Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Sunday 30 July 2006

Cross Desktop Application Scripting @ DDC2006

I have posted the slides for my talk at Desktop Developer Conference 2006 last week.

I have also posted older stuff like a presentation in French I did at the Club Linux Outaouais in Gatineau in April 2006.

Saturday 29 July 2006

Cairo and Qt3

I was wondering if I could use Cairo from Qt3. Given that Cairo allows creating surfaces from X11 visuals and that Qt allow accessing them, I thought it was simple. As a proof, here is the interesting bit (using Qt3 and Cairomm, the C++ "bindings" for Cairo):

QSize size = QWidget::size();
RefPtr<Surface> surface = Cairo::XlibSurface::create(

That code is from a member method of a QWidget subclass.

Get the code: main.cpp. To build, use the following command:

gcc main.cpp -o main -I/usr/include/qt3 -I/usr/include/cairo -I/usr/include/cairomm-1.0 \
 -lqt-mt -lcairo -lcairomm-1.0

Now lets think how to make that API clean, and how QPainter will conflict with it :-)

Update (July 30th): I got pointed to qcairo in the cairo-demo. I must admit I didn't really look for one as I liked the educational part of figuring things out (easy).

Friday 28 July 2006

All about the French DMCA-like law: DADVSI

Jean-Baptiste Soufron has a good commentary in Emglish on how the French law about digital rights and media is now even worse than proposed.

There is also a lawyer commentary by Maitre Eolas in French (Maitre Eolas is an attorney at law[1] [2]).

And as of Free Software, I'm worried about a few Free Software packages whose developers are mostly in France.


[1] Avocat à la cour in France, which is the jurisdiction that matters

[2] just to make some people happy

Wednesday 26 July 2006

Porting Tomboy to C++

The Gnome destkop-devel mailinst list have had a huge flamewar^wdiscussion about including Tomboy in the desktop. But Tomboy is written in C# and thus require Mono to run. That led to an including Mono into Gnome debate, etc.

But now there is Jason who wants to port Tomboy in C++ using gtkmm. His motivation is purely fun and education (learning Gtkmm programming), but I find that a good idea, given that he wants to translate C# to C++. Why would that be a good idea? Because it would should whether or not the resource usage is better. Let's see how this experiment works, and I look definitely forward to the result.

And my take on that discussion: Gtk#, the Mono bindings Gnome deserve to be in the plaform binding given that they meet the requirements. But I don't think the Mono platform should be in the Gnome platform, hence any program in the platforme depend on Mono. Whatever amount of coolness is in these apps (I really like Tomboy and f-spot), I think that sometime decisions like this should be made.

Update: let me repeat. Jason's goal is educational.

Tuesday 25 July 2006

OLS 2006, last report

My last report of OLS:

  • Greg's keynote told us that binary kernel modules in the kernel are illegal.
  • Dave Airlie's presentation about driver has an epilogue, or when ATI cannot review 600 lines of code in 4 month. It is just a repeat of the talk, but in writing. Let's hope AMD-ATI merger will change things in the right direction.
  • Samsung experiment putting Linux on a Digital Still Camera, and they consider that it fits the bill. If only we got better Linux support from them. They are the second company to publish something like that after Ricoh in OLS a few years back. Still no real product though.

Monday 24 July 2006


I would like to congratulate Dodji and Juliette:

(Picture by teuf)

I wish you the best.

Friday 21 July 2006

Desktop Developer Conference and OLS

Since Monday, I have been attending Desktop Developer Conference and Ottawa Linux Symposium, in Ottawa as you have guessed.

  • Met Aaron J Seigo from KDE fame. Lot of fun, very cool guy. And he has great karaoke skills[1]. Too bad I had to drive[2]; that's the drawback to be local and not being within walking distance to the partying locations. His proposal to recycle the kernel developers really make sense. And he shortly demoed a few UI concepts about plasma.
  • Dave Airlie talk "Open Source Graphic Drivers - They Don't Kill Kittens" was very funny and interesting: it is like a state of the union for the graphics drivers development. I learned that latest ATI 2D support for the R5xx is 600LOC[3] and after a few month, ATI still haven't acknowledged the code they received from him for review, to be released as Open Source. It appears that the only chipset with good 3D open source support is still the Intel one. Too bad AMD, it does not work with your CPUs. Looks like AMD user will have to either go with onboard VIA or an old Radeon R3xx supported by the almost complete Free driver. Unless you want to relinquish your freedom. Nvidia, ATI and Matrox are definitely not to be consider. VIA as its own set of problem but there are decent Open Source drivers beside being of inequal quality.
  • Intel is committed to official provide day 0 Open Source Linux support by providing Open Source drivers AND documentation for their chipsets, wifi and graphics. It is something that is now part of the engineering process: that sounds like very good news. Now, one can wonder why there are rumors about AMD merging with ATI. AMD is in a situation where they don't have a real Open Source solution due to lack of graphics chipset (beside the Geode-chipset that is 2D only).
  • AIGLX seems to have a better future than Xgl, just because of the design. Du to missing features in the drivers AIGLX works only with the open source 3D drivers that have been fixed to provide the needed feature, which makes the choice very thin at the moment. Again, get an Intel. Nvidia said they would do it, and ATI didn't say anything.
  • I won a BlackDog in the IBM give away. Another nice tool for playing. I also collected several T-Shirts, enough for almost a week. I'll post more about the BlackDog and I should really experiment more with embedded devices.
  • Statistically, Gnome seems to be the most common desktop on the attendees' laptop. It is a purely empirical count, and there are still a lot of people running more simple environment like Blackbox, WindowMaker, etc. Ubuntu and Fedora seems to be the most common distro, but it is hard to say really as the branding is not always obvious.
  • Lot of people from RedHat, SuSE and Novell, Intel, AMD, IBM, HP, Google.

Tomorrow there will be a huge drinking BOF at the Black Thorne.


[1] I'l post compromising pictures soon

[2] don't drink and drive

[3] lines of code

Tuesday 18 July 2006

WPA and prism54

Dan, you rock!

Now I have to rebuild a kernel tree with this patch and test. Later this week.

Thanks a lot Dan!

Sunday 16 July 2006

Desktop Developer Conference

Tomorrow will be the Desktop Developer Conference in Ottawa. I'll be talking about Ideas for cross-desktop application scripting infrastructure.

Then I'll attend OLS.

See you there!

Monday 3 July 2006

prism54, WPA, NetworkManager

Dear Lazyweb,

Apparently, NetworkManager does not support WPA on prism54. Can you tell me why? I have been unable to find a proper answer. I would love to use WPA for more security, but apparently I can't on Ubuntu Dapper.