Tue, 26 Jul 2005

Why belocs-locales-data is a good thing

Many people involved in Free Software i18n know dealing with changes to locale data from glibc is a major pain. Changes take a lot of time to trickle into upstream glibc, and most distributions ship with a big number of patches to these files.

Denis Barbier has been doing lots of work on improving the situation by working around this bottleneck, and has been maintaining belocs, a fork of these files which aims to bring speedy fixes to locale data in Debian.

During Debconf5, he gave a talk about the internals of the locale data format, which was pretty interesting, and I used the opportunity to get a pair of locales, Catalan for Andorra and Catalan for France, which I had written some months ago. Shortly after Debconf, belocs included them.

This, and a little hacking on d-i Sergio has been doing lately for LliureX, mostly consisting on making d-i use belocs instead of glibc locales, results on a debian-installer that knows that Catalan is not only spoken in the Principat de Catalunya. :)

I wonder how many people reading this knew Andorra exists

(On a minor note, posting this screenshot made me find a translation bug... which I could only find now that d-i shows this dialog for Catalan...)

Sun, 17 Jul 2005


Debconf finally ended for me, and I am now sitting in Paris-CDG, the very friendly airport with not enough benches for people to sit on while waiting; or wireless, or even plugs for when you run short on battery. Luckily I found a hidden plug in the stairway to one of the boarding gates. If you are leaving Helsinki via CDG and have a few hours to kill, you can use these two plugs which are in front of check-in #6, in gate D78/79. Only 4 hours of wait to go...

I've been in Otaniemi for the whole Debconf, after arriving late on Saturday. It has been fantastic. Better than my very best expectations.

Besides doing all sorts of stuff, like nearly getting killed by the cabal or voluntarily risking my life in the stupidest adventure of the entire Debconf, I've been doing other things. I've attended some very interesting talks and bofs, although admittedly I haven't made it to any of the 9AM talks (except Jeroen's, which I happily slept through as the video guys had the kindness to record for posterity) because night life in Otaniemi is quite intense.

More important than the work done in talks, bofs and small meetings in the Smökki, has been for me the social part of the conference. I have met many people -the list is way too long- I've been working with or chatting for years, and had never seen in Real Life before. The atmosphere you could feel between the Debian Developers and other Debian community members during the week is something that will help me renew energies to keep working on my Debian tasks, and will make me start thinking of Mexico for next year.

I have specially enjoyed some of the features Finland introduced in this Debconf, like all the sauna and naked swimming dipping in the pond we've enjoyed throughout the week. Stuff like this really helps making friends and socialising with your project mates, and is very enjoyable if you come from countries where nakedness, far from being as natural as it is in Scandinavia, is nearly a taboo.

The campus where Debconf took place at Otaniemi was also fantastic, being brand new, just 100 metres away from the sea, virtually inside a forest, and relatively well connected to Helsinki. Had I not fucked up my leg, I would have also been able to take advantage of the athletics field that will be used in the paralympic championships next month, and run through the forest to discover what was around the campus.

The nights, as I said earlier, have been a source of many anecdotes. A few days I went back to Helsinki to sleep a bit more than what you could in Otaniemi not having a room, but after leaving early for the last bus and missing the spontaneous Alcohols of the World party one of the first nights, I decided to stay there to sleep, in whatever corner I could find. This generally has meant going to bed at 5 or so every day, except for the last two days, when I just didn't sleep at all.

One day was the now famous Ubuntu chorus day, led by mdz and sabdfl, which woke up the entire debconf at 4AM, and never ended until 8, when a few people sneaked into the hotel and had a big breakfast. Sorry about that guys, next year we'll have practiced in advance and at least it will be something resembling to music. :) Before the singing, a large group of people had moved to Helsinki to find some cool club. Soon the group split in two, and I ended in the so called "Ice Bar", which was... cold. Way to early, at 3:30, we were kicked out from the place and while standing in the line to take taxis, a request to climb Thom ended up in a few people doing human castles in the middle of the street, climbing lamp posts and other "I am bored and a bit drunk" kinds of stuff.

The second night, after barely no sleep (if you don't count the two hours of sleep under direct sunlight, thanks to madduck), a group led by Mako went to a club, and there was dancing for over 4 hours. I think I should have stayed at Otaniemi because, being so tired, after a while I was just waiting for the closing hour to go back. When we finally did, at 4:30 or so, people were already waiting for their taxis or packing their stuff. My idea was to go swimming and see the sunrise, but it was a bit too late for that, and after saying goodbye to everyone that was already awake, I was lucky to find data who was about to drive the van to the airport, so I even saved quite a bit in a taxi drive.

In short, this has been one of those weeks that you wish it never ended, in some ways eye opening and quite productive in many aspects. Thanks to all of the organisers like data, gwolf, marga, Andreas and the rest of the team who have made it work so smoothly, despite of the huge amount of people who attended. You make Debconfs rock!

I can't wait to get to València and sleep 10 hours for the first time in a long time. It won't be easy to get back to work tomorrow after all of this.

Fri, 15 Jul 2005

The Piano & the Guitar

It is a great and relaxing surprise to go down to the Video Room and find Matt and Hanna playing the guitar and the piano. The best way to have a quick peek at your e-mail near this source of live piano classical music or more modern guitar music accompained by the singing of Matt and Clint.

Hanna calms down the geeky hordes

Wasting translation energy

Sitting with mako in the auditorium, I decided I'm going to waste the little translation energy I've gathered in the last 3 months to translate a window manager, ion3, I will never use, only to get mako to use it in Catalan. Of course, Mako doesn't speak a word of Catalan (except for common phrases like "Ara mes que mai un sol crit nos fara recuperar la dignitat. ¡¡LLENGUA VALENCIANA MAI CATALANA!!"¹), so my only purpose is quite stupid after all.

I need to decide if I write correct Catalan, or use the Blaverian variant instead. Doing the latter would be even more stupid.

¹ For my Catalan friends in Softcatalà, don't be scared: most of the Debconf people like jvw shouting "CACALA... NO" do know about the real situation. Don't think I'm producing a blavero movement outside València!

Thu, 14 Jul 2005

Pop The Trunk


Last night, three brave adventurers did what many Debconfers haven't dared to do... and they did it at 2AM. Matt Zimmerman, Martin Krafft and Jordi Mallach decided (some helped by alcohol) that it was time to visit the other side.

The other side is quite far away

During one of the hot sauna/skinny swimming in the lak^ocean cycles, I said (once again) that I was going to cross to the other side. The bad news is that Matt picked up the challenge and started swimming, followed by Martin. When we were nearly halfway, we had a little aquatic meeting. There were four alternatives to proceed with:

Looking for a taxi seemed the most fun option, but really: is it actually POSSIBLE to find one for three naked men who don't speak a single word of Finnish, in the middle of the night, and when we (very obviously) are not carrying any money?

Walking all the way back would be feasible, but meant walking quite a few kilometres while getting the worst cold ever.

So we were down to two choices: going back or being real adventurers and tell the rest that we did it. An hour or so after leaving the pier, the three brave men were walking back to the sauna, filled with pride after swimming the 800 metres to the other shore and back.

We tried to carry some stone from the other shore as evidence, but having no pockets made it difficult. In the end, the only evidence is Matt's bruised feet, which he harmed when walking over some sharp stones at the other side.

The only reward was harmful stones and coldness

Mon, 11 Jul 2005

Have you been run over by elmo?

If you haven't in the past, lucky you. Yesterday a bunch of people went to play frisbee. At some point of the game, my team mate elmo and I ran to catch the frisbee and I was unlucky to accidentally be hit by his knee on my right quadricep. Clearly James on evil_elmo mode.

elmo and me, during the happy days before the incident

At first I thought it was ok, but a few minutes later I had to stop playing because the pain was getting worse. When I went back to HUT, Beowulf and the other Spanish crowd would start saying I was acting and I was a "nenaza", but the truth is that during the night, whenever I moved my leg slightly, I would be awaken by pain.

As I expected that the pain would be gone today, and it's actually worse, I have looked into getting someone who knows a bit of these injuries a look at my leg. I have no bruise or any mark where the impact happened, so I fear my muscle is fucked up in some way as only walking short distances is difficult and painful. My mother, who is a nurse, told me to buy some paracetamol. I considered going to a hospital, but I don't have my medical insurance papers so I'll try to look for alternatives before that.

I guess this will end up in someone saying "it'll get better in a few days", but it's the first time I get such an intense pain like this one in a very localised muscle, so I'd better take care before I get back to València. This sucks, I wanted to go running during the week. I hope I can still swim in the evenings... I'll find out soon.

Sun, 10 Jul 2005

Je t'aime, Charles

What do most people that came to Debconf via Paris have in common? We all lost our luggage.

After very quickly packing my stuff up, including a number of glass bottles for some people who will get them if they are nice to me (hi helix!), I managed to arrive well ahead in time to València's airport. I checked in, arrived to Paris-CDG with a very short time frame to change planes. I quickly got off the plane from València and followed quite blindly the indications to "flight connections", and suddenly I nearly was in the street. I started to get a bit nervious, not knowing too well were to go. I finally found the Finnair desk, and was the last one to check in for the plane and board.

This had a positive effect: I quickly stumbled upon jacobo, and we both had last minute seats in business class. During the flight I had time to have fun with a pen that spilled ink all over the place, I managed to spill my tea all over the place, and accidentally fell asleep for half an hour or so.

At the airport, we waited at the baggage claim area for our bags, in vain. Denis Barbier, Jacobo and I didn't get ours, but at least they managed to get them back later during the evening. Mine will have to wait until tomorrow evening, who knows why, so I have no clothes, toothbrush or anything until then, and what's worse, I fear so much the oil bottle will end up breaking and fuck up all my clothes.

After leaving my stuff at Guillem's place, we went to Otaniemi, and I met a big number of people, including helix, Alfie, gwolf, stargirl, marga... Incidentally, a big number of them had lost their luggage some days before, too. It's nice to see people I have never seen in person before. I'm really going to enjoy this.

By the way, it's 3:30 in the morning as I finish this entry and I'd swear the sky was never completely back tonight. It's probably getting lighter already outside!

Sat, 09 Jul 2005

Going to Helsinki

My flight hopefully will take off in 12:10h, and I haven't packed up anything for my week at Debconf. I'm actually waiting for the laundry to be dry tomrorow morning so I have *something* to pack up, but in the end it seems like the preparation of this trip is going to be so Jordi-style again, totally unplanned in advance. Hopefully I won't forget anything while I rush to get stuff in place tomorrow morning. I know that some people would hate me forgetting the oil bottles... I really hope I can fit them in my bag without to many troubles! I keep having this vision of my bag appearing in the luggage pickup area in Helsinki's airport, pouring out a dense, golden liquid. If that happens, I hope you have plenty of clothes at home, Guillem. :)

See you in HEL, or for a few unlucky guys, at Paris CDG!

Fri, 08 Jul 2005

Visit to London

I was lucky to be in London again last week, just before the lunatics probably disrupted the city pulse for a few months. Last weekend, from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd, Canonical held the first Edubuntu summit, in preparation for their first release next October. Mark invited quite a few people involved in the development and deployment of Free Software in educational environments, including, among others, known faces like pere and Knut from Skolelinux, Juan Conde from Guadalinex, Quim Gil from Interactors and others from the K12LTSP or Schooltool projects. There were also a few teachers from the UK, and mdz, ogra, JaneW and Mark from Ubuntu. My boss Silvia Caballer also attended and presented the background and future direction of LliureX, our own regional project.

Belén and I arrived at Stansted around 40 minutes late, which proved to be critical to not catch the last underground train and be forced to try the nightly bus service. At Oxford Street, we tried to get into a few of the possible routes, but the drivers kept telling us that one wouldn't take us to Earl's Court, and we waited for the next one, and the driver would tell us it was the other one we should take. After one and a half hours of bus ping pong, and when I was totally freezing in the street, we decided to pick a taxi and go to the hotel as soon as possible. After some wait, a car that didn't look like a taxi at all stopped nearby and offered to take us. I tried to negotiate the fare before getting in, but the driver said there was nothing to talk about: £25. I prefered that to the cold I was incubating.

After the sessions, we'd go out for a walk around the city. On Friday, Juan, Juanjo, Quim, Belén and I went to a Malasian restaurant Quim recommended and we had difficulties finishing our plates and for dessert, we had some cider in an old tavern near the restaurant. The next day, Belén and I met one of her friends in Notting Hill and had dinner in an Iraqi restaurant which had a dude with an organ playing such a loud music that it was difficult to talk across the table. On Sunday, as the summit ended early, Petter, Knut, Jane, Matt, Ogra and us went for a walk around the Thames and a nearby park, but the group kept losing members as their flight hour approached.

In the end, it was Belén, Matt and me, so we headed to the Soho to look for a cheap and good Chinese restaurant, where we had dinner quite early, as the plan was to go to bed early because we had to wake up very soon to catch a plane at 7AM. After fighting with the chopsticks, we went for a walk around the area, and tried to phone some of the Debian guys around London. We were unlucky, elmo and thom were away, and we didn't have Ross's number, so the three of us ended up in another tavern driving beers and cider. When I was starting to feel drunk, Matt had enough common sense to suggest we went back to our hotel. Too late: after packing up, we had two fantastic hours of sleep before the alarms went off. We picked a taxi at 5AM which dropped us at Stansted for only £65. WTF!

Exhausted, and again frozen by the plane's air conditioning, we were back in Valencia at 11 on Monday. Just a few days later we learned about the horror in some of the stations we were around just the weekend before. What a weird feeling.

Thu, 07 Jul 2005

I love London

Page 0 of 1  >>