Wed, 09 Mar 2005

Laptops make airplanes suck less

I'm currently on a plane returning from London to València, after my stay with the Canonical/Rosetta guys. It's the first time I travel with my own laptop, and one that isn't either slow or unstable as hell. Being alone for the return flight, I decided to take out the lappy instead of my book because I'm too sleepy to get something out from the novel I'm currently reading, the latest book by Ferran Torrent La vida en l'abisme.

Situations like this make me think buying the powerbook was a good idea, as right now I'm using this dead time catching up with some e-mails I had to write weeks, in some cases months, ago, and doing some blogging about stuff from the last four days (as you've noticed already. :)

What still sucks about planes is when the whole cabin stinks with horrible plane food. It's even worse when companies like Iberia don't give you any food and you're hungry...

As I write this, we're crossing over the Pyrenees, my favourite mountain range, and just as the constant sea of clouds has disappeared, allowing me to enjoy the air view of a new sea of white mountains. Apparently it's been cold in Spain again while we were out. This happened just as the sun was setting in the West. Too bad I don't own a camera yet.

Now, back to reality: the final sprint at work before our Free Software Congress, and a lot of work to do still...

Rosetta is evil and eats babies

And if you didn't know yet, you should be reading Planet Debian, to find out that I, once considered a nice member of the Free Software community, have succumbed to the dark forces that threaten the pureness of our hackers.

In reply to my post about my visit to London, Beowulf blogged about the dubious convenience of me participating in a "non-free" project as The Launchpad. Yeah, Rosetta's code isn't available at all. Is that enough reason to bash it non-stop? Is Canonical expected to release everything they do from day one, or can they decide what is more convient for them in order to build a profitable business and continue contributing to Debian and Free Software?

Beowulf, you work for a construction company or something similar, right? Are the specs of the projects they are working on freely available as open content in the Internet? Does that make you feel bad?

As far as I know, you use the Linux kernel in all or most of your computers. Maybe you should consider *BSD or even the Hurd, as, unlike Linux, they don't use a non-free tool like bitkeeper to manage their development.

If I'm helping the Rosetta people with the constructive feedback I can provide, it is because I think it's going to be a Good Thing for the i18n communities in which I'm involved. If Mark told me Rosetta will never be free, I guess I would focus on helping similar projects like Pootle, which are Free today, but the thing is that Canonical does plan to release Rosetta and the rest of Launchad under a DFSG-free licence. They will do it when the company is ready to give it away, and I will happily contribute while this happens, because I believe that Rosetta has a potential to be a revolutionary tool for Free Software l10n, specially for language teams that don't have already established translation teams like many African or Asian languages.

The Producers

Mark invited the few Canonical people (Matt, Scott, Scott and Carlos, plus me) that were around this appartment to the theatre yesterday evening. We chose to see The Producers, a comedy musical that apparently has had very good press.

We sat in a quite good spot, in the first floor ring, and could watch all the play in detail. Scott was telling me that people at the back seats of the second floor really need to use the goggles available at the seats (of course, for a price, as everything in London), or you can't even distinguish the faces of the actors.

The argument was nice and we all had a good laughs. I was suprised to be able to follow all the argument without missing anything, as I thought I would have trouble understanding the song lyrics, but the bits I missed (mostly during songs sung by many people) weren't important to understand the rest.

We got out of the theatre pretty late for the UK, at half past ten, which is even late for Spain. Gladly Scott was around and guided us to a pizza restaurant, where we had dinner before taking the Tube back to Earl's Court to sleep.

Arriving there at midnight, I still found shit to do at the laptop until 2AM, which made me a semi-zombie for most of today's morning. It appears I wasn't too calm tonight again, as Carlos suffered my teeth grinding from 6 to 7AM. I need to get that looked at by the dentist...

One of the things that have surprised me most of London was the incredible amount of teatres and musicals that are going on at the same time... the Underground stations are full of posters with many different shows. You certainly don't get in València, where we have just a handful of working theatres, and normally plays aren't musical. Among the advertised shows, you can find many different kinds of shows: from stuff like The Producers to a representation of Winnie the Pooh. Don't ask me how you represent this live, in a scenario, but it can be both very funny and crappy. :)

Daf, as everything else I've proposed during these five days, refused to go see it. He also refused to, from memory, do the following activities with me, who wanted to know a bit more of London:

So thanks to daf this trip to the UK wasn't more enjoyable that it has been. I will take revenge next week, though, as he'll be in Valencia at Carlos' place for a two-week Rosetta hacking sprint. If he proposes jumping off the Micalet with a parachute, I will find a poor excuse and say no.

A step backwards

16298:jordi@nubol:~$ chsh
S'està canviant l'intèrpret d'accés per a jordi
Introduïu el nou valor, o premeu ENTER per al predeterminat
        Intèrpret d'accés [/usr/bin/zsh]: /bin/bash

This is not the first time I try to do this, but being used to mentally correct zsh's misshandling of UTF-8 input in the command line isn't the way one should be working everyday. While bash reportedly still has a few UTF-8/char vs. byte problems, I haven't found them yet. Zsh, on the other hand, makes me do weird stuff like backspacing twice, then Ctrl-l'ing to redisplay when I press ç instead of Enter, for example.

Of course, you can get used to this behaviour and end up doing the double backspacing without even noticing, and that's why I've been using zsh on a UTF-8 locale for years.

Switching to bash is a step backwards. I know many will argue it's not, but I really think it is. There are some features in zsh that AFAIK you can't get done in bash. While bash completion has gotten a lot better in the last years thanks to the bash_completion package, zsh's is just so much better. I'll have to get used, I guess. Or I'll switch back, which is what happened the last three times I tried to do this.