My 2014 Terra Incognita

My 2014 Terra Incognita

2014 just started and already proved to be a challenging year. First thing, I will have to find or create a new job. After 3 years having the luck of managing open source projects at Lanedo, I’m leaving the company. This is an opportunity for me to try something new, to get out of my […]

The Last GUADEC?

The Last GUADEC?

Last year, during GUADEC, there was that running joke amongst some participants that this was the last GUADEC. It was, of course, a joke. Everybody was expecting to see each other in Brno, in 2013. One year later, most of those who were joking are not coming to GUADEC. For them, the joke became a […]

On usability, free software and perfection

For centuries, progress was about to make possible what was not. All the technologies, all the inventions were done with the very idea of « Make something that was never done before, that was considered as impossible ». It worked so well in the last decades that we faced an new challenge: things were now possible but incredibly hard to do. Only a few educated minority was able to use the technology.

Yes, this is a doorbell

One of the solution to that problem is to train people. That’s the solution we choose for cars. Driving a car is incredibly complex and dangerous. Yet, most of us manage to learn the basis in a few months. Some kill themselves (and sometimes innocent beings). But we don’t mind and don’t even consider it as a technical challenge, merely an educational one.

Another solution is making the technology easier, requiring less training. This is the path we are following with electronic devices. This became a brand new field of engineering: usability. Ten years ago, a three buttons dishwasher came with a hundred pages manual. Now, your full fledged computer come without any manual at all.

Liblarch, a python library to handle trees and acyclic graphs

Lesson number one Some of you may be aware that Getting Things GNOME! 0.3 was released. What you may not know is that GTG is now using a python library called liblarch and that liblarch 2.1.0 was released today.

Liblarch is a python library specifically designed to handle complex trees (including directed acyclic graphs) and to display them. A liblarch-gtk component allows you to display different views of your tree in a GTK TreeView widget without any effort.

During the development of GTG, we faced major problems to handle our tree of tasks and our tree of tags. The features we wanted proved to be very complex to implement and very fragile : solving a bug would create two others. And the performance work was a nightmare.

We decided to abstract the whole concept of tree and to make it a standalone, well tested and optimized library. We are very proud of it and we are looking for more applications that would benefit from using liblarch.

Les opportunités manquées du Libre : la satisfaction

Les opportunités manquées du Libre : la satisfaction

Pendant des siècles, la définition de l’innovation était « rendre possible quelque chose qui ne l’était pas auparavant ». Même si cela n’affectait qu’une minorité technologiquement lettrée ou ayant la chance d’être bien équipée. Désormais, un autre type d’innovation prend le pas : « rendre agréable à une catégorie de personnes ce qui est possible ». Imaginons que vous souhaitiez […]

A freasy future for GNOME

Last week, Lanedo sent me to GUADEC, the GNOME developers and users conference. As you may have read elsewhere, the conference was wonderfully organized, with splendid weather, gorgeous food and awesome people.

But there was a strange feeling amongst participants. Was it the last GUADEC? What is the future of the GNOME project? Xan López and Juan José Sánchez suggested to ship a tablet with GNOME in 2014. But isn’t that too late? Is it really useful?

Tore de Hercules, La Coruna Is this the end of the world, the end of the road?

Being selected as a Summer of Code student

For several years now, I’ve been a Summer of Code mentor for Getting Things Gnome, under the GNOME umbrella.

This year again we received plenty of student proposals. GTG being a very small part of the GNOME project and having only few mentors available, we had to choose. That choice was sometimes really hard and it’s a pity to see some students not being selected.

In order to help them for next year, I would like to point what we, potential mentors, expect from the students.

Swing in the night

What if Ubuntu were right?

Last week, I had the chance to have a nice chat with Jonathan Riddell, Canonical employee and Kubuntu maintainer.

For years, Jonathan was paid to maintain Kubuntu. In a recent move, Canonical announced that Kubuntu will become a community-only project. As a way to start the conversation, I poked him about that:
— What happened? Is Canonical dropping KDE support?
— Well, we are doing with KDE exactly what we did with GNOME.
— Indeed. But what is the reason?
— Canonical seems to think that none of them managed to reach a non-geek audience.

And, sadly, I had to agree with that.

Playmobil desk and office

The Quest for the Best GNOME 3 distribution

End of last year, I’ve quit Ubuntu, after more than 7 years, to find out what was the best GNOME 3 Linux distribution. I’ve selected three major distributions: Ubuntu 11.10, Opensuse 12.1 and Fedora 16. I spent more than a month with each. Here’s what I’ve found and learned.

What I’m expecting from a distribution

GNOME 3, made of easy

Before asking yourself what is your distribution of choice, maybe you should start by clarifying what you really expect from a distribution. In fact, the list is quite short for me:

  1. I expect a good GNOME 3 experience, as close as possible from upstream.
  2. I want an easy way to install/manage software.
  3. I want all the software easily available and upgradable. This includes proprietary codecs, flash plugin, games, etc.
  4. I want the latest versions of those software and quickly after they are released.
  5. Be easily installable.
  6. Good default: the less I’ve to do when reinstalling, the better.
  7. Other than that, stay out of my way. No specific configuration tool. GNOME should handle that.

But that’s not all. Being a Linux evangelist, I install Linux for a lot of people. Which add completely different requirements.

  1. There should be a stable version with a long support time so I upgrade those people as rarely as possible.
  2. The stable version should be stable and as trouble free as possible. This include incremental upgrade and they should be prevented to make a complete distribution upgrade (because it is never trouble free).
  3. The stable version should be smart enough to update important things like hardware drivers, major versions of Firefox, etc.
  4. The installation should come with a selection of pretty wallpaper, good default, most needed software. (the less I’ve to do when installing, the less I forget something which may block them as soon as I leave the room).
  5. Installation process have to look sweet and requires the minimal input from me. I will be installing it when drinking tea with them.

Getting Thing GNOME is alive (and released)!

TLDR: GTG 0.2.9 has been released, spread the word!.

For those who don’t know Getting Things GNOME yet, it is a todo manager. In fact, it is, to my knowledge, the only todo manager that :

  1. has a clean and simple UI (see my French explanation to use GTG)
  2. allows you to have infinite level of subtasks
  3. to have the same task being the subtask of multiple parents
  4. to easily classify your tasks with colours and tags
  5. allows you to see only the task that can be done right now with the concept of workview
  6. allows you to quickly enter a lot of tasks in a few keystrokes
  7. has a DBus interface


As a result, gtg was in the Techradar’s top 50 best Linux application of 2011 despite the lack of regular releases. It is probably packaged as « gtg » in your distribution so it is probably better that you try by yourself.