Today marks the beginning of my last week at Canonical, where I’ve been working for the last 2.5 years. Because of the conflicts between the direction the company is driving to and my personal interests (GNOME), I have decided it is time for me to move on.
Since I am a positive person, I would just remember the good things of these 2.5 years, which have been, mainly, the nice people I’ve been working with, with a special mention to the Ubuntu Desktop team, composed of very great people. Also, some good projects I’ve worked on, like the Ubuntu One music store or the work at the Desktop team.
I can’t say yet publically where I’ll be working next, but I’ll continue being around GNOME.
A friend of mine was having problems with the GNOME3 packages in Ubuntu, and after some questioning, he told me he was using a PPA from this Launchpad team:
The GNOME3 PPA for that team seems to be just a copy of the official GNOME3 PPA, but just in case, this is a public announcement to let people know that they shouldn’t use that PPA (unless they really want to, of course), but use the official one instead, which is at:
That is, the official team is the gnome3-team, so please make sure to check your sources.list if you really want to use the official one.
With the great work from Robert Ancell and Sebastien Bacher, who worked on packaging the new GLib/GTK3 stack, and with the recent packaging of a few GNOME 3 applications (eog, Nautilus, the new control center, …), you can start testing what will be GNOME 3 on Ubuntu (Natty) by using this PPA.
Please note that this is a work very much in progress, which means that, apart from the usual problems of running unstable software, it’s got the unstability of new packages added, so please USE WITH CARE. I would suggest to use a virtual machine for testing this, but please test it and report any problems you might find. It seems to be running ok for me (on a virtual machine), but please don’t risk your every day desktop 😀
Ubuntu One‘s SyncDaemon (the process that takes care of synchronizing your files between the cloud and the desktop) has a DBus interface for applications to control and get notifications from it about what it is doing. This interface was being used in the Nautilus plugin and other desktop tools contained in ubuntuone-client itself. Even though powerful and straightforward, we haven’t seen many applications using it, since usually 3rd party applications don’t want to be dealing with the low level DBus API themselves.
But this is now history, since I introduce you to libsyncdaemon, a GObject wrapper on top of the DBus API which makes it very easy to communicate with SyncDaemon, as well as improving a lot the performance compared to accessing the DBus API directly (thanks to its use of caches, to avoid DBus calls repeating when no needed) and containing high level functions that would allow applications to, for instance, publish a file on Ubuntu One with just one call:
SyncdaemonDaemon *daemon = syncdaemon_daemon_new ();
syncdaemon_daemon_publish_file (daemon, "/home/user/myphoto.jpg");
daemon = Syncdaemon.Daemon ()
So now, the next step is to start adding support for sharing/publishing files in Ubuntu One to many desktop applications, like, for instance (ideas stolen from Stuart Langridge):
- Publish screenshots directly from gnome-screenshot tool
- Sharing photos from f-spot/shotwell/etc
This, along with the already existing desktop APIs (desktopcouch, couchdb-glib, libubuntuone), makes integration of 3rd party applications into Ubuntu One a very easy thing.
The other day was about Tomboy notes, today, Evolution contacts syncing to Ubuntu One!
For the basic setup, see this tutorial. So, once you have contacts in the Evolution CouchDB Ubuntu One addressbook, syncing to Ubuntu One happens automatically:
The same contacts show up automatically in the Ubuntu One web UI:
Now, we just need to get mobile devices (N900, Android, etc) to sync contacts there also, and your contacts would be everywhere you need them!
Lots of people keep asking the same question (how do I sync Tomboy notes with Ubuntu One?), so, since there is a nice tutorial already, posting it here to get to a wider audience: the tutorial.
Since this is also my first post about it (didn’t want to make it too public until it worked great), I wish to give special thanks to Sandy Armstrong, Tomboy’s super hacker, whose help in making this work has been very valuable. Not only he helped us in all the problems we found, but he was very receptive on our suggestions for changes in the syncing protocol. So, every time you sync your notes (to Ubuntu One or a Snowy server), please save some money to pay him (and me, if possible) some beers 😀
After an exhausting week at GCDS, a similarly exhausting weekend partying in Pamplona for San Fermín, and an again exhausting return to day to day work, just found some time to write some notes from last GCDS.
- First, about RMS’s talk. I really didn’t find offensive his comments, just was a bit upset by the way he answered some of the questions asked by some people (this is a stupid question or something like that was one of his answers), but well, I can live with that and didn’t feel offended at all. But I found his talk very, very (did I say very?) boring. Talking about how cool is free software in front of an audience of free software enthusiasts, and about the history of GNOME and KDE in front of many of the core contributors to those projects was, IMHO, a total waste of time. While the talk is great for other audiences, it was totally out of place at GCDS. And that’s all I have to say about this, no meme from me.
- There was a lot of interest on CouchDB from many people:
- Tracker guys might want to use it to store metadata and files.
- Roberto Majadas, the newest incorporation to the GNOME Hispano board, has been working on Vala bindings for my couchdb-glib library. He should announce them soon, I think.
- Henri, from Midgard, implemented, while in Gran Canaria, the replication protocol used by CouchDB for Midgard, which means you would be able to sync (contacts, bookmarks, notes, etc) not only to CouchDB servers, but also to any server running Midgard.
- People liked a lot (at least they applauded a lot) the demos for the stuff we’ve doing for bookmarks (Firefox) and contacts (Evolution and Akonadi) storage in CouchDB, that Steve Alexander showed in his talk on Wednesday. Thanks BTW to Ryan Lortie, who kindly gave his slot for his gnio talk so that Steve could talk about our work.
- About GNOME 3 technologies, I have to say that the platform changes seem to be very well on track (thanks to Andre Klapper for keeping track), and GNOME Shell looks really good, even though it seems to still miss some functionality (applets? notifications?), which I’m sure the people working on it will settle down. Not so sure about Zeitgeist. It looks really great, don’t misinterpret me, but after thinking about it for a while, I couldn’t imagine how it would be useful for me, given how I access files. I’m sure it would be quite useful for lots of people, I’m just talking about me, but I think it would make a lot of sense if, instead of a separate application, it were a Nautilus view, just like you have the icon, list and compact views. But well, I’ll try testing it soon and maybe I’ll get convinced.
- I liked a lot the Telepathy tubes stuff for desktop sharing, as well as the libnice talk by Youness Alaoui. These 2 open the door for very nice things to be added to desktops in the not-so-distant future.
- I talked with several people about the contents of the conference, and most people agreed that, for someone that follows GNOME development the whole year, most talks are useless. Not that they are not interesting, because they are, but it would be much more useful if they were replaced with discussion groups that came up with plans for the next development cycles. Talks are still ok for new people getting to the conference, but having BOFs just after the core days, where a big percentage of the attendees are already gone, is, IMO, not a good idea, they should really be part of the core days. UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit) has this right IMO, where there are only a few keynotes, and then several rooms hosting those discussions for different topics, where people come up with clear plans of what they should be working on. I hope we can do something similar for next year.
- And after complaining about too many talks, I have to say that one of the best things in the conference (along with the GNOME 1, 2, 3 talk by Fernando Herrera and Xan López), at least for me, was the Pitivi tutorial, by Edward Hervey, which showed to the profanes like me how to do nice videos. I hope I’ll be able to follow his teachings and, soon, publish some nice videos of my motorbike and skiing rides as well as my holidays, with good rock&roll as the soundtrack 🙂 That, along with Mistelix (a DVD authoring tool) might change radically the way my friends and family enjoy my photos and videos.
- Federico was selected as the first GNOME Hispano honorific member in the GNOME Hispano dinner on Thursday. It’s just a honorific title (accompanied by a bottle of local rhum as the prize 🙂 ), but he really deserves anything we can do to show him our admiration to the best hacker I’ve ever worked with.
- I missed the FreeFA tournament, because playing football at 3PM under the Canarian sun is something my religion forbids 🙂 But yeah, even with me not playing, Bastien lost again 😀
- Also nice was to have the personal hobbies lightning talks on Tuesday. As I discussed with some people, sexist problems, IMO, might be solved if some people, instead of being all the time in front of a computer, got out once in a while and met some non-geeky people (including women, of course) and share some hobby with them. That might make them understand better how to behave in front of women or people with different cultures. So I hope mega geeky people in the audience used those lightning talks as a starting point to find non-technology hobbies.
- I really missed more KDE<->GNOME cooperation talks. Most of the cross-desktop talks were about things specific to one or the other desktop, not about how both projects could cooperate more. At the end, except in parties, it was hard to find KDE people (at least I only saw the KDE people I know in parties) around, and I guess the KDE people had the same impression. We even had 2 separate parties one day!!! Have to say though that the GNOME one was funnier, as some KDE people that showed up at the GNOME one told me 😀
Last but not least, as always, meeting again all the people I already know and making new friends is the best part of this kind of events. It makes you feel again part of a great community.
And to finish, a big thanks to the people that helped in the organization. They already had a big round of applause at the GNOME Foundation Annual Meeting, but I’ll say it again here: thanks a lot!
With just a few hours before I leave to Gran Canaria, here’s a list of things I personally would like to get from the conference:
- I’ve been to all GUADEC’s except for 2 (Stuttgart and Istanbul), and every time I’ve missed one GUADEC, I was doubly excited to go to the next one, so this year, having missed last year’s, this is the case again.
- Since for the first time we are having a joint KDE/GNOME, I am expecting to have a big push on collaboration and cooperation between the 2 projects. I am not sure what would come out of this, but we should all really be looking for this, since it would just help both projects a lot. So, keep the rivalry only for the sport activities, please (maybe a KDE vs GNOME football game? 🙂 )
- As I’ve already blogged about recently, we (at Canonical) are trying to push CouchDB use to the desktop. I’ve got all the code I’ve been working on ready to be shown (karmic packages here, but broken for jaunty right now, sorry), so if someone wants to see it in action (a technology preview, of course, not everything is done yet), just find me around and I’ll do a personal demo (a better demo if you buy me a beer 😀 ). Other Canonical staff will be around also showing these (and other) technologies, so if interested, just ask.
- GNOME 3.0 plans and technologies like mutter, gnome-shell.
- I only played the FreeFA tournament in Vilanova (yeah, was part of the cool champion team), so looking forward to revalidate the title 😀
- Mojo Picón, a spicy hot sauce typical from the Canary Islands. Make sure you try the Papas Arrugadas with that sauce.
- Have a lot of fun!
Only bad thing is that I’m going to miss the first few days of San Fermín festival in Pamplona, but well, since I’ll be back home on the 10th, I’ll have the chance to enjoy the last few days of it. As I said other times, please use other dates than July 6th to 14th next year!
See you all in Gran Canaria!
Continuing with my CouchDB on the desktop series, here’s the 1st screenshot:
It’s Evolution addressbook components showing contacts from a CouchDB database. As stated in previous posts, all contacts in that database would be automatically replicated to a remote CouchDB instance, so, for instance, you could just see and edit/delete/whatever them from a web interface, and the changes would show up in Evolution.
Code is in GNOME git, under couchdb-glib and evolution-couchdb modules.
As the first step on CouchDB desktop integration, here’s version 0.1 of couchdb-glib, a GLib-based API to talk to CouchDB.
This initial version only allows reading and does all operations synchronously (not a problem in most cases, since the communication is done to the local CouchDB instance, which is quite quick, at least from what my tests show so far). Next releases will have all the missing functionality.
And, well, no screenshots to show, so here’s some example code for you to enjoy.
Source code is in GNOME GIT, under couchdb-glib module.