Sunday, 30 November 2008

One more year

So I am 32 years old today, and I still have all my teeth.

I don't like celebrating my own anniversaries because I can't forget how futile life is and how all the things that one might value can vanish at a snap of fingers. I'd rather settle down for a while to think about things that happened during the last 12 months, welcome the joyful events, accept the sad ones that I couldn't change and try to change things I can for the future.

Happy Birthday to all of you who were born a November 30.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

More rhythmbox news on planet GNOME

I came across Christophe Fergeau's (a.k.a teuf) last update about his work on libgpod and its integration in my music player of choice, Rhythmbox. There are some very interesting bits in there. I wish teuf's blog could be syndicated on planet GNOME.

That made me wonder why we don't hear more often about Rhythmbox on planet GNOME. The project is very active and I use it every day. Kudos to its hackers :-) Guys, please, tell to us a bit more often about it. I am not asking for over-pimping. Just keeping in touch with your users :-).

It even looks like we are probably going to be having a nice new and native GTK+ widget coming out of it.

Thanks for that.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

My trip to "Journées du logiciel libre" 2008

  • Woke up around 5h in the morning.
  • Arrived on time at the train station to pick up the TGV for Lyon
  • TGV departed on time, at 6h57 in the morningCaught Frédéric Peters at the bar, in the train. We took two petit déjeuner, café/croissant. You need that when you woke up at 5h something.
  • Went to seat near Frédéric's place so we did chat during all the journey to Lyon. Nice.
  • Arrived in Lyon on time at 9h00. Off to the tramway station.
  • Arrived at CPE around 9h30. We were lucky, the opening session of the JDLL was late so we were there on time for it...
  • Met some usual suspects like Rodolphe Quiedeville, Frédéric Couchet, Dave Neary, Fredix, Lucas and Misc (get yourself a web space!).
  • Attended the talk. Interesting.
  • Off to the GNOME booth. Met some new faces with whom we had some nice chats. Thanks to Dave, we could have some nice posters as well as a couple of Nokia tablets to show off GNOME Mobile. At some point, the Mozilla folks did even borrow us an N810 device to install Fennec on it to show it off. Nice.
  • Did my Nemiver talk. It went quite well. I had some nice questions at the end, even about the new stuff coming up in GDB. This alone could be the subject of a dedicated talk. Anyway, the slides of the talk are here.
  • After the talk Fredix took us (Frédéric and Guillaume Desrat, of Ruby fame) to a bar, near the train station. Had some nice chat there as well.
  • Took the TGV at 20h00, arrived on time at 22h00 in Paris.
  • Nice and exhausting day. A nice event all in all. I just wish there were more technical talks though. I think that event could gain in traction if more technical speakers could be invited. It'd have been nice to have an update of the last released Linux kernel,, GNOME, etc. I am quite confident that this could raise the awareness of this event amongst french speaking free free software enthousiasts.
  • Today (Saturday) the other GNOME folks have taken care of the booth there. I hope everything went well.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The perfect jewel

Reading Christian's blog entry about what the Free Desktop needs to grow in market share made me smile a bit because I have been thinking about this exact thing a couple of times.

I agree with Christian that we have the technological base to rise and shine today.

I do think however that Free Desktop Software bits alone will have hard time taking over this market. I Think we need more than that, even if our software can flip cubes around and do fancy things when you snap your fingers.

You need a device which the software will be integrated with. And tightly. You need disitribution channels for that device and for the software bits that run on it. You need to build an ecosystem of applications that integrate well on the device. You need to assure people that things keep working when they upgrade the hardware and the software. You probably won't be able to do that alone, so you need partners. Lots of them. Partners who can make a living by writting and distributing apps for the ecosystem.

I believe there is an opportunity for an organization to focus on these tasks today instead of focusing on cost saving shortcuts that make our Free Software Desktop just look as a cheap alternative to today's established monopoly and thus eroding our image capital a little bit more everyday.

The funny thing is that even once you have all those hard things done, end users don't see it. They don't see the hard work. They might only see a nice device on which applications do work. Assuming the device is so cute that even my little sister will be wanting one in her bag, some users might see it as a jewel. Just a perfect jewel.

That shall be time for all of us Free Software Lovers to rejoice. But until then, until such organization(s) emerge I believe hard work is due.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Nemiver at "Journées du logiciel libre"

This Friday 17th and Saturday 18th the "Journées du logiciel libre" event is being held in Lyon, France. It's an interesting French Free Software event where you can meet users and people from different communities.

I will be talking about the Nemiver debugger on Friday afternoon. The talk will cover the history of the project, the features and architecture of the debugger as well as its future perspectives.

On Saturday, there will also be a GNOME booth where you can meet the folks from the French GNOME squad. So if you are around Lyon and are interested, please come and say Hi :-)

Checkout the planning of the talks here.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

New Dad

My first daughter is born yesterday at 18h03. Mother and baby are doing great. There are times like this when I just want to say: "What else".

I was nevertheless surprised to see a father there, playing with his EEEPC, running GNU/Linux, while waiting for his son's birth. He had a 3G internet connection and was eagerly browsing the web.

Times are changing all the time.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Knock nock ... door closed

How do you do to avoid depending too much on one-stop-shop services like google's to shield yourself against problems like this one ?

There are very very few webservices (even paying ones) that can compete with google in terms of coolness in their offering. I mean, I know no email hosting service that has a web interface as powerful and easy to use as gmail. None of those I know lets you pump your emails from another imap/pop imap server. None of them have an anti spam as poweful as the gmail one. None of them lets you tag your emails like what gmail does. None of them provides you with a Jabber chatting service that lets you connect to the server using your own jabber client etc ...

To avoid loosing my emails when google shuts my access down for whatever reason - like what happened to Nick Saber - my emails are stored on an imap server that I pay for. I then kindly ask gmail to pump the emails from there, anti-spam them, filter them, tag them, and I read the resulting emails back via imap, using Thunderbird.

I don't really want to administer my own server because I prefer hacking code in my free time instead ...

Does anyone have a better ways to handling emails nowadays ? Any webservice that can really compete with google today ?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

OggTube, please

Today, Hub was pointing to this blog entry. As I understand, it basically means that soon, people will be able to read Ogg/Theora audio/video content in their Mozilla based browsers, whatever the underlying Operating System is.

In one word WOOOOOOT!

So now, could some ubercool web developer stand up and provide us with a server that would allow people to share Ogg/Theora based videos ? Because if anything else, I am fed up with having all these videos around the web, available in flash only, just because the big players don't want to distribute Ogg/Theora.

What would be really nice is to have access to the code of a so called OggTube server that I could install and host on my own machine to share content with my friends. If I really have more friends than bandwidth, I guess someone will come up with a decent infrastructure to host it for me. After all, everyone wants to sell ads these days.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

If even teuf blogs now ...

My good friend Christophe Fergeau a.k.a teuf has finally decided to blog about the technical bits he is moving around my music player of choice, Rhythmbox. I hope he'll also move his **ss to talk about what he is cooking on the libgpod library as well. I won't buy an ipod anytime soon and using a player that doesn't support the Ogg format is a no-go to me; but still, spending so much time trying to reverse engineer how to talk with those devices has always seemed amazing to me. I do respect that.

No pressure teuf :-)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Garmin playing the GNOME Mobile game

I know Matthew mentionned it already, but I could not resist.

Garmin are launching their Nüvi 8xxx and 5xxx GPS devices and people are talking about it.
What impresses me is that they are using GNU/Linux, GNOME Mobile, and more importantly, are releasing the source code of the modifications they did to the Free Software components they use.

I logically went to look at what they are releasing. They set up a very simple and accessible web site from where you can get the sources. No ads, no bullshit, no nothing. Just the plain simple source tarballs. They even separated the patches they did from the tarballs. Man, sooooo well done.

I dowloaded this archive from their website. Man, they are really using everything from Xorg to Gtkmm, including a lot of other cool Free Software technology bits that are either GPL or GPL compatible.

Okay, I am not a gizmo geek. I have no Ipod, no camera on my cell phone, no gaming device ... But this time, I think I am going to buy one of these Garmin GPS devices. I wonder if I can update the maps on the devices using my GNU/Linux desktop. I don't mind buying the maps. I just don't want to be forced to use a proprietary desktop software system, just to update those maps.

In any case, well done Garmin. You are taking and you are giving back. And that has to be said.

Monday, 23 June 2008

nemiver 0.5.4

This week end I pushed nemiver 0.5.4 out. The release fixes a couple of annoying bugs like this one, or this one that were preventing me to properly debug some programs.

It is impressive how motivated I can be to fix a set of bugs once I get hit by those bugs myself :-)

Hopefully it should be better now - we always hope so after each release, don't we ?

This new release should hit a package repository mirror near you soonish.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Sorry, but my desktop rocks

"Why are all the decadent people only talk about what we need to do and not about what they will do themselves? "

Well said, Benjamin.

/me goes back to fixing his bugs.

Monday, 26 May 2008

nemiver 0.5.3

Following my wish to push Nemiver releases more frequently I have released Nemiver 0.5.3 yesterday. That opus brought quite a number of bugfixes to the light and is the first nemiver release to work on FreeBSD thanks to the awesome work of Romain Tartière.

Just to give an idea of what got fixed, we did remove the libgnome dependency, made the GDB/MI parser be a bit more resiliant, improved the menu items sensitivity state management at the user interface level, and many other things.

Quite a number of people have filed bugs and enhancement requests since the previous released version and I was very happy about that. It is not easy to file a bug about a debugger when you are using it to debug your own code in the first place. So a big thank you those who are taking the time to do that. It is really appreciated.

Now I am back to hacking again, and I hope to be on time for another release next month :-)

Thursday, 15 May 2008

upgrading my Thinkpad T42

I have recently changed the hard drive of my 5 years old T42 Thinkpad laptop. I had a 30 gb hard drive and that was obviously not enough to compile all the things I want to compile. Just to give an idea, I want to have xorg and nemiver jhbuilds as well as OpenEmbedded and OpenMoko builds around. If you add the fact that I use ccache extensively, I really needed more disk space.

So I went to and ordered a hard drive of 160 GB. They did a very a good job in sending the disk very quickly. I backed up my home directory by simply using the excellent rsync program to save stuff on an external hard drive connected to the laptop via USB.

Then I followed the instructions here to remove the old disk and replace it with the new one.
After that, I just reinstalled a brand new GNU/Linux system and recovered my backed up data.

Everything went smoothly and took around 2h. Pretty neat.

I did also upgrade the ram to 2Gig a couple of months ago so compiling C++ programs is quite OK on this 5 years old machine now :-)

DNS problems.

I have been unreachable at seketeli dot org since yesterday I believe. It should be back soon. So if you sent me an email that did not arrive, please try again shortly.

The reason of that failure is that my hosting provider ( did change his DNS server addresses and I forgot to forward the information to my registrar which is Shame on me. Especially because I was notified about the DNS address change something like a year ago. Everything should be back in order soonish. I am sorry for the annoyance.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

A new place to hang my hat

Yesterday was my last day as an OpenedHand employee. Working at OpenedHand has been a breeze, really. The crew there is an impressive pool of clever geeks. A high density of skills, enthousiasm and willingness to do the right thing. Clearly, there is no doubt that amazing things are going to be popping up from the OpenedHand towers. Ciao fellows, and thank you for the warm and fruitful atmosphere.

Now I have to write the coming pages of my personal history. I have been given the chance and honour to settle at Red Hat, in the tools group. I am really looking forward to working with the bright folks there, and keep on modestly helping to shape the future of Free Software as much as I can.

Alpha blondy, un grand monsieur

Aujourd'hui, je me suis remis à écouter l'album "Jah Victory" de Alpha Blondy.

Clairement, j'avais oublié à quel point ce monsieur était fort. Cet homme à le sens du texte et du rythme . J'apprécie particulièrement la sobriété de ses rythmes. Au lieu de simplement se faire plaisir "techniquement", ses rythmes et ses mélodies restent simples, portant ainsi ses textes au plus haut de leur sens. Bien sûr, souvent, il faut comprendre le Dioula pour saisir toute l'essence de ses textes. Sur ce point la, j'ai la chance d'être un peu dans sa cible :-)

A mon sens, Alpha est dans la tradition des griots ouest africains qui racontaient des histoires et véhiculaient leurs réflexions sur leurs sociétés. Véritables colonnes vertébrales de ces sociétés à fortes traditions orales ou le verbe conté était roi. Les mélodies Reggae de ses morceaux, souvent associées à des rythmes africains, aident par ailleurs à ne pas les cantonner à des cercles élitistes. Il reste très populaire.

Alpha Blondy est un grand monsieur de l'Afrique.

Pour ceux qui sont intéressés, des morceaux qui roxent et qu'on peut écouter dans des soirées sont: Ranita, I wish you were here, Bahia, Le bal des pompiers, Les Salauds, Cameroun, Tampiri ...

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

nemiver debugger article on fosswire

I have been extremely lazy lately concerning writting about nemiver. Maybe that's because I just prefer writting code rather than articles ? :-)

Fortunately some nice people put together an introduction article about nemiver.

Maybe at some point I should start writting a serie of simple articles presenting interesting features of the debugger.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Xglamo: the X server of the neo GTA02 device

The GTA02 hardware of the OpenMoko project sports amongst other things the Glamo3362 GPU from smedia.

I have been working on an Kdrive based X server, dedicated to that glamo chip: Xglamo.

I basically took over the job done by Chia-I Wu, aka Olv (man, get yourself a blog ;-) ) in putting together an X server for that chip.

I did hack on bringing support of hardware acceleration in areas like blitting, solid fills, RandR support and XVideo so far.

For blitting and solid fills, we did start using the Kaa acceleration architecture. It seems to be pretty robust and did speed up things like scrolling a fair bit.

For RandR acceleration I hacked the kernel framebuffer driver to make it support hardware assisted rotation and fleshed out its resolution setting code. With that setup, I just made the Xglamo RandR extension implementation use that shiny new kernel framebuffer rotation and resolution setting capabilities.

The XVideo extension driver exposes a textured video port that supports clipping and scaling for planar YUV 4:2:0 frames. I am still working on supporting parameters settings like brightness, saturation and so on. For now, I can play videos using mplayer on the device, or even launching totem on my desktop and making it display its output on Xglamo server running on the device. The basics are in the box.

All that code is already integrated in regular OpenMoko builds that you either compile yourself or grab from the daily builds directories.

There should be more to come on this topic in the coming days and weeks. In any case, I try to sent regular updates to the openmoko-devel list.

So stay tuned :-)