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Follow The Netbook Road

November 6th, 2008 by

As many people will have noticed from my ramblings on twitter and identi.ca and also from my sporadic almost dumb sounding questions on IRC (thanks very much for your patience in IRC btw), I have been working on getting a usable installation of openSUSE on the eeePC 701 – both GNOME and KDE4. As I have a 4GB SSD model my aim is to have a feature full install taking up no more than 2.6GB. Yes I know this doesn’t help those with the 2GB model, but I’m scratching my own itch here ;). Ultimately I would like to be able to create USB and CD images of the builds in time for 11.1’s release which is in about 43 days time, problem is KIWI does not like me 🙁 but I will persevere and see what I can conjure up in time. I am a happy user of openSUSE 11.0 with XFCE on my eeePC at the moment, but I fancy a bit of a challenge and a good dose of stress and anger trying to get it to work will be a welcome distraction from the stress and chaos I have to deal with at work 🙂

So what packages am I looking at putting on there? Below are a couple of tables of applications and what I have selected for each DE including ASUS eeePC related drivers (ACPI/Events) and also bluetooth; I have tried to stick to those that come with the DE e.g. all KDE apps are KDE4 variants, and if a DE provides an app for a function I try to use that.  So the first iteration of the table is:

Terminal Konsole GNOME-Terminal Terminal
Text Editor Kwrite Gedit Mousepad
Web Browser Konqueror Epiphany Epiphany
File Manager Dolphin Nautilus Thunar
Music Player Amarok2 Banshee xfmedia
Video Player Dragon Player Totem xfmedia
PDF Viewer Okular Evince Evince
IM client Kopete Pidgin Pidgin
IRC client irssi Pidgin Pidgin
Office Suite OOo OOo OOo
E-mail Kmail Evolution Claws-Mail
RSS Akregator Liferea Liferea
Calendar Korganiser Evolution Orage
Addressbook Kaddressbook Evolution Claws-Mail
Flashplayer Yes Yes Yes
Java Java-1.6 Java-1.6 Java-1.6
Codecs Xine Gstreamer Xine
Photo Viewer Gwenview F-spot Ristretto
FTP Client Dolphin Nautilus Gftp
Networking NetworkManager NetworkManager NetworkManager
Total Space Taken Up 2.6GB / 2676552k 2.7GB / 2752336k 2.6GB / 2718412k


As you can see KDE4 takes up the least amount of space followed by XFCE with GNOME dropping into third place.  This surprised me as I actually expected XFCE to be way ahead in the lead.  I then tried to minimise the number of applications and tried to use apps that could multi task, still prefering those that are included as part of the openSUSE distro:

Terminal Konsole GNOME-Terminal Terminal
Text Editor Kwrite Gedit Mousepad
Web Browser Konqueror Epiphany Epiphany
File Manager Dolphin Nautilus Thunar
Music Player MPlayer Totem xfmedia
Video Player MPlayer Totem xfmedia
PDF Viewer Okular Evince Evince
IM client Kopete Pidgin Pidgin
IRC client irssi Pidgin Pidgin
Office Suite OOo OOo OOo
E-mail Kmail Claws-Mail Claws-Mail
RSS Akregator Claws-Mail Claws-Mail
Calendar Korganiser Claws-Mail Orage
Addressbook Kaddressbook Claws-Mail Claws-Mail
Flashplayer Yes Yes Yes
Java Java-1.6 Java-1.6 Java-1.6
Codec Framework
ffmpeg Gstreamer Xine
Photo Viewer Gwenview Eye Of GNOME Ristretto
FTP Client Dolphin Nautilus Gftp
Networking NetworkManager NetworkManager NetworkManager
Total Space Taken Up 2.6GB / 2662540k
2.6GB / 2682516k
2.6GB / 2716364k

As you can see KDE is still the leader, but GNOME has managed to close the gap significantly.

You will notice that there are some notable applications missing from both tables, both from the Mozilla family – FireFox and Thunderbird.  I chose not to use FireFox as the browser as I have been experiencing some icky lockups with it, and this is irrespective of platform.  I decided against Thunderbird because it just did not like to display correctly on the 7″ screen, even the version supplied by Xandros refused to display nicely.  As KDE4 doesn’t have a native IRC client yet I have chosen irssi, i will update the list when a native KDE4 client is available – most likely Quassel.  Also as it stands Kaffeine is not available for KDE4 yet, when that happens I would imagine I would replace MPlayer with it.

Both the GNOME and KDE4 builds were based on a minimal X install – for GNOME add gnome-panel and gnome-session; for for KDE add kdebase4-session, kdebase4-workspace and kde4-win; XFCE was based on the supplied pattern.  One thing I did notice is that 11.1 (Beta4) seems to have put on a bit of weight in comparison to 11.0, a base install appears to be ~400MB more O_o.  I am going to to do a verification shortly and file a bug so hopefully I can thin them out even further.

If people have any recommendations or suggestions as to what applications to use, then please let me know.  My next step is to create both ISO and USB images, any and all help would be much appreciated – SUSEStudio access would be even better ;)  This list is not meant to be the be all and end all, but more a matter of itch scratching.  Yes I know I could reduce the space taken up if I didnt bother with any of that non-free codec crud, and drop flash from the equation, but I’m pragmatic and ultimately want to see people use openSUSE.  Get them using our distro first, once thatis established then we can educate them on the ugly side of things.  Once I manage to create the images with the above package list i will look at creating a completely free version with no colsed codecs/apps.

Once again I’d like to thank all those on IRC for there help and advice – JP Rosevear, James Wilcox, Stephan Binner, Will Stephenson, Martin Schandler and Hubert Figuiere.

Last Day For Granting Franchise Votes

October 8th, 2008 by

Phase1 of the Board Election process comes to a close at 1200 UTC on 09 October 2008.  That means after that time there will be no additional people eligible to vote for candidates.  Franchise votes are possibly the least understood aspect of the election process, this is even after the best efforts of the Election Committee and Candidates.  No one is to blame, it’s just fact.

So let me try once more to explain what the Franchise voting is all about.  In a nutshell an openSUSE Member has the ability to grant a registered user, but not member, the priveledge to vote in the upcoming Board Election.  Why? Simplisticly it’s to get more voters/users/contributors involved in influencing how the openSUSE project progresses.  There are 2831 registered users now, but only 212 Members – so according to my bad maths that makes about 7.5% eligable to vote. That to me isn’t entirely representative of the community, so in comes the Franchise vote, we members have the ability to increase that voting percentage to 15%.  The catch is that the users have to have registered prior to 01 September 2008.

So how do users get the franchise? Simplist way is ask a member 🙂  Members will not be able to grant users a franchise if they have not registered prior to 01Sept08 so dont try and bluff, the system knows 😉  How do you find out who is a member? Simple, go to users.opensuse.org and “Browse Members“.  From there you can get contact details for IRC nicks, etc and try and convince them that you are worthy.

So please if you haven’t done so, go and get your franchise and help influence openSUSE.  For members that haven’t given out their franchise you can “Browse Users” and find someone you recognise and ask them if they would like a franchise vote.  People this is YOUR Board that is being voted in, if you don’t speak up now then you’ll loose your voice until the next election!

Final Reminder

September 23rd, 2008 by

Yes it is I, FunkyPenguin, on my Party Political Soap Box calling out to all you unbelievers.

You have less than 23hrs till applications for membership for voting purposes is closed; you also have the same small amount of time to notify us of your intention to run for a position for the first community elected Board. I know there are some of you who have been thinking about running – it’s now or never to be part of the 1st. Sure you can go for it next election, but you should really go for it now 😉

Remember you need to be a member before you can run for the Board!

For more info please see my earlier call.

160hrs Till Notifications And Applications Close

September 17th, 2008 by

OK people listen up… please?

Thanks! OK, just a reminder that you have less than 160 hours to register for the openSUSE board election if you haven’t done so already.

For the mathematically challenged, 160 hours is just under seven full days! Yes, that is how long you have left to get your membership application in to be able to vote on the upcoming board election. It is also the amount of time you have left to get your notification of intention to run for the first community elected Board.

You can only run for the board if you hold openSUSE Membership, you can only vote for your favourite candidates if you have openSUSE Membership. Do you see a pattern here? Good!

Also it would be good if all of the current candidates could ensure that they have filled in their platforms on the openSUSE wiki as requested before then. Some have already, I appreciate that people are busy, but if you want to be on the Board (or vote for the board) you have to be prompt. Slackers will not be tolerated! 😉

Geeko wants you

Obligatory Political Image

HackWeek III Day 5 – Diary Of An Outsider

September 1st, 2008 by

And so the fun ends, as today is the last day of HackWeek III and also my last day (hopefully not ever) here in the Nurenberg Offices 🙁

HW3 Poster

I managed to grab Will Stephenson for a brief chat on camera about KDE and how it fits in with openSUSE, many thanks Will.  I also had some discussions with several people just to make sure I squeezed the last out of “ChatWeek”.  I spoke with Marko Jung about the upcoming Board Elections for a fair while, and we can’t stress enough how important this event is for the whole openSUSE Project.  For those that are keen to stand for election, please follow the Notification instructions here.  Also, those that do wish to stand, you will have to fund your own election campaign as neither Novell nor SUSE have the budget to fund a campaign like Obama or McCain.  The one advantage that we do have over the US elections is we won’t be anywhere near as long and drawn out, also we’ll be a lot friendlier (I hope).

I would like to thank everyone at SUSE and Novell for inviting so many external community members to Nurenberg for HackWeek III, this was the largest by far and was an absolute winner!  I would like to especially thank Andreas Jaeger and Michael Loeffler for co-ordinating the event for us; Martin Lasarsch who even though he was feeling decidedly crappy thanks to a persistent cold was able to perform his host duties impecably; Sonja Krause-Harder for allowing me to occupy part of her office, Marco Michna for being that great shadow that appears when you need him; and also to the un-related to openSUSE but just as important to me AirBerlin, a mighty fine example of how flying can still be enjoyable, in this day and age of tight fisted, service void, unpleasent airlines.

I am currently working on editing the video that I have, and will try and get something out ASAP, honest.  If there are any animation supremos out there that would like to do a bit of animation wizardry, please let me know!

HackWeek III Day 4 – Diary Of An Outsider

August 29th, 2008 by

For the first time this week, I didn’t do a great deal of chatting.  I did manage to interrupt some of the X11 team and chatted about the whole X thing and how weird convuluted and generally messy the whole thing is – highly enjoyable and depressing at the same time.  As a result I managed to get some interviews done which was great.  I’d like to thank Sonja Krause-Harder, Garett Le Sage, Martin Lasarsch, Marco Michna, Flavio, and especially Cornelius Schumacher.

Why am I especially thankful to Cornelius? Well Cornelius was kind enough to spend the longest time in front of the camera and gave a brilliant interview explaining quite a bit about the Incubation Team and their work on SUSE Studio.  A lot of misconceptions are dispelled and some light and clarification is shed on the whole product.  He also managed to enlighten us as to what being Vice-President of KDE.e.V and his HackWeek Project on the Social Desktop.

The others managed to enlighten us as to what it is that they actually do during normal day to day operations, and also what they are doing during the week.  Hopefully I can get some more interviews tomorrow, and actually manage to get some editing done.

In the evening most of the remaining external community members that were left went out for dinner and had a great meal and a few drinks, and chatted about a lot of stuff – both openSUSE related and general.

I’m feeling a bit sad that I have to leave tomorrow as everyone here has been great and it has really been invaluable to me (and hopefully to those in SUSE) to meet in person and talk about many things that interest and annoy us.

HackWeek III Day 3 – Diary Of An Outsider

August 28th, 2008 by

Day 3 started off relatively early in comparison to day 2, why? Because I was continuing my ChatWeek with a fairly important chat with a fairly influential person.  The person in question was non other than Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO.  Fellow Community member Pascal Blesser and myself were invited to have a relaxed discussion with Jeff about openSUSE and Novell and bring up any issues/comments/etc that we may know of.  We spoke with Andreas Jaeger and Michael Loeffler yesterday about the impending meeting, and discussed at some length some of the items not just because we hoped to bring them up with Jeff, but because we felt they warranted discussion regardless of who it was in front of.

The meeting with Jeff went well, and we appreciate the opportunity immensely to be able to speak fairly frankly to Jeff (no, neither of us swore or threw any furniture in the style of a Rock Star).  We didn’t manage to go through all the points we would have liked, but we certainly got through the big burning issues that we had.  After almost 90 minutes Jeff had to leave and do the rounds to see how HackWeek was progressing from the “shop floor”.  This meeting wasn’t a marketing blah blah meeting but a definite participation on all sides; there were times when disagreement happened but as the atmosphere was relaxed it was pretty easy to move on.

Afterwards I tried (relatively unsuccessfully) to get on with my project and edit the footage from the previous day.  Why oh why is video editing not simple?  Either applications are just way way way too difficult or just unbelievably unstable to the point of uselessness.  Hopefully tomorrow will be more successful when I pressgang Thomas Schmidt into helping me 🙂

For ALL participants of HackWeek: SudoWrestling, a great Linux focused podcast and blogcast (sometimes they can’t be bothered to talk, strange considering they’re women 😉 ) would really like to hear from you about your projects.  Now is the time to blow your own trumpet and chat to these two lovely Linux loving lunatics.

HackWeek III Day 2 – Diary Of An Outsider

August 28th, 2008 by

So the fun and sun in Nurenberg continues 😀

Again day 2 started off very much as day 1 – lots of discussions.  This is not a bad thing, and maybe Novell would consider sponsoring a ChatWeek (it could be condensed into 2 or 3 days), it is a fact that communication is the one major stumbling block that any company/community suffers from and Novell and openSUSE are no exception to this.

We started with general discussions and continuing some of the discussions we had over dinner last night.  After lunch we then continued our discussions on openSUSE and what/how things could be improved – highly productive and very inspiring to get internal and external community members to speak honestly and bluntly about their thoughts and ideas. 

Note to the community (yes, all of you!): If you have thoughts on what or how to help imporve anything within the openSUSE universe speak up!!  If you’re not sure who or how to do so, the key contact details (in no particular order) are Zonker, opensuse-project mailing list, #opensuse-project irc channel and of course the openSUSE Board.  One of the advantages of openSUSE is that you can pick things up and run with them, if you need any help just ask and people will rally around (sometimes it takes a bit of time but it does happen, honest).

After all the discussions I had just enough time to grab a drink before the first openSUSE Marketing Team irc meeting took place.  This was shorter than I would personally have like, but that was down to one very important reason – the HackWeek BBQ!

The BBQ was and is a great opportunity for people just to chat on all levels, and general have fun with some fine food and some fine Bavarian Beer – Pascal will certainly disagree with me on the last point, but then again he is kind of correct; being Belgian he is used to a much wider variety and quality of beers, just go to FOSDEM to find out 😉  You can see a montage of the video that I took over here – yes I know it’s evil flash!

The party atmosphere went on long into the night and everyone managed to enjoy themselves. Thank you SUSE for the fine food and beer, and thank you Pascal for bringing some prized Belgian beers for comparison with the Bavarian ones.

HackWeek III Day 1 – Diary Of An Outsider

August 26th, 2008 by

After my disasterous attempt to travel out to Nurenberg on Sunday – I managed to get my passport stolen at security of all places 🙁 (I thought I had lost it, but nothing found yet).  I managed to travel out first thing on Monday.

Geekos and Tux

The timing was perfect, I managed to get to the SUSE offices in NUE just in time to drop my bags and meet up with Andreas for a little tour/familiarisation of the site.  This was great because we (openSUSE invited about 10 community members to NUE) got to see a load of the great folks that work on the project and see how they do it (including the ever elusive Beineri:

Stephan Binner

We then had a pleasant brunch, and afterwards sat down to start hacking on our respective projects.

So what is one doing for HackWeek? Well it isnt exactly hacking (well not initially although I may have to so I can get the end product out); I’m hoping to do some videos of HackWeek, both documentary style(ish) and some interviews.  Why do I say “hoping”? Well I’ve hardly filmed anything 🙁 I have been way too busy discussing and speaking about openSUSE with people.

Day 1 was very much a ChatWeek moment rather than HackWeek 🙂  The chatting took place all around the offices, and even in Meeting Rooms where we discussed many aspects of the project.  I continued chatting with fellow openSUSE peeps over dinner and well into the night:

Chatting over dinner

Chatting into the night

It isn’t all chatting though, some people did manage to get some coding done albeit in between chats 🙂  By the way Andreas isn’t laughing at the code quality and Benji isn’t playing an advanced level of nethack – honest!

Actually hacking

I’m certainly hoping to be able to get some video recorded on Day 2, but these people at SUSE are just so damned social that it’s really hard!! 😀

openSUSE TV update

August 21st, 2008 by

Ok now that my tubes to the net are back with gusto, I have been able to get all of tube.o.o onto openSUSE TV.  Actually oTV has some videos that aren’t on tube.o.o 🙂

With HackWeek 3 coming up this week, I’m hoping to get more videos up there.  So calling all Geecko Stations, if your make some videos of you escapades, please let me know and we’ll get them uploaded.  As it isn’t an official corporate sponsored site rules are a touch looser, e.g: video format doesn’t have to be in OGG, yes it would be preferable but not final.  I have a HackWeek project relating to the openSUSE Broadcasting Corporation, so the weeks after HackWeek should hopefully be good.  I’m hoping to be able to do some updates during the week too, but they may have to wait.

Remember if you have any suggestions or (preferably) any content to share with folk about openSUSE and it’s ecosystem please let me know.  You can get hold of me by leaving a comment here or mail me (you may need to edit the address 😉 ).