Going MirrorBrain, seeking Mirrors

Once upon a Time…

When the Qt sources were first released on ftp.troll.no, the Troll Tech (mind the spelling, it’s that long ago!) FTP server, many FTP mirror admins quickly started mirroring the software, because it was cool, and useful to them or their company/university. And quite right so, because this meant that everyone in the world could use his local mirror to get their files real fast, i.e. high speed and low latency. However, over time, traditional mirrors were replaced by Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). They were deemed more convenient because, well, the user doesn’t need to look for the his closest mirror. The CDN is a one-stop-shop which will automatically find a fast download location. This can either be done by employing GeoIP, or by performing a distance calculation based on routing information (the users’ ASN). There are even more ways of doing this, but let’s not digress:

During the time at Nokia, the Qt packages were also moved to a Commercial CDN. It was good, but it was also expensive. As an Open Source project, we should use our resources cost-effectively and have an infrastructure that is decentralized to a certain degree. Fortunately there is a software that helps us doing that, by combining the ease of CDN-like user-experience with the old system of FTP and HTTP mirrors, and it’s called MirrorBrain. Happy users include LibreOffice, openSUSE and the KDE Project. MirrorBrain presents itself to the user as one page, redirecting the actual downloads to mirrors. While doing that it makes sure that only those mirrors that contain the latest, up-to-date version of the files will be used.

A Call for Mirrors

Since a few days, we have a MirrorBrain infrastructure in place. If you run a mirror or have a reliable, well-connected machine (>= 50 MBit/s) that can help us delivering Qt (currently a total of 120GB), please read the mirroring instructions on the Qt Project page, send us a mail and join the mirrors mailing list.

Credit where Credit is due

The KDE Sysadmin team has helped us a lot in getting MirrorBrain started while setting up the evaluation system. Peter Poeml, the uberbrain behind MirrorBrain, has been of great assistance. Finally, Digia has been sponsoring the man power to set up the production system.

Report: ownCloud @ Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2012

Klaas explaining cross-device syncing to visitors.
Klaas explaining cross-device syncing to visitors.
Right after the ownCloud 5 release event in Berlin I took the train to Chemnitz to join Klaas in staffing the ownCloud booth, which we shared with the openSUSE folks this year.

Lots of people dropped by to see ownCloud 5, while others were eager to learn about the concepts of ownCloud, or were asking about tips on how to host their files at home or on a self-maintained server.

Snapshot from the buffet.
Snapshot from the buffet.
Many were pleased to see the availability of clients across devices. We used a Nexus 7 to demo the Instant upload capabilities for photos, which quickly appeared on the web interface and the desktop folder.

The feedback from existing users overall was very positive, and many were pleased to see the advances ownCloud had made in its evolution. We also discussed sharing questions with users and even managed to do some live debugging, the result of which will soon show up in the next release of the Desktop client.

Me in front of the booth.
Me in front of the booth.
This years installment of Chemnitzer Linux-Tage was a fun event, not only because of the fantastic show and dinner buffet on Saturday night, but also due to the family atmosphere, and the fun that it was to present ownCloud, but also openSUSE and Klaas’ very own Kraft project.

If you want to meet us again, visit the ownCloud booth at LinuxTag in Berlin from 22.-25. of May.

Report: ownCloud 5.0 Release Party Berlin

Arthur giving his overview of oC 5.0 features.
Arthur giving his overview of oC 5.0 features.
On Friday evening, more than 50 people followed the summoning to C-Base in Berlin in order to celebrate the ownCloud 5.0 release, learn about new features and getting to meet some of its makers.

ownCloud server engineer Arthur Schiwon kicked off the talk series with an overview of ownCloud 5.0 features. Only a few minutes after he started, we had to interrupt the talk – the room had gotten too croweded, so we removed some of the desks and sqeezed in another two rows of chairs.

A packed room listens to the talks.
A packed room listens to the talks.
Next up was Sam Tuke. He outlined the new encryption system and detailed on how it works with sharing, something the old sharing module fell short at.

After Sam had taken a lot of question from a very interested audience, it was about time for some fresh air and a slice of pizza, kindly sponsored by ownCloud Inc.

Sam talking about the upcoming encryptiion system.
Sam talking about the upcoming encryptiion system.
After all pizza slices were gone, I concluded the series of talks presenting the ownCloud clients for Android, iOS and Desktop, detailing on new features in the next versions, followed by lots of questions from the audience.

Discussions after the talks lasted past midnight.
Discussions after the talks lasted past midnight.
Finally the three of us as well as Georg Ehrke of Calendar and Contacts fame, who had joined in later, engaged in busy group discusions with the visitors. This way we got to talk face to face with enthusiastic fans, new users and (soon to be) new contributors.

Thanks everyone for joining in. It was an awesome night!

ownCloud 5 Release Party in Berlin

ownCloud 5 is about to be released – an event that cannot go uncelebrated. Joining events in Nürnberg and Stuttgart, we will have an event for everyone who happens to live in or nearby Berlin and shares an interest in ownCloud. Even though it’s on short notice, make sure to save the date:

C-Base LogoFriday, 15.03.2013, 19:00h
c-base Raumstation (Seminarraum)

Address: Rungestrasse 20, 10179 Berlin
Getting there: OpenStreetMap, Google
Public Transport: S+U Jannowitzbrücke

We will give an introduction to ownCloud and its concepts, show off new features in ownCloud 5.0 and give some insight into the syncing clients. And yes, there will also be Pizza, sponsored by ownCloud Inc!

If you want to come, please add a comment below to make planning easier. See you there next Friday!


Badge and Progress support in Qt Creator

For quite a long time now, Qt Creator has been using the native features of Mac OS X and Windows 7 to display build errors and progress as badges and progress bars on the icon in the Dock and Task Bar respectively. Unfortunately, the X11 variant has been sorely empty. After realizing that a few applications, among them Chrome, could display certain information such as the number of ongoing downloads in Unity, I was wondering how this was implemented.

It turns out that libunity provides all the features required. Applications, identified by their .desktop name, can add progress and a badge. So I implemented it for Qt Creator, here is unity showing two compile errors in a demo application:


Now the gory details: libunity seems to be binary incompatible. After researching for a while, I noticed that it is best to follow the Chromium implementation and only try to open known-to-work versions of libunity. This it not really optimal, but it works, at least until the next unity release :(.

*Magnum narrator voice on*: Now I know what you’re thinking 1), and you are right: “X11” does not equal “Unity”, but I have no idea if there are equivalents in GNOME 3 or KDE/Plasma. Probably the terminology is just different. If so, I’d happy to learn about them and implement these as well. A plus if there a FD.O library (and I’m afraid there isn’t). If not, I’d like to toss in the question whether KDE should have such a feature, or how else applications can usefully reflect certain statuses while in the background.

1) especially if you are reading this through Planet KDE!

New Job!

Today I started working at ownCloud GmbH to help shaping the ownCloud desktop syncing client. Since I’ve been hanging around on the ownCloud IRC channels for a while, some regulars might already know me as danimo. So here’s hello to everyone in the project. I am super super excited about what lies ahead for ownCloud!

New Planet, new Domain

It took a bit longer than anticipated (sorry about that), but now it’s finally done: Planet Qt got a face lift, and is now hosted with the Qt Foundation. Just like Planet KDE which it was greatly inspired by (thanks to Jonathan Riddell!), it’s now based on RawDog, rather than on the aging PlanetPlanet. But how does that affect you, the inclined reader or contributor to the planet:

If you are a reader, nothing much has changed, except that the URL for the RSS feed has changed and we now get FOAF and OPML for free. You might need to remove duplicate elements from your feed reader, sorry about that. We also decided to redirect planetqt.org to planet.qt-project.org for consistency with the other foundation’s activities.

If you are a contributor, and want your blog aggregated, you can do so by simply following the guide lines on the side bar:

All who blog in English about Qt can either add their complete RSS feed or a feed based on a specific category or tag for those blogging about multiple topics. All you need to do is clone the Planet Qt repository, add your feed’s address, and put your change up for review.

That’s right, adding feeds now works via the usual review process. If you are a contributor, and a Reviewer can be convinced that your blog is relevant for PlanetQt, it will be added. For now this involves a manual update on the server still, but if we see no abuse we might just as well automate this process.

The same is true if you want to improve the layout: Just checkout the repository (you will need Python, though) and test it yourself, tweaking it to your liking and then submit the result as a patch.

Finally, big hands to Ben Meyer, who has been hosting this web site for so long!

And now: Enjoy the new PlanetQt!

Gran Canaria, here I come!

Wow! The last few days have been eventful. Only four Days after LinuxTag and the KDE Wiki Meeting I am sitting in the check-in area of the Berlin-Tegel Airport heading for Madrid. If everything works out as expected, I will then transfer to a flight to Las Palmas. I swore myself not to blog before I have checked in successfully, so the time for this entry is now, and to make it even more obvious:

The weather is awesome in Berlin already so I am looking forward how Gran Canaria will beat this (probably less thunderstorms in the evening, although they are really refreshing).

At GDCS, I will present Qt Creator, the scalable C++ IDE from Qt Software (I even brought the leaflets I printed LinuxTag, my bag I short of over baggage). I am looking forward to meet everyone again tonight at the welcome party!

FrOSCon 2009: Call for Papers About to Close

The Call for Papers for this years’ Free and Open Source Conference (FrOSCon) will close in three days. Hot topics are Cloud Computing, Open Hardware, Free Software and SaaS (Software as a Service) as well as mobile Gadgets (Netbooks, Phones, …).

Traditionally, FrOSCon has always hosted a sub conference. After hosting the Python and PHP community, this years programming language du jour is Java. Does anyone feel like giving a Jambi talk? 🙂

Btw: Qt Software supports FrOSCon as a Gold Sponsor and both Qt Software and the KDE team will of course be present during the conference. Visit us from 22.- 23. August 2009 in the premises of the University of Applied Technology in St. Augustin near Bonn!