Wed Jul 25 19:35:11 CEST 2007

GUADEC was G-R-E-A-T (mostly)

As a lot of people already blogged about it, this won't come along as the most inventive statement ever, but: This year's GUADEC was awesome (mostly, see further down), lot's of cool stuff going on in the GNOME world atm, and a very necessary wakeup call / reality check for everyone in the community. Some of my personal highlights:

*) Quite a bunch of new ideas floating around, like the GNOME Online Desktop, PyroDesktop or other things like clutter and the stuff going on in the mobile space. Besides what one might think of each individual concept, what's - in my opinion - really important here is that people are trying to experiment with new ideas.

*) Great to see some movement in the gtk+ area, especially interesting that the people from the mobile space where the most vocal ones in cheering for some bigger changes / improvements. The current plan seems to be to get a phase of experimentation going to see what people really need, something which should result in a gtk+ 3.0 (or 4.0 ;) ) at a not yet defined point in the future.

*) Lot's of interesting new applications floating around in the GNOME universe, like the as-easy-as-it-gets personal file sharing application Giver, Banter or Conduit. Unfortunately none of them in portage. Honestly I really would like Gentoo to get more "cutting-edge" again, an appeal it has more an more lost since I started to use it (or did my expectations raise over the years instead?). But that's really something for a seperate blog entry.

*) I guess the best thing just happened by accident: As there really wasn't a lot going on in Birmingham in the evening and the weather sucked big time, lot's of people stayed in the lobby of the ETAP hotel and did some collective hacking / planning / writing / whatever. (The ETAP having free wireless didn't hurt either ;) )

*) Met lot's of nice people, too many to name them all here, you know who you all are ;)

So what were the bad things (besides the shitty weather)? I guess the same as ever (and unfortunately valid for nearly all open source projects I know):

*) There are still a lot of non-outspoken hierarchies in the whole project. This ranges from seemingly harmless constant in-jokes which are actually excluding everyone who hasn't been an "insider" for ages to a very visible distinction between the "rockstar"-hackers and everyone else. I still think GNOME - and other open source projects - would fair better by valueing non-coder contributions more. The very intersting talk Anne Ostergaard gave about the organizational structure (and current problems with that) in FLOSS was unfortunately also one of the least well attended ones.

*) But what I really find annoying (and after some days: exhausting) is the level of stupid remarks a lot of guys seem to have to make about women all the time. The same guys who say some very smart and thoughtful things about all sorts of stuff transform into Neanderthals in parts of a second when it comes to women, mostly reducing them to their looks. Obviously for a lot of guys it's just not possible to treat women with the same level of respect they show for other guys.

To sum it up: A very good conference from a technical viewpoint, but still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to social skills.

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Thu Jul 12 18:12:10 CEST 2007

Heading for GUADEC 07

It's GUADEC time again :) I'll be there starting from Saturday (evening), hope to see some fellow Gentoo developers there, maybe we can meet up again for a little drink or two.

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Sun Apr 1 22:23:11 CEST 2007 goes Tango, me goes Brainshare

Been very busy lately, still managed to get some stuff done. openoffice-bin 2.2.0 is already in the tree, source-based version should follow in the not-to-distant future. In the meantime, I've updated openoffice-2.1.0-r1 to the latest ooo-build-patchset which - besides a bunch of bugfixes - brings real beauty to OOo: A whole new Tango-based iconset. But see for yourself:

Besides that I've been mostly occupied with my day-job lately which is - as some of you might know - writing for the online edition of the Austrian newspaper 'DER STANDARD'. For this I've been visiting Novell's Brainshare two weeks ago, which was a bit exhausting (two days at airports and on airplanes for three days of stay in Salt Lake city, add to this the joy of getting my back flight from Chicago cancelled), but interesting nonetheless.

This time I also decided to publish two of the pieces I wrote in english (in addition to german). One with Mono-lead Miguel de Icaza ('The Microsoft / Novell partnership should have included a technical Mono/.NET collaboration') and one with Nat Friedman ('Flamewars are part of the community culture'). There is lot more in there as the headline can express, so if you are interested in Mono or the Linux / GNOME desktop, you might find some interesting bits in there. If not: My bad ;)

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Wed Jan 3 17:39:15 CET 2007

On 2.1.0

I've got some requests lately, asking when openoffice-2.1.0 will hit the tree, so I thought I'd better answer this publicly: While openoffice-bin-2.1.0 is in since the day of its release, the source based build takes a little bit longer this time. The reason simply being us using ooo-build, which hasn't seen a release for 2.1.0 yet. If you don't know: ooo-build is a multi-distro effort which makes building a lot easier and also offers a bunch of enhancements over the vanilla version of OOo. This time though a lot of the other distros had major releases recently, so most of the work went into the 2.0.4-branch, leaving 2.1.0 in sort of an unfinished state.

After the holidays development has gained speed again, so a release shouldn't be to far away. The Gentoo-specific stuff is mostly set, so expect an ebuild in the tree shortly after that.

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Thu Jun 22 09:07:53 CEST 2006

Heading to GUADEC

It's GUADEC-time! This will be my first one, so really looking forward to it. I'll be there starting from Friday, staying (nearly) the whole week.

The schedule looks very promising, in particular I'm looking forward to all the "next-generation"-stuff like Gimmie. Also seeing Michael talk about should be fun.

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Sat Feb 4 17:22:22 CET 2006


Following recent trends in the coolness department, decided to play around with Xgl and glxcompmgr a bit. Thanks to the Overlay from Hanno and his instructions not too much hassle to setup. Had to modify some keyboard-stuff with xmodmap to get the Super_L-key (better known as the left Windows-Key) to work and to enjoy all of the effects glxcompgr provides , but after that, I have to admit: Wow. This is seriously cool stuff. Have been wobbling, zooming, rotating for some time now and am already addicted to it ;) Ok, admitted: Most of this is "only" eye candy to impress your friends (which should not be underestimated in getting people interested in the Linux desktop), but a few things come in handy. Like the hardware-accelerated zoom stuff, which is very nice accessibility-wise, or the Expose-goodness. Best is you can combine all this stuff, for example you can zoom in on the Expose-view and even rotate it at the same time, while the windows (for example running videos or loading webpages) are update all the time. And the speed is also quite impressive :)

If someone has no clue what I'm talking about, check the recent news about the upcoming Novell Linux Desktop 10, or take a look at some videos of the presentation Nat Friedman gave a few days in Paris.

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Sun Jan 22 11:03:02 CET 2006


Finally all archs have moved over to openoffice / openoffice-bin 2.0.x, so now is the time right time for a big cleanup. I've already removed openoffice-ximian-bin (which I never felt quite comfortable with anyway, as we used the package of another distro), openoffice-ximian will be the next.

Since I blogged the last time there also was the release of openoffice-2.0.1, no major new stuff, mostly bug fixes. One thing most of you won't have noticed though: For GNOME users there is now a built-in quickstarter (only in the built from source version), it's still a little bit rough around the edges, but it generally works :)

If you want to try it out, go to Tools > Options > > Memory and select "Load during system start-up". Unfortunately it won't add itself to the session atm, so you will have to do this by hand too. Just add "ooffice2 -quickstart -nologo -nodefault" in the GNOME session preferences.

And here the obligatory screenshot:

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Fri Oct 21 21:27:05 CEST 2005

GCC optimization

The new Issue of the Red Hat Magazine has an interesting article about "performance tuning with gcc", by one of the gcc devs. Take a look at it, especially if you feel the constant need to use obscure CFLAGS ;)

Some interesting quotes:

In most cases, obtaining the very last nanosecond of performance is not terribly important. Optimization follows a distinct 
curve of diminishing returns. Most applications will thrive with the default transformations done at -O2, and since some of the more 
esoteric flags are seldom used, your code may behave erratically because of latent bugs in your application (for example, the code 
may be violating language aliasing rules).


An even bigger problem is the interactions between optimizing transformations. It is not uncommon for different optimizations to 
interfere or even cancel each other out, so by combining many different flags, you may be causing more harm than good.

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Thu Oct 20 20:02:14 CEST 2005 2.0 is out!

Title says it all, 2.0 is finished at a last. Even better: We already have it in portage, both -bin and the source based version are ready. So what are you waiting for? Emerge it and enjoy all the new goodness! To all openoffice-ximian-users: Don't forget to change to app-office/openoffice-2.0.0! (see more about that in this earlier posting)


Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link

Tue Oct 11 17:25:31 CEST 2005

2.0 is coming

After all the delays, it finally looks as if 2.0 will be released any day now :) In preparation for that the first source-based version has hit the tree now, so if you have got some free cpu time left and want to see how much better it is than the 1.1.x-series, just unmask it (by adding >=app-office/openoffice-2.0.0_rc2 to /etc/portage/package.unmask) and go ahead!


*) I've been using openoffice-ximian until now, should I wait for a new version of this instead?

No, openoffice-2.0 is the successor of the old openoffice-ximian, it contains everything you learned to love about the -ximian-versions (and lot's more), so go ahead!

*) What would be the best way to upgrade from openoffice-ximian to the new openoffice-2.0 package?

Just for the unlikely ;) situation that something goes wrong with the build make a package of openoffice-ximian:

# quickpkg openoffice-ximian

After that just unmerge openoffice-ximian and emerge openoffice-2.0 (don't forget to unmask it, see above!)

# emerge -C openoffice-ximian && emerge openoffice

Wait, wait more, and wait even longer until it completes (yes, OOo 2.0 takes even longer to build than 1.1.x). If something went wrong, you will still be able to recover the old version (if you built the package), by doing:

# emerge -k =app-office/openoffice-ximian-1.3.16 (Assuming the last version you used was 1.3.16, if not just replace the number)

*) What's the difference between openoffice-bin and openoffice?

openoffice-bin just takes the official binaries provided by the, while openoffice is built from source. While the -bin has lot's of cool new stuff in relation to 1.1.x (like most of the things you know from the old -ximian-version), the source provides some extra goodies like even better integration for KDE people (KAdressbook-connectivity and Crystal icons), a UI for switching between the different available icon sets and a Gentoo splash screen ;) Though be warned: The source based version takes quite some time to build and needs lot's of diskspace (see below), while the -bin installs quick. So you will have to decide if the extra goodies are worth the extra wait.

*) Ok, so what are the minimum requirements to build OOo 2.0 from source?

You will need 4-6 GByte free on the partition you build it on (by default this is in /var/tmp/portage), also don't bother to try with less than 256 MByte RAM.

*) How long will it take to build?

On my Athlon XP 3200+ (1,5 Gigs RAM), the build of openoffice-2.0.0_rc2 took 7 hours, 17 minutes and 20 seconds

*) Will it build on my AMD64-box?

I'm afraid the answer is: No. This is under heavy development, but didn't get finished in time for 2.0

*) Why does the ebuild for such a heavy package not use distcc?

Cause it tends to break the build, so it is disabled by default. If you really want to try out emerge openoffice with

# WANT_DISTCC="true" emerge openoffice

*) I'm not getting the native GNOME / KDE file selector, but the original OOo one, why is that?

Cause this is the default setting. Go to Tools > Options > > General and de-select the checkbox for "Use dialogs"

*) But I don't want all this KDE / GNOME cruft!

Then just build openoffice with -gnome and -kde in your use flag, and you'll be able to re-uglify your OOo!

Enjoy :)

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link