Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Thursday 27 September 2007

LGM 2008

From Boud of Krita fame: LGM 2008 will be held in Wroclaw, Poland from May 8 to 11th 2008. See the website.

For those asking, LGM stands for Libre Graphics Meeting, and is the meeting of Free Software for graphism. This include GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, Scribus and Blender.

Wednesday 26 September 2007

Back from Iceland... sort of

Last Sunday I returned from Barcelona where I was attending OOoCon 2007, the OpenOffice.org. I intended to blog earlier about it, but Smith law[1] decided to come into effect and make my server hard drive die, said server hosting my various services.

Astute readers will notice that the title of this post if "Back from Iceland" this is not completely inaccurate. I flew from BCN (Barcelona) to AMS (Amsterdam Schiphol), waited a few hours and then from AMS to YYZ (Toronto). But that last leg got rerouted to Kevlavik, Iceland because some passenger had decided to not board the plane. In that case, the regulation is to off-load their luggages, but we all know how airports and airlines are good at tracking luggages, we ended up taking with 3 extra piece of luggages than we had counted for. As a consequence, into the flight we got told that we would be re-routed to Kevlavik, Iceland to off-load them. Technically Iceland is the last country I took off from, and the landscape I saw during the landing did intrigue me. Now I wish to go there to visit.

What happened during OOoCon 2007?

First of all I met the whole team from Novell, again.

Second, on Friday, I gave my talk, in the most gorgeous auditorium I have seen, about our work on implementing Office Open XML import in OpenOffice.org. Fridrich had done one about the Writer filter (along with his Sun counterpart), I did one on the other part of the filter, the Impress and Calc filters.

To be continued...


[1] this law pretend that Murphy was optimistic

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Back online

I was in Barcelona at OOoCon 2007 when the hard drive of my server died (the last Maxtor I had, go figure). I now have reconstructed a new one based in the backup that was around 24h old.

If you tried to email me, you may want to resend.

My apologies for anybody who got error messages an such (hello planet admins !)

Saturday 15 September 2007

Free Software lock out

Apple has never been Free Software friendly with their iPod. The whole business is based on the vendor and application lock-in of iTunes.

But this time it is apparently worse. Apparently Apple has decided that the database file for the song has to be validated with some cryptographic hash, or it appears to be. If the hash is not valid, the iPod refuse to playback any music (source). Read also BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow rant. This make gtkpod, Rhythmbox, Amarok and all these fabulous tools no longer working with the new devices.

How long before it get cracked? No idea. But one thing is sure. If you use Linux, don't buy an iPod. If you use OpenSolaris, don't buy an iPod. If you use BSD, don't buy an iPod. If you don't like this way of doing things, don't buy an iPod. I'm actually surprised that this didn't happen sooner, or maybe I'm like seeing too much evil or a giant conspiracy in what is an implementation detail...

Update: Lennart remind us some facts. I guess I might not be that wrong.

Thursday 13 September 2007

RSS reader

I have been using Liferea for quite a while. But lately I have been very tired if its bugs. Memory leaks (I fixed several) and most importantly constant locks up (apparently due to the use of Gecko).

So I gave a try to Google Reader.

The bad

  • First, all my data are not belong to Google.... even though it these feed don't belong to me either.
  • It does not handle article UUIDs. So if you syndicate planets with rss or atom, you'll read dupes. Liferea manages to do that almost properly.

The good

  • It is online so I get it from any of my computers

I think at that point the benefits outperform the inconvenience. I might do the switch. Maybe when WebKit is ready, I'll switch back. Maybe not.

Monday 10 September 2007


Done recently:

  • Read Motoral RAZR with Linux to see what could be done with only USB connectivity. Works great with RAZR V3 and V220. Ended up making a couple of rind tones for my phone. I still hate the software on this phone.
  • Experimented with boost::thread. Looks nice although the documentation seems to be a bit vague. I'll talk more about it when I wrangle it better. I like Boost, even though sometime g++ does not help.
  • Installed openSUSE 10.3 beta3 on the brand new X60 for work. This laptop clearly blast my personal one.
  • Welcome IBM, seriously ! Delighted by Michael's post.
  • Saw my workstation being gutted to replace the whole system board due to a fried USB. The Xeon "dual core"[1] look very small... much smaller than the fan / cooling unit that sits on it.


[1] I forgot the name

Monday 3 September 2007


Back from a ten days trip to Toronto (with two week-ends including the long labour day week-end). Highlights are:

  • had a training on OpenOffice.org where Michael transmitted all his knowledge to Jon and I.
  • catched up with other folks from the team, including Florian and JP.
  • BBQ at JP place, visited a Novell office for the first time.
  • went to the CN Tower for the second time and jumped on the glass floor.
  • went to the CNE (took a few interesting shots, will post later).
  • fixed a bug in VCL where the menu bar in OpenOffice.org was not drawn using the right color... which was very visible with Darkilouche: black on dark gray just does not make it.