Report from the Debian/Ubuntu Community Conference, ITA 2010

From the 17th to the 19th of September in Perugia, Italy, it took place the 5th edition of the Italian Debian Community Conference, which has been attended by many contributors and users.

For the first time, the event has been organized in collaboration with the Italian Ubuntu community, as to create a new joint conference in order to foster shared contributions and emphasizing the large common ground of our projects. This new experimental kind of mini-conference was then labeled DUCC-IT, to reflect both the local profile and the mutual collaboration.

After the initial social night, spent discussing of several ongoing free software efforts and having dinner all together, the conference official opening started on Saturday, temporarily housed at University of Perugia, with a series of talks and hands-on session aimed at recruiting new contributors to work on development, translations, documentation writing and marketing. It has been a good opportunity to celebrate the Software Freedom Day too, in collaboration with FSUG Italia and the participation of some local schools.

DUCC-IT '10 Group Photo

The event been also attended by some members of the Debian Women and Ubuntu Women teams (whose goal is to promote women participation in both projects), who organized a round-table debate taking the Italian panorama as a study case. The discussion embraced different topics, ranging from the wide difference in numbers, to the deep causes of this phenomenon and how to improve the situation. With the help of the hacklab staff (hosting the debate), an audio/video streaming has been made available in real-time, and many remote participants joined us with comments and questions.

This new kind of collaboration between our communities was found to be really positive and more events has already been drafted for the next year, including a translation sprint and a contributors meeting.

We encourage worldwide local communities to try and engage in a similar experiment: organizing and joining a DUCC event will be pure fun.

A detailed report of the conference will be soon available, completed by photos, participants’ comments, video records and slides for the talks.
We’d really like to thank the Math Department of University of Perugia, the Projectz On Island hacklab, FSUG Italia, the Ubuntu-it community and everyone who contribute to this event.

Report from the Debian/Ubuntu Community Conference, ITA 2010

Too many gurus spoil the plug

Being a rather patient and peaceful guy, I acknowledge that perfection is a difficult goal and I rarely rant publicly about troubles I’ve stumbled upon.
Today however, I feel I have to wholeheartedly agree with Bernd about Guruplug: it has been a waste of money.

I received mine in May, with the order placed and payed in February. First thing noticed is the issue with the power supply: I really think they forgot QA testing on these machines, as my PSU (and many others, just skim through the official forum) blew up just an hour after power-up.

I wasn’t lucky enough to admire over-heating and internal (mis-)cooling, as it went immediately through GlobalScale sales department for a RMA under warranty.

And then I waited for GlobalScale, for an actually working unit. And still I am, it’s almost September now. Patiently waiting (hoping, I’d say) for some answers.

I’m not sure who to blame here, Marvell, GlobalScale or both, for this issues with regards to QA, design and sales. But I’m quite sure the final result has been already perfectly described: a major fail.

Too many gurus spoil the plug

Sending mail through a SSL-only relay server with ssmtp

I sometime feel the need of sending mail directly from my terminal (eg. with mail or reportbug) without having a complete mail-server on my laptop, which is often offline or NATted. For this, I’ve started to use ssmtp, a simple MTA which only delivers local mails to a more powerful remote SMTP-server. I’ve configured it to only communicate over an encrypted TLS connection to well-known port 465, to avoid man-in-the-middle sniffers and firewalls filtering outgoing port 25. This is my configuration (can be tuned via /etc/ssmtp/smtp.conf on Debian-like systems):

root=myuser
mailhub=mail.example.org:465
rewriteDomain=example.org
hostname=myhost.example.org
UseTLS=yes
UseSTARTTLS=no
AuthUser=myuser@example.org
AuthPass=XXXXX
FromLineOverride=YES

Of course, you need an external mail server configured to relay your mail and accepting TLS connections. For this purpose, you could also use a free mail service, like GMail.

Sending mail through a SSL-only relay server with ssmtp

Uzbl in Debian

After some delay, uzbl is now available in Debian (testing and unstable). Uzbl is a webkit based browser which aims to adhere to the Unix philosophy of having programs that do one thing and do it well; as such, it comes with a main binary (uzbl-core), acting as the real web-renderer, which is controllable by third-parties via standard fifo’s and sockets. The package also bundle some external helper scripts for daily web-surfing (ie. handling history, bookmarks, cookies, etc.) and a ready-to-user wrapper (uzbl-browser) to help setting up the environment, using the default config.
As a standalone browser, it may look quite similar to vimperator (default key-bindings and interface are strongly vim-like), but overall it offers a more powerful and completely reconfigurable user-interface, can be fully scripted and hooked with self-made helpers and is even embeddable in other applications (eg. Emacs). Nonetheless, it brings all the power of a fully fledged webkit renderer.

You may find it particularly useful when working within a tiling window manager (like awesome or xmonad), or used as a full-screen remote monitor, easily controllable via socket (you should really try socat with it!) or plain-text fifo (for a bunch of stats, as easy as a `echo "uri italiaora.org" > /tmp/uzbl_fifo_your-instance`)

Uzbl in Debian

È arrivato Inkscape 0.47!

Dopo oltre un anno di intensivo sviluppo e refactoring, è finalmente disponibile Inkscape 0.47.
Questa nuova versione dell’editor libero di grafica vettoriale SVG porta con sé un miglioramento delle performance ed una enorme quantità di nuove caratteristiche, tra cui: auto-salvataggio a intervalli regolari, tracciati Spiro, nodi curvilinei e scolpitura, lo strumento gomma, nuove funzionalità per lo strumento ritocco, una barra di controllo per l’aggancio e una modalità di aggancio totalmente nuova, nuovi effetti su tracciato (tra cui la distorsione a busta), una enorme collezione di filtri preimpostati, nuove funzionalità di esportazione PS e EPS basate su cairo, il controllo ortografico, nuove estensioni aggiuntive, l’ottimizzazione del codice SVG generato e molto altro

ancora. Da menzionare inoltre il grande impegno che ha portato alla correzione di centinaia di bug segnalati durante tutto il periodo di sviluppo.
Per ulteriori informazioni e curiosità sulle nuove caratteristiche e su tutte le novità introdotte con questa nuova versione,
potete consultare le note di rilascio, sfogliare la galleria degli screenshot o semplicemente scaricare il nuovo Inkscape per il
vostro sistema.

Note di rilascio:
http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/ReleaseNotes047

È arrivato Inkscape 0.47!

Inkscape 0.47 is out!

After over a year of intensive development and refactoring, Inkscape 0.47 is out. This version of the SVG-based vector graphics editor brings improved performance and tons of new features, some of which are as follows: Timed autosave, Spiro splines, Auto-smooth nodes, Eraser tool, New modes in Tweak tool, Snapping toolbar & greater snapping abilities, New Live Path Effects (including Envelope), A huge collection of preset filters, New cairo-based PS and EPS export, Spell checker, Many new extensions, Optimized SVG code options, and much more. Additionally, it would be wrong to not mention the hundreds of bug fixes as well. Check out the full release notes for more information about what has changed, enjoy the screenshots, or just jump right to install it.

Release Notes:
http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/ReleaseNotes047

Inkscape 0.47 is out!