my blog

Friday 22 August 2008

Olympic Games Medal Count

I'm not a big fan of the Olympic Games, or maybe it's just that I don't care. I don't think I even followed what was going on -- except when reading some newspaper at the airport. But a friend of mine got annoyed that France wasn't really well-positioned in the medal count: we're currently ranked 11th or 7th, depending how you count things.

However, getting annoyed can lead to amusing results. He took the official results and made a script to compute the medal count for the European Union. And guess what? We're first, and with a large gap between the EU and the second country. Go see the true medal count :-)

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Newsflash: one hundred KDE developers start using GNOME!

Nice headline, isn't it? I should considering moving to a press job :-)

Today at Akademy is an embedded and mobile day, and Nokia gave away one hundred N810. Since then, wherever I go, I see people playing with their new device. And since it's GNOME-based, it means those KDE developers are using GNOME! More seriously, Nokia's strategy of giving devices away for free (or at a reduced price, like they also did previously) really seems to help attract people.

Also, it looks like some KDE people have planned a trap to imprison me here. Hopefully, I'll still be able to escape today. Not that I dislike the discussions I have here (quite the contrary, actually), but I'm supposed to travel to Romania very early tomorrow morning. This also means I'll be offline for a few days and it will be my first complete offline experience since quite some time... I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this!

Sunday 10 August 2008

Letter from Akademy

It's been only two days so far, but I'm really glad to have come here, at Akademy. First, and I guess it's not a surprise for anybody who ever went to a conference, there's the usual pleasure to see old friends and finally meet some people. And I promise I'm not being threatened by some group of crazy KDE developers when I say that the KDE community is amazing. Of course, not as amazing as the most amazing GNOME community ;-) Actually, having discussed about this here, there are certainly big differences between our two communities, but they are also both really similar in many aspects. It all makes me feel good about the co-located GUADEC+Akademy next year since I see how great it could be.

But the social side of the event is not everything: since I usually don't have time to closely follow what's going on in KDE, Akademy is a good occasion for me to catch up and learn. Learn about technologies, but alors learn important facts like the fact that some highly-visible KDE developer who shall stay anonymous (let's name him A.S.) is a foot fetish. At least, that's what he told me yesterday evening...

The real reason I came here was to give a talk about collaboration -- but not just between GNOME and KDE, although I guess the fact that a GNOME person gave it at a KDE event might give this impression. And the talk went quite well. The goal was not to convince people that it's a good thing (if some people are not convinced about this yet, then I'm not sure how I'd be able to convince them since others already tried before), but to get people obsessed about it. Collaboration should be something we do by default, in a proactive way. Sure, collaboration requires time and can slow things down a bit; and it's not even always possible or sometimes we just don't agree. This explains why pushing this collaboration back to later can easily happen, but sometimes this later is just too late... Also, on a more general note, simply getting more communication going between the relevant people in one specific area would definitely do wonders for this area.

My battery is dying right now, so I won't elaborate more about the talk and won't tell you about how poppler is an amazing success and how the fact that having different solutions for keyring/wallet creates a situation where we encourage Firefox to continue to use yet another solution because there's no common approach.

Friday 8 August 2008

Leaving for Akademy

I saw many people using this image and then I saw this post. Heh.

I'm going to Akademy

I guess I'll have a good time with the KDE people there. Belgium, here I come!

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Certificate fun and how Mozilla can help

Yay! Certificates are the latest hot topic. I had a discussion about this with a few people back at the RMLL because lots of users there were complaining about it. I have no strong opinion on this myself, but it strikes me that Mozilla could help here.

The worst problem is self-signed certificates, which are especially common in our free software world. People have commented that using CAcert should help, but as long as the CAcert root certificates are not installed by default with your browser, this won't help much. And it seems this is not going to happen (well, at least for Firefox) because of Mozilla's CA certificate policy. I guess other browsers have a similar policy, and the policy itself probably makes some sense.

So what can Mozilla do? Let's look at the Mozilla Manifesto (which seems to be offline at the moment -- but you can look at the archived version). The fourth principle is related to this issue and reads as Individuals' security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.. And then in the Mozilla Foundation pledge, you can read use the Mozilla assets (intellectual property such as copyrights and trademarks, infrastructure, funds, and reputation) to keep the Internet an open platform. Can you see where I'm heading?

I believe the Mozilla Foundation could use some of its assets to be a certificate authority that operates in a compitable way with its own CA certificate policy. It would offer this service to non-commercial entities that respects some criteria. I'm not going to put a list of potential criteria here, but I guess many free software projects would qualify and would benefit of this. This would fix what Chris highlights in his post, ie, the fact that it affects the free software community more than others. And it would also help improve the user experience web, which is one of Mozilla's missions.

Sunday 3 August 2008

Leaking information about Boston Summit 2008

I heard here and there people wondering about the Boston Summit this year: Will it happen or not? When will it be? Where? Who? What? Why? 42?

It turns out we're starting to have most of the answers to those questions. And I'll leak them now because I'm sure it will help a few people -- there'll probably an official announce with a nice mail and everything later. First, of course it's going to happen :-) And you can already find the important details on the wiki page:

So you can start booking everything and tell us you're coming! If you want to step up and help with the organization, I'm pretty sure you'll be welcome. A good first task would be to help writing an official announce, for example ;-) But you can also propose a session, or help create a schedule for the summit, or propose a few places where people can meet in the evening... I guess many people already know the drill.

Just one small warning: we're trying to organize a small hackfest related to user experience the week before the Summit (I'm saying trying because we're still looking at the financial side of it so we can't confirm it yet). There'd be some hackers, artists and of course UI people. If you think there's a good reason for you to attend this hackfest, then the first thing is to wait a bit before booking your travel for the Summit. No, really, you don't want to book a flight for the Summit and then realize you also want to book a flight for the hackfest :-) Once you're convinced to wait, send a mail to Owen and me. Only around 10 people would attend this hackfest, and we already have some people in mind, but maybe we didn't think about you yet... Hopefully, we'll have more details about this hackfest in a not-too-distant future.

by Vincent