30 June 2005


Today I cook for the FFII apartment and nobody can stop me :D
I am trying out a variation of the spagetti with a meat/potato sauce, so nothing can go wrong there. Or so you thought ...

June 30

A slow start of a slow day - I broke my 5 am rule :(. I only woke up at 9:30. The breakfast hall had a lot of Russian tourists - you cann't avoid them anywhere :).
Nothing FFIIish to do today - all Latvian MEPs are gone. For that reason I am in the FFII apartment catching up on my mail, filling Google SoC application and tax forms (I hate taxes!) and helping all the guys here to make the decision that they do not want to make :)
It turns out that at least five separate groups have tabled our "Rocard-Buzek compromise" amendment sets and there is a bit of a confusion in the tabling office regarding the name of this set in the official papers.
It's a pity that I've not yet started writing anything for the SoC - that is bad. I will spend the whole of the next week on that to catch up with the schedule that I still have to make :)

29 June 2005

June 29

I woke up at 5.00 local time without any alarm clocks! That is one hell of an accomplishment. :)
Today I planned to visit (without prior notice) all Latvian MEPs. I had a small setback when I found out that most of them have the whole day busy at different group meeting and then all of them leave home this evening. After finding that out I changed the strategy a bit and gave all the revelant information to the assistants asking them to give it to the MEP and still to try to schedule a meeting with me today. It worked in some cases.
At first I was simply walking around and telling everyone how we would like to fix the directive using the "Buzek-Rocard compromise" amendments. After the lunch, Erik came up to me and asked to also collect MEP signatures on these amendments to table them. At first I went to Lansbergis from Lithuania and spend almost an hour convincing him to sign. In the end he was convinced and did the signing.
After that success I called the assistant of Andrejevs and asked if his MEP would have a few minutes to meet and sign the amendments. The assistant replied that Andrejevs liked the amendments and will sign them as soon as he gets back to the office. This one was easy :)
After that a call came from assistant of Girts Valdis Kristovskis saying that he will meet me at 17.00. I was very glad about getting the previose two signatures, but a bit discuraged by yesterdays talk with Krasts, who is in the same party as Kristovskis. To my surprise Kristovskis didn't mind that his party mate didn't agree with us - after 5-10 minutes of explanations, Kristovskis was ready to sign the amendments. That signature came as a pleasant surprise :)
All Latvian members of EPP followed Dombrovskis and Piiks and signed the amendments - I consider that a great success, especially as I didn't even have to ask them for that :D
After the very busy day at the Parliament I went to the FFII apartment to assess the Web. Me and Jan were there. We were late for the regular FFII status dinner at 20:00 which was taking place at my hotel - 20-25 minutes from the apartment. It was raining. I wanted to take a taxi, but Jan wanted to walk. We made a compromise - we would walk until we see a taxi, and that we'll take it. Unfortunately there was no taxi in sight untill we were 100 meters from the hotel. Doh.
Some bits of Chinese food and dinner talks later I went to bed. This was one of the hardes days in my short lobbying career :P

28 June 2005

June 28

I arrived to Brussels, slept two hours on the plane. When to the FFII apartment to check the mail and forgot to change the clothes in the hotel. That's why I had to go meet Latvian MEPs in jeans and shirt instead of the nice suit I had bought earlier.
First I met with the assistant of Georgs Andrejevs. He has not followed the issue too closely, but in the end was very positive and interested. I need to send him more details about JURI amendments and our "Buzek-Rocard compromise amendments" and he will inquire the ALDE position.
Then I met with Guntars Krasts from UEN - he seams to be very poisoned by the EICTAs lobbying and would very like to see another Microsoft emerge in Latvia, claiming that we would definitely need patents for that :P. I did some convincing and presented our industry position, that got him thinking. I need to send him more anti-swpat arguments and also the amendments with justification.
I missed both FFII meetings (12.30 and 20.00) - first because I needed to be at the first meeting and the second one because I needed some sleep. When I returned to the hotel at 17.00 I put up an alarm clock for 20.00, but it couldn't wake me up. So I only woke up on the next morning.

Sleep disbalance

At this moment I've not slept for 46 hours. In two hours I will go to the airport to catch a plane to Brussels. In ten hours I will meet with three members of European Parlament that are very influential back in Latvia. My task will be to get them to spend a lot of their time to help us with the software patent directive.
I wonder why I feel a bit sceptical :P

25 June 2005


My proposal for the Google Summer of Code was accepted. In this summer I'll be writing

I am so hyped!

Early riser (try 2)

Okay - today I managed to wake up at 5. This is the second time I managed to do that. I've already done most of the queued work for today and I had a real breakfast - I like it.

The Economic Majority Against Software Patents

The Economic Majority Against Software Patents

You only need a few minutes to submit a testimony against software patents - anyone can do that.

23 June 2005

PlayStation 3

System Info: Supercomputer #201

Today I found out, what is the hype about Sony PlayStation 3 all about.

PS 3 = 2 TFlops = 602 * Intel Pentium 4 Xeon 2800 MHz (5.6 GFlops)

And it will come with Linux .....

22 June 2005

Software patent situation

For those that do not know yet, I am closely involved with FFII in fighting against software patents in EU.

Yesterday there was a vote in the JURI committee of the European Parliament. Out of 10 critical amendments - 5 were accepted, so it is not a complete failure as some media portray it to be. One additional amendment was accepted that is good to us, but is not critical. These amendments will go to the EP plenary vote as a bundle and we want them to be accepted (total majority is neede for that).

After that additional amendments will be voted upon. Our supporters will file 5 critical amendments that were left out by the JURY vote and those amendments will be voted along with other amendments to the respective articles. Just before the vote, when the voting order will be known, each MEP (Member of European Parliament) will receive a clear and simple list from FFII with the list stating which amendments to vote for and which to vote against.

Currently it is critically important for all EU businessmen to contact their MEPs to express their concerns about software patents and to ask them to follow the FFII voting list. You can do this either directly or trough:

The E-M people can also help you to get to Brussels and to get in personal contact with MEPs. To arms, brothers!


Last few weeks I am trying out an idea, that walking barefoot as much as possible is good for your feet. Even after a few first days walking barefoot inside my home, I noticed that it actually is more pleasant to the feet then walking in slippers or even in your socks.
Today I went for the next step and went to the nearby shop barefoot. I was expecting that the rough asphalt would feel unpleasant at first and that I will find quite a lot of glass on my way. It appears that I was wrong - asphalt felt quite nice and I hardly found any broken glass at all. I even risked and intentionally walked across some broken glass - I felt the edges, but you'll not cut your feet unless you drag them and dragging your feet is a bad idea in any situation :).
When I came back, my feet felt a bit strange - numb, just like your muscles feel after unusual amount of stress. I'll probably will try to do some training on that.

08 June 2005

Test broke down

I really tried to wake up at 5 today, I did. But as soon as I tried to get up - my nose started bleeding, so I laid back untill it stopped ... when I woke up it was already 14:00. Doh!
I will not give up so easily!!!

07 June 2005

Slleping habits revisited

In the light of today I might just have to reevaluate my sleeping habits. Usually I sleep 'till 12. Today I woke up at 5 and untill 12 I did more then I usually do in one day. After all that I still had strength for an exausting aikido practise and I am still up at midnight.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Debian -- News -- Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 released

Debian -- News -- Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 released

YAY!!!! The new chapter in the FLOSS history has been opened.

My motto

If you sleeping is disturbing your job performance, then ... screw that job!

To be trully productive my work must not be tied to specific time-slice. Sometimes I am most productive 9-17, sometimes 16-24, sometimes 0-8.

On the other hand today I started to try to rise early following Steve Pavlina. Yay to me! Let's hope I can keep rising at 5 in the morning for at least a week, so I can truly evaluate the result.

05 June 2005

FFII Week blog - Day 6

Saturday. Today I resent minutes of a Council working group to FFII lists along with some strange Rocard 'compromise' amendmets for articles 1 and 2 only. This proved to be a crusial piece of information for strategy planning of EP. LV did some strange moves there and HU, NL and DE were clearly violating orders of their parlaments.
On Monday morning I'll need to meet Zile and convince him to help us and then I will be at the meating deciding LV position in the Council.
Today I mostly did 'technical' things, like installing Ubuntu on a new laptop donated to FFII and fighting to get HP LaserJet 1020 working there and then sharing it to other computers in the network.
A lot of time was also spent discussing potential strategies for second reading in EP and about organization of the post-2nd-reading conference.
Many people say that one does never beat me in a discussion, some also say that one cann't beat Jan Miernik in a discussion. I can now proudly say that I can beat Jan quite easily ;).
In the evening we went to a kebab place and had a very fun dinner there. If you are hungry in Brussels - find a kebab place, it will be the cheapest way. Unfortunally I do not remember the name of the dish I took, but it was something like meat, corn, onion and salad wrapped in a tortilia and some french fries with a very strong sause ('kamikadze'). This with a soft drink cost 4 Euro, which is a very cheap meal in Brussels.
It took a full hour to write these last 3 blog items, should go to sleep now to be able to wake up for tomorrows plane home.

03 June 2005

FFII Week blog - Day 5

Friday was a quiet day - everyone had a bit of hangover from yesterday (not me - I only tasted the wine and didn't really drink it) and I woke up quite late.
I spend the whole day at the FFII apartment trying to do as much good as possible. At the end of the day, the best idea came late at night after a pizza dinner - we decided to organize the biggest FFII event ever, right after the EP vote. It would be at 12 and 13 july. That will be a two day conference where first day whould be focused on understanding the results of the EP second reading vote and what it means both to software producers and what it means to the democracy in EU, second day will be devoted to figuring out what FFII would need do next. A social event could be put up at the evening of first day. MEPs and EU Council people would be invited to the first day, lots of press and FFII supporters.
Antonios from Greese voulunteerd to organize it and I agreed to be the 'shadow organizer'.
This discovery arrived to us at 1 in the night and that made me arrive to the hotel around 2 at the night, again.

02 June 2005

FFII Week blog - Day 4

As allways in such events I started to forget to write blog items after three days. It is Saturday evening now and I am trying to reconstrukt events from last 3 days.

In the morning of thursday two EP groups held public meeting dedicated to SWPat directive - EPP and Greens. The meetings were separate and both were not really well for us. The most disappointing was a weak performance of Kauppi. She has very nice amendments, but she doesn't seem to be confident enough to push for them. She should stand behind all her amendment and not let council or EICTA confuse her.
In the I went looking for a peaceful side of Brussels. With one of the girls, we we to see the famouse Atomicum, but it was under construction, so we just walked a few parks that are nearby. I never remember names of people, but I do rememner that she was an antropologist collecting information for her Ph.D. about free software movement. We actually found that Brussels parks are really great - big and peasefull. We accidentally strolled upon the residence of previouse king of Belgium. We also witnesed a part of park fenced off that had a lot of rabbits running around.
In the evening I was invited to a diner at a place of Kasha - assistant of a Polish MEP. The night was just great - we had pasta with some strange sauce and wine - 6 bottles for 5 people ;). We all were discussing all the things starting with patents then swiching to jokes about Chinese and then back to talks about 'patents as such'. At 3 in the night all but me and Erik falled asleep and we decided to wrap up.
I walked trough the night Brussels. I must say that suburbs of Brussels are much quieter at 3 in the night then Rigas suburbs are - first ten minutes of walking towards city center I did not see a single person or car, not even at a distance. The centre is also quiet, but not much quieter then Riga. I took a few nice pictures.

01 June 2005

FFII Week blog - Day 3

Today I did get the breakfast - yay! I did hovewer get late to the first panel and only got the end of it. I got a few nice pictures and heard a great reaction from the chair - one person tried to make a statement that the pure software "like the Amazon one-click" is not patentable now and will not be patendable under Councils directive - the chair replied "It is an already granted Europeant patent number xxxxxxx, next question" ;) The applause went for a few minutes.
After a nice diner we went to the second panel chaired by Mr. Dombrovskis.
It started a bit late with a bit of technical problems, as they always do. I think that Dombrovskis handled it very well with a nice intro and some kind of 15 second summaries that did help to better understand the presentations -- they really were quite complex.
The third panel started with a representative from a Polish IT association. He spoke very strictly against SWPat, but very broadly. Representative from BEUC - consumer assosiation of EU. One point raised was that, while software must be excluded from the protection, the source must still be published in the patent if it is essential to the invention. EICTA person said to support Council position, but against SWPat. Said that patents are needed to defend against foreign companies (despite 90% of EU SWPat are owned by USA and Japan). Kauppi (shadow reporter of the directive, antiswpat) was a bit bleak on the last panel and dropped a bomb saying that excluding of data processing from patentability is too broad and undefendable. That is bad news.