Saturday, January 31, 2009

Linux conf au one

Well, here it is. Another conference has come to a close, and it is time again to try to make sense of all the amazing things that were seen and discussed. Overall LCA was a great meet-up, although there was one big negative: there were so many good sessions to hit that it was impossible to not run into at least some scheduling conflicts. Of course the good news there is that the volunteers are working to get slides and video up for as many of the sessions that they were cleared to. One things are up, I'm sure I'll find even more to ponder.

Probably the first thing to hit is the topic I came down to speak on: Color Management. My presentation went pretty well, and I had a few people talk to me about it later (and that was despite being scheduled right next door to the Linux powered clarinet playing robot). Additionally Carl Worth introduced me to someone who has started poking around in Cairo, seeing about hooking in color management. We also got a chance to go over what's needed to get things hooked into Cairo and get some nice CMYK PDF output. The next step is to collect up some representative use cases so we can figure out exactly what the API changes will have to be supported. I'm going to be pestering the Scribus guys to see what they know of, but if anyone out there has any experience or needs of going to print, send off an email or comment so that we can be sure to cover things well.

Next up is extended input. I attended a talk by Peter Hutterer (of MPX) that went over a bit of the state of things and then the new changes that have been going in. Over the course of the conference I had ended up chatting with him a few times, and verified that I am on track with where I'm working on taking the new extended input support (good support will need to leverage D-Bus and HAL). He also had poked around for a couple of weeks with Wii remotes, but had since moved on. That actually was a fairly common story, and it seems that it's up to me to address the GUI and application levels.

And to keep things short for now, there's one last point I want to cover: technical drawing. Of people I talked to who were not using Inkscape or not using as much as they could, the most common question seemed to be with technical drawing. We could probably pick up a good usability boost and garner another user segment if we just tune up things to make technical drawing and diagramming better. Most of what we need to do is probably already well known to us. However, we could benefit from a quick review and a little refocusing. I think one person's question really summed up the viewpoint we need to use when looking into this: “So, will Inkscape let me finally move off of Xfig now?” The people we could help with that are probably using Xfig or Dia (or nothing yet) for simple charts, diagramming, home layout and the like. Perhaps focusing down on some casual use-cases like that will help us sight some low-laying fruit and get a jump up in this area.

As usual, I'll send out more info as I digest things and get them settled out in my head. In the mean time, feel free to ask about any specifics you might care about. Perhaps Peter or Andy or some of the other Inkscapers who were there might chime in also.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Bdale Makes the Cut

This year's charity auction was going to help the "Save the Tasmanian devil" organization. Things started to get crazier and crazier, with strange attempts to get Linus to do something resulted in a change of the mascot for one release from Tux to Tuz.

As the crowd grew more frenetic, someone jumped in with a demand for Bdale's beard. Despite starting the whole thing off with a beautiful print of his wife's award winning photograph, he began to reconsider under the pressure. Arjen Lentz (who at the conference promoted stepped up and offered the hair on his head if Bdale went through with it. Bdale did say if over $10,000 was donated then he would (although I'm not sure if he believed it was possible; I was very pessimistic on that myself). Matching challenges were also tossed out and taken up, and the final result was a total somewhere in the ballpark of $40,000 (au) being raised.

So come Friday around lunch, a huge spectacle unfolded as Bdale, Linus and Arjen prepared for their ordeal. Arjen went first, to allow for a little practice before the more difficult (and anticipated) task of Bdale's.

The event went off well, with much amusement, live tweeting, and even local television coverage. Once Linus had completed his arduous task with clippers (having foregone the hedge clippers he was first looking at) there was just a bit left for an actual razor. Being the wise man that he is, Bdale decided that he himself would do that close work. However, in the pause before that I caught a great shot that to me conveyed his great temperament and sense of humor about the whole thing, as he endured the temporary pain and embarrassment in order to be able to do his part in helping preserve one of God's great creatures here on earth.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Greetings from Tas and Tuz

Greetings from Tasmania!

Just dropping a quick note while I'm sitting here waiting for day 2 of the miniconfs to kick off.

I'm just hanging out, and spent time already with my new friend Tuz. He helped me get the artwork for my slides tweaked up, and has taken over my room.

Things are going good here so far, and lot's of great people. I'll have more details come up, but in the meantime will try to get bits up on identica and twitter.

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