Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Wednesday 21 February 2007


The intent of this post is to be humoristic

ELER had a strip about GUN/Linux.

Now Eric announce that he abandon Fedora for Ubuntu. I think that Alan Cox pretty much summarize it well.

Will Ubuntu be renamed Gunbuntu?


Monday 23 October 2006

Laptop software suspend and Linux

There seems to be a bit of misinformation spreading about Linux and software suspend not working reliably on Linux. Let me quote:

After running Linux on a variety of different systems, I have to say, it's utterly amazingly refreshing to use something whose software was designed specifically for its hardware. I close it and it goes to sleep. I open it and it wakes up. In almost four years with my previous laptop, I never got power management working well enough that I would trust it.


He's "amazingly refreshed" at finally having working power management, after suffering through years and years of crap. I remember the first little while with my Powerbook, where I'd pray a bit every time I'd close the lid, only to eventually be enlightened: it won't crash on me a few times a day! The uptime on my Powerbook is basically "how long since the last kernel upgrade", like it bloody should be.

Guys! Which dimension have you been living in? Or are you suffering from a reality distorsion field. Software suspend has been working for a long time reliably on Linux, on reliable hardware. Let me summarize:

  • 1999: Pentium 166 based Toshiba Satellite. apm -s works fine with Debian/Linux for i386
  • 1999: PowerBook 3400 with hand installed Debian/Linux for PowerPC (no installer by the time I installed it). Worked fine by closing the lid (or something like that). Much more stable than the MacOS 8.x that came with it.
  • 1999: Compaq Armada 1700: apm -s works fine with Debian/Linux for i386
  • 2000: IBM ThinkPad 600E: closing the lid suspends to RAM. With Debian/Linux for i386
  • 2001: Toshiba Tecra: apm -s works fine. RedHat Linux 6.0
  • 2004: PowerBook G3/400 finally moved to Debian/Linux for PowerPC, then later in late 2004 to Ubuntu. Closing the lid suspends to RAM. Much like it was doing on MacOS X.
  • Dec. 2005: IBM ThinkPad Z60t: suspend works great out of the box with Ubuntu Dapper Flight 2 (2nd pre-release of 06.06 LTS). This machine end up beating the uptime of my server at home because of its universal UPS. Well it was until I upgraded to Edgy... and it is back on a new cycle.

I must admit that sometime things are not completely white. For example Dapper final release kernel, break the resume horribly on my laptop, since 2.6.15-21. Kernel 2.6.15-25 still has the problem, I don't know for -27. -19 works fine, I'm sticking to it. Malone #49078. Edgy kernels are broken a bit worse with 2.6.17: Malone #63967, this is not with other boot-related breakage like the console messup (update: that last one have had a huge improvement) or grub not working properly.

But these are not worse than suspend not working on PC laptop with the Operating System you are forced to purchase that is supposed to be supported by the manufacturer... (and sometime it works way better in Linux) given that most of the time you are never getting this fixed... unlike for Linux. And for MacOS X, it better be working given the very narrow hardware range it supports.

Thanks pcolijn for contributing into rectifying the truth. The dark side is always more attractive and easier, but in the long run will NOT win.

Update: I forgot about that Toshiba Tecra I had from work in 2001.

Tuesday 15 August 2006

The hype or the freedom?

I ran through a website called Ubuntu Video that seems to affiliate itself to Ubuntu, including by using their visual look for the website. The copyright and the hosting does however make it separately hosted from Ubuntu/Canonical websites. But I'll let you discover in picture what I clearly do not like:

Something about Free Software, Open Source Software, and a placeholder for something that obviously require a non open source friendly technology was a closed source implementation to view. Yes, I can't view these Ubuntu Flash videos on my stock Ubuntu system using Free Software (gnash is far from being stable for me to risk to allow it to crash my browser).

The creator of the website even try to justify it for the "hype". Is that being honest? I wonder...

Friday 24 February 2006

Recent Ubuntu uploads

Ubuntu got recently the following packages I made:

  • autopano-sift: a tool to assemble the pictures together for stitching. It does generate the panotools panorama files so that you don't have to find the matching points manually in, say, hugin.
  • exifprobe: this tool displays EXIF information of various image files, including RAW files. Yet another EXIF parsing utility, that one being actually quite convenient.
  • pandora: a Gimp plugin to assemble together by putting various pictures in layer.
  • gphotofs: a Fuse filesystem using libgphoto2. Make you Kodak or Canon camera visible as a disk.

Hugin got rejected because of libvigra. Fortunately this problem will be addressed upstream. Same would happen to enblend (I have to report the problem upstream).

Update: see enblend bug 1438069.

Monday 2 January 2006

Ubuntu Linux on a Thinkpad Z60t

I posted my installation notes of Ubuntu Linux on my Thinkpad Z60t.

Feel free to comment for questions and/or feedback.

Saturday 24 December 2005

Ubuntu on Z60t

My Thinkpad Z60t has arrived. I open the sealed box, I broke the seal that say I have to agree to a license I can't read, I plugged in the AC adapter (damn, they have a new AC model, different from the previous I have used...) powered it on and inserted the Ubuntu Dapper Flight 2 CD (it is a pre-release of the upcoming Ubuntu Dapper Drake 6.04).

The install went smoothly but for an ata2 error clogging the screen (known bug in kernel fixed in a more recent image/package). I login into X, but with some glitches. Default resolution of 1024x768, a bit stretched, but 915resolution fixes it (see bug 6089 for details about the problem with the current package), and after an X11 reconfiguration, 1280x800. Thanks to mjg59 for the hints.

I'll post a more detailled installation procedure.

Saturday 5 November 2005

Pizza and Beer

Beer and pizza. That was the programme last night with several people from Ubuntu. We ended up being 14 at my place. Lot of talk, lot of fun. We should do that more often. When will there be another summit or conference in Montreal?

Wednesday 2 November 2005

UBZ Day +3 - Plugging nightmare

The problem when people come around from the world with laptop is that you end up with a huge nightmare of plugs and adapterm. This come to an addition of all the cables because everybody is working on their laptop:

Marilize, the woman behind shipit and Kiko, who codes large parts of Launchpad:

Lamont Jones and Claire, without who UBZ wouldn't be UBZ:

In the morning, we have had a presentation of Launchpad by Brad Bollenbach:

gallery 1 - gallery 2

Nikon D100, a short try out

Today I borrowed for 15minutes magnon's Nikon D100 with a 50mm f1.4. I must say that I'm a bit impressed. It is a real pleasure to use (aside the non-USM autofocus, I should have switched to manual focus). The viewfinder is really bright and really comfortable. It is the first time I used that model. The D100 is really convenient, and I didn't have any trouble switching for my Canon, unlike for the F70 the I have used for a short time and whose user interface is really different.

I took the camera as is, so I didn't realize it was in RAW mode, so I have now a bunch of NEF files to process. ufraw seems to do a real good job at processing, despite some minor glitches with EXIF that I should report.


Sunday 30 October 2005

Duck or Dragon?

According to Daniel Robitaille, we should vote whether "Drake" is a duck or a dragon. We were reminded about that at UBZ.

I must say it is a man Drake.


Saturday 29 October 2005

UBZ Day -1

Ubuntu Below Zero starts tomorrow and people already arrive in Montreal. Yesterday we went to meet Ryan, Behdad who arrived from the lands of Ontario and 2 of his friend that live in Montreal.

I know that other ubuntuites are already here and that others are coming. I look forward to that. They cool thing with having been "reorganized" (that is the new buzzword to avoid saying you start a new round of lay-offs) is that I can attend UBZ.

Friday 14 October 2005

Breezy Badger

Breezy Badger the Ubuntu 5.10 release is out since yesterday.

Congrats to the Ubuntu team for the work.

Sunday 9 October 2005

Packaging Madness

AbiWord 2.4.1 has hit Ubuntu Breezy today, thanks to Mark Shuttleworth for pushing it, joshk packaging it for Debian and seb128 integrating it to Ubuntu. Thanks guys, so close to the release, for putting AbiWord in it.

My Ubuntu package for Enblend finally got uploaded into Breezy Universe. w00t.

Monday 26 September 2005

I <3 Ubuntu

I really love Ubuntu, the Linux distribution. Debian packaging with a user / UI oriented setup.

I have been lately uploading a few package in REVU for inclusion in Universe. So far, the only one that went thru was dcraw that is just an updated upstream version.

Pending either needing work or due to the freeze are:

  1. hugin
  2. autopano-sift
  3. enblend
  4. libimage-exiftool-perl
  5. libiptcdata

You'll notice the trend toward digital photography tools...

And I'll attend Ubuntu Below Zero at least to some extent (I still haven't figured out about the days off).

Saturday 13 August 2005


Lately I have been packaging hugin, enblend and autopano-sift for Ubuntu. I originally did them for my own use, but I felt like trying to become a MOTU. Packages have been uploaded to REVU for review.

These tools are a set of tool to perform picture stitching to do panorama from several pictures.

Mental note: post one or two.