Entries from July 2005 ↓

Stop energy

Been a lot of blogging back and forth about dconf over the last few days. Can’t help but feel its an example of stop energy in action. I wish we could be better at not using words like ‘crack’,’stupid’,’bloated’,’overdesigned’ and so on when commenting on what other people do and instead try to give constructive feedback or give constructive feedback under less insulting headers. Could be that dconf is a bad idea that we will never end up using in GNOME, but publicly lynch mobbing the project and its developers isn’t a good example of the type of developer outreach we claim to want to do.

Open source browser for Maemo

Philippe De Swert just announced yesterday night that he have ported the gtk-webcore based browser from GPE to Maemo/Nokia 770. Take a look at the nice screenshot
of the little baby in action. Wonder how long before a minimo based browser pops up :)

Also there is a Nokia 770 blog for you to read.

More important court case for open source than the SCO/IBM case?

While many of us follow the SCO case through sites such as Groklaw I wonder if it should take precendence in importance to another important case underway to the free software community. By now the SCO case is shown to be so weak and unfounded that Darl probably spends his evenings praying that he will not end in purgatory for it.

Anyway I think people should instead start taking greater interest in the class action lawsuite lead by Handal & Associates against the DVD patent holders. This case claim that the DVD patent pools basically constitutes price fixing and a conspiracy to monopolize and demand that all the patents involved gets found invalid. If they succeed it will have a profound effect on free software as things like mpeg2 becomes royalty free. Secondly it will probably be the death stroke for royalty bearing patents pools, which most likely will lead to more royalty free standards.

SVG in the news

A nice story today on Slashdot focusing on the new Inkscape release. I am really happy about how Inkscape is progressing, both due to how it helps promote the wider usage of vector graphics on the desktop, but also since it is now using gtkmm its a very good proof that C++ development under GNOME is a viable option using our C++ bindings.

Inkscape also provides the librsvg team with much needed motivation to increase the functionlity of librsvg. Current cvs of librsvg seems to cover everything possible to export as SVG from Illustrator, so its good to have a free software application like Inkscape being there to really take advantage of possibilities in the SVG format. Hopefully
Inkscape will get support for filters soon so that the filter code that Caleb wrote for librsvg can be put to good use and get some stress testing.

Another Fluendo team member

With Ronald going of to Cornell this fall to get his Biochemistry Phd we needed someone to take over his job.
Today we are happy to announce that we reached an agreement with Tim-Philipp Müller who will be joining us in August. Tim-Philipp have been very active for the last year fixing bugs and helping out keep GStreamer bugzilla in check so
we feel very confident he will be able to hold the fort.

Great to have you onboard Tim-Philipp!

I am also pretty confident that Ronald will not disappear completely from the GStreamer and GNOME development scene, even if he at least for a while will be hidden in the fog of
academia. Maybe he will make sure GStreamer supports some medical image formats for instance :) Ronald have done a tremendous job both as a community member of both the GStreamer and GNOME communities and as an employee of Fluendo, making applications such as
Cupid, the video recorder and fixing up issues making Totem and GStreamer play much better together. And and on top of all that maintaining the gnome-media package. The amount of effort he has put into fixing bugs in GStreamer and to support more formats and datatypes is simply astounding. I also think that anyone who have ever come to the gstreamer IRC channel would agree that he is among the people there most willing to help and give advice. A big thanks to Ronald for his effort so far.

Going out

Been keeping pretty busy recently. Went to a Joss Stone concert with the rest of the crew on Monday for instance. Pretty nice concert hosted in Pueblo Espanya. Joss was pretty as can be too, although someone should have told her that even when you are drop dead gorgeous you shouldn’t have your mothers kitchen curtains retailored into a top.

Yesterday evening we celebrated a combination of Michael finding an appartment and Edward signing a contract to stay on at Fluendo after his internship ends. We went to a place called Belchica which serves belgian beers of the high alcohol level type. Woke up this morning with a bad headache which managed to be combined with a painful cramp in my left leg. But after massaging my leg for 10 minutes and sleeping for an extra hour I felt pretty fine and went for the long walk to work.

Spanish lessons

So I am back to taking spanish lessons again. Had my first lesson yesterday and I have to say I feel much more likely to actually get somewhere this time. I have enough of a spanish vocabulary now to at least make a guess about words or put together a simple sentence. We are only 2 people doing this class which feels a bit weird, but I guess it will also mean I have to push myself harder as there is no crowd to get lost in, which is good. Its a two week introduction course which is meant to be followed by a beginners course afterwards.

Distro wars

We are currently two people in the office running Fedora, three people running Ubuntu, one person running plain Debian and one person running Gentoo. Not sure why I am mentioning it, maybe I wonder if we are representative of the spread of world linux developers.

Moving out and moving in

Michael got himself an appartment today, or rather he got one which will become available the first. Good thing as Bastien confirmed his visit at the end of August today, so I now know for sure that the guestroom is available :)

Weekend in review

So it finally happened, Jan have arrived from Australia, and did so on Saturday. So Edward and me headed over to Jaime and Jan’s place for a little food and some drinks that evening. Later on we headed out for some more drinks, starting with Zahara, a cocktail bar at the tip of Barceloneta. Later in the evening we where joined by Thomas and Kristien, Wim and Sabine and finally Michael and Scott.

Daytime both Saturday and Sunday where spent on the Barcelona beach trying to ensure a future for my bronze beachgod visage.

On Sunday evening Edward and me ended up watching two sci-fi movies, Terminator 3 and Barbarella. I guess apart from both being ‘sci-fi’ I guess they couldn’t have less in common.

GStreamer on Windows

It have has (choose either of these two verb forms, but please choose the correct one. ed) arrived. Michael Benes has created the missing plugins to make GStreamer work on Windows and ported his media player to Windows to prove it. With this GStreamer now runs on Linux/Unix/MacOSX and Windows, which makes it fully cross platform. Cool stuff indeed!

WARNING! Andy Wingo might end up suffering from violence in the near future.(He will be remembered as a martyr who died for correct style and grammar. ed)

When the world centers around Barcelona

Been a busy last few days. Matthew Allum of OpenedHand fame came to town on Monday with his wife. Yesterday Tim Ney arrived, to have some meetings with the organisers of next year’s GUADEC, and Oyvind aka Pippin popped into our offices too for a visit. So we ended up going out to dinner last night at what turned out to be a good, but rather expensive resturant (45€ per person for a 3 course dinner with drinks).

I joined Tim at the meeting with the local GUADEC organisers last yesterday and they do have an impressive locale available. I think we can be sure it will be very well organised and the infrastructure is above anything we had before. The biggest challenge is sorting out GUADEC in a way which makes sure we don’t drown alongside the other conference which has a daily attendance of around 2500 people last year. The organisers seemed willing to let us have the cellar for mostly ourselves which meant a footbal field size open room and 5 conference rooms. In addition to that we would have our keynotes etc., in the main room which I think had seating for at least a thousand people.

GUADEC for next year is only early planing stage now, but I think doing a GUADEC for people in or interested in joining the GNOME community in the cellar should be our goal and then try to do some more outreach kinda talks as part of the other conference, as it is already well attended by local businness and government.

I have in general been in favour of ditching the current version of our user day for quite some time, as it haven’t worked very well IMHO. But for next year, where GUADEC will be part of this larger conference, keeping some remains of it around might be a good idea.

SVG going forward

Great news from the SVG camp. First of all thanks to the hard work of Caleb librsvg is now features plugable rendering backends. With Dom and Caleb doing the final needed auto*magic yesterday. Which means that instead of being tied to libart (which have served us faithfully for the last years) we are now ready to have other rendering backends implemented. Carl Worth of Cairo fame have already sworn a holy oath that he will now implement a Cairo rendering backend for librsvg. Which means we can have a gradual migration to Cairo as our primary rendering backend for librsvg. It also turned out we had a few problems with how to handle SVG icons when used as GTK+ stock icons, but Matthias Clasen fixed that just hours after I reported it to him, thanks Matthias!

GStreamer 0.9

Things are flying by in GStreamer 0.9 CVS. Core issues are being sorted out at break-neck speed. In the core the major issues are taken care of and people are commiting more polish type things currently, fixing small irritants left from the 0.8 days. New plugins are being ported over from 0.8 at a quick pace too and I expect to be able to playback most of the important video and audio formats early august at the latest.

Nokia 770

Got our hands on a couple of Nokia 770 devices yesterday. Will be interesting to get some development work done on the actual device, like getting a working Ogg implementation for the Texas Instruments DSP CPU’s.

The arrival of Jan

The Spanish embassy in Sydney finally came through and Jan got his work visa yesterday. So he will be arriving here in Barcelona on Saturday. It will be great to finally have Jan around in person, as its been a long and frustrating wait for both him and us to get his work permit in order.

TV Slave reborn

Had a productive weekend. Started by buying myself a TV on Saturday. It is my first flat LCD TV and its kinda neat standing there close to the wall with a relativly big screen yeat not having a gigantic tube causing it to take up a lot of space.

Harry Potter

Also bought the latest Harry Potter book, which I completed Sunday morning. Ended taking the train out of Barcelona with Wingo on Sunday to check out a the beaches a little further away from downtown Barcelona. Ended up lending my Harry Potter book to Andy which he SMS’ed having completed around 21.00-22.00 in the evening. Guess the publishing house is unhappy about there not being any DRM system hindering two people in reading the same book in this way :)

Anyway, and I warn for some spoilers here, I am not to impressed with this latest installment of the Harry Potter series. First of all all the earlier books have resolved around its title in a rather significant way. The story of who the half-blod prince is is close to being completely inrelevant and when done with the book it felt like the whole half-blod prince thing had been put in as a page filler. In fact after reading the book it felt like most of the storyline leading up to the conclusion was irrelevant and meant mostly to fill a lot of pages.

The whole Ron/Hermione relationship/romance feels like it is something Rowling decided should happen, yet she has failed to ‘sell it’, it feels construed and artifical currently. The Harry and Ginny relationship felt a bit better developed and you could belive it, although it ended in a giga cliche ‘we can’t be together cause it will put you in danger’, yeah right, like the damage isn’t already done.

And I have to admit being tired of the unbeatable Quidich team. Personally I would love to not have to read any more about Quidich in the books, but if Rowling insists on spending more time on the topic, could at least the Griffindor team not win for once?

There where also a couple of cheap storytelling effects in the book, like Hermione having cheated another character out of a place on the Quidich team in order for Ron to get a place. In order to make the main characters not look bad from that this character was then shown to be an asshole later on in the book. Please, if you want to make your characters do something which could be said to be a bit immoral or lacking in character, stand up for it, don’t try to justify their actions.

Anyway I do realize that I am not in the target demographic of Harry Potter at all, and it could be that the story have a much better appeal to the younger audience it is actually written for. Anyway, I wish George R.R. Martin would hurry up with A Feast of Crows as that is definetly targeted at my demographic and probably the book I am looking the most forward too atm.

Edward goes famous

Edward (bilboed) got his claim to fame as the LUGRadio teams interviews him in their most recent show about the Pitivi video editor. The show also hints at Jono getting very close and personal with GStreamer.

When even the pure become tainted

I complained some time ago about even free software people not releasing their stuff in free formats. Today it was pointed out on IRC that even Debian who usually presents themself as the distribution most concerned with being free and open uses mpeg for their debconf videos. I guess the purity of Debian is mostly lip service :(

A sick world

Noticed on
CNN today
that Hillary Clinton among other US politicians was asking for a re-clasification of Grand Theft Auto from 17+ to Adult Only, due to some hack that could be installed to have the in-game characters have sex. Never liked the GTA games much myself, but I do find it disturbing that even supposed liberal US politicians get more upset about sex in a game, than they do about the goal of the game being to run around as a crimial killing and maiming people. I don’t subscribe to the school of thought that thinks books, movies and games turn kids into murderers or sexual nymphomaniacs, but if I where I would be much more worried about kids getting exposed to violence and crime than to sex. I mean for all the parents out there, what do you prefer a) your daughter having sex with the boy next door or b) your daughter having killed the boy next door. I mean what kind of sick world is this when people think the image of a female breast is dangerous for a 17 year old person while an image of a guy getting his head blown off is by comparison safe? I think it safe to say that a female breast is only potentially lethal if it hits you at a speed above 250 km/h, and based on my own observations over the last 20 years female breasts very very rarely move as such speeds. Guns on the other hand tend to have a much much higher degree of lethality.

GStreamer and Mono

Some time ago I tested Mono after struggling a long while with getting the Mono stack installed properly. Since I re-installed my machine since then Mono was gone from my system until today. Luckily I found Nrpms today which provides an extensive collection of GNOME related RPMS for Fedora Core 4 systems. So now I have Muine installed again with all needed dependencies. I was also able to test out f-spot for the first time, and I have to say its a really nice application. Got to test Sonance for the first time too, looks and feels nice, although at this point there is no special features you don’t already have in rhythmbox or jamboree afaict, but who knows what the future holds.

Ian Murdock please shut up

Whenever I read an interview or article recently with Debian co-founder Ian Murdock, my respect for him degrades. Ever since Ubuntu came out he seems unable to comment on current happenings without looking like an arsehole and loser. If he wants Ubuntu involved in his so far feeble projects he would probably be more successfull if he tried asking them directly once, instead of constantly giving out snide remarks when someone bothers to interview him.

Growing the office

We got a fresh batch of desks delivered to the office yesterday. So we now have our desks split into two groups. One group of desks which are basically Flumotion and one group of desks for the rest of us, which means Pitivi, the DVD player, Noel who is doing our accounting and myself.

Guess we might need bigger offices next year :)