Home again

I’m still sick; I bought a bunch of grapes on Wednesday — I remember Eric Laffoon remaring how great they looked — and in the course of the afternoon I started feeling queasy. I went to the residence, tried to eat some dinner, and then I found out I shouldn’t have done that. Cue one very feverish Thursday, an incredibly bad Friday (what with getting up at four to catch my plane) and a bed-ridden Saturday. I’m up now, I’m going to try to eat something. A spoonful of yoghurt or something.

Anyway: if people wondered where I had disappeared to on Thursday, now they know.


The network at the Akademy is really bad. I feel completely isolated at times. The wifi network has a very small range and near the end of the day when most people are trying to connect their laptops it may be impossible to actually get an ip address from the dhcp server.

I’ve been at the talks that were most interesting to me personally — multithreading, async programming and scripting — Mirko Böhm has done a very cool little lib that will make it actually possible to do task-based programming in C++. The ADK we created at Tryllian has that as an important feature, too.

Multithreading is cool; async programming definitely is. Imagine simulating threading using timers — on a multi-code chip. Timer-based
async programming has no future.

Walking on the Dark Side was also interesting, being as it was about what we should be learning from dot net and things like that. The talks following that one actually dovetailed very neatly. What is needed is a framework that provides object oriented programming in any language — non-oo languages really are out. I’m now going to try a new approach to scripting Krita that Richard Dale suggested.

Without a drop of coffee!

I can’t believe I just did the second presentation I ever did without having drunk a cup of coffee… You can have either coffee or juice at breakfast, and when I arrived at the conference center, the coffee machine was not working. Besides I needed to get the room unlocked — which I did very nicely by getting a native speaker to speak to the security guard who assured me it was being opened that very moment.

I’m quite sure that I have actually been videotaped, and perhaps even streamed The streaming address is http://stream.fluendo.com/akademy — but I’m not sure where the streams are archived, so if you go there you will, depending on the time, see another hacker expostulating about his pet project.

The talk went somewhat well, I guess. I may have made an ass of myself, but people came out with useful questions. Note to self: don’t forget to add the cheatsheet workflow helper module to Krita. That was a very fun idea.

And then, when I picked up my laptop the dvd-drive slipped out of the case and crashed on the ground. It still apears to work somewhat, but it won’t eject properly anymore.

Right… Coffee, blog reading and relaxing until the coffee break, and then another round of talks.

(I also missed the party last night because I didn’t want to run the slightest risk of being hungover. There were actually quite a lot of people who didn’t go either, and I had a nice chat with the ktts maintainer, Gary Cramblitt, and went to bed quite early. And there were a lot of people at my talk; I was afraid it would be a no-show event because of the Novell-sponsored festivities.)

First day

Well, actually the first day was yesterday, with the E.V. meeting. Gosh, those meetings are long — I got up at 3AM to get my taxi to Schiphol, only to have my plane being late, which meant I missed my connection in Paris, which meant I was late for the meeting, which meant I missed the first half. But no problem: I got enough EV meeting to last me a year… Nice dinner, by the way, nice conference center, nice accommodation: those Andalusians do their students well!

We were all enjoined by Kalle to be at the conference center today at 9:00 sharp, because the Andalusian bigwigs were going to welcome us. Turnout was good, and the speeches were nice and short. Actually, these government under-secretary types appear to be knowing something about what we’re doing and about what they were going to be talking about.

A quick break to get my pink slip… And then back to listening.

The first talk was by someone whose name I missed about the Novell Linux Desktop. Well, it certainly seems a professional desktop, but, well, on the other hand, it goes completely against the grain of Matthias Ettrich’s original vision: have something unified with everything working the same. You don’t get that when you run OpenOffice, Evolution, Kopete, Firefox on top of either Gnome or KDE — and this guys appears to be very much a Gnome user. You still got a couple of toolkits — OO’s own thing, Gtk, Qt and XUL. Integration is improving, and they’re doing usability work… But you don’t get the integration you’d get with a whole KDE desktop.

He actually says that Kontact doesn’t work and Evolution does… Let’s hear the next presentation, which should actually have started about ten minutes ago.. It’s about Kolab, and I bet they’re going to tell us Kontact does work, does integrate with those MS mail server thingy and with Groupwise. Right now, I could do with more coffee. The little cup at breakfast wasn’t quite enough!

Right, Aaron is now going to introduce the Kolab talk. And he’s promising us this talk is going to prove the previous speaker wrong. Till Adam.

MS Office is replaced by OO, IE by Firefox, but nothing to replace Exchange or Lotus Notes. Both Evo and Kontact support as many backends as possible, but we’re never going to be as good as Outlook is at being outlook; playing catch up takes so much time we cannot innovate — it’s really hard to be an exchange client. We need to provide the full stack: client and server — and to offer painless migration paths. But there much perfect interoperability with Outlook clients.

Kolab gives us: enterprise mail server, scheduling, free-busy management, assigning, managing to-dos, shared mail folders, calendaras, addressbooks, notes, journal, management, multi-localtion and what not.

And Kolab works with apache, cyrus, openLDAP, Postfix, Amavis and Horde (for php apparently, don’t know about that…) That means it’s a complete Exchange replacement, and unless a company has let itself being ensnared by “special offers, just for you, it’s cutting our own throat…” by Microsoft for Exchange, you should move to Kolab. It’s not as if you really need to stop using your virus-vector, er, Outlook client on the client if you move to Kolab. There is solid evidence that Kolab works; there are many real-world installations with tens of thousands of seats.

(Ah, I’ve found the camera. Apparently there are webcasts!)

Kolab is so easy to install nowadays and so complete, you don’t need no expensive consultants anymore — should give that a try. We could use a shared calendar in our family. And in the Krita team. Memo to self: ask speaker to set the Krita developers up as Kolab group on the KDE kolab server. adam@kde.org, if I don’t get to the hands-on demo session. We need to share our todo’s in a more dynamic way than a wiki page. And I need Kolab at home, if just for the disconnected imap.

Kontact is great! (Even if marking all messages read is ctrl-r in Akregator, alt-r-r in KNode and alt-o-r in KMail components.) It doesn’t matter whether you use the kontact shell (I do) ar the companents apart — they still communicate with dcop. That reminds me — I need a dcop guru to help me.