This is my (in)activity log. You might like to visit my employer
Novell which is an amazing company, and also
Dell who in days of yore provided me with a
free laptop for Gnome development / conferences.
Also if you have the time to read this sort of stuff you could enlighten
yourself by going to Unraveling Wittgenstein's net or if
you are feeling objectionable perhaps here.
Stuff Michael Meeks is doing
- Up lateish, off down south to Grant's 70'th birthday
party at a lovely location in the countryside near Crawley. Good
to see the brothers, fine food & lots of it, Magician to entertain
the adults & children. Home lateish, bed.
- Up early, off into town to the market with the babes,
purchasing frenzy. Back home, packed babes etc. to bed, lay down
- Late lunch, Myriam taking her 1st shaky steps, very
confident standing now, locomotion requires more effort. Listened
to a sermon on
Marriage Roles, while J. cut my hair - fun.
- Up early, chain mail: played with groupwise via telnet
to try to reproduce some strange problem, fun. Poked at a curious
customer / Excel document, fun.
- Resynched configrefactor01 to m225, luckily almost
nothing changed (except my string interning overlap), read the diff
- Call with Michael & Sabine, then Guy, call with Roman,
excellent chap. Dug at the awful XSLT pile in odf-converter some more,
exception chasing is not fun. More mail.
- Up very late, started work late, finished E-mail late,
bother: a day of E-mail, seems to me a day wasted:
I must work harder on OO.o.
- Started to file SL10.3 bugs, overall it is looking really
beautiful, particularly impressed with compiz-fusion: clearly I've
been option deprived by Gnome, and the huge number of 3D settings:
fish inside the cube etc. are the antidote. Filed more bugs.
- Early to rise, makes a man wise ? if only. Plugged away at
SL10.3, unfortunately the Ati driver I got is some beta that doesn't
support 'professional' chipsets like mine (bother) - roll on their free
software driver ! Spent a while digging at the old downloadable driver,
with some patching, it compiled and (even) worked.
- More research for my talk, several attempts at humour.
- Into London, managed to meet Dave Riddoch on the train,
interesting chap. Hacked at slides a little, on to UCL, talk - great to
meet up with Thomas Wood & Rob Bradford afterwards and get the low-down
on their OpenMoko work.
- Got the last train from Liverpool Street (just); Thank God.
- Up, kids to school; to work. Mail bits. Added Jon
to planet go-oo, though his mug-shot is clearly from a previous
- Amused by Excel 2007's calulation
oddities - does this lie behind some hedge-fund's sub-prime
problems ? Pleasingly calc (naturally) works just fine - one of the
few areas where even I think behaving as Excel does for improved
interop is a really bad idea.
- Pleased that Gartner seem to have their head screwed on
this week with Gartner declared open-source software the biggest
disruptor the software industry has ever seen
eweek.com - Amen.
- Lunch, team meeting, call with Miguel. Started
considering a change of focus for my UKUUG AGM talk tomorrow,
urgh writing new talk content is real work.
- Up late installing SL10.3 for demos tomorrow, for some
reason it wanted the later packages from the net instead of the
DVD: hopefully a feature-not-bug when released.
- Up, packed babes off to school with J. shovel out
for the mail backlog. Poked lots of mail, spewed more mail.
Lunch, call with JP.
- Merge Jan Kara's nice patch for iogrind to read
block data for ~any file. Enabled the 1st iogrind detected
performance win/patch for OO.o.
- Knocked off early, and worked late.
- Lie-in, off to NCC for Tony's inauguration by Simon
Matthews, back afterwards for lunch with Lydia's friends Peter
& Dianne: lovely Christian people.
- More lying in the garden in the sun, getting jumped
on by / hiding with babies etc.
- Excellent Gordon sermon
What Jesus Taught about Divorce (Mat 19:1-12).
It's interesting to know that marriage was undergoing a collapse in
Jesus' time, much as in ours.
- Bed early again, starting to make progress with the sleep
- Up early, to the aiport; checked in - met Fridrich
in-line, helped move his luggage; breakfast together - got plane,
and read the conference programme. Poked Julian wrt. a valgrind TLB
- Met by the beautiful wife & children, home - much
clinging of little girls, hugging of arms etc. great to be back.
Lots of lying around somewhat stupified, ham eggs & chips for
dinner, bed early.
- Up early, Radek sleeping sweetly; off to the University.
Sculling around talking to people, attended a few talks on this &
that, some good content around the place.
- The Novell free AMD laptop draw happened, Peter Junge
managed to win a disk. Caught up with Jeremy - excellent chap, off
for lunch with hdu, Ricardo etc. Ricardo deployed his sweet layout
demos again a few times for good measure.
- Bid 'bye to all & sundry. Out for coffee with Rene
& John, on to the Place Catalunya for a fine, final dinner with
the team. Then back to the hotel for final festivities.
- Up at 6:30am, breakfast with Michael B & Guy,
interesting. Off to the conference, listened to Zaheda &
Jeremy's wise counsel variously.
- Met people for much of the morning, call with Nat,
hacked with Guy; press people started arriving in the afternoon
Nick appears pleasantly camoflaged behind a beard.
- Various talks, Ricardo did a great spiel on his
Layout work - exciting to see the cool layout containers he has
created; and the scope of his layout work (slides to follow).
Great to see the right Sun people in the talk too.
- More one on ones, and off to the hotel for some
drinking action with the team and press; out for a meal, then
into town to meet up with Simon Phipps, bed at 2:30.
- Up early, taxi to the conference - hoping for
breakfast, but got a talk by Louis instead. Breakfast, handed
out T-shirts left & right - running out.
- Talked to all & sundry, handed out free laptop
draw forms, talked to Alan / Guy etc. sorted our parallel
program out with Florian.
- Lunch with Stefan Bergman & Jurgen Schmidt -
demo'd Ricardo's new layout work to them, and iogrind.
- Back, talked to Ricardo & planned our talk
tomorrow - great to chew over yast2-gtk, gdk-pixbuf and OO.o
layout all in one session.
- On to the RedFlag talk, an interesting new user
interface - met Thorsten Ziehm.
- Out with the lads for real Sangria, Tapas etc. up
rather late; reviewed slides with Fridrich, bed late.
- Up early, shower, poked mail with some amusement.
Worked much of the day, out for lunch with Petr. On to a series
of fairly surreal meetings: Community Council (sitting in for
Laurent Goddard), and the ESC - with a somewhat lame agenda.
- On to the Native Lang party - good to meet the RedFlag
people, and Fong for the first time. Lots of discussion etc.
Out with our friends from IBM for some free beer.
- On for dinner with the lads & Stefan, Thorsten.
Back to bed late.
- Up earlyish, breakfast with Kendy re-packed everything,
set off for the airport - with diversion to help a friend, locked
out of his home.
- Checked in with Radek & Petr, hacked at a LXF column
on the plane. Flew, out for an emergency meal with the lads.
- Back to the hotel for hackery, phoned the wife - babies
kissing the phone remotely: most sad. Mail pile, reviewed slides,
looked at this & that. Poked at OO.o/GStreamer a little.
- Poked at the
Neo1973 a little, an interesting beast - unclear if it's charging
or not though; given the random powering offs, it's probably not.
Subscribed to various mailing lists.
- Chat with Laurent, out to drink Sangria - with Radek &
Kendy: some awful Sangria - poisonously strong.
- Woken rather early by a draining issue. Breakfast -
rather cold before the sun got too high. Phoned the delightful wife,
seemingly (chronologically) no closer. Packed, got the solutions to
the game from Jan, packed everyone into the busses & headed off
for a final meal with Eric & Tim.
- Dropped off at the station, Train/Bus to Kendy's
appartment, showered & some blogging action. Reviewed Guy's
nice slide-deck for OOoCon.
- Interested to read of Sun's expanding MS strategic
alliance. Chewed mail backlog - urgh.
- Up at the crack of dawn, briefed by Jan Kara (game-master)
and set off, first stop Kendy (surprisingly reasonable artist) with
various directions to give. Followed a succession of wanderings in
the forest for many hours, up and down hills and up and down again,
with a dragon, a fortune-teller, a herbalist, Lubos as a (mad?) Mage,
etc. until Lunch - still apparently none the wiser.
- Fine lunch, with disasterous wrong turn from the market
square, cunningly avoiding most of the people to get artefacts &
advice from. Eventually ended up at the beautiful castle; in time to
play games for money with Kendy, Lubos etc. admired the fine castle,
went on a tour of it (excellent view & tour guide). On to another
view with an Astrologer.
- Back to the camp, via another unfortunate detour, lost
again but headed in the right direction. Caught up on FUSE, how
the VM works (& some processor / TLB fun), the RAID subsystem
& opportunities there etc.
- Eventually arrived in the darkness (with wonderful
views of the stars) at the camp-site. Another fine meal (the feast
of SuSuSu). Ralf's group had managed to find the tune on the back
of the Lizard Stone, cue fine fireworks, etc.
- Sat around the camp fire, talked with Duncan MV, got to
know Greg & Kay rather better: good fun. Stayed up exceedingly
late, the evening eventually turned into a sing-along, with Kendy
on guitar, Ralf on the recorder, many singing songs Czech, German
& English. Attempted a few Hymns secular & modern myself,
much fun. Bed at 4am or so.
- Breakfast with X guys, met Lowry Snow in person, and
Jack (while checking out) - good to catch up.
- Off to the conference - Miklos speaking on FUSE - I
didn't realise this was a Novell project: neato. Did my iogrind
talk, several good ideas from kernel hackers. Shameless lobbying
of the powers that be afterwards for resources to solve I/O issues.
- Pavel Machek showed me the OpenMoko prototype &
loaned me one for some hacking action; nice. Lunch with him &
- Phoned home, all well, Greg did an interesting talk
on our kernel development, dissolved the conference - fetched
luggage, coach travel to a different world: that of the Lizard
- Lots of huts, with bunks, auto-organised into teams,
barbeque meal thing in the evening - eat & formed team with
Niel Brown, Nick Piggin, Oliver and Miklos. Really fine setting
to talk & get to know some of the gems of our Kernel / labs
- Alchemist training in the evening - extremely well
done; with 'Donkey Cheese' as a key ingredient eg. fun. To bed
- Woke naturally at 3:20am, eager to get going (or something).
Breakfast, taxi to Stanstead. Hacked in the back.
- Met Kendy & Lubos, drove via the Holesovsky flat to meet
Petra & baby - fun. Drove on to the SUSE labs conference - met up with
lots of old friends & aquaintances.
- Good to catch up with Egbert & a jubliant X team - changing
the Free software world for the better. Demo'd iogrind to a number of
people not here tomorrow - great to see Jan Kara, and meet Andre in
- Back, to bed early - got side-tracked & had dinner with
Eric (OO.o QA hero) & Tim. Fixed an iogrind bug or two, sleep of the
- Up late, ill & tired - an exciting cold. Prodded mail
gingerly, responded to yast2-gtk thread, merged Radek's nice iogrind
patches. Call with Thomas at lunch.
- Finally got to a reply for Louis Suarez-Pott's LXF Interview
(LXF97, October 07 - sadly print only). An extraordinary interview from the
Libre Graphics meeting. Some fascinating highlights:
- "A great example of a stride in strategy" &
user-friendliness ... would be for OO.o (writer?) to add a feature
that noticed if the user would be better off using a DTP app and
recommended Scribus instead. Apparently "In the open source world, you
loose nothing by advertising somebody else's product..." - really !?
- Most problematic for Louis was (apparently) Novell subsidising
a river-boat last year at OOoCon Lyon with meal & champagne. Incidentally
we tried to do a similar (wrong?) thing this year but ran into problems...
"Rather than a junket,
perhaps the money could be better spent by sponsor companies on, for
example **training project managers how to work in a more non-hierarchical
fashion**" - one has to wonder: which project managers ? and who
introduced all the unnecessary (& often dysfunctional) hierarchy we
see in OO.o today ?
- Apparently "some companies don't really act as a sponsor in a
true sense - they're prepared to contribute resources by supplying people
to work on areas of programming ... and don't really work with the
non-developer community" - well it's true: we hack on things that we
think are interesting & useful to our customers & wrt. growing OO.o,
and we invest ~nothing in non-developers. It seems clear (at least to me),
that to improve OO.o - we need a lot less talking, and a lot more coding.
- "It would be great to have companies like
Novell working more fully with the community, and not just in this
market heavy fashion. Novell sponsors OOoCon, which is great, but
rather than a barge cruise, using that money to help with QA,
localisation and training etc. would see a better return for both
Novell and the community as a whole." - some sage advice for sure.
I mean, why sponsor a time for OO.o contributors to relax & talk
(as a thank-you present for all the hard work they have done in the year)
- when instead we could fund a fraction of an extra QA person ? oh &
perhaps eat gruel to save money for critical project-manager training ?
- Then we move on to the vexing ethical concerns surrounding
the sponsoring of events, we have "How much does it cost to buy the
interest of the developer ?" - in general my feeling is approximately
the cost of their salary. If anyone feels obliged to be nice to Novell on
account of free beer, please don't be. Louis is at least correct to be
un-fazed himself. I certainly don't feel indebted to VA, Google, IBM, Sun,
Intel, Microsoft, and many others whose hospitality I've enjoyed over the
years. Clearly the hope is not to buy people off, but instead to build community
by putting people in a single boat, with some beers & encouraging them
to talk to each other. From a stark hard-nosed perspective, I would try to
persuade management that if we build a more fun & friendly community,
Novell benefits via. a better product, though there is some brand,
product awareness & feel-good factor too.
- Anyway, it's refreshing to know that the hard issues of the
day in OO.o lie, not where I think they are: in the code, it's stewardship,
and development: but instead in the ethics of accepting unwanted &
unconditional hospitality. Cheers.
- Continued poking my DiskSim file to try to persuade it that adjacent
track reads are fairly inexpensive, managed that, but apparently seeks are
under-valued too now.
- Up early, called the credit card company - to try to unwind
their horrific policy of stopping frequent traveller's cards working
abroad. Chappy was eager to know exact flight dates etc. for a full itinery.
So - this is Co-Op Bank / VISA stupidity; I wonder if there is better / hard
data on card providers that don't screw customers around ? Amex ? Mastercard ?
"FooCard: we don't leave you stranded in Turkmenistan with no cash !",
perhaps a good marketing strap-line ?
- Poked bugs. Jody's latest
blog on OOXML is fun, unfortunately Jody no longer works for Novell, FYI.
- And more interest today. Today, IBM
joined the OpenOffice.org project! which leads to several thoughts (amateur
pundit that I am):
- Firstly - welcome, this is an amazing day for both IBM and OO.o.
As something Novell has worked hard at (unfortunately behind the scenes) for
many months, it's great to see this come to fruition finally.
- Louis Suarez Potts famously re-assured IBM (Don) in Koper
that no-one in the community thinks not-releasing your OO.o code-changes is
anti-social (or words to that effect). As a person who had spent some time
hammering Don on this topic the night before, I was appalled. So I'm
happy now to enthusiastically applaud IBM for doing the right thing: releasing all
their changes & contributing them to OO.o. It's a great sight to see IBM
step out of the proprietary swamp into a world of Free Office Software:
following Sun's lead some years ago with OO.o.
- Go IBM ! It takes a lot of courage to start assigning all your
code ownership to a competitor. My hope is that as more substantial contributors
join OO.o, we will be in a stronger position to make this a truly open project,
with meritocratic leadership and ownership (like ~all other successful,
- Speaking of ownership, here is a trivial spot the imbalance
competition (some numbers
approximate), just focusing on developers (as of the new world): if we add
community translator head-count etc. of course Sun would be swamped numerically
(and trying roughly to convert a number of part-time community developers into
a guesstimated ~10 full-time equivalents):
- Question for Sun mgmt: at what fraction of the community will Sun
re-consider it's demand for ownership of the entirity of OO.o ?
- Anyhow, welcome IBM !, I'm glad to have you involved in OO.o,
and I look forward to working with you guys to try to make OO.o a project
with lower barriers to entry, that people and companes can easily join;
oh, and preferably one that is fun to hack on. Lets (finally) start to
make OO.o rock.
- Lunch, back to iogrind - I should post some screenshots some time I
guess. Wrote my report at length for AMD, including in this the effect of sorting
the files passed to OO.o's pagein binary (on Unix) by inode number. The pictures
show reads as red blocks linked by red lines; ie. the less scribble the fewer seeks:
- Rather an image-heavy day it seems. Off to visit a clothing solutions
- Up, prepared a little, parents & relations started arriving
for Myriam's dedication. Off to NCC in convoy; service with Mary giving some
pieces from her life, Helen speaking & Dave Staff dedicating the 3rd
Meeks girl in ~as many years.
- Back for a fine blow-out; talked to the family, dangled baby,
played stuck-in-the-mud in the garden etc. fun.
- Out for a walk on the heath in the afternoon. Fun, everyone left,
cleaned up house, bed.
- Up earlyish, fixed the washing machine: a new belt
required; interestingly the designer also inserted a razor-sharp burr
just where you need your hand to be to twist the belt onto the main
- Cleaned & tidied a little, looked after the babes.
David arrived for lunch, great to see him - set off for a Steam show in
the afternoon - lots of fine old steam engines, rollers, even a lorry.
Wandered around, went on a steam driven roundabout with the children.
Back late, tea, kids to bed. Talked a while, bed early.
- Poked at yast2-gtk bugs, and wrote them up for Boyd -
heroically volunteered to help out fixing issues for OpenSUSE. Spent
a while fixing some acutely odd brokenness, showing up only on other
people's machines. Eventually found it - a joyous side-effect of the
disksim code being so warning-dirty, that my silly errors disappear
in the noise.
- Skipped lunch to hack, worked with Radek. Worked late.
- Up early, to work; mail, call with Noel & Jian. Wrote
up conference notes. Downloaded / burned OpenSUSE 10.3 B3, lunch.
- Kelli's staff, spent a while hacking disksim profile
parsing to do what I want. Call with Kelli, call with Garret.
- Put babes to bed, dinner, Dave Staff over to plan Myriam's
dedication at the weekend.
- Back to iogrind - spent a long time reading
disksim .model files to try to create synthetic disk models; guessing
zone breakdown, track size, etc. seems more fun than expected:
unfortunately disksim appears to use either a stupidly simple 'fixed
seek time' model, or a heinously complicated no-holds-barred model and
not much in between; nothing like "please give me a sane-ish disk of
size N Gb".
- Up early, Hannah's 1st day at school. Started on the mail
backlog / conf. summary front. Call with Radek, M. screaming, lunch:
tired. Call with JP. Glad to see Miguel's Moonlight
announcement. Added a suitably dire warning to iogrind, and up-loaded
slides and (
- Contemplated enduing the team correctly. Cell group in the
evening: first after the summer - went well.
- Up, breakfast with Alasdair, Alan & Steve; off to the
conference. Showed Alan my iogrind talk, and Linus who popped by, met
gregkh in person. On to Rob's talk - side-tracked in the middle by
Dirk, off for a beer / lunch with him.
- On to a KDE4 talk, interesting; release planned Dec. 07.
Chat with Chris Schlaeger, coffee, on to James' git talk. More git
goodness with Linus, discovered a number of interesting git related
things, some perhaps useful for OO.o.
- Out for beer & burger with James, Alp, Rob & Daff.
Train home, bed.
- Up early, breakfast with James, lots changed in Downing's
kitchens & seemingly the Howard building is expanding; tried to get
onto the conference network. More iogrind hacking. Off to lunch with
the Collabera guys, caught up with Kay.
- On to impressive OpenChange & related talks, then Chris
Mason on Btrfs. Poked at iogrind in the background - got the spider view
- Gave my talk, pleased to get a few kernel hackers; good to
meet Olaf & Chris in person, talked over this & that. Out to
the pub with Arjan & the Collabora guys; then off to Duxford. Fine
food, interesting aeroplanes to see; back, back to the pub, bed late.
- Up early, off to C3 in Cambridge; service good. Dropped on
at the University Arms for LinuxConf Europe. Caught up with the usual
suspects, plus an unexpected bonus of seeing David Riddoch & Peter
Kitson in passing College.
- Great to stay at Downing again; off to Churchill in the
evening with the mob, mulled wine, fine dinner in the evening, and
talk about the history of computing at Cambridge. Back late, to hack
- After consulting James, increased fs block read-thunking
to 64k requests, drastically changed the shape of the profile;
- Up early, off to the market while J. slept, shopped, back,
J. up, back to bed myself - sigh. Lunch, out in the afternoon to
Thetford forest - Santon Downham, paddled in the (abnormally full)
river a little, climbed a tree, picnic of doughnuts, back home, bed.
In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my
own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of Novell, The
Lithuanian Gov't or Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's also important to
realise that I'm not in on the Swedish Conspiracy.
Occasionally people ask for formal photos for conferences,
Michael Meeks (email@example.com)