31 May 2005

FFII Week blog - Day 2

Today I missed the breakfast and thus had no chance of doing much for the rest of the day ;)
I was contacted by Elina - assistant of Valdis Dombrovskis (a MEP from Latvia) to schedule a meeting. We agreed on a time and I spend rest of the day familiarising with the plan for the conference. Then I arrived to the meeting a bit earlier and Elina helped me to make a 5 day pass to EP.
Dombrovskis was very helpfull, he agreed to chair a panel at our coference and we discussed what he would say in his keynote speech. After that I managed to get a few nice pictures and a room in the Dragon hotel 'till the rest of the week - yay!
The rest of the day was spend in the FFII appatment doing some work with my email and helping others - Antonio, Jan and several others were there.
Got into bed late - damn, I'll need to get up at 7 for the conference tomorrow.
BTW: Palm Tungsten rules :)

30 May 2005

FFII week blog - Day 1

This post and several next posts are summaries of the week that I spent in Brussels helping FFII to fight against software patents. I wrote the blog items in my new, shiny Palm Tungsten and then HotSynced and copy-pasted to the blog.

Morning: it is easier for me to not sleep trough the night then to wake up at 5 - so I did. Almost missed the plane - a lot of people fly on monday mornings. Flight was nice - I slept most of it ;). Surprise on arrival - rain.
Got to FFII office, surprises go on - no one there and no computers either, I was lucky that EPP people were there and let me in. Waiting, writing this blog (on a Palm) and playing GO (on the same Palm), loosing - I still suck at GO.
Someone came and suggested that others are at the flat and that I call Erik for work. So I did. Eric made me contact Dombrovskis' assistant to get answer to one mail and to ask for help with extra EP passes on Wed. Called - noone there, must be lunchtime. Will try latter.
After a terible and expensive lunch (12 EUR for a sandwich and cofe!) I called the assistant of Dombrovskis again. I needed to ask her to answer back to Jonas email, but they didn't recieve it yet. I'll need to find out about it and get back myself, but I convinced the assistant to help us with EP passes (getting poeple inside the EP building) if needed.
After much search, I found the hotel that I was staying today Maison du Dragon - next two days I'll be at Vogh hostel, but I convinced Holger to put me back into the Dragon for other nights here.
I was too tired today so I went to bed early to be better tomorrow.

ui:suggestion-20050320 [ThunarWiki]

ui:suggestion-20050320 [ThunarWiki]

Nautilus should propably do and lie under a rock for a while. Thunar shall be our seer!

Mezzo bashing

Symphony Operating System

It is becoming popular today to have a whack at Mezzo. We all are busy, so let's head straight to the case:
* It is quite unclear how the 'corner targets' should work and how the workspace should actually be layered.
I suggest such scheme:
- bottom layer would be similar to the Workspace soncept, but: desklets should definately be resizable, positionable and manageable (preferably from one menu/application for all desklets, so I can easily kill a desklet that I accidentaly 'lost' somewhere or add a desklet to the desktop from a list of all desklets). Some desklets could acctually be portals to some on-disk folders thus easing the transition for people that do want to store something on the desktop. Also the managerie fits into this layer (customisable position and size, please)
- above that a layer of application windows would be.
- above the application would be layers that would emerge from the corner target buttons when pressed. I would suggest using a close-to-realworld experience and make these buttons like drawers - much like the Dasher. That is, when any of these buttons is pressed, a separate workspace layer comes over covering all aplications. The corner target button is pressed and if you click it again it will depress removing the layer. Some controls on the layer expand when pressed ('Find' on the documents layer can simply produce a text input box underneath it when pressed) or change the layer. Others launch an application (documents, programms). When that happends we 'fall back' into application layer and the target layer disapears (imagine animation of a document icon falling down and unfolding into the application window).
* within this concept trash target has no sence and should be replaced by a 'Desktop target' and a 'Trashcan' entery in the Computer target
* You will not be able to get away from categories in "Settings" and "Tasks" areas, especially without creating too much of interface clutter, but you can optimise these categories to make them expandable right inside the Computer layer and maybe even make some settings adjustable directly form the layer - imagine a volume control bar embeded into the computer layer. Same with 'Other programms'
* One must be very carefull not to obsure any usable content by the target buttons in any application window, when it's maximized (most people always have their main application in a maximized window)
* That also brings up a point of task switching when one window is maximised - that is a normal situation, how does one switch windows in such scenario?
* What is the purpose of "Close" buttons on each target layer?
* Going back to application windows - what is the motivation to move 'Minimize' and 'Maximize' buttons to the left side?
* I oftern find it useful to be able to close an inactive aplication with one click on its 'Close' buton instead of two clicks or four mose movements (navigate mouse to the window, one click to activate it, navigate mouse to 'Close' button, click it)
* Without side and bottom border, window title on the top is huge and does not fit anymore
* Window handles ticking out of the active window look ugly and do not have any functional meaning untill the window is to be resized. How about showing them only when mouse cursor is close to one corner?
Well, I think I am mostly done :)
It is of course interesting to see new design concepts and I hope it evolves into something both usable and valuable.

29 May 2005

Ian Murdock’s Weblog » Open source and the commoditization of software

Ian Murdock’s Weblog » Open source and the commoditization of software

Ian starts with a history of commodisation in computer industry and continues about how dangerouse is the tactic employed by RedHat (to redefine 'Linux' as a platform). In the end Ian describes the business model that is used at Progeny.

I must agree with Ian that usig the commodisation rather then fighting it is the best strategy in the long term, but the problem is in the short term - gaining the start-up advantage. Starting a business is a high risk in itself and starting it without a specific advantage is upping the risk above what venture capitalists would allow. In other words the question is - after you've spend your start-up funds and gained some customers, what will stop the previose encumberant of just repeating your business model, just using his resourses.

That kind brings me back to writing my master thesis about open and transitional software development business models. At least, now that I've taken an academic brake, I hace the time to consider it.

28 May 2005

Shopping spree

Today i had to finally buy some new clothes of the respectable kind before leaving to Brussels on Monday so I went into a shopping spree (as most geeks I hate shopping, but must is a must).
At first I terrorised all shops in the city to find a suit with maximum amount of natural fibersm but also with some elastic fibres (lycra or elastan). Finally I found a shop that sold those and had prices not in the 'Dolche Gabano' range. The second suit that I tried on suited me so perfectly that i took it right away, even though it was twice as expensive as I was expecting to spend on this.
While I was trying the suits, shopgirl also brought me a shirt - that shirt was a real party-starter. It must be shopping poison talking, but I really liked it, while I had to settle for something more subtle today.
The real surprise caught me in a shue shop. After choosing (but not yet buying) a pair of nice and affordable shues, I walked in another shop to droll over their Ecco stand. To my great surprise one model had a discount that brought it to my range of prices for the shues. I could not resist those marvels - Ecco is like Apple of shues, and these shues were priced like a Mac-miny :)

Hmm, I seam to be very happy for the last few days despite the fact that I just took an academical break from my graduate studies. Or maybe it is because of that?


I finally can tell the word on what I've been working last serveral weeks.
No, it is not Nokia 770. I wish, that's one hell of a beautifully beast.

I've been working on If you are a company based in Europe and would suffer from software patents, contact us - we need your help to stop that!

If you want to help colecting those testimonies, don't be shy - come onboard!

Downloads get corrupted

I wonder what is the problem with my network recently - whatever I download, it has corruptions in it. After I download something with BitTorrent - some pieces must be redownloaded. If I use HTTP, MD5SUMS fail.
Hmm, maybe my new shiny RAM is at fault ;(

Shiny toy^Wol on a palm

Ha, I am now officially happy - my Palm Tungsten T has arrived from eBay. I wonder, how long will I keep admiring its wonderful simplicity until I (try to) install Linux on it :D

19 May 2005

Speed burst

Got a paycheck today for one sidejob. Felt a need to celebrate. Bought 512 Mb RAM in addiction to existing 256 Mb.
I must say two things:
* RAM is cheap these days
* Get out of way .... I'm flying here! :D
Finally I can open 10+ Firefox tabs, run skype, GIMP, OpenOffice with a few docs and have BitTorrent running in the background without tapping into swap and thus without system load skyrocketing to 10+.

11 May 2005

Dropcash News

Dropcash News

An interesting idea, but I would really think that a separate money raiser for Open Source project bounties should be set up, propably with a cooperation of some existing eMoney provider, like and it surely must provide lots of way to pay for a particular bounty (PayPal, check, postal money order, bank transfer, WU transfer, any other option). Hmm, how could this be actually made?

10 May 2005

Antipatent work

Today I started to work more actively for the FFII to counter the EU software patents directive. I am bringing SMEs in for the site and to Brussels to meet with MEPs. It seams that there are many SMEs interested in that kind of action in Latvia.

Also fixed two bugs and added one feature in TikiWiki. Yay!

Sidenote: If our hockey players win Sweeden today, then we will beat Finland to the top 8 in the World Cup :) (We played 0:0 with Finns yesterday.) Edit: Well, we all have dreams, but it seams playing a good game right the next day after a tough game is nearly impossible, thus we lost horribly

08 May 2005

Lack of concentration

Today I noticed that last three days I've lingered aroung and have done allmost nothing. I mean - I made found some bugs in TikiWiki, filed them, got CVS access, did some more debugging in the stable CVS version, but I just couldn't quite nail the bug and finish it. Also, I've not done much about the rest of things I should have been working on - studies, jobs, preparing for tomorrows meeting in the ministry of education.
Strangely I just noticed the sudden flow of energy that I got when started writing this blog entry. There is a certain corellation between my activity and my blogging - if I do not do anything, then I don't blog, because there is nothing to blog about, but could there be a reverse link?
On a completly unrelated note - the Bush has been visiting my country (and my city) on this weekend. Funky stuff. All center of Riga was blocked by barricades. You needed a special pass to enter. And that area is a few sq. kilometers. All people of Riga were advised to go out of town for the day or at least not to stand by windows, not go to balconies and, most of all, not to do any sudden movements. Sounds worse then the barricade nights of freedom fights of 1991 :). Many shops that are near the area were closed, mostly because two (out of three) main bridges that unite two halfs of the city were blocked most of the day to ensure safe exit for Bush. I must say, it is freaky to hear a helicopter (with snipers inside) circling overhead for the whole day.
Diplomaticaly it was a great day for Latvia and the rest of Baltic states, but logisticaly it was a nightmare for the locals. When it became known what measures will have to be taken to ensure Bush's safety, the exmilitary base surronded Liepaja issued a call to accept all 'refugies' that are fleeing the Bush. There were tents and fires and a mobile sauna. Also the local prison (now a museum) was inviting everyone in for a night. That was a fun news item for a week, I think it got Liepaja quite a lot of tourism overnght.
Thanks, Bush. :)
P.S. I've seen dogs smarter then some certain USA presidents, but it is very much compensated by the local USA ambassador - she was on a local radio show recently speaking about her very nice music taste and her husbands iPod craze :)

03 May 2005

Git Traffic #1 For 2 May

Git Traffic #1 For 2 May

Linus Torvalds said: Did I already happen to mention that I think that the git model is the best model ever, and that I'm just not an incredibly good-looking hunk and becomingly modest, I'm smart too?
Davide Libenzi replied, You forgot, *again*, to take your medications !!

Now that's what I call entertainment. :) Seeing Linus and the gang make a SCM instead of a OS kernel ir really fun. You can see it as a 'Junkyard' for software geeks *or* as rocket scientists on a vacation creating the worlds fastest wheelchair. :D

02 May 2005

You need more then one wheel for the bandwagon to start rolling

This is an English summary of my Latvian rant about the activities (or lack thereof) of the Latvian Open Source Association (LAKA) in my other blog. Before someone misunderstands, I am the chairman of the LAKA's board, so this is not a plain ranting, but more of a plan pondering for future action.
For two years after the formation of LAKA we have quite little real work done - a few installfests, a visit by RMS and a MySQL executive, some work in the translation field, a little representation in the swpat issue, lots of flaming about site and logo design. That about sums up two years of a whole associations work. I must say that this is pretty crappy. Many good ideas remained just that - ideas, many needed projects (OOO translation, statistics for FLOSS use, .gov lobbying) just never started like they should. Also almost no business was interested in actually making something viable in the FLOSS sector, mostly because they so no viable business model.
It took me quite some time to understand why this was happening, but I think that I finally got it - there is noone to profit from it. And those who could profit from it, do not know about it.
I took a look back at us. Most of LAKA are system administrators and students. Why these people are interested in promoting FLOSS? Economies of scale gives them better software once more people start using it. Also students are interested in wider adoption because it makes their skills more profitable in the marketplace.
This would give them incencitive to create installfests, make some technical events, do some translation in the free time, but you would need a different type of motivation to make something more important, like actively lobby government, organize conferences for 150-200 CEOs of local SMEs, drive around the country organizing Infoday's, seminars, educational sessions, create and test business strategies, create a new market and bind several million EUR of investments.
Sysadmins and students are not interested in such activities, but the question is who is? According to the free software project management paradigm ("Scratch your own itch") the ones most interested in these events are the ones to make them happen.
The most obvious candidates for this role are the big international companies that are actively supporting the FLOSS movement and are making quite a buck from it. IBM, Novel, Sun, HP, Oracle and many others might be interested to invest some funds to create a whole new multimillion market.
This was the basis for the project I named LAKA2. At this point in time, two discussions are taking place - one in IBM and Novel and one in LAKA, both are trying to make this idea better and more suited for both sides and for the society as a whole.
Stay tuned, I hope something good will eventually emerge from this.

Getting fit

Thanks to a contest on a local photo site, I got a free day at a fitness center. I actually did not expect to win it, so I only logged in to the site at 19:00 at the day. Imagine my disappointment when I read the message saying "You won a free pass to our fitness centre for *today*" after scrolling trough the message, another part of it sprang me back to 'happy mode' - "today we'll work 'till 22:00". Goodie. Lets get rolling...
After finding the place on the map I was quite certain that I'll have no problem getting there by bike (my preferred inter-city transport), so off I went. At one point along the way I took a wrong turn and got very lost. After 20 minutes I decided to ask locals for directions. I was so much off that they didn't even know the street I was searching for. Doh!
Luckily I spotted a bus with an ad of the fitness centre I was searching for and went to the direction it came from. After five more minutes I stumbled upon a street map (one of banks uses street maps as a very practical advertisement) and finally found my way to the place.
The place was nice. I've not been to a dedicated fitness club before, but I can imagine it can be a lot of fun after a long office day especially if you take a few of your friends with you. Try it - you might like it.