Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Thursday 26 July 2007

OpenOffice.org LXR

I just pulled the plug to force people to use the new LXR server for OpenOffice, located at http://lxr.go-oo.org/. It should be much faster. You'll be redirected automatically.

Freedom is the goal

tbf, I agree with what you said. Another thing that made me cough during the keynote is when Alex[1] said that Flash did address the problem of video codecs. I'm sorry it does not. It just move it in the wrong direction, away from freedom.

The main problem with video (and sound) codecs is that they are patent encumbered. Therefore most of them can't be redistributed without violating some obscure patents in some obscure country. That's what Ogg (Vorbis and Theora) is addressing, the problem with Ogg being that no proprietary vendor has the courage nor the interest to push it forward[2]. As for moving to Flash it is even worse: there is no reliable Free Software implementation of the technology[3], the video codecs are even more encumbered (hello VP6), not solving the distribution problem (actually the Free Software implementations relies on the same code as the one I mentionned above, causing the same headache) And the current non-Free implementation of Flash is not even re-distribuable in its binary form, nor does it run on more than one variety of Linux arch: x86[4]. And given how reliable Adobe have been providing non-Free Linux support for Flash in the past[5], I'd guess pushing Flash is like putting all your eggs in the basket whose handles are about to break.

I don't use Linux because it is cool, I use Linux for the freedom it provides me. If I wanted to be cool, I would use MacOS X on a MacBookPro, have an iPod video with the latest "cool" song and video DRM'ed purchase on iTMS, would have bought a locked iPhone I couldn't use as a phone, and spend my time on MySpace, youtube, instead of trying push Free Software forward with all the other Free Software hackers.


[1] nothing personal, really, I just happen to disagree

[2] lot of examples to be given, but mostly the major two are just pushing their own agenda to try to keep people prisonner to their system

[3] neither gnash nor swfdec are complete and stable at the moment

[4] you all know the hack involved in making it run on x86_64: SuSE for example ship Firefox in 32bits just to run the proprietary plugins

[5] remember Flash 8 on Linux?

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Guadec photo coverage?

I was reading about Ubuntu Live photo coverage by James Duncan Davidson, I was wondering if we shouldn't try to get one for the next Guadec [1]. Off course there is the financial cost of such a hire, but I'm pretty sure that, like for the video filming of the presentations, we could find volunteers to do it (count me in). On my side, I sort tried to do it, to some extent, but it is a lot of work for a proper coverage, and I was also attending, which does not mix very well.

The other issue being technical: I miss a very important piece of glass, the EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS to be able to cover the talks / keynote properly (the 50mm f/1.4 is too short for that even with the x1.6 crop of the 20D), and trying for a few shots Garrett's lens convinced me.

Maybe next year in Istanbul...

BTW, one more time thanks to the Guadec organizers. It was fantastic.


[1] actually I was wondering even before Guadec, watching James' work with other conferences

Monday 23 July 2007


My laptopThinkpad Z60t display Fan error on boot.

Huge suckage.

Google does not help. Screwdrivers might.

Oh dear Lazyweb all mighty, save my soul an show me the answer!

Update: looks like a good ol' smack and it is good to start again, not without coughing a lot of dust. Thank you lazyweb

Thursday 19 July 2007

Mandriva Flash

In the bag of swag (actually it was out of the bag, but that's just splitting hair), there was a 2GB USB flash. Beside holding the whole conference material, it also has a Mandriva live system. Unlike other LiveCD this is actually a persistent one as the flash drive is used to store the user's data.

I hadn't tried Mandriva for over half a decade and I must admit that Mandriva has done an awesome job. This time I'm impressed. It is simple to install and it works, almost. The only problem came out of the 915resolution hack to have the LCD panel in something else than 800x600. Not that I had to tweak, but I had to configure manual in the clicky-UI and reboot.

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Guadec facts

Random bits from Guadec:

  • Thanks to Opened-Hand and Collabora for the free beer at the party last night at the Walkabout. Lot of fun have been had, still feeling it. Thanks to Becky and Sinead for the bar :-) I really need to post more pictures. Thanks for picking the tab, Rob!

  • Swag: got 5 t-shirt. 3 from the conference, 2 from Collabora. Note to people giving away swag: maybe tinking about the other pieces of clothing? Why not giving away boxers, socks and pants?
  • Robots controlled by Nokia 800 looks fun.

  • Epiphany with WebKit! Fabulous. You rock guys! I need to scratch an itch and do that for liferea. I'm sure it will be easier than debug the GtkMozEmbed plugin.
  • SD card in slot cause suspend to fail on my Z60t. Need to pokeage the bug tracker to report it.
  • Online desktop keynote by Havoc and Bryan: not sure I get you guys. What I'd love to see is a free software solution that provide similar features that Apple's iDisk and "iSync service"[1]. That way we would have the choice of providers to use and not rely on one unique.
  • Jono and Haddess gave me unvoluntarily an application idea for the Nokia: using the Nokia as both a presentation remote control (over bluetooth) and a slide note cheat card (ie the slides notes on the Nokia screen).
  • Wore my aKademy 2006 T-Shirt.
  • The T-Shirt Edward was wearing last night is fun. Pure coincidence that this rant appeared on planet Debian?

  • Didn't really hack anything.
  • The most popular distribution seems to be Ubuntu. Like KUbuntu was at aKademy 2006.
  • Monday, Marc did present AbiCollab. This feature is currently unique to the Linux version of AbiWord. Unfortunately Marc had to leave the conference earlier.

  • J5, it is ONE laptop per child. Not two !


[1] don't really know how they call it

Saturday 14 July 2007

Guadec day 0

In Birmingham right now. Flight on time in Manchester, train on time to Birmingham new street, etc.

Free wifi in the hotel lobby, met a lot of people already.

Thursday 12 July 2007

CUPS sell out

According to CUPS.org, Apple has purchased the company behind CUPS and the Copyright of CUPS source code. Apparently this does not affect licensing of the current version of CUPS, still under GPL2/LGPL2, but I wouldn't be that optimist about the future. Note that in the past Apple had already paid a premium for a license exception that allowed them to evade the GPL2, and even though they published their modification to CUPS itself, they never released the whole stack as they would have if it at been GPL2.

Time will tell... but I'd recommend starting to mirror everything just in case Apple pull the plugs.

Note: this is a pessimist view. But it just remind why at one point copyright assignment might not be good.

Tuesday 10 July 2007

Exempi 1.99.3

I just released exempi 1.99.3.

Get it .tar.gz - GPG sig


  • New API wrapped: xmp_serialize{,_and_format}() and the corresponding option bits so that we can serialize XMP packet to a file (like a sidecar)
  • New API wrapped: xmp_get_array_item()

Monday 2 July 2007

Oh Canada !

It is Canada day.

Tonight we attended my first July 1st fireworks, seen from the Quebec side over Parliament Hill, from the Musée des Civilisations to celebrate the 140 years of the confederation.