Category Archives: General

Posts about general issues, not focused on any concrete thematic

On Moving

Published / by mario / 7 Comments on On Moving

Winds of Change. One of my favourite songs ever and one that comes to my mind now that me and my family are going through quite some important changes, once again. But let’s start from the beginning…

A few years ago, back in January 2013, my family and me moved to the UK as the result of my decision to leave Igalia after almost 7 years in the company to embark ourselves in the “adventure” or living abroad. This was an idea we had been thinking about for a while already at that time, and our current situation back then suggested that it could be the right moment to try it out… so we did.

It was kind of a long process though: I first arrived alone in January to make sure I would have time to figure things out and find a permanent place for us to live in, and then my family joined me later in May, once everything was ready. Not great, if you ask me, to be living separated from your loved ones for 4 full months, not to mention the juggling my wife had to do during that time to combine her job with looking after the kids mostly on her own… but we managed to see each other every 2-3 weekends thanks to the London – Coruña direct flights in the meantime, so at least it was bearable from that point of view.

But despite of those not so great (yet expected) beginnings, I have to say that this past 5+ years have been an incredible experience overall, and we don’t have a single regret about making the decision to move, maybe just a few minor and punctual things only if I’m completely honest, but that’s about it. For instance, it’s been just beyond incredible and satisfying to see my kids develop their English skills “from zero to hero”, settle at their school, make new friends and, in one word, evolve during these past years. And that alone would have been a good reason to justify the move already, but it turns out we also have plenty of other reasons as we all have evolved and enjoyed the ride quite a lot as well, made many new friends, knew many new places, worked on different things… a truly enriching experience indeed!

In a way, I confess that this could easily be one of those things we’d probably have never done if we knew in advance of all the things we’d have to do and go through along the way, so I’m very grateful for that naive ignorance, since that’s probably how we found the courage, energy and time to do it. And looking backwards, it seems clear to me that it was the right time to do it.

But now it’s 2018 and, even though we had such a great time here both from personal and work-related perspectives, we have decided that it’s time for us to come back to Galicia (Spain), and try to continue our vital journey right from there, in our homeland.

And before you ask… no, this is not because of Brexit. I recognize that the result of the referendum has been a “contributing factor” (we surely didn’t think as much about returning to Spain before that 23 of June, that’s true), but there were more factors contributing to that decision, which somehow have aligned all together to tell us, very clearly, that Now It’s The Time…

For instance, we always knew that we would eventually move back for my wife to take over the family business, and also that we’d rather make the move in a way that it would be not too bad for our kids when it happened. And having a 6yo and a 9yo already it feels to us like now it’s the perfect time, since they’re already native English speakers (achievement unlocked!) and we believe that staying any longer would only make it harder for them, especially for my 9yo, because it’s never easy to leave your school, friends and place you call home behind when you’re a kid (and I know that very well, as I went through that painful experience precisely when I was 9).

Besides that, I’ve also recently decided to leave Endless after 4 years in the company and so it looks like, once again, moving back home would fit nicely with that work-related change, for several reasons. Now, I don’t want to enter into much detail on why exactly I decided to leave Endless, so I think I’ll summarize it as me needing a change and a rest after these past years working on Endless OS, which has been an equally awesome and intense experience as you can imagine. If anything, I’d just want to be clear on that contributing to such a meaningful project surrounded by such a team of great human beings, was an experience I couldn’t be happier and prouder about, so you can be certain it was not an easy decision to make.

Actually, quite the opposite: a pretty hard one I’d say… but a nice “side effect” of that decision, though, is that leaving at this precise moment would allow me to focus on the relocation in a more organized way as well as to spend some quality time with my family before leaving the UK. Besides, it will hopefully be also useful for us to have enough time, once in Spain, to re-organize our lives there, settle properly and even have some extra weeks of true holidays before the kids start school and we start working again in September.

Now, taking a few weeks off and moving back home is very nice and all that, but we still need to have jobs, and this is where our relocation gets extra interesting as it seems that we’re moving home in multiple ways at once…

For once, my wife will start taking over the family business with the help of her dad in her home town of Lalín (Pontevedra), where we plan to be living for the foreseeable future. This is the place where she grew up and where her family and many friends live in, but also a place she hasn’t lived in for the last 15 years, so the fact that we’ll be relocating there is already quite a thing in the “moving back home” department for her…

Second, for my kids this will mean going back to having their relatives nearby once again as well as friends they only could see and play with during holidays until now, which I think it’s a very good thing for them. Of course, this doesn’t feel as much moving home for them as it does for us, since they obviously consider the UK their home for now, but our hope is that it will be ok in the medium-long term, even though it will likely be a bit challenging for them at the beginning.

Last, I’ll be moving back to work at Igalia after almost 6 years since I left which, as you might imagine, feels to me very much like “moving back home” too: I’ll be going back to working in a place I’ve always loved so much for multiple reasons, surrounded by people I know and who I consider friends already (I even would call some of them “best friends”) and with its foundations set on important principles and values that still matter very much to me, both from technical (e.g. Open Source, Free Software) and not so technical (e.g. flat structure, independence) points of view.

Those who know me better might very well think that I’ve never really moved on as I hinted in the title of the blog post I wrote years ago, and in some way that’s perhaps not entirely wrong, since it’s no secret I always kept in touch throughout these past years at many levels and that I always felt enormously proud of my time as an Igalian. Emmanuele even told me that I sometimes enter what he seems to call an “Igalia mode” when I speak of my past time in there, as if I was still there… Of course, I haven’t seen any formal evidence of such thing happening yet, but it certainly does sound like a possibility as it’s true I easily get carried away when Igalia comes to my mind, maybe as a mix of nostalgia, pride, good memories… those sort of things. I suppose he’s got a point after all…

So, I guess it’s only natural that I finally decided to apply again since, even though both the company and me have evolved quite a bit during these years, the core foundations and principles it’s based upon remain the same, and I still very much align with them. But applying was only one part, so I couldn’t finish this blog post without stating how grateful I am for having been granted this second opportunity to join Igalia once again because, being honest, more often than less I was worried on whether I would be “good enough” for the Igalia of 2018. And the truth is that I won’t know for real until I actually start working and stay in the company for a while, but knowing that both my former colleagues and newer Igalians who joined since I left trust me enough to join is all I need for now, and I couldn’t be more excited nor happier about it.

Anyway, this post is already too long and I think I’ve covered everything I wanted to mention On Moving (pun intended with my post from 2012, thanks Will Thompson for the idea!), so I think I’ll stop right here and re-focus on the latest bits related to the relocation before we effectively leave the UK for good, now that we finally left our rented house and put all our stuff in a removals van. After that, I expect a few days of crazy unpacking and bureaucracy to properly settle in Galicia and then hopefully a few weeks to rest and get our batteries recharged for our new adventure, starting soon in September (yet not too soon!).

As usual, we have no clue of how future will be, but we have a good feeling about this thing of moving back home in multiple ways, so I believe we’ll be fine as long as we stick together as a family as we always did so far.

But in any case, please wish us good luck.That’s always welcome! 🙂

Endless changes ahead!

Published / by mario / 2 Comments on Endless changes ahead!

I know I haven’t blogged for a while, and definitely not as much as I would like, but that was partially because I was quite busy during my last days in Samsung (left on the 25th of July), where I wanted to make sure I did not leave any loose end before departure, and that everything was properly handed over to the right people there.

But that was one month ago… so what did I do since then? Many many things, and most of them away from a keyboard, at least until the past week. Main highlights:

  • One week travelling by car with my family all the way down to Spain from the UK, through France, visiting all the nice places we could (and could afford) in the way, which was a lot of fun and an incredible experience.
  • The goal of taking the car to Spain was to sell it once we were there and, surprisingly enough, we did it in record time, so one thing less to worry about…
  • 2 weeks in Spain having proper “relaxing holidays” to get some quality time off in between the two jobs, to properly recharge batteries. Not that the previous week was not holidays, but travelling 2200 km by car with two young kids on the back can be amazing and exhausting at the same time 🙂
  • 1 week in the UK to make sure I had everything ready by the time I officially started in the new company, where I will initially be working from home: assemble a home office in my spare bedroom, and prepare my new laptop mainly. In the end, we (my wife helped me a lot) finished by Wednesday, so on Thursday we went for a last 2-day getaway to Wales (what a beautiful place!) by car, making the most that we were kids-free.

Endless Mobile logoTherefore, as you can imagine, I didn’t have much time for blogging lately, but still I would like to share with the world my “change of affiliation” so here it is: since yesterday I’m officially part of the amazing team at Endless, an awesome start up from San Francisco committed to break the digital divide in the developing world by taking GNOME-based technology to the end users in ways that were not imaginable before. And I have to say that’s a vision I fell in love with since the very first time I heard about it (last year in Brno, during Matt’s keynote at GUADEC).

But just in case that was not awesome enough by itself, the other thing that made me fall in love with the company was precisely the team they have assembled, because even if I’m mostly a technical guy, I still value a lot the human side of the places I work in. And in this regard Endless seems to be perfect, or even better!

So, I’m extremely happy these days because of this new challenge I’m seeing in front of me, and because of the opportunity I’m being given to have a real positive impact in the lives of millions of people who still can’t access to technology as they should be able to do it. Also, I feel blessed and privileged for having been given the chance to be part of such an amazing team of people. Could not be happier at this time! 🙂

Last to finish this post, I would like to say thanks to my friend Joaquim, since he was who introduced me to Matt in the first place and “created” this opportunity for me. Thank you!

mariospr.org

Published / by mario / 1 Comment on mariospr.org

I’ve been thinking for some time already of moving my six years old blog to a more personal domain, and turns out I did it last week moved by the fact that I already had to mess with web development, hostings and domains for a while again, in order to assist my brother-in-law with the set up of a new local business.

So, I finally went after some (quick) thinking for this mariospr.org domain which I think it kinda makes sense considering I’m using mariospr in many places out there already.

One consequence of this change is that I hope I will write more often in my blog from now on, and not only about work-related stuff but also about some more personal things, experiences and the like. Still, I plan to keep using the “Planet [Name]” categories to control what I send to the planets I’m registered in, so if you want to keep track of those other kind of posts, make sure you visit or subscribe to the blog’s feed URL.

By the way, I would like to make the most of this post to say thank you to Lucas Rocha, who have helped me quite a lot to set up this blog without even knowing it, simply by being a good “inspiration” for some decisions I needed to make during the migration process, such as the domain name I finally chose and the font family for the text, for instance.

I even tried the sleek WordPress theme Lucas created, although in this case I ended up  making my own slight modifications to the -also beautiful- TwentyEleven theme, which I will publish as well at some point when the blog has really settled down.

Last, thanks also to my mates in Igalia who have already set up a redirect rule from the old address at blogs.igalia.com to the new domain, and of course to the people who helped update the feed link in the different planets my blog is in, since that means that everything should be already working as expected, even if you’re still using the old URLs.

The family keeps growing

Published / by mario / 12 Comments on The family keeps growing

The Family

Quick after-Christmas post to tell the world, now that is not a secret anymore [*],  that Isa, Sergio and me are currently expecting a new member to “arrive” in the family by next summer,  still no idea whether it would be a boy or a girl, but whatever it will be, we’re already happier than ever, suspiciously in a similar situation than almost two years ago, when I told the world about the arrival of Sergio, our first son.

Well… to be honest I couldn’t hide my preference for a girl if you ask me, just in order to get “the perfect couple”, but regardless of that I’m sure I’m gonna be the happiest man in the world. Yes, once again… and this time it’s not just speculation, I already have 2 years of “experience in the field” supporting this assertion, so take it seriously.

So that’s it, won’t write much more because I don’t want to look boring or the like talking about this kind of personal stuff in this blog, but what the hell… it’s the only one I have and I couldn’t avoid using it to share this publicly.

I think that’s all for now, and sorry for the very-likely-too-personal stuff in my blog.

Happy new year!

[*] You know… even in the era of Internet it kind of makes sense to me to tell these kind of news to some people first before broadcasting them to the world.

GWAH-DEC!

Published / by mario / 1 Comment on GWAH-DEC!

After having a great time last week in the seventh edition of the GUADEC-ES conference in A Coruña, I’m now announcing, in the same way some of my mates from Igalia already did, that…

I am attending GUADEC

I’ve arrived yesterday to Den Haag, along with most of the Igalia gang (still some of us coming tomorrow), and will be here just until Friday  morning, since I’ll need to miss the last day of GUADEC to attend my brother’s wedding. So, don’t hesitate to talk to me if you see me hanging around and want to share something, chat, or just to get a nice Igalia shirt… or even something different, who knows…

For more information, I’ll basically be in the Haagse Hogeschool most of the time during the day, and maybe in the hall of the hotel at night, although I can’t promise much about that because the time slot after dinner will be the only moment I’ll have to walk around the city in this my first visit to the Netherlands.

And by the way… if you’re expecting to see a long hair guy I must warn you that won’t be possible, at least for the moment.

And that’s all, I guess… see you in GUADEC!

PS: Did I say we have a new website? Check it out here.

Screen redrawing problems with the “nvidia” driver and Compiz

Published / by mario / 10 Comments on Screen redrawing problems with the “nvidia” driver and Compiz

Just in case you were experiencing, like me, some very annoying problems with your NVIDIA graphic card while using Compiz, here you have a very useful option to put inside the “Device” section in your /etc/X11/xorg.org file:

Option         "UseCompositeWrapper" "true"

After activating this option (available for nvidia drivers >= 169.xx) I found that the problems redrawing windows I was suffering, specially when scrolling (very annoying, for instance, when chatting through pidging), just dissapeared. And it was indeed a very annoying problem, since it used to happen very often and in almost any window (although not in Emacs ;-)) in my system, in a way so any information on it just got screwed up so it was completely unreadable… and the only “manual” workaround I had found so far was just to re-scroll the window or select the text I was trying to read, which seemed not to be a very good idea.

Needed to say that I started to see this odd behavior since I “downgraded” my Ubuntu 8.10 down to 8.04 last week (because of some very specific needs), and this strange problem never happened when using Intrepid, so if you’re now using that version perhaps you can just throw this post away to the trash, because then it would not useful at all for you.

But just in case, here you are my two cents, and to make them even more useful, here you are the full configuration of my “Device” section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf, which allows me to use a fully accelerated desktop with no problems at all:

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Videocard0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "Quadro NVS 140M"
    Option         "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"
    Option         "UseCompositeWrapper" "true"
    Option         "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps"
    Option         "NoLogo" "true"
    Option         "backingstore" "true"
    Option         "TripleBuffer" "true"
    Option         "AddARGBGLXVisuals"  "true"
EndSection

Hope this will be useful for you as well :-).

Update: If you’re still suffering these problems even after adding these lines to xorg.conf, you could try to install the nvidia driver through Envy. These steps worked for me (at the end, the annoying problem appeared again, although not so often than before):

  1. Uninstall any other driver you had installed before (through the ubuntu “restricted drivers” manager, or the .run script downloaded from nvidia.com).
  2. Install Envy: apt-get install envyng-core
  3. Shutdown X and install the nvidia driver from a tty terminal: envyng -t

After following these steps, and the simple instructions on screen, by ubuntu hardy perfectly booted up with the nvidia driver v173.14, which seems not to present the same problem.

Let’s see if these new advice helps you too 🙂

Just a few hours left for Brussels

Published / by mario

As some of my mates here in Igalia, I’m arriving tomorrow at Brussels, in order to attend to FOSDEM ’09. This is my first visit both to Brussels and FOSDEM and I’m very excited and looking forward to arriving there and meeting all the people attending and giving talks in this great event, which I’m sure I’m goint to love.

So now it’s time to get everything ready in my backpack and going to bed soon, since my plane leaves Coruña early in the morning and I’ll need to rest properly to reach Brussels in my best shape. And let’s hope I don’t find any problems in Madrid, where news said they’re in “orange alert” because of the snow (I wouldn’t like to miss my connection or, even worse, to miss Friday in Brussels and therefore the FOSDEM Beer Event ;-)).

See you there  guys!

Do you want to travel abroad? No problem with google maps!

Published / by mario

Just go to http://maps.google.com, click on the “Get directions” tab and write down the name of the locations that you wish… and don’t worry about traveling across the sea, because google maps is perfectly “ready” to manage that situation as you can see in the following screenshot (traveling from A Coruña, Spain, to New York, USA):
Traveling abroad with google maps

Good luck swimming! 😉

About the origin of foo, bar, baz and so on…

Published / by mario / 1 Comment on About the origin of foo, bar, baz and so on…

I recently felt a strange curiosity about the actual origin of those typical words that are “foo”, “bar” and “baz”, commonly used in computer-related issues such as programming examples. I already knew that they were a wide used way of naming example functions, params… but I really wanted to deeply know about the origin of them, so I googled for a while and I finally reached the wikipedia topic explaining this concept.

Once there, it was a surprise for me knowing about some theories about this, as that one which speculates about foobar to be a phonological interpretation of the first letters of the Runic alphabet. However, the fact which was more surprisingly for me was the existence of an actual RFC talking about this issue: RFC 3092.

I must confess I wasn’t able to stand without taking a brief look into it and I think it’s really funny to read some of the explanations around the foo term, and that’s why I wrote this post: for all the people who, like me, don’t know the meaning of these strange words yet and want to know.

See you

Starting to blog

Published / by mario

This is my first post here in Igalia, so I’d only like to say that I hope to have time and stuff enough next days to write something of interest on this weblog.

However, if you can’t wait without reading any stuff until my first “serious post” was written, you can read other Igalia people’s blogs or just learn more about me here.

At last, thanks to Javier Muñoz for his “blogging in emacs” post, as it was very useful to me for writting this initial post using one of my favourite editors.