my blog

Thursday 14 June 2007

Igalia joins the GNOME Foundation Advisory Board

Writing the announce took longer than expected, but it's finally done: our friends from Igalia are joining the GNOME Foundation Advisory Board. This is good news for, well, everyone :-)

If you don't know Igalia, you can get a rough idea of who the people behind this company are by looking at their planet. I'm a big fan of the Build Brigade and they've been quite active in this community effort. Which explains why they can only be good people! :-)

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Teaching and learning with GNOME

A few weeks ago, we sent a call on foundation-list to try to organize the collaboration between the academic world and the GNOME community (Quim is the one who came up with the plan). Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time to follow up on this, but I will :-)

The interesting thing about this is that there are really two totally different sides about this: research and teaching. The research side is not easy, but I'm convinced we can make it work. There are research projects out there that can be relevant both to the GNOME community and to research groups. Do people remember that Ekiga started as the master thesis project of Damien? I'll probably post more about collaboration in the research field later. Just keep in mind that we can do a better job there. And if you want to help, you're really welcome! Send a mail to foundation-list or just tell me.

I've started to seriously think about the teaching side for a few weeks now. This is something I've dreamt of for quite longer, but a few recent events made it a bit more real. There were first the mails sent by Thierry Chappuis who, if I'm not mistaken, teaches at the EPFL, and who wanted some more information to write a course about object-oriented programming using GObject. Thierry plans to make the course materials freely available. Then, I got contacted by a student from the ENSEIRB (a French university, in Bordeaux), who then interviewed me for a university project: his task was to do a presentation introducing GNOME. I hope his presentation went well :-)

And today, I stumbled upon Emmanuel Fleury. Emmanuel has pushed for a course that is very interesting: Évaluation & Maintenance de Code[1] (at the ENSEIRB too!). Students have to analyze a free software, then think about how to resolve a specific bug of this software, and finally try to implement a new feature. I just love the whole idea of this course (it's really concrete, useful to the students, but also to the community) and, indeed, free softwares are often good examples of software engineering. Subversion was the free software used as a basis for this course last year, and Emmanuel told me that GNOME is considered for next year.

If you know of other courses that are related in some ways to GNOME, or of some teaching assistants/professors who are open about the idea of teaching using free software, tell me. With some more organization, I'm sure we can do interesting stuff, like making it easier to contribute to the community, but also getting students from two different universities to work online together on a specific problem and discover how such a collaboration works. Also, the community might be able to comment on the actual content of what's being taught and give useful comments to improve the course materials. And, you guessed it, it's also a good way to introduce students to free software (and maybe to get new contributors :-)).


[1] I'll let everyone guess what those French words mean. It's easy :-)

Sunday 10 June 2007

Dear students, welcome to Planet GNOME!

Woohoo, I'm glad to welcome our SoC students on the planet!

Of course, not all students are there and they don't all have hackergotchis and it took quite longer than first expected. We were first wondering if we should do like last year and go with a separate planet or integrate the students on the main planet. The second solution looked better, but we wanted to add a SoC logo somewhere. It turns out this was quite easy to do. At least, when someone just goes ahead and tries to do it :-) So, from now on, if you see the following logo on a post, then you're reading a post from one of our SoC students:

Google Summer of Code 2007

Oh, and I finally understand the hard job Jeff has been doing administrating the planet: many feeds just don't validate, and it's hard to get good hackergotchis for people. Really, it takes more time than what you'd expect.

Thursday 7 June 2007

Grmbl : "cool URIs..."

Toute personne ayant un minimum de compétence (ou même de connaissance) par rapport à Internet sait que Cool URIs don't change : changer l'adresse d'une page sans fournir une redirection tue cette page d'une certaine façon, car toutes les autres pages qui avaient un lien vers celle-ci ont alors un lien inutile. Le grand gagnant du jour est Libération.

Je garde souvent des articles ouverts pendant plusieurs jours (voire semaines...) car ils m'intéressent. Ou alors je mets des liens dans des billets pour illustrer un point. Prenons ce billet sur l'ouragan Katrina, par exemple. Il contient un lien vers l'article La Nouvelle-Orléans, ville du chaos. Si on clique sur ce lien, on est redirigé sur la page d'accueil de Libération. C'est mal, très mal.

Mais ce n'est pas tout. Car on se dit alors heureusement que le nom de l'article est dans le billet. On fait donc une recherche de l'article par son titre grâce à la belle boîte de recherche qui se trouve sur la page d'accueil. La recherche par défaut est effectuée sur libé, ce qui semble pertinent. On est ravi de voir qu'il y a un résultat, avec une adresse sans aucun rapport avec l'ancienne adresse (donc impossible de convertir les anciens liens automatiquement vers les nouveaux liens). Tant pis. On clique sur le résultat pour tomber sur une page indiquant :

Le document que vous recherchez n'est plus présent.
Cet article a changé d'adresse. Pour le retrouver, utilisez le moteur de recherche de notre base Archive.

Et oui. Quelle idée de faire une recherche normale ! Il fallait faire une recherche dans les archives (qui ne sont donc pas sur libé ?[1]). On refait donc la recherche. Et il n'y a plus aucun résultat.

Clap-clap. Bravo. Vraiment. C'est très très fort.


[1] en observant attentivement, on peut remarquer qu'effectivement, les archives sont sur, ce qui ne transparait nulle part de manière claire et ne manquera pas de dérouter quelques personnes.

by Vincent