31 January 2007

Bill Gates in Romania and more tutorials to come

puzzleA new tutorial under way

I said the other day that I am bummed by a less-than-expected reaction to my previous GIMP tutorial, but it seems I can't stop making more. At least as long as I still have raw materials (I have fresh pictures only for a couple more tutorials).

I have a new one underway (previewed here) about how to make jigsaw puzzle pieces from a photo. The work is more than half done: the image is ready, screenshots are taken, I have only to polish the screenshots, write the text, make the html and put it on the server. It will be another heavy tutorial (20 screenshots), so I have to put the pictures again is an external storage (picassaweb), as my current hosting can't deal with it (note to self: I really should change my hosting solution soon). I hope to have the tutorial online by Friday, just in time for the week-end.

Bill Gates in Romania

This usually should be a non-event, but is sickening to see all the press (newspapers, radio, TV) praising "the first visit in Romania of the richest man in the world", just like a few years ago at the first visit of the Pope.

The authorities react at about the same level: they finally removed the Christmas/New Year lights from the city center only to replace them with Windows Vista lighting logos. Yeah, the national sport around here seems to be kissing a$$.

He will open a support center, will celebrate 10 years of Microsoft presence in Romania and will launch MS Vista, MS Office 2007 and MS Exchange Server 2007.

I have no penguin costume and I am not aware of any flashmob organized for this opportunity, so the best thing I can think of doing was to update an old drawing of mine with the Vista logo and put it on my blog in celebration:

ms vista

30 January 2007


I am bummed: a lot of people (according to my logs) clicked and visited my Jump out of GIMP tutorial but I failed to determine them to follow with they own creations. I suspect the example was not compelling enough, so here is another one, a better one I hope.

I guess this will ease my job: I have in mind at least a couple more lessons, each of them posing serious troubles, but in the absence of some follow-ups I think I may drop them. This what I had in mind:

  • A GIMP lesson for touching-up photos and correcting portraits. I have a perfect picture picture, some good ideas about how to process it but I have interdiction to post it on the 'net

  • A face drawing lesson in Inkscape. I have raw materials, I have experience in doing this but it takes a lot of motivation and patience

I think I will contemplate a couple of days about making more tutorials.

Note: (for those in the know) Today is Marti and nothing is better than a good old headache :D


What is UNIX? The answer is simple: a car parts (piese auto in Romanian) seller, here is the proof:

Sorry for the picture quality, it was taken with a camera phone, in a dark, moving bus with blurry windows and the subject was a moving car.

29 January 2007

Voodoo Stuff

I am glad to see Diana's talk about Voodoo, seeing her goals clearly stated was something much awaited.

As grumpy as probably everyone should know me already I was just scared hearing the word Voodoo, it contradicts the O in FLOSS, where the processes are expected to be Open and the V word make you think at the opposite.

I agree with her about Flying High being one of the strongest candidates, but it is right now a kind of spaghetti, it evolved in at least 3 different directions, from cartoonish to minimalistic and to technical drawing, I would be curious to know which is the one liked by Diana.


And as the talk is cheap, better back it with some work, here is a 468x60 web banner based on one of the Flying High evolutions:
fedora banner

26 January 2007

GIMP trick: make your subject pop out of a photo

I found an easy and nice Photoshop trick, so easy that anyone can do it with a bit of patience, it was hard to resist and not adapt it for the GIMP.
I made a detailed description of the process with screenshots for every step.
Here is a teaser:

See my page for the full presentation.

As the week-end is coming, see this as a challenge to produce your own works, put on the blogs and amaze people with your GIMP wizardry :p
And maybe post in the comments some links to your work.

Many thanks to my friends for motivating me to write this.

22 January 2007

nVidia binary driver and FC6

Monday morning, I get to the office, start my computer and see a X.org startup error caused by the nVidia driver (I updated the kernel ad video driver Friday, but being lazy and confident in Fedora had not rebooted after that). Monday morning is a busy time, so I reverted to nv and postponed the investigation a few hours.

Now I found the problem, it is explained is on the front page of livna along with the solution:

The new 1.0-97xx series from nVidia drops support for any card with a chipset below NV30, such as all GeForce2 and GeForce4 cards. However don't worry! Livna has forked the original xorg-x11-drv-nvidia and kmod-nvidia packages to create ones named xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-96xx and kmod-nvidia-96xx. These will be kept at the 96xx series of drivers and the original driver will be updated to the 97xx series. If you are using one of the cards named above, you can install 96xx like this:

yum remove kmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia
yum install kmod-nvidia-96xx xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-96xx

Arghhh! The "beauty" of closed source drivers...

Looking forward to Nouveau.

18 January 2007

Open Art Communities with Romanians

This is a follow-up to my previous post about the dumbfucks at OpenArt.ro.

Here is a list of really Open true Communities of Romanian artists:

Sure thing, the large majority of people on deviantART are photographers, because this is the most accessible type of art, but there are a lot of other artists.

  • if you are an Romanian artist, there are a lot of better and more open communities, think where you want to be

  • if you are a dumbfuck at OpenArt.ro look and learn what a community is and what is the meaning of Open

A funny project for someone with too much time on his hands would be to buy a domain like OpenOpenArt.ro or ReallyOpenArt.ro, drop a ccHost install on it with a Romanian translation and have an instant Open Community free for all Romanians to join.

Maybe I am to harsh with that obscure web design company making a poor site probably for some minor local prize or for a quick buck from some non-profit.

Update: as this is is of interest mostly for the Romanian readers, I did a Romanian translation.

17 January 2007

Ampelfrau and Ampelmaennchen

We received at the Open ClipArt Library yet another request to remove the "famous" Ampelfrau and Ampelmaennchen images, this time citing trademark infringement. The message appear to come from their creator, thomas.fuchs@ampelmann.de, is quite strong and sound like this:

Dear Mr. Gates,

on your website "openclipart.org" you offer two cliparts
called "Ampelmaennchen" and "Ampelfrau" as a
license-free download. We are the owners of the
registered trademarks "Ampelmännchen" and
"Ampelfrau". So we challenge you to remove the two
symbols from your page within the next two weeks.

Best regards

Thomas Fuchs

Note: Matthew Gates has made the images in SVG format and submitted them.

My belief is that is stupid to protect with trademark and restrict usage of road traffic signs created with public money. Info on Wikipedia here and here.

I see there is a movement on OCAL to remove them, so I saved a copy:

ampelfrau ampelfrau ampelmaennchen ampelmaennchen

Now good luck in removing them from all the mirrors, version control systems, packages, applications, distributions etc.

PS: I wonder if "Ampelfrau" and "Ampelmaennchen" would be ever registered as trademarks in my non-german speaking country.

Open Art? Not so "Open" maybe not so "Art" and definitely no "Community"

Open Art?

I stumbled across this site, called "Open Art - the Community of Young Professional Artists" (rel="nofollow" in the hyperlink in a hope to NOT improve their search engine ratings)

  • Open: can you call open a so-called community where members have to submit a CV, participate in an interview before acceptance, and have to be a student or graduated of an Art university?

  • Art: nowhere on the site is defined that Art means - painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, video, music? In my conception, "Professional" is not related to what university have you graduated, but to what you do for a living.

  • Community: no comments, no feed-back, no favorites, no open subscription - enough of a community! More, a "Open" one!

Here is the time for a disclaimer: I did not encountered the site by chance, I know a person working on it (I used to know), so people may consider me biased. I hope this will not be considered a personal vendetta.

Back to that site, it also suck from a technical point of view:
  • Static HTML! How dumb is that for a "Community" site? Whitout feeds and syndication is next to useless

  • Terms and Conditions section is a .DOC file! Yes, can you believe this?

  • validator.w3.org. Should I say more? I wonder about this one, I know the makers of the site used to price validation

Personal. Offensive.

This is a message intended only for a few people around me, so DO NOT LOOK AT IT if you do not know me in person, you may be offended.

Sorry for spam

Having some free time and nothing better to do (and no mood for doing something better) I went to my blog and added labels to each post, way back to its creation, about 3.5 years ago. The result? A completely broken RSS feed.
So sorry, my apology to all Planet sites aggregating my blog, it was not intended.

Update: Planet linux360 took my spam perfectly (ignored it), Planet Open CLipArt so-so (only a couple of misplaced posts) and Fedora People was the worst, all posts in the feed misplaced. Guuess were are the most readers :p

Update: there is a follow-up to this story

Update: as this is is of interest mostly for the Romanian readers, I did a Romanian translation.

11 January 2007


There is a talk on the Romanian OpenOffice.org mailing list about the lack of speed on our project, the few people working on it and their lack of enthusiasm.

My take on this is: I will contribute (and have contributed in the past) to the UI translation (in a very small amount) but I will never use it for myself. Yeah, pretty strong this never.

I got a reply from Secărică deploring this attitude as being unconstructive. He is forcing himself to use his own translations (as bad as they are) in order to detect bugs and fix them.

I guess we are all different people, I can not stand an interface saying "soarece" instead of "mouse" or "brouser" instead of "browser" (as proposed on the diacritice localization list).

PS: to add insult to injury, right now I blog about this localization issue in English too :p

09 January 2007

Dracula's Castle - kind of

Now as everybody is talking about Dracula's Castle being up for sale, maybe is time for me to post a picture from my last trip there:

Bran (Dracula's) Castle

Yeah, the picure quality suck, it was made years ago with a crappy camera. Probably the new owner will not demolish it, so I can take a better picute any time.

Or maybe I should get motivated enough and get to the real Dracula's castle and take some photos there (not anytime soon).

05 January 2007

Satanic Fedora

I am fully aware this break a lot of guidelines and I do NOT think even for a second to propose it as a concept for Fedora themes.
I guess it is good to use next time when someone call our themes "dark, satanic, gothic, death metal and futuristic" as a comparison so I can reply: "Look, this is dark, satanic, gothic, death metal".

satanic fedora

Source available on my Fedora Wallpapers page (do not try to render it with Firefox 2.0).

Note: Abusive use of blur really pushes the edges of Inkscape develpment branch, a very serious hit on performance.

03 January 2007

Inkscape "About" screen

 Is there something wrong with me if I do not find any of the proposals for the Inkscape 0.45 "About" screen good enough? A lot of people say "amazing", "awesome", "nice" or "cool". (yes, that was a rhetoric question, I know there is something wrong with me).

BTW, about the new year, happy thoughts and all the associated bullshit, here is my stance (update: unrelated to Inkscape):