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I like understanding why I am not a Gnome user

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 10/05/2005 - 12:02
Erich: Most Linux users expect me to run Gnome, KDE or -at the very geeky extreme- xfce. I hate them all - I hate xfce and KDE much more than I hate Gnome, yes, but I cannot live in a Gnome-based world. It is just not comfortable. It is not fun. Some months ago, I tried them all. One week with Gnome, one sour week with KDE, three very sour days with xfce. The world makes you feel you should be using an integrated feature-bloated desktop, and that good ol' beloved Windowmaker with {rxvt,emacs,firefox} is an anachronic no-go. I find it interesting to read other people explaining why they think as I do, and I also like reading the counter-arguments. Besides, if there happens to be an integrated desktop user who is dissatisfied with his current environment, why not tempt him to try something different (like my WMaker) or completely different (like their ion3)?
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Isn't it Galeon 1.2 which went off the path?

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 10/05/2005 - 11:13
Axel Beckert was ranting regarding how Galeon 1.3 sucks so badly he sticks to his Woody (Gnome 1.4 IIRC, Galeon 1.2) desktop. In one of the lines of his rebuttal/statement of what he wants from Galeon, he states:
I just strongly disagree with pure simplification being the right way in UI design.
This is the problem with Galeon: That it went far away from its original intention. Its original motto (which I discovered to be still in use) is The web. only the web... Well, I really enjoyed pre-1.2 versions of Galeon, but it just bloated, bloated, bloated until it was no longer usable for me. I too hate many aspects of Firefox, only it is the most usable browser I have seen... I still have to look at Kazehakase, but from the little that I can get from its page, it is not what I want. I want, just as you, something light, not over-featured, but tunable to my personal preferences. And while Firefox's configuration is closer to the extra wheels for a bycicle you complain about in Galeon, I have been able to tune it quite a lot via extensions.
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On usability and on what Debian is about

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 09/22/2005 - 21:11
Andres Salomon rants on the apparent lack of focus on usability we have in Debian, compared to Ubuntu. First of all, I think that directly relating the word usability with the concept desktop is a very big and common mistake. I know I am not in the 99% of the computer users - but usability for me almost always means the opposite: Interfaces that stay out of the way giving you easy access to whatever you need (and I do mean whatever - think a nice and cozy shell, think ol' beloved Emacs). Once again, I know I am not in the majority, I know that many people will prefer spiffyness (if such a word exists). And, of course, I know perfectly the shortcomings of my style for the non-techie user. However, back to my point: Debian does not target a specific set of users. Debian targets anything deemed interesting and worthy by its developers - even if its developers try to go in opposite directions. Partly because of that, Debian as such, will probably only be useful for some people... It took me quite a while to grasp what might be the meaning of our often quoted slogan, The universal Operating System - What does that mean? I have always spoken against the one-size-fits-all approach - And that's precisely why I chose and continue to choose Debian. And that's Free Software is all about. I think I only came to terms with this slogan (which I hated before) after understanding why were many people pushing for CDD (Custom Debian Distributions): Because our work must be staged to really be universal. Debian provides a great deal of the needed integration work. Debian provides a well-established base, very usable and very (some people would say, excessively) complete. Of course, for most users, it is way too much. I have (numerically) 6% of the available packages installed in my main system - I suppose the proportion would be closer to 30% if I used any other mainstream distribution. It's easy to cut from there, to throw away most of the packages you will not need for a particular user profile, and provide a better solution for them. And that's precisely what Ubuntu -and many, many other derivers- do. Yes, I also -as most DDs and Debian supporters I've talked to as well- have some doubts and viewpoint shifts regarding how is Ubuntu good or bad for Debian. There are many, many sensitive spots. That's not what I want to tackle here... Call it Ubuntu, Progeny, Linspire, Libranet, LinEx, GuadaLinex, or whatever you want - We work on giving them a good, solid foundation. They work on improving this foundation for the kind of users they need. And, of course, those users will be happier than having the generic thing. Well, too much typing already. That's that.
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Progress uploading my Debconf pictures

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 08/02/2005 - 12:41
I am over halfway of uploading the Debconf 5 pictures to my site - I have a couple dozen yet to check and upload, but at least the work is mostly done (this is, I have pictures up to the point I definitively left HUT, am basically missing the Debconf post-mortem dinner). Thanks again to everybody - this would not have been the same if any of you wasn't there!
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Back to life, but Debconf is over

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 07/19/2005 - 16:34
The last four days of Debconf people saw me with a strange, evil look in my eyes. Once they asked me what had me so down, I just told them my personal mail/web server was down. It took me four days to get somebody at home to reboot it - But well, in the end, I am back to the online life. Yes, back just temporarily, just to state the sad truth: Debconf5 is over. We even held the first Debconf5 Post-mortem Gathering in downtown Helsinki, around 25 people having a last dinner together. Since we parted, well... It is just nostalgia :-) Thanks for everybody for two weeks of fun, of interesting talks, of getting to know you all in person. Thanks for making Debconf5 what it was. Thanks to the organizers, it was a honor to work with you - And it really scares me, I am organizing Debconf6 next May in Mexico (probable but still unconfirmed location: Oaxtepec, Morelos), and it is a very high standard it will be measured up against. But don't worry, we will come up with something unforgettable as well! Ok... Now, today marks the start of my vacations with my wife. We are going to visit my mother, who lives in western Sweden. I will be there until July 30, and will thus be mostly unavailable on the net. See you all in August!
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Suomenlinna / DebSauna

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 07/13/2005 - 16:29
Ok, so this was the "enjoy yourself" day! In the morning/afternoon, a nice trip to Suomelina, a fortress island just south of Helsinki. Very nice place, and a good opportunity to just relax, walk a bit and talk with the crowd. It was a guided trip, and I usually hate that, but this time it was quite decent, and anyway we had plenty of time for ourselves - Which we spent talking on politics in the ex-USSR republics, the EZLN in Mexico, eating the italian crew's mortadela and accompanying spices, sleeping, making fun at those who sleep, and a nice and long etcetera. By 5PM we were back at HUT. We went for dinner (during which I listened to a worried Joachim explain a new kind of XSS-like attacks he has not seen but are theoretically quite feasible, the Cross-Site Auth (XSA) attack), then some time at the dorm, and then we went for Rantasauna - the sauna party house they have some 200m away from the dorm. It was lots of fun. And, for those that didn't come to Helsinki, quite scaring: Imagine one little auditorium-like room with capacity for over 30 people. Some 25 people are sitting there. There are three piles of rocks at the bottom, in what would otherwise be the center stage. There is one crazy, long-haired, italian guy about to start a talk on Custom Debian Derivatives. The stones are quite hot - in fact, the room temperature is at around 100 Celsius. Everybody (men and women) is naked, and having fun just for the sake of it. 10m away from there, Wouter is working hard fixing bugs: He fixed at least two missing keys from the piano, and did his best on fixing a key that was hitting two strings. Soon after this, we had a pretty nice concert, played by several different people. Some 5 meters further away there is another sauna room - Smaller, but more traditional: Instead of the stove being heated by electricity, it is heated by burning wood. A fenomenal gas transport system keeps it airy and spares us the bother of having smoke in the room. This is a small room, maybe you can fit some 8 people confortably. People are talking about the release process. There are some berch (abedul) branches, freshly cut - Someone just takes them and starts beating himself, as if he was halfway to Chalma. Another guy then does the same - Only that after he finishes, he asks a third friend to spank him wherever he cannot reach. They later reverse their roles. Some 30 minutes later, Mako reads (outside the sauna, of course, his plans for further licenses clarification. Most of us are already outside the sauna, technically on the street, but most people are still naked - It seems to just be the natural thing here. After some more time there (we started at 19:00, it is probably about 23:30), Zobel gets some fire working - We are quite close to making a grilled meat feast - only that nobody has grillable food. Anyway, we have fire and that is good. I think it is just about enough, and head back to the dorm. On my way here, I am told I should visit room 44, the Argentinian headquarters. I get there, and there are at least six Swedish guys apparently wating for something - I then hear a desperate scream: "Please help fix this waffle overflow!" Turns out that Marga and Max prepared pancakes and waffles for everybody. In the end, a pretty nice day. Oh! And I managed to sell quite some T-shirts! (and, of course, bought Martin Krafft's book!) PS - Tolimar: Regarding your stars issues: Things are much better in my city now, fortunately... Some 10 years ago, I asked my friend (at night, of course): Look up to the sky for three seconds, then back to me. Ok, now, tell me: Is the sky clouded or clear? And he could not answer. Blame the smog.
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Good, things run smooth!

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 07/12/2005 - 13:53
It has been basically two days I am not stuck in the reception, and that things seem to basically run smooth. I still owe Andreas some pieces of Comas functionality (which I hope will be ready by tomorrow), but it's been quite nice. I have even started doing some Debian-related job, adopting three packages I had pending, stomping on some bugs (although there was already a bug-squishing party yesterday night, which involved tequila, vodka, chapulines and some other stuff I don't remember the names for - I think a good proportion of my chapulines were happily squished by Debconf drunk but productive attendees). My wife came to Finland! She arrived two nights ago, I went to pick her up at the airport, and from there went to our good friend Ville's appartment. where she will be staying. One bottle of vodka later, we all slept like babies. Three hours later, I was on my way back to HUT to deliver my and Christian's BoF on Debian and Free Software in Latin America - Which turned out quite nicely. In fact, so nice that I have been bugging Herman and Tore waiting for the video to be published, as it can be interesting to my friends back home. Yesterday evening I also met with them for some Finnish sig htseeing and for a delicious and not too expensive dinner at a traditional Finnish place called "Sea Horse". I really rec ommend it - If you want directions on how to get there, approach me with a map in your hand, and I'll show you. Today they came and HUT and brought over all the remaining T-shirts - I can now announce to you all: I have all the shirt s I will have during Debconf. Want them? Come! First come first serve! This advertisement has been brought to you by Iden tidad Colectiva, making money for a geek family since 2004. About the evening, since they left? A nice hacking evening. The most productive (Debian-wise, not Comas-wise) since I got here.
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Quite different, indeed

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 07/09/2005 - 07:18
How has this Debconf been to me? Quite different than what I expected. Having the responsability to have the information ordered and ready for everything to happen, managing the database up and down, has become a _very_ time-intensive task. I actually managed to take a day off with Danny, Amaya, Alberto and Jeroen to visit Talinn (Estonia), and it made quite a good difference - without that vacation I'd be burnt out already. This trip was quite bloggable - Yesterday I had written a long entry about it, but a fucking mouse gesture erased it from Firefox... I just managed to scream at the machine, get angry, and... Go on working ;-) We have been very busy at the reception. We are more doing this task than what I expected, and even though I feel I'm working my ass off, it is just too evident I have a shorter battery life than many others - I have been working on this +- from 10AM to 9PM, and after that, I just fall apart in many little pieces... Fabian, Aschwin, Andreas and Martin (at the reception, plus many others doing other work) just keep on working, and the volunteers we have had working here are just amazing, going on for countless hours afterwards. Anyway, guess I'm still a Mexican, and I cannot run away from my heritage :) Anyway... Yesterday we processed around 40 newcomers. Today, we expect about 80 - I'm stressed just at the thought :) However, yesterday the whole day was hectic, and today (even after giving my Debian Day talk) I am actually quite relaxed. Life's good. ...I intended to start hacking on some bugs I have with my packages and on preparing some new packages I have pending for upload (specially taking advantage to the fact that we have an FTP bending over)... I hope that by Monday/Tuesday that we get most people here I'll be able to disappear towards the Hacklab to do some Debian work.
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Miss the darkness

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 07/04/2005 - 17:21
It has been two days already since I got to Finland, and I haven't sent a line to this blog. Some people are actually angry at my lack of communication... Well, guys, please come over, you are all invited - It is very hard to keep some time for yourself in this kind of situations. We are currently around 30 people at Otaniemi, Helsinki, working towards having a great Debconf in a couple of days. We have -at least- people from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Bosnia, Argentina and Mexico - and it is great. We are all working part of the time, and talking the rest of it. Now... There is something missing. When does a brave adventurer write his memories, send letters home or get his thoughts into paper (or comparable electronic media? There is only one possible answer: At night, when he is in the privacy of his tent, after feeding the horses and talking with the chieftains. This just does not work at 60 degrees North in July. Night lasts about two hours, from around 12AM to around 2AM. Now is what they expect us to believe is the darkest moment (1:15AM), and I see the sky as if the sun was about to rise, at 6:30AM, in my dear Mexico. Yes, there is a part of the sky in front of my window which is in fact yellowish. The Sun does not rise where it should. It does not cross the sky. It just does as it pleases - and it wants to circle around us, making us crazy and dizzy. Anyway, I am used to waking up early (yeah, right, lazy bum... Last month you could not get out of bed before 8AM save for one or two strange occasions!). I have been going to bed after a while of darkness - this means, around 1 or 2 AM, three days in a row. The first day, after the transatlantic flight, I woke up at 10 AM - Only after waking up at 8. And at 6. And at 4. And somewhere else. Today I woke up at 7AM, went to walk around, came back and worked until about 10, then showed my face to the public world. Today, at around 8PM, I was talking with Aschwin - I told him that, for no particular reason, I felt tired... Then I remembered of a bad sleep on the airplane (as it was packed, crowded with people... I even gave up on the idea of taking out my laptop to work a bit, as it was plainly too overcrowded and I wouldn't fit with it), a short and interrupted sleep, and a simply short sleep... And it hit me. My body was tired. So, at 9PM I decided to give it a go, play it quietly, hang around with the crowd and crash in my bed. Ok, so I did some Debconf stuff, went to the sauna with Andreas, Martin and Wouter, heavily discussed for some time, and came to bed at 1AM. Now it's 1:20, and I remembered I have to check mail as I have some pending work back home. I wonder how I will look like by Friday, when Debconf formally starts... Anyway... off to the bed. You can keep reading the story by looking at the few pictures I've taken
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On Debconf5's scheduling

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 07/01/2005 - 02:19
AJ Towns wonders how the hell the timetable didn't seem to obey to any logic. Well... I agree with you: It was completely computer-generated, and there are many points that should have been taken into account, but were not. This is the second scheduling algorithm that has been used with Comas - I didn't suggest our previous one, as Don Armstrong's implementation introduced voting according to your interests so you don't get locked out by having two interesting talks at once. Of course, this is the first time his algorithm is tried - but it is running on, sorry, incomplete information - For example, we don't know (better yet: Our system doesn't know) which proposals will be more popular than others, so they get scheduled in the bigger room. And, yes, it's only a bigger room - it is not to give more importance to those talks. It's almost random. The algorithm we used for CONSOL 2004 and 2005 took into account proposal type and track, trying to keep the density of any given track as homogeneous as possible during the whole conference - once again, to keep you from missing interesting stuff. If you look at the timetables, of course, they are not really balanced - but that's because us humans had to tweak it afterwards. As you know, timetables are quite tricky. And, from what I understood from Don's mail announcing the schedule first draft (sent to the debconf5-team list, not yet to everybody interested), this is by far not final. So... Well, thanks for mentioning this points, I think Don will be able to tell the system to move it around (or just reshuffle - the results will change).But, please, don't act so hostile on us. Ok, I told you 30 minutes ago I could not keep my eyes open - Now it is official, I'm going to my bed. BTW, I'm still surrounded by my cats. If any of you has never heard a cat snore, you don't know what you are missing! ;-)
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Tired / getting ready to take off

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 07/01/2005 - 01:46
Ok, so it is almost 2AM. Unlike many of you, this is not an usual hour to see me awake - I am a nice wake-up-at-8, sleep-at-12 guy. But this last couple of weeks have been hectic, and this is the culmination of the fscking process. Shit, no, it's not yet the culmination... Tomorrow I'll have to make a quick space to do some UPN work, which I have left aside for most of the week... At UNAM, things are going well. I have a couple of systems ready to be used, my institute already has a half-decent network presence and infrastructure, I am generating all of the statistics I was asked... Some stuff still pending to be installed and/or programmed, but anyway, the ship's moving. Also, I am very happy I got the DGSCA security group to reactivate the Admin-UNAM seminaries (after at least three years we had the last one). Today we had this seminar, we had a full auditorium, ~120 people (who were told to come with less than a week notice, which certainly sucks as much as being told by your boss you have to go, because the official invitation letter is not just signed by anybody but by DGSCA's general director... Anyway, I tried to do things more informal and with more time, but I don't run the show. I hate bureaucratic thought). We presented 8 hr of talks regarding perimetral security - I did the first 2hr, a very general introduction to the topic. The real nice part? Tomorrow evening I will board a plane, and Saturday evening I'll be in Helsinki. Of course, last-minute-chaos bit me - I have a couple of pending patches to Comas, and didn't have a recent enough version to hack on on my laptop - And we had no network at admin-unam. Ok, run back to the institute, cvs update, bring in a couple of extra useful packages, run back, start typing like crazy. 5PM, attention divided between the code and the talks. (BTW, has any of you ever tried to set up a Windows Internet Security Accelerator or something like that? The Microsoft firewall/proxy thingy. Man, I am glad I had never seen it before. I am more glad even I never will again. It's so damn complicated! Give me my iptables and shut up). Interrupt coding at least 20 times, as I was also commenting on the talk with my friend Turbo, who came from Temixco (little over 1hr away from Mexico City) for the Admin-UNAM Well... In the end, the clock is nearing 2AM. I am surrounded by four of my cats - Santa, Marabunta, Chupchic and Tin Tan. I finally have a working implementation of the (user view of the) volunteers functionality on Comas. Dirty as hell, I fear, so I don't think I'll integrate it ever on our main branch... But at least the ideas can be useful. No, you cannot yet sign up as volunteers, as I want to look at the diff without half of my working neurons trying to keep my eyelids open ;-) Don: I owe you incorporating your patch... Have not had time to check it. Once again, I hope I'll be able to do it tomorrow, although the day prior to a one-month absence will probably be impossible. Amaya: I just remembered about Héctor's tortillero... I think I won't make it :-( But I'll ask my wife, as she is most-probably going to meet me some days later in Finland, to get one along with her. And, no, that silly smile of yours is not only yours :) Aigars: As you are quite active on the anti-software patents scene: Are we planning some sort of something to be held in Finland on the day prior to the banana vote? (July 7, IIRC) We will be quite an impressive crowd of knowledgeable people for the reporters to admire! ;-) Anyway... I'm off to the bed. See you in HEL!
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Release party in .mx / cool T-shirts!

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 06/17/2005 - 10:45
We Mexicans are known for taking too long to do things... So, nine days after Sarge stabilized, yesterday we had our release party. Much larger than what I originally thought (we only announced it to the almost-dead debianmexico list AFAIK, and most people there do not live in this city). We were over 30, and there were people coming from surrounding cities, up to ~200Km away. We had a good time, food and beer at Hamburguesas Memorables. I arrived over 1hr late because we were printing. What were we printing? Well, that's obvious: I am very proud of Nadezhda's work. She dedicated many nights to having it just perfect - Of course, we found a couple of details we will continue working on for the 3.1r1 T-shirt - But I am quite proud of what I am now wearing. ...And, yes, I am surprised I have not seen any other Sarge artwork yet. Am I blind?
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/me shivers...

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 06/09/2005 - 18:36
I had not updated my Sid boxes since last week as I feared the mirrors would be too full. I knew this was coming. Lots of invasive, destabilizing changes were told to wait for post-Sarge... Now we will get back our feeling of good ol' Sid's unstability. First, Mathias' message warning about the C++ ABI change (which, being über-optimistic, will only mean a complete recompile of a shitload of stuff, but will surely mean hundreds of new open bugs). Now, I did my first post-Sarge update/upgrade, I see that GCC 4.0, PostgreSQL 8 and Perl 5.8.7 are all invited. I am reading that Jordi's having fun with Gnome 2.10. And it's still not a week... Ok, let the breakage begin! That's the only way we'll get the fun of picking up the pieces and glueing them back again!
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Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 06/06/2005 - 18:57
Ok, so everybody now knows it: the beast is out there! I missed the big moment on IRC due to an appointment at my shrink... My thanks go to Thaddeus Black, who sent me a complete IRC log, which I just followed trying to imagine I was there ;-) Now... Who was that said it? Long Live Sarge! ^U... ummmm... Short Live Sarge!!! See you in Etch, guys! Congratulations!!!
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Bad timings revisited

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 05/23/2005 - 10:10
Remember I was ranting about two weeks ago about the mod_perl2 API madness? Well, what was bound to happen just happened. mod_perl 2.0.0 was released on Friday. It contains only minor changes after that nasty API change we had on 1.999_22 - And, of course, in the pkg-perl group we already got an impatient user (Leonel... ¿Nuñez? I'd swear it's you!) asking for it to be included in Sarge. Yes, we all know: That's just not going to happen. Sadly, Sarge will carry a mod_perl2 that will be API-incompatible with the stable mod_perl2 elsewhere. That's a good point for moving our arses and getting Etch out soon!
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