSCONS was also a great opportunity to meet other GNOMEers. I had a chat with both Jonas and Mathias who contribute to the Maps project. Sounded like there was some awesome things coming in the future and I might be contributing with some interaction design there too. It was also great to meet Andreas, Fabiana, Mimi and Zeeshan whom I stayed with during the conference.


Sometime during Saturday a person came over to me and asked me for an interview. It was Kenneth and I found out he was from “Hacker Public Radio”. So I spent 20 minutes answering questions related to a lighting talk I did about my student life as a linux user and the promotional videos I create. If you want to hear it, you might have to wait a month or two, though..


Oh yes, and I did a workshop. One of the long ones. Sadly there was quite some turbulence in the FSCONS schedule during Sunday due to some very long lighting talks. After a bit of moving around I managed to get through it with an audience and everything, though. The workshop was about promotional videos. I focused on how you create them practically – the whole pipeline, what software you need to learn and why they can be important for your favorite free software project. Everything from this workshop is available online. The materials I have prepared include:

  • The slides themselves, explaining the process.
  • A set of video tutorials which covers the basics, if you want to create promotional videos the way I do.

You can download everything right here. It is also very likely that I will be holding this workshop again.

A workshop at FSCONS

Things are going at a fast pace at Medialogy these days, but I’ll have a bit of time to do GNOME Engagement again soon. FSCONS is coming up and I plan to bring posters, brochures and myself to Sweden from Thursday the 30th October till Monday the 3rd. If anyone is interested in meeting up, I’ll be around the whole weekend at the conference.

Also! Also! I’m doing a workshop on promotional videos. It will be interesting as I haven’t quite held a talk on this subject before.  It’s scheduled around 18.45 on Sunday in Room 6. My plan is to give tips on creating promotional videos, especially:

  • Planning out a promotional video
  • Using a possible pipeline of FOSS tools for creating these videos.
  • Sharing my own  collection of ressources I have used to learn the tools.

I’m curious if there’s anything else you feel I should touch upon during this workshop. Feel free to tell me on beforehand. (-:|>

GNOME 3.14 – The movie

Video time!

3.14 is out and holy gnome it is awesome. Even though I came under a bit of a time pressure in the end, it has been such a pleasure to create a video surrounding this release. I’d like to thank GNOME Foundation and Alexander Larsson for providing me the Chromebook pixel, which made room for some awesome animations this cycle. Furthermore, Karen Sandler and her husband Mike has once again created an outstanding voice-over, taking the video to a whole new level. Lastly, the GNOME Design team deserves huge credit for all the assets I use in my videos. Making them myself would take have taken me ages!

Do come with feedback. I’d be particularly interested in your thoughts on the new animation experiments I’m making. Happy release day!

GNOME apps in three dimensional space

The release of GNOME 3.14 is getting closer and closer and I’m trying my best to have the a video ready for release. The manuscript is still open for revision but is at its final stages. Voice-over should finish around next week or so. And in the meantime I am testing a new workflow in Blender.

Alexander Larsson sent me a Chromebook Pixel a few weeks ago. What is really cool about a Pixel for me, is  its 2560x1700px screen. All my source material for the GNOME 3.14 release video can now recorded in high resolution. That opens up some cool animation possibilities.

vlcsnap-2014-09-09-07h12m12s213The picture below is a snapshot from a video, which as you might notice is very high resolution.  This is all possible thanks to GNOME’s Hi-DPI support (which rocks!).  What you can see in the background, is a very green wallpaper. That’s a virtual “green screen” which I will remove from the video material afterwards with Blender (see below).

09-09 green-screenAnd now is where the magic happens. Because the video is so high resolution, it means I can import the video as a texture onto an animatable plane in 3D space.  On low resolution video this would turn the video into a blurry mess, but the high resolution video looks unaffected.  It means I get some new animation possibilities. The screenshot below is a demonstration.

09-09 crazy effects

..I’m definitely excited to make this release video. :)


GNOME documentation video is out

The GNOME Documentation Video has now been released on youtube and as a download (Ogg Theora + Vorbis). This is something I have been waiting for since I finished working on it a few weeks ago. A big thanks to Karen for providing a great voice-over for the second time! Translated subtitles are not online just yet for the video, but should come within the next few days (thanks to pmkovar and claude  for setting this up!).

YouTube Preview Image

I’m looking forward to see the response from the community. I read every comment made and try to collect and direct them to the right people.

Next upcoming GNOME video from me would be the 3.14 Release Video. Since the release date is approaching I’m already working on the manuscript and hopefully I can send it off to Karen soon for voice-over. Alexander Larsson was also kind enough to send over one of GNOME’s Chromebook Pixels I had signed up for. Provided that I can get Fedora 21 with 3.13 installed on it, I might be able to record video in a 2560×1700 resolution. This has some technical advantages like green-screening video and throwing it into Blender’s 3D space and other crazy things ( woohoo!).

In the meantime I’m also messing around with some design for Polari and a GNOME flyer I intend to hand out to the new students at my university.  I’m predicting September to be a busy but fun month.