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LinuxTag 2010

I just returned from LinuxTag 2010 in Berlin and it was a blast!

Our car crew (Michal, Luboš, Martin and me) got up very early and we were on our way from the Prague office shortly after seven. Fortunately it took us only 40 minutes to realize that our GPS was set to ignore highways, so we could make it to Berlin before noon. :-)

At the time we arrived our booth was already full of other SUSE colleagues and of course visitors. Besides 13 official talks we also held four hack sessions every day (making it 29 sessions in total, absolutely crazy! - the complete list is in the wiki). The booth was rather small (when compared to 3 times larger and almost always empty Ubuntu one, hope that organizers noticed that) but it was fun as always and the atmosphere was great!

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Nearly all SUSE folks were also interviewed by RadioTux, thanks Gnokii for driving that.

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LinuxTag was not always about hacking and computers. Our booth was often visited by clown who created a very nice geekos from balloons (thanks Eva!):

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And our sessions included craft workshops led by Henne and Annika:

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On Wednesday some of us were invited to Qt dinner (thanks Alex and Jos!) and on Thursday we all went to LinuxNacht. It is a great informal event where you can chat with all speakers and project contributors over beer and good food.

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I visited a couple of very interesting and inspiring talks:

Last but not least, Google had a stand where you could fill in the general and software engineering quiz. Michal and I were supposedly the only people who had the latter one correct so we were two of the four that won Nexus One phones, thanks Google! :-)

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I’m already looking forward for next year edition of LinuxTag. It is a event you can’t miss and a great opportunity to meet FOSS infected people!

(Photos taken by Adrian Schroeter, Michal Hrušecký and Sirko Kemter)

openSUSE Counter for Facebook

Gnokii pointed me to Ubuntu countdown banner for Facebook and asked me if I could rework it to show openSUSE Counter instead. Unfortunately I was not able to reuse the code because it was written in Python as a plugin for Google AppEngine and I wanted something lightier. After some time I was able to come up with my own simple solution in PHP. :-)

Here are the steps for you:

  1. login to Facebook
  2. go to http://apps.facebook.com/opensuse-counter
  3. application will ask for permission to access your profile, to accept click Allow fbcounter1
  4. click Add to Profile on the following page fbcounter2
  5. click Add to confirm your choice fbcounter3
  6. you’ll be taken to your profile page where you click Keep fbcounter4
  7. enjoy openSUSE counter on your Facebook profile! :-)

Update: When the counter seems to be stuck on 43 days, just remove and re-add the profile box.

Failgeeko

Today morning I was working on some packages in openSUSE Build Service when suddenly OSC started to throw 403/503 error messages. I went to http://build.opensuse.org/ site to see this:

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Then it occurred to me - it would be much better if we had some funny image on this page to cheer user up, something like twitter failwhale or the one Jimmac made for SUSE Studio. I started Inkscape and after a couple of minutes I created this one:

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I know it is far from perfect (I’m no artist), but feel free to grab the original SVG and create a better one! We’ll include it in the 2.0 release of Build Service which will be using Bento theme by Robert. :-)

LinuxWochen Vienna 2010

From Thursday to Saturday there was an event in Vienna held as a part of longer Austrian tour called LinuxWochen. This opportunity could not have been missed by openSUSE, so we formed a team consisting of me, Michal and Sirko.

All three days were packed with more than 70 talks and workshops. We had a stand directly next to Fedora’s one, handled by Fabian and Zoltan, so we also had an opportunity to talk about our distros and also to make fun about each other. :-) Sirko lead a very crowded workshops about Inkscape and Gimp on Friday, where people were able to create a very nice drawing of Tux and great space wallpaper with Earth and Moon. In the meantime we were dealing with very curious questions from visitors at the stand. One man was so satisfied with Michal’s patience and expertise, that he joined us for Friday’s Linuxwochen After Hour Party at Museum Quartier and bought us a dinner! :-) The party was organized by quintessenz, which is an organization to “restore civil rights that have been abolished by technical means during the first stage of the information revolution”.

On Saturday I gave a talk about Game Store and Michal told a few words about upcoming openSUSE 11.3 release. After mine talk Horst Jens, one of the pygame.org maintainers, told me that he really likes the concept of GameStore and Build Service games repository and he would love to have all games from pygame.org available from games repo. I will try to create a generic SPEC template for games written in pygame or even create an automated generator for this.

In the afternoon we held a Build Service workshop and although we had problems with network connection (which was really slow), we managed to create a package in OBS together with the people that came. We also covered the basics of OSC usage including the creation of submit requests.

Some photos can be found in Sirko’s blogpost and on his flickr.

Prezi Offline in Linux

For creating my GameStore talk at LinuxWochen Wien I decided to use new and hip tool called Prezi. I’m not going to write about its features, you have to try and see for yourself. :-) What I can say is that I really like the tool, but it has one big disadvantage - it’s written in Flash.

During the event we had a wireless connection available, but it was rather unreliable, so it was no option for me to present the talk online. I started to investigate the offline options. Either you can download the full blown Prezi Desktop, which is available if you subscribe the service, or you just download the Prezi “Player”. But wait, the page claims it is compatible only with Windows and Mac OS X. Let’s see. I downloaded the ZIP archive and indeed - it contains data folder with your presentation, Windows application (prezi.exe) and Mac OS X application (prezi.app).

Let’s get hacking! Mac OS X application is in fact just a directory structure. I copied the file prezi.app/Contents/Resources/movie.swf to the same location as my data directory and tried to run flashplayer movie.swf. Wow! The presentation started to load, but unfortunately it stopped after few seconds and I ended with this:

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I tried straceing the process, but found nothing unusual (like failed open calls). Then I downloaded the debug version of Flash Player, run the command again and got this exception:

An ActionScript error has occurred:
Error #2044: Unhandled SecurityErrorEvent:. text=Error #2140: Security sandbox violation:
file:///.../movie.swf/[[DYNAMIC]]/1 cannot load file:///.../data/fonts/LiberationSerif-Regular.swf.
Local-with-filesystem and local-with-networking SWF files cannot load each other.

Aha! Locally stored SWF files cannot load other SWF files, neither local ones, nor remote ones. That’s the problem. Ok, let’s change the standalone player settings. But how?! I tried various command line switch with no success. After couple minutes of searching I found that standalone Flash Player settings could be changed via Flash plugin that loads Settings manager from the Internet? WTF?! :-)

I will make it easier for you: let’s google for “flash global security settings content creators”. The first result at the time of writing this article was this one. Go to this URL, wait until the Settings manager is loaded and then click on the “Edit locations …” button.

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After that select “Add directory” and choose local directory where you store your presentations. From now on you enabled standalone Flash player to run your Prezis. Congratulations!

Even though I like Prezi, I would be ecstatic if they dropped Flash and used SVG instead as its presentation and interchange format, probably using the uber-cool SVG-edit as the core. :-) It would also enable iPad users to use the tool. And yes, I know about JessyInk, but that’s not exactly what I have on mind …