Progressing in accessibility

I’d like to have written earlier and more about this topic because I’m very exited about it, but I had an injured in my left hand. Actually one bicycle crash over me and my hand is a bit broken… (that is why people at Zaragoza’s meeting could saw me with a funny hand…)

But two weeks ago some friends and me were at the GNOME Marketing Hackfest at Zaragoza to talk with some people from the GNOME Foundation about accessibility and GNOME. The reason is something I’ve already told in others posts, that a few Spanish companies are going to collaborate between us and with GNOME a11y projects to bring as improvements as we can to our loved desktop.

My friend and colleague Félix Ontañón (aka fontanon), who is leading the part of the project that is being doing by my company has written a very good summary (the original in Spanish) of the meeting.

This project really excite me because GNOME was the first FLOSS project I met about 9 years ago… I was more with the GNOME Hispano team and project which were using GNOME such a custom distros, but GNOME has been always for me a reference as community big project. Mostly because the human factor. It’s like a big family :-)

For this reason and because a11y is a very important issue which need so much effort, but usually it doesn’t have enough resources, I’m very excited to be able to contribute directly to the project I love the most :-)

From my company we try to contribute to FLOSS community but the most of the times we don’t have the rights to publish the code we do, so it is like a dream to have a client who specifically ask us to work directly with upstream and to work as the community does. We hope to have this kind of opportunity more often. We really do!

If you have any advise about, just tell me, please. We are very open to collaborations and to any opportunity of write free code and knowledge.

Stay tunned because we will tell you all the progress we make and more good stuff ;-)

Great GNOME Hackers meeting

As I told the last time, this weekend was the GNOME Hispano meeting at Seville and was one of the best I remember.

I didn’t expect to have so many people here. The meeting was mostly improvised and with just few weeks of preparation, but we had hackers from many different places of Spain. I think the session with more people had over 30 attenders.

The people didn’t fit on the room so they were looking through the windows. It was cool :-)

People didn't fit inside the room
People didn't fit inside the room

We even had Rodrigo Moya teaching us about CouchDB and DesktopCouch from another region of Spain using an open tool for video/audio meetings. Rodrigo was great :-)

There was more good sessions, but for me was especially interesting the explanation about how the new XInput2 and GTK+ works with multi-touch interfaces made by Carlos Garnacho. Another session especially instructive for me was the one about GObject Instrospection and Gjs by Lorenzo Gil (lgs).

I knew about GObject Instrospection, but I didn’t know it was so easy to add to the current libraries and all the adventages we all have with that. Really good stuff….

But we also have a meeting about how some companies from here (Emergya, Yaco, Onirica and Warp by now) are going to approach some projects about to improve the a11y on GNOME. The projects were asked by the Consortium Fernando de los Rios for the Knowledge and Information Society and we all want to be coordinated with upstream maintainers and GNOME goals, so it could be really useful.

This sesion was interesting and we are now in the same page to talk this week with the GNOME Foundation people at the Zaragoza Marketing Hackfest. I think these projects and the collaboration is being proposed is going to be really good for everybody: GNOME, our client and first of all, the users.

Let’s see ;-)

GNOME Hispano’s meeting at Seville

This weekend (May 1th and 2th) at the Yaco’s offices at Seville (Spain) will hold the  next GNOME Hispano meeting.

Here will be a bunch of Spanish hackers talking about GNOME technologies and having fun.

The program is ready so we will talking about:

But we will be also talking about a11y on GNOME and how to coordinate the efforts we (Yaco and Emergya) are doing with some projects that are being paid by the Consortium Fernando de los Rios for the Knowledge and Information Society with the GNOME a11y developers.

Here’ll be also Dani García (danigm) a friend who was working with us at Emergya and now is working with our friends of Yaco, to show us his project TBO, a GTK+ app for designing and creating comic strips from GNOME. The idea is that he could present the project and the rest of hackers make sugestions so the project will be fully GNOME friendly.

This could be a good help for those who want to start their own project for GNOME and don’t know exactly how do it right.

Well, I hope to see a lot of good hackers and friends there.

See you on friday night for the warm up ;-)

I’m going to FOSDEM 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

Drupalcamp: Call for sponsors

Back in time I was working in a small company (actually it was a cooperative) called Interactor. When I was there, I was working in different stuff like the Guadalinex v3, but also some web projects. Then was when I first saw the Drupal‘s code.

I knew php, but I didn’t like so much. But Drupal’s code was different to other big (or not so big) project in php, it was well organized and very clear.

One of my partners at Interactors and still friend poked me the other day to tell me about this Drupalcamp thing. He (Javier Carranza) is owner of a small but very productive company called Alquimia which is specialized on Drupal and he is also helping with the organization of the conferences.

DrupalCamp Spain 2010
DrupalCamp Spain 2010

I got really impressed when I saw how well organized they have it and I’ll definitely go there :-)

There are more than 450 pre-registered. They are developers, designers and companies which work with Drupal or are interested on it.

Now they are looking for sponsors (sorry, the link is in Spanish, here is a automatic translation) so If you like to be one of them, or you know someone who could do it, just tell them.

Thanks :-)

lastest Freemind for Ubuntu

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 ;-)


  • 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

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?

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

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

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 ;-)