MiniDebConf Barcelona 2014

Wow, I cannot believe it has already been 2 weeks from MiniDebConf Barcelona.
It has been the first Debian event (and free software conference) that I have attended in person, and I took the opportunity to get more involved, giving a talk about translations together with Francesca Ciceri, and two lightning talks about two free software projects that I use and love and I’d like to see them packaged for Debian: Pump.io and GNU MediaGoblin (videos coming soon). I also somehow-promoted Keysigning during the conference (well, in fact, I just sent some two emails to the mailing list before, and printed stickers with “May I sign your key?” slogan so we could keysign easily in the freetime between talks).

The people

I’ve met some people in person, who I was following in the Debian mailing lists and identi.ca for long time (years, in some cases \o/). It has been amazing to meet Francesca Ciceri and Enrico Zini, since their blogposts and vision about Debian diversity skills have influenced very much in my involvement in Debian.

It has been very important to me to be able to say THANK YOU to Tiago from the Debian video team (sorry Holger, I couldn’t manage to meet you face to face), because I have learned so many things watching videos from Debconfs! Videos helped me to feel that I’m part of the community, even when I cannot attend to the events, by following the streaming and being able to recognize the faces of the people and the work they do in Debian.

I’ve met many Debian Women, of course. I’m so fan of all of them! I’m enjoying a welcoming and diverse community thanks to many of them that worked since many years ago to make Debian what it is now, and faced bitter moments too. I cannot say that I engaged in many deep conversations (well, maybe some 2 or 3, and me mostly listening), but the most important thing that I keep from them was simply “being there”, watching and listening, enjoying the voices of the experience like Ana and Miriam, and the freshness and joy of Tassia, Solveig and Elena, for example.

I’ve tried to be welcoming too, I’m not a newbie anymore… as new people come to the group :)

New projects (and renewing forces for other)

Debian contributors

I wanted to get more involved in the “Debian contributors” project and it has been a perfect opportunity to understand better all what I had read and watched about it before going to Barcelona.

My plan is, apart of doing promotion as with all the projects that I use and love, to try to get translator work credited via Debian Contributors. That means to hack the l10n bot that now gathers info from the mailing lists to build the coordination pages for translators. It shouldn’t be difficult to make it send that info to contributors.debian.org site, but I’ll try to understand how it works and propose an elegant patch. No idea about Perl, btw, but anyway, it’s a good excuse to start learning.

Mediagoblin and pump.io packaging

I’m not sure I can help on this, but I’ll keep an eye in the evolution of the Debian packaging of GNU MediaGoblin and the Pumpiverse software. I’ll give moral support, at least, to the people actually working on that :)

Website and Publicity team

After Solveig’s talk about bug triaging I’ve been thinking about some bugs that I reviewed in the Website and Publicity team, and I think I should make a new round on the pending bugs to close them if they don’t apply anymore, or to try to push a bit more towards a solution, if I can.

Tails website translation

Tails is a Debian derivative preconfigured to work out-of-the-box with privacy and anonymity features, since uses the Tor network for all the outgoing and ingoing connections.
Solveig proposed me to join the Spanish translators team at Tails. I just joined the translators mailing list, in order to help translating the Tails website into Spanish (the software is already translated, under the Tor Project). This is a new challenge from the translation point of view, since they work with PO files.

And now, what?

Well, first, I’ll try to clean a bit my TODO list, mainly about translations, and other things not related to Debian.

From now on until summer, I’ll keep an eye and a hand on all the projects in which I am involved, and also I’ll try to keep on engaging with the community via pump.io, the mailing lists, and IRC channels.

Next summer, if I can put in order my GPG keys (long story), I’ll try to join the Debian New Member process. If not, I’ll try to get new keys and some signs, and then I’ll apply.

OTOH, thanks to the end of Windows XP support, it seems that some people are willing to migrate to ‘any’ GNU/Linux distribution, and of course I’m recommending Debian. Expect some blog posts about these migrations (wow, I should migrate some servers that still run Squeeze too…) and my new role of Debian help desk at job, if finally some people decide to migrate. I have gathered Debian stickers to proudly give to anyone that installs Debian in their computer!

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Hello, world! I’m a Debian contributor

My blog is included now in Planet Debian, so this post is to say hello :)

And what can be better to explain who I am, that saying that I am a Debian Contributor?

What does “Debian Contributor” mean?

There are lots of tasks that people accomplish to make Debian better, and Debian Contributor is a new hat to credit any participation in the Debian Project, of any kind (even if the contributor is not a full-member of Debian).

The idea was started and promoted by Enrico Zini. In less than one year, a website with a list of Debian Contributors, data source schemes and much more pieces have been designed. The site is working, and evolving, according to a roadmap.

There are some working data sources already, some other “proof of concept”, pending to adopt or refine. There are much more kind of contributions that still have no data source created. Everybody can help on that!

An example: my contributions

I’m listed now as wiki editor (at least, I edit once a month when doing my spam fighting tasks), website committer (I upload translations to the Spanish part of the website), and publicity (I’ve sent some news to Debian Project News from time to time).

Having your name in a list may seem a small thing, but happiness is made of small things!!

The website committers data source is one of the “proof of concepts” and it’s not being updated recently. I hope that somebody in the www team takes care of that… oh wait, I’m part of the www team…

I’m part of the Spam Fighting Force too, but the data source tracks the spam reports reviewers, and I don’t do that, I only report spam. That’s why I’m not there (yet).

I’m also a translator, member of the Spanish team. Translators are already credited in the translation coordination pages (for example this one), but we want to include them in the main list of Debian Contributors too. That means modifying the bot that tracks the mailing lists. I have joined the i18n team and I hope I can understand how it works and try to propose the required changes. If in the meanwhile, other person comes with the solution, the better!

I have given a talk (and two lightning talks) in the last MiniDebConf Barcelona 2014. Most of the speakers in Debian events are available via the Debconf website, for example: http://penta.debconf.org/dc13_schedule/speakers.en.html I’m sure a data source can be created somehow!

More examples of data sources

As I said, these are only examples (it’s not about crediting “my” contributions, but everybody’s). So if you explore the already managed data sources, you can find the Debian Sysadmin and Security teams, package maintainers, package uploaders to FTP sites, committers to several source code repositories of Debian-related software, people helping mentoring other people in Debian, people helping in the New Member process, people subtitling talks…

But we need more!! Please have a look at DcSiteDevel  where you can learn how to create a data source and the tools for extracting information in an easy way. If each Debian Team cares of their own data source (which allows to credit their members) it is a sustainable way and also improves those Team’s visibility (and new contributions, probably!).

Identity management

The last updates to Debian Contributors project are about identity management. Right now the site only shows data of contributors having a @debian.org account or an account in Alioth (the Debian software forge, used for many subprojects). It also uses the email field to merge contributions made in areas where you login with other kind of user (e.g. the wiki). This is a great step towards crediting people that are not full Debian members (yet), if they want their names to appear in the Debian Contributors list (they can opt-out too, or show/hide each contribution separately).

So, what next?

There is a Roadmap and a TODO list. But nobody as individual can know all the roles and actual work in the Debian project. It’s better that each team cares about how to send their contribution info to the site. There are some mining tools available to extract for example names of committers in source code repositories, or senders in mailing lists. Not much code is required. Please think about it and join the wave of making Debian diversity skills more visible!

Posted in Interesting sites, My experiences and opinion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Feliz de ser parte de la Fuerza Goblin

GNU Mediagoblin ha lanzado una campaña de financiación colectiva, para sufragar el trabajo de uno o más desarrolladores que se puedan dedicar a tiempo completo para hacer avanzar el proyecto.

Página web de la campaña de financiación de MediaGoblin. ¡Con un vídeo genial!

Página web de la campaña de financiación de MediaGoblin. ¡Con un vídeo genial!

MediaGoblin es un sistema de publicación en la web que puede alojar contenidos de todo tipo (como un YouTube + Flickr + SoundCloud + otros). Es software libre, así que está disponible para personas, comunidades, organizaciones y empresas que quieran utilizarlo, desplegarlo en su propia infraestructura, o adaptarlo.

Mediagoblin es uno de los proyectos en los que participo, traduciendo la interfaz al español, y junto con Debian, ocupa una parte especial de mi corazón (y mi tiempo libre). Me gusta el estilo de su comunidad, muy inclusiva, y Chris Webber, el desarrollador principal del proyecto, anima mucho esa inclusividad y buen rollo que se respira. Sólo estando un rato en el canal IRC de FreeNode (#mediagoblin) uno se da cuenta de la capacidad resolutiva de muchos de sus miembros, a la par que siempre intentan trabajar a gusto para ser feliz y viceversa.

El software en sí es muy prometedor. Sólo el hecho de tener una interfaz limpia, traducida a varios idiomas, y la capacidad para alojar y visualizar muchos tipos de archivo usando siempre estándares abiertos y hace que me guste.

El que me conoce, sabe que amo la simplicidad de por ejemplo el archivo multimedia de Debian o el de la conferencia FOSDEM: un árbol de carpetas y archivos. Navegas hasta donde está lo que te interesa, te lo descargas, y ya está, lo ves en tu equipo. Pero cuando vi el archivo multimedia de LibrePlanet 2013 (que usa MediaGoblin), con miniaturas de todas las charlas allí mismo, la interfaz en español (por la detección de idioma de mi navegador), la etiqueta de licencia en cada charla, poderla descargar en varios formatos o verla dentro del navegador, entendí que mucha gente prefiere algo así, visualmente más atractivo, y eso no tiene por qué suponer una gran carga adicional en el lado del que despliega la infraestructura (MediaGoblin es más ligero respecto a recursos y administración que un gestor de contenidos estándar, por ejemplo, y está pensado para escalar bien tanto hacia arriba como hacia abajo).

LibrePlanet multimedia archive

Archivo multimedia de la conferencia LibrePlanet

 

Sé que tanto Debian como FOSDEM funcionan con el trabajo voluntario de personas (a veces poquitas) en su tiempo libre, y con un presupuesto muy ajustado, soy feliz con sus elecciones respecto a repositorios de vídeo. Pero si algún día deciden animarse o encuentran los recursos necesarios para desplegar y mantener un MediaGoblin, ¡serán aún más geniales!

Mis cosas están en una cuenta gobblin.se, de Joar Wandborg, otro desarrollador de MediaGoblin, que amablemente ofrece cuentas gratuitas en el servidor que mantiene. Ahí sólo tengo cositas públicas. En mi familia hemos comentado varias veces el tema de alojar y compartir fotos y vídeos nuestros: yo vivo en una ciudad distinta, y por ahora, cada uno mantiene su archivo multimedia en su ordenador, enviando por correo, de vez en cuando, una selección de las fotos y vídeos más interesantes, o pasándonoslo en un pincho USB cuando nos vemos. De cuando en cuando hablamos por videoconferencia, pero por ejemplo, yo no las grabo, porque serían archivos grandes difíciles de compartir por correo.

Así que a menudo me planteo la posibilidad de montarme un servidor MediaGoblin con control de acceso, para que todos podamos subir y ver la historia digital de la familia, y espero hacerlo a lo largo del año, cuando compre un equipo fijo que pueda tener encendido permanentemente.

Entretanto, acabo de donar por segunda vez (lo hice también en la primera campaña en 2012). Me parece muy importante que los proyectos comunitarios también salgan adelante y mantengan su independencia, con una planificación guiada por las prioridades de la propia comunidad. La financiación colectiva puede hacer esto posible, y MediaGoblin ya ha demostrado que sabe materializar las expectativas de los que le apoyan, y con creces (y si no, echa un vistazo al vídeo, donde muestran todo lo hecho el pasado año. Puedes poner subtítulos en español pulsando en el iconito “CC” que hay junto al volumen). ¿Te animas a unirte a la Fuerza Goblin? No te arrepentirás.

(Si tienes dificultad para donar porque la página de la campaña y la de la donación están en inglés, puedes echar un vistazo a este artículo de GNU/Linux Vagos  donde explican (en español) casi todo lo que pone en la página de la campaña, y también, contactar conmigo, y te aclararé todas las dudas que pueda).

Posted in My experiences and opinion, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Participating in the FLOSS Survey 2013, and collateral benefits

I’m participating in the organization of the FLOSS Survey 2013.

I hope many people fill in the survey and we get a nice picture of how free, libre, open source developers and contributors are (demographics, motivations, etc). I hope we can provide nice data to the people that are still citing the 2002 FLOSS survey and report, and I hope I can write some articles about my particular interests on the data: women in libre software, and non-coding contributors.

We have near 1000 complete answers and we have extended the survey until December 6th midnight GMT. So, are you a developer or contributor to a free softwar project? Take the survey!

I’m learning a lot in this project. In many different areas: research, promotion, libre software, deal with complains, communication in teams…

Thanks to the survey, I have been able to get in touch with some software pieces that I didn’t know or I knew but I didn’t use so intensively until now:

  • LimeSurvey: I contribute translations to Spanish, since we use it at work (other colleagues, I just maintain the LAMP stack that is below it), but this time I am able to work with the tool as user/admin, so I learned a lot by using the program, reading the manual and searching the forums and the issue tracker, and I reported a problem too.
  • TitanPad: KISS principle. I love it. A place to post things related to the organization, so my mails become from extremely large to only large. Will install it at home when I have my server.
  • LibreJS: I didn’t look at it (heard about it though) until some people complained about this Firefox add-on alerting about non-free software in our survey. How can this be? Then I re-discovered that there’s not a standard way to make explicit that some software is free software, but the LibreJS people are proposing a way to fix that. That’s the problem that I reported to LimeSurvey project, and I hope I can get advice from LibreJS devs and try to provide some patches to other upstream libraries that cause false negatives too.
  • XChat: We put in the contact page of the survey website that people could find us via IRC, so I took the opportunity to be more present in my favorite IRC channels too (#fdroid, #mediagoblin, #pump.io and #social in Freenode, and #debian-es, #debian-www, #debian-publicity and #debian-women at OFTC). It’s not that I’m specially enjoying the software itself, but reading and participating in the conversation in IRC is being fun and I’m learning a lot from others too.

I would like to say thank you to all the people that are helping us to promote the survey. And of course, thank you to the rest of the FLOSS Survey 2013 team, Gregorio Robles and Santiago Dueñas, that gave me this opportunity and guide me in this new research experience.

Posted in My experiences and opinion, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cómo veo pump.io ahora

(Read this post in English)

Resumiendo

  • Usable, gran potencial, necesita usuarios y amor
  • ¡Esto es sólo mi opinión!

Versión larga (demasiado larga…)

He estado usando Pump.io desde marzo de 2013 para pruebas, y más intensamente desde la migración de Identi.ca en julio de 2013.
He escrito varios artículos sobre Identi.ca, mi red social favorita, y también sobre la migración.

Después de varios meses y desarrollo activo no sólo en el software núcleo, sino en muchos servicios de terceros, y después de muchas discusiones, informes de error, conocimiento compartido y ‘vida en el pumpiverso’, ¿cómo veo la red pump.io ahora?

Nota: esto es sólo mi opinión como, digamos, usuaria implicada de pump.io. Digo “implicada” porque lo uso mucho, he probado varios clientes, he abierto varios informes de error y ayudado a resolver otros, hago clasificación de fallos en el sistema de seguimiento de errores e intento ayudar a los usuarios principiantes. Pero no soy parte del equipo de desarrollo de pump.io y no estoy más en contacto con el líder del proyecto, Evan Prodromou, que lo que pueda estar cualquier otro usuario o fan. Así que advertencia: esta es mi humilde opinión particular, y no refleja la visión oficial del proyecto pump.io.

Usable

La red Pump

El software es usable. Está instalado no sólo en los servidores de E14N, otras personas lo han desplegado en sus máquinas y lo están usando. Algunas personas lo han instalado en una Raspberri Pi, otras en un servidor privado virtual (VPS), otras en su PC personal. Algunas personas alojan sólo a un usuario (ellos mismos), otras tienen más usuarios (registro abierto, o bajo invitación).

E14N, la empresa que ofrece el software pump.io, ofrece identi.ca para los usuarios que ya tenía, y algunas instancias públicas donde puedes registrar una cuenta de manera gratuita: fmrl.me , pumprock.net , urmf.net , pumpbuddy.us , hotpump.net , pumpdog.me , pumpit.info , 1realtime.net , microca.st , pumpity.net.

El servidor e14n.com también es un servidor pump.io, pero no permite registro de cuentas.

El número de instancias/usuarios conocidos por OFirehose (la manguera, un nodo donde puedes registrar tu servidor pump.io, para ofrecer una línea temporal pública que abarque toda la red) es en pumplive.com. Probablemente hay más instancias en redes privadas o no registrados allí.

Jeremy Pope mantiene el sitio pumpstatus.jpope.org donde puedes ver el tiempo de actividad sin cortes (uptime) y comprobaciones para muchos servidores.

Por lo que he visto en este tiempo, los cortes o caídas, cuando los hay, se deben en la mayor parte de los casos a fallos de hardware, problemas relacionados con la configuración o administración del sistema. En muchos casos, el tiempo de actividad sin cortes (uptime) es corto debido a reinicios del servidor para actualizar el código, y así obtener alguna característica nueva o arreglar problemas. El que no haya informes de error relacionados con rendimiento o errores de operación abiertos durante largo tiempo muestra que se arreglan rápido, por lo que puedo contar.

Desde la perspectiva de administración de sistemas: desplegar/mantener un servidor pump.io

Sobre la instalación, no puedo decir que sea difícil o fácil. Considero que soy una usuaria avanzada, aprendiz de administradora de sistemas (conocimientos suficientes para instalar una distro GNU/Linux, o una pila LAMP, o descargar y compilar código fuente si ese software no está empaquetado para mi distribución y las dependencias están listadas en algún sitio).

He intentado instalar pump.io en mi portátil (solo por saber si soy capaz de hacerlo, y probar algunos cambios en el código, no para uso diario). En ese momento, node.js no estaba empaquetado para Debian, pero conseguí descargarlo, compilarlo, instalarlo, y repetir el proceso para el servidor pump.io. Sin embargo, no instalé/configuré una base de datos etc, porque como digo sólo quería probar la interfaz de usuario. Ahora que node.js está empaquetado para Debian, supongo que la instalación es más fácil.

Hay documentación sobre la instalación de pump.io en varias plataformas en la wiki.

El “ecosistema” Pump

Además de pump.io, E14N desarrolla algunas otras piezas de software para determinadas características o tareas en la red Pump. Entre ellas, tenemos:

  • OpenFarmGame (el juego de la granja abierta) es un juego de red social para mostrar las posibilidades de la red Pump
  • Spamicity.info es un servidor que filtra spam (mensajes comerciales no solicitados) en la red Pump
  • OFireHose (la manguera) proporciona una línea temporal pública de la red Pump en formato ActivityStreams (JSON)
  • pump2rss proporciona una línea temporal pública de un determinado usuario en formato RSS
  • pump2status.net (en desarrollo) permitirá conectar una cuenta de pump.io con una de StatusNet, actuando como un puente
  • ragtag.io (en desarrollo) permitirá ver todos los objetos públicos de la red Pump que están etiquetados con un determinado ‘hashtag’ (#).

Otras personas han desarrollado librerías, clientes y herramientas para usarlos en la red pump. La mayoría de ellos están enlazados en la pump.io wiki. Los que subrayo yo:

  • PyPump es una librería Python para interactuar con un servidor pump.io
  • Bashscriptville es un conjunto de guiones o scripts bash que permiten publicaro iformación de determinadas fuentes en la red pump, como “The Word of the Day” (la palabra del día, en inglés), los cómics XKCD, insultos Shakespeareanos, la imagen astronómica del día, y otros.
  • El bot conversacional XR115 se ha unido a pump.io y ahí está aprendiendo.

Necesita usuarios

Principalmente por el efecto red. El éxito de una red social es altamente dependiente del número de personas usándola (también depende de que sea flexible, poderosa, brillante y todo eso, pero podríamos discutir qué va primero).

Otra razón es que ahora, la mayoría de los usuarios de pump.io tienen una visión del lado de StatusNet. Me gusta StatusNet, es un gran software, pero quizá estamos atascados intentando hacer que pump.io sea como StatusNet y nueva gente pueda traer nuevas, mejores ideas.

Pero de dónde pueden venir usuarios a pump.io? Veo tres tipos de usuarios:

  • Gente que no usa ninguna red social: si eres nueva en las redes sociales, por favor, usa una basada en software libre. Puede ser Pump.io, Friendica, Diaspora*… la que sea. Yo conozco Pump.io, y por eso la recomiendo. Llegué a pump.io por accidente, ya que usaba Identi.ca para microblogueo, y sabiendo que iba a haber una migración de StatusNet a pump.io, empecé a curiosear en la plataforma. Es nueva, así que muchas cosas aún están en desarrollo, pero es nueva, flexible y moderna, ha aprendido de los fallos de otras plataformas. ¿Por qué no? Y lo más importante: ¡hay gente guay en pump.io! No hay una actividad abrumadora, sin publi, sin spam (pero si lo quieres, puedes ir a la manguera :)
  • Gente que usa otras redes sociales: Pump.io puede ser una más, o un sustituto de Facebook, o Google+, por ejemplo. Si eres una empresa o todos tus amigos están en otras redes sociales, y “no puedes no estar allí”, quizá quieras esperar hasta que tengamos puentes para publicar simultáneamente en todos los sitios (en cualquier caso, mira los que ya tenemos, quizá son suficientes para tus necesidades, o puedes usar Friendica para publicar simultáneamente en todos los sitios con un esfuerzo mínimo). Si tienes un cierto interés en el mundo del software libre (quizá contribuyes a un proyecto, o eres una empresa basada en software libre, o simplemente te gusta cacharrear), estaría bien que tuvieras presencia en una red social de software libre como ésta.
  • Gente buscando redes sociales para uso privado: en mi opinión, pump.io parece perfecta para montar una red privada familiar o una red social institucional dentro de una intranet. Recuerda, está pensada para ser escalable hacia arriba y hacia abajo, y federada desde el principio. Puedes configurar una interfaz web común pero también dar libertad a los usuarios para usar el cliente que les guste. Estamos trabajando en la internacionalización y localización, pero si no puedes esperar, simplemente traduce las cadenas que hay en el código y las plantillas utml y a correr. Es software libre, ¡puedes hacerlo! E14N está trabajando para proporcionar cajas con pump.io listas para enchufar. Posee tus datos, disfruta tu comunicación.

Necesita amor

Sólo soy una usuaria de pump.io, curioseo en el canal IRC, en el gestor de informes de fallos (bueno, hago algo de clasificación y 1ª línea), y sigo a Evan y a los hackers de pump.io. Para nada soy voz oficial de las necesidades o planificación de pump.io, pero aquí están mis ideas personales sobre cómo pump.io podría mejorarse y cómo podemos ayudar.

Planificación

Estoy segura de que Evan tiene una planificación clara para nuevas características de pump.io y corrección de fallos. Podemos oler parte de ella en el gestor de informes de fallos, ya que algunos casos están etiquetados con un hito de versión, y otros han sido cerrados con el mensaje de que terceras partes deberían encargarse de mejorar esos aspectos. Pero una planificación clara podría ayudar a los usuarios a saber qué esperar, y a los contribuidores a ayudar de manera más efectiva.

Quizá es simplemente cuestión de clasificar los casos abiertos por hito temporal, y escribir una página wiki. Mmm preguntaré a Evan sobre ello.

En el lado del usuario, creo que es útil revisar la wiki de cuando en cuando para ver las características más importantes que ya están implementadas (en pump.io en sí o por terceras partes), y buscar en el gestor de informes de fallos antes de enviar un problema supuestamente nuevo. O quizá preguntar en el canal IRC.

Página de ‘estado’ de E14N, página de contacto, y ayudantes sysadmin

No voy a decir cómo Evan tiene que dirigir sus máquinas o su negocio. Así que por favor toma este párrafo sólo como una humilde opinión que se puede tirar a la papelera si no es útil.

Los servidores de E14N (especialmente identi.ca, pero no sólo) son la imagen pública del software pump.io y su red. Y muchas personas puede que no sepan distinguir entre un problema en el software y un problema puntual en la red o el sistema. Muchas personas no saben dónde informar de problemas o solicitudes que no están ligadas al desarrollo de software, o saben que es por correo electrónico a admin [at] e14n.com pero no saben si ya alguien informó del problema.

Por ahora, pumpstatus.jpope.org está siendo de gran ayuda y algunas personas comentan en el canal IRC cuando tienen problemas, antes de enviar un correo. Pero tener una página web de “estado” donde mirar si estamos experimentando problemas podría ayudar. Y quizá dar permisos de escritura en esa página a algunas personas en el rol de “ayudantes sysadmin” ayudaría también.

Funcionalidad que da el control al usuario

Pump.io es software libre, esto significa que el usuario puede controlar lo que el programa hace. Pero no todo el mundo sabe cómo cacharrear en node.js para modificar el programa y que haga lo que ellos quieren, y no están en condiciones de instalar su propia instancia. Algunas funcionalidades que, en mi opinión, atraerían usuarios y mantendrían a los usuarios existentes felices e implicados serían:

  • Activar la recuperación por correo electrónico y notificaciones en el resto de los servidores de E14N que no son identi.ca
  • Posibilidad de hacer copia de seguridad de una cuenta, borrarla, cambiar la dirección de correo electrónico, configurar las notificaciones por correo electrónico.
  • Buscar publicaciones y usuarios.
  • Internacionalización / localización de la interfaz web a distintos idiomas.
  • Mostrar contextos en la interfaz web.
  • Una línea temporal pública (como la manguera), accesible con un navegador web, sin spam (o quizá una vista de “temas candentes”, con las publicaciones públicas que se comparten o se marcan como “me gusta” en cada momento). Una ventana donde el posible nuevo usuario pueda mirar.

¡Contribuidores!

Enrico Zini dijo una vez: “No te preguntes qué puedes hacer por Debian. Pregúntate qué puede hacer Debian por tí. Y machácalo hasta que lo haga”. Creo que este pensamiento va bien también con Pump.io. Hay muchas piezas del código que ya están escritas y que puedes copiar y toquetear, y hay otros muchos proyectos (no sólo el núcleo, recuerda los clientes, las librerías, proyectos hermanos…) donde tu ayuda es de gran valor.

Hey, y no digas que “no sé JavaScript ni node.js”. Yo tampoco… pero el código es código, puedes abstraer la sintaxis y aprender y entender (o más o menos) cómo funciona. Otras piezas del ecosistema pump.io están escritas en otros lenguajes. O puedes ayudar en el gestor de informes de fallo intentando reproducir errores o encontrar duplicados, o leer/escribir documentación o preguntas frecuentes, sugerir ideas, probar características/clientes/plataformas…

Y si eres programador(a), por favor échale un vistazo al gestor de informes de fallos y las solicitudes “pull” de cuando en cuando. Probablemente habrá algunas propuestas para arreglar fallos que puedes mejorar o apoyar para que se incorporen más rápido, o rechazarlas para que el remitente pueda repensar su propuesta o simplemente ir a ayudar a otra parte del código o del sistema.

Promoción

Finalmente, creo que estaría bien tener una presentación en vídeo sobre pump.io (digamos 5 minutos, quizá menos) que pueda ser traducida a diferentes idiomas y compartida en todos los sitios para correr la voz sobre esta red social. Quizá ya está hecha (si sí, ¡por favor enviadme un enlace!). Quizá algunos usuarios pueden intentar hacerla. Pero creo que yo no soy la persona adecuada para esta tarea. Mira este artículo, ¡es demasiado largo! Escribir algo para sólo 5 minutos es una tortura para mí :)

Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

How I see pump.io now

(lee este artículo en español)

TL;DR

  • Usable, strong potential, needs users and love
  • This is only my opinion!

Long version (too long…)

I’ve been using Pump.io since March 2013 for testing, and more intensively since the migration of Identi.ca in July 2013.
I’ve written some posts about Identi.ca, my favorite social network, and on the migration too.
After some months and active development in not only the core software, but a lot of third party services, and after lots of discussions, bugs, shared knowledge and ‘life in the pumpiverse’, how do I see the pump.io network now?

Note: this is my opinion as a, let’s say, involved user of pump.io. I say “involved” because I use it a lot, I’ve tried several clients, opened several bugs and tried to fix others, I do bug triage at the issue tracker and try to help newbies. But I’m not part of the pump.io developer team and I’m not in more contact with the project leader Evan Prodromou than any other user/fan can be. So beware, this is my particular, humble opinion and it does not reflect the official view of the pump.io project.

Usable

The Pump network

The software is usable. It’s installed not only in the E14N servers, other people have deployed it in their machines and they are using it. Some people have installed it in a Raspberry Pi, some in a VPS, some in a personal PC. Some people host just one user (themselves), other have more users (registration open, or by invitation).

E14N, the company offering the pump.io software, offers identi.ca for its previous users, and some public instances where you can register a new account at no cost: fmrl.me , pumprock.net , urmf.net , pumpbuddy.us , hotpump.net , pumpdog.me , pumpit.info , 1realtime.net , microca.st , pumpity.net.

The e14n.com server is also a pump.io server, but does not allow public registration.

The number of instances/users known by the OFirehose (a node where you can register your pump.io server, in order to offer a network-wide public timeline) is in pumplive.com. There are probably more instances in private networks or not registered there.

Jeremy Pope maintains the site pumpstatus.jpope.org where you can see the uptime and checks of many servers.

For what I’ve seen in this time, downtimes, when they are, are mostly due to hardware failures, problems related to configuration or system administration. In many cases the uptime is short due to reboots of the server to update the codebase, in order to get some new features or fix bugs. No longstanding open issues related to performance or operation errors show that they are fixed quickly, as far as I can tell.

From the sysadmin perspective: deploying/maintaining a pump.io server

About installing it, I cannot say it’s hard or easy. I consider myself a power user, sysadmin apprentice (enough knowledge to install a GNU/Linux distro, or a LAMP stack, or download and build source code if there’s not a package for that software in my distro, and the dependencies are listed somewhere).

I tried to install pump.io in my laptop (just for knowing if I’m able to do it, and test some tweaks in the code, not for daily use). In that time, node.js was not packaged for Debian, but I succeeded in downloading it, compiling, installing it, and then repeating the process for pump.io. However, I didn’t setup a database or so, because as I said I just wanted to test the user interface. Now that node.js is packaged for Debian, I suppose installing is becoming easier.

There is documentation about installing pump.io in several platforms in the wiki.

The Pump “ecosystem”

In addition to pump.io, E14N is developing some other pieces of software for certain features or tasks in the Pump network. Among them, we have:

  • OpenFarmGame is a social network game to show the possibilities of the pump network
  • Spamicity.info is a server that filters spam in the Pump network
  • OFireHose provides a public timeline of the Pump network in ActivityStreams format (JSON)
  • pump2rss provides a RSS feed of anybody’s public timeline
  • pump2status.net (in development) will allow to connect an account in pump.io with an account in StatusNet, acting as a bridge
  • ragtag.io (in development) will allow to see all the public objects in the Pump network tagged with a certain hashtag.

Other people have developed libraries, clients and tools for being used in the pump network. Most of them are linked in the pump.io wiki. The ones that I remark:

  • PyPump is a Python library for interacting with a pump.io server
  • Bashscriptville is a set of bash scripts that allows to post info from certain sources in the pump network, such as “The Word of the Day”, the XKCD comics, Shakespearean insults, the Astronomy Picture of the Day, and others.
  • The XR115 conversational bot joined pump.io and it’s learning there.

Needs users

Mainly because of the network effect. Success of a social network is highly dependant of the number of people using it (it also depends on it being flexible, powerful, shiny and so, but we could discuss which is first).
Other reason is that now, the majority of the pump.io users are StatusNet-biased. I like StatusNet, is a great software, but maybe we are stuck in trying to make pump.io be like StatusNet and new people may bring new, better ideas.

But from where can come users to pump.io? I see three kind of users:

  • People that don’t use any social network: if you’re new to social networks, please use one based on free software. It can be Pump.io, Friendica, Diaspora*… whatever. I know Pump.io, that’s why I recommend it. I came to pump.io like an accident, since I was using Identi.ca for microblogging, and knowing that the migration from StatusNet to pump.io was going to happen, I began to be curious about the platform. It’s new, so many things are still on development, but it’s new, flexible and modern, learning from other platform’s failures. Why not? And the most important thing: there’s cool people here! Not overwhelming activity, no adds, no spam (but if you want it, you can go to the firehose :)
  • People using other social networks: Pump.io can be another one, or a substitute for Facebook or Google+, for example. If you are a company or all your friends are in the other social networks, and “you cannot not be there”, maybe you’ll want to wait until we have bridges for crossposting everywhere (anyway, look at the ones that we have already, maybe they’re enough for your needs, or you can use Friendica for crossposting everywhere with minimal effort). If you have a certain interest in the libre software world (maybe you contribute in a project, or are a company based on libre software, or just like hacking), it’s nice that you have a presence in a libre software social network like this one.
  • People looking for social networks for private use: in my opinion, pump.io looks perfect for setting up a family private network or an institutional one inside the intranet. Remember, it is thought to be scalable up and down, and federated from the beginning. You can configure a common web interface but also give freedom to users for using the client that they like. We’re working on internationalization and localization, but if you cannot wait, you just translate the strings in the code and the utml templates and go. It’s free software, you can do it!  E14N is working on shipping plug-and-play pump.io boxes. Own your data, enjoy your communication.

Needs love

I’m just a pump.io user, I lurk in the IRC channel, in the issue tracker (well I do some bug-triaging), and follow Evan and the pump.io hackers. I’m by no means official voice of the pump.io needs or roadmap, but here you are my personal ideas on how pump.io could be improved and how can we help.

Roadmap

I’m sure that Evan has a clear roadmap for new pump.io features and bug-fixing. We can smell part of it in the issue tracker, since some issues have been tagged with a milestone, and others have been closed with the message that those things should be improved by third parties. But a clear roadmap could help users to know what to expect, and contributors to help more effectively.

Maybe it’s just a matter of classifying the opened issues by milestone, and write a wiki page. Mmm I’ll ask Evan about it.

On the user side, I think it’s useful to review the wiki from time to time to know the more important features that are already implemented (in pump.io itself or by third parties), and to search the issue tracker prior to posting a supossedly new problem. Or maybe ask in the IRC channel.

E14N ‘status’ page, contact page, and sysadmin helpers

I will not say how Evan has to rule his machines or his business. So please take this paragraph as just one humble opinion that can be moved to trash if it’s not useful.
E14N servers (specially identi.ca, but not only) are the public image of the pump.io software and network. And many people may not know to distinguish between a bug in the software than a puntual problem in the network or the system. Many people don’t know where to report problems or requests that are not tied to the software development, or they know that it’s by mail to admin [at] e14n.com but they don’t know if somebody already reported the problem.
For now, pumpstatus.jpope.org is being a great help and some people talk in the IRC channel when having issues, before sending an email. But having a “status” webpage where to look if we’re experiencing problems could help. And maybe giving writing rights on that page to some persons in the role of “sysadmin helpers” would help too.

Features that give control to the user

Pump.io is libre software, that means that the user can control what the program do. But not everybody knows how to hack on node.js in order to tweak the program to do what they want, or are not able to setup their own instance. Some features that in my opinion, would attract users and keep the existing users happy and involved:

  • Activate email recovery and notification in the rest of E14N servers different than Identi.ca
  • Ability to backup an account, delete an account, change the email address, configure email notifications.
  • Search posts and users.
  • Internationalization / localization of the web interface to different languages.
  • Display contexts in the web interface.
  • A public timeline (like the Firehose), accesible by a web browser, with no spam (or maybe a “hot topics” view, with the public posts that are shared or liked at any time). A window where a possible new user can look at.

Contributors!

Enrico Zini said once: “Don’t ask yourself what you can do for Debian. Ask yourself what Debian can do for you. Then work until you make it do it”. I think this thought goes well with Pump.io too. There are many pieces of code already written that you can copy or hack, and there are lots of projects (not only the core, remember the clients, libraries, side projects…) where your help is valuable.

Hey, and don’t say “I don’t know JavaScript nor node.js”. I don’t know either… but code is code, you can abstract the syntax and learn and understand (at least more or less) how it works. Other pieces of the pump.io ecosystem are written in other languages. Or you can help in the issue tracker trying to reproduce errores or finding duplicates, or read/write documentation or FAQs, suggest ideas, testing features/clients/platforms…

And if you are a programmer, please have a look at the issue tracker and pull requests from time to time. There are probably some proposals to fix some bugs that can be improved or supported in order to be merged quicker, or rejected so the sender can rethink his/her proposal or just go to help in other part of the code or the system.

Promotion

Finally, I think it would be nice to have a video presentation about pump.io (let’s say 5 minutes, maybe less) that can be translated to different languages and shared in everyplace to spread the word about this social network. Maybe it’s already done (if yes, please send me a link!). Maybe some users can try to make it. But I think that I’m not the suitable person for this task. Look at this post, it’s too looong! Write something for just 5 minutes is a torture for me :)

Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Social Networks, from my point of view (as libre software user)

In the non-libre-software world, we have well known social networks. Each one is built on its own privative social network system, let’s call it a software stack. Many of them use libre software in part of that software stack, but not in all of it, so you cannot setup a copy of their complete system in your machines for your personal, family, academic or corporative use.

One example. Twitter is a social network of microblogging. The company that owns the software (and the data) is Twitter Inc. Twitter Inc. releases some libre software pieces such as Bootstrap and others (see https://dev.twitter.com/opensource). But you cannot install your Twitter-clone platform. If you want to use their software, you need to create an account in their servers. If you want to look at their non-free-software code, you have to be a Twitter employee. The same happens with Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn…

So aren’t there social networks totally built on libre software?

Sites where I can register an account, but offering also to download the complete stack to deploy a server in order to being able to communicate but hosting my data myself, or provide such kind of service to my company’s intranet, for example? The answer is yes.

There are lots of social network engines that are libre software.

We have general social network systems like Diaspora, Friendica, Pump.io, Elgg

We have microblogging-based system as StatusNet + GNU Social + FreeSocial (they are currently merging code in order to become a single system called GNU Social).

We have SocialStreaming, which is a libre software social network software developed in the University where I work!

The intention of many of these systems is that you build your own server to communicate, so it could happen that we don’t find any public instance that allows just registering an account. But the common cases is that you find a list of public instances or demo sites to try the software in action.

Interaction between servers and networks: federation, crossposting, and more

If you want to setup your own social network to be used in a private, closed environment (let’s say, a company’s intranet, or communication in a family), you can choose the software that suits you best, and deploy it in your computers. You’ll probably need one or more “servers” where to host the data and provide the web interface to users. Users probably can also setup other clients or add-ons to interact in the social network in different ways, extending the functionality offered by the web interface.

Which criteria should we take into account when choosing the particular software to deploy such social network? Well, you probably need to look at the hardware and software requirements for the server, the feature set of each one, and the health and activity of the project (active development, frequent updates, user support, good documentation…).

When you want your social network or server to interact with other servers or networks (using the same software than yours), you need to know if the software supports “federation“. If yes, your server will be able to talk (send, receive data) with other servers installed across the internet (if you have connectivity with those other servers, of course). This is for example how StatusNet works: you can install your own StatusNet server or register an account in Quitter.se for example, and you’ll be able to interact with people using StatusNet in their own server, in Quitter.se or in any other public instance (and shout Viva La Federation!).

What about talking with social networks that don’t use the same software than ours? What about talking to privative social networks?

Many social networks have implemented “bridges” between different networks in order to avoid the user to re-post everything twice or three times. For example, StatusNet has a plugin called TwitterBridge to send to Twitter (of course you need to have a Twitter account to connect to). This bridge is bidirectional so you can get updates from your friends in Twitter in your StatuNet timeline. However, depending on the server configuration (due to resource limitations or number of users), the bridge can be activated in only one direction (or even keep it disabled if the server administrator decided to do so).

Friendica is known for its many bridges to libre and privative social networks. It allows you to select to which networks each post will be propagated, and you receive replies from those other networks in your Friendica timeline.

In the case of Pump.io, bridges are implemented by third parties, not the core software. There’s PumpTweet which is a script that you can run periodically to obtain your Pump.io updates and send them to Twitter. Pump2status.net allows to find friends between the StatusNet and the Pump.io networks, and propagating posts from Pump.io to StatusNet is in active development. Pump2rss converts the Activity Stream JSON feed into a RSS feed so you can use it as “input” to crossposting services like brdcst.it (or the non-libre-software IFTTT).

A note about bridges and crossposting from/to non libre software networks

It is common to find that non libre software networks are controlled by one company having part or its whole business depending on it (for example, sending ads to their users), so they have a strong motivation to not support federation or other kind of interoperability (they focus in communication “inside” their network) and avoid their users doing their communication from outside (with bridges, crossposting…). The specifications of their APIs may change and they may not allow third parties to connect easily.

On the other side, libre software networks usually give much importance to interoperability (or try to). One of the reasons is being able to let your friends know that there are other (better) ways to communicate and help them escape from the walled gardens.

The social networks that I use, and why

I think this topic deserves its own post. And this one took too long. If you’re still interested, read about it here.

Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The social networks that I use (or not), and why

If you want to know a bit more about my thoughts on social networks, you can read “Social Networks from my point of view (as libre software user)“. This post is just a practical summary about the social networks that I use (and why), and the ones that I don’t use (and why).

In the beginning there was email

And I love email. Until September 2010 I was not using any social network. Just mailing lists, some forum accounts, and that’s all.

Still now, all the important things I share with other people in the internet, are by email.

Facebook? #grr…

Some friends of mine were using Facebook, but I decided not to use it. Well, I created a Facebook fake account, with no personal information and not subscribing anybody, just to be able to access some web pages there that were not public (but should be IMHO, e.g. ‘walls’ of the national radio channels) and I wanted to read, from time to time.

For social interaction, I just prefer to meet in other places (probably influenced by this post: “How I (don’t) use Facebook”).

My friends group see each other frequently, and all of them know my email if they want to send me photos, so we keep in touch with or without social networks. My friends said that “using Facebook was  cool“, but some months/years later, they began to not use Facebook either (too many friends, too many uninteresting stuff and so).

Some months ago I moved to a new house and a new neighbourhood, and the people in the neigbourhood use Facebook to coordinate the life of the building (we have in person meetings but we’re more than 150 houses so meetings just for the very very important things). I’m not happy about it (was so difficult to use a forum or a mailing list?) but finally I have subscribed to the group of the building with my fake account, and try to participate (not much, but the minimum for being a good neighbour).

Identi.ca (StatusNet) and Twitter

In September 2010 I began to study the Master on Libre Software at URJC, and teachers said that they were using Identi.ca and Twitter. I created both accounts and began microblogging from Identi.ca (under StatusNet), with the bridge to Twitter.
I liked microblogging (still like it!). It was a challenge for me (I write loong posts, looong emails…) and I met many interesting people in the identiverse. I read a lot about free software. I was feeling part of the Debian, F-Droid and Mediagoblin communities, and all of them had identi.ca accounts or groups. YAY!

I tried to follow people in Twitter only if they had no Identi.ca account.

I found that many people had identi.ca account but they were not using it. Then I followed them in Twitter. Many people followed me in Twitter too. From time to time I sent calls to my friends for coming to Identi.ca.

Google+

When Google+ was launched, some friends decided to use it. I decided not to use it. It was no libre software, I was writing my long stuff in my blog, and I didn’t see the need of another social network (coping with Identi.ca and Twitter was enough for me!). I have a Gmail account, so I created a G+ profile, hoping that some day Google would make G+ libre software, and then, I could be LArjona (as in identi.ca; didn’t like that I had to be larjona99 in Twitter because the larjona nick was not available).
When somebody adds me to their circles, a message comes to my mail. So I write to that person explaining that I don’t use G+ and inviting him or her to identi.ca.

Diaspora and Friendica

Then I learnt about Diaspora* and Friendica, but I decided not to use them either (although they were libre software, and I was tempted to try them).

I began to think about having a personal server where to setup my own social network software.

Identi.ca (Pump.io) and Quitter.se

Then the identi.ca migration to Pump.io came, and I began to try Pump.io, just to know how was going to be the future of the identicans, and try to help to make it brighter, if possible.
When the migration actually happened, there was no bridge from pump.io to statusnet, so I created a Quitter account to keep on microblogging.
And now, I’m microblogging from Quitter, blogging my looong stuff here, and keep on using Identi.ca for posting stuff somewhere between microblogging and blogging. And for interacting with the pump.io community, which is great and I’m proud to be part of it!

Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Participating in the Pump.io community

I came ‘late’ to many free software communities (including identi.ca), when the software had been released  more than two years before, and the community was already mature.

So, when Evan Prodromou announced the migration of Identi.ca to a new software (Pump.io) in ‘active development’, I saw the opportunity to become an early adopter (yay!) and maybe contribute helping the Spanish translation, or sending bugs or whatever.

In this post you will find my adventures with pump.io the last 3 months, in particular:

  • Dipping my toe AKA creating an account
  • The API is the key
  • Clients: losing the fear to build from source
  • Who to follow?
  • Bugs, bugs, bugs
  • Take away, TODO, or whatever..

Here we go… Hey! Wait! What about the migration of identi.ca? Well, it’s in progress, you can follow Evan in pump.io to get updates from time to time. In fact, you can watch how the dents are migrated into pump.io in realtime in an easy way: edit your /etc/hosts file and write at the end:

15.185.111.9  identi.ca

Save, close your browser, open it again, and go to

https://identi.ca/larjona

(or change ‘larjona’ for your user). You will see the last dents that are migrated. Press F5 to refresh, and enjoy the journey! (you can return to the actual identi.ca editing again your hosts file and removing or commenting out that line, and closing and opening your browser again).

Continue reading

Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

LaTeX to ePub, experiments with multiformat publishing

También puedes encontrar este artículo en español.

Didn’t I say this before?: (#iloveplaintext). You can be sure that there is a way to switch the format you chose for writing a document, into a different format, probably keeping most of the layout and appearance of the original text.
This was my premise when this challenge arised: to obtain an ePub file (or .mobi or any other ebook format), similar to this PDF in appearance, but improved for ebook readers as Kindle or Cool Reader for Android devices. The good thing is that the LaTeX source files were available to use them in the conversion.

In this article I publish the recipes and results obtained in my 5 experiments, so anybody can get an idea of how powerful are the free software tools for this kind of tasks, and which ones to try (or not to try) for her particular case. If you want to know the method that worked best for me, go to the 5th attempt.

  • 1st try: LaTeX memoir class.
  • 2nd try: LaTeX geometry class.
  • 3rd try: Pandoc (old version)
  • 4th: Pandoc (new version)
  • 5th try (¡Good!): text4ht + Calibre

Continue reading

Posted in My experiences and opinion, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment