New Video: Lifecycles

#fosdem followup on Arduino and Squeak eToys

Check out how fun this could be (no compile time, only fun, runtime) Controlling Arduino with Squeak And Kinect comes to the mix from the same great people (note that the little red car is driven through Kinect) Pay them a visit at: Cool isn't it?

#fosdem 2011 – Some pictures of Mozilla, mageia, OLPC, Postgres, OpenMaps…

Some pictures of (some) of the cool people I met there. Thanks especially to mozilla for handing me a ton of goodies for students.

Arduino kit from #fosdem 2011: get the electronics back

Yesterday, I got myself an Arduino experimenters kit. As a side note, the kits sold at FOSDEM come from Italy and support decent working conditions, something that is quite nice. I hope to have contributed a bit. The kit is of good quality and there is all one may need to get started. What I do have in mind is to use the Arduino and the electronics to work on bridging a Microsoft Kinect device with Squeak Smalltalk and the Arduino. Software support exists for both of them in Squeak and it would be great to have fun activating my Lego Mindstorms through gesturing in front of a Kinect and controlling the little Lego blocks. This is going to bring several of my 'past lifes' together. In fact I have the full electronics kit (including soldering iron, drill, components, and what not) that I haven't been using for some time. Last time, I was making ISA cards for building 286-based oscilloscopes and AD/DA based boards. This means a loooong time. Anyway, ICs do not die,  they just lay there, waiting for new projects. And now, as I have a brand new office with lots of space, I can devote a table for Arduino projects. Stay tuned, as I'll have a number of posts describing how things are going. Here are some pictures:

Kit Contents

The Arduino Uno board

Webkit talk at #fosdem

Interestingly, the presentation makes use of WebKit instead of Powerpoint, Impress, or whatever presentation desktop software. The talk's going to be about "Discovering the WebKit world". Hard to understand what the guy says... A bit stressed out.(update: like a diesel, he turned off to be quite fine, but has to learn how to be less stressed and more confident - hey, dude, gimme a call). Key point: we do a web engine. All right, now, ... so what?

A bit of history

KHTML is what started it all in 1998-1999 but the project took off with Apple taking care and relased Safari based on WebKit. Apple opened WebKit in 2005. Then we see ports to Qt and GTK, followed up by a port to Chromium in 2008. Now, you can consider that WebKit is now truly open.

What kind of apps are using WebKit?

Safari, Chromium, Google Earth, iTunes, AppStore, Spotify, Netflix, Adobe Air, Steam / Valve. But these guys aren't so cool since they do not contribute a lot back. But is more friendly.

Showcase time

(note: next time, ready your code editor, it sucks waiting like that...)

Let's have a Qt demo.

view.load(QUrl("");;; Tada! A web page rendered! That's so easy that there a lot of so-called browsers popping up all over the place. But it is not so easy to do a good browser. So, tons of crap...

Next, a HTML5 Canvas-based app showing off how WebKit rulez.

Indeed, it does. Lovely. I wonder how I can embed WebKit in Squeak. Should be easy. I'll ask after the talk so that I can have fun with a Squeak plugin.

WebKit supports CSS animations and transitions

Instead of messing with timers and Javascript headaches, let's go transitions! A litte inspector opens on the slides, and tada, a bit of CSS3 transform on the elements to align on the right. wekbit-transitions: -webkit-transform: 3s Ah ah, good! A much welcome thing to basic animations. A ton of crappyscript just got thrown into the garbage can. Bonus with CSS: speed, seamless integration, removal of silly transiiton code from useful app-centric code.

Offline access with WebKit: yet another complaint about HTML apps goes out of the window

  1. WebStorage
  2. IndexDB
  3. Application cache: just mark some resources as available on line, and there they are
  4. (Web SQL): deemed to be a mistake

On webstorage: a object local storage (key, object) pairs. Supereasy and cool storage thing.

Hybrid applications: mix C++ and HTML: Yikes!

Spotify and Netflix do just that.

That's power meets easy UI.

Interesting concept, but one that opens a lot of headaches when it comes to portability IMHO. Well, people use it, so there is a market..

(some pictures to come, but I am now in the room, this will be for later.)

The key takeaway is that you can use the C++ controller from the JavaScript context, and back. So, in an application, it is great. In fact, I do love that.

This would bring together my C++ skills together with my web skills. Woot!

+ animations And there you get a CoolIris lookalike. So, no OpenGL, no shaders, ... All with basic HTML and transoformations. All that letting you use the inspector to make changes here and there on the UI: One word: COOL. AWESOME also comes to mind. And there is a WeKit is the people part

WebKit vision: in brief: Hackability meets standards.

Platform layer+V8 Javascript engine+WebCore+WebKit(2-research)+upper layers for showing off on the user screen.

Infrastructure : main website - The QA Buildbot space - Where to go for details On #IRC: #webkit channel There are also blogs and bugtrackers.


WebKit has a lot of power and is easy to embed. This opens a lot of new roads to travel and enjoy creating great applications for users.

The talk wasn't digging on the details but provided me with a great overview of what was possible with WebKit.


WebKit2 is still research but we are going to get multiprocess.

The point is to beat Chrome. Let's see what it gives.

Thanks for reading chaps!

(update - pictures)

#FOSDEM 2011 – Small visit on Saturday

Today, I had a trip to FOSDEM in Brussels. As a Belgian and an avid FOSS user, I couldn't miss it. Stll, I hadn't a ton of time to spend on it today, so I went for an hour, trying to catch some informaitons. Tomorrow, I'll go again, carrying some Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware folders with me. As a member of the marketing team, I should use this opportunity. Next year, I'll secure a slot, there are way too much cool things to show. Especially with version 7 that is about to be released. So, what did I learned as cool things today? Interestingly, I came across people from Novell, showcasing OpenSUSE. On one big screen, there was their buildserver system. It is a system that allows someone to build packages for a set of operating systems. You can build for SUSE, Debian, you name it. In fact, I wasn't as interested in the fact that it could build all that. I was interested that the build server is Open Sourrce. So, the open build server can be used for building and packaging C code of commercial nature. A free build server for C code with a neat front-end: exactly what I realized I was in need of to improve the current condition of one of my clients. I'll give it a shot and if it works right, go into that direction. Also, there was an XO (OLPC machine) demoing the Sugar OS. This was on the Fedora booth. The Fedora project lead (a fine guy BTW) told me that there a version of Sugar known as Sugar on a stick. So, I would be able to run Sugar directly from a stick on any machine. That's really something I want to try, especially when it comes to run Squeak (open Smalltalk) in a nice environment for kids. There were 32-bit Fedora 14 live CDs as 64-bit Fedora 14 install DVDs. I picked one of each. I am curious to see how Fedora is now. I had a 6.x a long time ago. The mozilla booth was pretty packed, and they gave goodies, like the wristbands with "I support the Open Web", badges, necklaces, and stickers. I had a look at Gnome3, which looks great even if not yet in a fully stable state. Bought a Gnome T-shirt to support a bit (and of course show off with geeky friends). Then, as a Ubuntu user, I had a look at their booth, picked a T-shirt and a mug. The T-shirts show off the new logo, which is kind of neat. They had the Ubuntu 10.10 and Kubuntu 10.10 media, which I picked up. Had a look at the Perl booth. I have moved off Perl some years ago, focusing on Tcl instead. Perl is powerful but really the syntax is turning me off. Too many things and idioms. Nevertheless, Perl is a fine language if you invest enough time in learning it and applying it to practical cases. I also had a talk with the guys staffing the LibreOffice booth. I was quite curious to see how LibreOffice would support DMaths, which we use with my wife to write equations (She's a math teacher). It turns out that the author of DMaths is german and is involved somewhat with LibreOffice. As such, it should work. I'll give it a shot. Also, we talked about equations. In fact the file contains the equations stored internally as MathML. Hey, this is cool because I may be able to get the MathML back for use on the web. All in all an interesting visit. Didn't attended a talk. But the talks are quite not associated with practical usage. And I am interested in practical usage, cases, labs, hands on. The hackers room is nice but always too crowded. When will they provide more than one of those?