Tag : tag

Migrate from Hotmail to GMail

So you have this Hotmail account and you want to migrate to GMail for all the obvious reasons. How can you do that?

A few months ago it was possible to forward your Hotmail e-mails to another e-mail account, which made it very easy to migrate to any other e-mail provider. However, Microsoft decided to limit this functionality so that you can only forward within the Microsoft e-mail services (such as hotmail.com, live.com, etc). This limitation looks like a desperate attempt to limit the drain of e-mail users.

Since mid-March, Microsoft provides POP3 access to your live.com or hotmail.com e-mail account. It looks like Microsoft had to let this go because users want to receive their e-mails to their mobile devices, etc.

Thus, how do you migrate from Hotmail.com or Live.com to GMail?

  1. In GMail, click on Settings→Accounts and scroll down to Get mail from other accounts.
  2. Click on Add a mail account you own.
  3. GMail Add your account

  4. GMail My account Settings

  5. When you click on Add Account », GMail will check on the spot if it can access the Hotmail account. If there is a problem, you will be prompted with the precise error. For example, I noticed that Hotmail does not like logging on in POP3 twice with 15 minutes. So, when you add two Hotmail accounts, space it out to over a quarter of an hour.
  6. GMail Identity

    On the next screen, you are prompted if you want GMail to setup an e-mail identity for this Hotmail account. What this does is that it allows you to reply to the received e-mails using your Hotmail e-mail address while you are inside GMail! Here I recommend to enable this feature, but select your GMail address in the Reply-To field. This means that by default, when you reply to your Hotmail mails, the sender will be your GMail account. However, on demand, you have the option to select the identity of your Hotmail e-mail account when composing a new e-mail. This process helps in your contacts learning gradually that your e-mail address is actually your GMail one. For those that continue to send mails to your Hotmail.com account you can remind them which is your current address.

Playing with Git

Git is a version control system (VCS) software that is used for source code management (SCM). There are several examples of VCS software, such as CVS and SVN. What makes Git different is that it is a distributed VCS, that is, a DVCS.

Being a DVCS, when you use Git you create fully capable local repositories that can be used for offline work. When you get the files of a repository, you actually grab the full information (this makes the initial creation of local repositories out of a remote repository slower, and the repositories are bigger).

You can install git by installing the git package. You can test it by opening a terminal window, and running

git clone git://github.com/schacon/whygitisbetter.git

The files appear in a directory called whygitisbetter. In a subdirectory called .git/,git stores all the controlling information it requires to manage the local repository. When you enter the repository directory (whygitisbetter in our case), you can issue commands that will figure out what’s going on because of the info in .git/.

With git, we create local copies of repositories by cloning. If you have used CVS or SVN, this is somewhat equivalent to the checkout command. By cloning, you create a full local repository. When you checkout with CVS or SVN, you get the latest snapshot only of the source code.

What you downloaded above is the source code for the http://www.whygitisbetterthanx.com/ website. It describes the relative advantages of git compared to other VCS and DVCS systems.

Among the different sources of documentation for git, I think one of the easiest to read is the Git Community Book. It is consise and easy to follow, and it comes with video casting (videos that show different tasks, with audio guidance).

You can create local repositories on your system. If you want to have a remote repository, you can create an account at GitHub, an attractive start-up that offers 100MB free space for your git repository. Therefore, you can host your pet project on github quite easily.

GitHub combines source code management with social networking, no matter how strange that may look like. It comes with tools that allows to maintain your own copies of repositories (for example, from other github users), and helps with the communication. For example, if I create my own copy of the whygitisbetter repository and add something nice to the book, I can send a pull request (with the click of a button) to the maintainer to grab my changes!

If you have already used another SCM tool (non-distributed), it takes some time to get used to the new way of git. It is a good skill to have, and the effort should pay off quickly. There is a SVN to Git crash course available.

If you have never used an SCM, it is cool to go for git. There is nothing to unlearn, and you will get a new skill.

Git is used for the developement of the Linux kernel, the Perl language, Ruby On Rails, and others.

Keyboard layout editor UI concept

(click for bigger image)

At the top we select the keyboard layout file, the variant, and set the corresponding verbose name.

The keyboard layout editor shows a standard keyboard, where each keyboard key can show up to four levels. When you select a key, the bottor-left window shows the characters that have been set (here we use four levels). In this bottom-left window we can drag and drop characters (from Unicode blocks) and dead keys that are found from the right of the image. Dead keys are shown in red boxes.

The user is also able to include existing keyboard layout files in the current layout.

At this stage I am thinking how to easily draw the keyboard in a PyGTK application. It would be important not to draw it manually. It would be cool to have a GTK+ keyboard key widget, that you can specify the size, and the text that appears on it, then build a keyboard in Glade. Another option would be to have the basic keyboard as an SVG file (already exists), then draw over it with Cairo. I am inclined for the second option.

Converting between XKB and XML

I completed the stage that takes keyboard layout files from XKB (X.Org) and converts them to XML documents, based on a keyboard layout Relax NG schema. Then, these XML documents can also be converted back to keyboard layout files.

Here is an imaginary example of a keyboard layout file.

// Keyboard layout for the Zzurope country (code: zz).
// Yeah.

partial alphanumeric_keys alternate_group hidden
xkb_symbols "bare" {
   key <AE01> { [        1, exclam,      onesuperior,  exclamdown      ] };
};

partial alphanumeric_keys alternate_group
xkb_symbols "basic" {
   name[Group1] = "ZZurope";

   include "zz(bare)"

   key <AD04> { [        r, R,           ediaeresis,   Ediaeresis      ] };
   key <AC07> { [        j, J,           idiaeresis,   Idiaeresis      ] };
   key <AB02> { [        x, X,           oe,           OE              ] };
   key <AB04> { [        v, V,           registered,   registered      ] };
};

partial alphanumeric_keys alternate_group
xkb_symbols "extended" {
    include "zz(basic)"
    name[Group1] = "ZZurope Extended";
    key.type = "THREE_LEVEL"; // We use three levels.
    override key <AD01> {   type[Group1] = "SEPARATE_CAPS_AND_SHIFT_ALPHABETIC",
[ U1C9, U1C8], [  any,   U1C7 ]   }; // q
    override key <AD02> {   [ U1CC, U1CB, any,U1CA ],
type[Group1] = "SEPARATE_CAPS_AND_SHIFT_ALPHABETIC" }; // w
    key <BKSP> {
        type[Group1]="CTRL+ALT",
        symbols[Group1]= [ BackSpace,   Terminate_Server ]
    };
    key <BKSR> { virtualMods = AltGr, [ 1, 2 ] };
    modifier_map Control { Control_L };
    modifier_map Mod5   { <LVL3>, <MDSW> };
    key <BKST> { [1, 2,3, 4] };
};

When converted to an XML document, it looks like

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<layout layoutname="zz">
  <symbols>
    <mapoption>hidden</mapoption>
    <mapoption>xkb_symbols</mapoption>
    <mapname>bare</mapname>
    <mapmaterial>
      <tokenkey override="False">
        <keycodename>AE01</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>1</symbol>
            <symbol>exclam</symbol>
            <symbol>onesuperior</symbol>
            <symbol>exclamdown</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
    </mapmaterial>
  </symbols>
  <symbols>
    <mapoption>xkb_symbols</mapoption>
    <mapname>basic</mapname>
    <mapmaterial>
      <tokenname name="ZZurope"/>
      <tokeninclude>zz(bare)</tokeninclude>
      <tokenkey override="False">
        <keycodename>AD04</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>r</symbol>
            <symbol>R</symbol>
            <symbol>ediaeresis</symbol>
            <symbol>Ediaeresis</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
      <tokenkey override="False">
        <keycodename>AC07</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>j</symbol>
            <symbol>J</symbol>
            <symbol>idiaeresis</symbol>
            <symbol>Idiaeresis</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
      <tokenkey override="False">
        <keycodename>AB02</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>x</symbol>
            <symbol>X</symbol>
            <symbol>oe</symbol>
            <symbol>OE</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
      <tokenkey override="False">
        <keycodename>AB04</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>v</symbol>
            <symbol>V</symbol>
            <symbol>registered</symbol>
            <symbol>registered</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
    </mapmaterial>
  </symbols>
  <symbols>
    <mapoption>xkb_symbols</mapoption>
    <mapname>extended</mapname>
    <mapmaterial>
      <tokenname name="ZZurope Extended"/>
      <tokeninclude>zz(basic)</tokeninclude>
      <tokentype>THREE_LEVEL</tokentype>
      <tokenmodifiermap state="Control">
        <keycode value="Control_L"/>
      </tokenmodifiermap>
      <tokenmodifiermap state="Mod5">
        <keycodex value="LVL3"/>
        <keycodex value="MDSW"/>
      </tokenmodifiermap>
      <tokenkey override="True">
        <keycodename>AD01</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>U1C9</symbol>
            <symbol>U1C8</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>any</symbol>
            <symbol>U1C7</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
          <typegroup value="SEPARATE_CAPS_AND_SHIFT_ALPHABETIC"/>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
      <tokenkey override="True">
        <keycodename>AD02</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>U1CC</symbol>
            <symbol>U1CB</symbol>
            <symbol>any</symbol>
            <symbol>U1CA</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
          <typegroup value="SEPARATE_CAPS_AND_SHIFT_ALPHABETIC"/>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
      <tokenkey override="False">
        <keycodename>BKSP</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>BackSpace</symbol>
            <symbol>Terminate_Server</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
          <typegroup value="CTRL+ALT"/>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
      <tokenkey override="False">
        <keycodename>BKSR</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>1</symbol>
            <symbol>2</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
          <tokenvirtualmodifiers value="AltGr"/>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
      <tokenkey override="False">
        <keycodename>BKST</keycodename>
        <keysymgroup>
          <symbolsgroup>
            <symbol>1</symbol>
            <symbol>2</symbol>
            <symbol>3</symbol>
            <symbol>4</symbol>
          </symbolsgroup>
        </keysymgroup>
      </tokenkey>
    </mapmaterial>
  </symbols>
</layout>

When we convert the XML document back to the XKB format, it looks like

hidden xkb_symbols "bare"
{
	key <AE01> { [ 1, exclam, onesuperior, exclamdown ] };
};

xkb_symbols "basic"
{
	name = "ZZurope";
	include "zz(bare)"
	key <AD04> { [ r, R, ediaeresis, Ediaeresis ] };
	key <AC07> { [ j, J, idiaeresis, Idiaeresis ] };
	key <AB02> { [ x, X, oe, OE ] };
	key <AB04> { [ v, V, registered, registered ] };
};

xkb_symbols "extended"
{
	name = "ZZurope Extended";
	include "zz(basic)"
	key.type = "THREE_LEVEL";
	modifier_map Control { Control_L };
	modifier_map Mod5 { <LVL3>, <MDSW> };
	override key <AD01> { [ U1C9, U1C8 ], [ any, U1C7 ], type = "SEPARATE_CAPS_AND_SHIFT_ALPHABETIC"  };
	override key <AD02> { [ U1CC, U1CB, any, U1CA ], type = "SEPARATE_CAPS_AND_SHIFT_ALPHABETIC"  };
	key <BKSP> { [ BackSpace, Terminate_Server ], type = "CTRL+ALT"  };
	key <BKSR> { [ 1, 2 ], virtualMods = AltGr  };
	key <BKST> { [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ] };
};

Some things are missing such as partial, alphanumeric_keys and alternate_group, which I discussed with Sergey and he said they should be ok to go away.

In addition, we simplify by keeping just Group1 (we do not specify it, as it is implied).

I performed the round-trip with all layout files, and all parsed and validated OK (there is some extra work with the level3 file remaining, though).

Some issues that are remaining, include

  • Figuring out how to use XLink to link to documents in the same folder (+providing a parameter; the name of the variant), and how to represent that in the Relax NG schema.
  • Sort the layout entries by keycode value.

FOSDEM ’08, summary and comments

I attended FOSDEM ’08 which took place on the 23rd and 24th of February in Brussels.

Compared to other events, FOSDEM is a big event with over 4000 (?) participants and over 200 lectures (from lightning talks to keynotes). It occupied three buildings at a local university. Many sessions were taking place at the same time and you had to switch from one room to another. What follows is what I remember from the talks. Remember, people recollect <8% of the material they hear in a talk.

The first keynote was by Robin Rowe and Gabrielle Pantera, on using Linux in the motion picture industry. They showed a huge list of movies that were created using Linux farms. The first big item in the list was the movie Titanic (1997). The list stopped at around 2005 and the reason was that since then any significant movie that employs digital editing or 3D animation is created on Linux systems. They showed trailers from popular movies and explained how technology advanced to create realistic scenes. Part of being realistic, a generated scene may need to be blurred so that it does not look too crisp.

Next, Robert Watson gave a keynote on FreeBSD and the development community. He explained lots of things from the community that someone who is not using the distribution does not know about. FreeBSD apparently has a close-knit community, with people having specific roles. To become a developer, you go through a structured mentoring process which is great. I did not see such structured approach described in other open-source projects.

Pieter Hintjens, the former president of the FFII, talked about software patents. Software patents are bad because they describe ideas and not some concrete invention. This has been the view so that the target of the FFII effort fits on software patents. However, Pieter thinks that patents in general are bad, and it would be good to push this idea.

CMake is a build system, similar to what one gets with automake/autoconf/makefile. I have not seen this project before, and from what I saw, they look quite ambitious. Apparently it is very easy to get your compilation results on the web when you use CMake. In order to make their project more visible, they should make effort on migration of existing projects to using CMake. I did not see yet a major open-source package being developed with CMake, apart from CMake itself.

Richard Hughes talked about PackageKit, a layer that removes the complexity of packaging systems. You have GNOME and your distribution is either Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora or something else. PackageKit allows to have a common interface, and simplifies the workflow of managing the installation of packages and the updates.

In the Virtualisation tracks, two talks were really amazing. Xen and VirtualBox. Virtualisation is hot property and both companies were bought recently by Citrix and Sun Microsystems respectively. Xen is a Type 1 (native, bare metal) hypervisor while VirtualBox is a Type 2 (hosted) hypervisor. You would typically use Xen if you want to supply different services on a fast server. VirtualBox is amazingly good when you want to have a desktop running on your computer.

Ian Pratt (Xen) explained well the advantages of using a hypervisor, going into many details. For example, if you have a service that is single-threaded, then it makes sense to use Xen and install it on a dual-core system. Then, you can install some other services on the same system, increasing the utilisation of your investment.

Achim Hasenmueller gave an amazing talk. He started with a joke; I have recently been demoted. From CEO to head of virtualisation department (name?) at Sun Microsystems. He walked through the audience on the steps of his company. The first virtualisation product of his company was sold to Connectix, which then was sold to Microsoft as VirtualPC. Around 2005, he started a new company, Innotek and the product VirtualBox. The first customers were government agencies in Germany and only recently (2007) they started selling to end-users.

Virtualisation is quite complex, and it becomes more complex if your offering is cross platform. They manage the complexity by making VirtualBox modular.

VirtualBox comes in two versions; an open-source version and a binary edition. The difference is that with the binary edition you get USB support and you can use RDP to access the host. If you installed VirtualBox from the repository of your distribution, there is no USB support. He did not commit whether the USB/RDP support would make it to the open-source version, though it might happen since Sun Microsystems bought the company. I think that if enough people request it, then it might happen.

VirtualBox uses QT 3.3 as the cross platform toolkit, and there is a plan to migrate to QT 4.0. GTK+ was considered, though it was not chosen because it does not provide yet good support in Win32 (applications do not look very native on Windows). wxWidgets were considered as well, but also rejected. Apparently, moving from QT 3.3 to QT 4.0 is a lot of effort.

Zeeshan Ali demonstrated GUPnP, a library that allows applications to use the UPnP (Universal Plug n Play) protocol. This protocol is used when your computer tells your ADSL model to open a port so that an external computer can communicate directly with you (bypassing firewall/NAT). UPnP can also be used to access the content of your media station. The gupnp library comes with two interesting tools; gupnp-universal-cp and gupnp-network-light. The first is a browser of UPnP devices; it can show you what devices are available, what functionality they export, and you can control said devices. For example, you can use GUPnP to open a port on your router; when someone connects from the Internet to port 22 on your modem, he is redirected to your server, at port 22.

You can also use the same tool to figure out what port mapping took place already on your modem.

The demo with the network light is that you run the browser on one computer and the network light on another, both on the local LAN (this thing works only on the local LAN). Then, you can use the browser to switch on/off the light using the UPnP protocol.

Dimitris Glezos gave a talk on transifex, the translation management framework that is currently used in Fedora. Translating software is a tedious task, and currently translators spent time on management tasks that have little to do with translation. We see several people dropping from translations due to this. Transifex is an evolving platform to make the work of the translator easier.

Dimitris talked about a command-line version of transifex coming out soon. Apparently, you can use this tool to grab the Greek translation of package gedit, branch HEAD. Do the translation and upload back the file.

What I would like to see here is a tool that you can instruct it to grab all PO files from a collection of projects (such as GNOME 2.22, UI Translations), and then you translate with your scripts/tools/etc. Then, you can use transifex to upload all those files using your SVN account.

The workflow would be something like

$ tfx --project=gnome-2.22 --collection=gnome-desktop --action=get
Reading from http://svn.gnome.org/svn/damned-lies/trunk/releases.xml.in... done.
Getting alacarte... done.
Getting bug-buddy... done.
...
Completed in 4:11s.
$ _

Now we translate any of the files we downloaded, and we push back upstream (of course, only those files that were changed).

$ tfx --project=gnome-2.22 --collection=gnome-desktop --user=simos --action=send
 Reading local files...
Found 6 changed files.
Uploading alacarte... done.
...
Completed uploading translation files to gnome-2.22.
$ _

Berend Cornelius talked about creating OpenOffice.org Wizards. You get such wizards when you click on File/Wizards…, and you can use them to fill in entries in a template document (such as your name, address, etc in a letter), or use to install the spellchecker files. Actually, one of the most common uses is to get those spellchecker files installed.

A wizard is actually an OpenOffice.org extension; once you write it and install it (Tools/Extensions…), you can have it appear as a button on a toolbar or a menu item among other menus.

You write wizards in C++, and one would normally work on an existing wizard as base for new ones.

When people type in a word-processor, they typically abuse it (that’s my statement, not Berend’s) by omitting the use of styles and formatting. This makes documents difficult to maintain. Having a wizard teach a new user how to write a structured document would be a good idea.

Perry Ismangil talked about pjsip, the portable open-source SIP and media stack. This means that you can have Internet telephony on different devices. Considering that Internet Telephony is a commodity, this is very cool. He demonstrated pjsip running two small devices, a Nintendo DS and an iPhone. Apparently pjsip can go on your OpenWRT router as well, giving you many more exciting opportunities.

Clutter is a library to create fast animations and other effects on the GNOME desktop. It uses hardware acceleration to make up for the speed. You don’t need to learn OpenGL stuff; Clutter is there to provide the glue.

Gutsy has Clutter 0.4.0 in the repositories and the latest version is 0.6.0. To try out, you need at least the clutter tarball from the Clutter website. To start programming for your desktop, you need to try some of the bindings packages.

I had the chance to spend time with the DejaVu guys (Hi Denis, Ben!). Also met up with Alexios, Dimitris x2, Serafeim, Markos and others from the Greek mission.

Overall, FOSDEM is a cool event. In two days there is so much material and interesting talks. It’s a recommended technical event.

OpenOffice Writer training notes (request: make training video plz!)

OpenOffice.org is one of the most important layers of the open-source stack. Although it does a superb job, we really need to make effort to get more users working on it.

Here we present training notes for the use of Writer, the word processor component of OpenOffice.org. We aim to make the best use of styles by creating well-structured documents. What we show here is built on work of others, including the OpenOffice Linux.com articles by Bruce Byfield, the amazing OpenOffice.org documentation and the spot-on article of Christian Paratschek at osnews.com. Actually, the following follow more or less Christian’s article.

When training in OpenOffice.org, it is important to create a fluid workflow that starts from the basics and increases gradually in complexity. It would be great if someone could turn the notes in a training video.

  1. We start of with running OpenOffice.org Writer. The default windows appears. Compared with other word processors, in OOo we see this text boundary in the document (the dim rectangle that shows the area we can write in). We mention we can show/hide it with View/Text boundaries.
  2. When creating a document, it is good to set the properties such as Title and Subject. We do that from File/Properties/Description. It may look too much effort now, but it will help us later wherever we want to write the document title or subject. Use Using OpenOffice.org Writer for title and How to write nice document in OpenOffice.org Writer for subject.
  3. Writer supports styles which makes life much easier. You probably have used styles before; using Heading 1, Heading 2 for headings so that you can create easily the Table of Contents. Writer has a Styles and Formatting window that is accessible from the icon/button near the File menu. The icon looks like a hand clicking on a 3×3 grid. You can also get the windows from Format/Styles and Formatting, or by simply pressing F11. Once you do that, you get a floating window. You can dock it by dragging it to the right edge of the Writer window. If you are into 3D desktop, it may not be easy to dock (it automatically switches to another side of the desktop cube). In this case, use the key combination Ctrl-Shift-F10 to dock the Styles and Formatting window. It is good here to resize the document (that is, change the magnification) so that it appears centered with little empty space around.
  4. Writer supports styles, not only for Paragraphs (like Heading 1) but also for Pages. See the status bar at the bottom of the Writer window; it mentions Default which is the default page style. When we write a document, the first page is good to have a distinct style that is appropriate to the properties of a first page. This includes, making sure the second page appears empty, the page gets no page numbering and so on. On the Styles and Formating dock we select the Page styles tab and we double-click on the First Page style. This will set the current page to the First Page style, and we can verify visually by looking at the status bar (Now First Page instead of the old Default).
  5. We are not writing yet; lets create the subsequent pages first. To do so, we insert manual breaks in our document. Click on Insent/Manual Break…/ and select to insert a Page Break. As style for the page after the break choose the Index page style, tick on Change page number, and make sure the numbering starts from 1. Click OK. Proper documents start numbering from the Index page. The Index page is the page we put the Table of Contents, Table of Figures and so on.
  6. Make sure the cursor is on the new page with the Index style. We need to create a new page break, so that we can get writing the actual document. Click on Insert/Manual Break…/ and select a Page Break. As style for the page after the break you can choose Default. Leave any page numbering settings as is because it inherits from before. Click OK.
  7. Now, to view what we have achieved, let’s go to Print Preview, and choose to see four pages at a time. We can see the first page, another page which is intentionally left blank, the Index page and the Default page. Close Print preview and return to the document.
  8. Now let’s go back to the first page. We want to put the title on the first page. Nothing extravagant, at least yet. What we do is we visit the Paragraph styles and find the Title style. While the cursor is on the first page at the start, we double-click on the Title style. The cursor moves the the center of the document and we can verify that the Title paragraph style has been applied; see on the right of the Styles and Formating icon on the top-left of the Writer window. Shall we write the title of the document now? Not so fast. We can insert the title as a field, because we already wrote it in the properties at the beginning in Step 2. Click Insert/Fields/Title.
  9. Now press Enter; the cursor moves down and it somehow automatically changes to the Subtitle style. Styles in OpenOffice allow you to choose a Next style (a followup style) and in this case, when someone presses Enter on the Title style, they get a new paragraph in the Subtitle style. While in the line/paragraph with Subtitle style, click on Insert/Field…/Subject. Fields in OpenOffice.org appear with a dark gray background; this does not appear in printing, it is just there to help you identify where the fields are.
  10. Now lets move to the last page, the page with Default style and write something. Select the Heading 1 paragraph style and type Introduction. Press enter and you notice that the next style is Text body. Text body is the natural paragraph style for text in Writer (most documents have the default Default paragraph style which is wrong). Now write something in Text Body such as I love writing documents in OpenOffice.org Writer. Copy the line and paste several times so that we get a nice paragraph of at least five lines. Make sure when pasting that after a full stop there should be a single space, then the new sentence starts.
  11. Press Enter and now we are ready to add a new heading. Type Writing documents and set the Heading 1 paragraph style. Press Enter and fill up a paragraph with more of I love writing documents in OpenOffice.org Writer.
  12. Press Enter and create a new section (add a Heading 2, name it Writing documents in style and fill up a corresponding paragraph).
  13. Press Enter and create a last section (add a Heading 1, name it Conclusion, and fill up a corresponding paragraph style).
  14. Now we are ready to place the cursor at the Index page we created before, and go for the Table of Contents. Click on Insert/Indexes and Tables/Indexes and Tables. The default index type is Table of Contents. We keep the default settings and click OK. We get a nice looking table of contents.
  15. At this stage we have a complete basic document, with first page, index page and default page.

The next set of steps include more polishing and adding extra elements to our document.

  1. The text body style is configured to have the left alignment by default. Normally, one would select paragraphs and click on a paragraph alignment button on the toolbar to change the alignment. Because we are using styles, we can modify the Text Body style to have another alignment, and presto the whole document with text in the same style follow suit. In the Styles and Formating dock, at the paragraph styles tab, select the Text Body style. Right-click on the Text Body style and choose to Modify style. Find the Alignment tab and choose Justified as the new alignment for Text Body paragraphs. Click Ok and observe the document changing to the new configuration.
  2. It is nice to the section numbers on the headings, such as 2.1 Writing documents in style. To do this, we need to change the default outline numbering. Click on Tools/Outline numbering… and select to modify the numbering for all levels (under Level, click 1-10). Then, under the Numbering group, change the Number option from the default None to 1, 2, 3, …. Click OK and the number is changed in the document.
  3. Go back to the Table of Contents. You notice that the numbering format does not look nice; some section numbers are too close to the section names. To fix, right click on the gray area of the table of contents and select Edit Index/Table. In the new dialog box, select the Entries tab. Under Structure and Formatting you can see the structure of each line of line in the table of contents table. The button labeled E# is the placeholder for the chapter number. After that there is a placeholder that you can actually type text. In our case we simply click and press the space bar to add another space. We then click the All button and finally click OK. Now, all entries in the Table of contents will have a space between the chapter number and chapter title.
  4. In order to add a footer with the current page number, click on Insert/Footer and pick Index, then Default. Both the Index and the Default style of pages get to show page numbers. Then, place the cursor in the footer area and Insert/Field/Page Number. You can modify the Footer paragraph style so that the text alignment is centered. You have to insert the field in both an Index page and a Default page.
  5. The page number in the Index page is commonly shown in Roman lowercase numbers. How can we fix that? We simply have to modify the Index page style accordingly; click on the Page Styles tab in Styles and Formatting, click to modify the Index page style, and at the Page tab in Layout Settings select the i, ii, iii, … format. Click OK.
  6. It would be nice to have the title on the header of each page, either Index or Default. Click on Insert/Header and add a header for Index and Default. Then, place the cursor in the header for both styles and click to add the Title field (Insert/Field/Title). Would it be nice to put a line under the header? The header text has the Header paragraph style. In the Styles and Formatting, click the Paragraph styles tab and select the Header paragraph style. Right-click and choose to Modify. In the Borders tab enable a bottom line and click OK.

OpenOffice.org Writer in Style

You can download this sample document (.odt) from the link Using OpenOffice.org Writer.

I’ll stop here for now. There are more to put such as Table of Figures, Index of Tables and Bibliography.
It would be good to leave feedback if there is interest to work on this direction.

Update 15Mar2008: This appears to be a Farsi translation/adaptation of the article.

Vote NO with comments (on DIS 29500 / OOXML)

  • Vote “No, with comments,” which is the JTC1-prescribed way of indicating “conditional approval” (JTC1 Directives (DOC, pops), Section 9.8)
  • Recommend that OOXML be resubmitted as normal working item in JTC1/SC34:
    • Split into a multi part standard: WordProcessingML, SpreadsheetML, DrawingML, Office Open Math Markup, VML, etc.
    • Have each part progress independently, at its own speed, within normal ISO processing stages
    • Encourage participation from OASIS to identify opportunities for harmonization with existing ISO 26300 “ODF”
  • OOXML, as the default format in MS Office, is important. But as a standard it is full of inconsistencies, omissions, inaccuracies and errors. No standard is perfect, but OOXML, in its current state, does even not meet the minimum requirements.

source: Rob Weir‘s presentation slides, last slide (pdf)

 

 

OOXML is being rushed to become an ISO standard using the fast-track process. This is not good. As end-users we want real commodity document formats that are easy to implement and do not tie us to a specific office suite. Sadly, the purpose of rushing to standardise OOXML is simply to avoid letting it become a commodity document format. By letting OOXML become an ISO standard as it is now, a few companies get to gain a lot, but we are going to lose.

Spread the word.

 

I copy below the voting country list.

According to Rob Weir, all countries can cast a vote on this; sorry for this misinformation.

 

The voting countries (Participating countries) are (the list is being updated, please see Participating countries for new list)

  Brazil (ABNT)
Bulgaria (BDS)
China (SAC)
Colombia (ICONTEC)
Cyprus (CYS)
Czech Republic (CNI)
Côte-d’Ivoire (CODINORM)
Denmark (DS)
Finland (SFS)
France (AFNOR)
Germany (DIN)
India (BIS)
Italy (UNI)
Japan (JISC)
Kazakhstan (KAZMEMST)
Kenya (KEBS)
Korea, Republic of (KATS)
Netherlands (NEN)
Norway (SN)
Sweden (SIS)
Switzerland (SNV)
Thailand (TISI)
Trinidad and Tobago (TTBS)
Turkey (TSE)
USA (ANSI)
United Kingdom (BSI)

In addition, the following countries have observer status (Observer countries), (the list is being updated, please see Observer countries for new list)

  Australia (SA)
Chile (INN)
Greece (ELOT)
Hong Kong, China (ITCHKSAR)
Hungary (MSZT)
Ireland (NSAI)
Israel (SII)
Lithuania (LST)
Mexico (DGN)
Romania (ASRO)
Spain (AENOR)
Sri Lanka (SLSI)
Ukraine (DSSU)

The observer countries, though the cannot vote, they can submit comments.

Greek OLPC localisation status

The Greek OLPC localisation effort is ongoing and here is a report of the current status.

For discussions, reading discussion archives and commenting, please see the Greek OLPC Discussion Group.

We are localising two components, the UI (User Interface) and applications of the OLPC, and the main website at http://www.laptop.org/

The UI is currently being translated at the OLPC Wiki, at OLPC_Greece/Translation. At this page you can see the currently available packages, what is pending and which is the page that you also can help translate.

At this stage we need people with skills in music terminology to help out with the localisation of TamTam. In addition, there are more translations that need review and comments before they are sent upstream.

Moreover, if you find a typo and a better suggestion for a term in the submitted translations, feel free to tell us at the Greek OLPC Discussion Group.

The other project we are working on is the localisation of the Greek version of www.laptop.org. The pages are not 100% translated yet, so if you want to finish the difficult parts, see the Web translation page of laptop.org.

The translators that helped up to now have done an amazing job.

OOXML voting process and controversy

By the end of this month, the ITC 1/SC 34 Technical Committee (ISO) will be voting on whether to accept or not OOXML as an ISO standard.

The voting countries (Participating countries) are

  Brazil (ABNT)
Bulgaria (BDS)
China (SAC)
Colombia (ICONTEC)
Cyprus (CYS)
Czech Republic (CNI)
Côte-d’Ivoire (CODINORM)
Denmark (DS)
Finland (SFS)
France (AFNOR)
Germany (DIN)
India (BIS)
Italy (UNI)
Japan (JISC)
Kazakhstan (KAZMEMST)
Kenya (KEBS)
Korea, Republic of (KATS)
Netherlands (NEN)
Norway (SN)
Sweden (SIS)
Switzerland (SNV)
Thailand (TISI)
Trinidad and Tobago (TTBS)
Turkey (TSE)
USA (ANSI)
United Kingdom (BSI)

In addition, the following countries have observer status (Observer countries),

Australia (SA)
Chile (INN)
Greece (ELOT)
Hong Kong, China (ITCHKSAR)
Hungary (MSZT)
Ireland (NSAI)
Israel (SII)
Lithuania (LST)
Mexico (DGN)
Romania (ASRO)
Spain (AENOR)
Sri Lanka (SLSI)
Ukraine (DSSU)

The observer countries, though the cannot vote, they can submit comments.

The current stage that OOXML is at, is 40.20, which means is the period that leads to the voting whether to accept or not as an ISO standard.

This proposed document format is controversial because an existing document format exists, the OpenDocument document format, ISO/IEC 26300, Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0, since 2006.

OOXML is a controversial document format. Read more on this regarding OOXML.

In addition, see the Technical White Paper on OpenDocument and OOXML by the ODF Alliance UK Action Group. Another whitepaper, ODF/OOXML technical white paper by Edward Macnaghten.

Open Malaysia is also valuable resource (includes blog contributions relating to open standards). For example, in spreadsheets in OOXML one cannot write dates before the 1st March 1900!

Finally, Achieving Openness: A Closer Look at ODF and OOXML by Sam Hiser.

Update #1: Microsoft is Outmuscling OOXML Opposition in Spain

Update #2: It is important to vote NO rather than abstain. It is sad that Spain decided to abstain rather than voting NO. UPDATE: Spain is an observer, thus cannot cast a vote. Somewhat lost en la traduccion.

Update #3: Czech comments on OOXML.

GUADEC Day #2

(see http://www.guadec.org/schedule/warmup)

At the first presentation, Quim Gil talked about GNOME marketing, what have been done, what is the goal of marketing. He showed a focused mind on important marketing tasks; it is easy to get carried away and not be effective, a mistake that happens in several projects.

The next session was by Tomas Frydrych (Open Hand – I have their sticker on my laptop!) on memory use in GNOME applications. Many people complain that XYZ is bloated. However, this does not convey what exactly happens; pretty useless. In addition, the common tools that show memory use do not show the proper picture because of the memory management techniques. That is, due to shared libraries, the total memory occupied by an application appears very big. A tool examined is exmap. This tool uses a kernel module that shows memory use of applications by reading in /proc. It takes a snapshot of memory use; it’s not real-time info. It comes with a GTK+ front-end (gexmap) that requires a big screen (oops, PDAs). However, it is not suitable for internet tablets and other low-spec devices. Therefore, they came up with exmap-console which addresses the shortcommings. It has a console interface based on the readline library.

Here are the rest of my notes. Hope they make sense to you.

. exmap –interactive
. ?: help
. Head: quite useful (dynamic allocation)
. Mapped:
. Sole use: memory that app is using on its own (rss?)
. “sort vm”
. “print” or “p”
. “add nautilus”
. “clear”
. “detail file” (what executables/libs loaded and how much consume)
. “detail none”

Sole use
. valgrind, to analyse Sole Use memory?
. “detail ????”

Lots of small libraries: overhead

Looking ahead
. Pagemap: by Matt Macall
. http://projects.o-hand.com/exmap-console/

Python
. Sole use: ~18MB ;-(

Tomas was apparently running Ubuntu with the English UK locale. The English UK translation team is doing an amazing job at the translation stats. Actually, most messages are copied, however with a script one can pick up words such as organization and change to organisation. The problem here is that, for example, the GAIM mo file is 215KB (?), however for the British English translation the actual changes should be less than 2-3KB. Messages that are missing from a translation mean that the original US English messages will be used. I’ll have to find how to use msgfilter to make messages untranslated if msgid == msgstr. Where is Danilo?

After lunch time (did not go for lunch), I went to the Accerciser session. Pretty cool tool, something I have been look for. Accerciser uses the accessibility framework of GNOME in order to inspect the windows of running applications and see into the properties. A good use is to identify if elements such as text boxes come with description labels; they are important to be there for accessibility purposes (screen reader), as a person that depends on software to read (text to speech) the contents of windows.

The next session was GNOME accessibility for blind people. Jan Buchal gave an excellent presentation.

My notes,

. is from Chech republic, is blind himself. has been using computers for 20+ years

. from user perspective
. users, regular and irregular 😉
. software
. firefox 3.0beta – ok for accessibility other versions no
. gaim messenger ok
. openoffice.org ok but did not try
. orca screenreader ^^^ works ok.
. generally ready for prime time
. ubuntu guy for accessibility was there
. made joke about not having/needing display slides ;-]
. synthesizer: festival, espeak, etc – can choose
. availability of voices
. javascript: not good for accessibility
. links/w3m: just fine!
. firefox3 makes accessibility now possible.
. web designer education, things like title=””, alt=”” for images.
. OOo, not installed but should work, ooo-gnome
. “braillcom” company name
. “speech dispatcher”
. logical events
. have short sound event instead of “button”, “input form”
. another special sound for emacs prompt, etc.
. uses emacs
. have all events spoken, such as application crashing.
. problems of accessibility
. not money main factor, but still exists.
. standard developers do not use accessibility functions
. “accessor” talk, can help
. small developer group on accessiblity, may not cooperate well
. non-regular users (such as blind musician)
. musicians
. project “singing computer”
. gtk, did not have good infrastructure
. used lilypond (music typesetter, good but not simple to use)
. singing mode in festival
. use emacs with special mode to write music scores (?)
. write music score and have the computer sing it (this is not “caruso”)
. gnome interface for lilypond would be interesting
. chemistry for blind
. gtk+
. considering it
. must also work, unfortunately, on windows
. gtk+ for windows, not so good for accessibility
. conclusion: free accessibility
. need users so that applications can be improved
. have festival synthesizer, not perfect but usable
. many languages, hindi, finnish, afrikaans
. endinburgh project, to reimplement festival better
. proprietary software is a disadvantage
. q: how do you learn to use new software?
. a: has been a computer user for 20+ years, is not good candidate to say
. a: if you are dedicated, you can bypass hardles, old lady emacs/festival/lilypond
. brrlcom, not for end-users(?)
. developer problem?
. generally there is lack of documentation; easy to teach what a developer needs to know
. so that the application is accessible
. HIG Human Interface Guidelines, accessible to the developers
. “speakup” project
. Willy, from Sun microsystems, working on accessibility for +20 years, Lead of Orca.
. developers: feel accessibility is a hindrance to development
. in practice the gap is not huge
. get tools (glade) and gtk+ to come with accessibility on by default
. accessibility
. is not only for people with disabilities
. can do amazing things like 3d interfaces something

These summaries are an important example of the rule that during presentation, participants tend to remember only about 8% of the material. In some examples, even less is being recollected.

GUADEC Day #1

I am writing this in the morning of the second day (posted at the end of the second day). Just had breakfast and there is a bit of time before making it to the conference venue.

Yesterday Sunday, was the first of the two days of warm-up for the GUADEC conference. At 11am the registration started. I was in front of the queue and got my badge quickly, then picked up the bag with the goodies; three cool t-shirts, a copy of Ubuntu 7.04, Fedora 7 Live, Linux stickers, two Linux pens, a mini Google Code notebook (no, that’s an actual notebook (not that type of notebook, it was just the paper-based thing)).

During registration I met up with Dimitrios Glezos (of Greek Fedora fame) and a bit later with Dimitrios Typaldos. It was the first time I met both of them in person.

Between a choice of two sessions I went to the one on X.org developments (XDamage, xrender, etc extensions and how to use them). Ryan Lortie gave the presentation.

Next was lunch time, and Dimitrios T. recommended a pub for traditional English food and drink. Sayamindu came along.

The next session I went to was the Hildon desktop, which is what we used to call Maemo; GNOME for internet tables such as the Nokia 770 and Nokia 800. There are special technical issues to solve. Lucas Rocha mentioned refactoring issues with the source code. In addition, as far as I understood, there is an issue with the internationalisation support for the platform.

Next, Don Scorgie talked about the GNOME documentation project. Several things can be improved and one of them is the introduction of a simplified XML schema for the needs of GNOME documentation. When compared to DocBook XML, the new GNOME documentation schema has only 6 elements (or do they call them tags?). In addition to this, there is a documentation editor with a special rich-edit widget for this schema. Mallard is a type of duck(?).

I also attended the last 10 minutes of the presentation on project Jackfield (sadly no special significance between Jackfield and what the project is about). Jackfield is apparently a way to run Javascript scripts on the desktop. OS/X is supposed to have it, and there are already scripts available. With Jackfield, you can run those scripts unmodified on Linux. The demos where really impressive.

The final session for the day was a presentation by Richard Rothwell on free software for the socially excluded. No, you do not have to go to Africa for this. His work relates to families in Nottingham, UK. It reminds me the situation and effort in Farkadona, Greece, that was described by Kostas Boukouvalas. I think it would have been helpful if Kostas Boukouvalas could have attended this. Richard is running a 3-year project that provides a number of PCs (in the hundreds?) with Linux to socially excluded families. Even in the UK, funding is hard to come by.

Βομβάη

Αυτή τη στιγμή βρίσκομαι στο αεροδρόμιο της Βομβάης και περιμένω την επόμενη μου πτήση. Αυτή τη φορά χρειάζεται να περιμένω μόνο 5 ώρες αντί των 10 ωρών την προηγούμενη φορά.
Τώρα μια τοπική εταιρία τηλεπικοινωνιών (Airtel) παρέχει δωρεάν σύνδεση στο διαδίκτυο στους ταξιδιώτες του αεροδρομίου. Για την ενεργοποίηση βάζετε το νούμερο του κινητού σας στο captive portal και σας στέλνει το όνομα χρήστη και κωδικό για τη σύνδεση.
Ένα πρόβλημα στην Ινδία έχει να κάνει με τις πρίζες· το τυπικό σύστημα είναι εντελώς ασύμβατο με σούκο (έχει 3 κυλινδρικές ακίδες αρκετά μεγαλύτερης διαμέτρου) ενώ ο τύπος πρίζας δίχως γείωση μοιάζει σχεδόν με τον ελληνικό, με τη διαφορά ότι η διάμετρος των ακίδων είναι πολύ λίγο μεταλύτερες. Αυτό έχει ως αποτέλεσμα να μην γίνεται καλή επαφή.
Έτσι, τώρα χρησιμοποιώ την μπαταρία :(.

Η Ινδία είναι μια μεγάλη χώρα. Αναλογικά η αξιοποίηση του ελεύθερου λογισμικού στην οικονομία είναι πολύ μικρή. Υπάρχουν αξιόλογα άτομα που δουλεύουν στο ελεύθερο λογισμικό, ωστόσο όπως σε κάθε χώρα για να υπάρχει σημαντική επίπτωση στην οικονομία χρειάζεται πολύπλευρη στρατηγική.

Στα αριστερά μου υπάρχει ένα μαγαζάκι όπου μπορείς να πάρεις τηλέφωνο στην Ινδία και στο εξωτερικό. Υπάρχει μεγάλη πελατεία, και τώρα και τα 3 τηλέφωνα αξιοποιούνται. Στο αεροδρόμιο παρέχουν πολυθρόνες-ξαπλώστρες που είναι αρκετά άνετες. Δίπλα κοιμούνται/ξαπλώνουν 8 άτομα.

Για σύνδεση με το διαδίκτυο μέσω κινητό είναι τυπικό να γίνεται μέσω μιας εταιρίας που ονομάζεται Reliance, που βασίζεται σε CDMA (αντί του τυπικού GSM/GPRS/EDGE). Η εταιρία παρέχει οδηγούς για Linux αν και δεν έχει φροντίσει να πάνε upstream για ευκολότερη εγκατάσταση από τους πελάτες.

Πριν από λίγο, κάποιος με επίσημα ρούχα/name tag/κτλ με ρώτησε για που πετάω. Απάντησα. Αμέσως πρότεινε να πάω στο bussiness lounge για 1000 rupees ή 13 λίγες Αγγλίας, διότι θα περιμένω αρκετές ώρες, κτλ. Είναι η γνωστή τακτική του επιθετικού μάρκετινγκ και συμβαίνει συχνά στην Ασία.

Σε κάθε περίπτωση όμως, η Ινδία είναι ένα όμορφο μέρος με όμορφους ανθρώπους. Θα ήθελα να είχα την ευκαιρία να ταξιδέψω για μερικούς μήνες.