We have asked Gergely Nagy, one of the three candidates for DPL elections 2013, to tell our readers about himself and his ideas for the Debian Project.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Hungary, a little bit over three decades ago, as a son of a biochemist and a pharmacist, who gave me the name Gergely Nagy (however, online - and offline too by now - I'm mostly known by my nickname, algernon).
I went on to study human arts (hungarian grammar & literature, in particular), and to support this passion, I work as a software engineer, one who gets paid to work on free software. As such, I'm in a fortunate situation where my hobby supports my passion, and my hobby aligns well with my Debian work too.
What do you do in Debian and how did you started contributing?
At the moment, apart from maintaining a few packages, I'm doing a few other, mostly invisible things, like reassigning misfiled bugs so they don't end up being forgotten; or review newly uploaded packages before they enter the archive, making sure we are allowed to distribute them, and that their quality is up to our standards. I used to do quite a lot of other things, but I chose to spend the past year mostly invisible, learning.
I started contributing by packaging an editor I was using at the time, but quickly ended up adopting another package - things escalated from there quickly.
Why did you decide to run as DPL?
There were two reasons that motivated me to run: one is that I believe I can bring something new to the table, that I can help Debian expand in new directions. The other reason is that I'm always on the lookout for new ways to contribute back to Debian, and being the project leader is a position where I believe I could contribute most at this point in time.
Three keywords to summarise your platform.
What are the biggest challenges that you envision for Debian in the future?
The biggest challenge is growing up, to become more than a group of computer geeks creating an amazing distribution. To become a community of a wide variety of people, where both computer geeks and art geeks feel equally at home. Yet, at the same time, where we as a project, keep our focus straight, and be the champions of Free Software.
We just need to realize that there's much more to Free Software than the software itself.
What are, in your opinion, the areas of the project more in need of technical and/or social improvements?
I believe that while we do have many areas where we could use technical improvements, we are reasonably safe there, because we do have very skilled technical people to help us solve these problems. We can make our tools better, we can develop our infrastructure better to aid us even more - and so on and so forth. While we need work on many areas, we're on the right track there.
However, when it comes to social issues, we're at a loss. We have serious trouble keeping certain topics civilised on mailing lists, we have trouble attracting women, and we have trouble reaching people who are not naturally exposed to Debian (or Free Software). We could really use a more diverse community, but that requires us to overcome quite a lot of social roadblocks, so to say. Outreach is one particular area where we need much more technical and social improvements.
Why should people vote for you?
People should vote me, because they found my platform, my answers on debian-vote@, and my ideas and goals convincing and worthy to pursue. People should vote me, because they trust I'll be able to serve the project well.
Name three tools you couldn't stay without.
Emacs, git and a pencil. Because with these three, I can pretty much do anything.
What keep you motivated to work in Debian?
The community. Over the years, I had the good fortune to meet with a lot of people I hold in high esteem, whose enthusiasm and motivation I found inspiring. For any other common goals Debian and I may share, in the end, it is the people within Debian that keep me motivated.
Are there any other fields where you call yourself a geek, besides computers?
I'm not quite there yet, but I'm working hard on becoming a human arts geek, or at least a geek of the hungarian language.
Alfred, one of my favourite Mac apps, has been updated to version 2. If you have been waiting for it to be updated in the app store, be warned it’s only available through the Alfred website (see also Alfred and the App Store, and Alfred and the future of OS X).
There are some good workflows available for version 2 already. They are a crazy blend of catnip, napalm, and rocket fuel. You need to buy the Powerpack before you can use workflows, but given the functionality boost this brings, it’s well worth it.
Some particularly delightful workflows include:
Here’s some thoughts after just over a week with the phone, a timeframe which captured fairly typical activity: going to the shops, going to the pub, going to a business meeting, and nipping across to Germany to spend a few days with family. All in all, a good opportunity to road-test the device.
Some random observations:
And that brings us neatly to the crux of the problem with the Nokia Lumia 920: any review of the device has to take into account Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8. And no matter how good the device may be, it is frankly hobbled by the Windows legacy.
So on with the review. I made this review by taking screenshots on the phone whenever something struck me as noteworthy, and by keeping a longer-form log in Microsoft OneNote.
WP8 has a very strong design, which at times works against it. For example, I hated the Kindle app’s presentation in the app store and in the app list; I was forever looking for the person reading under the tree.
Incidentally, I also had problems with the Kindle app; it would occasionally try to sync twice on startup, which usually resulted in it crashing. Several launch attempts later, it finally settled down. Some work required there, I think.
Over the course of the last week, I downloaded several apps from the store (mostly free or trial, but a couple of paid apps too). Aside from the ugly path error during download, there was only one occasion when this didn’t work, when trying to install the Kindle app:
Most of the apps you’d expect to see were available, but not always in the way you’d expect to see them. For example, Fruit Ninja was available, but it looked very fuzzy on the Lumia’s screen.
That’s a real shame, as the screen is one of the standout features of the Nokia hardware. It’s also an old version – from early 2011 – and many of the store comments are requesting updates. The iOS version of Fruit Ninja is just a few months old. The Android version of Fruit Ninja is from March 2012.
The situation may be different for other games, but Fruit Ninja was the first to catch my eye, and is a game I know well.
Let’s talk more about maps. I tried them out on several occasions:
Only searching for a pub was less successful than it could have been – based on experience and a race against an HTC Android device, Google Maps would have been more effective.
A standout feature of HERE maps is the ability to download maps for offline use. Google Maps offers limited caching, but not quite as effectively. This Nokia Maps vs Google Maps Youtube video demonstrates it nicely. Given o2 only give you 25mb of data per day in Europe, being able to download 601mb of German maps before I set off was a real life-saver.
The maps also looked good, and felt like the best bits of TomTom’s navigation and Google Maps combined into one. A couple of examples of using the navigation:
The map overlays also worked very well, in particular the public transport overlay. Here’s what they look like in Berlin:
It was also really nice to be able to pin locations to the phone’s home screen for quick and easy access. Note also my XBox avatar in the screenshot, offering some great personalisation by leveraging different Microsoft properties:
I did notice a few glitches. During my travel across Berlin, I kept losing the data connection. At one point, the phone was very convinced that I was in fact in London – even claiming to have established a GPS lock:
Another glitch was frequent updates to the terms and policies for using the maps. These would be displayed and required confirmation, but as they were shown in white text over the top of the map, it was impossible to read them:
The final glitches are more of a user experience fail:
Some things didn’t work so well.
Voice recognition is handy on a mobile phone, and although I couldn’t set a countdown timer for my spuds, I was happy to try it out for searching bing. Because I’m a sadist, I tried this in a crowded and noisy pub on St Patrick’s Day. Accessing voice recognition is just like the iPhone – you hold down the equivalent of the home button until prompted to speak:
We were having a typical pub conversation, involving rivers running green in the US in honour of the Irish saint. So my voice search was “Saint Patrick’s Day Chicago”. How was this interpreted?
Windows Phone decided to search for “patrick stacey croyden”. This was excellent entertainment value (and possibly some clever geolocation optimisation), but needless to say did not deliver the required results. A couple of additional attempts failed, and so I gave up. A friend tried on an HTC Android handset, and was successful on the second attempt.
WP8′s version of Internet Explorer in some ways is really very good: fast loading, smooth scrolling, good rendering, and a wonderfully uncluttered browsing experience that maximises the visibility of page content.
There were a few sites that didn’t work for one reason or another. Surprisingly, the BBC was subject to unfortunate wrapping of headlines. Unsurprisingly, the excessive crap on forbes.com didn’t render properly, and ended up messing with some page content. Frustratingly, I was unable to enter start or destination airports on Easyjet’s website. Those were the only significant glitches I noticed, despite doing quite a lot of browsing.
However, it’s not all roses with WP8 IE. The minimal UI has a few drawbacks: extra taps required to access tabs (I recommend changing the “address bar button” in settings to display tabs), extra taps required to get to favourites, inconsistent back navigation (sometimes it goes to the previous page, sometimes to the previous app) and no forward navigation.
The browser is also poorly-integrated into other apps. The mail app is a particular example. It would be wonderful to be able to open emailed links in the phone’s browser, but long presses on links only offer the option of copying the link. This seems very odd. If you want to open an emailed link in a browser, or share the link to social networks, or bookmark a link or pin it to the start screen, then you have to manually copy it and paste it into the browser’s URL bar:
The mail app is broken in other ways, too. Microsoft have pursued an admirable security policy of not downloading any email images by default. But there’s no setting to change this. Unfortunately, this means that almost every email you receive looks rubbish, until you track down an image and click “Download pictures”. And that includes emails from Microsoft themselves:
As I was travelling to Germany, I needed to send some text messages in German, so I wanted to swap keyboards. I had to RTFM to find out how to add language packs, and once I did find out, I was surprised by how large they were. This was particularly annoying as the first attempt to download failed, requiring me to go back in and restart each language pack download.
I was unsurprised but disappointed that installation of the language packs required a phone restart. I was rather surprised that the installation took over five minutes to perform (although in fairness I was warned of this).
Once installed, the language packs worked fine. Switching language worked just the same as on iOS. Predictive text was predictable.
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are some great things about this phone and this platform. The things that stand out so far about WP8 specifically:
And about the Lumia hardware in particular:
One of my favourite features of the phone was the ability to automatically pull a new image for the lock screen every day. They were all beautiful. For example:
And with that, I’m going to duck out of doing a final summary. I have a few more hours to play with the phone before I pack it up and send it back to Nokia, so I’ll save my final conclusions for another post.
According to tweepsmap.com/!savs 44% of my followers are from UK,24% from USA & 18% from London.
Continuing with the work to refine and improve how we build Ubuntu in an open, transparent, and collaborative way, I want to take a few minutes to discuss some work going on to improve the regularity of our planning and the benefits this brings.
Traditionally planning for Ubuntu has worked like this.
While this has served us well, there are a few problems with this approach. The most notable issue is that we work in software, and a lot changes in software in a six month period. This means we define a set of work items, prepare the burndown, and then if requirements or direction changes it can be difficult to reflect those changes across our community and we have to go and postpone a bunch of work items and re-build our burndowns. This means that even though the changes are made to open blueprints, it can cause folks across our community to be out of sync. It also presents the misconception that everything at UDS is locked in for the duration of the six month cycle. If something changes in our strategy or a new opportunity opens up, it can be difficult to change course with everyone on the same page.
Solving this is part of our theme of making Ubuntu engineering as transparent and agile as possible.
One approach we are experimenting with in the Ubuntu Engineering Management team at Canonical is to increase the regularity and transparency of how we plan. Instead of locking in every six months we will do it like this:
Now, to set expectations clearly: this is just an idea for how to improve this workflow, and we are doing it for the first time this week, but the idea is that it will dramatically increase the transparency of which teams are working on what, making it easier for others to (a) know what is going on and (b), participate in areas of interest.
My team is currently preparing the work items for April and you will be able to see the final burndown here when it is complete. From there you will be able to see all the blueprints.
I will provide plenty of feedback on what is working well and less well, and your feedback is welcomed, as ever, in the comments.Building Re-usable Processes
As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, we want to make virtual UDS an event that is repeatable and useful for not just UDS but also for domain-specific events too (such as a LoCo themed UDS). The goal is that this event format is repeatable for our wider community.
Likewise, the monthly planning process is also designed to be repeatable for our wider community too, making it simple to get everyone on the same page for planning and executing on awesome projects.
As ever, feedback is always welcome, but I think this combo of a wider planning event every three months combined with monthly work item sync-ups and planning will result in a pretty effective formula for helping Ubuntu to be as effective, transparent, and collaborative as possible.
Of course, the one thing you don’t want to cause a problem is your integration with social networks, because you end up spamming everyone as you try to fix things.
Guess what plugin seems to be causing the problem?
I was previously trying to fix server errors with the blog. Having disabled and re-enabled all the plugins, things seem to be working, but it could be a problem that only affects new posts, so this is another test. Keep your fingers crossed.
Update 1: seems like it affects new posts only.
Update 2: de-activating one by one to find out which one is the killer plugin.
I’m getting server 500 errors whenever I post to WordPress. Common wisdom says the solution to debugging is disable all your plugins and then re-enable one by one until you find the cause. That means a bunch of test posts, of which this is one. Apologies in advance for the noise.
Update 1: I disabled all plugins and posting worked.
Update 2: I re-enabled some of the essentials (Akismet, Google Analytics, etc). This is a test to see if posting still works.
Update 3: On to the “frivolous” plugins (iframe, youtube, etc). All’s well?
Update 4: And re-enabling the suspected troublemakers. How now?
Update 5: The final suspect, WP Super Cache…
It’s been quite a week. But in a really good way. It started off last Sunday with a trip to see Richard Herring‘s latest show, “Talking Cock.” The subject matter should be obvious from the title, and it says something about the topics he has covered in the past that this is probably the lightest and fluffiest of the four shows that I’ve seen. It’s very enjoyable and not particularly crude.
I spent the middle of the week at the Photography Farm, a three day residential workshop run by the award-winning Lisa Devlin. I’ll write more about it and share some of my photographs in a couple of weeks, but for now suffice it to say that it was a challenging, fun and exhausting time. It will take me a while to fully absorb it all, but I know it will have a huge impact on my wedding photography. But most importantly I met some fantastic new friends.
This weekend was Big Finish Day 3 in Barking, where I was proud to be representing The Doctor Who Podcast, wearing one of their rather snazzy t-shirts. Laura and I recorded lots of interviews with contributors to Doctor Who and Big Finish. I won’t list them all here to preserve some element of surprise, but I’m grateful to so many people for giving up their time to talk to us.
Then back home, via a whistle-stop visit to Emma Jane and James Westby’s wedding reception in Nottingham, where I managed to fall over spectacularly on sheet ice less than two seconds after warning others not to do the same. Ow.
The last thing I wanted on Sunday evening was to go back out into the cold, but I’m glad I made the effort to see Mark Thomas’ show “Bravo Figaro.” It’s a performance piece rather than stand up, and is in turns funny, dark and touching.
And now, I’m off to bed.Pin It
I use get-iplayer to download TV programs so I can watch them on the devices that suit me, when it suits me. What follows is how I install get-iplayer on a headless Debian 6.0 server I have a home. The server is question is really low powered so building from source was not an option.
In order to install the latest version of get-iplayer (currently 2.82) on Debian Squeeze a couple of additional package respositories need enabling.
Enable the Debain Backports repository by adding the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list.deb http://backports.debian.org/debian-backports squeeze-backports main
Enable the Debain Multimedia repository by adding the following lines to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/multimedia.list.deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org squeeze-backports main
Update the repositories.sudo apt-get update
Install the deb-multimedia-keyring package.sudo apt-get --allow-unauthenticated install deb-multimedia-keyring
Install get-iplayer (currently v2.78) from the official Debian repositories, this will also install the dependencies.sudo apt-get install get-iplayer
Install the get-iplayer suggested packages.sudo apt-get install ffmpeg rtmpdump libdata-dump-perl libid3-tools libcrypt-ssleay-perl libio-socket-ssl-perl
I have seen it suggested that mplayer should also be installed. I've not determined if that is an absolute requirement. But this is how to install it on a headless Debian computer.sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends install mplayer
Finally, upgrade get-iplayer to v2.82.sudo apt-get install libmp3-tag-perl libxml-simple-perl wget http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/pool/main/g/get-iplayer/get-iplayer_2.82-2_all.deb sudo dpkg -i get-iplayer_2.82-2_all.deb
At this point get-iplayer should be good to go and the get-iplayer website and man get-iplayer will assist you.References
I enjoyed the book; I must have considering I bought the second edition! The material has been updated where needed and it's still lacking a section on ACLs so I'll stick to my score of 8/10 for people purchasing this book for the first time and look forward to another refresh in a couple of years time. If you already own the first edition then your choice is a little harder - this book is still an excellent stepping on point for the cost but don't expect much beyond a refresh on the same content.
Disclaimer: Part of my previous review is quoted in the marketing blurb at the front of the book. I did however pay for this book myself.
Just … wow.
Mail.app lost my default signature.
Nice one, Tesco.
Thank you, Firefox. I love that ⌘← takes me back a page, rather than to the start of the line in my textarea.
45 minutes of work: lost.
Sometimes NFS breaks, and gives helpful messages like :
mount.nfs: connection timed out
Stale NFS handle on clients.
While I’m confident that my /etc/exports and other configuration files are correct, it still insists on misbehaving.
Below is a random shell script I seem to have created to fix the NFS server -#!/bin/bash set -e /etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server stop /etc/init.d/nfs-common stop /etc/init.d/rpcbind stop rm -Rf /var/lib/nfs mkdir /var/lib/nfs mkdir /var/lib/nfs/v4recovery /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs for f in /var/lib/nfs/etab \ /var/lib/nfs/rmtab \ /var/lib/nfs/xtab; do [ -e $f ] || touch $f done /etc/init.d/rpcbind start sleep 2 /etc/init.d/nfs-common start sleep 2 /etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server start echo "NFS may now work" exportfs -f
Yes… “NFS may now work” … that sums it up about right.
Microsoft .Net framework unhandled exception. sdrv.ms/16aXyJ2