Beware of Developers! (Sequel to “Open Source, but…”)

February 14, 2010

I do happily admit that I was too single-minded in my blog about the informations on the Fosdem event. After returning from Belgium here are a few impressions:

You ever felt really scared because strange people are gathering around you in masses, all happening in the underworld of a very functional 1960ies building’s basement with the worn look of a highschool in the Bronx?

That’s what I felt when I came to Brussel’s Fosdem 2010. See, I’m nothing but a very normal user with the additional stigma of an old fart. Now see all these young crazy people talking in languages like C#, perl, php and whatever – many of them even did that in French! So you may get a feeling for what I felt like during those two days.

Guys, I really ENJOYED it! I declare it was one of the best events I ever honored with my presence. All those guys (very few dolls!) ver very friendly,  took their time explaining how to make fire and such simpel things. I met a whole bunch of people with very familiar names, like Anne Nicolas, Per Øyvind, Michael Scherer, shikamaru, and more. But the most astounding thing happened when a guy walked up to me, telling me his name is Oden Erikson. The next thing he told me was how he’s enjoying to see the sun first time since July 2009! Huh? Then he explained, he’s living near the arctic circle and it’s night all day at this time of year. What an astonishing world we live in!

The Fosdem, an event I will not miss in future, everybody: go there if you have the opportunity, but beware of two things: beer and coffee. The former is too much, the latter too bad.

See some pics on


Open Source, but don’t spread a word!

February 2, 2010

There’s a major event coming up: the 2010 edition of the Fosdem (Free and Open Source Developers European Meeting). Well, once it started as a meeting of developers but swiftly grew into a major European meeting of all kinds of Open Source addicts, developers, packagers, contributors of all kinds, and people who are “only” interested in today’s and future status of F/OSS (Free / Open Source Software). At least the latter applies to me, I’m sure.

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January 20, 2010

There are discussions, some very lively, some even changing to flame wars and non productive in most cases. And there are discussions among grown-ups who have something in common: the goal to improve a non optimal situation. We all know such discussions and we feel best when participating in such because we do it to achieve something for all.

And there are discussions where somebody is in the lead and puts his opinion, his rules and his point of view above logical or technical arguments. “Do as you are told or else..” If this happens at the very start of a discussion I call it a “non-discussion“. It does not solve the problem at hand, it does nothing to improve the situation or fix an issue. The only thing it does is giving the leader a nice warm feeling that he has proven his position and enforced rules.

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A New Year, still the same world? Not for me.

January 2, 2010

Well, you all know the absurd expectations we grown-ups share with the little kids. We count how many days are left until certain marks on the calender, like birthdays, Christmas, the like, as if something extraordinary will happen there and then. One of such dates is January 1st – the first day of a new year. You awake from the party and amidst the fog of your boothe hangover there is this small kid, glimpsing into the world, expecting major changes round each and every corner.

Enter Reality.

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Too old to Rock’n’Roll?

October 4, 2009

I look back to the days of black screens and white characters with wonder. Was that me who once initialized and partitioned his first harddisk with debug commands because fdisk was not around yet? And was that me who installed his Linux distributions from floppy disks, using the command line to install and configure and build kernels whenever a new feature was needed?

I can’t believe it. I don’t remember building a kernel during the last 6 years, the last time I did the 3-step to install an application from source has vanished in foggy memories as well. Oh yes, I do use the command line to install updates, to edit this or that configuration file. I ssh to our server and do this or that task and I edit our website’s PHP applications with vim. But where are the times when I spent weeks on my Emacs and Gnus configuration? Today I am using Thunderbird for mails and spend my time in web forums instead of newsgroups.

It is so much more comfortable to use those point&click systems, you get your work done and after all it even looks so much nicer! But lately it became boring, too. I remember the excitement when I found a new Lisp line to solve a problem with Emacs, the “Yes, I can!” feeling when my selfmade kernel did what I wanted it to do. I even miss the hours of failure, the never ending nights I spent searching the web for a solution.

Yes, I miss all this but I also know that those days are gone.

Here I am, singing along with Ian Anderson…

Some things just take time

September 30, 2009

(Sequel to Forgotten desasters)

Things keep getting back to you every now and then. I thought the Berlin desaster of Mandriva and Linuxtag was another bad experience gone by and stored in memory. But a couple of weeks ago I had to dig down and revive the whole situation while compiling a report about the Linuxtag event for the community magazine MagDriva. Doing this I thought it would be a good idea to ask Mandriva for one more time to give an official statement. I mean, after sending the “Broken Leg Mail” on June 18, 2009 no Mandriva official has published any word about it anywhere, not via mail, not in the Mandriva forum, not in one of the nice blogs on Planet Mandriva.

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Parole, parole, parole!

August 12, 2009

There was a nice Italian pop song back in the 70ties where a man chanted promises, one after the other, and in the background a woman sang only 3 words: “Parole! Parole! Parole!”, meaning “Words, promises, nothing else!”

Lately this song came back to my mind when I contemplated what to do with Mandriva’s newest advertisment about the Flash 2009 Spring. Well, all that Mandriva says about the Flash is true, not just marketing! It is a wonderful product, I love it! I have one of those, the 2008.0 version. And there the story begins.

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The beauty, the function, the beauty

August 10, 2009

Netbooks are the big hype of our days. Aren’t they cute little toys, a real treat for a technics victim? Yes, I did buy such a toy, mainly because I wanted to have something small enough to carry around each day and put to use in the park, at the queue at Starbucks and on the train. It’s a Lenovo S10e and I am still annoyed that Lenovo abandoned that joystick! Anyways, a netbook with a solid state disk asks for a slim and fast distribution and a special desktop.

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Much ado about … what?

August 8, 2009

Once there was some movement to be observed in the recesses of the ordinary users. People offering opinions although not asked, some based on insight, others only shouting from the top of their keyboards. What made the people so restless, why did they leave their daily routine of praising the distribution?

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Forgotten desasters

August 8, 2009

Man tends to forget bad things like embarrassing scenes, disasters, the little and the big SNAFUs. That’s what they say and in general this is a Good Thing[tm]. But is it also such a good thing for a company to count on the weak memory of their user community?

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