GNOME Travel Commitee

•August 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I was asked to write about my experience with the travel commitee and the trip to GUADEC 2010.

Short: Very good. Whenever you should want to travel to some conference or hackfest that is related to GNOME, ask these brave people for help.

Long: I am no student, but was a speaker at GUADEC (in my vacation time, not officially from my company). So I hoped to get at least some support from the Travel Committee to reduce the impact of the whole trip on my budget. They organised a hotel and payed for it and sent me some information about a very cheap flight (half the price than the cheapest flight I found). The hotel thing included breakfast and lots of other hackers staying there. This alone was extremely valuable.

The only (very small) downside: I had to wait a few days longer for the Travel Commitee’s answers than I expected, but at GUADEC I saw so many people who got the same good assistance from them like me – they had to be working on some kind of caffeine flash to get this all together. Please be patient. Everything worked out perfectly.

Thanks to the Travel Commitee !


Guadec 2010, first days, short

•July 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment


No time to blog. GUADEC is happening… I will make it short

Trips (Amsterdam and Den Haag: You should visit these citys. They are great)

People: Met lots of interesting people, gathered several great ideas and there will be some awesome time the next few weeks when these ideas get implemented

Hotel: Good choice to get Travel Comitee Support: The Hotel is good and with many of us living at the same place I meet lots of great and friendly people at breakfast and in the evening (one word: beer)…plus: I do not have to pay for the hotel. But meeting people is lots more important.

Talks: Interesting. Not much time to do anything else

Hacking: No time yet. A bit sad

Blogging: Should stop that now. Next talk starts

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.4) on my Dell mini v10 netbook

•May 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I updated/installed Lucid Lynx on 4 computers so far. No problem anywhere. My Graphics card (Asus EAH 5770) now gets a driver out-of-the-box. Thanks.

I measured the boot speed on my Netbook and compared it with Karmic Koala

Karmic Koala needed 37 seconds, 7 seconds of that is BIOS (19 %).

Lucid Lynx needs 25 seconds from pressing the button to the UI. (Login screen switched off).

Booting Linux (without BIOS) needs 18 seconds, BIOS eats 28 % boot time now.

It only needs 68 % of the time Karmic needed to boot. WOW ! Good job.

My hardware DVD player needs 14 seconds. My netbook is getting close.

Oh, and the feature I love the most: Nautilus’ F3 dual folder view (or whatever it is called). It has a large impact on my daily work.

Mood: Thankful

HDD dying ?

•May 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My computer acted wired. It was not able to mount some partitions when booting. My Samsung HD 103SI seems to have some broken sectors (40, says Palimpsest), checks do not finish.

The Samsung Windows tool ESWin detects the bad sectors, but everything else seems fine.

I changed the BIOS settings to AHCI, maybe it helps. At least I hope so. The computer seems more responsive…

Palimpsest is a cool tool and the new Ubuntu just  rocks – but maybe Palimpsest has some trouble with the hdd and the missing AHCI. Or some driver is a wee bit buggy

If you got any experience with this combination, please tell me !

Running backups now…..

Speaking at GUADEC 2010 !

•April 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Just got the confirmation. I will be talking about malware and potential threats to a Linux Desktop.

And especially: How to design software do minimize the threat.


•February 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment


About half a year ago I decided to start an Open Source project to:

Enable everyone (including my mother) to use public key cryptography.

PGP was written in 1991 and still people can’t use it. At least for people leading a non-nerd live it is to complicated. (“Just create a key-in fact a public and a secret key – and share one but not the other and – you can create a web of trust – trust me, it is easy”). People will fall asleep after the first 3 words.


My mother creates an account in evolution. If she clicks the button “I want to encrypt my email”, a new key is created automatically using her name and email address. It will be uploaded to the key server.

A CaCert account is created with her name and her location. If a key signing party is in the neighborhood, she will get an email “Please go to the bar Gypsies on sunday. Bring your ID.”

If she gets an encrypted mail and the key is not on her computer, it will be downloaded automatically. The mail program will hint her to verify the keys (starting with the ones she mails with regularly). If she wants to verify, a key a wizard will guide her through the process.

The wizard will first find out how good she knows the person (Relative ? Old friend ?) and offer her ways to verify the key (“Oh, it’s your son-please phone him and ask him for his fingerprint. Enter his fingerprint in the box below”).

She knows me and my voice. This is better than her ability to verify official IDs. This will get the key a very good  verification rating. Which is calculated basing on her choices in the first two questions.

The box with the fingerprint will offer her 3 similar choices after she entered the first few characters (hey, we already have the key). This way she will have to ask the other person for the exact fingerprint, but she will not have to enter the whole thing. If the fingerprint matches, the key is verified.

For that Seahorse needs new DBus interfaces and other software has to use it.


I started with contributing bugs and code to Seahorse.

– Create a key-DONE

– Download  and import other people’s keys-in progress

– Verification wizard-Bug, but not started

– Encrypt/Decrypt data using DBus-DONE

– CaCert interface-contacted CaCert…pending

– Upload key-Bug, but not started

Important: I just changed the Seahorse side of the project. Other software like Mail clients will have to be changed as well !


Like every good cylon I evolve – by learning.

I fixed half of it. Other bugs got in my way and I wanted to really understand the code and added lots of documentation.

I learned:

– Adding documentation really helps to understand a code

– It takes lots of time

– Some projects and the people working there respond very well to suggestions

– Others don’t

– I love the Seahorse people. If you are looking for a cool project to hack on, this would be a perfect start.

FOSDEM for Beginners

•February 9, 2010 • 1 Comment


Back from FOSDEM. It was great ! It was large ! It was exhausting !

Imagine the largest conference you know. Add 3000 people, Multiply by X ( where X >> 1). That’s it.

Stuff I learned:

  • You will need a badge with your name, nick and the logo of the project you are hacking on (or you will not be found)
  • Share the mobile phone numbers with ALL the people you want to meet
  • Go to the stand of your project (in my case: GNOME). Help them. It is easy and thats where the people meet each other.
  • Have a cheat sheet
  • Be there early. Some of the rooms do not have microphones and some of the speakers are not very experienced. Sit close to the front.
  • Have some business cards with you
  • Eat before you go to a beer event

The cheat sheet

It most contain: When are the (beer) events and where ?

When are the interesting talks and where ?

Who did you want to talk to ?

Which stands to visit ?

Additionally you will need a map of Brussels. But that can be found at the hotel.

Print this on a piece of dead tree.


There are several things I did not manage. One of them is: How to get on the GNOME photo ? It was a chaotic situation where no one I asked knew when and where there will be a photo. So I ( and Pablo) missed it. If you know how to get on this thing (maybe Photoshop ?) please tell me.

Remembering faces and names

I met so many great and interesting people, but I fear I will not be able to remember their names and faces. Already had that problem during the weekend. It was just to much and to many. If you know a trick how to remember the names, please tell me.

<Here now be photo, thank you Pablo>

Pablo and Me at FOSDEM 2010