31 March, 2012


Took a day off yesterday and visited a museum in Berlin. That didn't work out so awesomely as it turns out I need far more time than the average human (like Camila, although I wouldn't call her average in most regards). So I had only seen the special exhibition and a part of the Islamic stuff before being kicked out as the day was over. The biggest thing I missed was the awesome ancient Greek section which had the 'big things' (see pic below). I was chased through the section on my way to the exit and I must say that it was truly impressive. I'll be going back to that museum.

Afterwards we went to have 'Brazilian' food in Cafe de Brasil. The food was OK - what I had wasn't great (come on, 'Churrasco'? That?) but Camila's dish was quite authentic.

Gnome Shell, Lydia, flamewars

Lydia Pintscher is visiting today and as she's KDE board member this has to be the day I move my laptop over to GNOME Shell. zypper doing it's thing right now :D

Lydia hasn't seen Popcorn yet, that'll be fun. Let me trow in a picture :D

She said she's bringing cookies, let's see if those are popcorn-cookies or Camila/Jos cookies... In any case, I'll be cooking.

Speaking of cooking, there's another huge thread brewing on the openSUSE-Factory mailing list... This time, the KDE folks got jealous of the GNOMIES who can flame away on GNOME Shell vs Unity vs Cinnamon vs XFCE vs Mate, and started a discussion on KDE 3 vs KDE 4. I'm awaiting for Razor-qt to join the fight :D

I do feel a bit bad joining in knowing it's the absolutely wrong mailing list for this, but hey, it's Saturday, there's fun to be had...

Now for those who like pictures, here's Popcorn again, this time it's us on our balcony:

From the Home album

22 March, 2012

Fork me on GitHub

Christopher Wickert pointed me to web browser Qupzilla. Qupzilla mimics the Mozilla Firefox UI closely but is build on WebKit and Qt.

This project was started about a year ago by a Czech student named David Rosca. So you expect an incomplete browser. And you're wrong. Qupzilla has all the features you'd expect from a modern browser while being fast and stable.


What is cool about Qupzilla is that David does a lot of things right:
  • It has a pretty website. That's advertisement!
  • The site makes it easy to find the important stuff.
  • It is easy to contribute and that fact is advertised with the awesome "Fork me on GitHub" ribbon and the prominent 'contribute' button. GitHub is awesome but people have to find the repo!
  • Has good documentation. Both on how to contribute and how to use.
  • Communicates what is going on! It gets people engaged, makes them care. And thus more likely to contribute. One blog a month sounds like little but it's enough to keep some live in there.
  • Has an easy and pretty download page, using the Open Build Service for multi-distro support and since today using the OBS download integration.

Result: the GitHub repo mentions 14 contributors, showing a nice graph of the growth.

Razor-Qt in openSUSE?

On a different note, the package of Qupzilla has become part of the X11:QtDesktop project, where Petr Vanek and Eugene Pivnev are building Razor-Qt, the Qt based Desktop Environment. As devel project they're open to merge requests (github style, as OBS works that way too) or of course new team members. And they are aiming to Factory and thus openSUSE 12.2 inclusion soon!

Go to conferences!

As Petr, Eugene and David are all Czech FOSS developers I'd like to remind them that there are two conferences taking place within a reasonable distance of their beloved country: openSUSE Conference will take place in October in Prague this year and KDE's Akademy conference will happen from 30th June to the 6th of July 2012 in Tallinn, Estonia. KDE, as biggest community of Qt users, and openSUSE, as most important KDE distribution, would both welcome you very much! I can guarantee that as I'm involved with both conferences.

I can also guarantee lots of fun and interesting people at both conferences!

21 March, 2012

Help Tupi get to LGM 2012!

If you don't know Tupi, you might have heard of KToon. It is/was a 2D animation tool. As the website makes painfully clear, development halted about 1,5 years ago. Since then, a Brazilian developer has picked it up. He decided to rename the project to Tupi and move on with it. Since then, he has made regular releases and quite a few funny video's:

Once upon a time at Latinoware 2011... from Tupi: 2D Magic on Vimeo.

That one is especially cool, featuring John 'maddog' Hall as cartoon character :D

But on the Tupi website the following video is now featured:

The tupi author would like to visit the Libre Graphics Meeting 2012 in Vienna. Turns out the trip is a tad too expensive so a Pledgy has been set up to help out! So if you know Tupi, want to play with it, and want it to be successful: go here and donate!

18 March, 2012

Chemnitzer Linuxtage 2012

Konqi on the CLT artwork
Am at Chemnitzer Linuxtage this weekend. It is quite a nice event - they take very good care of the booth people with free food and a party on Saturday night and the event has a pretty big number of visitors. Funny artwork, too - it feels very well organized.

The openSUSE booth had about 8 people and was in front of the Oyranos booth where Kai explained the usage and usefulness of Oyranos and Color Management in general to visitors. We were joined by Klaas Freitag who brought some ownCLoud materials including stickers and flyers (but no poster! booohoo!).
Wicked Geeko, found in Chemnitz on a wall!

I worked a bit on some artwork to tell people we've got free beer (for a small 1 Euro donation to Chemnitzer Linuxtage) and otherwise hung out with various people and talked to visitors at the booth.

Lessons learned:
  • Lots of people still don't know about SUSE Studio! Or cool openSUSE things like OBS, YaST, ARM, Tumbleweed...
  • Lots of people like the geeko and want t-shirts, posters, stickers and more.
  • We need new t-shirts, including children- and girly ones. And new (laptop) stickers and the like...
  • The brochures with the "what's cool about openSUSE" information works, good way to start a conversation.
  • Quite a few people don't speak English. My German is ok-ish for basic things but breaks down on complicated matters :(
  • And we need to translate the brochures, also in German, and print those :D
  • The beer poster is still crazy popular.
  • And so is the beer, we brought 6 crates or so and were out half the day... Need to make more!

Edit: And we sold for about 250-300 euro and gave this to CLT. Cool :D

Edit2: Another thing - quite a number o the translations of the Brochure were done by a number of helpful translators, but they now need to be inserted in the Brochure. Unfortunately that is extremely hard to do if you don't speak the language... If you want to help, see this mail!.

16 March, 2012

What's going on in openSUSE marketing

Just wanted to update whoever's interested in some of the things going on in openSUSE marketing and how you can help!

Ambassador activity

The openSUSE ambassadors visit events around the world. We've got better support from the international team and are becoming more and more active:
  • In the last 6 months, we've really gotten our DVD program up and running like clockwork (thanks, AJ and Iwona (Europe), Jeff (USA), Sankar (Bangalore), Andrea and Priscila (Brazil), Al (Taiwan) and all the other heroes involved!
  • We've got the Ambassador Travel support program (thanks, Izabel and Kostas!)
  • We're creating lots of conference and promo artwork (Thanks, Andi, Shayon, Victor, and others!). See our github repo for the cool stuff!
  • And I'm struggling to get some of that artwork turned into actual paper ;-)
  • Thanks to the efforts of the USA team, we'll be visiting more conferences in the USA this year than we did in the last 5 in total... Thanks esp to Bryen for coordinating this but also to Clint, Mike, Shayon, Matt, Don, Andi and the many others who are making this possible!)
  • But not only the USA is going strong. In Taiwan we're setting up a really cool thing: COSCUP, Taiwan's biggest FOSS event, will have a track dedicated to KDE and openSUSE! Thanks go to Sakana, Al Cho, Max, Armijn and Aaron for making this possible!
  • As you might have read on news.opensuse.org we'll be active in FLISOL in the South and Central Americas.
  • And of course we're visiting loads of other events, see our ambassador event page. If you want to help out, sign up there!


Yeah, this year we'll have two conferences. For the global openSUSE conference in Prague we're close to deciding on a location. It wasn't easy to find something as we need quite a bit of room and don't want a typical corporate setting. But we're down to two locations and the locals are checkin' them out so we can pick one. Thanks to Michael, Alan, Pavol, Michal and the rest of the team who signed up to help: Michal, Michal, Michal, Petr, Petr, Petr, Martin, Vitezslav, Ondrej and Tomas. Yes, we'll have a 4-michal-3-petr conference team there... If you want to help out as well, email opensuse-conference@opensuse.org. We're especially looking for Geeko's living in or close to Prague!!!

In the USA, things are going much faster. We're readying the website, finishing artwork, preparing a CfP, working on the sponsorship brochure etc - wow. Andi has been blogging about the artwork and Shayon has been working like crazy on the website. Besides them, we have Bryen, Alan, Drew, Carlos, Robert, Rouzi, Will, Jamileth and Michael. If you want to help out too, sign up by sending a mail to: opensuse-summit@opensuse.org.

Help out!

As I already wrote, you can spread the word on openSUSE, if you like, at conferences. There's info on the Ambassador events page and you can order promo DVD's here.

Sorry for all the names I missed, it's impossible to find all of you who are active in the areas I've mentioned. And worse, I haven't spoken about many things which are going on, I know.

13 March, 2012

Wine gaming on Nouveau

In my previous blog, I mentioned that I was finally free of proprietary drivers. But that story wasn't completely over. While basic 3D acceleration and things like glxgears worked fine, wine did not run Windows games yet. So here's a report on the progress since then and some tips on how to get these things to work!

I'm not exactly a gamer. I play two games, each of them approximately 6-7 times a year. One is natively available for Linux and these days even Open Source: Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, an online 1st person shooter. The second game I have to play through wine: Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. And if I could, I would be playing a third game: Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour. Which, according to Wine's App DB should work fine. Doesn't for me, unfortunately - despite spending more hours on getting the game to work than I would play it this year...

Anyway, let's move to some (Wine) Proprietary-Gaming-on-Linux tips you'd need. Both with and without Nouveau, by the way.

RTCW and similar old, closed games

Return to Castle Wolfenstein on Linux. You want sound? And you have a modern Linux? Your game depends on an ancient sound driver system called oss... You need to install the alsa-oss layer and make sure you have the kernel stuff loaded for oss. Oh and you can forget about running both a music player and RTCW or another game which requires this compatibility, won't work. It is one or the other!

Now, the commands. Install whatever oss stuff you can find:
zypper in alsa-oss alsa-oss-32bit
then add to your /etc/rc.d/boot.local:
modprobe snd_seq_oss
modprobe snd_mixer_oss
modprobe snd_pcm_oss
That should give you all the auditory gore you need ;-)

update: I didn't know about aoss which provides an even better solution for the sound. It is simple: start et with "aoss et.x86" and that should already take care of it... It mixes now with other sound as well so you can play music while you frag away. Read more here.

Does the game work with Nouveau? Sure, but I experience occasional instability, as in - hard freezes of the system. I recommend enabling the sysrq keys and using REISUB to avoid data loss. I'll be waiting a bit until it is all more stable until I play that game more.

Gaming with Wine

I'm going to assume you managed to purge the proprietary NVidia driver from your system (yes, this can be quite hard actually) and have nouveau installed and working already. That gives you 3D effects with Compiz/GNOME Shell/KWin/etc and some other basic openGL stuff. Not enough for windows games in wine, however.

I wanted to play Warcraft III and it took me forever to get that working. Turns out error messages like "Can't load Data.dll" or Put the DVD in the drive have little to do with the actual problem. Most of the problems turned out to be related to missing openGL stuff. I had to install the experimental Mesa drivers developed & maintained by Johannes Obermayr in his home project. You should be able to download his Mesa here (although at the time of writing there was a problem with OBS and it gave an error). You will also need some other packages so I suggest to switch the systempackages to those from his repository (see screenshot).

Getting it to work

Once you've installed all new nouveau-stuff, reboot and configure wine by modifying user.reg (in ~/.wine) adding the following under the "Direct3D" header:
like this:
[Software\\Wine\\Direct3D] 1331547889
PlayOnLinux and winetricks both have this as options you can enable via their GUI's.

For sound to not block your soundcard, use pulse-audio and its alsa plugin:
zypper in alsa-plugins-pulse alsa-plugins-pulse-32bit


It is all rather painful but in the end it's possible to get nouveau to work with Wine (and other) games. But I don't recommend moving over to nouveau if you play games and if you're not desperate to get rid of proprietary drivers (and you usually only are if you want a newer kernel for its hardware support or greatly care about that Freedom stuff). It's not completely ready yet and will give you some issues.

On the other hand, we're getting there. I'm quite happy to see progress in the area of free drivers for both NVIDIA and AMD graphics hardware. If only NVIDIA would be helping the efforts to create open drivers...

07 March, 2012

Finally NVIDIA Free!

In the Prague office 2 weeks ago I saw our big touch schreen computers. These have NVIDIA video cards, and no proprietary drivers - yet they run composited desktops just fine. As my last attempt at having a composited desktop with nouveau failed I was afraid to try again and I must admit that it took me until 3 at night. I messed up my install quite a bit, it seems. But once done - it works! I can even play RTCW, but Warcraft III refuses to work with an error ("could not open Game.dll") which according to the interwebs is most likely graphics related. I hope I can fix that one day - but for now, I can live without games (almost never play 'em anyway) and I'm quite happy with my proprietary-driver-free system!