Older blog entries for gpoo (starting at number 22)

Dell and the hot air solderer

A while ago there was a known issue with several Dell and HP laptop models shipped with Nvidia GPU. As in many issues, it can pass unnoticed until it happens to you. Nvidia provided chips that were overheating and failing. There were several symptoms, such as vertical lines in text mode (even when showing the BIOS message), black screens when starting the graphical mode or psychedelic colors while working in a session (hanging the OS). Of course, it failed after the warranty expired and this particular model was not included in any recall.

Psychedelic screen GNOME Psychedelic after a random crash on Monday 22

Flipping Nvidia

The first symptoms were triggered when accessing some operation or “feature” using Nvidia’s driver, and it happened either using Linux or the pre-installed OS. Therefore, it was a hardware problem. Anyway, it was possible to boot in single mode, so, the next step was trying X using the nouveau driver in xorg.conf and it worked! (oh yeah, less is more!). All this happened to my wife when she was in Canada back in 2009, so the credits for the trick belong to her.

After Googling a bit, we figure out it was the famous overheating issue that melt some contacts in the GPU (nothing related with the lid button, though. Just the “good” quality of the Nvidia chipset :-).

It was a bit weird that the problem was not triggered using the nouveau driver. But weirder was when, back in Chile some months later and without any rational explanation, she booted the laptop in the pre-installed OS (that is the irrational part). She had forgotten the issue and the laptop failed again. Ok, no problem, it was the issue with the driver, we thought. However, in Linux, X could not start anymore (that is the weird part). After giving kindly our best wishes to Bill, we decided to buy another laptop. No more Nvidia, but we still trusted in Dell.

The return of the King

Before we moved to Canada in 2010, we decided to sell the useful parts of the old laptop (everything but the motherboard). As some months before, my wife disassembled the laptop, cleaned each component, and later, she wanted to give it a try… and the flipping laptop worked again! No vertical lines in text mode, just like the good old times. Obviously, we only tried the nouveau driver. Then, that laptop became my laptop because I did not own one (I used to use the one provided by my employer). So far, so good.

Dell XPS M12010 dissasembled

Nothing lasts forever

Some months later, in August, the laptop started to fail again, randomly. In its best times it worked with 256 colors at 1024×768, but commonly the maximum resolution was 800×600. It was like having a tablet, just a bit heavier and not cool at all. However, it was getting worse and was hanging the system continuously.

[   20.999392] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Detected an NV40 generation card (0x046800a3)
[   21.000840] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PRAMIN
[   21.066680] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: ... BIOS checksum invalid
[   21.066685] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PROM
[   21.066691] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: ... BIOS signature not found
[   21.066694] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PCIROM
[   21.066908] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: ... BIOS checksum invalid
[   21.066910] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from ACPI
[   21.066914] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: ... BIOS signature not found
[   21.066917] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Using BIOS image from PRAMIN
[   21.133482] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: No known BIOS signature found
[   21.154946] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: PCI INT A disabled

At that time I was not in a position to afford a new computer and the only replacement parts at a reasonable price were in China, but I did not have a credit card and I was unsure about the custom office in Canada.

The hot air solderer to the rescue

In my all search, a friend of mine recommend me some videos where people baked the motherboard during 10 minutes at 200°C (yes, baked the motherboard in a oven). After following some links, and asking here and there, I got to the hot air solderers and some videos in Youtube School™. That sounded more reasonable… if I only could get one for some minutes.

When the term started in September, I went to IT support and they had one. I explained what I wanted to do to the technician, and he brought some old cards to show me how the hot air solderer worked and to gain confidence with the tool. I realized it takes a while to melt the components. So, I thought it was safe enough. Finally, I took off the motherboard and applied hot air to the Nvidia chipset some minutes (10-15 minutes).

Fixing the GPU Me applying 600°F (315°C) on the Nvidia GPU

And it worked! Always with the nouveau driver. It lasted around 5,5 months, until some days ago when the laptop started to fail again.

Thus, yesterday I repeated the procedure and the laptop is working again. I only have to pay attention to the system temperature to force the CPU clock to run slower, which is pretty fine with GNOME applets.

Syndicated 2011-02-23 11:39:39 from Personal notes

GNOME community survey

A group of researchers leaded by Jim Herbsleb got in contact with GNOME Foundation some months ago in order to research how communities works, how a volunteer become an active contributor, among others.

In the following days, developers (committers) will receive and invitation to complete a survey that would not take more than 20 minutes (or even less). However, the participation in the study is completely voluntary.

It worth to mention that the results will be shared with the community, and we will insist on that.

At last but not least, the original plan included a joint survey to help set the Foundation goals, which will not be the case. However, we are looking forward to receive help from this team of researchers in the near future.

Syndicated 2011-01-07 12:53:07 from Personal notes

Executive Director Hiring Committee

Sky Tower
Sky Tower, Auckland, New Zealand

In order to provide more transparency to the process of hiring the next Executive Director for GNOME Foundation, here is the list with the members of the Hiring Committee in charge of screening the applications received and interviewing the candidates. The list includes current affiliation and former activities related to GNOME Foundation.

Members of the Hiring Committee (in alphabetical order):

  • Bradley Kuhn, Executive Director at Software Freedom Conservancy. Member of the Advisory Board representing FSF, former Executive Director of FSF.
  • Dave Neary, Neary Consulting. GNOME contributor, former Director of GNOME Foundation.
  • Germán Póo-Caamaño, Director of GNOME Foundation.
  • Jonathan Blandford, Manager of the Desktop team at Red Hat. Member of the Advisory Board representing Red Hat, former Director of GNOME Foundation.
  • Kim Weins, OpenLogic. Senior VP of Marketing at OpenLogic.
  • Luis Villa, Mozilla Foundation. Attorney at Mozilla, member of the Advisory Board representing Mozilla, former Director of GNOME Foundation.
  • Robert Sutor, IBM. Vice President of Open System and Linux at IBM. IBM is a member of the advisory board.
  • Stormy Peters, Head of Developer Engagement at Mozilla. Former Executive Director of GNOME Foundation, former member of the Advisory Board representing HP.

The hiring committee will respect the privacy all candidates. They are all candidates until they get the job.

Syndicated 2010-12-27 10:01:25 from Personal notes

GNOME Foundation Budget and Plans

Multi-User Area

Thanks to the feedback of some teams, a draft of GNOME Foundation 2011 budget and plans (from October 2010 to September 2011) is available to be reviewed. There are two documents: a summary with short explanations of every item and a spreadsheet with the consolidated items.

If your team has an activity in mind (hackfest, conference, or another GNOME related activity or idea), you can send your plan (with goals, deliverables and budget required) to the board or foundation-list to discuss it.

Syndicated 2010-12-23 06:30:46 from Personal notes

If you become a Director of GNOME Foundation

When I ran for a seat for the Board of Directors of the GNOME Foundation one year ago, as many other contributors, I did not have a clear idea of what a director was supposed to do. However, I had an idea of the results I wanted to see.

For people still hesitating if run or not, you should consider:

  • What are the results you would like to see?
  • Be aware of the results that other board members (and the community) would like to see
  • Do not block tasks (for my personal taste, responsiveness matters)
  • It takes time (read Federico’s Board member mini-howto and Paul’s post A Peek Under the Covers)

As simple as that.

There are good things, such as being a facilitator for getting things done, collect and provide good information for taking better decisions, encourage and follow other people ideas, “extend” the board to reach other communities (diversity is good).

Sometimes, it can be overwhelmed. There are plenty of discussions on the board mailing list. There are only 9 people subscribed and all of them must follow and participate in the discussions, because it is part of their role. For instance, if you are motivated and you start 5 threads with good ideas, the next time you will check your email you might have easily 20 replies to follow up, and so on. And an idea without execution does not worth. However, it is much better to feel overwhelmed that does not receive any reply at all.

On the other hand, the board is different than other parts/teams of the project. Usually, when you are hacking on a project, and other hackers are busy in their own life, you can continue your work and take decisions (meritocracy rules). With respect to the board, if there is not enough votes to take a decision, simply you get stuck on that item. There are workarounds, but basically you must insist.

As everything, it has ups and downs, but -as Vincent said- you can make a difference.

Syndicated 2010-05-23 05:20:49 from Personal notes

GUADEC: Travel sponsorships delayed


In the Travel Committee we try to have an answer as soon as possible and before two weeks after we received an application form (for GUADEC, two weeks after the deadline). Now, we are officially delayed.

For your information, we have been waiting for the accommodation deal and we expect to receive news by the next Tuesday 18th. Also, we know every week counts.

Thank you for your understanding.

Syndicated 2010-05-15 14:39:33 from Personal notes

GUADEC: Status of travel sponsorship requests

Kristiansand Kristiansand, Norway

The Travel Committee received 61 sponsorship requests (13 more than the last year). The information has been cross-checked (speakers, GSoC students and mentors, travel costs, arrival dates, etc.) and now we are working on the accommodation costs.

7 Females
54 Males
18 Speakers
11 Google Summer of Code students
6 Google Summer of Code mentors
39 Members of GNOME Foundation (4 GSoC students)
7 Requested only accommodation
5 Requested only travel fare

In total, we were requested US$49,578.- for travel fares. However, we will not sponsor the train from Amsterdam (Schiphol) to Den Haag because it costs €7,60 (one-way) and we think it is an affordable amount of money. Hence, we can save €15,2 per every travel request (~US$1,100.-), which might help us to sponsor more people.

Having that in consideration plus better airfares we were able to find, we would need US$41,738.- instead of US$49,578.-

On the other hand, we would need around 28 double rooms. However, the accommodation costs this year are higher than the costs when the bid was presented. It would not be a big deal for 1 or 2 people, but it is different when you are booking for 55 people (5/6 nights each).

Every euro/dollar counts.

Syndicated 2010-04-30 22:03:42 from Personal notes

Travel assistance applications to attend to GUADEC

Dear hackers,

The GNOME Foundation provides travel sponsorships to individuals that want to attend GUADEC and need financial assistance.

We are happy to announce the Travel Committee is ready to receive applications for sponsorships to attend to GUADEC 2010. This year, GUADEC is being held in the The Hague University, in The Hague, Netherlands, from Monday 26th July, until Friday 30th July.

The instructions are detailed at http://live.gnome.org/Travel. Please read them carefully.

Deadline: April 27, 2009, 19:00 UTC. You can start sending your applications now!

Surf, A Coruña

Some additional comments:

  • Any information you send to the Travel Committee will be private. Asking for sponsorship does not guarantee you will get sponsored.
  • A good application with good information will be processed faster.
  • If you need help with accommodation, the Travel Committee will book the hotel or hostel for you. This enables us to get group rates and provide accommodation assistance to the most people possible.
    You should state that you need accommodation, and leave the cost blank.
  • Always choose the most economical option whenever possible. People who need travel sponsorship, should look for the best price (i.e. through a service like kayak.com). If the Travel Committee finds a cheaper price, that will be the price considered during the evaluation.
  • If you are applying to a Google Summer of Code program (as student or mentor) you should mention it in your application. Preference will be given to students and mentors participating in the Google Summer of Code or the Outreach Program for Women.
    GSoC students usually get a percentage of their GUADEC expenses covered.
  • If you submitted an abstract to be presented at GUADEC, you should mention it in your application. Preference will be given to people giving presentations at GUADEC.
    The GUADEC paper committee will let the travel committee know which talks have been accepted, so as long as you let us know you submitted one, there is no need to follow up.
  • The Travel committee should reply back about receiving your application within 2-3 days. After that we would accumulate all the sponsorship requests and process them together. So please do not panic (have any butterflies in your stomach) if we take some time to reply on the status. Affirmative/Negative you would surely get a response.
  • No personal emails. Please keep travel-committee Cc’ed on all your replies.

You can find us in the #travel channel at irc.gnome.org.

Billetes y sombreros
Money hats (origami)

Syndicated 2010-04-13 01:49:54 from Germán Póo-Caamaño

Catalina, Moonlight Mask and GUADEC

Finally, the Travel Committee has replied to every request for sponsorship received (positives and negatives). So, if you have not received an email from us yet, do not hesitate in get in touch with us through the email or irc (#travel).

Sculpture of Juan Gantes masked (by gpoo, on Flickr)

Sculpture of Juan Gantes masked (as Moonlight Mask :-)

We have booked 16 apartments at Catalina Park, which looks nice, in a good location and still austere. We were told they will enable a special room for attendants to the conference. The process of booking took more time than expected, but thanks to Jorge Bustos and Chema Casanova (who gave us a hand from Spain) it was possible to accelerate it.

We tried to sponsor as much contributors as possible, however it was not possible to sponsor everybody.

At the end, we received 51 applications, 3 of them arrived a bit later and other 3 very later. We have assigned assistantship to 43 people (travel and/or accommodation).

Syndicated 2009-05-24 06:45:32 from Germán Póo-Caamaño

GUADEC’s sponsorships update

The Travel Committee is expected to reply every request for sponsorship in the next two weeks after the deadline. Because the original deadline was April 27, people who applied for sponsorship are worried because they do not have received any email coming from us yet (neither positive or negative).

Aserrín (Sawdust)
Aserrín (Sawdust)

So, this is just an update of the GUADEC sponsorship process in order to let the people know in which part of the process we are. So, if you are waiting news from us, do not get nervous.

On Thursday 7, we replied to the sponsorship requests of the first group of people. This group was composed by people who have a work (talk) accepted to be presented at GUADEC. It was possible because it was a small group and we were sure we could cover their costs (mostly).

Besides, the Travel Committee is taking care of the accommodations. It let us to reduce and keep under control the costs, hence, we can support more people. And it will depend of the final place how many people we will be able to sponsor. We are delayed because the booking process has been slower than we expected. But we are working on it.

But I let you know we are prioritizing mainly as following: speakers (core, cross-desktop, normal, bof, lightning talk), foundation members, summer of code students, other people. There are other factors, such as, give the chance to people who were not sponsored the last year or people.

One thing is sure: if you were sponsored, you will not stay at Hotel Fataga. It is one of the most expensive hotels in the list and it is only our last resort.

Syndicated 2009-05-13 04:30:17 from Germán Póo-Caamaño

13 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!