29 March, 2008

Tibet II

I would like to add a little to my previous blog about Tibet, if you don't mind.

There were some comments about the Olympics not being about politics. Well, I don't know about that. The Greeks who started that whole thing laid the foundations of our modern society in terms of democracy and freedom. The Ancient Olympics were as much about politics as today - maybe even more.

Another thing the comments were about is how I/the US/the rest of the world are spreading lies about whether Tibet is part of China or not. Well, I couldn't care less. I know it is rather etno-centric of me, but I don't care much about history. Sure, one can learn from it - but whether some area once belonged to some country or not - how does that matter? I believe people should judge and be judged based on NOW, not on what their forefathers did but on what they do and did in their own lives.

Finally, about news and dishonesty of media: I don't believe a government is qualified to dictate what people should know or not know, say or not say, think or not think. How could it? It's, just like everything else in the world, run by humans. Humans are not infallible, and neither is a government - or any other organization for that matter. Psychologists have discovered hundreds of common errors in the way people think and work together (just have a look at Groupthink). In the western society there is a healthy suspicion towards powerful organizations like large companies and governments - and for good reason. That's one true thing History taught us: such organizations inadvertently turn evil somehow. Bureaucracy, the way large organizations keep themselves together, does this by alienating people and by taking away their responsibility. It's hard if possible at all to prevent that from happening. And as far as personal power goes, who doesn't know how 'power corrupts'?

Just like free software leads to better software, freedom leads to a better government. Not perfect - but as there is no guarantee a single, relatively small group of people can always make the right decisions, freedom is your best bet. Despite all its shortcomings.

Besides, the fact the Chinese government, just like any dictatorship before and after it, tries to limit any independent reporter in their country and Tibet in particular imho shows they KNOW what they do is wrong. Or at least the realize people would oppose their actions - and if you are not confident in your own decisions, if you aren't even willing to defend them in the open - how can anyone trust you? Believe me, the American government isn't much better - they try to keep journalists away from what they do in other places in the world as well. I think it's a safe bet they have reasons for that which aren't entirely honest (or just plain evil). In that regard, the Chinese government isn't better or worse (though the scale might differ, and the US government is a lot more limited in what evil they can do thanks to the laws governing their country).

Anyway. Life sucks, that's for sure. At least for many in this world. I'd be the last to say what happens in Tibet is anything special - people are oppressed all over the world. And they have been - for ever. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't care, right?

So on this blog you can find a little script you can use to show your discontent with what the Chinese government is doing. As they took down Tibet.org, we can take down their site. Bad? Illegal? Probably. Not a solution? Sure. Luckily, YOU can exercise your 'evil, western etc' freedom to protest this, so just comment on my blog if you think this is wrong - and I and others will read it. And as most of us here are sensible people, if you make a compelling argument, we can decide NOT to use this script. After all, it's the choice of every individual reading this blog. As long as he/she lives in a free country, that is.

For those KDE-ers who think this topic doesn't belong here: you're right (maybe I should mention our new KDE 4 slogan 'Be Free'? Aaah well....). This will most likely be the last blog about this topic.

23 March, 2008

Tibet and the Genocide Olympics

I usually only blog about KDE related stuff here, but I think the current situation warrants something else. What is going on in Tibet is horrible, and the Chinese government should be ashamed of themselves - again.

And apparently, the Chinese government took this war digital. Tibet.org is down, and I just read reports about emails with malware being send to known supporters of the Tibetan cause from unknown Chinese origin. Nothing is sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese government had something to do with this. So they started it themselves.

Seeing the atrocities going on, it seems the Chinese really want their 'Genocide Olympics' (hint to the Darfur situation, but equally relevant to the cultural and now growing physical genocide in Tibet). I know KDE isn't into politics, but honestly, is this politics? This has got to stop.

So. What can freedom-loving people like we do now? Not too much, but imho the least we can do is protest, speak up. This is my little thing. Who's with me?

22 March, 2008

pretty cool Plasma stuff

Plasma themes rock ;-)

Now you can have a much more consistent look throughout KDE 4. Just us a theme combined with a matching colorscheme and you're good to go.

Here are a few screenshots showing how KDE 4 trunk can look these days.

I must say Slim Glow really is a favorite of mine, it always looks good. For those who wonder how hard it is to install Plasmathemes: ridiculously hard. Really. You have to through at least 3 mouseclicks on weirdly named buttons like "Get more themes", pick one yourself (the horror!) and click "install", then you even have to CLOSE the window... Luckily by then you only have to choose the theme you want to apply and it's done. Boy, when will KDE grow up and start thinking for us silly users? Or at least let us google, then sort through a website, download, locate and add themes by hand. Wait, you can, of course. It doesn't have to be three mouseclicks, it can be needlessly complicated just like you're using Windows ;-)

For those who like pink (and honestly, who doesn't?) here a Fluffy-bunny based look as finishing touch. Respect to the guy/girl who made "Sugarcoma Bunny" (find it on kde-look.org).

15 March, 2008

what, two panels?

Even though it's not friday anymore, I was kind'a inspired by Aaron's blog to start playing with plasma again. Aaron speaks about an add panel patch from Stephan Binner and I had to check it out. So here you go:

As you can see, Plasma now also supports themes, I would love to see the Fluffy Bunny theme get in there by default :D

There still are some issues with layouting of widgets, sometimes they overlay each other. And it's pretty hard to move them on the panel (hint: you can't) (edit: Binner just blogged about a patch he has ready which will make this possible!!!). I hope these can be worked out before a release, as such things are very crucial to a 'finished' feel. But despite these issues, it's getting more and more fun to play with Plasma - pity I forgot to put the ball on those screenshots... (Edit, I didn't forget it, it's there, just look under the comics plasmoid) Yes, a ball. Red. Round. You can throw it around, it bounces of the side of the screen and the panels. Nice demonstration of physics on the Plasma desktop. I wonder who will come up with a patch which lets you throw all widgets around ;-)

Oh, and check the Plasma Roadmap on Techbase, it has some nice stuff already. I hope they can get to all of it...

04 March, 2008

That'll teach him

Hehe.... Last Sunday, Aseigo blogged about Dashboard widgets and how Plasma now natively supports them. Yes, he did mention Zack had to get some fixes in Qt. But despite that, half the world tried to get the code. And that code didn't just need qt-copy (which almost every KDE hacker probably has compiled) but the latest qt-snapshot AND a patch against it from playground... Now that's not just obvious (nor fast to compile), and Aaron didn't blog about it. So for the last days, the Plasma IRC channel has been flooded by ppl asking Aaron how to get the Dashboard stuff compiled ;-)

He must be getting crazy. Even more, that is, as I can imagine having Zack over for a few days must leave someone in a certain... mood... ;-)

And yes, FOSDEM rocked, I just didn't blog about it due to a lack of time. So, to make up for it, a few pictures.

A certain someone (once Akademy organizer) drunk 'a little' too much and had to be carried, Lydia and Jos (vd oever) doing so on this picture. I had my share as well. I must say that certain person (K....) was very quiet the following day, not surprisingly, considering his condition when I took this picture.

Our happy other last-year Akademy organizer (you can enjoy that status only for like 4 to 5 more months, so I suggest you do so, Riddel!)

Yeah, this is what the Amarok ppl had to show. They didn't give me screenshots, so here's an actual Screen Shot.

Mike, the Amarok Mascot.