Back from Qt Dev Days, first Qt projects

I’ve actually been back close to a week now, but never mind that…

In the per-conference day with training sessions I attended the Qt Essentials track, which was more or less as expected. Glad I read a full Qt book beforehand, it would have been challenging to keep up with the shear amount of information without it.
The keynotes I attended on the second day were not particularly exciting: no major announcements nor insights were given. The technical talks on the other hand were filled with goodies. The talks by Jens Bache-Wiig and Roberto Raggi on Qt Quick were especially good.*

The talks definitely made me want to try Qt Quick for doing user interfaces for small-form factor devices, especially because it allows for very rapid prototyping and iterations when developing. The current lack of widgets and traditional layouts probably limits its usefulness for typical desktop application with more complex user interfaces though. There is nothing that helps you achieve a native look and feel either, but the Qt Components project is aiming to bridge those gaps.
I also suspect that the declarative and dynamic nature of QML poses several new challenges for developers, especially for those that are mostly used to traditional Qt programming with C++. I’m especially concerned that there was no way to visualize or do static checking on the property-bindings that are so central in QML. Very curious as to how that plays out in practice.

*I’m told the talks will be online after the Qt Developer Days event in San Fransisco is over.

Qt projects you said?

Going forward I’ll be doing some projects with Qt, in the same way I have done with GTK. My first project has already started: implementing viewer-class OpenRaster support for Qt. This means that applications using Qt and QImage will soon be able to display fully-rendered OpenRaster images!
Development of the Qt integration happens in the repository on gitorious, and the libora modifications currently lives in my personal clone. It will be pushed to mainline as soon as I have more-or-less settled on the API, and done a basic implementation. Using libora for all the OpenRaster specific stuff is being a bit more painful than expected, but it is the right thing to do as it means that other consumers benefits as well. Like a potential GdkPixbuf plugin or applications not using Qt or GTK. I’ll write more once it reaches a useful state.

After that is done I will probably do something with more UI, like a proper application. Hopefully I will get to toss Qt Quick into the mix as well. I’ve got an idea that I think would be a nice fit, so we’ll see.

Qt Developer Days 2010 and more

Next week I’m going to Qt Developer Days in Munich where I will be attending Qt training and technical talks. And almost just as importantly, meet and talk to people who do related things to what we do at Openismus.  I suspect the overall style and feel of this conference will be quite different from past free and open source software events I’ve been to (like GUADEC and Libre Graphics Meeting). More business-y, perhaps even enterprise-y? None the less,  looking forward to it.

In related news, I’m also involved as part of the local team for Desktop Summit 2011, along with several of my co-workers. The initial announcements have just been made public; the conference will be held in Berlin August 6th-12th, at Humboldt University. Mark your calendars 😉 See for instance the story by the GNOME Foundation, the official website or the original announcement for more information.

Hopefully I will also be going to the Meego conference in Dublin in November. Fingers crossed!

Berlin concerts awesomeness

A few weeks back I saw Gojira (warning: horrible flash based site, even the myspace page is better) at Knaack here in Berlin. While I hadn’t listened to Gojira much before going, it was a great show. Nice venue, sound was good, kick-ass music and performance, and the crowd loved it. What more can you ask for?
The event was promoted by a company called Trinity Concerts, and apparently they do a whole bunch of good stuff this autumn. Here are the ones I plan to go to between now and Christmas:

  • 22.09.2010 – This Will Destroy You
  • 02.10.2010 – Anathema
  • 06.10.2010 – Porcupine Tree + Oceansize
  • 05.11.2010 – Alter Bridge
  • 02.12.2010 – Irepress & Constants
  • 08.12.2010 – Caspian

I might squeeze in Dark Tranquillity or Tarot or Apocalyptica on the 24th of October, and Ludovico Einaudi on the 16th of November too. Maybe even Sabaton, depending on how good their new album is. I was also hoping to be able to see Epica while they are on tour, but they are not playing in Berlin (!), and the Oslo date does not fit with when I want to go back to Norway. I guess Poznan is only 3 hours away…
In any case, I think I know one or two people that are mighty jealous of me right now. And they ought to be.

LGM2010 writeup

This weekend I attended Libre Graphics Meeting in Brussels, and got to meet a bunch of great people from lots of different projects. Got to meet people working on similar things (at least in the same ballpark) as MyPaint, like Krita, GIMP and Nathive. Also got to meet and hang out with some of the awesome people on the Durian Open Movie project. They were using, and were more fond of, MyPaint than I thought.  Also chatted with several other users, some of which were using MyPaint as a part of their workflow in a professional environment. Good stuff.

The entire conference was very professionally executed, no technical or organizational problems, yet they were able to maintain a nice cosy atmosphere. The only thing I didn’t quite like was the food, but thats mostly a matter of personal preference (they only served vegetarian, and I’m a quite dedicated carnivore).

There were plenty of good talks, and if you’re interested in them you should check out the video recordings done by River Valleys. I also attended some workshop/BoF sessions, here is my take on them:

OpenRaster BoF

The OpenRaster BoF turned out to be quite different from what I expected. I expected only a couple of people from Krita, GIMP and MyPaint to show up. But no, we had lots of people attending, even professional standards people from Adobe, w3c and Opera! I also somewhat suprised myself (ok, I know that I like to talk and am not afraid to do so, but still), by taking an active role. We did get useful things done, like consensus on that we want to define a minimal baseline standard, and to have fallbacks for things extending upon the baseline. The concrete specs have not been settled, but hopefully we (MyPaint+Krita people mainly) can take care of that pretty soon.

I hope to try out some implementation ideas for fallbacks soon, and to improve the GIMP implementation, but school is keeping me very busy now a days. In fact, the first evening in Brussels was spent finishing my bachelors thesis report, and sunday was spent on my final report in my english class. And its far from over yet…

A Libre Graphics Foundation?

There was a birds-of-a-feather session for a potential “foundation” to support and promote libre graphics projects. Apparently these ideas have come up before, but this year it seems to be gathering some traction so it might actually happen. Different people have different views on what exactly it should be about of course; some are looking in the direction of Blender Foundation/Institute, doing open projects, funding developers, and having official teaching; others are more interested in having common documentation about libre graphics software for users. In any case, a common resource and face for libre graphics projects would be good. But in the end it will boil down to what people step up and make happen, I suspect. Discussions are ongoing on the create @ mailinglist, so jump in if this tickles your fancies.


In the discussion during the last day, Montreal and Vietnam were proposed as locations for the next LGM. I’d love to go either way, haven’t been to Asia nor North-America. Perhaps even do a talk of my own? Still, it’s much further away, so it might require a very interesting program, depending what I’m doing at that time and how busy I am. We’ll see. If if turns out to be more of an end-user conference, and less of a developer/contributor meeting I’d love to have David Revoy and/or Ramon Miranda do MyPaint workshops. That would be beyond awesome.

In the meantime, it looks like GUADEC will be my next conference, only 8 weeks away. I’m already excited!

Grapikslabor, MyPaint meetup, attending LGM2010

Very sorry about the wall-of-text-with-no-images. I’ll do better in the future, promise.

While on my trip to CERN I spent a couple of days in the area of Zürich. On Sunday 2th of May I traveled from Geneva to Zürich (coming directly from a night-shift, ugh). There I attended Grapiklabor, which is a series of workshops on graphics using free software held by Alessandro Rimoldi, a Scribus community member. On the schedule that day was vector based graphics with Inkscape. It was a very useful workshop for me, I now have at least a pretty good idea of how to use Inkscape to solve real problems.

MyPaint developer meetup

In Zürich I also meet up with Martin Renold, the creator of MyPaint. In addition to attending Grapiklabor with me, he was kind enough to let me stay in his home in Winterthur for a couple of days. On Monday we went for a longer hike in a nearby forest, an I got a tour of the city. Of course, with the two most active developers together, the meeting also involved some MyPaint hacking:

– We did some design for our oldest bug; adding some sort of fixed size image functionality. The challenge is doing that without compromising on MyPaints  infinite canvas feature, but still being intuitive and efficient for users, and being able to inter-operate with other applications in a good way.
– We also approached the usability issue with the current brush settings dialog, got a significant improvement committed, and a even better solution, in my opinion, sketched out.
– Also committed was support for layer visibility attributes in OpenRaster, both in MyPaint and in GIMP.

I’m going to LGM 2010!

I’ve now also confirmed that I’m going to Libre Graphics Meeting in Brussels, plane tickets have been ordered and everything. It will be my first LGM, heck, my first conference of any sort! There I will meet up with Martin, Alessandro and many other great people in the free software graphics community. Drafts of the program has been published on the create mailing list, and I’m really looking forward to both the social and technical aspects of the conference. Great things have come out of LGM before, I bet this year will also have some in store.

I might also have another, exciting trip abroad upcoming. If so, more on that later 😉

Blodbad at Rock In, Oslo

As the previous post explained I was in Oslo yesterday for the Ubuntu Karmic Release party. But as I was heading for the release party I stumbled upon a friend of mine from Tønsberg. Turned out three bands from my home town were playing in Oslo that very evening, one of the bands being buddies of mine. So I got to combine two of my passions; music (metal) and free software in one evening.

The bands playing where Niku, Concrete, Framferd and Serepa Deformed. The event was part of a  two day mini festival called Blodbad (bloodbath) and the venue was Rock In.

There was a decent crowd for being a Thursday, but I’m sure both the bands and hosts had hope for more. In any case the sound was pretty good and my friends in Concrete (myspace) delivered a great performance so it was very enjoyable.

Ubuntu 9.10 Release Party, Oslo

Where as all my physical machines run Arch Linux, I do have some virtualized servers running Ubuntu. And in general, it is the GNU/Linux distro I recommend to people new to Linux. Not only because it has most of the things you need in a decent package and a balance between free and proprietary that I like, but also because it has a large and welcoming community. It is one of the most popular distros, and this makes it easy for people to find help when they need it. So, being the curious geek that I am, I had to check out nearest release party for Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala).

The release party in Oslo was hosted by Redpill-Linpro with food being sponsored by Freecode. Despite this, I kinda feared that it would be a tiny and unprofessional event.  But I’m glad to say that fear was unjustified, as there was both a decent amount of people (50++) and many good presentations.  The talks given where:

  • What’s wrong with the Bourne shell and what can be done about it? – Axel Liljencrantz
  • easypeasy! Norsk Ubuntu-basert distro for Netbooks – Jon Ramvi og Tor Grønsund
  • Bli kjent med Upstart – Stig Sandbeck Mathisen
  • Stopp Datalagringsdirektivet – Fribit

The first talk was about fish (friendly interactive shell), why and how it has improved the command line shell both for beginners and experts. I found the authors reasoning to be good, and it did have a lot of nifty features, but I don’t think I’ll switch away from bash. Mostly because fish breaks compatibility with it, and I think I’d find that tiresome pretty fast.

The thing that amazed me about the easypeasy guys was how ambitious and serious they were about their distro. They didn’t just wanna package something in a slightly different way, but instead do customization and even application development and try to get deals with companies doing web-content. The core ideas centered around simplifications of UI, tailor the OS to the hardware platform and getting the “web”/”cloud” down to the desktop. Not really my cup of tea, but I’m curious as to how they will do.

Upstart is the program that has replaced the nearly 25 year old init-system (which is responsible for the programs ran in early userspace) in Ubuntu 9.10. It is asynchronous and has a lot more features, and can be used in a init compatible way. So it might well end up replacing init in other distros as well. Time will tell.

At last there was a short plea to register against “Datalagringsdirektivet”, a EU directive that Norway might pass if not vetoed. This directive obliges all ISPs to store information about which users had a given IP for at least 6 months. This means that even if you are not under suspicion your activities are being logged just in case you might be doing something illegally. This is in stark contrast to the principle that one is “innocent until proven otherwise”. As such I have signed as being against it here. And so should you.

Here are some (not very good) pictures I took during the event. Have to link them because WordPress refuses to generate thumbnails for the images. Licensed CC-by-sa.
All in all it was a great event, and I might very well end up going to the next one as well. Which will hopefully be even bigger and better!