30 April 2010


Not having something better to do, I let myself talked by rpetre into attending the Ubuntu 10.04 release party organized by ROSEdu in Bucharest (can you imagine how sad I am if my chief option is worse than attending an Ubuntu release party?)

ubuntu 10.04 ubuntu 10.04 ubuntu 10.04

I stated my lack of excitement about the F13 features, but from the presentations, Lucid Lynx does not fare better by any means, here are a few "features" that stuck in my mind: a new (and fugly, IMO) desktop theme, the ability to post to twitter right from the desktop (Gwibber?) and the ability to buy proprietary music from Ubuntu One.

At least the guys were fun and we ended the event with a few beers (and shame to me for attending the event completely unprepared, without a proper T-shirt on me).

Update: after consulting with the server master it was decided we can host the photos in our Fedora gallery. Enjoy political incorrectness :D (and blame Ubuntu for that :D :D )

29 April 2010

Spring panorama

Under the pretense of preparing a lightning talk about panoramic photography in Linux with Hugin for the next RLUG meet, the other day I spent an early evening in the Japanese Garden of Herastrau Park in Bucharest taking photos (not only) for panoramas. So if you like the topic, I may have an interesting presentation about it.

click to enlarge


I may act most of the time as a fanboy but, believe or not, I am deep inside a balanced guy (am I?) so a cold shower from time to time probably does not hurt, I guess I can share bluntly my first impressions after living a bit with Fedora 13 (beta/devel).

One of the main reason I use Fedora is the 3-rd Foundation, the features, so if in the past I used to jump with my main desktop to a new release around Beta, this time I felt unmotivated, not only because I was busy with the life, but also because for the first time in all the Fedora history the features list didn't have anything to bring butterflies in my stomach.


Ultimately, I built the energy and installed it a couple of days ago I accumulated enough energy and installed it. It was a big disappointment, from the look (I don't like the new icon theme and I hate the new cursor theme) to the need to re-learn old habits (never though it will be so hard to use again a file manager in browser mode).

Beyond the superficial look and feel, which can be easily changed, I encountered loss of functionality which keeps me from getting work done, one example is gThumb, removed as the default but still easily installable, does not have any more the feature I used the most: export as a Web Album. I guess I will need to use some script for it. Similarly, Gwibber, not a default any more but still installable, lot the ability do watch any RSS feed, something I was relying on and became useless to me, with this reduced functionality I can stay very well with the default, and much lighter, pino.

Initially my plan was to write this in a different tone, highlighting one thing that I really like, but after 24 hours of intense use, weren't able to find such thing so let my crankiness out. But I will live with it, I don't have any plan for going back to 12, instead will move the netbook to F13 too in a few days. I am self-destructive like that :p

15 April 2010


It was a hectic week this week, so I am behind with everything, including news. So only today I noticed the last edition of the Linux Outlaw podcast mentioning my piece about Fedora rebranding as "the one and only good April Fool’s joke we found". I understand the hyperbole, but thank you guys, I appreciate and I am happy to make someone smile. At least for the jokes to be remembered, if else...

14 April 2010

NASA mission styled badges with Inkscape

Yet another benefit of having your content ready in advance, but it has its own downside too: with the beta delayed again and again I had to sit on this piece a couple weeks more than expected.

NASA mission styled badges with Inkscape

This time I have to start by giving credit where credit is due, since all the "NASA mission badges" concept, including the STS-98 reference, is shamelessly stolen from Zoltan (I hope I didn't gave away any of its ongoing projects).

So if I celebrated the Fedora 13 Alpha release with an Inkscape rocket drawing tutorial, I have to do something for Beta too (Beta is supposed to be bigger than Alpha) and after stealing the idea, making a Fedora themed badge in the NASA mission style seemed an obvious choice. Sure, you are not forced to use the same theme but use the instructions creatively. For me, I am aiming for something like this:

The badge

So a badge is usually round, let's start by drawing a circle (keep the Ctrl key pressed to preserve the aspect ratio):

Make sure it has no stroke and apply any fill color you like (going with the Fedora theme I used Fedora's dark blue):

Now we need a circled text, we will need a guide for that, so create another smaller circle (leave it in a contrasting color so is easy to work with each element):

Select the two circles and using the Align and Distribute dialog center them vertically and horizontally relative to the biggest object (the first circle):

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13 April 2010

Fedora Webcomic, F13 Beta Special: The Red Shirt

Those that followed my riddle know I had prepared in advance a comic for Fedora 13 Beta release, so later today is the Beta day and is the time for a webcomic special.
There are ups and downs of having the content prepared in advance, the good part about it is that at times when your geek activity is unpredictable (duh! niche not covered in the study) you have at least something to put out. On the other hand, if the content was made too much on advance, it may become obsolete, and let me know what happened here: I am pretty sure someone from the Ubuntu camp decyphered my riddle and that was all the reason of their rebranding from brown to orange, to escape my joke. Well, it looks like I still had the last word with the ability to alter the final punchline!

fedora webcomic

Do not forget the third part, "is about jumping to light-speed"! Is up and with an URL ready to be guessed.

12 April 2010

My geek card

I ask quite often my friends/colleagues to return their geek card when they fail at basic geeky things (like not knowing basic things about Trek or D&D) and I also strongly believe in putting your money where you mouth, so I decided to eat crow publicly:

1. do not write, asking what the video is about
2. thinking deeply, I suspect I may didn't failed at being a true geek, but reinforced my übergeekiness.

07 April 2010

The geek in spring

The spring around us is the matting season and it effects everyone, including the geeks, like my friend, who I'm not sure if he is desperate enough (he sounds so) or naive enough (he's young, still a student) that the best idea he was able to come with was a T-shirt announcing his availability:


I think I know enough to understand how it could work (for example as a joke among the friends) and when asked if I would wear it my answer was "probably if the shirt quality is good and if the print quality is good", still I found it an interesting "design" exercise to take the project seriously and try to help being it as good as it could, like using a monospaced font, terminal colors and keeping the 31337 as low as possible, so the message has a better change to be understood by the target audience.

This made me put some order in my mind and decide to write down a related piece about how the sex life is affecting a geek's ability to hack, maybe he will read it and get the clue :p
  • first, a geek will operate at full capacity (that's 100%) only when he gave-up sex, then there is nothing to distract him and he can concentrate on what's important, he won't waste the time on marginal things. This is maximum and constant productivity;
  • when in a stable relationship the geek will be able to operate at near the full capacity, again time lost, no distraction. The capacity is not used fully since the relation will drain some amount of his interest, but close, as a geek can't have a stable relationship when he can't do what he likes;
  • on the opposite, the lowest point is happening when the geek is actively searching for sex, he can't focus, won't be able to pursue the tasks, is unreliable. The code will be buggy, the documentation lacking, even the bugzilla tickets may get filled wrongly. Hopefully, this stage does not happen for a long time and end in one of the above-mentioned states;
  • there are also a couple of intermediary states where the geek will act unpredictably and inconstantly, the first one is when recently dumped. Then he will have moments of working above full capacity (>100%) to keep his mind busy alternating with moments of depression, when he is unable to do anything. The average is completely unpredictable;
  • the second case of unpredictability and inconstancy is happening during a new found flame, he will alternate from times at above full capacity when he is overconfident and feeling able to move mountains with times when he is unable to do anything, dropping the focus from geeky stuff to useless things.
Exercise: identify a geek around you, evaluate his work level and based on the items above try to determine his relationship status. Don't publish the results anywhere, nobody wants to read depressing stats, but if you feel like it, you can make for yourself a "fr33f0r53><" T-shirt, the source is Free.

03 April 2010

Enough snow, sakura time...

The other day, when Martin posted the April snow photo I got a bit depressed, this was the heaviest and longest winter I remember and I feel like going postal even only at hearing the word "snow", enough is enough. Now it sakura time, the cherry blossom are ready to explode in a couple of days, so if you are like me will go out and go crazy with flowers, bees, green fields and such.

Apricot blossom and the bee

Field of flowers

Blue Forget-me-not

Of course, this is also the start of the little skirts season, but the Planets must behave before getting such goodies...

02 April 2010

Inkscape workshop

Yesterday was a full day for me, with the type of work I hate the most: on field, setting surveillance cameras, DVR-s, proprietary drivers, badly designed proprietary software, Windows laptops and such so didn't have the time to enjoy April Fools nor to go emo-style about my friends letting me alone in the cold with DFD.

But there was a positive part of the day, in the evening I had planned an Inkscape workshop with Ceata, to which I barely managed to arrive after the field task, so it was not completely wasted.

One of our friends who is a fire fighter by day and Linux user by night needed to learn how to make some signs and symbols for his day job, asked my for advice and tips so I proposed the workshop. We gathered 5 people with 3 laptops, no mice and one tablet (when I realised I forgot the USB mouse at home, I took with me the tabled which is gathering dust at the office). Lesson learned: no matter how good are you with the trackpad, when doing graphics you need a mouse.

We had the time for two signs, "no smoke" and "electricity hazard", as we had to go into many basic things, like drawing a circle or a star, using Ctrl key to preserve aspect ratio, changing colors and so on. My signs came like this (for source, open the URL and change the extension to .svg):

no smoke electricity hazard

We also recorded on video as much as we could (the battery in my camera lasted for about 1 hour and 20 minutes) from which I made available a 5 minutes long segment to probe the interest (not sure is worth the effort for the full 1.7GB raw footage - editing and transcoding may take at least half a day and hosting + uploading would be tricky).

01 April 2010

Magenta is the new blue - Rebranding Fedora

As the recent Ubuntu rebranding made a lot of headlines and spread the distro's popularity even more, we decided to follow in their steps once again, trying to consolidate Fedora's image as the New Ubuntu in our recently discovered quest for users and market share.

In order to make the rebranding happen, it was necessary a huge flamewar inside the Design Team, with two large camps: one, lead by Máirín, argued for strawberry-pink, trying to reach the female users and developers, a huge potential pool not tapped yet by any other competing distro, and another, championed by Nicu argued for pitch-black with a tint of phosphoric green, appealing to old-fashioned hacker wannabes, as the core of Fedora.

The dispute was settled with a middle ground by a panel of usability experts from outside of the FLOSS world, to have a view from the target we are trying to expand into. The result is magenta, as the new color we are going to, something in-between ping and black, trying to make everyone content. So instead of the old dark blue we will be using a dark magenta, with the hex-code #731473 and instead of the old blue we will use a light magenta, with the hex-code #d801d8

The workdmark will retain the same shape, the small case "fedora" text in the same Bryant 2 font face, just colored in the light magenta color(#d801d8)

Together with a change of colors, a message change is mandatory and magenta is usually associated trough the history of art with religion and royalty. Controversy is good for increasing the public awareness, but controversy from religion may be a bit too unhealthy for an international project so we chose the royalty angle, positioning now Fedora as "The King of Linux".

The new positioning must be reflected in the logo treatment, so we managed to finally receive blessing from our main corporate sponsor Red Hat and include a piece of headwear in the logo in the form of a crown (still, not techincally a hat or a fedora). But to keep the distinction from RHEL, this logo version is going to be used exclusively in non-profit projects. For the other cases, there is a version of the logo with a background textured with medieval French lilies.

The complete logo is the combination of the light magenta wordmark and the textured formal logo:

This change is effective immediately, packages propagating the change are already built in Koji and will reach all the users of the development versions of Fedora at the next push. After the packages get delivered into the channels, the logo and logo usage guidelines will be updated to reflect the change.