Just a quicky on "what I did this week-end".
And yet another week-end which went away like a blast... of course it was again the fault of KDE! I went all the way to Osnabrück to attend the traditional KDE PIM sprint. This one was a first for me despite the fact that it was its tenth edition.
My plan before flying in was simple and easy to remember: "Sit with David Faure and fix all his IMAP bugs". It turned out not that easy to apply in practice. Of course, there's always something unexpected... sometimes pleasant, sometimes not.
For the unpleasant part, we had a tough luck on Friday: David's travel wasn't smooth at all so he arrived only during the night, while I had a terrible headache during the afternoon and the evening which made me only able to triage bugs (and at a very slow pace even...).
The pleasantly unexpected event which turned me away from my initial simple plan was the presence of Christian Mollekopf and Björn Balazs. I work with Christian on Zanshin, and I already interacted with Björn quite a bit during the Forge 2011 for usability work... one plus one being equal to lots, we ended up having meetings to discuss the interaction schemes for Zanshin 0.3. I have to say I'm pleased with the results so far. There's still a few gray areas but I think we'll decide on those when we turn the ideas into code.
And for the IMAP support? Well let's say that despite the disturbances which turned me away from my plan, the bug count went drastically down. On arrival, there was a bit more than forty bug reports against the IMAP resource, and between the triaging and the bugfixes we worked on with David I'm now leaving the sprint with only twenty known bugs (also a couple will likely get closed shortly since patches are in the work).
And again, a fairly nice and productive sprint, courtesy of KDE. I looove this community!
Didn't blog in a while... Indeed the end of 2011 was hectic lots happening (both at work and in the community) so almost no time to write about it. Despite Christmas and the New Year I didn't take vacations in December, I admit I'm now a bit tired.
Anyway, the last few months were awesome, as I said: lots happening. So let's
take a look in this post at the latest endeavours I participated in be it
technical or community work.
Akademy-fr / Capitole du Libre
This event was grouped inside the Capitole du Libre with an Ubuntu Party, a DrupalCamp and two tracks of conferences on Free Culture. As usual, the whole Toulibre LUG was a great support to organize such activities.
The first day, we managed to fit two tracks of talks in Akademy-fr itself, one oriented toward contributors, the other meant for users. It was a nice success overall even though we maybe suffered a bit from the user track of the Capitole du Libre for our own track. That's understandable and something to fix for later. We also had a booth where we demoed the different productions of KDE. Using one of the Exo-PC with Plasma Active on it was just great to attract people, it is also great to show such a device next to a Plasma Desktop powered computer as it helps illustrating how coherent thoses workspaces are together (activites being pervasive concepts, same widgets to operate the devices, etc.).
The second (and last) day of Akademy-fr and Capitole du Libre was dedicated to workshops and labs. I think it was a really nice idea and we should keep it for the next edition. There was a bit less attendance, such workshops are more involving and requires to engage more with the community so it's understandable they can be a bit more frightening. Still, it was just great to get people trained on how to make a proper bug report, how to make their own Calligra plugins and such.
Of course, the real plus of this event is that most of the french KDE contributors showed up, we also got "pure-Qt" french contributors around. Funnily, all of KDAB France showed up in the end. Anyway, it was really nice to gang with already known faces again, but also to finally meet some people we only heard of so far.
Thanks to the sponsors who made this event possible. Also, thanks to everyone who helped, held a talk, or simply attended: you made the event a success! Finally, I'd like to give a special thanks to Aleix Pol who traveled from Spain to talk about Akademy-es and KDE España (which are both nice inspiration for us).
PS: I finally uploaded the handful of pictures I took during Akademy-fr 2011
Lot's happened around Zanshin which led to its first proper release. Most notably it got its own website now, and we fixed bugs like crazies leading to the release of 0.2.0 the day before Akademy-fr (although the public announcement was done only the week after).
It's also interesting to see it picked up by packagers, and now it is available on most of the major Linux distributions and on Windows. Hopefully it will sooner or later reach Mac OS as well, it has been reported to build and run by a couple of users but there's no official packaging for it yet.
The community around Zanshin also grew a bit, with a couple of contributors gettings in. I'm looking forward to see their influence inside the project. Nice ideas floating around at the moment. We'll have to implement those ideas incrementally of course otherwise the next release will be one of those long cycles again but I'd love to see shorter cycles for Zanshin now.
After a period of some slow down, the KDE Frameworks is picking up again. I volunteered to help with the stewardship of that effort which led to some discussions and the creation of a wiki to track KDE Frameworks state.
It's obviously still on-going so the wiki needs to be improved, but it helped quite a bit already in decision making and figuring out where we are headed and where we want to be.
On the people side, we're getting contributions in but more importantly as we make kdelibs more modular we're finding volunteers to maintain the newly created library. It think that beyond the technical side of KDE Frameworks this trend is a very important one to nurture.
Indeed, the number of maintainers in kdelibs has been only a few for a very long time, and even though we have people interested in it they don't necessarily commit to be maintainers. With the modularization it is apparently less scary to step up to take care of one of the modules created, they're well identified, have a given scope and so on. Less unknowns then leads to less fear.
I find interesting how the motivation for KDE Frameworks was mainly technical, but is apparently changing the structure of the community. My take is that it will lead to a somewhat similar organization to the Qt Project. Only time will tell anyway, but it's fascinating to be a direct witness of the on-going evolution.
KDE Toulouse & Monthly Hacking Sessions
The KDE Monthly Hacking Sessions are just running as usual, we keep having this monthly get together on saturdays people carrying on their work, but also having a talk or a workshop in the morning. Thanks to Benjamin Port and Jean-Nicolas Artaud strong involvement, this activity is more secure than ever not being completely dependent on me being available and relaxing constraints on my own schedule. Thanks for that guys! It helps the whole group having enough energy to undertake other activities (like the Akademy-fr above). Say no to burn-out, distribute work! :-)
We had less people attending the sessions at the end of 2011, probably in part because of Akademy-fr being around the corner by then. There was also some other factors but we have plan to fix that. January's session, held yesterday was the proof of the continuing interest in those monthly events, we had another of those high attendance rate of the good old days. It was even further improved thanks to Akademy-fr. Indeed, we met Romain Perier who attended the conference in November and we were delighted to have him motivated enough to volunteer for holding the workshop part yesterday, travelling just for the day to do it! Thanks a lot Romain! It was really nice to have you around, hope to see you soon again.
Toulouse University Involvement
Bad news there... this activity came to a halt. We saw it coming for a while, but last year was the last time our projects and teaching to run with the IUP ISI (the course of study whose director, Henri Massié, trusted us to do a good job there). Indeed, after a few years of political games (mostly driven from the ministry as far as I can tell), all the "IUP" type of courses of studies disappeared. The IUP ISI was one of the last to carry the torch...
I thought I'd just carry on with another course of study this year. But I have to admit this abrupt ending and the way it happened (nasty details I'll spare you) just hit my motivation more than I expected. So somehow I still have to recover from it, but I have some leads and potential contacts to maybe setup something again for 2012-2013. Let's see if I manage to revive that activity. Apparently, after seven years of efforts to nurture that collaboration, I'm back to square one. Challenge accepted!
On the brighter side though, I got invited to a whole day seminar in Paris early February to discuss and share with people on the topic of University/Free Software Communities collaboration for student projects and teaching. Nice opportunity to meet with people having similar aims and share on alternative setups to the one we had in Toulouse. Really looking forward to this event.
What's coming next?
Well, I don't plan much ahead and I'm not the type of guy taking "good resolutions" in january every year (I just try to improve as I go). Still... from the waves around me, my own motivation at the moment and some other factors I think I can forecast a bit of what's coming.
Obviously I expect new Zanshin releases, at least two. Zanshin 0.2.1 should appear soonish as mentionned earlier. And then we'll roll toward Zanshin 0.3 which will be the release where Zanshin gets more of the missing basic features making it really useful.
I also expect the first KDE Frameworks release. Quite some work needed still, but I have a target date in mind that I think we can reach... No, I won't share it yet. :-)
Maybe I'll also get through the necessary mourning and administrative steps to setup a new University/KDE collaboration in Toulouse.
And last but not least I expect our monthly sessions to go on as usual. It's just great to have a small team of people helping with the local promotion, I'd like to see it grow more to spread even more love. Despite the current team size it's very likely we'll pull another Akademy-fr, but this time truely focused on the contributors needs, while the end-user aspects would be completely provided by talks and workshops of the upcoming Capitole du Libre 2012.
And so that concludes my last look back at 2011. Time to look forward again, lots to tackle still. :-)
A few weeks ago we released Zanshin 0.2 beta2, and I'm glad to announce the immediate availability of Zanshin 0.2 RC1. Except if any showstopper bug is reported, it will be the last stop before 0.2 final.
I'd also like to use the opportunity to report a few changes regarding contributions and adoption. We've seen tremendous activity on the packaging front since the previous release:
- It is available for openSUSE and Gentoo as previously announced;
- It is now available for Fedora thanks to Christoph Wickert of Kolab Systems, you can grab it from Christoph's repository and it'll hopefully get into Fedora itself soon;
- I got pointed out that it was already available in Arch User Repository;
- Kartik Mistry volunteered to package it for Debian, so we'll have some good news there soon hopefully;
- Patrick Spendrin confirmed to me that it got added to the KDE-Windows port, and so it was officially released with the KDE-Windows 4.7.0 release;
- On Mac? I got users building it for themselves reporting it to work, but no official packaging yet.
I'm glad to see so many people stepping up like that, bringing some GTD goodness wrapped in Free Software to more and more potential users.
And since some people pointed it out on my previous post, yes we need a website, screenshots and so on. We've been aware of it for a while, but we've been too busy working on the software itself. The feedback on Zanshin 0.2 beta2 didn't bring many issues, so we used the extra time to work on a website. It's not ready for prime time yet, but we hope to go live with 0.2 final.
If you want to get Zanshin from sources, the tarballs are available, at the same place than usual on files.kde.org.
And of course, you can still git clone kde:zanshin if you want the bleeding edge or if you wish to contribute to the code.
Now we're waiting a bit for your feedback. We have exactly one minor bug left in our list and the future website need some extra polish. Hopefully at this pace we won't need a 0.2 RC2.
Zanshin, the TODO application which helps keeping your mind uncluttered is back! After one month of waiting, we are delighted to announce the immediate availability of Zanshin 0.2 beta2!
The focus has been mainly on bugfixing, but we also did a couple of usability adjustments here and there. Also, thanks to the awesome Nuno Pinheiro, we have an application icon (previously we were just hijacking KOrganizer icon). This new icon is lovely, thanks Nuno!
The source tarballs are available, at the same place than the last time on files.kde.org. If you want to use it on openSUSE my repository has a package for Zanshin, but it's now also available on the KDE:Unstable:Playground repository. Last but not least! Zanshin is also now packaged for Gentoo. Thank you to Matija Suklje for working on it.
And of course, you can still git clone kde:zanshin if you want the bleeding edge or if you wish to contribute to the code.
You can also contribute by helping us reaching more users:
- packaging Zanshin for your distro, we still miss big ones like Arch, Fedora or Debian/Ubuntu;
- making sure Zanshin runs on MS Windows, apparently Patrick from the KDE-Windows team was toying with that during DS but I'm not sure how it went;
- or making sure it runs on Mac OS (we're not aware of any effort on that platform yet).
Now we're relaxing a bit, and waiting for feedback to see what needs fixing for the next release. Depending on the defect rate next one could be 0.2 rc1. Looks like we're getting closer and closer from 0.2 final!
We released Zanshin 0.2 alpha2 in May, it was about time we got our acts together to prepare another release. So today I'm happy to announce the immediate availability of Zanshin 0.2 beta1!
It is the result of further bugfixing and testing work. We got some feedback from early users of 0.2 alpha2 and it's been reflected in our bug hunting efforts.
Since the previous one was an alpha we still had the freedom to add a couple more features. The features introduced for that beta were rather non-intrusive though, the main ones are:
- the ability to set categories on projects, todos inside such projects automatically inherit from those categories (greatly reduces the tagging needs);
- the ability to synchronize collections directly from Zanshin;
- and last but not least a Kontact plugin, now Zanshin can work embedded in Kontact (this one was actually a feature request, I didn't even think about it). :-)
Now that we're entering the beta cycle, we're also publishing source tarballs. Of course, I still produce packages to openSUSE, although for the time being they're only built against KDE:Unstable:SC, I'm waiting for kdepim 4.7 to hit other repos before supporting more. Those packages are available in my home:ervin repository.
And of course, you can still git clone kde:zanshin if you want the bleeding edge or if you wish to contribute.
We plan to release Zanshin 0.2 beta2 somewhat soon after the Desktop Summit. We're only in bugfixing and stabilization mode now, no new feature will be introduced until we release 0.2.
After quite some work on stabilizing, testing the core, and adding some extra features, I'm happy to announce that I just tagged Zanshin 0.2 alpha2!
The big highlight of this alpha is the availability of a new krunner plugin, so that you can easily collect todos even when Zanshin isn't running. Bring up krunner, type in "todo: buy apples", and the newly created todo will be waiting for you in your inbox the next time you look at your Zanshin window. Collect from anywhere on your desktop now!
We also added an extra dialog to configure Akonadi resources which is displayed on first run, and better defaults for the columns and window sizes, which should provide a smoother experience for new users. And of course it comes with more automated tests, and bugfixes.
If everything goes well, it should be our last alpha, and we should proceed with 0.2 beta1 next. For those interested, it is available for openSUSE in my home:ervin repository. For the people wanting to build from sources, it is still a git clone kde:zanshin away.
I'd like to thanks Mario Bensi and Benjamin Port who have been fearless bug hunters for that release. Way to go guys!
PS: As mentionned, I package it for openSUSE myself as it is my distro of choice, but we're obviously looking for packagers targetting other distributions. If you're already working on such packages, or are willing to work on them, please get in touch with me for improving synchronization toward the 0.2 release.
Some people might remember that I was rambling a while back about a TODO management application named Zanshin. It even has a few users... they have probably been wondering why it got stuck at this mysterious non advertised 0.1 version.
Don't fear anymore dear users, Zanshin is not dead, it is pretty much alive, and we just tagged 0.2 alpha1 today!
It took us a while, we had to rewrite quite some bits in order to benefit from the new additions of the Akonadi ecosystem we would have missed otherwise. So we're back, and we plan at least one more alpha, before going in the beta cycle. It is your chance to give us feedback early on to get a solid 0.2 release.
Of course it is an alpha, so it might not suit you for production use... Personally I switched to it in production and it didn't burn my home yet. It will soon be available for openSUSE in my home:ervin repository, once it gets out of the build farm (already the case for factory, not yet for 11.3). If you're building from sources, it's only a "git clone kde:zanshin.git" away (we're actually among the first projects to migrate there).
I'd like to give a big kudo to Mario Bensi, who is working with me on Zanshin. He did a tremendous job on that alpha. For the last month I've been mostly giving architecture directions and reviewing patches... still I had difficulties to keep up with the patch stream he was sending my way. Great job Mario!
PS: As mentionned, I package it for openSUSE myself as it is my distro of choice, but we're obviously looking for fearless packagers targetting other distributions.
This week-end I attended the Tokamak Mark II, so the second Plasma developers sprint. I was a really packed week-end, but that's really enjoyable to have every body at hands. It's of course a pleasure to team up again with very good friends like Aaron, Alexis, Rich and the humongous Sebas.
It's also nice to have everybody on the deck ready for action. And action we had, lots of different topics got covered: from the framework itself, to the appearance of the shell, it's interaction with the other major part of the desktop (namely kwin), the integration of the features from Qt kinetic, etc.
Personally I tried to focus as much as possible on our service framework, so for that I'm writing a library which will help delegating all the service work to Jolie. It's not there yet, but we're definitely seeing progresses. I can currently write a program which loads Jolie's metaservice, fires up a service description and talks to it. It "just" needs to be wrapped into a nice API now. Jolie is really a pleasant piece of software to work with.
Also on the first day, I talked about my new pet project: Zanshin. A new todo/action management software, I'm using it daily for a couple of weeks already without major issues. Of course it's still a bit rough, and I have great plans for it in order to help people to integrate it in there workflow. I want something simple and flexible. I'll probably blog more about that in the coming weeks.
I'll end this post with a quote I used in my talk about Zanshin:
If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. -- Shunryu Suzuki
I expect a 10 page essay about this quote on my desk next week. ;-)