I meant to finish writing and posting this a month or two ago, but urgent tasks and life kept getting in the way. I don’t often talk about client work here, but since this is public-facing ongoing work for a company that is insanely pro-Free-Software (not just “open source”), a company that ships GNOME3 by default on their laptops (something I have awaited for years), I guess it makes sense to talk about what I’ve been up to recently.
So, for a few weeks three months now, I have been helping Purism structure its messaging and get its business in a better shape. Purism is, in itself, a hugely interesting endeavour. Heck, I could go out on a limb and say this venture, alongside the work Endless is doing, is quite possibly one of the most exciting things that has happened to the Free desktop for the past decade—and yet almost nobody heard of it.
While the latest GNOME annual reports sold like hotcakes at GUADEC, there is still a need to send some of them by snailmail, like I did last year. I was under a pretty big rush from July to mid-October, and since nobody was available to help me determine the list of recipients, I had to wait for the end of the rush to allow myself to spend time devising that list. And so I did, this month.
In my previous blog post, where I was providing an update on the 2016 GNOME Summit I was organizing in Montréal, I wrote,
With a change of attendees comes a change of the nature of the event: instead of being an extremely technical, “deep end of the pool” event as it has been in the past, this edition will be focused on newcomers and potential contributors, with presentations and workshops targetted for this purpose.
I arrived a couple of days early to attend my last GNOME Foundation board meeting, in one of the KIT’s libraries. The building’s uncanny brutalist architecture only added to the nostalgia of a two years adventure coming to an end:
Hi! Long time no see. My blog has been pretty quiet in recent months, in the big part due to my extended commitment on the GNOME Foundation‘s Board of Directors (for a second year without an executive director present to take some of the load) and the various business engagements I’ve had.
Generally speaking, this year was a bit less intense than the one before it (we didn’t have to worry about a legal battle with a giant corporation this time around!) although we did end up touching a fair amount of legal matters, such as trademark agreements. One big item we got cleared was the Ubuntu GNOME trademark agreement. We also welcomed businesses that wanted to sell GNOME-related merchandise, you can find them listed here—supporting them by purchasing GNOME-related items also supports the Foundation with a small percentage shared as royalties.
Hey everyone! It’s time for a new Pitivi release, 0.95. This one packs a lot of bugfixes and architectural work to further stabilize the GES backend. In this blog post, I’ll give you an overview of the new and interesting stuff this release brings, coming out from a year of hard work. It’s pretty epic and you’re in for a few surprises, so I suggest listening to this song while you’re reading this blog post.
In months prior to the GUADEC 2015 conference, both the board of directors and engagement team were kept busy with an above-average workload, so the GNOME Foundation‘s Annual Report had to wait until things settled a bit. After the core days of GUADEC, we held an all-day meeting among members of the Engagement team (and whoever was interested in joining the fun, really):
The Internet being what it is today, being a public figure can be a very dangerous role. For those unaware, Karen Sandler has been under vigorous attacks—hate mail, public slandering, and more—for having been the GNOME Foundation‘s Executive Director from 2011 to 2014. Contrary to what I had hoped, even many months after, the hate has not died down. You still see wretched hives of scum and villainy like this blog post on a regular basis (warning: the comments over there are depressing). Enough is enough, time to set the record straight.
For those who could not attend GUADEC 2015, video recordings have been processed and published here. You might wonder, then, what happened to the GUADEC 2014 videos. The talks in Strasbourg were recorded indeed, but the audio came from the camera’s built-in microphones (so no truly directional mic and no line-in feed). This is problematic for a number of reasons:
We were in the city center of Strasbourg with no air conditioning, which means that the windows were open so we heard all sorts of noises (including cars passing on the stone pavement, construction work, etc.) in addition to background noise.
One of the rooms did not have a speaker microphone/amplified sound system
The camera microphones being far from the speaker means that you hear noises from the audience (such as chairs moving)
As I hinted in my retrospective in February, 2014 has been crazy busy on a personal level. Let’s now take a look at 2014-2015 from a GNOME perspective.
When I offered my candidacy for the GNOME Foundation‘s Board of Directors in May last year, I knew that there would be plenty of issues to tackle if elected. As I was elected president afterwards, I was aware that I was getting into a demanding role that would not only test my resolve but also make use of my ability to set a clear direction and keep us moving forward through tough times. But even if someone tries to describe what’s involved in all this, it remains difficult to truly grasp the amount of work involved before you’ve experienced it yourself.
Dear werepenguins, we’re thrilled to announce the immediate availability of Pitivi 0.94! This is the fourth release for the new version of our video editor based on GES, the GStreamer Editing Services library. Take a look at my previous blog post to understand in what context 0.94 has been brewing. This is mainly a maintenance release, but it does pack a few interesting improvements & features in addition to the bug fixes.
The first thing you will notice is that the main toolbar, menubar and titlebar have been replaced by a unified GTK HeaderBar, saving a ton of precious vertical space and making better use of the horizontal space. Once you try it, you can’t go back. There is beauty in the equilibrium it has now, compared to the previously clunky and unbalanced layout:
As expected, GUADEC in Strasbourg was a terrific event. Huge props to the local organizing team who managed to make things work regardless of last minute curve balls, such as the venue changing or the video recording team (and their equipment) not being able to attend due to visa restrictions. I went with Alexandre Franke to pick up recording equipment only half an hour before the opening session on the first day, and manned the cameras sporadically, but was glad that other volunteers were able to fill the gaps as I was running all over the place.
Pour la première fois depuis quatorze ans, la conférence GUADEC fait son retour en France. Je vous encourage à venir nombreux à cet événement qui se tiendra à Strasbourg durant la dernière semaine de Juillet. Je dois traverser l’Atlantique (à la nage), prendre plusieurs avions et autobus pour y aller, alors pas d’excuses pour ceux situés à moins de 6000 km!
“GUADEC, ça a un intérêt pour quelqu’un qui n’est pas un développeur?”
A little-known fact about me is that I can draw better than your average cat. It is a hobby of mine that became dormant with my pretty challenging professional and Free Software activities in the past few years.
Thanks to GNOME, we will be able to get some reinforcements for Pitivi this summer.
We’re very pleased to have Lubosz Sarnecki making a comeback! In 2011 he implemented the cairo-based clip transformation (zoom/resize/crop) feature in the viewer. Lubosz is quite experienced with OpenGL, Blender and GStreamer, as you can see on his blog and the variety of projects he contributes to.
Last week, a flash snowstorm brought me around 2ft of snow overnight. I thought, “If I’m going to clear that much snow, might as well have some fun and make a timelapse out of it”, and so I did. While watching it, I realized, “Hmm… that’s an interesting metaphor for the huge amount of preparatory and cleanup work we’ve been doing in the past few years”:
Since my previous technical update in January, I haven’t had time to touch Pitivi’s code. Thankfully though, Alexandru Băluț has been filling the gap with a ton of refactoring work: around 150 commits! That took a fair amount of time to review and merge, believe me. Besides code cleanup, he also finished the port of the viewer to a cluttersink, fixed fonts and theme colors detection for the timeline (so it looks fine even if you’re not using the Adwaita GNOME theme).
Alexandru took the opportunity to not only fix some bugs, but also do some visual refinements on the timeline ruler: it now shows hours and miliseconds only when needed (depending on the zoom level) and subtly grays out units that did not change from one “tick” to another, so your eyes can focus on what actually changed:
Some of you may be familiar with the good old “fix it twice” adage: fix the problem and then ensure it never happens again.
Last year, when I made Pitivi’s automatic backup feature work, I requested someone to write extensive automated tests for it (with Dogtail), so that I could feel confident about this feature never being broken again, even if it underwent massive refactoring or if everything else changed around it.