Updates on GNOME Calculator

GtkBuilder templates

Last GUADEC Michael Catanzaro asked for help out loud trying to find a new maintainer and I decided to take the bullet. For a couple of months I felt a bit guilty since I was merely doing new tarballs containing pretty much just translations.

However at some point a couple of months ago I sat down and started reviewing patches people were submitting and got up to speed with the current state in bugzilla, the review process allowed me to get familiar enough with the codebase to start finding things I would enjoy doing.

The biggest task I’ve been trying to accomplish is to move all the UI code to GtkBuilder .ui files and rework the codebase to use them as reusable templates. Vala has great support for this, here’s an example on how to create a MathWindow class, with a widget as a private member and a callback:


This has allowed me to remove quite a few lines of code making the project a bit more maintainable. It has been also a good opportunity to get familiar with gresource

DX Hackfest & XDG App

During the DX hackfest I spent some time to package GNOME Calculator as an XDG App, the only problem the app had was that it was using gvfs to retrieve currency data from the network. I ported this to ye’olde libsoup and everything went on smoothly. On the third day I caught a bad case of food poisoning so on the last day of the hackfest I was rather useless.

I would like to thank Philip Withnall for organizing the hackfest, Javier Hernandez for hosting me in his couch, our friends from the Betacowork space in Brussels for coping yet another year with the GNOME and LibreOffice hackers, and the GNOME Foundation as well as many other companies for sponsoring people to attend.

Incoming! Fleet Commander 0.7

We’ve just released the 0.7 series which should be the first version that is somewhat stable to use (think of it as alpha) and as we speak is under review for inclusion with Fedora 24.

For the last year I have been massaging the prototype we had at GUADEC in Strasbourg into a reliable product, and recently Oliver Gutierrez has joined the team to help with the web development affairs, I would like to summarize some of my work here so that you guys know what’s all about and what are the future plans.

For those unfamiliar with the project, Fleet Commander intends to be a centralized configuration management interface for system administrators managing GNOME deployments. Think about schools, universities or an office (either small or big). The idea is to reduce the amount of work needed to centralize the customization of the user experience. These days most sysadmins use a bunch of scripts, packaging or manual configuration machine-after-machine to achieve this goal.

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Fleet Commander in action

The screenshot above shows the main profile editor, those who remember the Sabayon tool might be familiar with this concept. What you see is a virtual session running on libvirt, and basically picking up a VM I created with Boxes as a template. The idea is that the sysadmin replicates the “base image” that the users have in the network inside a VM, and makes the configuration changes that he needs.

After that the profile is placed as a json file and you can control which users and groups it applies to from the admin UI. This files are served by an HTTP endpoint that is consumed by a host daemon that retrieves all the profile data, turns each profile into a dconf db, and creates a dconf profile that aggregates all those dbs at login-time.

Right now this will work on anything that uses dconf (except for some potential issues where people use relocatable schemas), Stephan Berg from LibreOffice fame has written dconf support upstream and will make things magically work.

We’re quite proud of the release but the setup is a bit more complicated that I’d like it to be (we need to exchange an SSH key to access the libvirt host), future plans include FreeIPA/SSSD integration and migrating the UI into a Cockpit plugin which will make our codebase a lot leaner to maintain.

We’re working on an updated wiki page to explain how to set it up once it hits Fedora 24, stay tuned!

Moved to wordpress

I’ve decided to move my blog to wordpress.com, originally I started using Typepad because it was where my brother was working at the time. These days the service feels quite dated and it doesn’t have the kind of community of users that wordpress does. I’ve come to realize that the thought of using Typepad’s editor has discouraged me to write a post more than a few times.

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On top of that I rather use a platform that openly supports free software. I have to say, as I write this post, I’m quite impressed at how advance the WordPress editor is, it feels like driving a new car.

So that’s that, I’ve migrated all my history here in case people want to read old posts in the new site.

Despicable SPI

So apparently, this happened, and then this. Long story short, the elementary OS guys had been offered to use SPI as the legal entity to represent the project, something they didn't need at all, and since they didn't, Joshua Drake, apparently a director at SPI, decided to threat them with bad press all over if they didn't agree to join SPI. Which he then did, he started several threads on reddit and wrote a blog post trying to undermine the project, the post is now deleted, and this aberration of an apology (which is total BS and shows how much of an ass he is).

I seriously don't get why this guy has not been fired from the SPI organization immediately, this sort of bullying behaviour should not be allowed and, at least in my book, an apology means nothing. Someone like that does not belong to an organization that is supposed to help free software thrive and protect its communities.

I don't get how SPI expects the community to trust them at all after this.

I am really angry at this and I would like to express the elementary OS guys all my support.

Re: Scammers at promo-newa.com

Beware of promo-newa.com, they scammed my colleague and friend Richard. As someone with experience in importing from China I know how scary and risky it can be so I completely sympathize with them. Apparently they sent hacked 96Mb flash drives that reported to be 1Gb flash drives.

Let's make sure the internet is filled with references to this scam. Also, if you live in Shenzhen and/or can think of any of helping him that'd be really nice.

At the very least, make sure you share this post around in your preferred social media wall!

DevX Hackfest 2015

Yesterday I arrived to Cambridge to attend the DevX hackfest. Loads of good stuff going on, I am mostly focusing on trying to integrate the hundreds of ignored pull requests we're getting in Github's mirror with Bugzilla automatically. In the meantime loads of interesting discussions about sandboxing, Builder, docs and mallard balls being thrown all over the place and hitting my face (thanks Kat).

It is real nice to catch up with everyone, we went for dinner to a pretty good Korean place, I should thank Codethink for kindly sponsoring the dinner. Afterwards we went to The Eagle pub, apparently the place where DNA discovery was celebrated and discussed.

And this morning we are celebrating Christian Hergert making it to the 50K stretch goal just before the end of the crowdfunding campaign for GNOME Builder.

I would like to thank my employer, Red Hat, for sponsoring my trip here too.

Back to the kingdom

And not the kingdom of Spain unfortunately (unfortunately because I miss it and because it's still a kingdom). In a few months (not sure about specific dates yet, probably in early 2015) I will be moving back to the United Kingdom, this time to the larger metropolis, London. Don't panic, I will still be with Red Hat, there won't be a lot of changes in that front. In the meantime I will settle back in Gran Canaria and will be flying back and forth on a monthly basis.

I must note that when I made the decision to move to Czech my plan was: "I do not have a plan", just enjoying it and trying to make the best of it without thinking in deadlines as to when to move back to Spain. Red Hat has been a very welcoming company in which I feel just like home and Brno has been a very welcoming city and this is definitively a part of Europe that is worth experiencing. I've met terrific people during this period both inside and outside Red Hat.

There was, however, a little problem.

Something altered the mid-term plans, a few months before I moved, when the decision was already made, I met someone very special with whom now I want to share my life with. After 16 months of  carrying a distant relationship it was due time to find a place where we could be together, after months of planning and considering options, London presented itself as the spot to make the move as she found a pretty good job there.

While I am going to miss sharing the office on a daily basis with awesome people, I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life.

Canary Wharf at Night | London, England, Niko Trinkhaus, (CC by-nc)

I want to note that I am deeply thankful to Christian Schaller for his tremendous amount of support during my stay in Brno and for working with me in figuring ways to balance my professional and personal life. I also wish him the best of luck with his new life in Westford, I'm certainly going to miss him.

On the other hand I guess this means I'll show up at the GNOME Beers in London more often 🙂