30/August/2004

Free Software in the big press

El Pais is the best selling
newspaper in Spain, and every Sunday they include a few pages about business, including
job advertisements, interviews, etc. The surprise was while reading yesterday’s
business pages and finding an article from Jesús González Barahona, one of the first
persons in Spain that started promoting Free Software, many years ago, while we were
all still in elementary school.

It is not the first time Linux is mentioned on those business pages, but it is the first
time, IIRC, that a so well known person in the Spanish Free Software community writes an
article there. The article wasn’t about Linux, but about Free Software, competence, freedom
and the business models that can be created around it. This is indeed another huge step,
since that article will be read by millions of people hopefully.

Olympic Games

End of the Olympic Games, sadly. The best, in my opinion, the gold medal
in basketball for Argentina (largely deserved, after the controversy in last
World Cup final, where Argentina should have won if the referees had done their
job correctly), the two gold medals by El Guerrouj, and the gold medal in
Gymnastics by Gervasio Deferr. The worst, as I already said here, the
7th place of the Spanish basketball team, with only one game lost, while
all other teams have lost at least two :( If it hadn’t have to play against
USA in 1/4 finals, I’d be probably today with a huge hang-over because of
the celebration of the gold medal.

About the Spanish performance, I have to rectify my words,
since at the end, Spain had 19
medals
. Still far away from top-level European
countries like France, Germany or Italy (and of course Russia), but wasn’t that bad,
even making it better than other countries supposed to be more developed than Spain,
like Canada, Norway and others.

26/August/2004

Olympic Games

How sad has been to see the Spanish basketball team being defeated by USA :-( Spain
had won all games till this morning, but given the bad performance of the USA team,
they had to play in 1/4 finals. A bit unfair, it should be like in hockey, where the
1st team in each group gets directly qualified to the semifinals. But well, we knew
how the system worked before, so no excuses now. But anyway, we all feel that it’s
been a big opportunity getting lost, since Spain was doing pretty well and was
one of the biggest candidates for the medals.

In the 200 meters final in athletics, the crowd started to boo the athletes while
asking for Kenteris (found avoiding a dopping control and fired out of the Greek
athletics team). It was, in my opinion, a lack of respect, first to the athletes
competing in the final, and, second, to the sport itself, since it’s so clear
Kenteris had cheated that there’s no reason to ask for him to be in the stadium.

25/August/2004

Olympic Games

Watched yesterday football semifinals, where Iraq played against Paraguay. It was
a pity Iraq lost, and won’t be in the final. Let’s hope they win the bronze medal
game, since I guess that’s the only option of medal for the Iraqi team. It is
indeed nice to see countries that usually are in the news about bad things showing
up with good news.

Tomorrow, the big game: Spain against USA in basketball for the 1/4 finals. For the
first time in history, it seems Spain is the favourite, although I am not so sure
about that. USA have been playing quite bad, and losing against all the big teams
(Puerto Rico and Lithuania) finishing 4th in their group, and Spain have won all games
(included Serbia and Argentina, the 2 contenders in last World Cup final)
finishing leader in their group, but USA is indeed a team formed by very good players.
Just let’s hope they don’t do their best play tomorrow.

24/August/2004

Comics

My friend Uxue lent me yesterday some good comics, including The Preacher and
The Freak Brothers!! I’m so happy to read again those comics, since it’s been quite
many years since last time I did. Please don’t call me in the next few days, with
this and the Olympics, my free time is all scheduled :)

19/August/2004

GNOME 2.8

GNOME
Nettool
has been accepted
for inclusion in GNOME 2.8
, as GNOME System Tools, at last! I’m really happy to
see both applications included.

For GNOME Nettool, we’re having now some bug
reporting action from Alan Cox
to fix some issues he found. This, and the help from
Telsa in the documentation should deal with the raised issues in the desktop-devel-list thread.
Apart from that, once 1.0 is out (which will happen at GNOME 2.8 time), we will probably start
working on simplifying a lot more the interface, to avoid using technical terms at all.

Olympic Games

Spain is continuing its way to the medals in basketball, both in men and women
categories, with 3 victories in 3 games both. Both are already qualified for the
1/4 finals, so are just one game away from the medals.
The USA team, on the other hand, incredibly
continues to play pretty bad. They did beat Greece on Tuesday by little margin (77-71), and
had a lot of difficulties. Also, even though they won, the play they performed was pretty
bad, with individual plays all the time, which will make them fail again when they play against
teams with good defenses (like Puerto Rico).

In other sports though, Spain is doing pretty bad, with only one medal so far, and too
many opportunities lost, like in cycling, where we were favorites for one or two medals,
or in judo, where a few medals were expected. I took a look at the medal
table, and saw some of the countries that are
supposed to be similar to Spain (like France and Italy) way ahead of Spain. This means,
I guess, the same as for reasearch and development: that in Spain, money is spent in other
things, that’s why there are so few software development companies in Spain (there are a lot of consulting or
outsourcing ones), so few scientists doing real investigation here, and so few top level sportsmen.
In some sports, like football, basketball and handball, where we have the best (or one of
the best) leagues in the world, we do pretty well (except in football :), but in individual
sports, where the lack of money is notorious, we just have a few people that are good enough
in European championships (see if not the 11 medals obtained by Spain in last month’s
European swimming championships) but that fail when in world championships.

I hope the situation changes in the next few days, with the athletics, team sports and
yachting so we see more medals for Spain. I’ll be glad to have to rectify the above words, although
the initial objective of having more medals than in Barcelona’92 (22) is getting much more difficult
every day :)

16/August/2004

Lost Camera

Yesterday I went to Donosti for some Tapas and beach action, and ended up
losing my camera :( I left it on a bar, and when I came back to get it, it had disappeared.
Not strange, since the bar was plenty of people, so anyone could have taken it.

GNOME-DB

Just released
libgda/libgnomedb 1.1.6
, needed for the new Mergeant 0.52.

Olympic Games

It happened two years ago in the Basketball World Cup in Indianapolis: the USA Basketball team,
formed by NBA players (all of them 1st level players) went to the World Cup without a
real preparation; no team plays and nothing known about their opponents. The result was that
they lost against Argentina (the 1st team to beat the NBA-based USA team), Serbia and
Spain, and finished in 6th place, which could be considered a ridiculous final place for a team
formed by players from the best league in the world. This time for the Olympics, the situation seems to be
similar, and yesterday they lost
against Puerto Rico
(92-73) in the first game. If they continue this way, they will
lose the gold medal (for the first time for an NBA-based USA team), specially when they have
to play against real favorites for the gold, like Argentina, Serbia, Spain or Lithuania. Not
winning the gold would be a huge disaster for the USA team.

Lesson to learn: never underestimate your ennemy’s intelligence, even when you are the best.

13/August/2004

iPod

I finally falled into the Apple’s trap and bought an iPod. I have been looking at
other choices for a long time, but really, here in Spain at least, iPod is the
only one worthy (you can get nice players but with only 256/512 MB, which sucks).
Ok, so no more excuses, yes, I bought it, and it really rocks, and, the most important,
works pretty well on Linux, so here’s a mini-HOWTO on how things worked for me, in
case anyone is interested.

First of all, you need a Firewire port, which most modern computers have. I tried
to just mount the iPod directly from Linux for the first time, but since it comes
with the Macintosh format, it didn’t work (probably because I have missing Mac-related modules
in my kernel). So, I installed iTunes on a Windows machine
and formatted the iPod. Once that is done, when you plug the iPod to a Linux machine,
the partitions are recognized. In my case:


Aug 13 14:40:54 cerler kernel: ieee1394: Node resumed: ID:BUS[0-00:1023] GUID[000a270002601e5c]

Aug 13 14:40:54 cerler kernel: ieee1394: Node changed: 0-00:1023 -> 0-01:1023

Aug 13 14:40:54 cerler kernel: scsi3 : SCSI emulation for IEEE-1394 SBP-2 Devices

Aug 13 14:40:55 cerler kernel: ieee1394: sbp2: Logged into SBP-2 device

Aug 13 14:40:55 cerler kernel: ieee1394: Node 0-00:1023: Max speed [S400] - Max payload [2048]

Aug 13 14:40:55 cerler kernel: Vendor: Apple Model: iPod Rev: 1.50

Aug 13 14:40:55 cerler kernel: Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 02

Aug 13 14:40:58 cerler kernel: sda: Spinning up disk....ready

Aug 13 14:40:58 cerler kernel: SCSI device sda: 39063024 512-byte hdwr sectors (20000 MB)

Aug 13 14:40:58 cerler kernel: sda: test WP failed, assume Write Enabled

Aug 13 14:40:58 cerler kernel: sda: asking for cache data failed

Aug 13 14:40:58 cerler kernel: sda: assuming drive cache: write through

Aug 13 14:40:58 cerler kernel: sda: sda1 sda2

Aug 13 14:40:58 cerler kernel: Attached scsi removable disk sda at scsi3, channel 0, id 0, lun 0

Aug 13 14:40:58 cerler kernel: Attached scsi generic sg0 at scsi3, channel 0, id 0, lun 0, type 0



So, for further use, add the following to your /etc/fstab:


/dev/sda2 /mnt/ipod vfat noauto,user

Then, when you plug the iPod, just issue the mount /mnt/ipod
command. Now it’s ready for you to transfer songs to it. The best way I’ve found so far
is by using gtkpod,
which is a nice GTK2 GUI for the iPod. It works great, except that it does not seem to
work when updating files on the iPod. I always have to remove the files and then re-add
them again.

Easy, isn’t it? Must say though that this was on a SuSE 9.1 2.6 stock kernel, not sure
how it will work in other distros or with older kernels, but I guess all 2.6 kernels with
ieee1394 support should work.

Next thing is to test Rhythmbox’s
iPod support
.

9/August/2004

Summer

It’s been too hot lately over here, so I’ve been too lazy to do anything apart
from real work, but today it’s less hot and energy is coming back to me. Let’s hope
temperatures continue going down in the next few days… John Fleck, what’s the
forecast? :-)

First of all, my congratulations to Lance Armstrong for winning his 6th Tour de France. I didn’t want
him to win, because it would mean beating our great Miguel Induráin, but now that he’s
won, we Spaniards must accept the truth: Lance is the best in history, and Miguel
is second. Not that this is bad, since we all enjoyed Miguel’s winnings (as Americans
do with Lance) while it lasted. What I didn’t like about this Tour was the Spanish
riders’ performance. Only Paco Mancebo and Carlos Sastre were seen with the best in
the important stages, and Roberto Heras, Iban Mayo, Haymar Zubeldia, Aitor González,
Óscar Sevilla, all failed, either by abandoning or by losing a lot of time in
every important stage. It was a bit hard to see all of them fail, since we were
used in the last years to see the Spanish riders always in front, with the permission
of Lance, of course. Anyway, let’s hope they are all ok for La Vuelta.

GNOME

On the GNOME front, many things that I haven’t blogged about:

  • Eventuality:
    I’ve been for some time now thinking about a scripting framework for the GNOME desktop
    to adopt. I didn’t go past the thinking process, but I was always thinking on GNOME
    terms, until I found about Eventuality, a FreeDesktop.org
    initiative for creating a “DBUS based framework for creating and flexible
    scheduling of arbitrary “actions” performed by conforming applications
    “.
    That is, looks like a replacement for cron, but it’s much more.
    Those actions it talks about are actions installed by specific applications, so, for
    instance, Evolution could install a SendMail action. Those
    actions, initially thought for being ran on scheduled times, could also be used
    for scripting on the user side. There needs to be just a nice way for users to
    run/write their scripts. We could even avoid having the user to write a single line
    of code by doing something similar to Apple’s
    Automator
    , where you have an application that queries the system for
    installed actions and their arguments, and builds a GUI to query the user for the
    arguments’ values.
  • GNOME Pedia: I asked
    some weeks ago
    about how to access the Wikipedia from a GNOME
    application. I got several answers, even from some of the Wikipedia developers telling
    me that there is no such XML-RPC interface yet, but that one could be built if there
    was some interest. I also got mails from some people interested in helping in writing
    such GNOME Pedia application, so I started the other day writing the skeleton for the
    application (in C#) and have now a main window for it!!! I plan to continue working
    on it as time permits without moving it to a public CVS until it does something else
    than displaying a window, but if someone is interested in starting helping right now,
    please drop me a line and I’ll upload the sources to GNOME CVS.