Yay for Gay.

Marge Simpson a.k.a. Roland and me.
After Linuxtag had finished, a couple of gearheads went to Berlin Kreuzberg to grab some food and a drink in a quiet and not to crowded place. That didn’t really work out, as we didn’t think of Christopher Street Day. We quickly decided that it would be a fine alternative to have food and drinks in the streets and celebrated with another couple of hundred people until late at the night. As you can easily see on the photos, people were more than colourful, and it was a very friendly, laid back and fun event

Linuxtag itself was quite good, I was mostly there representing KDAB, but got some FLAs signed and also held a presentation on using KDE 4 on laptops and netbooks. I think I struck a good balance between technical background of power management related issues and things that are relevant to those who want to use KDE on those devices, and just want things to work (and possibly understand why they don’t in some cases). After my own talk, I attended Will Stephenson’s talk who put his salty fingers into some wounds we still have with KDE 4, and which are a problem for many user’s experience with the desktop. Besides the fact that not all of our cool technologies haven’t yet shown their full potential to the users, Will made a good point that we’re kind of sticking our heads into the sand when it comes to a really good web experience when using KDE. I agree that we can do much better, and that we need to do something about Konqueror (or our default web browser, anyway) not being able to render many web pages people out there in the real world use.

I’ll be staying for another two days in Berlin, then pay a quick visit to Kim and the pets at home before I’m flying to Gran Canaria for an awesome summit. See you there!

Yay for FLA.

Matthias Ettrich and Martin Konold with their signed Fiduciary License Agreements.
Protecting KDE from bad things is one of the primary purposes of the KDE e.V.. As a member of the KDE e.V.’s Board of Directors I got the special honour today to put one more piece of the protecting freedom puzzle into place by signing people’s Fiduciary License Agreements (or in short, FLA). The FLA is a means for the KDE e.V. and the wider Free Software community to be able to relicense code that has been contributed to KDE by people who are, one way or the other, not able to “fix the license” anymore. When relicensing code of someone else, we’re bound to pretty strict rules, all has to happen within the principles of Free Software. I’m not really firm on legal grounds, so I’ll invoke my fellow board member, Nijmegenaar and the new coordinator of the FSFE’s Freedom Task Force (congrats!) to explain those details. Go-go-gadgeto-Ade!
Carlo Piana summarises the purpose of the FLA in the following words:

Essentially, any developer holds the copyright of the software he/she authors, which means that for complex projects, any developer would have a say in any major decision regarding the software, with frequent problems in terms of flexibility and management (including litigation). The fiduciary licence aims at simplifying this process, by assigning the copyright to an entity as KDE e.V. which is not “scalable” and therefore provides sufficient safeguards as to the possible hijacking of the project for nefarious reasons.

I’ve signed about 10 FLA’s on behalf of KDE e.V. already, with more to come. If you’ve contributed code to KDE (even if it’s just a little), please drop by the KDE booth at Linuxtag and sign your copy of the FLA. I, or our friends from the FSFE (or Ade :-)) can explain to you in more detail what it means, and why it’s important to sign it if you’re still unsure. We’ll also be bringing a stack of FLA forms to the Gran Canaria Desktop summit in a bit more than a week’s time, so grab your chance, and protect your and our Freedom!
Update: Meanwhile, I had the honour to have Matthias Ettrich and Martin Konold (the two founders of KDE) sign the FLA.

Berlin, and my new job.

I arrived in Tuesday for Linuxtag. This time, however, I’m not mainly here for KDE, but for KDAB where I’ve started working in May. KDAB is a company focusing on Qt technology — consultancy, development and training. It didn’t take long getting used to my new colleagues, as I already knew most of them. Quite some KDE people are working for KDAB (in fact it was founded by Kalle, one of the first “gearheads”). Working for KDAB is actually quite interesting, as it’s a virtual company. That means that we have our morning coffee on IRC and jabber, and that most of the people are working from home. There is this odd group in Berlin who found that an office would be a cool thing to have, and that it’s best situated in Kreuzberg, one of the more fun parts of the city. As I’m working with some people in Berlin, I’m plugging into the weekly catch-up-with-everybody meeting via webcam and VOIP, which works quite well. It does give me that warm, fuzzy feeling of having actual social contact once in a while, while I still don’t have anything to do with traffic jams, commuting and all that jazz.
Kreuzberg, where our Berlin office is located, is a great place for an office, it’s very easy to reach, there’s plenty of really good and inexpensive food around at the office, and many cocktail bars. It also makes a great place for hackathons, and my company is KDE-friendly enough to host regular meetings of all kinds. Actually, I don’t think there’s a place that has hosted so many KDE sprints already, with certainly more to come.
While not all we do is related to Free Software, much of the work I get in touch with is, and I think that’s very cool. Working with and on Free Software is a great motivator for me, and it’s good to see Free Software providing a viable business model.
So this week, I’ll be hanging around at Linuxtag (we have a shared booth with the Qt Trolls, right next to the KDE booth). On Saturday, I’ll be presenting about KDE on laptops and netbooks, make sure you don’t miss that talk.
After Linuxtag, I’ll be staying for a couple of days here in summery Berlin to catch up more on work-related things, and then I’ll pay a brief visit to Kim, the cat and the chinchilla’s only to depart to Gran Canaria. Thanks to my employer, flight and hotel is taken care of by KDAB. Thanks!

Metallica in my backyard.

Two or three times a year, the nearby Goffert Park is turned into a concert
arena. There’s a large field amidst the trees which is currently surrounded by fences. Inside, a huge stage is built, and there’s space for about 60.000 people.
Today is the Sonisphere Metal festival, with koRn, Slipknot and as headliner Metallica playing. I used to a really like Metallica, I actually saw one of their concerts of the “Nowehere else to roam” Tour in the early nineties. (Support acts were Suicidal Tendencies and The Cult. That concert was really cool, although I think I’ve bruised a rib in the mosh pit. Since they’ve let the recording industry instrumentalize Metallica to fight against sharing music, I’m having issues with the band’s politics. Filing lawsuits against your fans is not the way to deal with them, or new and upcoming media and the failure of large parts of the music and recording industry in the adoption of the Internet.

So tonight Metallica will be giving a concert within 5 minute walking distance from my home. I didn’t get myself a ticket, but got woken up today when the festival started.
The concert starts at 20:45, and we’ll probably go over to the park, there’s still a lot of place outside the fence, with many people who didn’t feel like buying expensive tickets but still like hanging around in the park — it’s their (our) park after all. And you get free live music by rather prominent bands. Other bands that have been performing in my back-yard in the last years include REM, Live, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, The Rolling Stones, and many more. A rocking neighbourhood.

Now playing: koRn – Live at De Goffert, Nijmegen 20 June 2009

Special characters with US keyboard.

I’m using a US keyboard layout on my machine, since that’s the most hack-friendly one I can actually grok and type blindly on. Often, however I need to type special characters, such as € or letters with a diaresis on top, such as ü (useful to type my own name ;-)). Those should be easy to type for me as well. What I did is to modify my keymap slightly, so that I can use the Right ALT key (ALT Gr on some keyboards), and get the correct character just by typing Right ALT + a for example to get an ä). The 5 key already has € printed on it, so I’m using Right ALT + 5 to type the Euro sign.

I’ve saved the following settings into a file called ~/.Xmodmap-Umlaut and when logging in, I’m just running a small script


    xmodmap /home/sebas/.Xmodmap.Umlaut

which reads the following file:

    keysym  u    = u U udiaeresis      Udiaeresis
    keysym  a    = a A adiaeresis      Adiaeresis
    keysym  o    = o O odiaeresis      Odiaeresis
    keysym  e    = e E ediaeresis      Ediaeresis
    keysym  i    = i I idiaeresis      Idiaeresis

    keysym  s    = s S ssharp
    keysym  5    = 5 percent EuroSign

Now this is probably not the 100% correct way to do it (email me suggestions for
improvements :)), but it Gets The Job Done and works ergonomically well enough for me. In case you’re getting errors, try replacing ISO_Level3_Shift with whatever “xev” reports as (keysym 0xff7e, Mode_switch) when you capture the Right Alt key with it (or map it to anything you like in the same way).

Depeche Mode concert – not quite yet.

I’m a big Depeche Mode fan,
maybe not so much of their rather simple music they made in the eighties, but with the start of Violator (1990), they’ve continued to impress me with really good electronic music. Depeche Mode, (and Pink Floyd) are probably among those bands who have been influential for most of electronic music we’re listen to nowadays, and in my opinion, very rightfully so.
So Kim and I got ourselves two tickets when DM announced the tour they’re holding right now, but got disappointed when they had to cancel the concert that was supposed to be held week in Düsseldorf, Germany (quite close to Nijmegen actually). Dave Gahan, their charismatic singer had to undergo a cancer surgery to remove a malignant tumor in his bladder. Fortunately, he seems to be getting back to health quickly.
Just read on the website in the news section that they indeed had to cancel some concerts, luckily though the one we got tickets for will be rescheduled, albeit to a yet unknown date. Others have been cancelled altogether, and seeing how much I’m looking forward to that concert, I’m feeling sorry for those who’ll miss out. I guess until the concert is rescheduled, I’ll just enjoy the silence…
Now Playing: Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe