I preordered Savage and was able to join their beta due to it. The game is actually rather fun and even at that early beta stage the game has top notch linux support. I am happy to finally see a commercial game development company actually supporting linux properly.
Even if the game is still beta is it running extremly stable for me under Linux, haven’t had a crash yet. Experienced one bad bug yesterday, but I discovered that it is shared between Win and Lin versions of the game and is something the developers are working on.

One thing that made a really good impression on me was the fact that they had a great patch system also on the linux version. When I start the binary it checks if a new patch is out and if it is then it downloads and installs it. No manuall intervention needed.

The combination of real-time strategy and first-person-shooter is also very interesting. I have to admit I was a bit sceptical at first, but I think it works out very well. I don’t know how fun it is to play in commander or real-time strategy mode yet, considering that your subjects are rather autonomous (other players) and I got the feeling that it wasn’t perfectly balanced out yet in terms of how to play, but I think the remaining beta testing and even post release patches will probably iron this out.

Been discussing a lot with my friends here in Norway the importance of games for the adoption of Linux as a desktop solution and the impact of things like Transgaming. Personally I don’t see Transgaming as such a problem as some people do, I mean yes of course I prefer ‘native’ versions if nothing else to help promote the development of gaming related functionality and libs under GNU/Linux. But as long as transgaming can become good enough to support 95% of new games out of the box then I think they will be a force for good. Some people also bring up OS/2 and its windows compatability as an example of how these things can go bad, but I think the problem with OS/2 wasn’t its windows compatability, but ineptitude of IBM of getting it distributed and gaining mindshare. When you don’t even bundle it with your own computers and also through promotion make create an image that the best quality of the system is its ability to emulate windows then you can’t do anything but lose.

The lastest delay in my Australian migration plan is eating at me. Before I got the latest mail I was literally bustling with energy, but after this last mail I am having trouble finding motivation again. The basic problem is that I in many ways have my life on pause waiting for the migration to happen. Since it is so near I feel it meaningless to plan or do anything with a more long term perspective, but living a year in a sort of limbo state is not that fun really. The fact that I can not get a clear answer to wether it will really take one year or if I am in the 4-6 months que doesn’t really make it any easier as it just ties me closer to the limbo state as it keeps the option that I could be preparing for my move already in 2-4 months time open.

Anyway I did manage to merge the updated Smooth engine into GNOME themes extras yesterday and also move Galaxy and BlueSphere out of gnome-themes-extras. There is some of Galaxy left as its Metacity theme lives on in a modified version as part of the Lush theme, while Bluesphere will be resurrected as a standalone package.

The plan for g-t-e now is to get the Amaranth theme to a usefull level and also import the new theme that Star managed to dig up. That theme looks really sweet altough it is a pixmap theme not a SVG theme, so it does undermine the pure SVG’ness of g-t-e, but who sticks to the book when Nirvana appears…;)

Non productive weekend free-softwarewise for me. Today I woke up and chatted a bit online before going out to buy some tools etc. After that I ended up looking at a movie my sister lent me, Nothing Hill. Some good jokes etc. in it, but I guess it definetly goes in the ‘girl film’ category :)

Then I went over a to a friends place who is betatesting the Playstation 2 network support, played a FPS shooter game called Seals on the net.

Also talked to my mother today and was ‘drafted’ to go help cheer on my cousins son tommorow when he plays fotball during Norway Cup, seems I was also drafted to keep the kid entertained tommorow afternoon as he is staying at my mothers place until Monday morning.

I don’t really mind, I love children, but I think I am getting to a point where I rather have my own than babysit someone elses, of course the is currently a small practical issue that needs to be adressed for that equation to work out :)

Been downloading the Oracle Collaboration Suite over the last two days. Want to get the GNOME tools working flawlessly with it in order to get people at work to start using Linux and GNOME on their desktops.

Some days it feels like the world conspires against you. I have been spending the last 3 looong days on a task I had set aside half a day to complete. First I had some database consistency troubles. When I managed to fix that I realized I needed to reformat the USB disk to use ext2 to be sure that it would preserve case sensitivy properly. Or actually I thought about making a tarball, but fat32 has a 4GB file size limit.
Anyway it seems linux is unable to handle formating a usbdisk without crawling to halt for some reason. Then when I finally got the disk formatet I started the file copying and went home. Arriving this morning I discovered that the server must have rebooted/crashed while copying files to the usbdisk, that it only had copied maybe 10% of the files before crashing, that I needed to reformat the disk again since there seemed to be some hard file system corruption on it now.

So if my frustration over this wasn’t enough I got a reply from the Australian migration authorities regarding an email I sent them. It turns out that since I lodged my application they changed their list of high priority professions which means I my work permit will probably take 1 year to process instead of 4-6 months…aaargh!!! But maybe even more frustrating was that I got a relatively standardized reply which means I don’t really know, I can just assume. And it didn’t even answer the most important question I asked, namely if they now had all the papers they need from me.

Got latest epiphany and galeon installed on my laptop yesterday and used them both. To be honest I think the difference between the two is rather marginal. The most major difference is in the preference menu, but even there I can’t help feel that the difference is more look than actual functionality.

Been some discussion of what browser to go with as the default GNOME webbrowser, personally I feel the issue is rather marginal usability and integration wise, and instead we should look at which has the least amount of bugs / most maintenance when the time comes for actually including a browser in the core package.

Which brings me around to related issue, the issue of applications truly conforming to the HIG, being integrated with GNOME etc. Mostly the change of focus has been good as it has brought the debate away from being about pure technical issues to be about usability and integration. It has not however solved the basic problem that you have in any organisation where decisions are made, where people tend to make the arguments to fit the choice instead of making the choice based on the arguments. Of course I am not claiming to be innocent of this myself, it is a very human thing to do.

When skimming through Jeffs cool planetgnome
website today it occured to me that it is the closing of a circle. It started by Advogato being set up as a blogging tool and people found it interesting to read since it contained news tidbits from many different developers. Then many of these developers wanted to host their blogs on their own site with their other stuff. Problem with this was that of course very few people actually read their blogs cause who bother going to 50 websites to read something which just as often is personal ramblings as it is cool news. So Jeff sets up planetgnome which I guess could be seen as a way to re-advogatize these blogs in the context of gathering them all into one central location :)

My tan is darkening after another blue sky/hot sun weekend sailing in Oslo. This is how life was meant to be :) Ok, so I spent most of Saturday at work, but still.

Didn’t get much productive work done this weekend, but I do plan on getting a new GNOME Summary out either today or tommorow.

Got some criticism for approving a story about the new GNOME website look onto gnomedesktop.org, but I can’t help but feel I did nothing wrong. When you change the frontpage of the gnome website, the change is official by nature. It was not like I announced www.s3cr3tb3tagnomesite.org.

While working on the GNOME themes lately I have started to ponder the mechanism for theming application icons. The problem with the current filename based approach is that it seems people tend to use both different icons for the same applications or at least give the icons different names. There is also the issue distributions in the name of userfriendlyness assigning generic icons to different applications. My current solution to at least some of the issues involved is having my metatheme package create lot of symlinks, but it doesn’t really solve everything.

The only alternative method I know is the one currently applied by GTK+ in regards to its stock icon themes (a method to be replaced by the filename method in the next release of GTK+). The GTK+ method lets you assign icons with any filename to a programatically defined name. Problem with this method is that it puts more effort onto the programmer and is according to the Sodipodi developers quite hard to implement for custom widgets (which sodipodi use a lot of). I am also not sure if this method truly solves the problem.

I guess the fix here will be to help clean up the icons and the icons names used by application. Martin gave me permission to update the gpdf package to use a custom icon for gpdf which will take care of one package, but many others probably also need some love. Oh well, it took me some time, but I think that we have nailed all important issues with using SVG graphics in GNOME now so I guess I need a new pet metaproject anyway :)

Depressing day, discovered I didn’t get a bonus this year. I had a utilization grade of 75% compared to the target, and the minimum requirement for getting a bonus is 80%. So while I survive getting the 1300 Euro after taxes less this month it is still a frustrating loss. argh.

We had a tropical night in Oslo last night, the weather is just smashing these days. Days as these I do enjoy owning a sailboat :)

Fun stuff happening on the GStreamer front.
Ronald Bultje has just commited a Matroska demuxer and is currently working hard on libcolorspace. A Matroska muxer is also on his agenda. Most of this work his is allowed to do as part of his current job which is cool.

There is also a major software company considering to use GStreamer in the flagship product. They have currently mainly done windows software altough clones of their products exist on both Mac and Linux/Unix so their first action would be to port GStreamer to Windows, which would be a nice contribution. But I think the major advantage of them using GStreamer would be the huge increase in mindshare the project would get, in fact I think being able to announce it would firmly cement GStreamer as the de-facto multimedia layer on Unix.

Anyway they are still exploring their options, but I feel optimistic about the whole deal.

Personally I am currently working on creating a standalone package with the monkeys audio plugin and library. We decided to pull it out of the main package due licensing concerns, but since the plugin is done and ready including a full port of the library from windows and a contributed PPC port I feel it would a shame to just let it rott away in the CVS attic.
Making it a standalone package will let people who want it get it, yet at the same time keep software with a stupid license out of our core modules. In fact we have with the help of Brian Cameron been continuing the license cleanup of GStreamer core modules with the goal of making sure that all code in there is LGPL. All non-LGPL code including GPL code we want to push into either separate libraries or at least put in a special directory. This way people who want to make plugins can feel sure that no matter which plugin they use as their template/starting point for their own plugin it has a LGPL license.

Another great piece of news is that someone might
be paid for working part-time on GStreamer soon. dolphy wants to use GStreamer as the framework for the software his company provides as part of their service.

On the SVG front I have slowly started to experiment with cascading stylesheets now. Anyone who have look at Metacity know that it has a SVG like XML language it uses for configuration. It allows for different codes like gtk:[SELECTED] used for color codes. Our plan is to support those kinda color codes in the CSS stylesheets too, through adding support for them in our CSS library libcroco my by dodji. That way the SVG’s are still just using valid XML yet they can be made to color intergrate with the GTK+ theme used. In the same way non-pixmap Metacity themes does. Anyway that is the second step and probably a couple of months away. First step is actually getting the CSS stylesheets with standard color codes working, which they in theory does, but since nobody has actually tested it before it probably has some smaller issues that needs solving.

Managed to do a new release of gnome-themes-extras
the package of SVG based metathemes for GNOME I maintain. The themes took a major leap forward in intregration quality lately with panel icon themeing starting to work with gnome-panel Currently only the Nuvola and Wasp themes take advantage of this to advanced degree, but I hope that Gorilla and Lush will follow.

I am also working on adding 2-3 themes to the package, with 2 of them already being partially in CVS, but they need some more love before I feel they are ready for primetime.

cinamod is doing a new librsvg today which is good as it contains a few little rendering fixes. librsvg mostly renders thing ok now, as the screenshots for g-t-e shows, but there are a few glitches which I hope we get to over time. Dom seems a little overextended atm however so I am hopeing for someone new to come to the rescue and help us take librsvg that last mile to perfection. If anyone is reading this and wants to help out me and Dom can be found in #librsvg on irc.gimp.net.

Built myself an RPM from gnome-panel CVS 2.2 branch yesterday and finally SVG icons work in the panel menu. kmaraas is doing a new GNOME 2.2 panel release which is great as it will enable people to instantly upgrade to a working version of the panel to try out the menu icons provided in gnome-themes-extras. Now all that remains is updating the themes to really theme as much as possible.

Got two new SVG based themes on the way to gnome-themes-extras, the first is new to GNOME and the second is new to everyone :)

I also managed to clean up the SPEC file for CVS of GStreamer plugins the other day. It now has a structure that makes it a much better solution for upgrading the default RH packages.
For some strange reason ffmpeg doesn’t build when packaged now, but hopefully I will be able to dig out why over the next few days.

Also been thinking about doing some new GNOME interviews. This time focusing on people doing some really innovative stuff out there. Think it would show the reality of how free software developers innovate, while large companies who demand the freedom to innovate in their antritrust defence never truly does.