29 December 2011

Getting contributors

A slow day near the New Year break, calm and silent. Then I get a private message on IRC from a total stranger: he wants to know if is possible to join the Fedora design team. I start by making clear I am not part of the team currently (he supposedly saw may name on the contributors list) and then say is an open community, anyone can join, and point to the instructions on the wiki.

The guy insists in learning the name of the "maintainer", I direct him to the mailing list and #fedora-design, insist on my turn about using normal, open, channels, not people who can be busy or away for the holidays but still tell him the name of the team leader, is public information after all. He want a "chance to join", I repeat joining is open for everyone and point to the mailing list again.

Passing briefly the part about which software is used, my alarm signal is triggered by the next one "in this field coding is not need ?". I answer calmly and now, half an hour into the talk, is my time to ask "what are your skills? what do you know to do? why do you want to be part of the project?" and learn he is a college student with the hobby of doing graphic design.

Then comes the icing of the cake, his following question "after contribution , money will be got or not?" Now is crystal clear my interlocutor knows nothing about Free Software, open source, community, Fedora, Linux and such. Is the time for me to point to our homepage and tell directly we are a volunteer project (duh! we have poor wording on the front page, a poor English speaker is confused).

As a last item, he is stunned to learn I do not work for Fedora and Fedora is not a corporation hiring people. I have the feeling I won't hear from him any more and he won't post to the list. Should I call this over a half an hour wasted time or should I call it a learning experience? Anyway, my current confidence in new contributors is quite low at this minute.

Thunderbird adventures

I use Thunderbird as my mail client, keeping it up to date to the latest version, Tb 9, thanks to Remi's repo, all on a Fedora 14 desktop. It may use a bit more resources than I like (my desktop is an old computer, with limited RAM amount), but overall I get by.

Not so much the other day, when I was sent a scanned image to crop and adjust it and I just tried to do that. Naive me! An email with an 7.2 MB attached JPEG rendered the mail client unusable and the entire desktop almost unusable: a memory consumption increase from 89.0 MB (Thunderbird "normal" usage) to 373.5 MB (trying to open that particular message) it may not look like such a killer but somehow that was the effect:

thunderbird memory

In the end I managed to download the attachment and learned the problem: it was a 7.2 MB big image, but the resolution was 9924 x 14039 (don't ask, whoever scanned the image, scanned a full A4 for a small, university diploma sized image, and made it at a huge DPI, so the result can be printed big size. I said "don't ask"). No wonder it was a killer to try and decompress it in RAM.

thunderbird memory

Now the next challenge, edit the image: crop, rotate, remove cracks and scratches, delete a stamp, improve colors and so. I bet you guessed already: GIMP can't open it, at least my GIMP 2.7.1 (the newest available for Fedora 14) tried with no result until I killed it after over 10 minutes of waiting (yeah, I know, don't preach me the benefits, working with large size images is one of the real benefits of Photoshop).

Fortunately, it was possible to open the image for viewing and Shotwell has a crop function included. Once the important part of the image was cropped all was well, GIMP did the job, another success was checked.

09 December 2011

European winner for Wiki Loves Monuments

After every country, including us, nominated their national winners, it was the time for the big European final, with 17 participating countries. And now we also have the European winners. Here's the first place:

Mănăstirea Chiajna - Giulești

Is a picture from Romania, illustrating the ruins of the Chiajna monastery near Bucharest and the funny part is, in my opinion, it barely made our top, it was 10th place from 10 finalists... there is truth in "last but no least". Why? Where it is a good, beautiful and powerful picture, those ruins are well known among the photographers from Bucharest... at least my personal reaction was "yet another picture of Chiajna? at least this one is good" (for over I year I plan a photo session on my own there, still looking for the "right" model, as I want something more glamour/goth).

Personally I am even more happy since the winner, Mihai Petre is kind of my friend (if you wonder, this didn't affect my notes in the national contest and I was not involved in any way with the European notes) and he is a very cool person. Here's a bonus: I have a picture of him I made this summer at a metal festival, can you identify him?

We rock. Literally.

05 December 2011

Chrome vs. Firefox

Compared with other services, I usually found the stats given by StatCounter having bigger values for Firefox (have no idea about their, or others, methodologies), this is why I don't take the exact numbers as absolute but was looking at the trends. The latest report, which made the rounds in the tech press is showing how worldwide Chrome slightly overtook Firefox (with half a percent) and both of them added are way above Internet Explorer (10 percents). This pretty much mirrors my anecdotal evidence of seeing IE mostly on the computers of the most clueless users, Firefox on those installed by a knowledgeable friend or admin and Chrome used more and more by simple-to-average users and even techies.

chrome vs firefox
Is funny how the stats change when looking at my country, Romania, here the places of Internet Explored are switched: Firefox is the top-dog on a slow but sure decline and Chrome just overtaking Internet Explorer for the second place. Of course, the sum of Firefox and Chrome is crushing IE. Not bad.
chrome vs firefox
As for myself, I still use Firefox as my main browser for the simple reason I can't stand the UI of Chrome. I am worried about Mozilla's idiotic policy to blindly copy the Chrome UI (is a different browser, it should look and feel different, otherwise why use it? I use it for some reasons, and Gecko is not the only), but continue to use Firefox, deploy only Firefox and support (as in user support) only Firefox.