1. UDS-O

    This week I am in Budapest, Hungary attending Ubuntu Developer Summit for 11.10 ‘oneiric’ release discussions. But this is not only Ubuntu — there is huge amount of Linaro people discussing what to do next cycle.


    Travel, travel, travel… Usual way — bus from home to Berlin airport (SXF this time) where I met with Henning ‘woglinde’ Heinold to donate my old Linksys WRT54 which I got donated few years ago to be able to use my Zauruses wireless. Router had to be in use on OpenEmbedded stand at LinuxTag, Berlin — go there and visit them at booth 7.2b 112.

    Again flight was with Easyjet. It is cheap airline but with speedy boarding it is good enough to go with. Bad side is that it lands at old terminal 1 in Budapest so I had to go to hotel by my own.

    Evening was Canonical only meeting where there was a presentation of some things which will go into 11.10 Ubuntu release (nearly same to next day keynote). After food, discussions and finally sleep ;D


    Sessions started — I attended few:

    • Ubuntu LEB documentation
    • cross toolchain user stories — my own session where most of time Micheal Hope was telling us about requests which Toolchain WG got
    • user stories for nano image
    • DMB regular meeting — I became Ubuntu developer during it!

    During evening was ‘Meet & Greet’ social event sponsored by Openstack and Freescale. Nice way to catch with people. Especially when you meet old friends which you never met in person ;D I met Marek Szyprowski which whom I was writing to Polish Amiga paper magazine named ‘eXec’ (but website with similar name does not have nothing in common now). We talked for quite long time about misc things. Also met some other folks, refreshed faces memory etc.



    • cross toolchain user stories (again) — we discussed notes from previous day, decided on some details and created work items so I can start working on it
    • Ubuntu LEB documentation (also again)
    • Linaro Ubuntu LEB process for 11.11
    • GDB as cross debugger

    As you see LEB was topic of a day. And it was not everything — next day was another session.

    Evening was taken by The Linaro Technical Showcase sponsored by IBM. What was there? Many interesting things:

    • Arnd Bergmann was talking why class4 SD card can be much better then class10 one
    • Freescale Landing Team was presenting i.mx53 Quick Start boards
    • Ash Charles from Gumstix was presenting their new miniboards with DM37xx cpus and few carrier boards
    • Paweł Moll from ARM was presenting Cortex A15 running from two biggest FPGA chips. It had just 11MHz clock but it was enough to show Doom game running on connected monitor.
    • Oxlab guys shown their work on Android and how you can hibernate BeagleBoard
    • ST-Ericsson guys presented Snowball boards — we had a talk on some hardware details
    • Konstantinos Margaritis shown what kind of difference can be between armel and armhf ports on same hardware
    • Angus Ainslie presented Samsung developer board and we had interesting discussion about it

    I do not remember all presentations — those ones interested me most. ARM one was amazing — huge FPGAs which were able to emulate A15, A5, A9 just by booting with different MicroSD card… And it is not related only to CPU emulation cause there were two expansion slots on mainboard so FPGAs can became graphics card with Mali core flashed into. Second board was ‘simple’ A9 with Mali and some OpenGL(ES) demo was running there.

    And again — new faces to join with names. Talked with Ash Charles about discussions in past when I helped Gumstix developers with OpenEmbedded, Angus Ainslie from ST-Ericsson was working for Openmoko at time when we had cooperation and so on…


    Woke up early… What to do after 6:10? Go swimming! So I went to Royal SPA and spent some time in swimming pool and sauna so day started nicely.


    • automated cross-buildd system/service
    • Ubuntu LEB Star Rating documentation — my session again on how we want to rate level of support of member boards
    • ARM Linus interface 3 — attended just to check how kernel developers are discussing how to improve arch/arm/ situation

    Met Mark Brown with whom I was working in OpenEmbedded project and after lunch I went to do some sight seeing with Paweł Moll. Budapest is nice city and I have to came back here one day.

    Team dinner somewhere in the city was quite good. We had a fun going back to hotel when ~half of us used phones to navigate though city ;D



    • arm and other archs certification program — Canonical has certification program of machines which came with Ubuntu pre-installed. I have to check at their tools.
    • ALIP mini-distro and build system user/developer stories — interesting discussion
    • cross-toolchains for the ARM hard-float ABI — will have to provide them for Ubuntu and other but it is doable
    • next steps with multiarch in Ubuntu — where do we go and how

    Evening was sight seeing with local guides. We saw parlament building, chain bridge, castle area and ended in interesting pub.


    Ending day and nearly no sessions today:

    • port to the ARM hard-float ABI — Ubuntu armhf someone?
    • Linaro Review of LDS week
    • easier access to -dbgsym packages

    Some of people already packed and left, rest will go to have fun at UDS party.


    It was my third UDS and I feel that it was best one. I had two blueprints to handle and both had great discussions which ended in many notes and work items. There was lot of people both from Ubuntu community and Linaro teams. I met many developers, some old friends, went to so many sessions that it took me most of time (I do not remember is list in post is complete).

    It was nice to see amount of ARM netbooks at people hands — mostly Genesi Smartbooks but also several Toshiba AC100 ones. I think that it shows that times are changing and who knows… maybe at next event I will not use my ASUS UL30A laptop.

    And this is another UDS with some added hardware. This time it is Pandaboard A1 which can replace my EA1 at my work for Linaro. Probably will keep both running one to another but one (EA1) with Ubuntu and second (A1) will be used for misc tests.

    Now it is a time to drop laptop in hotel room and go for party!!!

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  2. Cyanogenmod7 released

    When I bought Nexus S in January I was using stock Android for few weeks. But somewhere around FOSDEM I moved to nightly builds of Cyanogenmod which is alternative “distribution” of Android done in more open way.

    Why moved? New features, out of box support for Polish language, no problems with getting root access for applications, big community behind project were main reasons. And more… I have now custom kernel (Netarchy, DPI changed to 210 (from original 240) with use of Font Changer and normal font replaced by Ubuntu one (also done in Font Changer).

    I was updating my phone from one nightly build to another. From one RC to other and today moved to final version. Upgrading usually went fine, but each time I had to reinstall custom kernel or change back to 210 DPI but that’s how it works. I will probably check other alternative builds one day but today I am satisfied with Cyanogenmod7.

    But as this is final version then maybe I will find some time and (after discussions with our Android magicians) will do build of it with Linaro cross compiler — who knows, maybe will give few more percent of speed extra?

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  3. Linaro porting jam

    Some time ago someone at Linaro got nice idea and “Linaro porting jam” got created. But what it is?

    Once per week (Wednesday 14:00 — 18:00 UTC) we gather on #linaro channel (Freenode) and work on Ubuntu bugs which affects ARM architecture. This week I reviewed some bugs on Tuesday and started working on fixes.

    Effects? Few new uploads into Ubuntu archive:

    • lxc was lacking ARM support
    • ace has silly way of finding libraries which fails on multiarch systems
    • svgalib does not build all binaries on every architecture but assumes that they are present
    • llvm-snapshot got preprocessed source requested by toolchain WG guys from Linaro

    I also tried few other packages but failed to find a way to get them fixed. For some I left comments in their bug reports.

    Fixing bugs in packages which you do not use or even never heard before can be fun. Join us next week :)

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  4. Trips in 2011

    There is one good thing in 2011 year — I know when I will have to travel for company meetings and which conferences I will have to forget due to this…

    So in May I will attend Ubuntu Developer Summit which is a place where we discuss what we want to have done in next release. Event is also known as Linaro@UDS-O cause Linaro people will be there for same reason. Location: Budapest, Hungary. Time: 9-13 May 2011.

    Then there will be Ubuntu Platform Sprint which I may be attending but this was not yet decided. This event is Canonical internal and this time will be without Linaro people (which were present on two previous ones). Location: Dublin, Ireland. Time: 27th June - 1st July 2011.

    As Linaro has grown we got own sprint — Linaro Platform Sprint where we will work for a week in one place instead of being spread all over the world. Location: near Cambridge, UK. Time: 1-5 August 2011.

    And finally another Ubuntu Developer Summit will take place (again) in Orlando, Florida. This will be more interesting UDS because 12.04 will be LTS so more discussions about long term things will probably take place. Location: Orlando, Florida. Time: 24-28 October 2011.

    So this year no LinuxTag for me (UDS-O time), no ELC-E (UDS-P). I was thinking about attending Desktop Summit in Berlin but I lost faith in both GNOME and KDE so looks like there is no sense in going there. Will have a look to be somewhere and meet some people from outside of Ubuntu and Linaro worlds.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  5. Switched to XFCE

    Normally I use KDE 4.6 but recently Kmail started to have serious problems with fetching my email from IMAP so I decided that enough is enough and started checking other options.

    As on efika smartbook I am using XFCE I installed it, logged into and configured to be more or less proper environment for me. Also tried Unity and GNOME but none of them fit me.

    What is definition of “what fits me”? I use 3-4 virtual desktops:

    1. terminals, editors
    2. web (chromium now)
    3. mailer
    4. short work related apps

    Jabber client (psi) is set to appear on all desktops. I switch using +[1-9] keys or by scrolling mousewheel over desktop. I move windows with +LMB and resize them with +RMB. Doubleclick on window title == roll and same for mousewheel unless there is tabbing support in WM (then it switches tabs).

    So first which failed was Unity. I saw it before on other people laptops but did not took much time to play with it. Logged into session and after ~hour uninstalled everything. No application menu (I do not like “type a name” type icon launchers), no virtual desktops in old way. I felt lost - no idea how to get rid of storage icons from launcher, how to add new entries.

    Next one was classic GNOME. Lot of time passed since v1.4 which was last version used by me (then switched to Windowmaker + rox-filer + gnome-panel, then kde 3 and kde 4). Indicators, settings applets split into user and admin ones, lack of Polish language by default (I thought that I installed it but visit in settings/admin/languages told different thing). Had few hard system crashes but with help of #ubuntu-x guys I found that one of mesa libraries was still from xorg-edgers ppa. After reverting to natty one compiz was stable. But I did not found a way to get +RMB for resizing window. Spent some time configuring system but I did not felt good in this system.

    Went back to XFCE as this is simple, clean and fast starting. Now my set of tools is mix of KDE, XFCE, GNOME ones as I use Okular, XFCE-Terminal and Evolution ;D

    But Evolution shows own problems after few days. I am unable to use Canonical LDAP for addressbook even it is properly configured. I suppose that some dependency is missing which is fulfilled in standard GNOME desktop. Lack of ability to change keyboard shortcuts is a serious limitation for me as I am used to other then default ones. There is no way (or I did not found it yet) to set same way of displaying emails for all folders (including sort order). Some confirmation requests should have “Do not ask anymore” checkboxes — for example “mark all emails in this folder as read” one. And GMail contacts addressbook is not working — but this can be work around by exporting from web interface and importing VCards.

    But the most annoying thing is weird way to decide when mail is read. I set it to 0 seconds as this allows me to quickly slip though emails which I do not found interesting enough to reply but instead Evolution forgets to mark some of them as read. And there is no code to detect repeated shortcuts (as somehow I got to the point where I could change some) so I have “Ctrl-D” as “mark as read” which also deletes email (which is not listed in menu)… And why do I have to configure whole account just to add identity… Or why I can not define one SMTP server for all incoming accounts?

    So far I am fine with this setup. Will have to check other email applications again (Claws maybe, definitely not Thunderbird) as Evo is not so good as people are describing it.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  6. Month with Nexus S

    During Linaro/Ubuntu platform rally in Dallas I went to Best Buy and bought Nexus S as a phone which has to replace Nokia N900 which I used for over year. It was first time when I paid full price for such device — previously I took phones from operators or had some kind of discount (like DDP one for N900 year ago).

    Switching from Nokia N900 to Nexus S was not easy task. First I lost calendar entries when tried to sync contacts to Google account using Mail for Exchange functionality of Maemo. Good that I had a backup… Copying of data from internal storage from one device to another was easy — microUSB cables are good to have thing. And then I took SIM card from N900, put it into Nexus and so far did not took it out yet.

    Then came Market — after installing AppBrain application I had all applications, which I selected before or had on N900/Nitroid, installed properly. Then installed some more and removed some, added others etc. Common routine when you change operating system — finding which application suits best.

    For Twitter I checked few and now I have official one and Plume installed. First one only to have contacts synced and do all tweeting in second one. For Facebook I use their default app — so far did not found replacement. Best situation was with e-mail client — installed K-9 Mail and added all my IMAP accounts into it. Now my phone tells me when do I have to check for new messages before my desktop one will notice ;D

    Basically when it comes to applications Android shines (especially compared to Maemo). So far I found many programs for things which I did not had on N900: TV programme, public transportation guide, ATM finder and so on. And games! Dungeon Defenders, Gun bros and several others… Angry Birds has more levelpacks then Maemo version (but I never was a fan of that game anyway). Lot of things to choose from. Not to mention that installing of software is not so painful as it was on N900. You can use online Market, AppBrain and probably there are some other ways. Ok, I will probably miss APT but so far I am fine with what Android does. The most impressing thing is that during package installation device is not slowing down — it just adds one more entry to notification bar.

    Notifications… I like how it is done. One place for icons on status bar which expands to whole screen list of what is going on. Nice stuff. Especially after installing some extra apps which will add there switches, weather informations etc.

    Desktop looks different and has lot more customizations possible then hildon-desktop gave. And user can use other launcher then default one (I use ADW Launcher). Then just put widgets, icons, contacts, live wallpapers etc and you will be done. Business calendar which I use now can not be compared to Maemo parody of calendar (this is with most of apps anyway).

    Do I miss some applications from Maemo? Yes, I do. Nokia did good job on Contacts and integration of IM/VoIP/Skype accounts. Under Android I did not yet found out how to get it in best possible way. So I have to run separate IM client (IM+ for now), Skype is also external (but contacts are synced into addressbook) and did not yet setup SIP accounts (but this is integrated). Good thing is that after first week of use I was able to use SkypeOut for calling my family in Poland.

    But let’s get to hardware. Nexus S is light and small compared to N900. I like it’s look and feel. Screen works nicely for me everywhere. Before buying I was not sure how will I adapt to capacitive touchscreen after 8 years of using resistive ones but there was nothing to adapt to — it just works. Bigger problem is other direction — I need to press my TomTom harder now ;D Other issues? Lack of any kind of LED is a bit annoying. But NoLED helps a bit with it. Also WiFi reception looks worse then N900 had. But this one I need to check one day.

    Overall I am satisfied about this change. I have phone which has latest version of popular operating system, have access to application market where there is a problem which app to install instead of “there is no application for this”. For some time I will have system updates provided by Google, then will switch to alternative firmware and will have current software.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  7. Jetlagged ;(

    When I was in USA for first time it was UDS-N in Orlando. Previous week it was Ubuntu/Linaro rally in Dallas.

    In Orlando I had a problem with waking up very early (like ~4:00) but on return flight I slept for most of flight so in Frankfurt it was early morning for me and I was not sleepy. Next days were also fine.

    But this time it is other way ;( In Dallas I also was waking up early but after drinking some water I was able to get back to sleep. Return flight was disaster… There were few small children crying for most of time and I forgot to take ear plugs ;(

    Yesterday I nearly felt to keyboard after 15:00, today I am yawning since about same time… Argh you jetlag!

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  8. Ubuntu/Linaro platform rally in Dallas, TX

    Last week I was in Dallas, TX on Ubuntu/Linaro platform sprint rally. Like previous one in Prague this one was also spent on nailing workitems to get job done.

    This time I was working on backport PPA which contains current (11.04/natty) cross toolchain packages for Ubuntu 10.04 ‘lucid’ and 10.10 ‘maverick’. I got it working and populated recently. After announcement I got first bug reports so now I am trying to fix all issues.

    But such events are not only work. It is also good time to meet people which you know, known but not met and others. One day I went to Andrea Gallo to say hi and was introduced to Rajeev Kapoor (also from ST-Ericsson). I was surprised that he remember me from times when I was working on NDK-15 support in Poky (around May—July 2007). I heard some forgotten stories, discussed current ST-E board work and we went to other groups.

    Other day I met Jim Huang and Matt Hsu from 0xlab. It was first time when we met face to face but we were working with each other several years ago during Openmoko times. Now they work mostly on Android and shown me hibernation support for ARM. Beagleboard went to sleep and got back to running state in nearly no time.

    Wednesday evening was nice. I went to Barcadia with guys from Texas Instruments where we met Texrat (Maemo community). Got some food, beers (“Arogant Bastard Ale” was interesting but even after second one I am still not worthy) and had some discussions. But what that place had was awesome: still working coin-up arcade machines from early 80’s! There were Space Invaders, Moon Patrol and several others. I lost few coins on Galaga just to notice how awful player I am ;D

    On Thursday we went for a dinner to Medieval Times. It was a show with some kind of food. Next day someone nicely described it as “good bad experience” — I hope to not having to watch this kind of entertainment again.

    It was good event. This time I was not so jetlagged like during UDS-N in Orlando so got sleep times better. And I do not suffer too much now.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
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