Older blog entries for rodrigo (starting at number 41)

Valley of Benasque

A couple of weeks ago I was in the Valley of Benasque (Huesca, Spain), for some trekking, and just had some time to upload the photos, so here they are for your pleasure, since it is a very nice place. It was the first time I was there not in winter, so had the chance to visit some places that, in winter, are almost impossible to visit (unless you want to take the risk of an avalanche).

Specially nice was the Glacier of the Aneto peak, the highest peak in the Pyrenees (from the distance, we didn’t have time to get to the top, since it takes many, many hours):


Also nice to see was the water from the Glacier disappearing into the rocks (and appearing again, by magic, in the Valley of Arán, on the other side of the mountains):


I took more photos, so go here to see the rest.

Syndicated 2009-09-26 11:33:07 from Rodrigo Moya

GCDS summary

After an exhausting week at GCDS, a similarly exhausting weekend partying in Pamplona for San Fermín, and an again exhausting return to day to day work, just found some time to write some notes from last GCDS.

  • First, about RMS’s talk. I really didn’t find offensive his comments, just was a bit upset by the way he answered some of the questions asked by some people (this is a stupid question or something like that was one of his answers), but well, I can live with that and didn’t feel offended at all. But I found his talk very, very (did I say very?) boring. Talking about how cool is free software in front of an audience of free software enthusiasts, and about the history of GNOME and KDE in front of many of the core contributors to those projects was, IMHO, a total waste of time. While the talk is great for other audiences, it was totally out of place at GCDS. And that’s all I have to say about this, no meme from me.
  • There was a lot of interest on CouchDB from many people:
    • Tracker guys might want to use it to store metadata and files.
    • Roberto Majadas, the newest incorporation to the GNOME Hispano board, has been working on Vala bindings for my couchdb-glib library. He should announce them soon, I think.
    • Henri, from Midgard, implemented, while in Gran Canaria, the replication protocol used by CouchDB for Midgard, which means you would be able to sync (contacts, bookmarks, notes, etc) not only to CouchDB servers, but also to any server running Midgard.
    • People liked a lot (at least they applauded a lot) the demos for the stuff we’ve doing for bookmarks (Firefox) and contacts (Evolution and Akonadi) storage in CouchDB, that Steve Alexander showed in his talk on Wednesday. Thanks BTW to Ryan Lortie, who kindly gave his slot for his gnio talk so that Steve could talk about our work.
  • About GNOME 3 technologies, I have to say that the platform changes seem to be very well on track (thanks to Andre Klapper for keeping track), and GNOME Shell looks really good, even though it seems to still miss some functionality (applets? notifications?), which I’m sure the people working on it will settle down. Not so sure about Zeitgeist. It looks really great, don’t misinterpret me, but after thinking about it for a while, I couldn’t imagine how it would be useful for me, given how I access files. I’m sure it would be quite useful for lots of people, I’m just talking about me, but I think it would make a lot of sense if, instead of a separate application, it were a Nautilus view, just like you have the icon, list and compact views. But well, I’ll try testing it soon and maybe I’ll get convinced.
  • I liked a lot the Telepathy tubes stuff for desktop sharing, as well as the libnice talk by Youness Alaoui. These 2 open the door for very nice things to be added to desktops in the not-so-distant future.
  • I talked with several people about the contents of the conference, and most people agreed that, for someone that follows GNOME development the whole year, most talks are useless. Not that they are not interesting, because they are, but it would be much more useful if they were replaced with discussion groups that came up with plans for the next development cycles. Talks are still ok for new people getting to the conference, but having BOFs just after the core days, where a big percentage of the attendees are already gone, is, IMO, not a good idea, they should really be part of the core days. UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit) has this right IMO, where there are only a few keynotes, and then several rooms hosting those discussions for different topics, where people come up with clear plans of what they should be working on. I hope we can do something similar for next year.
  • And after complaining about too many talks, I have to say that one of the best things in the conference (along with the GNOME 1, 2, 3 talk by Fernando Herrera and Xan López), at least for me, was the Pitivi tutorial, by Edward Hervey, which showed to the profanes like me how to do nice videos. I hope I’ll be able to follow his teachings and, soon, publish some nice videos of my motorbike and skiing rides as well as my holidays, with good rock&roll as the soundtrack :-) That, along with Mistelix (a DVD authoring tool) might change radically the way my friends and family enjoy my photos and videos.
  • Federico was selected as the first GNOME Hispano honorific member in the GNOME Hispano dinner on Thursday. It’s just a honorific title (accompanied by a bottle of local rhum as the prize :) ), but he really deserves anything we can do to show him our admiration to the best hacker I’ve ever worked with.
  • I missed the FreeFA tournament, because playing football at 3PM under the Canarian sun is something my religion forbids :) But yeah, even with me not playing, Bastien lost again :-D
  • Also nice was to have the personal hobbies lightning talks on Tuesday. As I discussed with some people, sexist problems, IMO, might be solved if some people, instead of being all the time in front of a computer, got out once in a while and met some non-geeky people (including women, of course) and share some hobby with them. That might make them understand better how to behave in front of women or people with different cultures. So I hope mega geeky people in the audience used those lightning talks as a starting point to find non-technology hobbies.
  • I really missed more KDE<->GNOME cooperation talks. Most of the cross-desktop talks were about things specific to one or the other desktop, not about how both projects could cooperate more. At the end, except in parties, it was hard to find KDE people (at least I only saw the KDE people I know in parties) around, and I guess the KDE people had the same impression. We even had 2 separate parties one day!!! Have to say though that the GNOME one was funnier, as some KDE people that showed up at the GNOME one told me :-D

Last but not least, as always, meeting again all the people I already know and making new friends is the best part of this kind of events. It makes you feel again part of a great community.

And to finish, a big thanks to the people that helped in the organization. They already had a big round of applause at the GNOME Foundation Annual Meeting, but I’ll say it again here: thanks a lot!

Syndicated 2009-07-16 17:02:19 from Rodrigo Moya

GCDS expectations

With just a few hours before I leave to Gran Canaria, here’s a list of things I personally would like to get from the conference:

  • I’ve been to all GUADEC’s except for 2 (Stuttgart and Istanbul), and every time I’ve missed one GUADEC, I was doubly excited to go to the next one, so this year, having missed last year’s, this is the case again.
  • Since for the first time we are having a joint KDE/GNOME, I am expecting to have a big push on collaboration and cooperation between the 2 projects. I am not sure what would come out of this, but we should all really be looking for this, since it would just help both projects a lot. So, keep the rivalry only for the sport activities, please (maybe a KDE vs GNOME football game? :-) )
  • As I’ve already blogged about recently, we (at Canonical) are trying to push CouchDB use to the desktop. I’ve got all the code I’ve been working on ready to be shown (karmic packages here, but broken for jaunty right now, sorry), so if someone wants to see it in action (a technology preview, of course, not everything is done yet), just find me around and I’ll do a personal demo (a better demo if you buy me a beer :-D ). Other Canonical staff will be around also showing these (and other) technologies, so if interested, just ask.
  • GNOME 3.0 plans and technologies like mutter, gnome-shell.
  • I only played the FreeFA tournament in Vilanova (yeah, was part of the cool champion team), so looking forward to revalidate the title :-D
  • Mojo Picón, a spicy hot sauce typical from the Canary Islands. Make sure you try the Papas Arrugadas with that sauce.
  • Have a lot of fun!

Only bad thing is that I’m going to miss the first few days of San Fermín festival in Pamplona, but well, since I’ll be back home on the 10th, I’ll have the chance to enjoy the last few days of it. As I said other times, please use other dates than July 6th to 14th next year!

See you all in Gran Canaria!

Syndicated 2009-07-02 14:53:04 from Rodrigo Moya

Mapping Gran Canaria (call for help)

For all of you attending Gran Canaria Desktop Summit next week and with fancy gadgets like Nokia’s N800/N810, cell phones with GPS, etc, please take the opportunity for helping out the OpenStreetMap project.

How? Very easy, just make sure you set up your gadget to save tracks and have it recording your itineraries whenever you move around the city/island (no need to record your walks around the conference center :-D ). With so many people with gadgets around the city for the week, I think we can improve the current situation (not bad, but lots of room for improvement if you compare it with the Google Maps version).

To save the tracks correctly, make sure to search for your device at http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/, and follow the instructions on how to set it up for good recording of tracks. The most important thing is to setup a good interval (I use every 10 meters or every second, whatever comes first). If you use a very long interval of saving track points, the tracklog would be mostly useless. Also, if you want to do more than just saving tracks, have a look at the map making techniques page. But please, just saving the tracks is enough for helping, so there’s no excuse if you have a gadget with GPS.

And then, when you have the tracks, just send them to me, if you don’t want to bother anymore, or, if you want to bother more, join the project and help editing the map.

Syndicated 2009-06-29 11:51:27 from Rodrigo Moya

CouchDB contacts in Evolution

Continuing with my CouchDB on the desktop series, here’s the 1st screenshot:

Evolution addressbook showing contacts stored in CouchDB

It’s Evolution addressbook components showing contacts from a CouchDB database. As stated in previous posts, all contacts in that database would be automatically replicated to a remote CouchDB instance, so, for instance, you could just see and edit/delete/whatever them from a web interface, and the changes would show up in Evolution.

Code is in GNOME git, under couchdb-glib and evolution-couchdb modules.

Syndicated 2009-06-19 16:27:01 from Rodrigo Moya

couchdb-glib 0.1

As the first step on CouchDB desktop integration, here’s version 0.1 of couchdb-glib, a GLib-based API to talk to CouchDB.

This initial version only allows reading and does all operations synchronously (not a problem in most cases, since the communication is done to the local CouchDB instance, which is quite quick, at least from what my tests show so far). Next releases will have all the missing functionality.

And, well, no screenshots to show, so here’s some example code for you to enjoy.

Source code is in GNOME GIT, under couchdb-glib module.

Syndicated 2009-06-11 10:35:00 from Rodrigo Moya

Desktop data/settings replication

In the last UDS, there were some talks about UbuntuOne, the technologies it uses, and how it could be well integrated into the Desktop. Also, there were discussions about how it could be integrated painlessly into upstream projects. So, here’s an idea on how this could be done.

First, it must be said that the easiest (and quickest) way of achieving UbuntuOne integration in Ubuntu would be to just patch/extend applications so that they supported accessing the UbuntuOne server, and have Ubuntu packages use that as default for users with UbuntuOne accounts. That would make most Ubuntu users happy, but it would not benefit at all users of other distributions, and worst, the upstream projects.

Now, if we look at the technologies being used in UbuntuOne, there is one awesome thing, called CouchDB, a project supported by the Apache Foundation, which provides databases (of JSON documents) that can be replicated (and 2-way synchonized) to other hosts. So, what if we had Linux Desktop applications use this for storage of files and settings?

couchdb-in-the-desktop

Well, what would happen is that we’d gain data / settings replication and synchronization for free. And also, if we could come up with standard formats / locations for common information (accounts, notes, mails, calendars, etc, etc), we’d also gain a shared storage for all applications to use, solving the problem of incompatible formats / locations used by similar free software applications.

And other advantages:

  • CouchDB knows already how to deal with conflicts, as this is included in the automatic replication / syncing features it provides.
  • While normal documents in CouchDB are JSON, you can attach any kind of file to any JSON document (even to empty JSON documents), so any kind of files can be stored. Also, it allows users to create as many databases as needed, so storage for different needs can be easily separated.
  • CouchDB provides a sort of revision history, so it could be used for nice stuff like Zeitgeist.
  • This, not being an Ubuntu-only solution, could benefit every Linux Desktop user.
  • UbuntuOne would be a service built on top of this that users can subscribe to. But others could just setup a CouchDB server on their home / company network and use that by just pointing their local CouchDB to their remote CouchDB replication server.

To continue my investigations/playing on this, I’m going to try writing a gvfs backend to manage files in the CouchDB instances. Once that’s done, applications could start just writing their files to couchdb://… URIs instead of file://… ones and enter the replication/synchronization world with just a single change. Next, a GConf/d-conf backend could be added for replicating/sync’ing settings, and so on.

Syndicated 2009-06-02 22:44:54 from Rodrigo Moya

Back home

After two weeks out of home (1 week for Canonical all hands at a nice hotel and conference center in Terrassa, and another for UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit, for those who don’t know) in Barcelona), I’m finally back home and have rested enough to write a small post.

First of all, the good things: met again with some GNOME old friends, like Christian, Cody, Pedro, Seb, Ryan, James, Jorge, … (sorry if I miss someone), and met lots of new interesting people, both from Canonical and the Ubuntu community. Learnt lots of new things (which I’ll try to blog about soon), hacked on cool stuff (more news soon), had a lot of fun hanging around with people, got a bit tipsy some nights, and, in summary, had a great time, even though I slept very few every night :-) And well, visiting Catalonia in general and Barcelona (my father’s born place) in particular is always a pleasure for me.

But there’s always a dark side, or maybe I’m getting too old, but I really don’t understand why in the free software community we compete so much, and please don’t take this as an Ubuntu-only case, I’m blogging right after UDS just by coincidence, this is something that applies to all the communities I’ve seen so far in the free software world. That is, it is nice to have competition (”2 desktops make for a better Linux desktop“, “choice is good“, etc), but hearing all the time comments in community/project A about how community/project B sucks so much (and viceversa) made me think, while coming back home on the train last night, about how we could be doing if we cooperated rather than compete. That is, having 16 audio libraries in Ubuntu, is it really needed? Or having people from different projects work on the same stuff over and over without even talking to each other about how to share some work? Is it that hard to understand for us, that we like telling others from outside our world how nice it is that you can share and work together with others, that we should really apply those principles in how we do the stuff ourselves? How is it that, in these events, you hear more comments against “rival” free software projects than against “evil” companies, like in the good old days of trolling?

As I said, maybe I’m really getting too old for this, but it really reminded me the situation in Catalonia in the final years of the Spanish civil war, where anarchists and socialists fought against each other for a few months instead of fighting together against the fascists. Fortunately here nobody is dying, so I guess I can cope with being in the middle of some fightings (I have friends at Novell/Canonical/RedHat/* and GNOME/KDE, etc), but just try to imagine how well we could do if we all cooperated a bit more. What a wonderful audio library we could have if the people working on those 16 implementations available in Ubuntu worked together!!! *

So yeah, that’s all the bad stuff I had to share. From now on, will only blog about the nice things that came out from this All Hands/UDS 2 week marathon.

* audio libs developers: please don’t get upset, I’m not criticizing you, just using you as an example of what happens in a lot of projects

Syndicated 2009-05-30 19:21:58 from Rodrigo Moya

New job

Being quite busy last week with my new job, I totally forgot to blog about it, so, in case someone is interested, I started last Monday working at Canonical. Not sure yet what parts of my work are public, so I’ll just point you to the job offer for now :-)

Syndicated 2009-05-04 11:37:25 from Rodrigo Moya

+10 years in GNOME

While cleaning up my very old mail, I came across some of the 1st mails I sent related to GNOME, and, a bit late though, I wish to celebrate my 10th anniversary as a GNOME user and developer. I started as a user in 1998, and after some hacking training (on my free time, since my job at that time was nothing related to free software), I came to announce version 0.1 of gnome-sql, which was later on integrated with the already existing GNOME-DB project.

In all these years, I’ve worked on several projects (GNOME-DB, Evolution, Control Center, openSUSE GNOME packaging and integration mainly), and, most important, I’ve met a lot of great people, and, fortunately, the future looks even more exciting (more news on this soon), so looking forward to my 20th anniversary :-)

Syndicated 2009-04-23 11:47:46 from Rodrigo Moya

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