Fri, 29 Apr 2005

Status update on GNOME 2.10 for Debian

Activity at UDU is quite non-stop, but I found a small gap to update on the status of the experimental packages, while Mako and I finish writing up a few entries on some funny stuff going on here.

The pkg-gnome alioth deb-line should be obsolete now, and it might be a good idea to remove it. The new ftp-masters have done a great job accepting NEW packages as soon as they were uploaded, and control-center and gnome-applets were sponsored a few days ago, making experimental the only needed apt repository.

We are still missing 2.10 versions for some minor, non-critical modules that are now officially part of the GNOME desktop, but they will continue coming in. In short, I think GNOME 2.10 is now fully usable just using packages from experimental, and in the near future, a new release of the meta-packages will be uploaded to experimental so people can easily upgrade with just apt-get install gnome -t experimental. Stay tuned!

Mon, 25 Apr 2005


Throughout the Ubuntu/Canonical conferences I've become used to hearing some Aussies speaking, and learned a bit about their funny accent (yeah, don't comment about my English accent, that is out of the question). I still have trouble understanding a few words due to the difference in vowel pronunciation, but I thought I was more or less used to the accent.

This morning I went to an Information Desk as soon as the customes dudes let me out, to ask what would be the best way of reaching this hotel at that time. When suggested taking a taxi, the woman said that there would be very little traffic today, as they were celebrating a National Holiday called Insect Day. "Wow, you've got a holiday called 'Insect day', that's cool!", I told her, thinking it's a day these Aussies dedicate to their wildlife, and wandered off to the taxi area. Just before getting there, I thought "good, at least until now I haven't had any problem with understanding their accent"...

During the taxi drive from the airport to the hotel, the taxi driver again started talking about Insect Day, and that many areas in Sydney would be closed for the parade. I asked him why the holiday was called like this, and he said he didn't know the details, but was something related to WWWII (while it's really related to WWWI). This was puzzling: they have a big parade for Insect Day, which is something related to the World War?

A bit before arriving to the hotel I finally saw a traffic panel announcing blocked areas for ANZAC Day, and suddenly everything made a bit more sense (still didn't know what Anzac was, but it obviously wasn't about ants and bees).

Jetlag 1 - 0 Jordi

I had this great plan to minimise the impact of jetlag for this trip to Australia. Anyone at UDU will read on my face that it didn't work out that well...

I, partially on purpose, partially because the night got a bit more complicated than what I planned, slept just four hours or so on Friday. This was cool, as it would help sleeping during the long flight.

But of course, the flight from València to Heathrow was 3 hours late, and completely fucked up my plan to take a nap while I waited for the Sydney plane. No worries, I had plenty of hours to sleep on board. That's not so easy. When I discovered the passenger sitting next to me also came from València, we started chatting and, after dinner, I tried to get some sleep, but was mostly unsuccessful.

After our stop in Singapore we faced our second night in just a few hours, and I wasn't sleepy at all. At 2:30AM I found myself still reading my book Quina lenta agonía... and could get 1h of sleep before breakfast time and landing.

The silly guys at the airport's customs service were kind enough to trigger a "passport alert" on me, scan my passport, search all my baggage and ask me questions about my possibly evil plans for my stay in .au. That made me waste one hour that I could have used having a short nap at the hotel, but no luck.

As soon as the conference started, Daniel Silverstone said I would be collapsing by 11. Well, it's past 12 but I can't say I'm being able to concentrate too much in the BOFs... running a BOF this evening with Carlos will be interesting in this condition... :)

Oh, to follow the trend on my movie choice of the night before, last night I saw Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality, which was decidedly worse than Blade Trinity. I wonder how people actually go to the cinema to watch this kind of stuff.

Sun, 24 Apr 2005

Flying to Sydney

It's past 2AM and I'm sitting in an airplane on my way to Sydney. The monitor in front of me, besides a zillion different movies and TV shows, has a channel with a map that gives you information about your journey.

Along with not so useful stuff like "tail wind" or "outside temperature" (it's -40°C outside, so what?), there's a countdown of the time it'll take to arrive to Singapore, our first destination. Even if it already feels like I've been inside here for an eternity, I still have 9 hours to go, but I'm trying to stay up as much as possible in an attempt to fight jet lag a bit.

We're currently flying over the Black Sea, and soon we'll be over interesting places like Iraq. I wouldn't put money into this, but I'm pretty sure the map stuff is made using xplanet, or xplanet's maps, because the night shading is just exactly the same as what I used as my background years ago. The size of this airplane was quite a surprise. It appears to be quite big from the airport's terminal, but when I got in and saw how wide (and tall) it is I couldn't help a "woah" to myself.

As the goal is to kill time as fast as possible without wasting too much laptop battery (currently at 68%, 2h 14m remaining), I decided to watch the fist movie I could identify on the many channels. Soon enough I found a tatooed Wesley Snipes on channel 4, so I ended watching a total POS called "Blade Trinity" which got rid of 2 hours quite easily.

I still have battery to watch a full DVD, and I think that's what I'm going to do until 4AM CEST. I have with me Chocolat and another one by Woody Allen.

Fri, 22 Apr 2005

Ubuntu Down Under

Things move quite fast in my life lately, but what happened today was a bit extreme.

Yesterday, at 1AM, attending to Canonical's Ubuntu Down Under conference was just out of the picture. And then, Carlos appeared...

01:05 < jordi> sigh, I wish I was there.
01:07 < carlos> jordi: the conference is next week, you can join us :-)

Just for fun, I looked in some flights webpage, saw there were tickets, and why not, asked Mark if I could make it still. Shocking, he said "Take the ticket!", so I just had to ask at work...

This morning, first thing I do is ask Pablo: "So, can I go to Australia? Today?". Knowing he couldn't say "yes" with his boss hat on, but wanting me to take the opportunity, he redirected me to the head of the department, who had no problem at all.

So that's it. From having to reject Mark's invitation to suddenly having e-tickets waiting for me at the airport. Thanks to everyone involved in making this possible! I'm not looking forward to the massive amount of time I'll be inside a plane tomorrow, but I know UDU is going to be just fantastic. See you there!

Ah, have a nice day tomorrow up there in Catalunya!

Mon, 18 Apr 2005

GNOME 2.10 in experimental

The last week has seen some more activity in the Debian GNOME front. According to people who have been following a bit more closely that me (I've been totally out of the business), most of the pieces of the 2.10 puzzle are in place and many people are already using GNOME 2.10.1 in Debian.

The biggest problem right now is the lack of a newer libxklavier version than gnome-control-center requires, and gnome-applets which requires gst-backends (maintainer working on it) so we've had to put those packages in pkg-gnome's temporary repository while this gets sorted out in experimental. Remember, the apt lines you currently need should look like this:

# Debian experimental
deb ../project/experimental main
# GNOME 2.10 pending packages
deb experimental main

If you don't know how to upgrade with this information, you should really wait for the upload to unstable once Sarge freezes, or seek help on IRC, in #gnome-debian, because this update currently involves an upgrade to glibc 2.3.4 which can, according to some people, really mess up your install. This dependency will be fixed soon, though. 2.10 should be more or less to use right now, and quite a few people have upgraded already.

I'll announce when libxklavier, gnome-control-center, gst and gnome-applets enter experimental. Happy testing!

End of sprint

The last two weeks have been quite complicated. Very little sleep, lots of stuff to finish at work and the deadline quickly approaching...

I don't think I have been so stressed in many years, some days I got back home and thought about getting some pills to calm down. Thank you for that, OpenOffice!

So, after our longest non-week-end, the LliureX team has created the ISO of the CD that will be distributed in the Valencian Free Software Congress which will take place in Castelló early next month. To get here, I've done around 10 builds of in our quest to add Valencian support. The fight was long, and OOo nearly won, but luckily Sergio joined ZuleX's OOo division in the last moment and we managed to get rid of a small bug consisting in menubars speaking German instead of Valencian.

Besides the OOo headaches, it's time ditch MozillaTranslator in favour of any of the alternatives available, because MT really, really sucks and fucked my migration from Thunderbird 0.9 to 1.0.

Anyway, it's been two tough weeks, but I think we got there more or less. After being through this, I guess I cannot envy any Canonical employee two weeks before a Ubuntu release, if they have to work like this before their release day. I guess this happens everywhere actually, but it's the first time I go through it...

This crazy weekend also held me in València, when I was expected to participate in a round table about translation tools during the III Jornades of Softcatalà in Barcelona, to speak about Rosetta. I'm sorry for not being able to attend, but I tried my best. :/

Now I'll get back to "normal life". I've got a ton of mail and IRC queries which I couldn't reply to. Marga et all, please try again now. :)

Thu, 14 Apr 2005

Skiing at the feet of Gausta, in Rjukan

A few weeks ago I went on a ski trip to the Telemark area in Norway with Núria and Brande, and three other friends of Brande. Brande is my sister's boyfriend, and has been to this place a few times before, as the facility where we were staying is owned by a hundred Danish families, including his.

The night before leaving, I decided it would be great if I got the flu and travelled with a bit of fever, and so I did. We three from València went to Madrid, carrying two big backpacks each with tons of weight, on Friday 25th to spend the night before flying to Oslo, as our flight was at 6:20. We stayed at Diego's place, in La Latina neighbourhood. In the morning, the four of us took our plane to Amsterdam and then another one to Oslo.

In Oslo, we tried to use the three hours we had between our arrival and the departure of our bus to wander around as optimally as possible, and visited the main streets, the Royal Palace and the harbour, while we carried, by turns, Brande's skis, as he had gone to look for Norwegian yoghourt and milk for our breakfasts.

Just a bit before taking the bus to Rjukan we met the last two members of our expedition: Alfredo, another friend of Brande, and her girlfriend Patricia. The four hours of bus to Rjukan were horrible for me because there was no way of sleeping due to the fever and I was terribly tired because we had woken up at 3:30 that day. Once on our destination, a pair of taxis took us to the Kvitåvatn Fjellstoge, where we would live that week.

This place is something like a small ski centre, surrounded by lakes and many kilometres of tracks to practice telemark ski. They have a main building with common areas for guests and many rooms for up to seven people. Outside, they have a set of typical huts, and we were lucky to stay on one.

These are old huts that were once in the middle of nowhere and were bought by the Kvitåvtn people, took them piece by piece and recontructed them at this spot. Our hut had two floors, with a table, a sink and little more at ground level, and four matresses and a few wooden racks for clothes in the first floor. The kitchen, bathroom and sauna were in other huts and were common for everyone.

If you want to cut some expenses, you can choose to carry your own bed sheets, food and clean up the hut yourself, and that's what we did. Brande organised three teams of two to manage cooking. Alfredo and Patricia took care of the small lunches and picnics to have during our ski routes, and the last dinner; Diego and Brande took care of breakfasts and two dinners; and Núria and I took care of the remaining four dinners. Núria and I planned to cook two different kinds of spaguetti, rice and lentils, with salad for all days. We also contributed our share of wine and a bottle of mistela.

We carried everything in our bags, making them very heavy, and we were glad to drop them on the floor as soon as we arrived. Brande took care of contacting the Fjellstoge people and getting our keys. We thought we'd have to sleep in the normal rooms, but it seems there was some cancellation and they were able to give us one hut for the first night, and two for the rest of the week, so Alfredo and Patricia moved after the first day.

The first morning was a bit rough. After visiting Trevor in the ski hut, who equipped us with all the necessary material, our first skiing lesson started. Brande has been skiing all his life, and was our teacher. Alfredo was lucky to have done it just two years before in these same tracks, but for the rest of us, we were about to start a long day.

While Brande went to buy some wax, the novice skiers jumped on their skis and started experimenting. Of course, with no wax, this was a bit dangerous, and mostly all of us bit the snow after just a few minutes. With the wax in place, and the very basic lesson learned, we tried to go down the first slope. I fell like 4 times in 15 metres, which was a bit discouraging; and this continued on and on during the first slopes. I told Brande I felt my feet were a bit loose inside my boot, and we tried to make a very tight knot on the boot, which helped somewhat, but I still felt a bit uncontrolled. For example, when I tried to stop, it was my boot what touched the snow, not the edge of the ski, and eventually that would make me fall down.

When there terrain wasn't steep, though, I adapted easily and could lead the group, as it was a not too tiring exercise, but plains weren't very common in the first day's newbie track. After crossing the ice lake, we reached a hill which we had to climb (no problems so far) and then descend skiing. A few more bad crashes and quite some harm in my butt made me stop being so brave and get rid of the skis for the most difficult slopes. In the end, after the first day, all my courage was replaced with bruises and a nasty pain in one of my ankles, which fortunately went away the next day. My confidence in being able to do it more or less ok was gone, though, as I had been the one in the group who had fallen most, and that was quite unexpected to me.

After dinner, our first sauna session and a good sleep, we were ready for our second day, which would take us through a much more interesting and tricky course. I went to Trevor's to see if he thought my boots were to big, and they were. When I told him about my boot touching the snow, he said... "you realise there's a ski for the right foot and another for the left foot, right?" Well, no, nobody had told me, and the mark on the ski was impossible to see if you didn't look very closely.

Wow, correctly sized boots and skis on the right side did make a difference. Despite the track being a lot harder, I fell a lot less and after a few slopes my fear to slide down started to go away. We skied all day long around the course, which offered great views of Rjukan's valley and the Gausta, and arrived back in Gaustablikk just in time for sauna, late dinner and some card game.

On Wednesday, Núria and I decided to go down to the town to see what was it like, and the rest went to do a long course. We discovered Rjukan is only two long streets, and there were sales everywhere. Shops were selling winter stuff like frenzy, with up to 90% discounts. We couldn't resist buying some clothes, but after visiting all the shops it was way too early to go back to the mountains, so we went to the public swimming pool.

This place was awesome. There was a big swimming pool, jacuzzis, sauna, vapour sauna and other stuff, and we spent three hours inside the water relaxing, with the white mountains behind us.

Day four started with some bad weather for the first time in the week. We went to do the 21km track, but going behind Gausta first. We had to wear all our equipment against the cold, including caps, because there was some wind and snow, and when you stopped to drink or wait for others, you would quickly get a bit cold. When we had done 1/3 of the course, we decided to go back because a few were a bit tired. The track went upwards for the most part, and the snow didn't make it easier. Nothing some more sauna couldn't repair.

This was my first time in a place with a real sauna, and I really enjoyed it. It was unthinkable for Spain that men and women would share a small space like that naked, but here it was, apparently, very normal. In Spain, I think even a non-mixed sauna only with naked men would be generally pretty empty. At first I thought I was going to melt and die in such a hot environment, but a few minutes after going out you could feel how relaxing it was. I would normally do three or four cycles of 10 minutes inside and 2 minutes outside under a cold shower (and with cold, I mean cold water is freezing in the Telemark).

We shared the big kitchen with a Danish group that were doing a survival training course, and Brande would sometimes try to overhear what they were talking about, and would later tell their mad plans to us. For example, in a few days they would leave the Fjellstoge and go sleep in the mountain during a week, excavating holes in the snow to get warm during nights. Oww!

As ski days passed, our bodies accumulated more and more bruises and painful spots. After more or less repeating the course of the second day, which was beautiful as it went through a dense forest, on Friday we had our last opportunity to ski in the Gausta area. In the previous days, I had been getting a pain in my leg due to, say, opening them too much when going down difficult slopes, and on the last day the pain was big enough that I didn't mind going back to something easy to test myself. Núria and I decided to repeat the newbie track of our first day, to complete it perfectly and go back to València knowing that we had at least learned a bit of skiing. And so we did: we started skiing, and until we crossed the lake we did very well and fast.

When we got to the same hill that caused us so many problems, I tried going down the slope, which included a bad bend on a fast area, and sensing I was a bit out of control, decided to do an emergency landing with my hip. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to put on my gloves and roll down my long sleeves, and the snow and ice bruised my hand and arm enough to draw blood on a few spots. Also, the impact on my wrist was quite tough and it ached quite a bit. That was good enough to remind us that we were still simple beginners.

Little more was left to do but pack, cleanup the hut as much as we could, and have our last dinner. Núria and brought the exact quantity of food we needed: we weren't short at all, and nothing remained either, which was pretty cool, because our bags were sensibly lighter on our way back.

I chatted a long while with Brande in the bus, while Diego made friends with a Norwegian girl who sat next to him. We had some spare hours at the city, and we used them visiting a second-hand market under a bridge near the Oslo canal, and we went up the canal for a while to see parts of the city. We even found what seemed to be a very nice squat in the centre! We finally left for the airport, and quite a few hours later we were back in Madrid. On Sunday morning, the Valencians went back in train, leaving behind the other three. Luckily for us, Monday was a local holiday in València so we had time to land and get back to real life, without sauna or a white paradise around us.

I think I have already decided where I will go next year in Fallas or Easter...

Sun, 10 Apr 2005

gnome-panel's epoch

Last night I dreamed that, badly needing an experimental upload of gnome-panel 2.10, I went ahead and prepared the update myself. Unfortunately I fucked up, and uploaded to unstable instead of experimental...

From that point, the dream became a nightmare and I have a few memories of first rushing to write a .commands file for the upload queue, but even if I knew the syntax by heart, I kept typoing over and over. I guess I missed the small window to fix things up, because next thing I remember is going to Ganneff and elmo and asking them to remove the package from incoming, heh.

The next thing was fixing the fuckage. Leaving the package in was not possible because it depended on gnome-menus which is in experimental, plus it has a new shlib for libpanel-applet, so it would block other packages from migrating to testing. If I remember correctly, there were two options: doing a hackish version like (some people will remember procmail at this point ;) or, *shudder*, add an epoch to the library... the last thing I remember is me fighting Duck and seb128 to accept the ugly version upload, with no luck...

I knew already that I don't like epochs... but to the point of violently waking up and finding out, to my relief, that this had not happened at all?

Fri, 08 Apr 2005

NEW processing

Ok, I felt the urge to blog about this...

From: Debian Installer <>
Subject: libgda2_1.2.1-1_i386.changes is NEW
To: Jordi Mallach <>
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2005 14:32:11 -0400

From: Debian Installer <>
Subject: libgda2_1.2.1-1_i386.changes ACCEPTED
To: Jordi Mallach <>
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2005 14:42:33 -0400

I'm sure Ganneff can do better...

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