Gute Vorsätze

Wir alle wissen, dass die guten Vorsätze für das neue Jahr meist nicht lange halten. Einer meiner Vorsätze für dieses Jahr war, meinen Blog einmal zu ‘rebooten’ und regelmäßig zu bloggen. Jetzt haben wir schon Juli, hat also nicht so gut geklappt. Ich habe sogar weniger gebloggt dieses Jahr bzw. seitdem ich angefangen habe, Google+ und – etwas später – Facebook zu nutzen.

Allerdings hat sich auch meine Nutzung der sozialen Netzwerke geändert. Anfangs war ich noch sehr darauf bedacht, meine Privatsphäre zu schützen und habe alles immer nur mit denen geteilt, die es interessieren könnte. Aber mit der Zeit bin ich offener geworden und teile nun normalerweise alle Beiträge mit allen meinen Kreisen und Freunden, weil ich denke, dass man sich so ein besseres Bild von mir machen kann. Viele Dinge teile ich auch öffentlich. Ich denke über viele Dinge viel nach und habe dementsprechend eine – wie ich denke – fundierte Meinung zu diesen Themen. Das sind hauptsächlich Politik, Ethik und Freie Software und Kultur. Warum soll ich meine Ansichten nicht öffentlich machen? Warum nicht öffentliche Meinung mitgestalten (oder es zumindest versuchen)?

Das werde ich von jetzt an tun. Ich werde auch weiterhin soziale Netzwerke nutzen, aber versuchen, über das, was ich öffentlich teile, auch zu bloggen, zumindest wenn ich es lohnenswert finde. Wenn ein Thema komplex ist oder ein Beitrag viele Referenzen enthält, ist der Blog sowieso besser.Was für Themen könnt Ihr also von mir in Zukunft erwarten?

  • Linux und Freie Software im allgemeinen und Kolab im besonderen. Keine große Änderung an dieser Stelle, nur regelmäßiger (**auf Holz klopf**).
  • Politik. Ich bin seit Jahren Mitglied von Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. Zwar nicht immer glücklich, aber trotzdem überzeugt, dass wir das Richtige™ tun (die meiste zeit zumindest).
  • Besprechungen von Produkten, die ich für würdig befunden habe, sie mir zu kaufen. Das kann ein unglaublich gutes Album einer noch unbekannten Band sein genauso wie ein Produkt, das entweder sehr praktisch oder umweltfreundlich ist oder hohe ethischen Standards erfüllt. Oder etwas, was auf andere Weise einfach total genial ist – oder total daneben.

Wir werden sehen, ob es klappt. Vermutlich nicht. Vergesst nicht: Es ist ein guter Vorsatz!

New Year’s resolutions

We all know New Year’s resolutions don’t work out, at least most of the time. One of my resolutions for this year was to completely reboot my blog and blog more regularly. It’s already July, so as you can see, it didn’t work out. In fact, I blogged less than ever before this year or since I started using Google+ and – a little later – Facebook.

However my use of social networks has changed. While I initially was very keen on protecting my privacy and only shared posts with interested people, over time I have become more open. By default I now share my posts with all my circles and friends. I think it helps them to get a better and bigger picture of me. And I share a lot of stuff with the public. I do have very strong views, especially on things that bother me. That is mainly politics and ethics as well as Free Software and culture. Why not share my thoughts with the public? Why not (try to) shape the public opinion?

This is what I will do from now on. I will continue to use social networks, but I will try to blog about the stuff I post publicly, at least if I consider it worth it. If a topic is complex or a post is elaborate and contains lots of references, it’s easier to blog anyway.

What can you expect from me here in the future:

  • Linux and Free Software in general and Kolab in particular. No change here, just more regularly (**knock on wood**).
  • Politics. I’m a member of the German Green Party for several years now. Not always proud, but still convinced we do the right thing™ (most of the time).
  • Product reviews of stuff I consider worth buying. That can be a really awesome new album by an unknown band or a product, that is very convenient, environment friendly or follows high ethical standards. Or that is simply the pure awesome (or the biggest shit).

Let’s see how things work our. Probably they don’t. Remember, it’s just another New Year’s resolution.

Vienna Calling!

Last weekend I attended Linuxwochen Wien for the first time. I heard a lot about the event, so I totally wanted to go there. Now that I’m back from Vienna, I am a little disappointed – but nevertheless happy I went there.

The Austrian Linuxwochen (Linux Weeks) is a series of events all over the country. It started in Graz, but there is also Eisenstadt, Krems and Vienna. The event in Salzburg is delayed until further notice, Linz was canceled off this year (only the LUG meeting took place) and Klagenfurt seems dead for years. Overall not very encouraging, but we wouldn’t be Fedora if we were not to change that. So we brought 7 people to Vienna which were supported by two locals, Kevin and Volker. Both did an excellent job, even though they are (officially) no ambassadors. Together we submitted 16 talks and workshops. All were accepted, this is roughly one fourth of the 3 day program. I delivered two talks, one on Kolab and one on postscreen. Both went very well and I’m very happy about the feedback I received. Overall the talks and workshops were very interesting and the speakers very competent.

Fedora booth at Linuxwochen Wien

Fedora booth at Linuxwochen Wien

Fedora delivered a good show. We had by far the biggest and most professional stand and lots of goodies. As a special gimmick Miro had brought his 3D printer and as always it attracted a lot of people. The rest of exhibition however was not impressive. That’s a well know problem for events where the focus is on talks, but this one was worse: It was moved to a new building with more space on the hallways, but the number of exhibitors hadn’t really changed. The booths looked quite lost and there were hardly visitors as most people were attending talks. On Friday we had at least some students from the university showing up and hoped for more people over the weekend, but that was wishful thinking. Maybe it was bad promotion, maybe the weather or a combination of both.

Empty hallway at Linuxwochen Wien

Empty hallway at Linuxwochen Wien

The weather in Vienna was bad compared to Berlin, but on Saturday afternoon it changed and the rest of the weekend turned out to be very sunny. As there were not many visitors and we had more than enough people at the booth, later that afternoon I decided to go for some sightseeing. People told me Vienna is beautiful, but I hadn’t seen anything of that beauty. I have been to Vienna before, but usually it was just for transfer at the airport or on my way to Brno. So I went to the historic city center and I have to admit, it really is impressive. There are a lot of buildings from the imperial times of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and also from the Art Nouveau (or ‘Jugendstil’ as we call it) era. I love Jugendstil.

Subway station 'Karlsplatz'

The subway station ‘Karlsplatz’ in Vienna – an icon of the ‘Art Nouveau’ era.

On Friday we had a social event. It wasn’t really a social event, instead we just went to a Chinese restaurant down the street for an ‘all you can eat’ buffet. We were around 30 people and I was lucky to sit next to Bernhard. We talked about packaging and he asked me if I could help him with continuous integration of rpm build. It turned out Bernhard is a FreeRDP developer and told him I’m the poor bastard maintainer of remmina in Fedora. Remmina is a GTK-based RDP, SSH, NX and Telepathy client, developed by the FreeRDP project. It’s powerful but in bad shape as FreeRDP is still a young project and constantly moving forward. Unfortunately there haven’t been stable releases for quite a while and backporting fixes is cumbersome. So we agreed that FreeRDP will try to maintain a ‘release’ branch in git, even if there are no actual releases, and we will help them with continuous integration. If Mads, our FreeRDP maintainer, agrees we will build and host nightly versions of Fedora’s freerdp and matching remmina packages. An interesting project and I’m looking forward to it.

My flight back to Berlin left very early on Sunday morning. I had to get up at 5 am, but it allowed me to be in Berlin at half past eight and enjoy a sunny Sunday after which I was very tired – but happy.

Not sure I will attend Linuxwochen Wien next year, we have other awesome people to run the event. Personally, I learned some important lessons:

  • Talks are getting more professional and so is the target audience. When you give a talk, be professional – but don’t forget the fun!
  • Exhibitions on the other hand receive lesser attention. We need to think of new way to attract people and how to interacting with them. We need something more playful like the Fedora photo booth.
  • Renting an apartment is a good idea: Not only that it’s cheaper than a hotel, but more fun, too.
  • The people who told me Vienna is beautiful didn’t lie.

Thanks everybody for making Linuxwochen a successful event. A special thanks goes out to Sirko for being a perfect event owner. He took care of everything, not just the booth and apartment and he was a good tourist guide.

Don’t use a programming language for configuration

Dear developers,

please don’t use a programming language for configuration files. Seriously. Don’t. Just don’t. You are only making live hard for people.

Here is what my polkit custom desktop policy looked like in Fedora <= 17:

Identity=unix-group:wheel
Action=org.freedesktop.packagekit.package-install;org.freedesktop.packagekit.package-remove;org.freedesktop.packagekit.system-rollback;org.freedesktop.packagekit.system-sources*;org.opensuse.cupspkhelper.mechanism.*;org.libvirt.unix.*;dk.yumex.backend.pkexec.run
ResultAny=no 
ResultInactive=no 
ResultActive=yes

I think this is pretty straight forward, but some people found it confusing and too complex. So David rewrote it.

If you keep complaining about polkit configuration I'll rewrite it in JavascriptNow let’s see how the same looks in Fedora >=18:

polkit.addRule(function(action, subject) {
    if (subject.isInGroup("wheel") && subject.active) {
        polkit.log("action=" + action);
        polkit.log("subject=" + subject);
        if (action.id.indexOf("org.freedesktop.packagekit.package-install") == 0) {
            return polkit.Result.YES;
        }
        if (action.id.indexOf("org.freedesktop.packagekit.package-remove") == 0) {
            return polkit.Result.YES;
        }
        if (action.id.indexOf("org.freedesktop.packagekit.system-rollback") == 0) {
            return polkit.Result.YES;
        }
        if (action.id.indexOf("org.freedesktop.packagekit.system-sources.") == 0) {
            return polkit.Result.YES;
        }
        if (action.id.indexOf("org.opensuse.cupspkhelper.mechanism.") == 0) {
            return polkit.Result.YES;
        }
        if (action.id.indexOf("org.libvirt.unix.") == 0) {
            return polkit.Result.YES;
        }
        if (action.id.indexOf("dk.yumex.backend.pkexec.run") == 0) {
            return polkit.Result.YES;
        }
    }
});

What do we learn from this?

One doe not simply use JavaScript for config files

A workaround for broken address autocompletion in KMail

If you experience the problem that KMail / Kontact 4.9.x are not doing address autocompletion in the composer window, you can edit ~/.kde/share/config/kpimcompletionorder (or ~/.kde4/share/config/kpimcompletionorder on some systems) and add

[General]
UseNepomuk=true

Beware: This is only a workaround and can cause lock-ups of the composer window. Instead of using nepomuk, kontact should be using akonadi to directly and only query you address books. Using nepomuk will query all you indexed data, such as emails and documents, and depending on the amount, the performance can be problematic. That’s why nepomuk is disabled by default.

Thanks to Christian Mollekopf and Till Adam!

FAD EMEA wrap up

It turns out we have to leave early. Some people need to travel home and others have family duties – or both. Fortunately we worked hard and managed to complete our agenda.

For now, I just put all the results, todo items and open questions into the wiki. It’s still a rough draft, I will clean it up, format and elaborate it later today. Some of the most important decisions include:

  • We’ll make a Fedora Ambassadors Census. In previous years, we used to do this before this FAD: We ask all the local communities to report their state: How many (active) ambassadors are there, how many events did they attend and what is the overall situation for them.
  • We looked for new ways to bring people into the project. We have communities that are not officially part of the project, like local community websites, IRC channels or groups on social networks. We should actively try to recruit new contributors there.
  • Improve the new contributors experience: Once they joined Fedora, we should make sure new ambassadors can attend at least one major event to get to know other contributors. Mentors should have an eye on how people do within the first year and support them better.
  • Run country-wide ambassadors event: All countries should strive for an event that brings all ambassadors to a table at least once a year.

Still, the real work begins after this FAD. We need to implement what we discussed, whether this is in the wiki, in trac or on various events. But we have gotten a new boost for our community and we are very optimistic that it will have a big impact.

Thanks everybody for coming and especially to Gerold for making this event happen.

FAD EMEA Day 1

So we are sitting at Beuggen Castle and having some drinks after an awesome social event: A dinner in complete darkness at a restaurant called “Blinde Kuh” (“Blind cow”). If you have not yet had it, give it a try, it’s very interesting experience.

The first day of FAD EMEA turned out to be very productive. We managed to discuss a lot of topics, most importantly:

  • Event planning for 2013. We want to attend 31 events, and for most of them we already have event owners.
  • Budget planning for 2013. Based on the list of events, we’ll spend 11.700 EUR. Sure, this is a lot of money, but we want really to rock at a lot of places and our draft is very conservative.
  • Sponsoring and reimbursements: While FAmSCo has already achieved a lot, we need to do a better job in explaining contributors how to get money easily and how to effectively track all requests.
  • Swag shipping and event box: We think it does not make sense to ship a complete event box within Europe, instead continue shipping what we really need. But this needs improvements: Better tracking of who has what and more ‘bases’ in different countries.
  • Swag production planning: We have a lot of new ideas for awesome swag and need to follow up with getting different quotes and making desisions.

I am going to add all relevant info to the wiki later, because a lot of the topic we discussed needs to be followed up. Tomorrow we’ll have some more discussions, but given that we are already more than half way through the agenda, we should have some time left to document and implement our results. This mainly is wiki gardening an improvements in our trac instance.

Stay tuned for another blog post before I fly home tomorrow.