31 July 2005

Simple Backup Solution 0.1 is out !

With this simple and humble name my SoC project has met the first milestone - I have a fully functioning backend for my backup solution. The GUI is to be done next week.

You can get see the spec here, get the 0.1.1 version here and monitor all my development activity via my online repository. (You can access it with your web browser or with bazaar-ng.)

A Debian package will be uploaded after completion of all planned functionality, i.e. in a couple of weeks.

30 July 2005

Silence in the Net
Only spam is making a background noise
Saturday it is

(Haiku format was lost in translation :) )

29 July 2005

The python-gnome2 bindings for gnomevfs are completely undocumented :P
I so wish i could kick that developer in the^W^W^W^W^W donate small amount of money to have it fixed. :)

28 July 2005

Currently I am very busy writing my Summer of Code project. You can see my plan on the Ubuntu wiki: and follow my progress in my bazaar-ng repository.
I must say that bazaar-ng is a simple as subversion and as powerful as arch, but as complete as current Xorg package for Ubuntu unstable (aka breezy) ;P
I am writing all of this SoC code in python which is my first real life exposure to this language. I am deeply impressed by the easiness of the language, but slightly depressed by the lack of documentation in some areas, for example python-gnome modules are mostly undocumented. While the simple stuff can be scoped out from some examples, a more advanced use would require much guesswork.
I like that in python everything is an object and that objects with similar interfaces are interchangeable, for example: Tarfile module makes .tar archives. It would really like to write them out to a file, but will also accept a fileobj. It acctually only need this object to have a proper write() function, so a Handle from Gnome-vfs module should do nicely there. That would allow a transparent reading/writing of the resulting .tar to any destination supported by Gnome-VFS.
Now that is cool.
I am writing a backup daemon now. The due date for this is tomorrow. I have local plain file and local .tar backups working. I still have to make Gnome-vfs .tar backups work as intended, make incremental backups work and do some configuration file parsing. Also a simple restore utility must be done 'till tomorrow. I might just make it :)
(GUI tools are scheduled for the next week)

21 July 2005


I am still recovering my sleep after the Debconf5, but I now have a bit strength to say what I thing about it in general:
It was great! Thank you very much to all that helped to make it happen!

16 July 2005

Back + foot

I've been hit by two health problems today - my back muscles are cramping up: I cann't turn or bend without a powerful stroke of pain, and I found that a tiny piece of glass managed to embed itself into the sole of my foot and it is getting increasingly painful to walk. Oh well, I will have to miss most of the talks today, but at least I'll try to catch up with the bloging and might also do something useful in the SoC area.
Note: If you are reading this blog trough any kind of aggregation (like the Debian Planet), the photos will *not* show up. Bug already filed.

13 July 2005

THE day of socializing

Yesterday, the 13th of July was the one day that all (or at least most) of Debconf hackers were forcefully disconnected from the Net and thrown into the socializing, sun and nature. It worked pretty well.

First of all we all woke up early this morning - a lot of people even made it to the breakfast after a warning that today's lunch will be comparable to our regular breakfasts. Two boats were organized to bring all the hackers over to the Finnish Fort islands. (Some, like aj, escaped and went sightseeing to the Helsinki)

There was an interesting moment on the way as the boat passed under a bridge that was so low that you could just touch the bridge with your hand without much of a trouble. We also went throughout the jachts of the Baltic Sea regatta and were overtaken by the superseacat ship.

After arriving on the islands, we had to wait almost for half an hour for the second boat to arrive. To our surprise Holger was on top of it weaving a Jolly Rodger (more about it later).

After being divided into 6 groups, we were lead to see the Fort - walls, cannons, parks, and sand barriers were up for our inspection and admiration. In the tradition that is well known to any software developer, the project manager promised to his king to complete the fort in 4 years. It took 40. Now that is a slight delay none of us would want to experience. This project manager even managed to die in the process of construction, but the king ordered him to stay in the place anyway and designed a monument for the grave with his own hands as a compensation. You can also see our guide in one of the pictures here.
It is worth mentioning that there was an interesting guiding system in this place - every guide constructed his excursion from a set of checkpoints taken in order based on his/her preference and on what checkpoints the other guides are now.
Also you can see a couple of photographs that include me - this is a rear occurrence.

After the excursions, we had lunch in a truly Debian fashion - pieces of bread, butter, meat, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples and small drink packs. Then everyone went around and assembled his own lunch. The Debian party was occupying most part of the biggest lawn of the islands - that looked pretty strange.

In the progress I discovered that the not only shoes of Andreas Tille have a logo with a swirl, but that it is also extremely similar to the logo of Lithuaninan Open Source Association. That is fun.

On the way back I was on the small boat that went first. Amaya and Holger were here too. The made quite a team - Holger waived the pirate flag, Amaya waved her hand. Noone could resist that - everyone waived back :).

We went a bit more quiet after the military showed their interest.

One more fun thing - that is a really bad way to choose a name for a ship :P

And here you can see my selfportrait attempt. Looks quite ok to me :)


After that great fun, some waiting for Gunnar come back on the second boat with the key to our room (doh.) and a dinner, I went off to search for the big sauna. After some asking around, I fond it and also found all Japanese people there. After about half an hour the sauna key was finally found and we could get the party started.
The place had two saunas (electrical and wood) and a big rest place with a piano. I first occupied the big sauna (which was heated up beforehand by some kind soul) and started pouring water on the stones and entertaining the constantly increasing audience. After some time the sauna was full, but thanks to my activity, some people started to go out to cool down - the logical turnaround of selfregulation started. The second sauna warmed up in an hour and fast became the most popular one, despite it being able to only fit 5-6 people at a time.
Debian is a truly unique society - were else will you see lots of naked people of both sexes listening, with a great interest, a classical piano concert or singing "Yesterday" or "Over the rainbow".
Somewhere around midnight I understood that basically almost every person in the world is a geek, but most of them are so afraid and ashamed of it that they hide it, because otherwise they would be shunned by the society. On the other hand Debian is the society that encourages geekiness and grows on our differences. I think that a geek is just a person that is not afraid to show his individuality and that is increasingly important in our globalization obsessed world.

12 July 2005

Debconf5 group photo

Here it is
(Google sized down the picture, so I used p.d.o :()
Many thanks Arto Teräs fot taking the picture! There will be a version with an imagemap with names soonish.

Note how shy and unnoticable I am in the picture - the one in the yellow t-shirt, in the middle :D

July 12th - still Debconfing

This post is kindof a warm up before the comprehensible report about all activities of the June 13th, so this will have more pictures then usual, but less then the next :)

First of all I must note that I've been walking barefoot for most of the week and I must say that it feels really good, except for the really sharp stones. Walking on the grass feel especially good.

The other thing is how Debconf is not fully empthy even at 6 in the morning - you can see the dorm hacking area here has some people already awake (the people that were still awake, went to sleep half an hour ago).

A breakfast is quite light around here, but if you are skillfull at maquerading, you can get a second serving :). (Note: the person in the photo is facing the camera)
Some obligatory photos of the speakers have been skipped this time - look at the group picture if you want to see how they look like. I will try to blog about the other things happening here - things that are not going to be available as HD video.

Here is the photo of the (currently empthy) second room where some of the talks are held. I went here for the presentation from the Debian Team. That sure sounds big. But it apears that there are only two people on the team and that feeling of having a big team is kind of hurting them. So - OOO@Debian *does* need your help.

One other unconvential event is Branden jumping around and screaming "It did it again, you are my witness" and putting an obscure error message op on the big screen - you can see it here in all the glory. It seams that Mozilla screws up the type detection :)

And even trough the daytrip is planned tomorrow morning, the fun still goes on far into the night.

Another success

... at waking up at 5 :)
The only reason for that was that I was very tired yesterday and went to bed at 20:00 or even earlier.

11 July 2005

11th of July in HEL

The first thing I really noticed in the morning was that I missed the breakfast, again.
On the other hand this wall in the cafeteria caught my lens - this is a clock up in the air, aprox. 3-4 meters up from the floor. Now that you know, where it is, notice the power plugs ... I mean ... why???

Soon after that I got the chance to play around with the new Nokia 770 toy. It really is a marvel - beautiful software, great hardware. You can see it here accessing the Slashdot over GPRS.

One of the talks I've been more interested in was the CDD talk by Andreas Tille (see my other blog entery about it):

I didn't take many photos this day, so this one gets into top packages - this is the cafeteria full with Debian Developers over the dinner time.

Soon after that I went to the dorm room to do some UI prototyping in Glade for my SoC project, but I was too tired and I had to go to sleep after a couple of hours.

CDD ideas

I am now at the speach of Andreas Tille about CDDs and let me dump here my idea, what the CDD framerowk should do.
  • it should be enough to write one structured text file to create a CDD
    • you can select a set of packages that are: needed, recommended, conflicted;
    • you can preseed debconf database with answers;
    • you can do some specific changes to the conffiles or other files (as diffs or rewrite rules);
    • you can add/remove some text or binary files;
    • you can recompile a package (with a patch);
    • you can add some package that is not yet in Debian;
  • the framework can generate a set of packages that could be uploaded to Debian, to allow a Debian user to 'apt-get install cdd-something'
  • the framework can generate a simplified installation CD that installs the CDD with a minimum amount of questions
  • the framework can generate a LiveCD with the CDD
  • a summary of bug reports that relate to the CDD should be gettable
  • all the actions for a CDD should be possible to be done on Debian infrastructure. portal with standartized interfaces for every CDD for documentation, information, bug summaries, cvs/arch/svn/... links, links to all CDs, links to web forums, ...
  • all the actions for a CDD should be possible to be done fully independently from Debian. Packages for that should be inside Debian and should be easy to install/configure
  • a CDD must be able to do releases independantly from Debian
  • the should be a way to do security updates for all relased CDDs for some fixed time period
  • any CDD could be derrived either from plain Debian of from any other CDD
  • The feature set must be complete enough to have Ubuntu as a CDD
I will add more, once I remember more ideas.

10 July 2005

Delayed photoblog - July 10

This day is rich on pictures - 8 of them got in here, but that is a bit compensated by low number of photos tomorrow :)
Here is a photo of the cafeteria where all meal are served at the Debconf. It is not a bomb bunker.

This is the breakfast of mine for the day. You might wonder - why does that look so much like a lunch? Because it is. I missed the breakfast and only woke up at lunch. Doh.

And the I arrived at the talks and the first thing that I see on the screen is ...

Branden followed that up with a detailed talk about man pages. You can now also see that debconf2x-man generates better man pages then the first version.

The talk by Enriko was also very interesting, but despite being a bit sleepy, he moved so fast all the time, that I have no usable picture of him :(
Going back to Smokki we went by 'the lost band':

Here is a very bad attempt of mine to make a panoramic photo of the Smokki hacklab:

Many people wondered, why the hacklab webcam vibrates while going right and left. Here you can see it:

After the long hacking hours, many developers like to relax and have some kind of movement, for example like this:

Also sauna is an option. Today sauna was particulary good as it was finnaly turned up to 100 C, like I asked for the last two days :)

DC5 - Jul 9

After some nice breakfast, the Debian Day started with an address from the leader.

Jaldhar H. Vyas did a nice talk about the Debian in general, touching a lot of later subjects too - due to some technical problems, he had to go without his slides:

Then Gunnar Wolf did a talk about free software, where he also touched on the patent issues. After that my talk was up. While the video team was trying to get a nicer display of my presentation on the complex presentation system of the room, I introduced myself and noted my involvement with the swpat issues in EU. After the applause stopped, the hardware was ready and I could start with my talk. It went very well despite being prepared the night before - the CDD possible relationship with Ubuntu inspired some ideas that, I hope, will make Ubuntu into a kind of CDD.

Here is a picture of internals of the CS department building that the talks are happening in. You can see that the weather here is just perfect.

Alexander Schmehl's speach about involvement into Debian as an end-user was even more funny then expected because of repeated and different hardware failures of the presentation beamer control system and attempts of the video team to repair it. I didn't manage to get a clear picture of Alex banging his head against the blackboard, but this face expression of his is allmost as good, but see the video for the best effect. :D

After that allmost all DDs went to the Smokki hacklab to do some hacking. Here we can see some GAIM hacking in progress :)

Later in the evening there was a great game of Ultimate (5 on 5). I was on the same team as Mark Shuttleworth and I participated in all scorings from our team, but the problem was that there was not too many of those. While we didn't keep the score (this game is very exhausting), our team definately lost :(. After that the Ultimate players occupied the sauna - Ultimate Sauna was that. It was quite fun despite the low temperature. No photos from there, again. :)

09 July 2005

1.08 Euro?!?!

This will not wait until the daily summary: in Extremadura all mainterance costs of all LinEx distributions, including a dedicated system administrator in every school and including three developers only cost them 1.08 € per computer per year !!!
This is simply fenomenal.

Debconf - first day + morning

Let us try out a photoblogging format for the daily Debconf5 reportings.
I only arrived here yesterday and here is the schedule of the bus from the center of Helsinki to the campus region:

After following the many friendly signs, I arrived to the site and spotted the first developers:

Some more were just around the corner:

After trying to start the wireless according to several mystical HowTo's and giving up after two hours, I had to plug myself into the Ethernet jack in the dorm room and start working on the presentation for tomorrow. Actually I was not the only one doing that on the last night - developers are lazy :)

The night was long and funny

Around 70 developers were said to have arrived on this day

No photos from the dorm sauna, sorry :)

In the morning we only got up half an hour before the end of the breakfast - around 8:30.