Friday, 28 May 2010

Some Impressions on LGM

Ok, first let me same I'm totally awful with writing kind of what-did-I-do blogpost and at the same time both Nicu and Pierros are making a really good posts about what we do here (with some of the best photos Nicu and Pierros took included)…

My first first impression of Belgium was not that great — I'm pretty used from Czech Republic to get easy everwhere, there're "online" infotables about trains departures/arrivals on train stations, the subway in Prague is really easy to follow (I'd say it follows the KISS principle, like gnome does), and to add to that everything here in Belgium is in French (which I know nothing about) so I was a bit at loss when trying to travel from Charleroi to Brussels and then to our hotel. But at last I was successful.

It really is a bless to have Pierros with us — if it were not for him, I would be constantly lost in the city (somehow my sense of direction in big cities is terrible) ;-) Both Nicu and Pierros are really awesome companions and they're showing me lots of new stuff I have no idea about (like the Belgium beers). Btw. speaking about the beers, I'm totally "insesitive" in this area and most beers I've tried taste very similar to me :-D

But back to the conference itself. Yesterday's morning lectures were the more technical ones which is probably not a best way to start a graphics meeting, but they were pretty interesting. Lots of python, some C and even Scheme based scripting language (the Script-fu and Tiny-fu from gimp). The most interesting talk for me for that part of day was A first outline for a UI for a fully GEGLed GIMP. As I understand it it's a new type of workflow and format that is kind of chain based — you take the initial image and apply various edits, effects and other operations like the old way, but the difference is that it does not change the image itself. Those of you familiar with quantum physics or generally a [noncomutative] operator algebra over some space could see it as taking an image (member of the space in question) and applying various operators on it. And the point is, you apply it only on screen, in memory it's still being interpreted as a sequence of operators applied on the image. So you can insert another operators in the middle, delete some of them, without breaking the rest of the chain. Lots of possibilities. I really look forward the time when this will be included in gimp releases ;-)

The lunch was fairly good, and we've met some interesting people there. It's a really great oportunity to talk with various people during the lunch break. In the afternoon there were some interesting presentations like How to get contributors to your Free/Libre/Open Source project from Vietnam and Asia or How to Run an Art School on Free and Open Source Software. Btw. Hong Phuc Dang who was doing the presentation about Open Source in Vietnam is really enthuiastic about the FLOSS software as you can see in the video she put up (sadly it's in flash, but it should be acessible form lgm site some time in the future hopefully in more open format). And of course, we've had our presentation with Nicu, seems the audience liked it, but we're regretting that we forgot to say some of the things we wanted to say…

Today, I'm a little sad that we overslept and missed a good part of the Diffusion Curves in Inkscape vector drawings, there was an interesing presentation about LibreDWG and I'm looking forward some presentation later today about fonts and typography.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Flash Block in Midori

So, I've been reading a bit on epiphany on and noticed, that you can block flash via user scripts. And since midori also support user scripts I loaded tried a few a lo!, one of them works exactly as I expect. Just go to Flash Block for Chrome, click install and save the opened .js file to ~/.local/share/midori/scripts/. It should enable automatically, if not, go to the Userscripts panel and tick it on. For it to start work, page reload is enough — there's no need to restart browser ;-) To whitelist youtube, just add '' to var exclude array at the beginning of the script. Supposedly it also works for silverlight, but as mono is banned on my laptop (no sound reason, I just don't want to use apps that they're in some weird language combo of java and c++ which furthermore need virtual machine running), I cannot verify whether this is true or not.

And on a completely unrelated note: I successfully managed to arrive at the hotel in Brussels I stay during LGM, and had a nice walk around the city with nicu ;-)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Why I'm Still On F12?

First, let me warn you that this is not an objective and exhaustive review of Fedora 13 but just a (hopefully) short list of things (both bad and good) I noticed while trying to use it and to add that most of the issues I'll talk about are bugs/odd features in upstream, so not Fedora's fault.


I think it's fair to start with an app that I use most and that is most likely Evolution (especially its e-mail component). The UI is reworked and I'd say it both looks better and is more usable, it's almost pain to return to F12 Evolution's interface. On the flip side, IMAP backend has also been rewritten (or so I've heard) and it hits a dead end here and there and because of that, using Evolution isn't very smooth and joyful. So in short, with future releases there is high probability Evolution will be significantly better that what's in F12, but currently it's one of the pieces that blocks me from advancing to F13. Plus, I forgot to mention, Evolution lost the option to keep gpg passphrase stored during session.

Intel Video Driver

Well, this one's a little bit of pain. I've grown quite used to F12 which has been damn stable so fast, so X or even the whole notebook frozen was a big surprise. Seems the frozenness of whole system have been already fixed, but last time I were in updated F13 (about a week ago), I still managed somehow to endup with half-frozen X — I move with mouse, switch to tty, kill apps (without any graphical response though) or kill X completely. But only full reboot fixed it for good.


Another UI change. Generally it seems cleaner, but what irritates me is that I cannot keep the entry-like input for paths — I seem to be able to access it only via ctrl-l and after entering the path, it reverts back to the button mode. No good, no good.


This where the most goodness (from my point of view) went, albeit not exactly as I'd prefer it. Thanks to hard work the guys over at webkit and epiphany, epiphany now can store passwords, but as epiphany does not have sensible session saving (why the hell do I need to kill it to save session?) [and for some other reasons] I use midori, which however it does not seem to know how to save passwords (in web forms, not in web auth pop-ups). The rest of the goodness (I know about) is same for both browsers — html5 youtube flawless support (only fullscreen seems to be missing), html5 video tag finally has handler, sites (like anidb) which serve pages in compressed format are now supported and java applet (I've tried only the openjdk one) is almost working.


In one word it behaves strange. Sometimes the keyring that should get unlocked at startups refuses to unlock, sometimes I get asked for new password for 'default' keyring, which however never gets created… This is incidentally also the last thing that shows when trying to start up gajim. The good thing is that thanks to this I started using emapthy with a chat theme from one of my favourite anime durarara >_<


Well, there are still some hick-ups that keep me from transferring from the probably best fedora release so far (F12) to F13 to feel the new awesomeness, and one thing to keep in my mind is: don't be lazy and finally fill the bugs you've encountered!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Gnome Shell in F13 — Better But Still Not For Me

So, as F13 is just behind the door I have it installed, but I don't use it as my primary system as there are some regressions (which I'll maybe talk about in some other blogpost) that keep me out, I've decided to give gnome-shell another shot. This time I've been able to put up with it for about few hours, but there are certainly improvements. First of all, the design is definitely much better, and the ugly glowing blue something is replaced by more-slick-than-not button-like rounded rectangles and the overall feeling is better.

On the flip side, when I focus a task (under which I mean equivalent to virtual desktop), it still is equivalent to focusing a window which is IMHO totally wrong. E.g. when I type a mail message I occasionally need to switch to main evolution window (in which I navigate using mouse), which however buries the new message window so deep that I need to either alt-tab to it (can take some mind-processing time, especially if there are more windows on the desktop) or zoom out and select the new message window. There also appears to be no fast way to switch between tasks. Again I either need to use the suboptimal alt-tab or zoom out. Basically these two things are the main killers for me using gnome-shell. But it bugs me — am I the only one who under 'task' usually means more than one window? E.g. a task that you could call programming for me usually means that I have either gedit or eclipse window open, one or two terminals and nautilus among which I frequently switch and furthermore I often switch between this task and 'net surfing' task (API references, tutorials, etc. are usually in (X)HTML format)… Gnome-shell make this type of workflow especially painful.