Akiee 0.0.3 released

Release 0.0.3 is a big step for Akiee. I am switching Akiee from plain Javascript to Clojurescript with Reagent, which is a wrapper around Facebook's React. Furthermore, Akiee's UI has been improved to better fit into the respective operating systems.

On the functional side it is now possible to add or edit data of a task. Like planned date, due date, repeat, tags, etc.

The user storys for Akiee 0.0.3 were:

  • Merge rakiee repository with akiee
  • When I look over my tasks, I want to set/change an attribute so that I can change it to my needs.
  • improvement: Mac: Alias Ctrl shortcuts to Cmd
  • fix: Mac: Rename "node-webkit" in the menubar to Akiee
  • As A User I want to see the details of a task when I click on it, that I can see notes I did to finish it.
  • As a user, I want better integration, that the app feels more native to me.
  • As a developer, I want to explore the options of using Clojurescript for Akiee, that I can leverage Lisp for competitive advantage

To grab a copy of Akiee, choose on of the following downloads. I am very interested in your feedback.

Next features

What is planned for Akiee 0.0.4?

  • As a (kanban) user I want to have the DONE state ordered by time in reverse, that I can see what I finished last.
  • When I make a mistake, I want to go back to the last state, so that I can start over.
  • As a User I want to order my task via Drag & Drop, that I can order my task more efficient.
  • When the markdown file of my tasks get too big, I want to export tasks that I done, so that I only have tasks in the file that are still relevant to me.
  • As a User I want to synchronize my tasks via Dropbox and similar services, that I can add tasks from every computer I have access to.
  • As a user I want to keep notes (not tasks), that I want to keep for future reference, that I can remember important information. 

Financing Open-Source-Projects via the Ubuntu Software-Center

Financing Open-Source-Projects via the Ubuntu Software-Center

Since a few month it's relatively easy to offer commercial software through the Ubuntu Software-Center. Why shouldn't this be used to finance open-source projects like the Gimp, Ardour or Openshot and support their development efforts.

Let's Take Brian Lunduke's favorite example: The Gimp. Before I want to make an fundamental assumption: It doesn't conflict with the open-source/free software idea, to sell software, if you publish the source code at the same time.

How could this look like?

For Gimp there are certain plugins, which are not available via the standard package sources and which maintenance is bugging the typical (web-) designer.

Why not offer certain plugin packs in the Ubuntu Software-Center for a fair price? For example, I could imagine a plugin pack, that makes a preselection of special plugins for photo post-production – with features that are not available in Shotwell.

This could be an opportunity for the Gimp team; who's got more competence about Gimp than the Gimp team itself. What's true for Gimp is also true for a lot of other applications like OpenShot, Ardour, Open-Office, etc.

Where is the customer value?

Most OSS users are bugged or simply overstrained by the installation of plugins, PPAs or the compiling of source code – regardless they like to use the best plugins and the newest software. It would be arrogant to say: users should develop theses skills or wait for 6 – 24 month until the next version of Ubuntu comes out.

The concept of providing updates via the Software-Center is especially interesting for LTS-versions of Ubuntu. Users and programmers get totally new possibilities bypassing missing updates by Canonical.

Why it is important to have a vibrant commercial Ecosystem around open source software

Many times open source projects, most often small ones, have to fight obstacles like new hardware or server costs – not to mention compensation of the team members. In addition, most open-source projects are developed by solo developers and are lacking manpower to have faster development cycles.

If you are now interested in developing business ideas around open source software, check the two articles:

How do you think about it? Should open source projects try to raise money with the Software-Center?


Positioning Linux In The Desktop Market (or Why Hendrix would have used Linux)

Hendrix painting by furibond
Would he have used Linux? by furibond

At the moment some people are telling us Linux would have finally lost the battle for the desktop. For justification they claim Windows 7 is overtaking the netbook market. In this essay I will argue, Linux has not lost the desktop market and it should not position itself in the low-end PC market but in the high-end.

Linux can not lose the desktop market.

As I said before, Linux can not be beaten in the market as long there are curious programmers all over the world contributing to Free Software. For the success of Free Software it is not important how many people are using it. It is important how many people are contributing to Free Software. This argument stays true for big projects, like Gnome and KDE, and for all the small projects, like Scribes, Impressive, Gnome-Do, etc., that make Open Source Software so exciting.

Linux is build as a high-end system

Linus Torvalds created Linux because there were no suitable Unix-like operating systems that he could afford. That's why he build an operating system he would find "beautiful". In conclusion it is fair to say that Linux was build as a high-end operating system. The coincidence that Linux is running on such a variety of devices is just a sign of its class and the advantage of the OSS development model.

Linux competes with OS X

Fender Stratocaster by daves_place
Fender Stratocaster by daves_place

Linux is created to be an Unix and not a DOS. If you compare operating systems to electric guitars Linux is a Fender Stratocaster. It is hard to learn but very rewarding. Windows in contrast is a Guitar Hero game controller. It is nice in the beginning but the possibilities are very limited and it hampers your creativity. Personally I think the real competitor to Linux is OS X. OS X would be a Gibson Les Paul. Very good lookin', a bit easier to play, but very expensive and not as versatile as a Strat. Like the guitars from Fender and Gibson, both operating systems have some things in common, but differ in certain aspect, especially in philosophy. The biggest similarity of the both operating systems is that they are both Unixes.

Some philosophical differences between Linux and OS X

open source vs. closed source: If you want, you can use the sources of Linux as you wish. Learn from, change it or rip it apart an build something totally new out of it. In the sense of Google's informal corporate motto "Don't be evil!" Apple is the devil. If you mess with Apple's software you could end up having a lot of fun with their lawyers. total freedem vs. a bit more guidence: Linux lets you digg very deep into the operating system. They user, if he is admin too, has total control over the system. By Design you can totally rebuild your system. OS X doesn't give you as much freedom, on the other hand you are not as likely to screw something up with your system.

The future of Linux is very bright.

Tux
A well fed penguin

Besides that Linux has a very robust business model and as such is here to stay on the desktop, I think Linux should be sold with high-end desktop PCs and laptop and should not be used on low cost hardware. It excels with high-end hardware, especially when used by talented people. Linux is a product for power users who want to use their computers to boost their creativity and create new exciting things. As Alan Key said:

The computer is simply an instrument whose music is ideas.

Now it's your turn. What is your opinion on that? By the way Hendrix mostly played the Stratocaster.


Linux Users Are Software Pirates

Why are Linux Users Software Pirates?

In one sentence: Linux users are software pirates, because they don't pay for their software. Period!

We all talk about the awesomeness of  Linux, Ubuntu and Open-Source-Software, but who of us is willing to pay for OSS? Nobody! Everything has to be free of charge. But Linux and OSS is about freedom, not free beer! We, who want everything for free, aren't any better than those who illegally leach software and games.

Why this is a fucking problem!

Software for Linux sucks!

Tell me about one high-end graphic suite, tell me about one state of the art game, tell me about one top business software!

It's hard to believe, writing awesome software is hard work; anybody who works hard has to eat and sleep, otherwise she will die. Sometimes this developer wants to take care of his family – strange thing.

What is the consequence for the average open-source developer?

Surprise: She goes to work.

What doesn't she do, when she is working? Exactly, she can not continue work on her open-source project.

Let's reference Brian Lunduke and take a look at The Gimp:

To make The Gimp competitive to Photoshop the project needs 3 developers and 1 tester. If everybody earns 75 k, what is not much for decent developers, the project needs about 300 k in funding!  There a no marketing efforts or anything else included. Just the money for the developers, that they can eat and will not die and will finish the project.

If we want killer open-source-apps, we have to pay for it – it is just this simple!

What can we do?

Donate! Donate! Donate!

Unfortunately, we all donate to infrequently and we donate to small amounts – myself included.

If we agree, that open-source users have to donate, then we should ask the following question:

How and how much should we donate?

Donating a little amount for every project doesn't make much sense, therefore I suggest a five step action plan:

  1. Forget the big distros, the Linux kernel and other company backed projects – they have enough money.
  2. Now think about it: Without which software you couldn't live anymore? Which project do you need for your job? Make a list.
  3. Write down your top 5. My list looks like this: Top5 Open-Source-Programme
  4. Now imagine: somebody takes your top 5 hostage.  How much ransom would you pay? What is your personal value for each program in your top 5? Take this amount and write it behind the corresponding program in your list.
  5. Donate! Yeah, you're right, the different amounts you have written down, this is what you donate. The great thing is, you can donate whenever you want. For example, after your next big customer project is finished and you earned a ton of money – but remember: With freedom comes responsibility!

To say it again, if you donate you are just fair. If you are don't donate you behave not much different than a software pirate, that found a legal loophole.

I know the temptation to do nothing is great, but get yourself together – do something!


The perfect vocabulary trainer

Most of us have trouble to learn vocabulary, technical terms or facts. But why is that? Because we don't repeat things we learned often.

Mnemosyne helps

At that point comes Mnemosyne to the game. Mnemosyne works like an intelligent vocabulary trainer. Who knows what to repeat when you should repeat it.

If you want to memorize something Mnemosyne is your perfect match. For example, add some vocabularys. Mnemosyne will test you on that words and you will have to grade your answer. Mnemosyne will then try to estimate the next time it test you on that words.

Tipps

I use Mnemosyne to:

  • learn Englisch words that I don't know, when I'm on the internet
  • memorize facts from a textbook.

Download

For installation on Ubuntu and other Debian-based OS klick on that button:

Installbutton Mnemosyne

For all other OS go to that page: Mnemosyne-Download


Faster with Ubuntu Part 4: Impressive

Today I want to show you a tool that will raise your presentation power and makes you faster getting what you want. Impressive shows presentations, saved as pdf , with tasty animations between slides. Impressive has a lot of additional functions. Two highlights are:

1. Overview Function:

The overview makes it easy to jump back to a certain slide after the presentation. You just hit the <Tab>-key and you see an overview of all the slides of the presentation. Now you choose the desired slide via mouse or arrow key and hit <Enter>.

2. Highlight Function:

If you want to highlight a certain part on a slide, you can paint a rectangle with your mouse and this part will be highlighted.

Impressive has a ton of other features that you can read about in the included demo presentation.

Install It

Impressive has some debencies that should be already installed on most Ubuntu systems. To proof that type in the command line:

aptitude install python python-opengl python-pygame python-imaging xpdf-reader gs pdftk xdg-utils mplayer

Ok, you can copy & paste 🙂 Now download Impressive and deflate it.

Use It

First prepare a presentation and save it as pdf. Now start you presentation with

python [path/to/Impressive] impressive.py [präsentation].pdf

What do you think of Impressive. Will you use in there upcumming talks? What about the other functions?

Discover the opportunities and rock Ubuntu today.


ghotkey – Set Hotkeys in gnome easily

This is a little Python program I wrote. It lets you set the 12 Metacity (the gnome window manager) hotkeys for any application you like. Set any command you like in the left entry field of a row and the corresponding hotkey in the right entryfield. The format for the hotkeys looks like "<Control>a" or "<Shift><Alt>F1". The parser is fairly liberal and allows lower or upper case, and also abbreviations such as "<Ctl>" and "<Ctrl>". If you set the option to the special string "disabled", then there will be no keybinding for this action.

Download ghotkey and rock Ubuntu today. Download: ghotkey-0.1.tar.gz


Faster Ubuntu Part 3: Parcellite

You all know the shortcuts <Ctrl>+c, <Ctrl>+v and <Ctrl>+x to copy and paste content from the clipboard. If not you should change that immediately. A great disadvantage of the standard clipboard is, if you want copy different text passages you have to change between the source and the target back and forth. Parcellite creates an history of the clipboard for you.

Install It

Download the package, install via the GDebi installer and add it to your autostart list.

Use It

A mouse klick on the applet or the shortcut <Ctrl>+<Alt>+h Parcellite shows you the last 25 clipboard entries and you can choose one.

You can paste this entry as usual via <Ctrl>+v. A typical use case would be, if you want to use a certain text passage several times, but want to work as usual without switching back to the original source all the time. It needs some time to use Parcellite effectively. Discover the opportunities and rock Ubuntu today.


Lastdocs Plugin For gEdit

This is a new version of my Lastdocs plugin for gEdit. I improved the performance a bit.The Lastdocs plugin exposes a simple dialog that shows you the last opened files which can be edited with gEdit. It is inspired by Scribes a very promising editor that is in an early development stage.

What is the advantage over the recent files menu entry?

The the Lastdocs plugin is better suited to my workflow. I just press <Ctrl><Shift><o>,

the Lastdocs dialog pops up and I can use the arrow keys to choose a file. There doesn't need any mouse action to be involved.

How can I download the plugin?

Download the following file:

Unpack it and put the files in

~/.gnome2/gedit/plugins/

and activate the plugin.
If you have any ideas for improvement, don't hesitate to post them.

Now download lastdocs-plugin and rock Ubuntu today. Download: lastdocs-0.1.tar.gz


Thoughts About Chrome

There is a lot buzz about Chrome – Googles new Web browser. What I don't understand is why is there so much buzz about a piece of software. When a new version of Opera is released, in my opinion, the most innovative browser of the last years, almost nobody cares. Now Google releases a browser and everybody is going nuts. I want to comment on some statements about Chrome (This will not be technical):

  • Chrome is a Windows killer: Despite the fact that I don't think the people at Google hate Microsoft, I think Chrome is just a new browser that gives users more opportunities. Firefox did not kill Microsoft either. Just to have a really powerful JavaScript engine doesn't make the choice of the OS redundant. By the way, Microsoft is a dying giant anyway.

  • Google wants a big chunk of the mobile browser market: I think Google's growth strategy heavily relies on the mobile browser market. As a result for them, it is very important that people have easy access to the mobile web and a good experience using it. Therefore a nice integration between Chrome on the desktop and Android/mobile Chrome would be helpful.

  • Google never hit a second home run: Which application from Google you use all the time? It is not Orkut, is it? Google is mostly late when they releasing a new application and normally not the first to develop something really new. Although things like Android look very promising they have yet to prove that they can be successful. The same applies to Chrome.

Personally, I think on the desktop PC Chrome will have a hard time competing with the Internet Explorer. Just because a lot of people are too lazy to change their habits. Actually, I would say it is more likely that Firefox users will try out Chrome than IE users. But the release of the new browser means that Google is putting pressure on the market leader what should be a good thing for us customers.

UPDATE: More about Google's mobile Strategy