just for the record…

Frederik sums up OpenExpo and mentions “Nini is as good a table soccer player as I am.” Hell yea I am! We rocked (NOT)! 😛 But it was great fun. YAY for whomever brought the table soccer to OpenExpo. I think we need to make karaoke and table soccer regular KDE activities. And we sure will do our best at Linuxtag ;-)  Karaoke is planned for Friday. Maybe videos will turn up somewhere at some point *g*

It was nice to meet Martin, who is doing the desktop cube for kwin as a GSoC project. Lubos, your student rocks ;-)  Everyone please check if there are other GSoC students living near your place. Would be cool if at least some of them could meet some KDE folks face to face and be welcomed by the community this way.

I have to prepare some last minute stuff for Linuxtag now. Hope to see some of you there at the KDE, Amarok and Kubuntu booth and thanks again to everyone who helped at OpenExpo. *hug*

Get your free on!

As I already mentioned before I did a session on free culture at FOSSCamp and I promised to write a little more about it. So here we go 🙂

Nikolaj did a great talk at a few events about Amarok 2 and how it lives at the crossroad of free software and free culture. (Check out the video if you want to see his talk. It’s worth it!)
The main point is that the free software movement and free culture movement have very similar goals and ideas that drive them. But they also have similar problems. Both of them want to create something that makes a difference in one way or another and do not want to restrict the user’s freedom. Unfortunately both of them also are not as widespread and popular as they could be. And one of the reasons for that is that a lot of people don’t know (enough) about the great stuff that is out there. (Although it is of course improving.) And here is where the magic is: Collaboration and integration! It will eventually benefit both parties.

Take for example Amarok 2. We have integration for Jamendo and Magnatune (and others). There is a lot of really good music at both of them but they lack the exposure to the user. By integrating them into Amarok we give many people access to both services that would have never had a look at them otherwise. Of course this is also a great thing for Amarok because we have a music store integrated that sells (and a service that lets you download for free ) DRM free music, one of our developers gets paid for work he loves and we get some money for every album that gets sold through Amarok so we can pay for team members to go to conferences and other events. The other big benefit we get from this is example data. New users of Amarok have a whole lot of music at hand without having to think about it. With the infrastructure that Nikolaj worked on (service framework and scripted services) it is as easy as never before for people to get their own or other’s services integrated into Amarok and therefor accessible by a large group of our users. We also hope that this attracts new developers and that really awesome stuff will come out of it.

(free hugs [86/365] Originally uploaded by moonwire.)

But Amarok is surely not the only application that could benefit from a collaboration with free culture. And this is why we did the brainstorming session at FOSSCamp. Some of the ideas we came up with were:

  • Integration of the Creative Commons photo search at Flickr in digiKam
  • Integration of Project Gutenberg in Okular
  • Integration of the Creative Commons music search in Amarok
  • Integration of YouTube/$videoservice in DragonPlayer/Kaffeine

I am perfectly aware that not all of these are feasible for different reasons or might already be worked on. What I want however is developers to think about ways their application could benefit from free culture. A good starting point is search.creativecommons.org.

So what ideas can you come up with? Which project could benefit? And in which way?

rocking hard and swimming upstream

Saturday was the second and last un-conference day at FOSSCamp. There were a lot of interesting sessions, just like the day before.

I attended a few sessions:

  • cross desktop (session 3): Who needs to do what to get the stuff done we talked about in the first two sessions?
  • PackageKit: Introduction and discussion on how to solve some of the remaining issues it has.
  • cross distro: a follow up on some of the discussions on the distro mailinglist at freedesktop.org and the ##distros IRC channel – conclusion: A page/service which lists links to bugtrackers, patches, packages and so on for all distributions would be awesome.
  • OpenSSL: How to deal with it in the near future?
  • upstream bug collaboration: What do upstream projects need? How do they use Launchpad? How can triaging bugs for their projects in Launchpad be made more attractive to them? How can upstream collaboration be improved in general?
  • Ubuntu QA: How can the service be improved to be more valuable for Ubuntu developers and upstream? A weather report page for every package is planned which lists bugs, patches, build status and so on.

At the end of the day we went for some sightseeing again and checked out a few local pubs and restaurants. Prague thanked us with heavy rain and excellent food.
We checked out a karaoke bar that we came across the day before but a private room was way too expensive for only the 3 of us that were left at that point. So no videos of Jonathan, Jos and me doing karaoke this time 🙁 Let’s see what we can do at Linuxtag 😉 The last cafe we went to was the local Hard Rock Cafe including Absinthe, Blue Lagoon, White Russian and a fancy old video recording of a concert with various famous musicians done as a circus show. Rock on! 😉

Jonathan and Jos Jonathan and Lydia

The interesting point that came up again and again during the day is how alien the concept of upstream and downstream is to a lot of people. There are a lot of bugreports where the user is not sure if the problem is specific to a certain distro’s package or if it a general problem with the program he is using. He will have to decide at some point where to file the bug and will make the wrong decision in a fair number of cases, which is fine and human. Just as common though are wishlist reports in which the reporter assumes that his distro is developing all the features of the software he is using. A distro is not seen as a product that mainly bundles applications and tweaks them to be sutible for a certain target group and purpose.
So what is my point? Bug triagers and developers should be very careful when closing a bugreport with a comment like “Needs to be implemented upstream.”, simply because the bug reporter is possibly not aware of the whole concept. A sentence or two to clarify might be helpful. (Yes I am guilty of this one as well sometimes when triaging bugs unfortunately.)
The other question is if this is generally a bad thing. Should we expect a user to know about things like upstream and downstream? I certainly doubt that. Why would he care? On the other hand it creates unneeded work and frustration on both sides. Maybe Launchpad needs to show a note before filing a wishlist bug asking if it is really a wish for Ubuntu or if it might be better filed in the upstream bugtracker along with a link to it.
And what would really be interesting for me to know is: Does this only happen for Launchpad/Ubuntu due to its target group? Or is it seen across distros and I just don’t recognise it since I very rarely or even never check bugs there? I would expect Gentoo for example to be different just for the fact that its whole design requires you to have at least a certain understanding of it all. But what about OpenSuse, Fedora, Mandriva and so on? Please leave a comment about your experience.

Sunday was planned to be used for sightseeing but apparently Prague didn’t want us to leave the hotel for that. Heavy rain again 🙁 (Maybe Prague only wanted us to be productive. If so, it worked. Everyone was busy hacking in the lounge ;-)) When Celeste arrived we went to get something to eat and then I took a taxi to the airport to catch my plane. Right now I am sitting in the train back to Karlsruhe and miss everyone.

To make a long story short: Prague (except for the rain) and the hotel were awesome, the sessions were very productive and I hope to see a lot of the great ideas that were talked about realised and am sure the feedback everyone got was helpful. I had a great time and miss them all already. *sob*

flying high up there

Since a lot of people asked I am going to blog a little bit about FOSSCamp and what we did so far here in Prague.

First of all: It is awesome. The hotel is great, food tastes good and there are a lot of free software people here who are fun to hang out with, including, but not limited to some of my favorite KDE hackers 😉

above Prague

Yesterday I took the train to Stuttgart and from there a small plane to Prague. Unfortunately my flight was delayed by over one hour due to bad weather and I was slightly concerned I am going to miss Nicolas who I was supposed to meet at the airport in Prague to share a taxi to the hotel. (My flight was supposed to arrive 30 minutes before his.) So when we finally landed I hurried to get my luggage just to find out that he was waiting there for his luggage and that his flight had been delayed as well. \o/ After checking in at the hotel I went to have a drink at the hotel bar with Jonathan, Jos and Inge.

This morning the actual un-conference started with a short introduction by Jono Bacon and Mark Shuttleworth, followed by deciding on the conference schedule for the day and having photos taken for a wall with pictures of everyone and a short introduction. One thing you were supposed to answer was: “3 things you don’t know about me.” It was quite interesting to read that. For example there is a KDE hacker (whose identity I will not disclose for reasons of confidentiality and his safety) with a certain interest in the Powerpuff Girls 😛

lots of cable ;-)

The sessions I attended today were:

  • KDE: We discussed release schedules of KDE and different distros.
  • Xesam/Strigi: What is it? How does it work and how can it be integrated into various programs?
  • 2 sessions on KDE/Gnome collaboration: We discussed the why, what and how of sharing of settings, caches, indexes, passwords, bookmarks and so on between the desktops. This was mainly focussed on large appliances where redundancy in these things is often not wanted for reasons like HD space.
  • Ubuntu Brainstorm: The main points that were discussed here was how to improve Ubuntu Brainstorm by getting Ubuntu and upstream developers involved.
  • Free Culture: This one was proposed by me and we discussed how different free software applications can work together with people making free culture to the benefit of both since there is huge potential for collaboration. I will write a separate post about that later.

Then the conference program for today was finished and we went into town for food and drinks and some sightseeing. Back at the hotel we sat down for another short talk with Mark on release cycles and some chilling and hacking.

Let’s see what the second conference day’s schedule will bring up 🙂