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 early; discovered lots of goodness in the spam trap, prodded
obscure build problems: its certainly getting better; uncovered and fixed
a vicious nodep mis-enablement problem. Boggled at the 'M+ Guardian' spam
trap, which appears to catch unfeasible numbers of genuine mails, prodded
IS&T about disabling it, which (eventually) they kindly did - nice.
Lots of work prodding mail, pushing patches from volunteers. I love
it when we have to up the mailing-list size limit so that people's patches
don't get bounced for being too big.
Got freedesktop account creation sorted out once and for all with
Tollef's help. Lengthy team meeting frustrated by Nurnberg re-wiring breaking
external connection to our Asterix server; IS&T love me today it seems.
Dinner, back to debug some intermittent, binfilter, crash-on-exit
memory corruption bug (you have to love them). Thank God for valgrind -
particularly since gdb won't work [ OpenOffice.org, like GNOME wants its
own python so - the infamous:
gdb: symbol lookup error: gdb: undefined symbol: PyUnicodeUCS4_FromEncodedObject
strikes again (and I still didn't get to making gdb's python dependency a
dynamic one - being lazy and all).
First LibreOffice conference track ...
I forgot to announce, the incredibly prescient OpenSUSE organisation,
being, from birth, incredibly perspicuous and wise (cf. Kim Jong Il's
biography) - kindly booked LibreOffice its own track at the
so we can get some good German beer, meet up, and discuss development,
direction and so on. Please come and join us there, Florian Effenberger
will be giving an opening talk to rally the troops, then lots of topical
development sessions I suspect. For those of a North American persuasion
I will be attempting to subvert the GNOME Boston Summit by inserting an
informal LibreOffice flavour - it'd be great to meet up with like minded
souls there too.
Father arrived to stay at 9pm, sat up talking a while, really
good to see him.
Up lateish, after a late night of frantic fixing of problems
afflicting people on IRC, and encouraging contribution - a good
number of patches having arrived (pleasingly).
Very quick breakfast, and off into Cambridge for TEAM training.
Lots of great content, dug through some of the early Church Father's views
on the inerrancy of scripture, which even today are shared by Catholic and
Protestant, Churches of East and West alike. Studied Joshua one, trying to
learn to not just read - but observe what is in the scripture carefully,
the better to understand it in its context. The last character formation
session in the afternoon: most helpful.
Back home with Mike, dinner, put the babes to bed while J.
went out counselling. Worked like stink until late, trying to get back
on top of all the pending mail, patches to merge.
Grateful for Jim Getty's
The story behind the story behind the news today
Up early; the marathon is over - and here we are: LibreOffice
and the Document Foundation have been announced. Finally we have
a project that will be fun to hack on, and not beset with keep
out signs (many sadly still invisible to the existing owner).
If you want to get involved, there is no better time than now
(at the beginning), and there is no better place than
So, many others have spoken about the sea-change in the
community and industry that made LibreOffice possible. And indeed,
I'm almost a convert to the idea that total non-developers can
provide lots of tangible value now, despite myself. Clearly it took a
lot of courage and accomodation to work together as a team, which
was for the most part a pleasure. I hestitate to call out any of
this rich set of characters I'm growing to love; you can see them
Having said all that, I'd like
to point out some of the super-stars that you won't perhaps see
on the web-site with bow-ties, in glorious monochrome.
First Jeremy Allison, Bradley Kuhn and Jonathan Blandford, old
friends without whose wise counsel and assistence, nothing would
have got done; thanks too to Michael Dexter and Karen Sandler
who put in lots of hard work behind the scenes. Simon Phipps'
whose sage support is much appreciated - eg. tweet of the day: "If
the company sponsor stands still and the community moves on,
who forked ?", and Christopher Aillon for his indulgence.
Then of course Fridrich Strba and Petr Mladek generating
builds for Windows and Linux, (and Thorsten for OSX) - and
re-spinning them until late at night, with Peter Poeml doing
wonders with mirror services. My entire product
management hierarchy were flexible, supportive and decisive under
time pressure: Pete Chadwick, Holger Dyroff, Carlos Montero-Luque
and more. Finally - in the last minute panic
of hourly revisions to the 'final' press release, Guy Lunardi
stepped into the breach and over many hours (with help from
Christophe) made the website both beautiful, and complete -
I'm honoured by his friendship.
Stepping back, it has been amazing to work towards this
goal, perhaps unwittingly with a team of great developers around
the globe; many of whom have stuck through thick and thin,
persisting even when the fashion was against them, to bring us
to where we are today.
Apparently positivity is a key attribute - so, it must be good
that tons of people suddenly subscribed to my twitter feed (that I
almost never use), how gratifying. It has been wonderful to get lots of
personal mails of congratulation from many including, several ex-OpenOffice
hackers, saying they might get involved again. It was great to see a good
number of people jumping into the #libreoffice (developers) IRC channel on
freenode, helping improve the hackers documentation, downloading and building
the code, and getting eager about doing some of the Easy
Hacks (nice entry level tasks), and merging some of their first
Similarly, from a web infrastructure perspective, it was
great to see a reverse slashdot effect, with the site going slow as
(presumably) people refreshed slashdot.org in a loop waiting for the
libreoffice.org announcement to hit the wire.
Another pleasure was the first technical steering call
planning our next moves and tentative schedule (minutes).
We made a number of clean decisions in 30minutes of pleasant, friendly,
collegial conversation; something new. It is great to have a solution
for every problem, rather than a problem for every solution.
It seems our first patch posted
to the list, was by Neil Brown - ace kernel block layer (and elswhere) hacker - (who
works for Novell, but whose contribution had got wedged between the cracks
somehow), to fix some misbehaviour of the blocks in Impress' disolve
transition (fun). After three years of being ignored
(interestingly it is still assigned to Thorsten, now at Novell, who left
Sun shortly after getting the bug) it finally made it into LibreOffice -
go Neil !
In another turn up for the books, the documentfoundation website
was slashdotted, and yet continued to serve pages, while at the same time
git, bugzilla and mailing list worked normally without interruption. Thanks
no doubt to Florian Effenberger's skill and cunning.
- LibreOffice is going to be a fun place for developers to live,
and strike their blow for freedom - without a doubt. Get involved now,
and help to shape the software and the social life for the next
Up early, the final sprint in the LibreOffice saga. Conference
call in the morning, followed by long counsel with Thorsten.
More press pre-briefings, really encouraging to talk again with
some of the most insightful (English speaking) journalists out there
around Free Software. Caught up on all the mail from yesterday.
Went through umpteen 'final' iterations of the press release,
how final can final be ? Eventually it got too late for that, moved
onto massaging the web-site. Perhaps the mechanics of having to push
binaries to mirrors well in advance frees a helpful space for actually
finishing the job before going live. Peter Poeml doing a
fantastic job of getting the mirroring sorted, Fridrich, Petr and Thorsten
having doing builds left & right.
Slogged away at polishing the website with Guy, Christophe and
Thorsten until 3am-ish; hopefully despite our mediocre talents the result
is good; bed; back to send more mail and empty the mind - tomorrow
we go live at 8am BST as LibreOffice;
Up late, off to NCC, caught part of the sermon, and
creche problems with E. not wanting to be left, for the rest.
Back for lunch, watched an incredibly lame DVD about
Santa Claus - with Christ totally removed, and a double dose of
sentimentality wedged in.
Dinner. Listened to a great Gordon sermon on Judges
and Deborah - a mother in Israel, really good to understand
the text in more detail.
Up early; off to the Dinosaur Adventure
Park near Norwich, as always good fun for all. Spirits
hardly dampened by plenty of showers.
Back, quick dinner, babes to bed; worked rather late,
right up to Sunday.
Prodded at mail, chased an irriating bug with a menu item
that, at great length, turned out to be a friendly optimisation
gone wrong; hey ho. Did more from-clean builds left and right.
Misc. conference calls, dinner, back to work in the evening.
Up early, worked through the mail backlog. Bit of
hacking, much conference-callage variously, fixed up a
malingering bootchart2 issue. Voted in the local elections.
Lydia over for dinner, bed late.
Up early, prodded mail, packed babes off to school.
Out into Cambridge with Mike Geach, to the first day of
Excessively good, nice to have a NT lecturer from the university
Theology faculty, and great teaching on various topics. V. good
of Novell to give me un-paid leave to study.
Back home, conference call, worked until late.
Up early, prodded mail. Interested to see the
Cloud Office Preview be announced at Oracle OpenWorld. It is now
at least public that this is where some large chunk of the OpenOffice
org developement muscle from StarDivision has disappeared into: a
proprietary web-office product; shame. Interesting too to have a
video demo with no release date.
Filed misc. bugs, more mail, chat with Jeremy. Dinner,
put babes to bed while J. counselled; more mail, and yet more
encouraging mail. Calls with Guy, Pete, Kerry, Ian, etc.
Up early, read mail, noticed Jeremy just extended his GUADEC
interview series to include an arch rambler. Poked at bugs variously. Call with JP. More mail.
Dinner, babes to bed, back to the cliff-face of work,
while J. did counselling.
Rest; followed by tidying and cleaning up, dunged out the
Barbequeue - and bent the grill out of shape, to fit around my
sub-optimal sheet metal-work fixing it. Off to NCC - did creche.
Back in a hurry for Martin's leaving barbeque, managed to
get the fire going eventually - John Madden arrived with his
awesome south-african grilling skills to cook lots of food.
Much of the church arrived, eat, lots of kids crammed into
the castle at the end of the garden, etc. etc.
Helped get John's computer working in the evening (some
Ubuntu netbook) - amazingly the window manager was not running
(though it did quite well despite that), the network kill switch
had no on-screen display (meaning the delay while scanning for
networks had confused him into turning wireless off again), and
a number of other unfortunate snafus. Spent a while training
& repairing. Bed early.
Up early, into Cambridge for more training in Christian
Counselling (course by Manna
House). Lovely pastor from Rugby: Steve Hall - lots
of useful background on different schools of Psychotherapy, and helpful
discussion. Lunch. More lectures, home early afternoon.
Relieved Laura of her six charges, and out to fetch some
fish & chips, storied & bed for babes. Prodded mail & the
Pleased to see safe root mounting
without an initramfs going somewhere (accelerating boot).
Up early, to work. Poked mail. Boggled at the (only)
factor of two speed-win that comes from moving the dbus code
into the kernel.
Amazingly AFAIR, ORBit2 was the same factor
of two faster (in the same topology) in many situations,
despite not having any significant performance profiling /
optimisation since it was re-written, and without any such
tricks. How does it do that: just by being less lame, doing no
string validation, better iovec construction, having cleaner socket
code etc. (though CORBA object references do suck to marshal).
C'est la vie - we need to speed d-bus up, but is the kernel really
the right place for this ? Surely we could push the same match
optimisations down into the user-space processes themselves so
they could go direct for some methods.
Spent time thinking about lang-packs; the Power of Babel
to inflict pain is quite phenomenal. Back to hacking eventually.
Brief chat with Kurt, and JP, more writing up.
Out with Julia in the evening to a training course on
Christian Counselling, Zoe kindly baby sat.
Enjoyed the mail, back to hacking. Discovered SLIC tables
in wikipedia - used
to tie your OEM license key for Windows 7 to the BIOS of your
machine, fascinating; hopefully it will stop un-authorised copying
which can only be good for GNU/Linux.
Massaged some verbiage, patch review, IM action, back to
hacking, OO.o team call, prodded some obsolete tooling: thank
goodness for API backwards compatibility.
Paint chipping and preparation of stairs in the evening:
hopefully soon will not live in a half painted house.
Prodded mail, boggled at self-serving blogs, poked Seif.
Back to OO.o hacking - loving it. Bed early,
Prodded mail, and on to some more paper ranking fun - with
a Google spreadsheet; I guess for entering simple columns of numbers
it could be worse.
Lunch, JP's staff meeting. Back to prodding at OO.o
variously. More hacking in the afternoon - fun at last.
Dinner, put babes to bed - H. terrified by some 'Horrible
History' story she heard in class at school, quivering with fear
and hard to console; makes you wonder what they teach them these
On a joint account - why is it, that when I reset my internet
credentials, my wife cannot log in and VV. - it reduces the usefulness
somewhat if you have to call the call centre anyway each time we
Took babes to school; read mail, pleased to see at least some
being discovered from the Oracle / Java debacle no matter how much
some people don't like the facts.
Appalled to see Matthew
Allum leave Intel, it is a shame for MeeGo to loose such
expertise, and experience - warmly applied.
Pleased to see that Google introduced live-search to
the UK before I did anything rash. Remembered my gitorious
credentials for the packagekit move to there (and all because
FreeDesktop has such terrible account creation latency: why !?).
Got a clean OO.o compile setup, send a gdu patch off
to David, reviewed a PackageKit patch & begged zypp help
with some others. Filled out Clarity, prodded travel agents.
Poked at my previous Python problem, it seems Tom
Tromey has done some awesome python work with
gdb, which (no doubt) I should check out next bug ...
Dinner. Julia having counselling supervision, so worked late.
Interesting to see Anssi Vanjoki - who gave a very strong
to Symbian & MeeGo step
down from Nokia.
Up early, tended babes. Off to NCC - Tony speaking on God's
building of his church.
Back to ours lunch with Peter & Dianne, Tony &
Janice and Lydia. Amused by Peter's stories of falling asleep on
trains variously: ending up in a tube maintenance yard, and so
on - a chap after my own heart.
Babes watched some insipid Hello Kitty in the
afternoon, while we tidied up, dinner, put babes to bed - more
paint stripping and cleanup.
Mini lie-in, awoken - the Met office fouled up the long
distance (ie. two days out) weather prediction - switching from
incessant rain, to cloudy with sunny spells. Perhaps the BBC
should not show their post-code based future weather maps more
than a day ahead.
Set off to Bressingham
with the babes. As normal an excellent day, much fun on the Carousel
riding horses, and singing along to the hits of fifty years ago from
some mechanical organ. Steam train rides, wanders in the beautiful
gardens. Interestingly perhaps -the- most fun piece for the babes was
fiddling in the signal box with some huge signal levers, pushing them
too and fro with great exertion.
Back; quick call with Kendy then Thorsten, mail. Set too
painting the stairs - after a hiatus of many months, sealed a lot
of new plaster.
Up early, poked mail and missed messages overnight.
Interested, though unsurprised to see a new Nokia CEO.
Watched his Gartner performance
for Microsoft (on Nokia at 30mins, and Linux 36mins). Interesting
that he has not been at Microsoft -that- long, and worked for various
other competitors. Curious times indeed. Also interested to see the fast ARM
CPU analysis - a cheap, low power, 8 core, multi-GHz ARM chip -
only 32 bit though, so not really suitable for servers, presumably
not low enough power for handhelds either: so when will the ARM
desktop arrive ? and can the proprietary world really cope with a
different architecture ?
Prodded admin. Interviewed another OO.o candidate.
Pleased to see the Wordpress
trademark transferred to a non-profit: that's great practise:
Amen. If only all nominally open communities were that well
managed, and structured: go Matt Mullenweg.
Automattic has transferred the WordPress trademark to the
WordPress Foundation, the non-profit dedicated to promoting and ensuring
access to WordPress and related open source projects in perpetuity. This
means that the most central piece of WordPress's identity, its name, is
now fully independent from any company.
This is a really big deal. ...
It's important for me to know that WordPress will be protected and
that the brand will continue to be a beacon of open source freedom
regardless of whether any company is as benevolent as Automattic has been thus far. It's
important to me to know that we've done the right thing.
Irritated by the hype around Google instant search not
being available to mere mortals in the UK, with the particularly fun
instant re-direction to the UK site you get from the US one. Why
should Americans have all the fun ? It is this kind of thing that
gives me an insane urge to smoke a Koran (or something). Perhaps if I
blackmail all of America by threatening them with a mass of demented,
homicidal maniacs I could get on TV, and call for better Google search
in the UK ? if it works for others ... Not getting enough respect ?
try threatening to murder a few people left & right to build
credibility; how offensive.
Finally got to the end of mail, and poked some code at last.
Thrilled to see Broadcom apparently finally do the right thing - and
open source their drivers: oh what needless pain we suffered, can it
really be at an end ? Excellent.
Submitted a paper on bootchart2 somewhat late for the Plumbers
Conference, and moved my flight to the right month (being over-eager
to meet the august audience that I had it scheduled for October
instead of November).
To work; prodded at clean re-build of everything, and the
associated gtk+ build breakage - just a simple deprecation problem.
Laboured on, nss not building - some twisted portability code
drbg.c:510:5: error: size of array ‘arg’ is negative.
Lunch; eventually discovered that none of that jhbuild goodness really works
for stuff that is normally installed in the system; and that the best
advice is to update your distro, and use a jhbuildrc that skips difficult
stuff like this - it'd be nice if it was possible to detect whether it was even necessary
to build these things in advance I suppose.
Dinner, up late talking with Americans: James, Patrick, and
Prodded mail, gdb crashed; oh dear - I installed a new
python to make glib build (via gobject-introspection); now gdb
won't run (why does that link to python ?); a non-beautiful outcome:
gdb: undefined symbol: PyUnicodeUCS4_FromEncodedObject
Interviewed another candidate; installed 11.3 to try to
get a working development environment. Still failed to run gdb,
but could at least use the system python for gobject-introspection.
Tried to re-build enough of the stack for the new system libraries
to work: oh dear - gtk+ (gtk-2-22) doesn't build: guess what is to
blame ? gobject-introspection (g-ir-scanner missing some
--strip-prefix mode). Gave up and tried to install the nice GNOME:Factory
repositories from OpenSUSE. Lunch.
Back to LXF column contemplation. Discovered that GNOME:Factory
is horked and won't install without griping intensely and widely about
some random video related dependency. Colin kindly pointed me at his
--disable-introspection configure flag for gtk+.
Got the Evolution:snapshots
repository to work eventually, and read mail; urk.
Thrilled to get to the point that the noise on the systemd
list is annoying enough to create a filter to get it out of my inbox.
fifty+ messages and several patches in a day is a good place to be:
Dinner, prodded mail until late.
Up too early, got babes practised with time to spare;
packed them off to school. Reviewed a PackageKit / zypp backend
bug or two, compiled a new Python so I could build
gobject-introspection, and thus PK. Prodded and merged
Lunch. Considered DOS
on Dope as a platform for a Web Office suite, particularly with
it's lack of known scalability problems (the time-wasting perils of
twitter strike again).
Called plumber to get a gas-safety check sorted out.
Interviewed a hacker in the afternoon; interesting.
Call with Victoria in the evening, Lydia over for dinner, up
rather late poking some west-coast magic.
Overslept, not into the 6:45am waking routine from the
holidays yet. Fed, and hurried babes off to school. M. looking so
tiny and sweet in her new uniform.
Back to the mail hill, admin, Clarity, tested bootchart2
pieces, merged branches and pushed out a 0.12.4 -
with memory graphing from Dave Martin at Linaro, and lots more
nice fixes and features from Riccardo Magliocchetti.
Started slogging through abstracts: I know everyone wants
their simple calculator-app to be 'more a platform than an app'
but apparently they now want to be virtual platforms - perhaps
fair enough if it has at least some tenuous link to
virtualisation; but if not ?
Dinner, baby stories, more mail thrash. Finished LotR in
the evening while J. painted.
Up early, J. off to West Suffolk to have dressing changed,
(why does she so frequently get ill when I'm away). Tended babes.
Off to NCC, ran the creche, which (despite the loss of M.)
is more packed with fun-sized people than before.
Home for lunch, with Andre and Lottie - good to get to
know them a little better. J. slept a while, while I disappeared
into the Lord of the Rings and the babes watched cbeebies.
Dinner, put babes to bed and read to them; J. went out
to meet up with Myriam, while I read ever more.
Slept until midday, swapped places with J. who slept
until rather later. Out to buy bread, lunch, played with
Watched a new kids DVD, issue one of What's in the Bible,
really rather good. Dinner, bed early.
Up rather later, breakfast with Caolan & Kendy.
To the conference, arrived a tad too late for Eike's well
attended Calc talk,
Out for lunch with Ray, Marcel & Kendy. Taxi to
the airport, plane home. Lovely to see the wonderful wife,
and sleeping babies again.
Up, managed to forget to frank my ticket on the tram and get
fined; sigh - if only the lady had been able to sell me a three day
pass instead of three singles.
Met Kalman at the conference, and wandered the conference
talking to misc. people. On to Stefan's test-ability talk, encouraging
to see the unit testing work I prototyped in 2008 (and subsequently
broken by the three-layer-izing of OO.o, and tons of stop-energy) is
finally being taken seriously, and good progress being made.
Lunch with Rene & Kendy, on to Moritz' talk on bridge
building - amusing. On to see some demos of the latest MS Office
bling from Moritz (which is impressive), a few amusing bugs in
OO.o. Prodded the horrible formula support in MSO 2010 - cut &
paste a formula from Word to Excel, and re-size it: you get a
low-res bitmap, complete with cleartype artifacts, fun.
Interviewed a great candidate for our OO.o team. Out
for an interesting & pleasant dinner in the evening. Onto
a pub for somedrinks, and back to our hotel room until insanely
Up late, breakfast; checked mail. Trammed into town, met
up with the guys; on to mba's talk on making OO.o more hack-able.
Out for lunch with the lads; back for the new build system talk.
Fine party, and fireworks in the evening.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)