Older blog entries for lucasr (starting at number 239)

Desktop Summit 2011

I could not attend GUADEC last year for a very good reason. So I’m really happy that I’ll be able to go to Berlin for the second Desktop Summit this year! This is my first GNOME conference without holding any official roles in the project since 2007. This means I’ll hopefully have more time to just hang out with my fellow hackers. I’ll arrive on the 6th of August and leave on the 10th.

I guess it’s a good time to announce that I’ll be giving two talks this year. The first one is about GNOME development in JavaScript with Gjs. It will be on the 7th of August (Sunday) at 9h40 in the morning. Hopefully, a few attendees will wake up earlier for this talk!

The second talk is about The Board, one of my current pet projects, which you have probably heard about. I’ll demonstrate the current features and talk about the future plans for the app. I hope to finish some awesome new features in time for the conference. Let’s see. This talk will be on the 8th of August (Monday) at 14h40.

This is also my first open source conference as a Mozillian. So, if you want to know a bit more about Firefox Mobile, just find me at the conference venue for a chat. All in all, I’m very excited about the conference this year! See you all there!

Syndicated 2011-08-02 05:17:01 from lucasr.org

Orixá Mutante

Orixá Mutante

Davi Moraes is mostly known as the guitarist who played with famous Brazilian artists like Caetano Veloso and Vanessa da Mata. He’s a remarkable sideman but his solo albums are well worth having a look. Orixá Mutante is Davi’s second album released in 2004.

The album opens with Ganzá which has one of the grooviest guitar riffs I’ve ever seen. Som das Ruas follows with high-vibe funky beat. Pretoriana and I’m Still in Love with You bring the reggae sauce to the pot. Tô na Sua is a slow tempo funky balad with amazing vocalized guitar solos. Liquidificador de Orixás is a punchy afrobeat a la Femi Kuti. The album also features the original recording of Café com Pão which became a big hit a few years later in Salvador’s carnival.

Orixá Mutante is a great showcase of what I consider the best side of axé music. A fusion of all sorts of music genres, from Afro-Caribbean to funk. Style-wise, this album is similar to some of the best stuff by Carlinhos Brown such as Omelete Man which is, in my opinion, Brown’s greatest masterpiece. What differentiates Davi from Brown is his lyrical style as well as his strong focus on the overlayed guitar riffs.

This album should definitely be in your playlist if you enjoy good afro-groovy music!

Syndicated 2011-07-05 22:31:47 from lucasr.org

London’s Best Coffees

Monmouth Coffee by Erik Hartberg (CC-BY-NC-ND)

As a good Brazilian, I love good coffee. Here’s a short list of my favourite coffee shops in London. Most of them are in central London because they are close to litl’s office in Tottenham Court Road, where I worked for more than two years.

Monmouth. I usually go to their Covent Garden branch at Monmouth Street. Small, cosy, and earthy. They have two other branches. They import and provide coffee for restaurants too. For instance, my favourite pizza place in London serves Monmouth’s coffee. Perfect combination!

Milk Bar. Tiny coffee shop at Bateman street. Young and indie atmosphere. They expose art work from local artists in their shop, pretty cool.

Tapped & Packed. They are at Rathbone Place, number 26. Keep the street number in mind because the name of the shop is not shown anywhere—as far as I could see. They serve the tallest Victoria sponge I’ve ever seen!

Sacred. This is a little coffee place inside the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush. They have the creamiest flat white. Delicious!

If you have any other suggestions, please post them as comments. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing about other good coffee places in the city!

Syndicated 2011-06-29 23:26:36 from lucasr.at.mundo

Joining Mozilla

I’m really excited to announce that I’m joining the Mozilla folks to work on Firefox Mobile! There are several reasons why I’m excited about it, here are a few of them.

Big Challenges. All major mobile platforms have their own built-in web browser. Being a third-party browser in the mobile space means that you have to offer an extremely compelling product in order to convince users to switch. And I do believe Mozilla can make it happen. Allowing users to seamlessly go from desktop to mobile without interruption is a major step on the right direction. I’m sure more compelling features will come out.

Space for innovation. The web browsing experience on mobile devices carries much less legacy than on desktop. This means there are less barriers and constraints for innovation and a lot of space for experimentation. For instance, tablets bring a whole world of possibilities in terms of new features and interaction models for larger touchscreens.

Global, public benefit, open source. It feels good to work for a public benefit organization that is fully committed to improving the web. Mozilla is also a huge open source community. I’m sure it will be a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. As a long-time open source contributor, I’m eager to learn more about the Mozilla community and hopefully be able to contribute in a meaningful way.

My first day at Mozilla will only be in July as I want to take a well-deserved break between jobs to clear my head a bit before starting. It will be a good to spend more time with my girls, travel a bit, and maybe work on some of my pet projects.

Exciting times ahead!

Syndicated 2011-06-14 11:36:31 from lucasr.at.mundo

Leaving litl

After three years at litl, it’s time for me to move on. Writing a blog post to announce that you’re leaving is always a bit tricky. In this case, it’s because the experience at litl was so rich in so many ways that to it’s hard to know where start from.

Back in the beginning of 2008, I had already decided to leave the Maemo team at Nokia and started looking for my next gig. I heard about litl for the first time from OpenedHand’s Matthew. He said Havoc was working on something pretty cool there. I had started conversations with a couple of prospective employers but I thought it would be cool to talk to Havoc and get to know a bit more about the company’s plans anyway. I honestly thought it was very unlikely that litl would be my next thing mostly because I was under the impression that they were only hiring in the US.

Fast forward several weeks, I accepted an offer and started working at litl—a few months in Helsinki waiting for my UK work permit then finally in London. And I was not alone, the whole Maemo UI framework and toolkit teams—Tommi, Xan, Johan and I—got hired at the same time! Interestingly, this was not a collective move in any way. We only found out about each other’s interest in litl once we started having our first interviews. It was funny to see the rumors that were founding a Maemo-focused company of some sort.

The first two years at litl were quite intense! Each of us would be working on something totally different each week or month—cache management, webcam, photo app, contacts app, sync protocol, web browser, core UI, plugin framework, etc. All this while we were still trying to finalize the design and interaction model for the product. We finally released the litl webbook, our cloud-based computer, in November 2009. This is, by the way, long before Google actually released Chrome OS.

litl’s team is just awesome, full of extremely talented and generous people—quite a few of them are well-known for their contributions to GNOME and other F/OSS projects. Throughout those years, the team gradually grew on all fronts with people coming from Amazon, Novell, Red Hat, OLPC, US startups, and many others.

I’d like to make a special mention of a few people with whom a worked more closely since I joined. First of all, it was a great pleasure to work with Johan B. and Tommi for almost 5 years, both at Nokia and litl. I learnt a lot with them. Secondly, working with Havoc was an awesome experience. He has this huge talent for solving complex problems besides being simply a nice guy. Last but not least, I loved working with Marco. He is, with no doubt, one of the most passionate developers I’ve ever met.

A lot has changed in the company since the release of webbook. litl is now starting to explore new areas and markets. I feel that I have now ended an important career cycle and it’s time to move on to something new. All in all, I can only thank everyone at litl for the great time I had!

What I’ll be doing next? I guess that’s a topic for my next post :-)

Syndicated 2011-06-13 15:50:26 from lucasr.at.mundo

My Favourite “Tutu”

Dreyfus Night in Paris

The magic of jazz comes mainly from the fact that it’s fundamentally built around improvisation. Reinventing the same tunes over and over again is a core part of the culture among the jazz musicians. This is maybe why I find it so cool to track all the ways by which certain tunes have been performed at different gigs in various moments of jazz’s history. I talked about my favourite performance of the classic So What in a previous post. Now I’d like to talk a bit about my favourite Tutu.

Tutu was composed by the genius Marcus Miller in 1986. It was originally recorded as part of a Miles Davis’ album with same name that was all composed, arranged, and co-produced by Miller. What I find special about Tutu (the tune) is that it shares a lot of the qualities of So What by working as a sort of minimalist platform for great improvisation. The core foundation of Tutu comes from the 3-note bass line with a chord progression that provides the perfect ground for intense solos. My favourite performance of Tutu is in an album called Dreyfus Night in Paris recorded in 1994, three years after Miles’ death.

So, what makes this specific performance so cool? The personnel is fantastic: Marcus Miller (bass), Michel Petrucciani (piano), Kenny Garrett (sax), Bireli Lagrene (guitar), and Lenny White (drums). White and Garret have played with Miles and other giants, Lagrene has a very interesting work with Pastorius, and Petrucciani is just legendary. If you haven’t heard of some of those guys, you should definitely go look for them. You won’t be disappointed!

The solos are fantastic! All of them start setting a quiet atmosphere, with sparse notes and rhythm then go into more complex rhythmic and melodic explorations until reaching a climax with high-pitched notes full of energy. Garret’s dissonant arpeggios are overwhelmingly cool. Lagrene brings in a highly melodic solo full of tempo-bending riffs. Petrucciani has such a Hancockian precision in his solo that it almost feels like he’s composing a new tune while improving. Finally, Miller turns his bass into a percussion instrument while still playing the bass line.

So, in summary, Tutu in Dreyfus Night in Paris is 16 minutes of pure energy with remarkable solos. Other people have positively reviewed this album before—good reads if you want to know a bit more about the album.

Syndicated 2011-06-05 22:38:31 from lucasr.at.mundo

The Board 0.1.3

The Board 0.1.3

Time for a new development snapshot release of The Board! I’ve just uploaded the 0.1.3 tarball. Get it while it’s hot! So, what are user-visible changes?

The main feature of this release is the webcam support in photo elements with Cheese. It’s fun, it’s magic! A couple of useful key shortcuts were added: Ctrl+N to add a new page and Delete key to remove selected elements. An important crasher fix—caused by an update in gobject-introspection—is also included.

I should be updating The Board’s PPA with the new release in the next days. Other distros should have updated packages soon. The sad news is that the webcam support will not be available on Natty as it doesn’t ship Cheese 3.0. Everything else should work fine.

What’s next? I will be working on the implementation of a storage layer based on Tracker and a few important UI improvements. On other news, I’ll be giving a talk about The Board in the next Desktop Summit. Yay!

Syndicated 2011-04-28 21:10:58 from lucasr.at.mundo

Moving to Fedora

After many years using Ubuntu as my primary distro, I’m now moving to Fedora. I’ve installed F15 Beta on my personal laptop during this long weekend and spent a few hours getting my development environment back together. I have a few reasons for moving to Fedora.

Ubuntu and GNOME 3. Ubuntu now has an uncertain user story for GNOME 3. They will provide a PPA for Natty with GNOME 3 but it pretty much comflicts with the official packages. Not ideal as I just want GNOME 3 out of the box.

GNOME 3 full time. So far, I’ve tried GNOME 3 on the live images and while doing GNOME releases but never used it for longer than a few days. I wanted to start using it full time as soon as possible and Fedora provides exactly that.

Red Hat and upstream. I have always had great respect for the big contributions that the Red Hat guys give to GNOME and other upstream projects. I want to support them in a more concrete way.

Out of comfort zone. I’ve recently decided to do a few things to get me out of my comfort zone. Changing distros is one of them. It’s not a big deal really—at least for me anyway—but it’s a step on a not-so-comfortable direction. I’ll surely learn a few things on the way.

Except for the apparently broken Eclipse in F15—couldn’t get the Android ADT plugin to install—and a few glitches and rough edges here and there, the experience has been quite good so far.

Syndicated 2011-04-25 11:27:50 from lucasr.at.mundo

Leaving the Release Team

Photo by Frédéric Péters

It’s been some time that I’ve kept my work on the GNOME release team to a minimum by just doing a few development releases. After some consideration, I decided that it’s a good time to leave. The awesome Colin Walters will replace me.

This is the team that set the general plan for the GNOME 3 release and I feel very proud of having been part of it. I especially remember a couple of very long conversations with my evil twin about GNOME 3 and the team discussions during our meetings at GUADEC and FOSDEM…

Leaving the release team means that I now have no official roles in GNOME anymore. I’ve left a few other positions recently—among others that I haven’t really announced. This is actually an explicit decision of mine to gradually free some of my (rare) spare time for other personal projects. You probably know one of them. But there’s probably more coming, stay tuned!

Syndicated 2011-04-17 23:22:53 from lucasr.at.mundo


What a day! This is one of those rare special moments. Hard to describe. Tricky to write about. It’s when the result of the hard work of the community is finally made available to everyone! 9 years since our 2.0 release and nearly 3 years of gestation. GNOME 3 is finally here!

GNOME 3 is a new baseline for innovation for the years to come. A new user experience, a clean platform, a gorgeous website, and more. This release brings a strong refreshing feeling to the community and this is simply awesome.

Celebrate my friends! Wherever you are! GNOME 3 is an amazing achievement and we should all be very proud of it!

Syndicated 2011-04-06 21:46:23 from lucasr.at.mundo

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