IDC (Russia) overestimated the TCO for FOSS, published incorrect report

foss 1 Comment

IDC (well-known analytical company Рor, to be exact, its Russian division) recently published the report analyzing the TCO for different approaches to IT infrastructures for schools. Namely, they look at proprietary solution vs FOSS-based solution. Unfortunately, that report turned to some kind of scandal Рeveryone, more or less familiar with the economics of  FOSS, raised brows quite high on some figures.

Today, the major Russian Linux vendor reacted: CEO of Alt Linux, Alexey Smirnov published the open letter explaining why the report was wrong – and why it should be withdrawn. I think this is a good practice, to publish more or less official statements when someone tells lies about FOSS. We are all quite vocal at Slashdot, etc – but sometimes someone should say something loud and strong. I hope IDC has decency … at least to react somehow – if not to admit, immediately, they did rather poor job.

Testing 10.10

ubuntu 1 Comment

While considering various options, upgraded on G5 from 10.04 to 10.10. The upgrade was smooth – except that new kernel turns CPU fans on (oh, what a sound!) and then after couple of minutes the system halts (the hardware considers itself overheated). Beta quality multiplied by “informally” supported Power architecture… Still, thanks to Canonical for fixing the annoying issue with lvms (I encountered while upgrading to 10.04).

Keyboard indicator in Ubuntu 10.10: Disclaimer

g-s-d, gnome, libgnomekbd, ubuntu 32 Comments

TWIMC. The keyboard indicator to be shipped with Ubuntu 10.10 has little to do with the standard gnome keyboard layout indicator. Canonical moved the thing to libappindicator library which was not officially adopted by GNOME.

So, there are some important consequences:

  • If you are end-user running ubuntu 10.10 and you have complains about gnome keyboard indicator, you’re not really welcome to First, you should file your problem at Launchpad. If the Ubuntu team finds the problem down the stack, they sure will escalate it.
  • A lot of Ubuntu users (including myself) were happy to utilize non-documented but working support for flags in GNOME. In Ubuntu’s implementation that feature is not supported, AFAIK. You’re welcome to complain in Launchpad.
  • Single-click layout switching does not work any more (I was told). You’re welcome to complain in Launchpad

As a GNOME developer, I am very concerned about the fact that Ubuntu is starting to create its own version of GNOME. All distrovendors have patches, but Canonical seems to be gone a bit too far, on my taste.

As an end-user, I am quite irritated. I am thinking about switching back to Debian or Fedora (considering the fact that Ubuntu’s support for PowerPC is not great anyway).

I would appreciate if someone provides explanation on how to get original gnome keyboard indicator in Ubuntu 10.10. I did not install that version yet – but people are asking.

Good bye, Maemo. Hello, Android

android, maemo 8 Comments

Now that I got HTC Desire, I bid adieu to my true and trusted n810. I owned it for quite a while – and I it was a very good friend of mine.

So, now let me check if that google phone is as good as they say… First things to notice (beside obvious excitements, I am not going to list them): poor support for syncml and …. Android Market only provides “free” section in Ireland! No way to get something non-free (not that I need that immediately, but still). That’s outrageous, with all major Irish providers selling Android phones! What does make .IE worse than the other island in the eyes of google (having huge office in Dublin, FWIW)?

Kbd LEDs: now in notification area (if you need them)

g-s-d, gnome 13 Comments

The picture explains everything (in relation to this bug):

Kbd LEDs

Turned on/off using gconf entry. Open questions:

  1. Should I request stock icons (instead of png files in g-s-d) – for themability?
  2. Should the icon names be added to “well known icons list” in the notification area applet?
  3. Should the gconf entry be made visible through the kbd capplet (checkbox)?
  4. Most important: can anyone with designer skills better than mine create 6 icons that would look better than that?

XKB Geometries

libgnomekbd, xkeyboard-config 6 Comments

There is one interesting request in bugzilla: using notification service for displaying CapsLock/NumLock/ScrollLock state change, for those wireless keyboard that do not have LEDs.

How would you distinguish – what keyboard needs that feature enabled? I guess it would be logical to check XKB geometry… I know, better than anyone, about the sorry state of the geometries now – but it can be improved, right?

Label in tray = P in the A

General 4 Comments

In GNOME 2.30, the kbd indicator moved to the tray. People are happy, most of them. But … there is a trouble here.

StatusIcons are not GTK widgets. And, as the result, the indicator has to “emulate” gtk widget. That’s a real pain, folks. The indicator renders text to cairo, converts cairo to pixbuf, sets status icon from pixbuf. Worst of all, the widget has to follow and track all changes in gtk style, font rendering etc. What a pain.. Bug reports… Now, another one. Here is my question of the day: can anybody tell me why the font size retrieved from gtk and provided to cairo gives different results comparing to the gtk itself? I simply do not get that…

gnome-keyboard-applet: as good as gone

g-a, gnome 11 Comments

Today, the applet code is dropped from gnome-applets. Since gnome-settings-daemon now includes the notification icon (automatically appearing/disappearing), the applet is no longer needed.

Back in 1999 (Nov 29) it was the gswitchit applet that was committed to SourceForge. After GUADEC in Dublin it got merged into GNOME, some bits and pieces went to gnome-control-center. The rest is history…

The technology goes on. The functionality stays and improves. The initial point, the applet is gone.

kbd stuff going threezero

g-a, gnome, libgnomekbd 16 Comments

Since gnome panel and applets are about to go relatively soon, I feel obliged to do something about that. Here are some unchained thoughts related to it…

The gnome keyboard indicator applet is to become deprecated. What’s instead? The only viable option, no matter how I dislike it, is the notification area icon. Or, in terms of gtk+, GtkStatusIcon. What’s important is that it cannot be a Gtk widget (there are good reasons for that). So the widget gkbd-indicator that was used by the existing applet, is getting useless – I just can reuse some of its code.

But there is an issue with gnome-screensaver. The screensaver is using gkbd-indicator widget in the unlock dialog (and it has to stay there!). That means I’ll still have to support the widget (unless, hehe, gnome-screensaver would suddenly start implementing notification area conventions). As the result, libgnomekbd will have two “layout indicating UI elements”. Somewhat ugly, on my taste…

PS The GSwitchit Plugins will not be supported by the new GtkStatusIcon-based indicator.

PPS It is still a shame that one cannot easily produce GdkPixbuf using cairo. The way through GdkPixmap does not work correctly because the transparency is lost by gdk_pixbuf_get_from_drawable (“If the specified destination pixbuf is not NULL and it contains alpha information, then the filled pixels will be set to full opacity”). The only way is using some code snippets. Why cannot that be put into gtk?


Giants fight

General 21 Comments

Reading the Miguel’s answer to RMS, I could not stop thinking Richard had a good point.

The last thing that convinced me was that footnote: “the “open source” vs “free software” non-issue”.

It is amazing that after all those years people still do not see the difference between ethics and technology. Or – even worse perhaps – consider that difference as “non-issue”. Richard explained that difference in many many ways – still noone listens. People oh people, where are your ears?

It is not a problem for the corporate world to fight open source. Actually, as a matter of fact, there is no immediate need to fight – these phenomena can collaborate[1]. No doubt. That’s how CodePlexish things appear (though, of course, let’s wait for the fruits before judging). Open source can be embraced by companies, as long as holes (big and small, as in BSD and GPL2) in open source licenses support ethically questionable business models.

I think that’s what RMS means when he say bad things about Miguel and Linus. The guys concentrate on the technical aspects, processual aspects of the open source idea. Listening to them, I got impression that keeping the source open is a formal requirement that guarantees that certain methods of development and maintenance would work – that’s it. I wonder, do Miguel and Linus always remember that open source is just a logical consequence of the higher level ethical requirements (and these requirements have some other consequences – like not supporting unfair business models)? If yes, RMS owes the lads apologies perhaps. If no, RMS is right, at least from the POV of the free software values.

[1] In terms of fighting… Open source development model is not a silver bullet, you we all can see proprietary products technically superior to the open source ones, and vice versa. Open source cannot decisevly win technical battle on all grounds – so, it will never be an unavoidable threat to the world of proprietary technologies.

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