Gran Canaria Desktop Summit ’09: Kickoff meeting

Two weeks ago Sebastian Kügler, Will Stephenson and Claudia Rauch from KDE  and Dave Neary, Vincent Untz and myself from GNOME had a two days meeting in Gran Canaria to have the first face to face meeting between the KDE and GNOME folks, the local team and the local government (Cabildo de Gran Canaria).

I won’t go into the details of the meeting, besides, I want to point out how great the whole meeting was. The feeling with the KDE guys is just great, the local team is doing an outstanding job, the support and facilities provided by the Cabildo are just awesome.

A sneak peak on the Auditorium rooms and nearby landscape:

Auditorio Alfredo Krauss & Parque de la Musica

GCDS09: Alfredo Krauss AuditoriumGCDS09: Alfredo Krauss Auditorium

GCDS09: Alfredo Krauss AuditoriumGCDS09: Alfredo Krauss Auditorium

There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m pretty confident this is gonna be awesome.

RE: Why just one DVCS?

Following up John's and Juanje's thoughts on the topic.

John's idea of having a compatibility layer sounds like a good idea to me, I'm not aware of the consequences of such solution, but basically, if it is doable, I totally agree it's worth trying as it will help to keep hardcore git/hg/bzr users happy despite the choice we make.

However, I don't think that such a solution should prevent us to make a choice. A choice has to be made, for reasons of common consistence and for not confuse newcomers with a "choose whatever you like" statement. That's worse than picking the wrong DVCS or staying.

What really worries me is that this whole GNOME choice of DVCS discussion seems to be driven as a popularity contest rather than a purely technical decision, pretty Vim vs. Emacs alike. And everytime someone tries to evaluate the tool from other perspective than the hardcore hacker workflow, there's someone with an over reaction, pissing off the people trying to make decisions things on the right way.

There should be a well stablished criteria to make such choice: Which one has better documentation? Which one has a public API that allow us to extend our development tooling? Which one will ease our sysadmins life (bkor, I'm looking at you ;-)? Which one is easier to learn? Which one would ease the transition from SVN users? Which one has positive answers for these questions _now_?

Five years ago, most of us were not hacking on GNOME, and a lot of us won't be hacking on GNOME in five years time either. Making decisions like this based on the personal preferences of the current hackers seems like a really selfish reasoning. Translating or patching GNOME is a task hard enough already, and if we are not careful with our choices in this matter, we would raise the entry barrier a little higher.

If we can make a choice, and still allow compatilibity to other DVCSes tools and workflows, I'm all for that. But despite that a choice has to be made.

A Boy Named Charlie Brown

DISCLAIMER: This is yet another boring blog post about my childhood.

When I was 5-ish, I used to have loads of VHS with movies both live and animated, one of those VHS had two Asterix & Obelix movies an A Boy Named Charlie Brown. After watching the latest Halloween special from The Simpsons in which there was a Charlie Brown spoof, I had a blast from the past and I managed to get a copy of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, but this time in english.

The story is about how Charlie Brown cannot succeed in anything and suddenly he figures out how good he is in spelling bees, ending up in the national contest representing his school. I forgot how charming that movie was, and nowadays, with some more years in my back I appreciate it a lot more. The move is from 1969 and despite that the animation is stunning, the jazz soundtrack gives a great background and pace, and the songs are quite emotive, something quite different from the Disney factory back in the days.

All in all, a charming movie for both kids and not so kids that will always have a special place in my memories.

Time Slider Screencast

Erwann just posted a screencast on how the recently released OpenSolaris 8.11 new Time Slider feature works.

This is a neat excuse to try the new OpenSolaris release out, get your live cd at the download page, if you want to install it and don't have an spare machine you can use VirtualBox to set up a virtual machine and play around with it.

By the way, for the curious hackers the time slider code is available through src.opensolaris.org.

10 Years online

I've been surrounded by computers pretty much all of my life, my father worked as an accountant and eoconomy consultant, (recently he also got a laws degree, so he's a lawyer now as well). He was lucky enough to work on one of the first companies in Canary Islands to buy computers for accountance, and pretty soon he spotted the importance of this, so Victor (my brorther) and myself always got a computer around.

When my brother was 11-ish and I was 3 or 4, he got a new computer, an 8086 Schneider Euro PC, that was pretty nice back then in the late 80's, the computer and the keyboard were integrated, although it didn't have any hard storage, just 3.5" floppies that you had to exchange in order to load big chunks of programs. Since then my brother always got quite involved in computing. Meanwhile, I was more interested in a NES, then a Game Boy, then a Sega Megadrive (Sega Genesis), SNES… it was all about games for me. And a few years after, my brother showed me on his computer a master piece, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, I suddenly got in love with that game format, not only because I loved the mental challenge that any graphical adventure involves, but also because it had a charming sense of humor. Definitevely I got addicted to LucasArts adventures, and in order to play, I needed a computer. Too bad I didn't own one.

My brother was also very early on internet access, we had internet already in late '96 early '97, although I didn't pay too much attention to it, the only cool thing that I found was that I could get tips and solutions for the adventures I was playing. But eventually, one day, he showed me IRC, and I kind of got interested in that as well as a way to meet new people, I was 14, just got in high school, and I didn't really like most of the people I met there (with some exceptions of really nice people of course), plus, most of the people in Gran Canaria using internet and getting in IRC back then were computer geeks as well.

After some years of frustration and big fights with my big brother about how much time could I spend on his computer, during summer 1998, I worked at my father's office to be able to be a proud owner of a AMD 486 DX2 with 8 or 16 megs of ram by the beginning of the 98/99 school season. In the meantime I also saved money enough to buy a second hand 300Mhz AMD K5, a motherboard, some memory and a brand new ISA 56K DIAMOND modem.

And that's the story of how I got online, it feels kind of odd to look back at all the stuff that has happened, and how very little or even stupid things got me into find out what I end up passionately wanted to do for a living, which is computers and how can they be used solve every day people's life. On further posts, I will explain how did I got into Linux and opensource, which is another funny story.

This post is meant to be is a big thank you to my brother and my father for their influence and tolerance, and my mother for lend me some money back when I broke some hardware (which used to happen a lot by the way).

Life, Gtk+ and GUADEC

Life

Long time no blog. I've been quite busy lately, mostly work and real life. For the first time I've joined a gym, and I'm quite commited to lose the fat I've got during my college years. It's been almost 10 years since last time I did regular sport, and I'm actually surprised that results are getting there only after 1 month, soon I'll need new trousers. I'm doing three times a week, plus a soccer match on thursdays with the guys at Sun (originally started as a MySQL vs. Sun soccer match).

At the begining I thought that it will be pointless, that it will take me too much time to lose fat, and that I will be tired all day, but it turns out that is funny, and the trainers are quite friendly and are always up to help me and answer any question I have to get better results. After all this years I' actually regret not to do this before. I've lost 4 kg already (probably more taking muscle gain into account), and I haven't been so thin since my first year which actually encourages me to go ahead, still around 15/20 more to go though.

Gtk+ Theming API Hackfest

Since Real Life(TM) is taking me some more time than usually, I don't have as much time as usually to hack and my Gtk+/Win32 love and other ramdom stuff is kind of stalled. However, I took the time to organize a small hackgest here in Dublin in the Sun offices for mid februray.

The idea of the hackfest is to improve the whole theming situation on Gtk+, how Gtk+ draws and how can be themed, this aims to make life easier to artists (CSS, more flexible engines), engine writers and non X11 look&feel integration and extend the capabilities of Gtk+. Also, people from Trolltech and Mozilla will be around to give us their feedback on how can we improve our public API for better integration of Gtk+ on third party toolkits, I guess offscreen rendering work would be a big topic here.

There are quite interesting people coming, check the wikipage of the event. I would like to thank Sun and the GNOME Foundation for supporting this event.

( GUADEC+Akademy || Akademy+GUADEC )

Things are start to rolling in what I think it could be the start point for a lot of great things to happen in the free desktop world, the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit. I have the gut feeling that if we sit down together face to face we can achieve a lot of interesting things, I'm starting to feel the good sinergy between both communities in the organization mailing list.

My Christmas flight is earlier than expected to Gran Canaria this year, we're going to have a meeting between the GNOME Board (Chema, Dave and myself), the KDE eV guys and the local government (Cabildo de Gran Canaria) to visit  the venue, discuss, and why not, enjoy a more pleasant weather than the central european one 😉
Kudos to Agustin and the local organization team for setting everything up to both board visitors for this meetings.

Dirk and Geoff, my managers, have agreed to include my involvement in GUADEC into my personal development plan, that means, I have working hours dedicated to GUADEC's organization. So expect more blog posts about what's going on on the most important open source event of the year! (Okay, that was biased, but I don't care).