Lars Wirzenius: January, 2006


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Debian: One more about the OpenSolaris talk at Debconf6

Alvaro Lopez Ortega comments on my explanation of why I don't want the OpenSolaris panel talk at Debconf6. He misses the point: I am not objecting to OpenSolaris itself, but to having a talk about it at Debconf6.

From my entry: "I [...] questioned the fact that Debconf6 will have a talk on OpenSolaris, when there are good Debian related talks rejected." I think that for a Debian development conference, having a talk about Debian is much, much more important than discussing OpenSolaris, or even co-operation between Debian and OpenSolaris. That is the core of my objection: OpenSolaris is not about Debian, and the talk is crowding out a talk about Debian.

As a smaller issue, I do also happen to dislike the OpenSolaris license (the CDDL), and this makes me dislike having the OpenSolaris talk (instead of a Debian one) even more. I have sufficient grounds for disliking it in the fact that it is Yet Another License. More importantly, it seems to be incompatible with the GPL, which causes all sorts of unpleasant complications if Debian wanted to use OpenSolaris code. Further, it seems unclear that the CDDL fills the requirements of the Debian Free Software Guidelines. The result: there is little room for co-operation between Debian and OpenSolaris. This doesn't mean OpenSolaris is evil or that it needs to be shunned. I'm perfectly happy with non-free software, but not in the Debian context.

The license issue can, however, be disregarded completely, when arguing about having this talk at Debconf6, as far as I care. I want to see a Debian conference concentrate on making Debian better, and not on making OpenSolaris better. If there were free slots in the conference programme, I wouldn't mind, but there aren't. All slots are full, and Debian specific talks have been rejected in favor of the OpenSolaris talk. That is what irks me.

Note also that I'm not criticizing the people who want to give this talk (or hold the panel, or whatever), only the Debconf6 talks committee. And I did that in private, I didn't drag it into public.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Debian: On using phones

Martin Krafft asks why some people don't like telephones. I'm one such person.

Telephones are error-prone, low-bandwidth and high latency communication media that still require real-time response. I like having a conversation face to face, but using a telephone cuts out almost all the bandwidth from that, so that you can only rely on voice, and not even the full spectrum of that. What with a limited spectrum of frequences, low sound volume even at the highest setting (I have bad hearing), strange accents, and generally abysmal sound quality (background noise makes it almost impossible to hear what the other person is saying), it takes a lot of time to get anything settled over the phone.

IRC, for example, is in many ways similar, but it differs from a telephone in two different aspects: you don't need to react within seconds, and messages get through loud and clear (well, big-fonted and clear). Even if a telephone call may be shorter than an IRC discussion, it requires much more effort to happen, and on the whole is not as productive.

This doesn't mean I'd refuse to discuss something over the phone, but I'd really, really rather not.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Debian: OpenSolaris talk at Debconf

Alexander Schmel writes in his web log:

Update: Small correction: We got some feedback. Liw raised some concerns. His mail was answered 8 minutes after we received it by a committee member. Since he didn't answered I guess he is satisfied by the answer or at least doesn't feel very strong about that point.

To clarify: On December 27, I mailed the talks committee and questioned the fact that Debconf6 will have a talk on OpenSolaris, when there are good Debian related talks rejected. I have received their response, and I understand their reasoning. I strongly disagree that their reasons are sufficient to approve the talk. I haven't responded yet is because I'm thinking about the appropriate way to do that. Celebrating the new year also intruded.

Silence does not necessarily signify assent.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rant: Bugzilla

I have never liked bugzilla much, and for the past week or so, I've found a new reason to dislike it, or at least the GNOME instance of it: every time someone changes the subscriber list ("CC") of a bug I've submitted, I get mail. That's now happening daily. I really don't understand why that setting is turned on by default, and, worse, I haven't found out a way to disable that setting and only that setting. I've lost my patience and configured GNOME's bugzilla to never, ever mail me anything again. This means that if I want to continue to use bugzilla (not that I've ever done it much), I will need to actively poll any bugs I've reported.

I am, however, also not going to be reporting any bug directly to GNOME again. Bugzilla is simply too much pain for casual bug reporting. I don't care how wonderful it is for the GNOME developers; if it is painful to me, I won't use it. All my GNOME related bug reporting will happen through Debian in the future.

For a project that prides itself on simplicity and usability, GNOME's use of bugzilla is rather weird.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Random thought: LotR

A few years ago, the New Zealand government agencies for tourism and immigration created a series of three advertising movies, known by the acronyms FotR, TT, and RotK. As proof of truth being stranger than fiction, they were generally mistaken for real movies, perhaps because they're excessively longer than normal ads. For whatever reason, they were shown in movie theaters in many countries, and a bunch of people saw them. I watched only the first one in a movie theater, though, and skipped the two others.

To further promote truth's strangeness, the movies are not only available on DVD, but they're available on DVD in so called extended versions, with even more footage. For a lark, I borrowed all three from a friend, as extended versions, and have now watched the first one.

I must say that these are the best ads I've ever seen. I've also been heavily influenced: I spent half an hour browsing NZ immigration rules and job ads. Alas, there doesn't seem to be much interest in a Linux programmer there. Pity, it seems to be a very photogenic country, and I have tens of thousands of shots left in my camera's shutter.