Tag Archives: Linux

Ocarina 6.3

I officially released Ocarina 6.3 this morning!  Changes include:

  • Improve unit tests.
  • Finish up Doxygen documentation for core/.
  • Separate tag database into multiple files.
  • Move Gstreamer from core/ to gui/.
  • Various gui code cleanups.

The most interesting change this release is probably the gstreamer move.  Ocarina 6.2 added an audio “driver” interface to allow for faking playback when running unit tests.  This release takes the concept one step farther and moves all of gstreamer into the gui, simplifying many things.  My hope is that this will make it easier to port Ocarina to Android or OS X in the future.

Ocarina 6.3 can be downloaded here.

New Project: Gossip Stone

I’ve spent the last several years using NetworkManager on my laptop, mostly because I needed an easy way to connect to my work’s VPN.  This worked fine at home, but for whatever reason NetworkManager, Workantile’s wireless hardware, and my laptop do not get along.  I put up with this problem for well over a year before finally deciding to switch back to using WICD to manage my network connections and find something else to manage VPN.

I tried a handful of different VPN managers, but I wasn’t super impressed with anything I saw.  So I made a list of features that I wanted and got to coding!  Gossip Stone is the result – it provides a gossip-stone-1.0straightforward right-click menu to connect to different VPN profiles (defined in /etc/vpnc/).  For now users need to write vpnc scripts by hand, but I would eventually like to add in a connection editor so config files don’t need to be modified by hand.

Let me know if you try it out!

Ocarina 6.0

I have not had an Ocarina release in almost a year and a half.  The last year has been busy (more on that later), but I haven’t forgotten about my pet-project!

I started working on a new rewrite of Ocarina in May 2013.  I created previous versions by writing whatever features I felt like implementing at the time.  There was no plan, and it didn’t take too long to transition into an ugly hackjob.  I felt like the code would have been almost impossible to update without breaking everything, so I started fresh.

For the first few weeks I only worked on a design document.  This allowed me to stay focused during development and gave me a chance to think out features before writing a lot of code.  I really like this approach, and I recommend it to everybody before starting off on a project.  I plan to keep this document updated as much as possible.

This is also the first version of Ocarina to have unit tests.  I like these so far, since I can now focus on testing a single component without needing to have a functional GUI.  I plan to keep these updated as much as possible, too.

Ocarina 6.0 is still Linux only and  I don’t have the time, resources, knowledge or interest to support a Windows or OSX port.  I am willing to work with anybody ambitious enough to attempt a port!  Let me know …

Other notable changes:

  • I continued to refine the UI (compared to Ocarina 5.10)
  • I made the switch to GTK-MM and GStreamer 1.2
  • I added support for “banned” and “favorites” playlists
  • I created a .desktop file so Ocarina will show up in your “applications menu”

Download Ocarina 6.0 here!

Attending Linux Conferences – Before and After

I’m on my way home from my second Linux conference since transitioning and I’m beginning to pick up on some of the differences between attending as a man and attending as a woman.  The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that people seem to remember me now.

I attended a few events before transitioning, and the people I met in 2011 had largely forgotten me by 2012.  I guess that makes sense, now that I think about it.  I would quietly keep to myself and that usually meant that other people left me alone.  People saw me as just another guy at a Linux conference, and that made me almost unmemorable.

That’s all different now.  I re-met a lot of people in at the Linux Plumbers Conference last September, and they actually remembered who I am this week!  And everybody from recruiters to new friends are actively starting conversations with me!  I would be surprised if being a woman at a Linux conference didn’t play a part in this change.  But I’m also way more comfortable with myself, and I would like to think that makes me more approachable.

In my opinion, being social makes these events way more enjoyable.

Linux Plumbers Conference

I went to the 2013 Linux Plumbers Conference, held in New Orleans from September 18 – 20.  I have attended Linux conferences before, but this was my first one as Anna.  Needless to say, I was nervous going in that first day.  It’s a good thing I didn’t have anything to worry about!

The first thing I noticed was that suddenly people were talking to me.  This actually started on the plane, the gentleman sitting next to me was also attending the LPC. He started chatting with me shortly before landing, and then we split a cab to the hotel.  I don’t remember people talking to me that easily when I was traveling as a guy, so this was a big win for me!  I guess a cheerful, geeky girl is more approachable than somebody desperately trying to be a guy?

While wandering booths one day a recruiter called me over. He said he had seen me earlier and wanted to talk with me to see if I wanted to “spread my wings” and apply at his company.  I’m happy where I work now, so I told him I wasn’t interested in switching.  He seemed a bit disappointed by my answer, but I doubt his ability to find me another job hacking on the Linux kernel.  Besides, I like my coworkers and I have no reason to leave!   I wonder how much of his interest in me is because I’m a female developer?  The conference was mostly attended by males, so any female is bound to stand out from the crowd.

I also noticed a difference in how people were treating me Thursday night, during my private dinner with Trond Myklebust and Linus Torvalds.  When we arrived at our table, Linus pulled out my chair and pushed it in for me while I was sitting.  Then the waitress approached us and stated “What would you like to drink?  Ladies first” and then turned to me.  I ordered my usual iced tea without comments from anybody in attendance.  I guess it’s abnormal for a guy to choose not to drink, but it’s okay for a girl?  As a side note, during dinner Trond was asking if some “identity matching” script would break if somebody changed their name and email address all at the same time since I’m currently in the process of changing my name.  Linus mentioned that there was once a kernel hacker that changed their gender, and that caused a few problems with matching up the new identity to their original one.  He then turned to me and said something like “If you’re just changing your name, that’s fine.  If you become a guy then we’ll have problems”.  I eventually pointed out that I’m actually going the other way.

There was a closing dinner for LPC attendees on Friday. I was wearing a Pi shirt all day, and I assume that got some attention. During dinner I made my way up to the dessert table at the same time as another developer who had shown up in a pirate hat. I said hi, and we talked for a bit before he put the hat on my head, looked at me and said “it looks better on you”. I doubt that exchange would have happened had I still been male.

I feel that attending as a female was more rewarding than when I attended as a male. I was noticed, people talked to me, and I had more fun. I’m already looking forward to next year!