New cycle

Lot of time without write a single post… too bad…

The thing is I was thinking about my live these last months… And after awhile I decided to make a big change: leave my job and move back to Canaries

After 6 years living in Seville and working at Emergya I found there was the end of a cycle so I have to move forward and start new things.

These 6 years have been great. I’ve learnt a lot and met great people. I truly wish the best for my (now) former company and the people there. They deserve it. They will be always my family πŸ™‚

Now I like to have a bit of personal time to learn new things, to have back my technical skills (mostly programming) and try new projects. I have some ideas in my mind that I hope to share (as code) soon and I also hope some of them to be useful for GNOME developers, testers and translators. Will see…

Happy haking from my new life at Canarias! πŸ™‚

Guadalinex is getting close to Ubuntu

Well, the new project I was going to join was Guadalinex v6 πŸ™‚

If you don’t know, Guadalinex is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu made by La Junta de Andalucia (Andalusian regional Government) for the citizens. It’s one of the main distributions in Spain and has a large amount of users. There are over 300.000 pcs on schools and over 600 internet centers in rural areas running Guadalinex.

This is very exciting for me because, although I’ve already participated on 3 versions of Guadalinex and I’ve helped to create the system in which was based the others first, this is going to be developed in another way.

The previous versions were developed by a few small companies working together. The way those companies were chosen was by a public tender.

This was a good way, I think. Letting to small free software companies work, learn and grown doing software useful for the people around. And the whole process was open. It wasn’t that kind of project that one company develop for few months and then put in a public server. It was always open from the beginning. Open and public wiki, mail lists, subversion, forums, bug tracking and so on. Which sadly is no very common on free software project from governments…

Anyway, this time it was also a tender, but not for making the whole distribution by the companies, just hiring separated groups of people for doing different tasks (design the distro, maintain the mirrors, take care of the users and forums, create a manual for human beings….) from inside. I mean, from the public installations.

Well, my company won the tender for leading part of the technical side of this project. So my coworker and friend Roberto Morano and me are working on Guadalinex v6 since the last Monday πŸ™‚

Guadalinex always has been trying to collaborate with the upstream projects, like the distribution on which were based (first Debian, now Ubuntu). But it wasn’t easy at all.

We have our schedule, few resources, usually we start to work on an already stable version (which means we can not add or fix things for that upstream version) and too much burocracy some times. Also the upstream distro side was never clear and we couldn’t find a middle point to collaborate.

We actually did collaborate with Ubuntu with the first version of the live installer (Ubuntu Express, now Ubiquity), some fixes, translations and few things more. But there was a lot of interesting stuff we created for Guadalinex and never arrived to Ubuntu. That’s sad.

Also, since we got a huge amount of computers running Guadalinex and we must assure those computers work fine (because the child and teachers need them for the classes, for example), we have a lot of bugs and hardware issues notificated and we already have fixed lots of different kind of problem (hardware support, 3g support, digital certificates support, etc).

I know very well that all the people behind the project would like to push all those improvements to upstream and give to more people. But the time, the tools, the language and things like that didn’t let us doing properly.

But, good news, now we are getting close to a better collaboration. We have started to integrate subprojects from Guadalinex on Launchpad, so we can show to the Ubuntu community (and nearby ones) all the things we do. We are creating the projects on launchpad and importing the subversion repositories into bazaar branches registered on lp, as well.

We also add our bug tracker to the list of bug tracker connected to launchpad, so we can connect the bugs we share and give feedback from each other or even close our bugs and notificate the fixes to the related bugs or software in Ubuntu.

People from the launchpad team are helping us with this because the bug tracker we use since more than 3 years (mantis) is not the better supported by launchpad, so we are figuring how sort this out. We’ll see.

Also there is a Guadalinex distro registration about to finish, so we can manage the releases, milestones and subprojects as a normal distro in launchpad.

We are asking to the launchpad and ubuntu people how to doing better so they can take our work and we are open to any idea or recommendation.

Our initial goal is release the stable version between 30 and 60 days after Jaunty and for this version we don’t plan add much new features, like on earlier versions. Instead, we’ll try to help to fix bugs, improve translations, documentation and hardware support, so we can get a better, more stable and more secure upstream distro.

As said before, any help, advise, recommendation will be more than welcome.

I’ll keep posting about our progress and I hope it be just good news πŸ™‚

A little break and FOSDEM

I’ve been three years working at Emergya. I did the third year two weeks ago…. When I arrived we where 12 people (plus me) and I supposed to be there just for a month… πŸ˜›

Three years later I was still there… And now they are fifty people.

Emergya is a company about free software, full of young guys and girls (well, as at any IT company, much less girls and we would like, but…) with passion for the technology, good persons, good friends. They work on GNU/Linux distros (Guadalinex and much more), web applications (with zope/plone, Rails, java, Drupal and more), GIS applications (MapServis and more) and more interesting stuff.

So, nice people, working with and on free tools and projects in a very familiar and nice environment… in Seville (which is not Las Palmas, but still is nice place to live…)… I couldn’t say no to stay more than I’ve promised πŸ™‚

But three years is a very long time for me being in one place. Even if it’s so nice. So I decide to make some changes.

Actually, my work here didn’t let me so much time to update my knowledge, take care of personal stuff I’ve been leaving stopped for awhile and so.

But, I’m no leaving fullly the company. This is more a little (few weeks, maybe a month or so) break to take care of my own personal business.

One of the thing I like to do in this time is updating myself. I need to read and learn a lot stuff about the new (or not so new) GNOME and Freedesktop technologies (I feel so outdated….). I’d like to code again. I miss that a lot.

But this is personal time, so health is one of my goals as well. Better food (cooked by myself instead of with rush in a bar close to the office…), good rest, some exercises, some checking at doctor. Stuff like that.

And I feel I need improve my English. I learn a lot when I was living in Dublin, but was more pub conversations what I learn than an appropriated speak for business or so.

Also my written English is so poor and I don’t feel comfortable enough (and I write soooo slow…) to chat with people by jabber or irc, which some times is necessary to collaborate on some projects.

I guess this is just matter of practise. Read more, write more, try, fail and learn πŸ™‚

I repeat, if someone read my posts and see something wrong or something sounds weird on my English, I will appreciate (so much) to teach me my errors and mistakes.

By the way… Im going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers European Meeting

I hope see good hacker and friends over there πŸ™‚ And meet more interesting people.

See you there guys! πŸ™‚

Why just one DVCS?

There are a lots of flame wars out there about the best DVCS (Distributed version control system), like others (IMHO) ego wars (KDE vs GNOME, VIM vs EMACS, etc). There are very good options like git, mercurial, bazaar or darcs and many people (as GNOME is doing right now with all the survey thing).

Even in my company, we were (actually, we’re already) discussing about the right one for our day by day at work. We’re almost sure to adopt a good dvcs is better than our well known Subversion, but we don’t know the best option.

We could follow the typical technical reasons people usually does, but we must also pay attention to other (more practical) reason. For example, we develop linux distributions (mostly) based on Ubuntu, so that tell us we should use bazaar to make easy clones, branches, merges and any kind of tasks in order to collaborate.

But, in other hand, we work with rails. Rails and projects around use git intensively, so makes sense to use git as well.

And we also work with other projects which still use subversion or even others systems.

After think about the best possibility it’s clear for me that choose just one makes no sense at all. We can choose one for working internally, but we’ll still have to deal with with other system we work or collaborate with.

Our major project is the technical level and background of the people here is very heterogeneous. We got very geek guys and people who just got out from the university and don’t know to much about real life tools…

So, we need something with learning curve small enough to normal people could just use the dvcs and good enough to use in professional projects.

But I really think the best way, at last, is to learn the basics of each one (of the most common ones), use internally just a good one, but bring to the people the way to use whatever they want or need for each project. I think John is right about that… why to choose for the people? Let’s people decide by themselves.

I was talking with Alberto about this and we agree (didn’t we? :-P) that to have a kind of interface which makes abstraction about which dvcs is below and gives us compatibility between them, probably is better than try to push people to one or another system just because we think is the best.

There ar to much big (and little ones) projects which have already chosen git, bazaar, mercurial or other and are very happy with their decision to just change because someone say so…

I don’t think to expect that is very realistic…

I know this is possible and we as open source and free software people doing all the time: make open standards, communication APIs, and abstractions layers. I don’t see more complex than a lot of projects (GNOME itself) does al the time.

I think I will sum myself to the John’s count he is meaning to do something similar πŸ™‚

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 EspaΓ±a
This work by Juanje Ojeda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 EspaΓ±a.