Summit remnants

Today, two more things about the summit. Firstly, my baggage, which had been kept in Paris (where I changed flights), arrived today home, with a small hole in it, produced, it seems, by some heavy weight put above it for hours. But, apart from that, everything inside (dirty clothes and some books) seem to be ok. Secondly, I uploaded all photos that I took during the days in Boston.

Back from Boston

Got yesterday back from Boston, after 8 days there, first on a Novell’s desktop team meeting, and then, for the summit.

It was a great week, first because of the high productivity achieved during the desktop team meeting. It really makes a difference to have all your coworkers near and discuss about what everyone is doing. I would really like to have the Boston office closer to where I live, so that I could go many days to work there. Unfortunately, teletransportation hasn’t been invented yet :(

Then, the summit was also great. In the last few months, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like conferences as I used to, but on the other hand, I love more and more this kind of meetings, where all interested people get together for sharing ideas, discussions and hacking. As Luis says, it would be really nice to do some more specialized meetings for getting groups of people to work on something for a weekend.

As for the interesting things about the summit, here are some:

  • People seem to be worried about performance, so expect lots of improvements in this front for the next few weeks. Let’s hope we succeed in creating some sort of GNOME Performance Team, to continously run tests on applications and libraries.
  • Mark committed his new session manager during the summit. It is a complete rewrite of gnome-session, using the services vs applications separation mechanism we talked about in the gnome-session BOF. As discussed during that BOF, it is missing XSMP support, which we should be adding soon. Some other details, like playing login sounds, are also missing.

    One other nice thing about it is that it already includes all the infrastructure to autostart services/applications, so we should not need anymore to hard-code programs to be started on the session.

    I will be testing it in the following few days, but so far the code looked quite better than the old one, much cleaner and much easier to read. Not sure what people will think about a rewrite though.

  • John showed us (Christian and myself) his rewrite of libnotify. While I like the new API (much more GObject-oriented and cleaner to use than the old one), I still prefer the visual style of the original version from Christian. Hopefully the code will be in GNOME CVS soon, so that we can have everyone’s opinions before going further, as to avoid having disagreements when the code lands on some core GNOME module.
  • Lots of Novell projects were announced: BetterDesktop, Tango icon theme, Banshee.
  • As a result of my recent work in trying to improve GNOME startup time, I applied, along with Rodney and Chris Lahey, for maintainership of gnome-control-center. This means I will continue working on my patches for improving gnome-settings-daemon in the next few weeks, to make startup in 2.14 much quicker.
  • Federico is a great guide for restaurants in Boston. If you are in Boston, just follow him at dinner time, you will get great food. He took us once to an Ethiopian restaurant, which was just delicious, and other day, to a nice, smallish, very mediterranean-like, Italian restaurant, where we had another great dinner.

As always, the best thing on these meetings was to meet again all the nice guys, apart from meeting new ones. I won’t try to mention everyone, since I’ll probably forget someone, but I can’t resist mentioning how happy I was to see again, after more than 3 years, Duncan. Although I just saw him for a few minutes on Sunday, it was very nice to see him again.

Medieval Olite

A couple of week-ends ago, I went to Olite (very close to my place) for the annual Medieval party, where all the village (which indeed looks medieval all year, with a very beatiful castle from the good times of the Kingdom of Navarra) gets dressed in medieval suits, with a fairy of artisan products, parades, etc.

I had been there for a few years now, but I never got my camera with me. This year I did take it, so took a lot of photos.

As part of the medieval party, there is a photographic contest, so I’ll be presenting a few photos for that contest, to win, if my photos get chosen as winner, a free dinner in one of the good restaurants in Olite. So far, this is the photo I like the most. Other friends will be taking other photos and presenting those under their names, so we’ll have a lot of chances to win the dinner :) I know it’s cheating, but the dinner is worth the trick.

Tenerife

Was last week for 4 days in Adeje, in the Canary Islands, for an event organized by the Universidad de La Laguna with talks and workshops about Free Software.

Since I had only two mornings scheduled, I took 3 days of vacation in order to have a mini holiday. “Unfortunately”, Yolanda had found a job the week before (in the Diario de Noticias, a local newspaper, yay!), so she couldn’t come with me. Fortunately, the people I met there (included Grex, who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years) were really nice, so I had cool people to hang around with.

So, on Thursday, I did a workshop on GTK programming. I couldn’t teach too much, since there were only 2 hours and there were a few people that didn’t even know C, so I had to lose some time explaining basic things, like what “int main (int argc, char *argv[])” means. It was a pity, not for me, but for the people that had a good knowledge of Linux/C/GNOME, that wanted the workshop to be much more advanced than what it was. I had, at the end of the workshop, to evaluate the students on an exercise (completing the GUI for a simple text editor I wrote while explaining). Since there was little time left, people were not able to write much code, so I just looked at whether they were trying to use the correct functions. The result of that was that everyone but 2 people passed, and those 2 did not pass because they both told me they had understood nothing, and it wouldn’t have been morally correct to have them pass. I think I wouldn’t be a good teacher, since I was a bit sad of not having those 2 people pass and even trying for a few seconds to find an excuse to have them pass.

The second day there was, as the closing session for the event, a BOF about advantages and disadvantages of Free Software. Before that, Teresa, one of the organizers, and Sociology teacher at the University, had given a talk about Free Software and society, which turned up to be splendid. During this BOF, a guy (whose name I don’t remember) said that one of the bad things about Free Software was lack of documentation, with “the exception of GNOME, which is very well documented”. Of course, I thought I was dreaming, and offered him a beer for saying that. What he meant was that he had found Devhelp (which I told them to install during my workshop) a very good piece of software. And I think he was right, only on that though, because, as we all know, we lack a lot of documentation, specially step-by-step tutorials for beginners. So, this means that once we get those tutorials written, accompanied with the cool API documentation in Devhelp (and its search feature, which simply rocks), we should be able to say we’re fully documented.

Apart from the talks, very nice to hang around with Teresa, René (and Marina, his girlfriend) and the other guys. A pity I forgot to bring my camera, because there were very nice landscapes to take a photo of, like the Teide (the highest peak in Spain), which I saw from the plane in an incredible view, or the sunsets from the beach. Anyway, I hope to come back to the islands again.

Nat is the new messiah

Just like for centuries muslims have travelled to Meca and christians to Santiago de Compostela, hackers are now starting to make Nat’s tour their must-do pilgrimage, to find the real faith and the real way to full knowledge.

What a world

Last week we were all horrified with the blasts in London. But today, 24 children died in Iraq after a terrorist attack, and I haven’t seen any of the polititians in the western countries that last week condemned the blasts in London, condemn the ones in Iraq. Of course, none of those polititians have neither condemned any of the more than 20,000 Iraqi people dead during the war.

Also, every day thousands of people die in Africa because of AIDS, hunger, wars and diseases that can be easily cured in western countries, and, again, none of those polititians condemn them, or, even better, do something to put them to an end. It seems deaths are different depending on where they happen.

Also, less important compared to the things above, Europe interior ministers are talking these days about spying all communications, that is, phone calls, email messages, from any single citizen accross Europe. Seems they have what happened in the US after 9/11 as an example of what to do.

London blasts

Very sorry to wake up this morning and hearing the blasts in London, sadly too similar to what we had in Madrid 16 months ago. And very worried, since my sister lives in London with her husband and two daughters. Fortunately, I got in contact with her pretty immediately, and they’re all ok.

I hope all gnomers around there are ok, as well as their friends and families.

Spain is different

Lately there have been many demonstrations here in Spain. The first one, which is the only one I attended, was in Las Bardenas Reales, a protected desertic area, except for a part of it, which is used by the military to test their bombs and weapons. So, yeah, the parade was against the military use of that area, with a great lunch after the parade in the countryside. Will post the photos I have of that soon. 1.000 persons showed up.

Then, there was a demonstration in Madrid, organized by catholic organizations, to protest against the homosexual marriages, which have been allowed as of today in Spain, with the only opposition of the right-wing parties. They were protesting because “homosexual marriages will destroy the families”, whatever that means. 180.000 people, from what the authorities said, showed up.

Then, last weekend, there was a demonstration against poverty in the world, to ask polititians to do everything on their hands to make poverty history. So, as ignorant as I am, I was expecting all the people in the previous demonstration, plus many more that have nothing against homosexual’s rights, show up on this one. But heh, only 50.000 people showed up, so it means, provided that all those 50.000 were in the previous one, there are still 130.000 “familiy-protective” persons in Spain that don’t want homosexuals to be married and form their own legal families, but have nothing against poverty, which indeed destroys many more families than any other thing :(

Curious country we live on. Fortunately next week there is San Fermín, which will help in forgetting about all this :)

Summer

Summer is the worst time of the year for me, since here in Spain it’s too damn hot, and it’s difficult to move too much without sweating like a pig, except at nights. So, the summer started officially with too much heat, which, fortunately, is going down in the last couple of days, at least here in the North of Spain.

But the summer does not really begin for me until Le Tour de France and San Fermín start. And this weekend Le Tour is starting, while next week (on the 6th) the big party that is San Fermín starts in Pamplona. This year, again, I won’t be running in front of the bulls, not that crazy/drunk yet, but I’ll be going to a lot of concerts, since, as every year, there are many (free) concerts all around Pamplona. Not sure yet which groups play, but as every year, I’m sure some of them will be quite good. A pity that the Gaztetxe was closed last year by the “nice” mayor of Pamplona, since there was a lot of cool ambient there, with R&R concerts, cheap food and nice atmosphere.