Thank you for everything, Flaco.
Thank you for everything, Flaco.
Most of us who work in technology, secretly wish that one day, something we've created will change the world in a positive way, or that we will be able to look back at some point and realize that we've contributed somehow to make this world a better place. For many of us, this is the driving force that put us in this field in the first place, even when we rarely admit it to each other, let alone to anyone else.
Some of us get to achieve it, one way or another. In an anonymous way, most likely in the form of one single link in a chain of events that, individually, might seem insignificant, but altogether, represent the continuous and dynamic steering of human progress. Our names will not be remembered, neither will our individual contributions, but they will be there for others to build upon, one link at the time, one step after another.
And then there are those who manage to envision that things are possible in ways that would be unthinkable for the rest of us, and not only that, strive to make them happen. They don't work alone and rely on others, that's certain, yet it's their unique inspiration, persistence, and the exceptional love for what they do what motivates others to flock along them and help them change the world. Steve Jobs was probably one of the most remarkable examples in the latest times of this rare but wonderful people, and we've been lucky to be challenged with his contributions to technology. I am not sure whether being in this industry would be so challenging and exciting as it is, if he hadn't been around.
After three years in Finland, I finally spent a weekend in a traditional mökki, with wood stove sauna, makkara, mushroom picking, midnight drunken cold-lake skinny dipping, rowing, and getting up with dawn for the sole purpose of getting gems like this one:
Since it was the weekend of el dieciocho, I made some pisco sour, too.
Let's say, you have a product that relies on a free software platform. Let's say, you want to add a particular feature to that product for differentiation, but you know that the free software community is not very keen of your practices of keeping code in-house. So you want to give back, at least to avoid some criticism. How to make it so, that the feature is still exclusive to your new product?
Well, it's very easy. Wait until the free software platform where you added that feature is already in code freeze, and only then do a code drop in their bugzilla. That way, you make sure that they won't be releasing it until at least 6 months after your product is already on the market. Touché.
Cynicism in this entry is for free and any resemblance with reality is merely coincidental and should not be taken very seriously.
Several years later, back in one of my favorite cities, with my favorite people, to celebrate our favorite project:
It took longer than I wanted, but it finally happened. Over the weekend I managed to fix the idiotic bits that were keeping the MeeGo IM framework from working with GTK+ applications in MeeGo. Raymond Liu merged my patches upstream and hopefully this will make it into MeeGo 1.2. There are still some rough edges and things to improve but at least now input will work.
A kind thank you goes to Michael Hasselmann and Jon Nordby whose patience and help have been extremely valuable all along the way.
Together with the next version of the Eye of GNOME, the oldest open bug to date (coming from 2002) will be finally fixed. This bug, about adding a copy action to the Edit menu, somehow got unattended and slipped between all the other features that we and the previous maintainers of eog have been working on during the last 9 years.
This, until the last days of 2010. Then, out of the blue, we received in bugzilla a patch coming from Adrian Hands, implementing this feature. Felix had a look at it, the usual way, and seeing that it was almost there he pushed it to the master branch and resolved the bug fixed. We were happy to see this long requested feature finally added, but the full story would not unveil itself until a few weeks ago, when Ian Hands, son of Adrian, dropped by in bugzilla to let us know that his father had passed away. He had ALS and one of the last things he did, by means of a Morse-code mouse and when he was almost unable to control the computer anymore, was to write the aforementioned patch and to attach it in bugzilla. And about two months later, he would pass away.
If you want, you can read Ian's message, which is very touching to say the least. I talked to him privately and he was open to share this story with the GNOME community, for which I am grateful, so here you have it. I believe that there are many things to learn out of this, not only for each one of us at a personal level, but also at the community level. In the rush of the industry we've chosen to work on, sometimes we forget that there are people behind the patches, emails, and lines of chat that we exchange every day, and that behind each one of us there are different stories, motivations, and feelings that make us to actually be here, right now, doing this. How can we, as a community, make sure that we don't forget that the main reason why we're here in the end is to deliver something for people? That we are here because of people? I don't have the answer but, for certain, knowing what Adrian did for eog brings me back to earth from my bubble, at least for a while, and makes me feel proud to be part of a world where, if we don't forget about it, people like Adrian, you, or me, can make a difference.
Thank you, Adrian, for this wonderful gift.
So, now I am a Finnish resident. It took around a year of paperwork to get the permit but it finally happened and I got a self-employment work permit. So I can now officially move from Spain and stop being in the Spanish-resident-but-in-Finland limbo.
All in all, I am amazed at the Finnish way of doing things. It took time, yes, but their willingness to get the stuff done and not to put ridiculous obstacles in the way is remarkable. Also, their good faith in foreigners is something I never saw before. In order to get a self-employment working permit, I had to submit a complete business plan, including sales and profitability estimations. Seeing that the numbers were sound and the business would be profitable, they just saw no reason why the permit couldn't be granted, so they just granted it. I wonder whether there are many other developed countries where self-employment permits are granted to foreigners just when they could be, but I don't think there are that many. I've heard bad things about the US on this regard, for instance.
What comes now is getting started with my one-man business. That way I will continue doing cool stuff with Igalia but with all my life going on in Finland, as it's been for some time already anyway. It's a great thing to be part of a company where this kind of things are possible.
By now, you start wondering why on earth would I want to stay in Finland? Well, if you should know, you would know already, after all, it's been two years. If you don't, you can just keep wondering.
I had a post pending since last week, but a flu put me down and lagged me behind the world.
Last week Carlos and I started working in the GTK+/MeeGo integration project. He already wrote about his ongoing work on the pannable area and has received very interesting feedback. Thanks to everyone for keeping an eye on it.
From my side, I spent the week getting a recent image of the Handset SDK up and running, and getting a grasp of the current Input Method status in MeeGo. For this, Michael Hasselmann and Jon Nordby have been more than really helpful. I met Jon in Brussels during FOSDEM and he was kind to put me up to date to what Michael and he believe are the most relevant points to take into account to get a good IM integration. Thank you, guys.
In a nutshell, one of the integration points for GTK+ applications in MeeGo is the Input Context that needs to communicate, through DBus, with the IM UI Server. There are currently two implementations out there, targetting the MeeGo 1.1 platform, but the DBus interfaces have changed since then. Trying to get the parts to agree, have one single GTK+ input context for MeeGo, and updating the DBus interfaces seems the most logical starting point for this side of the project, so it's what I'll be doing now that I'm not going to die anymore. There are, of course, other parts that also need to be worked on (related to the UI part of the IM), but we'll talk about that later.
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.
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