Thursday, October 30, 2008

» FOSS Community Code of Conduct

Nice article by Bruce Byfield, where he explains how some tiny but vocal minorities can harm FOSS and their respective communities. Reminds me of when McCain has to STFU a women telling that she can't trust Obama because he's an Arab (I won't comment the embedded racism here: Arab==terrorist? Arab!=good family father? wth). While Bruce hits the nail on the head, I especially agree with Bruce's point that free speech comes with a responsibility, but I just don't think that a "FOSS Community Code of Conduct" would solve the problem. It would give communities/projects that subscribe to it a way of stating and showing that they do not support the retards, trolls, zealots, liars and attention whores that pollute and vampirise our ideals and work by calling themselves part of what we're doing. Maybe that's all we can do against those poisnonous people. But that won't make them go away.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

» Thomas @ hospital

Our 4 months old son Thomas is in hospital since yesterday evening. As his state got a bit worse, we went there to have him checked and see whether additional medication could relief the poor little guy a bit, as he's coughing a lot, having fever and crying permanently. Turns out he has bronchiolitis VRC, which is a virus that frequently affects very young children during the winter. Luckily, it appears to only rarely give complications and doesn't seem to be that dangerous, but it's really tough nevertheless. He's coughing a lot, doesn't get much sleep, has high fever and... that crying... he almost never stops, always looking at us as if he was thinking "can't you do anything to help me ?" :( He has to stay up to 3 or 4 days in hospital and, hence, I won't be able to answer all emails, IRC PMs and such for the next few days. His oxygen saturation was excellent yesterday, so we hope he'll fight his way through it without complications but as it is a quite virulent virus, it'll take a few days nevertheless.


Monday, October 27, 2008

» Elected to serve on the openSUSE Board

So it seems that I've been elected to serve on the 1st openSUSE Board. Thanks to everyone who voted for me, for your trust in me representing your ideas and serving you best in that position. But in general, thanks to everyone who voted in the first place. The 75% turnaround indeed gives us a pretty strong position, even though only openSUSE "Members" were allowed to vote. With currently 212 members, I would nevertheless believe that it is pretty representative of our contributor base -- or, well, at least it's a sufficient number for a "critical mass". Thanks to those who served on the previous "bootstrap" Board for their work, especially Andreas "AJ" Jaeger. And I'd also like to express my gratitude towards Marko Jung, Andrew Wafaa, Claes Backstrom and Vincent Untz for running the elections, with Marko Jung and Marcus "darix" Rueckert implementing the application on users.o.o during the latest Hackweek that enabled us to vote. Again, thanks for your trust, I'll do my best to be worthy :) I'm looking forward to work with Federico (who was also on the initial/previous board), Bryen and of course with fellow Packman contributor Henne.

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» My opinion of Mono

As it seems like everyone has to voice her opinion on Mono, I'll do as well. First of all, I don't like C# as a programming language. And I think that Anders Hejlsberg is wrong on many things. Not having checked exceptions is ludicrous, recommending to use return codes rather than exceptions because of performance is stupid, and cramming every possible OOP and functional language feature into C# is pointless. I much prefer Java because of its relative simplicity, I rather like its verboseness (Eclipse and NetBeans are there to help with that) and conventions, even though I wouldn't mind closures and some syntactic sugar for lists and maps. I'm a firm believer in semi-statically typed languages with an IDE and a compiler that can throw many programming mistakes at your face, at least for medium to large sized projects. I also like using Python (although a proper block syntax would be a lot better than block grouping by indentation) and Ruby (even if it runtime patching of core libraries is a terrible idea). I even find Perl to be adequate for certain types of things. That being said, back to Mono. I believe that having Mono is a good thing, for several reasons:
  • interoperability: Microsoft has been making a huge push from its patchwork of development technologies (VB, C, C++) to its .NET platform and, hence, most software that will be written for the Windows platform is very likely to be running on the .NET runtime for a foreseeable future. Wouldn't it be great to have a compatible runtime on open operating systems (Linux, *BSD, ...) that was able to run those applications when there is no (better) alternative ? I think it is. For the same reasons, I also believe that having OOXML support in is a good thing too. In "Microsoft shops" (businesses that use lots of Microsoft software) that rely on MS Exchange, Active Directory, MS Office, Windows and MS SQL Server, it's clearly an advantage for Linux to be compatible. If not, you'll never be able to use Linux in such environments, nor push nor migrate.
  • managed runtimes are the future: for most domains, managed runtimes such as the JVM or .NET are the future of software development. Actually, they're already the present, given that a huge amount of software applications are already deployed on the JVM nowadays. Now notice that I said "most domains": it's most probably not adequate for developing a kernel or low-level network stacks.
  • GNOME needs a proper programming environment: get over it, C is a dead cow for developing frameworks and large sets of components. C++ isn't all that great either, but at least it has proper OOP support and is a lot less painful when combined with Qt. Vala ? Isn't that yet another useless language ? I don't think that's a good idea. Python ? It's rather too slow for certain things and lacks static type checking (which I think is a no-go for large frameworks). Ruby ? Even slower than Python, and doesn't have static type checking either (nor proper threading, at least as of now). C# ? Maybe, why not, it's not as good as Java in my very personal opinion, but it's certainly heaps better than C with glib
Anyhow, everyone is free to disagree, I'm not trying to convince anyone. I just wanted to state my opinion, for what it's worth. Note that I left out many fine grained details and nuances, the sort of stuff to discuss around a beer.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

» Microsoft, ugly head, rear: EU parliament resolution on FOSS

As Benjamin "zoobab" Henrion reports here, Microsoft lets one of its lobbying firms go after a petition for migrating the EU parliaments network to FOSS and fund FOSS development in the EU. I find the rebuttal by "Voices of innovation" (the lobbying group Microsoft is a customer of... that name... oh irony :)) quite bold and almost spilled my coffee when I read "Over the past few weeks radical elements in the open source community have intensified their efforts in the European Parliament.". Umm.. are they saying Michel Rocard and Daniel Cohn-Bendit are "radical elements", as they are two of the 5 EU parliament members who are making that proposal ? Those two are radically smart, for sure, but... heh.

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» needs funding is the only openSUSE Build Service and Packman mirror in North America, and it is currently struggling to keep up this service, as pointed out by Peter Poeml. If you use and appreciate their service, you might want to consider making a donation.


Monday, October 06, 2008

» My openSUSE Board Elections Platform

As the first openSUSE board election is approaching its final stage, I have finally updated my election platform page. You betcha.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

» Packman: removing openSUSE 10.0 and 10.1 packages

After a discussion on our internal mailing-list, we decided to remove the packages for openSUSE 10.0 and 10.1 from our repository. Note that those distribution releases have been end of life since December 2007 and June 2008, respectively. If you want to keep our Packman packages for one of those distributions around for whatever reason, you should make a local copy of them, as they'll be wiped from our main server and our mirrors in the next few days. Also note that Marcus Meissner from the SUSE Security team has reminded us two days ago that openSUSE 10.2 will reach end of life soon, 30th November 2008. When that happens, we will move the packages for 10.2 into a discontinued directory on our primary server and keep them there for a few days or weeks, and then proceed with wiping them.

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