air canada +1, british air -1000

this is one of those “never do business with again” posts that i promised myself i’d write. so here we go:

avoid british air at all costs.

the story goes like this: i’m travelling to budapest from toronto with heathrow in the middle. air canada takes my two bags (a gym bag and a backpack) for the first leg. i checked both just because i didn’t want to have the extra bag on the plane and air canada allows for it. the bags were tagged straight through to budapest.

when i get to heathrow i have to pick up my boarding card. british air is my connecting flight and they inform me that their allowance is one bag and there will be an extra charge. i tell them that the bags are checked through and i expect them to be carried through. no? well, fine. just *give* me one of my bags and i’ll take it as a carryon, then (either one would have been small enough). i’m informed that the only way that i can access my bags in heathrow is if i cancel my ticket (no refund, of course), cancelling my return flight home as a side-effect.

i talked to various managers and made sure i got very clear answers. one guy in particular (‘chris’) seemed to be taking extreme pleasure in the fact that ‘he was in charge here’ and was ruining my day. everyone seemed to agree on the fact that i had exactly two choices in this situation:

  • pay 35£ for the privilege of boarding a flight that i’d already paid for
  • be stranded in heathrow with all my flights cancelled

at this point i was quite enraged. i wanted nothing to do with those fuckers anymore. i went to the air canada desk and asked if they could book me on a connecting flight with one of their partners so that i could avoid ever having to look at british airways ever again in my life. i was willing to pay for this.

air canada informed me that what british airways is doing is certainly immoral, probably illegal, and that they are the only airline that does it. i was certainly shocked as hell to learn that it was possible to be in an “insert more money to continue” situation in the middle of a connection. air canada also told me to not bother wasting my money on a rebooking — they’d cover the extra charge that british airways was extracting from me. i got an incident number from an agent at the air canada desk and was told to email my details to air canada’s refund services along with the number.

i paid ba and told them that this would be the last of my money they’d ever see. i thanked the girl at the desk (who had an honest “i’m sorry, but i just work here” look) and told her to tell her manager to go fuck himself.

i emailed air canada, they wrote back once asking for a scan of the receipt from ba and three weeks later i had a cheque in the mail (for the exact amount of the charge as it appeared on my visa bill, in canadian dollars).

so, for those keeping score:

air canada +1.

british airways -1000.

gearing up to montréal

the first montréal summit is just around the corner and things are shaping up very nicely. the weather for the weekend is forecast to be absolutely flawless.

we also scored a rather nice set of sponsors for the event:

collabora is sponsoring a party on Sunday evening.

codethink is providing the coffee and snacks for the summit.

finally, google has provided monetary support that is being used to cover travel costs.

one last nag: if you haven’t already, please add yourself to the list of participants:

i hope everyone has a safe trip. see you on saturday!

travel sponsorship: two notes

i’d like to take a moment to remind everyone that the most effective way in which the GNOME foundation can spend its money is by bringing relevant people to the events that it organises. i’d also like to mention that we’ve extended the deadline for travel sponsorships for Montréal Summit until this friday at 23:59 EDT.

AM_MAINTAINER_MODE is *not* cool

if you have a script in your project, and it contains a line that says “AM_MAINTAINER_MODE”, you’re doing it wrong. period.

what this macro means is that changes to your will not automatically result in the Makefile being regenerated unless –enable-maintainer-mode is given to ./configure. i’m almost sure that this isn’t what you want. it’s also breaking jhbuild whenever you add a new source file (since people pull the updated version and end up trying to build it with the old Makefile).

*not* using “AM_MAINTAINER_MODE” means that your makefiles will always be updated in response to changes to

“AM_MAINTAINER_MODE([enable])” is acceptable. this means that Makefile updates are enabled by default but you have the option to pass “–disable-maintainer-mode” to disable them. i personally think that this is stupid, but i understand that some distributions think that this is kinda useful for some strange reason. since it’s useful to them and causes no harm to me, this is actually what i recommend.

fredp made a report page for packages using AM_MAINTAINER_MODE. green mean no “AM_MAINTAINER_MODE” at all (good). yellow “low” means “AM_MAINTAINER_MODE([enable])” which is also fine (perhaps better than green, in fact). orange “average” means that your package is currently broken and needs to be fixed.

note: many packages attempt to work around this issue by passing –enable-maintainer-mode to ./configure at the bottom of their i do not consider this to be a particularly good solution.

quick network-manager note

very many have noticed that the new network-manager appears to be quite a lot slower to connect to… just about anything, really.

the reason for this (as confirmed on #gnome-hackers after being suggested by ray) is ipv6 support: when network-manager connects to a network, it has to assume that there might be an ipv6 router advertisement. it waits for this (and usually doesn’t hear it). that’s the delay.

if you don’t care about ipv6, the fix is quite simple: in network settings, under wireless, click “options”, go over the ipv6 tab and select “ignore” from the dropdown.

that fixes it up for one connection. i’m not sure if there is a way to do it globally.

desktop summit talks

we just sent out the letters for talk proposals for desktop summit 2011. everyone who proposed a talk should have heard from us by now.

if you haven’t heard from us then please email us to let us know that something got lost along the way.

we will be opening proposals for BoF sessions soon. if your talk was rejected for the main programme, it might still be appropriate to propose a BoF. stay tuned.

one more thing: now is the right time to send applications to the travel committees to request sponsorship.

“i support the release team”

i read the news today, oh boy…

somewhat annoyed to discover the the “GNOME 3” release hackfest that i traveled to india for will not actually result in any sort of a release. it’s true that things have been pretty crazy, but it really seemed like it was going to happen this time around.

i’m also not sure i believe that the “doubts” being discussed about gnome shell are particularly constructive, but i digress…

to all of the (likely many) people who will be upset by today’s announcement, i’d just like to mention one thing: these guys have been working like crazy the past week. this is not being caused by any form of lazy behaviour and i doubt that they’d do it unless it was absolutely necessary.

everyone’s stickers are probably looking a bit beat up by now…

pre-release craziness

i’m in bangalore this week, hanging out with the release team and marketing team guys for the GNOME 3.0 release hackfest.

i’ve never witnessed a release process this up-close-and-personal before, and i have to say that it’s totally insane. i have no idea how we ever get a release out the door. the amount of work being done by the release team is crazy. vincent and frederic have barely slept at all. andre says he had about 2 hours last night.

if you want proof, look for yourself: this month on release-team@. the gzipped archive is over 20 times the size of the month before. seems that “hard code freeze” really means “okay! go really fast now!”…

i’d feel guilty about my past transgression in this regard except for the fact that (release team member) vincent untz is busy landing a 15000 line set of changes to the panel at the moment.

the three of them disappeared today along with andreas and brian for a couple of hours. i’m not sure where they went but i think it has something to do with ingesting large amounts of crystal meth.

in other news, the location is pretty interesting. we got a chance to hang out at the intel offices and now we’re at a local university. the weather has been cooler than i expected (which is nice) and the traffic is really fantastic. we’ve come close to being dead in a terrible accident only 175 times or so. i still have to write my slides for my talk….