Desktop Developers' Conference 2005 impression

DISCLAIMER: this blogs containt some sarcastic comments. Reader discration is advise

I had the chance, or the bad luck, to attends to the Second Ottawa Desktop Developers' Conference. I say bad luck because almost all the talk where about Gnome and freedesktop technology, and even those which weren't about the gnome stuff where geared toward it. I was looking in learning something but it was not the case.

Here a more detailled description and comment about the talk (didn't write this yesterday so it's from memory so ...)

monday talks

XCB and Xlib:
this talk was about the X C Bindings, a replacement for the xlib.
since xcb is a X protocol binding you can implement X over it.

What's new in Eclipse 3.1
basicly they presented eclipse 3.1 new features like improved Gnome integration, no word about kde
the port of swt (their widget set) to cairo and the reduction of the flickers in the user interface. Beside those minor improvements, they didn't improve
the usability
of their interface =)

Desktop Development In China
This talk was somewhat interesting, it explained what is happening in china since the decision of the government to use linux.
the talk was more targeted to managers than to developers. to make a long story a short one: we will need to learn Chinese.

Bloat of Data in the Unicode Era
this article focused on the use the use of gnome and xml to implement localization.
didn't really listened to it since I was busy trying to get my internet connection working.

Evas & Edje for Enlightment - Independent Structural Objects for Gui driving
This talk was interesting, presented a lot of cool window manager feature, like fast window drawing,
powerpoint like transition from on desktop to another or when changing the background,
background image resizing without lost of quality in the picture. animated menu hilighting.
But even if those feature where cool and can be used from a scripting language embedded in the window manager, they make more sense in a video game than on my desktop

I missed part of this one, because we took more time for the lunch.
Basicly he presented inkscape features and explained a little svg.

X on Gl
this talk was interesting only because x on gl is a weird and intersting beast. instead of targeting an hardware memory buffer they reimplemented the X
server to the opengl api. but since not all video card support opengl (yes I know the new ones do) I believe it's a dead end in the long run.

Modularizing the X window system source tree
The roadmap to X11R6.9 (monolythic) and X11R7 (modules based) and beyond.

Free Software for digital photography
this talk was about lingphoto2 and a big rant against digital camera makers being uncooperative and a bunch of liars.
the only point that need to be noted is he talked a little about the Exiv2 library which has 2 majors problems even if it relatively complete
1) it's in C++ 2) it's GPL ...

Introduction to the Openclipart Library
Was to tired so I decide to get home at this point

Tuesday talks

Rapid Linux Desktop Development With KDE and Kdevelop

No gnome developers attended even the eclipse guys where
not here

Bringing X.org's GLX support into the modern age
this talk was about the changes that was made to the glx support since xfree86 4.0.0 basicly they are changing the
mesa spec files and python script by an easier to maintain combination of xml and python scripts.

Moving Bottlenecks: CPU Cycle Reduction Using Liboil
the presenter works on gstreamer and esound ...
the stuff is really lowlevel.
Liboil is a Library of Optimized Inner Loops, in other word a collection of simple functions operating on arrays, they are tested and profiled.
One of the goal of liboil is to make easy to use MMX, SSE or altivec extension in your application
the library containts - math functions, type converstion, colorspace conversion, codec, image manipulation , misc (UTF-8 Checking, md5sum)
the most interesting part of the library, according to the author is the init part ...

Helping third-party developers

this talk was about how to attract and keep 3rdparty developer, and that we need to concentred on support not the technology
and we also need to reduce the learning curve of the developer. Even this presenter made the common error about the common specs and standard which need to
be supported (eg is freedesktop.org supported). He also said that we need to keep uptodate documentation, explain what is obsoleted and when it will be
removed. and also we need to "potty train" the ISV by giving them a clear path to follow if they want to use our technology over any other available. And
since not all the developers are not using C or C++ or java ... it's bad to force them to read the C++ api documentation. it even better to add examples in
all the supported language in the documentation. and support more than the trivial hello world example or point to an available model real-world application.
It seems that trolltech get this right in their documentation.

Putative software engineering and the x window system

Sotfware engineering in the X team ...
review of diverse source control and tla was tested but it's not ready for X :)
imake is getting replaced by make/autotools/pkgconfig (wow 3 tools to replace one ... nice improvement :)
some talk about bugzilla and source code management integration ...

an insider's guide to cairo

Computer graphics lecture !!!
so far what I understand computer graphics systems SUCK
he explained all the problems you can have with graphics primtives ... spline etc etc ...
He said that postscript have all of them, inkscape too and so cairo ... so what is the need for a new computer graphics library then?

toward a gnome office suite

this talk is what need to be done to get gnome office suite, seems they don't like openoffice.org because it doesn't use standard library (read here gnome)
for what I understand, every thing will be in libraries ... the application will be less than 100 lines of source code
Actualy only present, a presentation viewer, is available. and the project is started by some persons at ximian

Uniconf, gconf,kconfig,dbus,elektra, oh my! - or -DConf A configuration framework for everyone

They explained the Mother of All Configuration systems and why all the currently used ones sucked
basicly it's a common abstraction layer over any existing configuration systems that will offers:
permission and access control,notification of changes, transactions, standalone and daemon mode, and pluggable configuration backends
uniconf also provide a network protocol so we don't need to use the library. The pluggable backends can be used by a kde application to use gconf or the
opposite a gnome application to use kconfig ... The only thing i find interesting in this is the network protocol, maybe I can use it or be inspired by it
for m2/arrggh, but that will depend if it's what I need :)

Possible futures of linux kernel/user graphics drivers
this talk was about the problem existing in the X window world.
they described the current situation and talk about the new ddx.

- 2 new 2d based DDX
- EXA.
overall he said it was a good thing because it's basicly an extension of the current drivers, (easy to implement)
- X over openGL
need new drivers ...

another possibility is to use a kernel drivers and one of the suggested approach is the merging of drm and fbdriver.
interesting but make more sense for embedded developers or the X server developers than for desktop application developers.
basicly he explained how to get the same performance from linux/X that we get on Mac OS X or windows

Some people might think I'm paranoid when all the talks are about gnome or freedesktop, you wonder what are real motivation of the organizers. And after watching the non gnome related talks, i mean the eclipse one and the freedesktop ones it's an evidence that freedesktop got hijacked by gnomes, all the desktop stuff they talked about integrated with gnome and not with kde, because according to one of the attendee I overheard: "It's normal that we don't see any KDE stuff because the last person using it died 3 months ago."

I'm not sure I will attend next year. Only positive point: I got a free t-shirt. :D

update: there was an eclipse guy during the kdevelop talk. I apologise for any problem my mistake might have provoked


I've not attended but this report does sound like sour grapes.
Are you really surprised that 3rd parties who want the option of non-GPLed apps are focusing on Gnome? This is just something you have to get over : SWT and Eclipse will not have a Qt backend until the CPL and the GPL are compatible. Maybe GPL version 3 will sort this.

Your comments on Cairo are incredibly ignorant.
"He said that postscript have all of them, inkscape too and so cairo ... so what is the need for a new computer graphics library then?"
The depth of ignorance needed to ask this question makes me despair - I can't possibly go into all the reasons cairo was needed - why don't you ask Trolltech who have done something almost identical with Arthur? I expect you think cairo is a crime against KDEmanity because it was suggested that something a gnome programmer works on might be useful to KDE. Cairo (or Arthur) is needed to have the imaging model needed by apps to be efficiently dealt with by hardware. Inkscape(!) and Postscript(!) are not the right place to deal with this.

"imake is getting replaced by make/autotools/pkgconfig (wow 3 tools to replace one ... nice improvement "
Please try to use imake before defending it. And what relevance does the number of tarballs used to distribte the build system make? Imake is shit, it had to die, everyone knows autotools even though they suck. Better the suck you know.

"but since not all video card support opengl (yes I know the new ones do) I believe it's a dead end in the long run."
I think you have a quite ridiculous idea of the "long run". You do understand that almost every cell phone will have OpenGL|ES in 2 years? And that Longhorn means no old cards will be sold to consumers or businesses in 2 years? And that Xegl will not eradicate the present servers? If you are stuck on shit hardware, stick using XAA or Exa. Extensions may also be added to Mesa to allow identical performance to XAA or Exa on shit hardware ( ie shortcuts to exactly the same card operations currently used).

It sounds like the only KDE talk was "Rah rah, we are great and you should use our tools to develop applications." This is a fine talk to give to some people, but aimed at a totally different audience than the *desktop developers* conference. I am surprised anyone turned up at all. Why not present things like possible cooperation on file formats between IDEs, exposition of interesting new ideas like Tenor and Plasma with a possibilty of protocol or code sharing?

The Gnomes just seem more open and far less defensive than KDE at the moment. Is it any surprise that they get more offers of cooperation? They don't act like they are being attacked at every turn.

I have no idea what would have satisfied you other than a wholesale abandonment of gnome by all attendees, and the burning of an effigy of Miguel de Icaza. Why must everything be a conspiracy? In the end it is just sad, and really unprofessional.

By rjw at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 00:55

I notice something with you reply: you don't understand sarcasm even if it hit you with a ten wheels ....

This was my impressions and yes I used imake, it sucks but it better imho than autocrap ... but then again it's my opinion. if you are not happy with mine it's your problem

update I spent sometime to think about your comment and maybe i was a little too much sarcastic ... but then again if some people have problem understanding sarcasm, this just prove that we still have a long way before becoming a truly intelligent species

By Mathieu Chouinard at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 04:12

Saying your comments are sarcasm after the fact does not excuse your ignorance. Your comments made KDE look unprofessional, and they made you look like a tool.

"Kill all Jews!"


"I was just being sarcastic. Now, into the ovens."

By rjw at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 16:21

You lost this discussion according to Godwin's law.

By at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 16:57

Thanks for the info. I guess I haven't missed much, except the free booze. walked all over the market and somehow missed the place, and I didn't see anyone in the aulde dubliner either.

By caveman at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 02:31

Maybe this is an overenthusiastic application of Occam's Razor, but maybe the reason that there are no KDE talks is because no-one except the KDevelop guys bothered to submit one?

And, as I've said before, the prevailing mentality seems to be 'well, this is a GNOME conference [which it isn't], so I'll ignore it'. Which just *guarantees* there won't be a KDE presence. Which means more KDE people see it as a GNOME conference, and ignore it, and ...

Of the talks you listed, I only see one GNOME talk. But I also see one KDE talk. If anything, it's a bit biased towards X, but that probably reflects the developer interest from the people attending.

By daniels at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 06:20

I think you're absolutely right, Daniel. Why does this always happen? Yourself, Aaron and others have repeatedly pointed out that if KDE people don't dive right into fd.o then it will inevitably seem GNOME-oriented.

Matthew - if you don't think KDE is being represented in fd.o, then get involved yourself!

By Tom Chance at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 08:39

Ok I will say I didn't see the mispelling of my name.

and some people seems to think it's a newspaper article about the conference... it is not it's my impression and what I felt (?) when I was listening to the presentation ... some are ideas where really interesting on a conceptual level, too bad they were for gnome. But I also didn't talk about the person doing the presentation because he might be a nice guy, like some of the more interesting talk we had in pub after the conference, rasterman come in mind.

The problem was the comments from the attendees that I overheard, but then if I had chosen to blog about this now some people would have said I'm even more paranoid and I have no proof.

I also didn't said that GNOME and freedesktop suck, or the conference organisation also suck, which in the 3 cases it something I might think, no I just gave my impressions, and it also seems that some people are not evolved enough to understand sarcasm, which I personaly find sad

By Mathieu Chouinard at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 14:34

The problem is not the sarcasm, you know there is a wide number of KDE users who read these blogs and they follow to the KDE developers are their leaders and if in your blog give the impression that the conference was nothing but a conspiration againts KDE then we will have a wide number of trolls spamming forums saying how much fd.o suck, and by the other hand, you are not specific of being sarcastic or real, so, someone may simple read it as your opinion.

This kind of behavior is unprofessional if you don't understand the responsability you have in the oss then i don't know what a are you doing in it.

By rams at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 16:03

take a good look under which category I put this blog: Personal.
I don't know if the meaning or the concept of something personal is not the same in English than in French, but usually when you said that it's a blog which is under the personal category, even if it's on kdedevelopers it's usually the authors opinions ... and for the "you are not specific of being sarcastic or real" part I can't help you and I won't change my charging personality because some people are not able to do the difference ... and if I wanted to write a more "professional" blog about this conference I would have said DDC 2005 Report instead of the current title

By Mathieu Chouinard at Wed, 07/20/2005 - 16:30