Back to the community

It’s been awhile since my last post. I’ve been busy with my personal life and some changes on my professional life…

Actually, I left my last company (Emergya) because I was needing a change and I had the possibility of start to work on Guadalinex (Ubuntu based distribution from Andalusia, Spain) full time. Guadalinex is a very important project for the Spanish FLOSS community and It’s very important for me as well.

There were some problems to start at my new position and I’ve been something like two month off, waiting for my job.

Meanwhile I’ve been a bit disconnected of the GNOME, Ubuntu, Debian and floss world in general, and I’ve been more focused on recovering and improving my health. I came back to doing climbing, running, Ninjutsu, some parkour, I’ve been eating more vegetables and fruits, I’ve been visiting my physiotherapist… You know, trying to fix a bit my sedentary life.

But there were more problems with my new position which made me worry about my future and my economy… :-/

Then my previous company offered me another position, this time it was a very good job, the one I was looking for last time I was working there. And because of several reasons (which weren’t easy decisions at all) I took that job 🙂

So, I’m about to start a new stage of my personal and professional life and that is very linked to the FLOSS world 🙂

They call the position Community Manager, but it’s not “online community manager“. It is not about create online community around our products and so, it is about build (or to get stronger) free software community inside the company and putting the means for our developers to be able of sharing knowledge with people from other communities (GNOME, Ubuntu, Debian, Drupal, gvSIG, Redmine, Rails…).

We’ve been very focused on looking for good clients, growing up as a small-medium company and we have a bunch a good developers with very good skills and know how, but not all of them come from the free software world and they need to know how to share all that knowledge and how interact with  the community. The rest, just need tools and opportunities for working as they want, in a open way.

Connect our GIS people with open GIS projects, our Drupal hackers with the Drupal developers, our distro experts with Ubuntu, Debian and GNOME people and so on, plus a few more things is going to be my life in, at least, one year from now.

I’m very excited about this and I think is going to be great for all of us and, I hope, for the communities we’ll try to help. We’ve been receiving so much from them and it is time to give a bit back to them.

Well, this is all by now, but I’ll come back here to tell you all our progress and to share knowledge and experiences.

Thank you folks for read this boring long post and:

Happy Hacking! 😉

Python helps you with your running sessions

Time back I was trying parkour, but I got some old injures that didn’t let me practice it properly. Also there was too much sedentary life… I needed to start from the beginning. I needed to create a good baseline for my training.

I also started of doing some rock climbing again. Sport that I really love 🙂

I was gaining some strength and I could doing again some pull ups and some boulders. But I found, as I did before with the parkour that I needed some stamina.

I also realized that parkour is a way to run, so I should be able to run. And I wasn’t…

So I’ve decided to start to run. I used to do it time ago when I got into the university. And I liked to be a bit methodical, so I could see the progress and train better. So I decided to buy a good pair of running shoes, a pulsometer and chrono. Then I realized that things have changed since I was at the university and there are a lot of stuff and software to help you with your training.

But the most of the applications I found weren’t open source and neither for Linux. Very fancy stuff like Ipod+Nike , but nothing for Linux. Nothing until I found Pytrainer !!! 🙂

Pytrainers years stats
Pytrainer's years stats

This is a Python + Gtk+ application oriented to track your sessions and show you your progress. It’s for running, bike and mountain bike, but I think you can add other sports alike those ones.

It has also plugins for that fancy Ipod+Nike system and others. It seems to me a really cool stuff. I have to test it more, but I hope someone with more running training skills than me, test it and give me (and to the developers 😉 ) some feedback.

Well, let’s run! 😛

i18n bugs are important too

I’m Spanish speaker and my English level (as the most of Spaniards) was very bad before I went to Ireland few months for learning English. I was kind of lucky because I could have some extra English lessons at the school and they taught me some technical English at the university, although I couldn’t understand well complicated and technical papers.

I think that this is the typical profile of a computer science student in Spain. Of course, there are a lot of exceptions, but I guess you got the idea.

Well, but the Guadalinex/GNU/LinEx/Molinux/Lliurex/Ubuntu‘s users haven’t that profile at all. They usually don’t know any English at all. Most of them (we are talking of thousands of users) are children at schools, people who hadn’t got any contact with computers before using those distributions and people who know the typical few words in English to ask for directions on London or to ask for a pint in an Irish pub…

The most of our problems are about things we (developers) think are very intuitive but they don’t understand well. Even when they are explained in their own mother tongue…

Now let’s say that this people having a problem with their computers, with some desktop application. The most of the warnings and error messages are scary for them. Sometimes they say something useful, but the most of the time people with almost no computer skills or experience get scared and they stop doing what they were doing and think that the “machine” is broken… or whatever….

And now let’s see the same scenario, but with the warning and errors messages in a language they don’t understand… But this is not much better to have an option at the UI you don’t understand. They don’t use it, because they don’t know what is that about and to avoid breaking something…

If they don’t understand options or features, it’s like don’t having them, but also it gives to the user some feeling of “I can break something“.

Ok, this is not always like that. This is the worst scenario. But, trust me, this happen to the most of our users. I also could bet that this happen to non-English speaker users from any country.

All this introduction and explanation is to say: Please developers and triagers, don’t put internationalization (i18n) or localization (l10n) bugs as “Importance: low“.

We are pushing really hard to get the free desktops to the end users, to the schools, to the (non-technical) professionals and we need to have software well translated for that. But the i18n and l10n bugs are worst of having some strings untranslated.
Strings untranslated in one language are bad, but it’s easy to find people for translating those strings than find someone to understand the app’s code, the gettext and i18n stuff and then fix the code.

I think the developers need to be aware of the importance of fixing those bugs and what amount of users won’t use their cool features if they can’t be translated.

I don’t say those bugs are the most important ones, but sure they are not “Importance: low“…

I’ve seen to change this priority level in Ubuntu and GNOME, but I’m sure this is happening in more projects.

I would like to say one more thing, this time, just for Ubuntu. By now, there is no official tag on Launchpad for i18n or l10n bugs. I would like to ask you that if you report, triage, or find one of those kind of bugs and they have not this king of tags, to add it.

  • i18n: For those bugs about something broken in the application that makes the translations not being working, or strings not included at the translations templates (not marked for translations).
  • l10n: This is a localisation issue. Including errors in localisations, typos, etc. Adding locations and weather stations is one example. Correcting date and time formats is another.

In those cases, will be desirable you follow the Ubuntu Translations guidelines:

All translations (internationalization or localization) issues should be filled against the Ubuntu Translations (ubuntu-translations) project. From there the bugs will be triaged and assigned to the right persons and package.

You can also tag the bug with “l10n” or “i18n”.

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of problems that should be filled against an Ubuntu Translations Project (ubuntu-translations):

  • if a string from the application is not available for translation in Launchpad Translations
  • if an application from Ubuntu main repository is not available for translation in Launchpad Translations
  • if a translation made in Launchpad Translations is not updated in the Ubuntu Language Packs
  • a source package has the wrong (or inconsistent) translation domain
  • you find a duplicate template
  • a template/translation is no longer used in Ubuntu and should be deleted from Ubuntu Launchpad Translations
  • errors in spellcheckers or language support

You can find these guidelines and much more useful info at the Ubuntu Translations’ wiki.

Well, I hope this makes sense to someone and more developers get aware of the importance of i18n/l10n bugs.

See you soon and happy hacking! 😉

Using git behind a proxy

This is a simple recipe about how to use git behind a proxy.

Right now I’m working behind a very restrictive firewall and I can’t get any port I need open, so I use a proxy socks for working with git,bzr,jabber and so on. I was looking for an easy way to use git with a proxy but I didn’t find easily the solution. After some researches a friend (Roberto) found the solution and we use it at work.

Let’s see it 😉

Just in case we don’t have it:

$ mkdir ~/bin

Now the interesting part, the wrapper for the proxy:

$ cat <<EOF>> ~/bin/proxy-wrapper
#!/bin/sh
# Put your own values
PROXY_IP=10.0.0.80
PROXY_PORT=22000

nc -x${PROXY_IP}:${PROXY_PORT} -X5 $*

EOF
$ chmod +x ~/bin/proxy-wrapper

Note that you’ll need to have installed netcat (the openbsd’s one: netcat-openbsd) to be able to use the command nc with the option -x.

Then you’ll have to be sure you have setted the ~/bin directory on your PATH and then add the env variable GIT_PROXY_COMMAND. That variable will be used by git for doing pushes through git or ssh protocol:

$ cat <<EOF>> ~/.bashrc
export PATH=~/bin:"${PATH}"
export GIT_PROXY_COMMAND=~/bin/proxy-wrapper
EOF

Now you will be able to use git normally with no worries about the firewall, nat or whatever.

Come back from the GCDS

Last week was amazing. So many interesting people here in the island where I was born…

I met a lot of friends from different projects and people I didn’t know before, or maybe just from their emails and posts.

Thank to everybody for coming. Thanks to the attenders, to the boards and the local team (awesome job dudes!).

Tomorrow at 8 am I will taking my flight to Sevilla. And the day after I come back to work… I’m not really happy with the idea of having between 35º and 40º C , but the GCDS was a great for collecting new ideas for Guadalinex. New contacts, interesting projects, to know the next steps in GNOME and other desktop projects… All of that give me energy to  come back to the office and do some hacking 😉

Now I like to hack a bit with some project, like Mago. I was talking with Ara Pulido at the Summit and I think we (guadalinex) will collaborate with them making new test suits. We need them for our project so we like to make them and share with the community.

Well, let’s pack and go to sleep, tomorrow I have an early flight.

Happy hacking 🙂

Last advices for the GCDS

I know it’s a bit late, but I hope this helps.

I’m from Gran Canaria, the place where the event is going to be, so I like to give you some advices and recommendations:

  • Sun protection. Here the sun can burn you if you don’t take some protections. Some times seems like it’s not so sunny, but it could be dangerous if you are from a northern area.
  • Don’t drink top water. The top water here is supposed to be good enough for human consumption, but the true is that nobody here drink it. We always drink mineral water. And also here was a incident a few month ago about top water’s high levels of boron. That now is normal, but you know…
  • Here there is not so many place with vegetarian food but we try to find all kind places for eat nearby the event. You’ll find that info (which will be updated) at the wiki.
  • The important phone numbers are also at the wiki. Remember the international code for Spain is +34
  • In Gran Canaria (Spain), electricity is provided normally at a voltage of 220 V and 50 Hz. But you’ll probably find adapters at the mall (Centro comercial Las Arenas) just in front the event’s place.
  • Here in Gran Canaria we talk Spanish, so you can find useful the list of common words and expressions we have at the wiki. If you already know Spanish, you need have in mind that here we have some different words (eg. Autobus = Guagua).
  • The most useful lines of guaguas (buses) for going from or at the auditorium are the lines 47 and 17.
  • Taxi is also a good option. Probably you’ll pay 4 € for a normal ride (from the Auditorium to the farthest hotels.
  • There will be a infodesk where you’ll find people who can bring you some help. The contact person will be Fabio, but there will be more people there.
  • I will be also around there during the weekend, I can’t be sure about the rest of the week. Anyways, if you need touristic/local information or just any info of Canarias or Gran Canaria, find me (Juanje Ojeda) and ask me 😉
  • If you have a group of people who want place for lunch of dinner, ask for me at the infodesk, I’ve been talking with some places to try to arrange this king of things.

I just like to add that Gran Canaria is much more than beaches and sun. So try to get into the countryside or to different part of the island. They are so different between them hat people usually get surprised.

I’ll highly recommend to visit Teror, Tejeda, Agaete, Artenara (and the Tamadaba pine forest), Mogán, Agüimes, Santa Lucía and, of course Maspalomas. There are more interesting places, but with those you’ll get the idea 😉

Well, we’ll meet you at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit 🙂

Guadalinex v6 is out!

I am pleased to announce that the final version of Guadalinex v6 is out 🙂
The official news are at the Guadalinex website. But it’s in Spanish, so I’ve decided to explain a bit (in my poor English) what is all about.
Before to start I like to thank to all those people who help to develop, test, fix, translate and document all those great projects which Guadalinex is based on. I really do. They make this possible and deserve most of the credits.
This is the 6th edition of Guadalinex which is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. The distribution is paid by the local government of a big region at the south of Spain, which is Andalusia.
There are a lot of people who think this is  waste of public money, but I think quite the opposite. And I think so because we don’t just make Ubuntu booting in Spanish and change the wallpaper, we try to listen to real end users from this region of the world and bring them the closer system to what they need and demand.
The distribution is oriented to the regular citizen, but it is being used at schools for few years. Thousands of children have been using Guadalinex (ergo Ubuntu/Debian/Gnome and much more free software stuff) everyday at the schools for about four years now.
But also people from very low populated areas of Andalusia have been using Guadalinex at centers with computers where they can learn computers skills and use internet for free. Now there are around 700 centers working from Monday to Friday for them.
Even the public libraries are using now Guadalinex.
Because of that, Guadalinex is more than a few technical or artistic changes. It’s a social project.

I think the changes we have made in this version are useful no just for Andalusian, but for all the people who feels more comfortable reading and writing in Spanish. And there also some interesting stuff for a normal Ubuntu user.

We like to push those improvements to Ubuntu, Debian, GNOME and all the wonderful projects we touch. And also new small tools we develop because our users need them. We think those are also useful for everybody.
I have to say that Guadalinex don’t try to compete with any distro. Guadalinex have its owns users with their needs and we just want to give them what they need. And in the process (if we can) to help the community and other people.

Our goals are really different from Ubuntu’s ones. Ubuntu need to be for everyone. Need to be universal and be useful and “compatible” with every person and culture.
We are the opposite. We need to target to specific people, with specific language, culture, needs and resources. That’s why Ubuntu is so useful for us, but Guadalinex is more useful for our users.
We have to deal with users who barely know how to write and know nothing about computers. Ok, we have also real good IT people or people who really know all this stuff, but our threshold is the user who less know.
We like fancy things on our desktops but sometimes we have to wait a bit to get them into Guadalinex because our users aren’t ready for them. And we know because we have professional helpdesk services, forums, feedback from teachers, from our technicians at the tele centers. So it’s not something we figure out by ourself and then take “conservatives” decisions, it’s something we do, because we know well to our users and we are here for them.
What I was trying to say is that Ubuntu (or any other generalist distribution) has a very important mission and there are a lot of smaller and more focused derivatives distributions that need to be there. This is an ecosystem and everyone grown and learn on this interaction.

Sorry for been so tedious, I’ll promise to tell shorter and funnier stories next time 😛

Well, actually my next post probably will be the list of things that are different between Ubuntu Jaunty and Guadalinex v6. The list is in Spanish now, so I want to explain it in English.
And If anyone like to try Guadalinex, we have a DVD version (the full edition) and a minor version on CD.
Thanks for reading 😉
Happy hacking!

Hello Planet Ubuntu

This is a short post just to say hello to everybody at the Ubuntu Planet 🙂
I’ve been around Ubuntu since its first version (back in the 2004) and now my work got me closer again to Ubuntu, so I’ve decided become a member of this community and start my process of developer in here.

I was always a very Debian guy, but for different reasons I found Ubuntu interesting and a project that I had to keep eye on. I still like Debian, but I use Ubuntu for my work and my home (well, actually I use Guadalinex).

I hope my work let me keep pushing bugs, translations, patches, branches and more no just to Ubuntu but Debian, GNOME and more interesting projects out there that we use.
That’s it for now. Soon, some news about the last Guadalinex version. Stay tuned 😉

Help with the Hal deprecation

Hi, I need somebody tell me what is going on with Hal.

Yesterday Carlos told me about Ubuntu’s plans for Karmic and the Hal deprecation. I don’t really know how could I miss this, but I didn’t know before…

Lately I was working a bit with Hal and I kinda like it. As far as I saw, there is a GNOME plan for that deprecation and hal will be split into different pieces which will be integrated into other software. Such a udev-extras, libudev, DeviceKit-*, the kernel itself and so.

I’ve been reading quite a lot about all those changes and I don’t really get the reasons for this move. And I don’t really know how the things will work when the migration be completed.

No more hal at all? No hal-info either? just udev rules (which, btw,  I find really confusing and ugly…)?

I hope someone could help me to see how the things will be at the near future around the hardware layer on GNU/Linux.

Thanks

Track your GNOME bugs from your desktop

Time ago I found an interesting tool for the desktop. It’s  Java client for Bugzilla called  Deskzilla.

I’m not fan of Java at all, but I have to say that the application is very powerful and it’s not so slow…

Basically it let you fill bugs, search bugs (and save the searches) in a way a lot easier than the bugzilla itself. But the coolest thing is it let you make searches offline. It has even a screenshot editor to add marks, texts and more to the screenshots before to attach them to the bugs.

I don’t know, it seems very interesting and useful for who work everyday with Bugzilla.

The only thing is this is not any kind of Free Software/Open Source code, but they have special license keys for free software project.

Actually I ask one for working with GNOME and the give me one and ask me to public it so any GNOME’s bugzilla user can use this software for free.

If anyone want the GNOME key, just take it here.