Older blog entries for Jordi (starting at number 137)

alsaconf

Removing alsaconf was one of the very few rewarding moments of these ten years of taking care of ALSA in Debian.

Not everyone agreed back then, and we still get some retaliation. :)

Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:59:31 +0100
From: <CENSORED>
To: jordi@debian.org
Subject: sabotage!

the removing of alsaconf without working(!) alternatives  was (AND IS!)  an
act of sabotage against millions of debian/alsa - users who needs stable
productive systems

you and all those proponents of removing this still needed alsaconf - program
will have to take the responsibility in front of an (us-) court for damages in
millions of dollars - amounts (lost man hours) all over the world

only a short while and we will have enough sponsors and witnesses around the
globe (and a very specialised, international labouring bureau of advocates) to
go to the court for prosecution.


we will not tolerate such an betray ("stable"? - do you believe, we're
fools??!!) against broad sections of the population and against the spirit of
free software!

it will be intresting to investigate, in whoms interests you've done so and
who the beneficiaries are ...


L.B.
conductor, publicist, whistleblower

Syndicated 2012-02-23 23:53:00 from I still don't have a title

FOSDEM 2012

In a few hours, I'll be flying to Brussels with Ivan, for a new edition of FOSDEM, undoubtedly the best Free Software conference in Europe.

I'm looking forward to hang out with Debian, GNOME and #dudes people, as well as to explore some other quiet and cool spots in the city with our hosts Raül and Vir.

I'll probably be around the CrossDistro and CrossDesktop rooms most of the time, but before that I'll be at the Delirium café not long after landing in Brussels.

For someone who doesn't enjoy cold weather that much, this is going to be a special edition… oh dear, -10℃, this is fucking crazy!

I'm going to FOSDEM 2012

Syndicated 2012-02-03 13:05:00 from I still don't have a title

GNOME Shell 3.2 in wheezy: a retrospective

When you read this, GNOME Shell 3.2 will (hopefully!) have finally transitioned to Debian’s testing suite.

Planet GNOME readers might think Debian now has outdated versions of software even in their development versions, or the distribution’s development marches at glacial pace. Wheezy GNOME users will finally have a Shell that matches the rest of their GNOME components, something that works with the Shell extensions website and much less problems and limitations compared to 3.0.2.

The reality is that GNOME 3.2’s packaging was quite ready back when it was released in late September, but a number of not-so-desirable situations held GNOME Shell, from transitioning to testing until today, four months later. So, what happened?

TL;DR: transitioning from GNOME 2 → GNOME 3 is not so easy if you want to keep testing in a sane state, and when you need to deal with dozens of indirectly related packages, for more than 10 architectures… but it shouldn’t take nearly a full year, either…

Let’s go back to the last months of 2010. Debian squeeze is in very deep freeze, and the release team and many Debian developers are focusing on squashing as many release critical bugs as they can, in order to make Debian 6.0 the great release it ended up being. The GNOME project has recently delayed the big launch of GNOME 3.0 again, until March 2011; Debian has already settled on GNOME 2.28 for its release, although it will end up cherry-picking many updates from the 2.30 release modules.

With most of the stabilization work being done, many Debian GNOME team members were at that time working on packaging very early versions of what would end up being GNOME 3.0 technology: GTK+3.0, GNOME Shell, Mutter… and some brave users even tried to use it via the experimental archive.

On February 6th, Debian 6.0 was released, and soon after, on April 6, GNOME made a huge step forward with the much anticipated release of GNOME 3.0. At that time, Debian developers were busy breaking unstable as much as they could, as it’s tradition on the weeks following a major release, and the Debian GNOME team was able to start moving some GNOME 3.0 libraries (those which were parallel-installable with their GTK+2.0 versions) to unstable.

However, moving the bulk of GNOME 3.0 to unstable wasn’t so easy. When you start doing that, you need to be sure you’re ready to have all affected packages in a “transitionable” state as soon as possible, to minimise the chances of blocking transitions of unrelated packages via the dependencies they pick up with rebuilds. All the packages involved in a transition need to be ready to go in the same “testing run”, for all supported architectures. When you’re dealing with dozens of GNOME source packages at the same time, many of which introduce new libraries, or worse, introduce incompatible APIs that affect many more unrelated packages, things get hairy, and you need a plan.

So, Joss outlined what a sane approach to this monster transition could look like. The amount of work to do was what we call “fun” on #debian-gnome. In a nutshell, we had to deal with quite a few transitions, starting with having a newer version of libnotify in unstable, and a pre-requisite for that was making sure all the packages using libnotify1 were ready to use the source-incompatible libnotify4, and this meant preparing patches and NMUs for many of our packages, as well as many others not under our control.

Before starting a controlled transition like this one, we had to get an ACK from the release team, who was busy enough handling other huge transitions like Perl 5.12, so by the time we got our own slot, we were well into Summer.

With libnotify done in August, it was time to get our hands dirty with more exciting stuff, like getting Nautilus in testing. This meant bumping a soname and requiring all packages providing Nautilus extensions to migrate to GTK+3.0, or drop the extension entirely, as you can’t mix GTK+2.0 and GTK+3.0 symbols in the same process. However, in GNOME 3.0, automounting code had moved from Nautilus to gnome-settings-daemon, so in order to not break filesystem automounting in testing for an unreasonable amount of time, both Nautilus and g-s-d needed to go in at the same time. The fun thing is that g-s-d dragged glib2.0, gvfs, gnome-control-center, gdm3, gnome-media, gnome-session and gnome-panel into the equation, so this transition needed extra planning and a lot more work than initially expected: migrating all nautilus extensions, plus ensuring all Panel applets had migrated to GTK+3.0 and the new libpanel-applet-4 interface. In short, this was the monster transition we were trying to avoid.

By the time all this mess was sorted out, GNOME 3.2 had been released, and for what users said, it was a lot better than 3.0. We still had no more than a few bits and pieces of 3.0 in testing, and we were working hard to get 3.0 in wheezy. With all the excitement around 3.2, at times it was difficult to explain outsiders why we were beating a dead 3.0 horse… Going back to our huge transition, it was just a matter of time before all the packages would be built and be ready to enter, on the same run, in testing.

A few weeks later, in early November and after several rounds of mass-bug-filings, fixing unrelated FTBFS, many NMUs, package removal requests and dealing with any possible problem that could block our transition, everything seemed to be set, and our release team magicians had everything in place for the big magic to happen. However, our first clash with the rest of Debian happened a few hours before our victory, in the form of an unannounced ruby-gnome2 upload which resetted the count for everyone. It was fun to see the release team trying all sorts of black magic in an attempt to mitigate the damage. Fortunately, after a few tries they managed to fool britney (the script that handles package transitions from unstable to testing) somehow, and the hardest part of the job was done with just one day of delay.

At last, the core of GNOME 3 was in testing, and testing users found soon after. The rest of the week saw a cascade of hate posts against GNOME 3 in Planet Debian, and personally I didn’t find that especially motivating to keep on working on the rest of GNOME bits. With experimental clear of GNOME 3.0 stuff, we finally were able to focus on packaging whatever GNOME 3.2 components were not already done, and preparing for what should be a plain simple transition of GNOME 3.0 to 3.2.

After our share of wait for a transition slot, as Perl 5.14, ICU and OpenSSL were in the line before us, and after dealing with a minor tracker 0.12 transition, we were ready for our next episode: evolution-data-server.

At first sight, we thought this would be a lot easier, but it still got a bit hairy due to evo-data-server massive soname bumps. We were given our slot just before Christmas, after a few weeks of wait for others to finish their migration rounds, and most of the pack entered wheezy a few days before the new year.

No rejoicing, though, as GNOME Shell 3.2 didn’t make it. First, we discovered it was FTBFS on kFreeBSD architectures, as NetworkManager had been promoted from optional to required, for apparently no good reason, leaving the BSD world in the cold, including our exotic GNU/kFreeBSD architectures. Now, let’s clarify that I’m a supporter of the Debian kFreeBSD architectures and was really happy to see it accepted as a technology preview in squeeze. However, as you know, GNOME Shell currently requires hardware acceleration to run, a requirement hardly met in kFreeBSD, unless you’re using a DRI1 X driver. We seriously doubted anyone had ever ran a GNOME 3 session on kfreebsd-*. However, if it didn’t build, it was a blocker bug for GNOME Shell. We considered creating different meta-packages for kFreeBSD architectures, to conclude it’d be a mess, so our awesome Michael Biebl ended up cooking up a patch that restored the ability to build the Shell without NetworkManager support.

With this out of our way, we just needed to upload Michael’s fix and watch the buildds do their part of the job. Or maybe not?

Enter Iceweasel 9.

In parallel, and with incredible bad timing, Iceweasel 9.0 was uploaded to Debian the very same day it was released by Mozilla. Again, it greeted us with a nasty surprise: yet another mozjs API change, which made gjs FTBFS, which meant our kFreeBSD fixes would be unusable until someone who knew Gjs’ internals well enough bit the bullet and worked around the new API changes. Again, Michael Biebl tried to be our saviour, but unfortunately wasn’t able to fix all the problems, so we tried to focus on plan B.

Mozilla had released a fork of the mozjs that is included in Firefox, so that embedders would have a bit less of a hard time with these recurrent API changes. This was based on Firefox 4, and was already being packaged by Ubuntu. Gjs would build using this older version just fine, so we just needed to get it in Debian as soon as possible. We just needed to find a sucke^Wvolunteer that would be inclined to maintain the beast. Only after a few weeks we managed to get Chris Coulson, the Ubuntu packager, to maintain the package directly through the Debian archive via package syncs. However, his package had only been auto-compiled in the three Ubuntu architectures, that is amd64, armel and i386. It’s late January 2012, and we’ve been fighting this war for 10 months.

After getting some help from Michael to get the new package in shape for Debian standards, we were excited to sponsor it for Chris. Duh, after a few days in the NEW fridge, it was rejected by the ftp-masters. The license statement was missing quite a few details, so I went ahead and sacrificed a few hours of my copious free time to get this sorted out. A few days later, mozjs was accepted, but the result was horrible. It was very red. mozjs didn’t build on half of our targets.

Mike Hommey was quick to file a bug and point us to the most obvious fuckups. As he had dealt with this in the past as the Iceweasel maintainer, all of these issues were fixed and patches were ready to be applied verbatim or with minimal changes to our sources. With mozjs finally built successfully (although with severe problems on ia64), we were finally able to rebuild Gjs against it, upload GNOME Shell with our kFreeBSD fixes and wait until today for this mess to be over. Whew.

I can’t say I’ve enjoyed all the stages of this ride. Some bumps on the road were clearly there to test our patience, but it has helped me get back in touch with non-leaf GNOME packaging, which was all I was doing for a while due to being super-busy lately with studies. It also reminds me of the privilege of working side by side with some awesome people, not only Joss, Michael, Sjoerd, Laurent or Gustavo, to name just a few Debian GNOME team members, but also the receptive release team members like Julien or Cyril, and NEW-processing record-breaking ftp-master Luca. Without them, we might be trying to figure out the Nautilus transition since last Summer.

We really hope GNOME 3.4 will be a piece of cake compared to this. ;)

Syndicated 2012-01-31 01:23:00 from I still don't have a title

Installing GNOME 3 in Debian

The following is a quick HOWTO for the brave Debian users who want to upgrade to GNOME 3. Assuming you have an up to date system running sid, and experimental listed in your APT sources, perform the following complicated steps to end up having a functional GNOME 3 desktop:

apt-get install -t experimental gnome

Thanks go to Joss for putting together new GNOME 3 meta-packages, and the rest of the Debian GNOME people for months of hard planning and packaging work, and painful testing transition handling.

Before you ask, yeah, not all of GNOME 3.x is in unstable yet, but will soon be, as precedent transitions start clearing the way. And yeah, GNOME 3.2 will come just after the two remaining package sets enter testing. To compensate, you'll find that you have some GNOME leaf packages pending an upgrade to 3.2.0-1 while you read this.

Syndicated 2011-09-29 01:46:00 from I still don't have a title

Not going to DebConf 11

3 months ago, I was positive I would be attending DebConf 11 in Banja Luka, but as the time to buy tickets and plan the trip came closer, I began to realise I don't have lots and lots of vacation, and I probably prefer spending them doing something that absolutely rocks my world. I've always enjoyed the Debian conferences when I've been lucky to be there, but last year's experience in the Pyrenees was nothing a DebConf can compare to, and I've decided to spend time seeking similar experiences this summer.

With much regret, because I love meeting the wonderful people that make up Debian and DebConfs, I have to say that after all and once again, I won't make it.

Syndicated 2011-07-13 13:47:00 from I still don't have a title

Cinema d'Estiu de Benimaclet 2011

Yeah! It's this time of the year: Friday evenings after work with your friends having some cool beer on the streets, Saturdays around the nearby mountains for a good hike and swimming in a lake or river, and good beach Sunday in a Valencian beach. And for a great ending of a Summer weekend, a good indie movie in your neighbourhood, reclaiming the streets and going back to our roots, when people perceived the public spaces as theirs, and would bring foldable chairs out, would gather with their neighbours and had a good after-dinner chat a la fresca.

The always active Associació de Veïns i Veïnes de Benimaclet has organized, for the fifth year four cinema projections in Benimaclet's square, which are open for anyone who wants to share good moments with us. The program this year includes Soul Kitchen (3rd of July), When the Wind Blows (10th), Concursante (17th) and Moon (24th).

Before every movie, we'll enjoy live music by local bands, and projections of good short films. We'll be happy to see you there, and remember you only need a chair and some dinner... but be sure to be there a bit before 22:00: last year this got so popular some people started having issues to find good spots for their chairs!

Syndicated 2011-06-30 23:24:00 from I still don't have a title

Quinze de maig

Two weeks ago, I was lucky to celebrate my 33th birthday with my closest friends in l'Alqueria. When asked to wish something before blowing the candles on Victor's delicious apple cake, I thought I have basically everything I'd want, but it'd be cool if some real changes happened in this world.

Not much longer, big demonstrations asking for “Real Democracy Now” happened throughout the Spanish state, and today, that Sunday seems to be an eternity away. Huge assemblies, thousands of strangers working together, more demonstrations, an election campaign eclipsed by #15m, hundreds of well thought, plausible claims published, the movement crossing the Spanish borders and leaking into France and Greece, the feeling that this is the good one, the basis for a fresh start that can make our lives better, our society a fair one and the possibility to stand in front of the fuckers who have made our lives a lot harder, to tell them it's not going to work like that anymore. All of this in 15 days.

Unfortunately, revolution came when I'm in a crucial month to finish my studies and swamped with other little things, so I've been unable to be in the Valencian camp site for more than 3 days. Hopefully when I'm done on the 22nd people will still be taking the square, because Mako and Mika will be visiting then. Yay!

Syndicated 2011-05-31 23:11:00 from I still don't have a title

GNOME 3.0

Yesterday one of my free software halves was very, very happy, because after a lot of work, GNOME 3 was released!

I've been following GNOME 3.0's development since Debian got the first GNOME Shell snapshots uploaded to experimental. While my first experience, on an old, 2 or 3 generations behind Athlon 800MHz with 512MB of RAM was horrid due to the lack of features (it wasn't even an alpha!) and the incredible slowness due to the crappy Radeon 9200, I've seen it evolve to the gem that was released yesterday.

I haven't been so excited about GNOME since GTK+ and GNOME 2.0 were released after their eternal development cycle, and was happy to see how positive the atmosphere in #gnome-hackers was last night when vuntz sent the email and everyone was able to relax after a very long sprint of hard work.

Congratulations everyone, because not only this a great, solid release, but it's also a brave one. Change does not come without resistance, but I am very sure the path GNOME opened last night has a bright and innovative future. I will be delighted to walk this path to enjoy it!

Syndicated 2011-04-07 23:14:00 from I still don't have a title

A tale of Tristània and its Quadrennial Royal Ball

In one of the corners of what is now know as Europa, there was a rich, prosperous and beautiful kingdom known as Tristània. In the past, not that long ago, it had been a number of smaller kingdoms and caliphates, all with their own cultures, religions and ways of life. Wars, and series of marriages of convenience eventually configured what ended up being the united kingdom of Tristània. Throughout the years, some of the unified cultures grew and flourished, while others struggled to survive in their ever-shrinking areas of influence.

A required introduction

Sometimes, the minor cultures would suffer due to oppression coming from the delegates of the King, who would ban any expression of these cultures, as they were seen as a potential threat to the kingdom's stability and unity. For example, just a few decades before the main subject of this tale, the predecessor of the incumbent King took power by force, after crushing everyone who opposed his uprise during a bloody and hard civil war. His reign was ruthless and he imposed draconian laws uppon his people: usage and teaching of the minor languages was banned, and everyone was forced to use the language of the Centràlia region, in public or private.

After four decades, the majority of the Tristanian people were sick enough of the situation to consider standing against their fear of the regime and demand freedom, but repression prevailed until the old general died. His place was taken by the King's grandson even if the people had expressed, just before the Great War, that they had had enough kings and demanded a ruler they could choose directly. Of course, the new King seemed a lot nicer than who they had been suffering for ages, so when asked if they accepted the new situation, an overwhelming majority said “yes”.

However, there was a region, Verdàlia, where the majority said “no”. Things were actually more complicated. Verdalians formed a traditional, proud society, and while the years of oppression had undoubtedly weakened it, they had managed to preserve their very unique culture, language and traditions healthy. The Verdal language was really weird to the ears of Centràlians and even other minor cultures of the Kingdom, and erudites struggled to find its real origins, not being able to reach plausible conclusions.

Verdanians, as we already know, were a traditional society, living in a land of deep and poorly connected valleys. Little they knew or cared about the complicated matters of Centràlia and other regions. What made them happy was to take care their sheep and cows, keep a good fire in their living room and, every now and then, enjoy one of their log cutting contests. The impositions of the former dictator were too much for them, and some of them started sabotaging, assaulting and killing some of the dictator's soldiers, agents and officers. This was a huge risk at the time; getting caught meant death penalty for sure, and at first, even people from other regions were in favour of these actions. However, this popular support greatly diminished when the new King took the throne, as these minority continued with the killings, while most of the people saw it was no longer justified.

The Royal Ball

One of the very first measures the young King introduced was to organise the “Royal Ball of Tristània”, a major event through which the people of the different regions would be able to elect their delegates to the Crown. Every four years, a Great Ball contest would happen in Centràlia, and the winners would be able to decide by their own on some of the matters that affected their region. Verdanians would send a few teams of dancers, each of which came from different towns or areas. Some Verdanian teams were happy about the King and the new political situation, but other teams weren't so much. And some others, while being simple non-violent dancers, were known to be supporters of the violent minority who kept on harassing, assaulting and even killing in their struggle for “freedom of Verdània”.

The Verdanian groups aligned with the “different” culture of Verdània (including those who were said to support the violent) tended to get a lot more points in the dancing contest, and a majority of the elected delegates were appointed by them, making it easier to pass laws and edicts that favoured protection of their ways, traditions and language.

No matter how hard they tried, the dancing groups closer to Centràlia kept losing to the majority. After many years of dance contests, these groups used their closeness to the King's court to pass the Ball Law of Tristanian, that would ban any dancing group which didn't condemn the assaults and killings that kept happening in Verdània. The unsurprising result was that, with less dancing groups participating in the following Royal Ball, the Verdanian majority was broken and new delegates, friendly of the Centralian officers, were elected.

Many people who had been in favour of assaults and killings began to question this strategy, and this political movement's unity started to break. In the end, the dancers decided to part ways with the violent; they wanted to dance in the next ball, and to do so, they wrote a letter to the King, in which they explicitly expressed their rejection of violent ways, and their embracing of dancing as the only means to drive their political agenda. An objective reading of the new Ball Law clearly showed that this was enough: the text only said the requisite for a dancing group was to disavow all kinds of violence.

This wasn't really expected in Centràlia, so they started to add new requirements in an attempt to keep this group from the contest: their decisive majority in Verdània was at stake.

The Royal Ball was nearing and registrations for the contest would soon close. The Centralian government first argued that the dancing group should reject the violence coming from the Verdanian extremists in particular. The dancers did it. Then they argued that the dancers were the same people who had been supporting violence in Verdània for years, and “obviously” their violence rejection statement was a lie. The dancers struggled to find new dancers who had not been involved in past dances. But it was not enough. They then claimed that this dance group should be quarantined for four years, until they could prove they really were serious about their new non-violent ideas.

The dance group made a plea to the Tristànian Supreme Counsel, a group of sixteen experts in law of the Kingdom, and argued that all of these draconian requirements were not part of the law that was being enforced by the King. Their appeal to the elder counselors was in vain, though. They ruled this dancing group was as criminal as the violent minority they had once supported, and should by no means take part in the Royal Ball.

As a last, desperate measure, the dancing group reached an agreement with other Verdanian dancers to join forces. They would adopt a new name and new dancing costume colours. Many feared this would only end up in the ban of the other dancing group.

Unfortunately, the end of this story has not been written yet, but it will be completed very soon. Only time will tell if things continue being very sad and unfair in Tristània, or if the dance contest will once again be impartial, with legitimate results.

Syndicated 2011-03-31 23:40:00 from I still don't have a title

Calçotada!

This past weekend I've had the pleasure to join our friends from Valls, in the Camp de Tarragona, for our annual Calçotada in Picamoixon's countryside. This was the fourth time in a row I attend, and as always, it's been a blast, even if Enric and Clara weren't there, and the Valencian group was reduced to just 5 of us.

Unfortunately I had my share of alcohol on Friday evening/night while partying with my workmates so when we got to Tarragona I was basically wasted. This made me not want to take a single sip of any kind of beverage not consisting of a 100% of water during the two days, but that didn't, of course, spoil a single moment of fun.

Again, we've had the full traditional pack: prepare, cook and enjoy the delicious calçots; our share of mayhem just after eating them, during the calçot war, which this time resulted in a really filthy face and hair; our little walk around the area, including a visit to the “chapel of the altar boy”; play in the metres tall mountains of gravel in the quarry and a brief visit to the ruins of an abandoned house, to discovered none of the floors have colapsed yet.

A great finish for a great weekend is getting to visit Jordi and Anna, after 3 years of no luck, and finally meeting their lovely 2.5 years old daughter Martina.

This weekend just rocks, and I'm already looking forward to next year's!

Syndicated 2011-02-28 23:22:00 from I still don't have a title

128 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!