Guadec 2006: ideas for the continuous integration BoF

On Thursday 29th, during the first day of the Guadec 2006 AfterHours, I will be coordinating a BoF on continuous integration for Gnome (12:00-13:00 in the Sala de Juntes).

Wikipedia defines Continuous Integration as:

Continuous integration is a software engineering term describing a process that completely rebuilds and tests an application frequently.

The contents I propose for the BoF are the following:

  • What is continuous integration? Brief definition and explanation of the domain.
  • History of CI inside the GNOME project: what has been done historically inside the Gnome project related to CI (e.g. Luis Villa’s MicroTinder).
  • Present of CI inside the GNOME project: jhAutoBuild and approaches with Tinderbox2 and Tinderbox3 (we can talk here about what other free software projects do for CI).
  • Goals of the continuous integration (Luis has included some ideas on this in the wiki)
  • Discussion about the available tools:
    • C.I. tools: jhbuild reports, tinderbox, buildbot,…
    • Value added tools: check, gcov,…
  • Creation of the continuous integration team. Discussion on how the team should be organized and how it relates to other teams (release team, packaging, …).
  • Definition of the roadmap for the next year
  • Further discussion and hacking

We will have only one hour for all that, but the idea is at least to propose the main topics there and then continue the discussion over lunch and later in the mailing list.

These days I am contacting people that I think could be interested in the BoF. If you know someone that could contribute, please send him a link to this post 🙂

And consider yourself invited to come and share your view on how continuous integration for Gnome should be!

Igalia talks and the final Guadec schedule

As I had explained before, we had submitted three talks for the Guadec 2006. A couple of weeks ago we received an answer from the program committee saying that all were discarded for the Guadec Core (the main part of the conference, Monday to Wednesday). For the BoFs it was already what I expected, they fit better in the After Hours (Thursday and Friday), but as we did not receive any explanation about why the Fisterra talk was not considered interesting, we requested that information in the mailing lists:

Date: Fri, 5 May 2006 10:42:57 +0200
From: Juan José Sánchez Penas
Cc:, guadec-list
Subject: Re: [guadec-list] Acceptance mails sent

After receiving rejections for two BoFs, I have two questions:

a) Wouldn’t be a good idea to send together with the rejections an explanation of why the talk/bof/whatever got rejected? It is a bit frustrating to receive just the notification without knowing why it was not interesting for the selection committee. Knowing the reason would also help in order to propose better talks for future Gnome conferences.

We have not received any answer yet, and I am completely sure it is because of the lack of time, but I still think the authors would appreciate a lot some extra feedback from the committee.

Anyway, we decided to re-submit the Fisterra talk proposal for the Guadec Hispana in the WarmupWeekend (Saturday and Sunday) and the two BoFs for the AfterHours, and they all have been accepted and are now officially scheduled:

You can see the final schedule at the conference webpage.

New documents published in Igalia Community

Two small but very interesting documents have been published recently in the community webpage of Igalia:

  • Tinderbox/scratchbox integration: a short guide intended for helping developers to build a continuous integration environment with the scratchbox cross-compilation toolkit and some of the Mozilla Webtools. Scratchbox is used, among others, by Nokia in the Maemo platform.
  • XPTracker/TWiki vs. Trac: compares two web-based project management tools: XPTracker and Trac. The first one is a Twki plugin based on the eXtreme Programming development methodology, while the second one is based on ticket tracking.

All kind of comments, suggestions and contributions are very welcome.

3 talk/BoF proposals for the Guadec

From Igalia, we have submitted 3 talk/BoF proposals for the next Guadec, that will take place in less than two months in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Catalonia:

All have been provisionally placed in the skeleton schedule (the first two are part of the core Guadec days, and the third is proposed for the After Hours Workshops, during the last two days of the conference).

In a few days the committee will confirm which proposals are finally accepted.

The software I daily use (as a user)

Someone asked me some weeks ago for a complete list of all the software I daily use (as a laptop user, not as a developer, because that is a different business), so here it is:

  • Desktop: Gnome/Metacity/Nautilus
  • RSS reader: Liferea
  • IM: Gaim
  • IRC: Xchat
  • Browser: Firefox
  • Newsreader: Pan
  • E-mail: Mutt (work) & Evolution (personal e-mail)
  • Music: Muine & Banshee
  • Notes: Tomboy
  • CD/DVD Toaster: gnomebaker
  • Digital camera: gtkam
  • Docs&slides: LaTeX & OOo
  • Bibtex: JavRef
  • Spreadsheet: gnumeric
  • Fast Editing: Jed, Vi, Gedit
  • Editing: Emacs
  • P2P: aMule, gnome-btdownload, nicotine
  • Podcast: iPodder
  • PM: Planner
  • PDF/PS: Evince & acroread & gv
  • Pics: Gimp, F-spot, Gthumb, eog
  • Movies: Totem, mplayer
  • Internet voice conference: skype

I use other programs now and then, but this is the complete list of the ones I currently depend on. Some of them I have been using for years, some others I have just discovered. Most of them are part of the Gnome project. Most of them are GTK based.

I only use daily two proprietary pieces of software: acroread because I need to read some PDFs still not supported by Evince or other free readers; and skype because I save a lot of money, when travelling, using skypeout.

I will do again the same list next year by the same month in order to check how stable I am selecting my software.

FreeDesktop Promotion: Gnome and KDE to increase collaboration

As I already blogged here, in October past year I was invited to Évora, in order to participate in a round table about “Gnome vs. KDE”. In my first slide I suggested that in my opinion a more adjusted title for the round table would have been “Free Desktops vs Proprietary Desktops”. I think fights between projects that have less than 5% of the global market is not very clever and only gives advantages to the real adversary. Specially when the projects have almost the same goals.

Well, fortunately a lot of people think this way, and that is why almost 6 years ago, in March 2000, the project was started. During these years, the best ideas from the different Desktop projects were progressively moved to the shared software infrastructure. New projects have also been created there to avoid reinventing the wheel.

Early this year, a new project was announced to share efforts between the free software Desktop projects: Freedesktop Promotion. This time collaboration is going to happen also in the marketing area. The motivations are very well explained in this article.

Several comments about latest Gnome news

Several things are happening in the Gnome project lately, and I would like to comment some of them:

  • “The Program for Gnome Foundation” e-mail sent recently to the Gnome Foundation lists by Anne Østergaard on behalf of the GNOME Foundation Board reveals an interesting “new” approach: take care of the community we _already_ have, improve the collaboration among the participants, get more people involved inside the Foundation, more local communities, more events. I completely agree with the idea and like to see the board working in that direction.
  • I have been having a look to the GUADEC 2006 Sponsor’s brochure, and it looks very interesting. Quim and Javi are looking for sponsors, so if you want to have a place in one of the world most important Desktop oriented conferences, contact them.
  • In about 3 weeks Gnome 2.14 will be released. I think this idea of the fixed release schedule is one of the better decisions that have been taken in the project in the last years. New features will include more speed and better memory usage; new administration programs (like the lockdown editor for reducing Gnome functionality or Sabayon, a powerful tool for setting default and mandatory desktop configurations for groups of users); better search facilities in the Desktop, including integration with Beagle; a lot of new functionality in Ekiga (the new Gnome Meeting); several improvements in Metacity, a very renewed GEdit and other nice things that are explained with a lot of detail in the traditional article from Davyd Madeley A look at Gnome 2.14.
  • Banshee, the music player developed by Novell using Mono technologies is getting more and more popular. Recently it has being included as default music player in the last releases of openSUSE. It is well integrated with iPod like devices and most importantly it has a very good plugin for Audioscrobbler 🙂 You can learn more about the program in this article from
  • Jon Trowbridge, the creator of Beagle inside Novell (I liked a lot his talk in Stuttgart about the project), is now working for Google in his Open Source Program Office. The Beagle project is now maintained by Joe Shaw. Is Jon going to work in Gnome from Google? It seems it is still not clear, according to what he says in this interesting interview.

Back from aLANtejo 2005

Yesterday I came back from aLANtejo, one of the main technology related conferences in Portugal, organized yearly by the Núcleo de Estudantes de Engenharia em Informática (Computer Science Students Association) of University of Évora.

I was there representing the Gnome project (my travel expenses where partially funded by the Gnome Foundation), in order to participate in a round table with the a priori polemic title “Gnome vs. KDE”.

Finally, I was also invited by the organization to give a 90 minutes talk introducing the Gnome project, including some technical tutorial, due to the massive presence of Computer Science students and in general people with computer science background among the public. So I presented the project history, goals, and its underlying technologies (30 minutes); I gave a short tutorial of Glade/GTK/C and Gnome programming (40 minutes); and finally talked a bit about Love and how to collaborate becoming a member of the Gnome project (20 minutes). It was a great experience, with a lot of people in the audience, and I had afterwards a lot of feedback from all kind of people interested in the project, from students to members of some local and international companies that were also attending and wanted to know more about collaboration opportunities.

After my talk, we started the round table. From the KDE side the person representing the project was Joseff Spilner, from Germany. The round table was moderated by a teacher from the University of Évora, that was giving turns to both of us and asking some generic but very interesting questions about similarities and differences among the projects approaches to develop a free(dom) desktop. I had prepared some slides the day before trying to be a bit polemic (in a constructive way), and they were used by all of us in order to improvise a script for the discussion. There were also a lot of questions and comments from the public, some of them more critical with KDE and others with Gnome. I tried to summarize what I think are the main advantages of Gnome: big industry support (we talked quite a lot here about licensing, a quite big difference also that has to be taken into account), very clean user interface, releases every 6 months, ambitious subprojects and platforms/technologies (Mono was a very interesting topic, as always, and quite polemic indeed), integration of other big actors like or Mozilla, and so on.

It was always nice to attend to the rest of the talks. In general the level of the conference was very good, and I had the opportunity to met for the first time some very interesting people, like Joseff Spilner itself, or Alex Beregszaszi, maintainer of the mplayer project, or Xavier de Blas, who closed the aLANtejo with his very funny but also educative Linux Show.

As a curiosity, I talked all the time in Galician Portuguese, and everything went very softly. It was my first experience in a Portuguese speaking conference, so I asked in the beginning of my talk if everyone was understanding me correctly, and the unanimous answer from the audience was saying that without any problem. In this corner of the world where I happen live there are a lot of linguistic conflicts and polemics, some of them discussing if we speak Portuguese or something “similar but different”, but that is itself subject for a big blog entry, and I will leave this for other day. The fact is that I could communicate without any problem in Évora in my mother tongue, and that is something always great 🙂

Finally, I would like to thank Bruno Teixeira (who contacted me and organized all my travel and stay) and all the organization of the conference for the great work they have done. See you next year!