RMS: back in USSR?

General 44 Comments

There is information floating around that RMS is going to visit Russia in February or March 2008. The invitation is organized under patronage of well-known Russian politician Colonel Viktor Alksnis. Since my blog is aggregated on highly visible planet.gnome.org and planet.freedesktop.org I feel obliged to express my concerns about that coming event.

Before making any commitments, RMS should have checked the people who he deals with. Viktor Alksnis (nicknamed as “Black Colonel”) is a politician who became famous back in late 80s for his fight (including military methods) against the independence of the Baltic countries. Since that time he constantly and invariably represented so called “patriotic” (effectively meaning “imperial”) parties and forces in Russian politics. In his own words, his way of thinking was always imperial, and he always regrets about the empire he lost (USSR). Of course, most of the information about that person is in Russian, but still he is reasonably well described in Wikipedia.

These days, Col. Alksnis founded a movement for the creation of “National OS”. This is entirely within his patriotic political line. Once he discovered that GNU/Linux is free and available to anyone for modification and improvements (BTW initially Linux was not the only candidate), he evidently decided it would be a good idea to become a political leader and political face of Free Software in Russia. This is despite the fact there are companies and people in Russia who are involved into OSS for years and made huge contributions by code and real working projects.

The ideas of “National OS” are about patriotism, economical value and economical independence or Russia, rather than about freedom of software. The freedom is just a property of the software. That property provides “National OS” with the qualities it needs. That is where my main concern lies – Col Alksnis does not really share the ideas of FSF, he obuses them to implement his political agenda.

I am absolutely confident that a visit of RMS into Russia would be a great event, very useful for FOSS movement in our country, attracting a lot of attention and helping our communities. But I have serious doubts the company of Viktor Alksnis would be beneficial for the public view of such visit, RMS and FSF in general. There are many people (especially liberally-oriented intellectuals) who already have their brows highly raised while talking about that strange “friendship”. If RMS is really interested in getting into our big country, I’d strongly recommend him to deal only with the people who’ve already proved their commitment to the ideas of FOSS. For example, the companies which promote Linux for years (and which recently formed the Linux alliance). There are also universities which could organize invitations, there are computer-related media companies. I could help getting contacts, names etc (for the record, I am not affiliated with any of these companies:) That would be the proper company for RMS in Moscow, St.Petersburg and other parts of Russia. But please beware of Russian internal politics and politicians…

I hope that somehow the information I provided here would reach the eyes/ears of RMS and FSF – and they would think about it all.

Ruby, part2

General 5 Comments

Thanks to Ubuntu, Ruby 1.9 is available in Gutsy. And I still cannot find the way (the letter:) to unpack UTF-16. Should I wait for Ruby 4 for UTF-16 support (necessary for proper handling of id3 tags)?

And I am really happy to see ruby packaged for Maemon (now – with GNOME and Hildon, hurray!)

PS And lads thanks for mentioning KCODE – at least handling of UTF-8 is bearable.

Ruby: disappointment of the year :(

General 19 Comments

Heard a lot about Ruby. Read some articles etc. Got deeply impressed by that really nice language. Yesterday, tried it on my small personal project – and now I am crying aloud. No native support for UTF-8 strings (well, I mean stable 1.8, not some development branch). I  still wonder how it could happen that the language with that kind of problem can even be considered as mainstream in 2007?

SVG -> Cairo, Ubuntu way – ?

General 9 Comments

In gswitchit-plugins, I am rendering svg files into Cairo. Using libsvg-cairo. Some people were asking me, if I could make .deb of the plugins (for Ubuntu). No, I cannot – because libsvg-cairo is not packaged in Ubuntu. I wonder, what do Ubuntaries do when they have to render SVG to Cairo?


General 5 Comments

Yesterday, upgraded Ubuntu on my Power G5 from Feisty to Gutsy. Everything is smooth so far.

Additionally, tried to change a couple of partitions to LVM. Found a couple of interesting things:

1. I could not create a partition of type 8e (Linux LVM) on PowerPC. Neither fdisk not parted could help. I found the answer during the discussion with some smart folks on #gentoo-ppc (I always knew gentooers are smart, though I would never use their distro): first, fdisk on PPC is a symlink to mac-fdisk which has nothing to do with PC-oriented “usual” fdisk, second, the format of the partition table on Mac (Apple Partition Map, APM) has absolutely no relation to good old MBR/PT on PC, so signatures like 8x, 83 (ext2) etc make no sense whatsoever. So, just creating empty partition of type Apple_Unix_SVR2 was good enough – it worked ok for me, anyway.

2. Unfortunately, Ubuntu has problems with /var on LVM. The partition is mounted too late, so first parts of the init process gets screwed up (error messages about missing /var/lock and /var/run). So, I had to move /var back to “normal” partition. Pity. If anyone has idea how to fix it – please tell me. Going to file a bug in launchpad anyway.


General 4 Comments

Tried to install on N800 tasks/contacts/dates from OHand repository. Miserably failed. Missing evolution-data-server package. Where could I find one? I see the package in the repository – but for some reason AppManager is not happy with it. IIRC these apps already caused some troubles when I installed SIP support from Nokia…

I think it is time to establish some regular schedule for xkeyboard-config releases – just for distros to be able to get access to latest layouts and translations (without looking into CVS). Good old “release early, release often”. The only question is what would be the reasonable period…

libxklavier 3.3 and beyond

General 2 Comments

Finally found time to release libxklavier 3.3. GNOME 2.20 users are recommended to upgrade – selecting keyboards per-vendor would be easier than browsing huge list.

Next logical step would be finally adding language list to every layout/variant in xkeyboard-config and providing that information through libxklavier API (and GNOME UI, gnome-keyboard-properties). Sure, as with XCI_PROP_VENDOR, it would be done by using g_object_set_data, so no API/ABI breakage would be needed.

Hall of shame anywhere?

General 8 Comments

If there would be a place where OSS folks could register most shameful things about our development process, that bug would be the first I submit. Shame on you, Firefox people! 6.5 years for a bug with that level of visibility.


General No Comments

Yesterday, my older son wanted to send MP3 file to his mobile over bluetooth, from my shared (DAAP) library. Rhythmbox could not help. So it was a good excuse to show him bugzilla.gnome.org (and provide another bit of Free Software propaganda, of course:)


General No Comments

GUADEC was just great. I met a lot of interesting people – some of them I knew by email/IRC for some while, so it was interesting to “devirtualize” them. Huge thanks to organizers, everything was perfect (well, may be except the WiFi connection). Thanks to the sponsors. Thanks to everyone who attended. I really do regret I could only visit the Core part.

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