13 December, 2011

GNOME in Rio de Janeiro

On the beach, no less! At Copacabana, the most prestigious beach in Rio, I discovered proof of gnomes. It seems they try to hide by stepping in other people's footsteps. That's not working very well, as you see - it's clear they're there. I leave it up to you to decide what this means (but I do agree that the GNOME team deserves a break and Copacabana is a great place for that).

The beach is pretty, we went for a swim at night. Careful with the waves, they're really huge... I lost my flipflops in the water but miraculously found them again :D

Oh, and yes, we've finally seen Jesus! See the picture below, he's the dude in the back playing 'airplane'. We also enjoyed great (and unfamiliar) fruit juices and some more beach. Have some red stripes again. Tomorrow we'll try and see some trees, then we fly back to the Gauchos.

08 December, 2011


While Calligra 2.4 did not make it as part of openSUSE 12.1, its latest beta is available in the KDE:UpdatedApps repository and I hope Tumbleweed will pick it up too. I'm quite excited about this release and I'd like to share why!

Little intro

As you might or might not know, Calligra is the result of a split of the KWord maintainer with the rest of the KOffice team. The ODF based Suite has a wide range of applications. From Krita, the most versatile and usable sketching and painting application on Linux (click for an experts opinion), and Kexi, the most powerful and complete database tool available as Free Software - to Words, Karbon and Stage. These last, as well as all the other applications in Calligra, are far less mature than Krita and Kexi. The team has been limiting their scope, focusing on getting them stable and usable while skipping on features.

But despite lacking quite some features, these apps are OK for the basics. And they have excellent ODF support as well as the best DOCX support available outside of MS Office. Not that I like that format - but you unfortunately need to be able to open it if you want to work with non-linux users these days...

The most interesting part of Calligra is its architecture. Calligra developers call Calligra 'the webKit of office suites' because the applications are only a thin layer over the powerful core. This design has proven itself when the Calligra developers ported their applications to platforms like Nokia's N9 (where it ships as standard office suite) and KDE's Plasma Active. There are currently four distinct GUI's for Calligra Core!

What's exciting

For me, the exciting part about Calligra is that it's fast and easy to use. OpenOffice.org and later LibreOffice always suffered from performance and stability issues and the betas of Calligra have been extremely nice in those regards. The UI is also a delight compared to the competition. Words has a few nice improvements compared to the previous version and it's far more useable on a small, wide screen laptop. As I only write basic documents and don't use fancy features in my presentations, Words and Stage suit me quite nicely - while keeping my rather slow laptop from cranking up the cooling fan.


More importantly, for me at least, is that when working with Calligra, you feel potential. It takes innovative approaches to user interface elements and thanks to its design, anyone could whip up a new interface in a short time. This is what Free Software needs - a powerful base to innovate on! If you think you can do better with an Office UI, whip something up in QML (javascript)...


The app I use most is Stage, the presentation tool. It works quite comfortable compared to the competition, faster and more stable too. The coolest thing I was looking forward is the Infinite Canvas support in Stage, which will allow it to do Prezi-like presentations. Would be great to have such a cool feature in a proper presentation app instead of needing flash or having to build SVG files by hand... Unfortunately it's not there now but planned for the next release.

Getting it

You can get Calligra stuff for openSUSE by just clicking here (One Click Install)or by adding the KDE:UpdatedApps repository by hand. Currently it's all at Beta 3 but of course newer versions will be packaged in no-time!

Nightly builds

I've been trying to build packages pulling the code directly from git in OBS but I'm not smart enough to use this cool feature :(

Help or tips are appreciated. This stuff does not seem to be documented anywhere, at least not n00b-style. If I manage to get this working I promise to write a 'how-to' to turn an OBS project using a 'fixed' tarball into a 'nightly building' thing pulling directly from a SCM - there are quite a number of projects who would probably love this. I'll also try and provide nightly-build Calligra packages for other distro's.

06 December, 2011

Being in the know

'being in the know' means something like being one of those people who knows what is going on. When it comes to Free Software events around the world where openSUSE is involved that means being on the opensuse-ambassador mailing list. That's where we discuss events and where you can send invites you receive for openSUSE attendance. Like, for example, this one:


My name is Erin Tyler and I am with the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference (POSSCON), one of the largest open source software conferences on the east coast. We would like to invite OpenSuse to participate in POSSCON 2012, scheduled for March 28 and 29 in Columbia, SC, USA.

Thank you for any consideration,
Erin Tyler
Coordinator, POSSCON 2012

If you want to be there or at any other event to represent openSUSE, let us know - mail the ambassador list!

04 December, 2011

Beautiful weather


As you can see in the picture, I have parked my ass on the beach. Visiting OpenBeach in Brazil, yup yup. Time for some much-needed relaxation - I'm taking pretty much the rest of this month off.

I have already transformed from a White Wale to a nice Red Lobster. Of course I failed to put the sunscreen on myself evenly so it's more like a Red Panter. Greatly enjoyed the pirate party on the first evening (Friday night) although it lead to a little bit of a headache the next day. Something to do with the beer, I guess. Yesterday did fairly little - today, churrasco and chimarrĂ£o (and Matte).


I still will do a little bit of work (nobody would expect otherwise, right?) but it'll be as minimal as I feel I can get away with. I do have some blogs scheduled, which will go out over the coming days. Which doesn't mean I actually am online, for some reason wherever I go the internet seems to stop working. Bad karma or something - I wouldn't be able to reply to any mail if it wasn't for offline IMAP. Aaah, just means I have no choice but to relax more :D