Ubunchu Chapter Two, in the pipeline

oThose keeping track of Seo’s blog will know that he released chapter 2 of the popular Ubuntu manga comic “Ubunchu”, Those who can read Japanese should head over there and enjoy.

For all those waiting on the English versions (both edited Left to Right and un-edited Right to Left versions) stay tuned. We’ve pretty much got it all translated baring a few last minute tweaks and now I’m just putting it all together into svgs, editing, editing etc etc.

So today I will explain what we have done for this project so far:


The first important part of this project was getting the release under Creative Commons license which allows derivative works. It would have been better to get it without the Non-Commercial clause; but maybe we can work on that with the publishers. Getting the PSD (Photoshop) files from the artist is also very important (see editing).


Now it’s time to take each of the pages and transcribe the original text into a translation tool, we used google docs spreadsheets (we could have used Launchpad, but CC-NC prevents us from using lp). Someone who knows Japanese hopefully makes sure that all the text is labeled by Page, Panel and Person. All text is transcribed including sound effects and narrator notes.

First Translation

Because we don’t have anyone that speaks Japanese and English well enough we have to do our translations in two steps. First the translator (Hito) takes the Japanese and produces a rough English translation called “Engrish”, he also makes translator notes in another column which gives cultural background and other note worthy information.

Second Translation

Now those who speak English very well (that would be me and Arturo) go through each of the Engrish translations and produce reasonable English that fits in context and in the boxes provided on the page. We are doing a number of passes between each of us because it’s important to get the flow of the English and make sure the comic doesn’t loose authenticity.

Image Editing

We need to take the original Photoshop files and remove all Japanese. Because Seo was forward thinking most of the text is on separate layers which can be hidden, any mistaken or other text is carefully removed too using Gimp and any places where the original art was deleted for the text aura is repaired. These files are saved as gimp xcf files and a resized export is made to png.

LtR Editing

Lots of people won’t agree with the Left to Right editing, but since we’re making sure both versions are available I don’t think they have much to complain about. I like reading Left to Right. So flipping the new xcf files will produce a good result most of the time, you will find instances where there was some English or written name which now needs to be flipped or redrawn. In the case of chapter 02 I had to redraw the blackboard textures and redo one of the screenshots in order to get text the right way round.

Vector Production

I create the final result by importing each page image into an SVG file. I do this so that the language can be in xml and to make export to pdf easier. It also allows us to export a pot file which can be used to create translations with existing tools. Once I’ve got each page imported, I take the text and position it on each page and in each panel. The editing touches are to select font and redraw sound effect words (which are not usually from fonts).


My script outputs a PDF file and a source tar, but I also have a workbook version of the PDF that allows me to print off several copies for last week’s UDS in Barcelona. Very few people got a copy and it involves taking each page going from the first and last towards the middle and alternating between inside and outside pages. People who have done this to make books will recognise the pattern.

Hopefully we’ll be done with this soon and if you’d like to help translate it into your language we will make sure the link to the google doc is also released so everyone can join in and make a column for their language.

Futurama Into the wild Green Yonder

Disclaimer: I’m a big Matt Groaning fan, most of his works seem to hit some kind of style and satire level with me that makes them funny as hell.

So this is the forth dvd film that the Futurama gang have created and I managed to finally watch it last night.

I lived it a lot, I thought it was better writing than the previous movie and I felt the production values were typically high standards. the graphics were superb and I gotta say I love the elbow in the side of the human race at the end. A sly comment on species survival that one.

If you’ve not picked it up yet, I recommend it. Contains themes of Science, Science Corruption, Religious interference, Environmental Destruction, Socio-Political Disorganisation, Gender Stereotyping, Evolution and Love (Awe)

UDS: Last Day, Now the Hard Part

Today is the last day of the Ubuntu Developers Summit 2009 for Karmic Koala, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things, boot speeds, data integration, netbook software. It’s all still to come. So now we start growing this next version from our discussions here.

I’ve really enjoyed coming to UDS and if ever any of you get to come, please do, it’s an exciting opportunity to discuss not just technical issues and features but also community management and events. We’ve been discussing just as much about Local Community groups and Education as we have about kernel regressions and xorg bug tracking.

Checkout Carbon 6’s image gallery in DeviantArt.

Posted in UbuntuTagged uds, uds-karmic

UDS: Common Everything

Today there has been a lot of talk about common functionality that attempts to replace lots of existing replicated functionality.

When you have a problem that everyone has to solve, it’s worth considering making a standard version available which all programmers can take advantage of. For instance, every program can take advantage of files, files are so important that they usually form a core part of many programming languages. But could you imagine a system where each program writes data to the disk in it’s own way?

Common Printing Interface

The Linux Foundation is working on a common printing interface which allows all programs to utilise this single and may I saw awesome interface.  One that will hopefully be used via dbus (most things are going this way) by all applications that want to print, this will move printing up a step in design and coherence.

Common Contacts Data Store

The Canonical Online Services team appear to be heading up a move towards having a local content database using CouchDB. In this they would like to store contacts and discussions today were around all the considerations of the system. Obviously there are already lots of projects attempting to solve these set of problems, some on KDE and some on Gnome; but the hope is that this system will be a unified way of talking to the system of contacts and hopefully reproduce the ease of intergration and functionality available in the Apple system.

The big functionality improvements other than common access to data will be the ability to share your contacts over the online services.

I expect (although I’m being totally speculative) that if the contacts development is successful that the system will be expanded to include other databases. I’d like to see meta data, calendar and note systems being brought into a shared infrastructural system.


UDS: Content Library

Today I attended a session close to my heart, user content management on the desktop.

The project I have proposed my Central Services project (formally User Data Services) to meet the needs and supply access to all content library features to the very core of Ubuntu.

First I will explain the problem. Every media and content system has library programs, editing programs and viewing programs. Sometimes their all in one, for instance Rythembox is a good library and viewer of audio content. But the core features that you want to find in all these applications is the same:

  • Listing and Opening
  • Metadata and Tagging
  • Indexing and Searching
  • Event Logging
  • Online Service Support
  • Hardware Device Support

The only thing that separates these generic features is the content type and the kinds of applications that will display the content. It seems natural then that we should aim to get content library infrastructure in place so programmers don’t have to re-invent all of these things (some of which are none-trival), these are some content type examples:

  • Images / Galleries
  • Audio / Albums
  • Contact / Address Book
  • Event / Calendar

Imagine a time when you no longer have to hunt around for a picture to attach to your email but instead select a “pictures” tab and are presented with all images availble even if they are on your Google Picassa account or on your ipod without having to first sync them, imagine being able to access your contacts from facebook, gmail and your blackberry all from the same application and then deciding for yourself how they should be sync’ed (it at all).

I think it would be awesome and I’m trying to complete the implimentation details for the metadata and indexing, working with the Zeitgeist project and learning from the mojito moblin (intel) who are also hear and trying to solve a similar set of problems.

UDS: Where Did all The Coffee Go

Breaking news from the summit of Ubuntu geeks currently being held here in Barcelona. The supply of coffee, the drug that keeps many geeks going throughout the morning, has dried up with the swift removal of all coffee dispensing machines.

Landscape Dev Mourns

It happened on a warm May day at 9:30, half way though the first morning’s UDS sessions. Buoyed by the day’s early supply of coffee all was going well. Until tragedy struck for all those hoping to get a second or third cup before the second session line-up. According to sources the summit venue is rather strict with coffee and only the persistent demands of Clair Newman could persuade them to deliver much needed coffee relief at all. But instead of this wonderful bean drink persisting, it instead was swiftly removed shortly after being put out causing many sad faces and some on the verge of tears as they looks mournfully into their empty cups.

Without the much needed drink the morning’s sessions will likely be slower and perhaps filled with the sounds of gentle snoring. For the love of improving Ubuntu, bring back the coffee for these souls!

Although this reporter only drinks Tea, so isn’t so bothered by all the fuss.

Update: 10:17am the coffee has returned, only the continued demands and sad, grey faces in the halls could have prompted this 180 degree policy change. Rejoice for the coffee is back.

The Community is Now Happy

UDS: LoCo Eventing

Today’s UDS (as promised to Jono) will be recorded here in my blog.

Each LoCo team has to as some point run events, it’s a natural part of what Local Community teams do to reach out, promote, teach and connect their local users together. So it seems fitting that a LOT of LoCo team people were at UDS today to talk about how we can make organising events and global co-ordination better.

First on the list is the Bug Days and how the general ideas can be coordinated and how we can use best practices to organise and execute days that everyone will be organising. This also includes translation-days and my suggestion, marketing days. Think of a single day where every LoCo team in the world decided to market in a public way, hand out flyers and CDs, hold placards and have some fun.

We also talked tools, using the existing sprint functionality in launchpad it might be possible to expand to make it handle local community events, both those that we organise and those of other groups that we attend. This way our team’s data is available via a standard API with standard authentication, community tools can then be built to automagically add things to google calendar, facebook events and other awesome community awareness.

We also talked about making sure other LoCo teams are aware of what is going on in some other LoCo teams. For instance, did many of you know that the Massachusetts LoCo team organised a team spirit event to watch the new Star Trek film at the iMAX picture house? A very good event that was not well publicised outside of our LoCo and some other people were expressing their lament that they could have joined in the fun themselves and had a whole load of LoCo teams attending on the same day.

There is also work going on in the teams-db world, data is going to be removed from the wiki and we’re going to have a website which will hopefully handle the team information in a much more cohesive way.

That’s it for now, Beunos Nochos.

Posted in UbuntuTagged uds, uds-karmic

Free WiFi, Sometimes

It’s starting to reach the point where I almost expect free wifi where ever I go, not that I think it’s right to have, but that computers are a thousand times more useful when you do have it.

I was in Paris Charles de Gual airport waiting for a connecting flight to Barcelona, obviously I wouldn’t be the geek I am if I didn’t attempt to check my email. This airport is a beautiful building, the roof looks like it was carves out of crystal. But the wifi was not only pay-for (€10 per hour) but the website that controls it was hideously buggy.

Even after selecting English, when I went to pay it reverted to French, I had to change the &lang=1 in the address bar for anything to make sense. Although I’m not sure I know what USA is in French, it’s certainly not “USA”.

I ended up not getting online there. My email would have to wait.

Barcelona seemed much better, the airport had wifi, the hotel had wifi (although it did take me 3 hours to get from one to the other). Now at least I can try and learn some more Spanish phrases online… more things you can’t really do offline.

One day we’re going to have to figure out how to keep everyone online all the time.

UDS: Getting Ready

So tonight is my flight to Paris and then onto Barcelona where I will attend the Ubuntu Developers Summit (as most of you probably know).

This is where all of us interested and employed Ubuntu geeks will get together and hash out the next version of Ubuntu marked “Karmic Koala” 9.10 and is due to be released in October of this year. I also want to make sure that some sessions dedicate some time to talking about more long term projects and directions. It can be frustrating when you can’t plan for 10.10 because it’s too far ahead, but some projects are going to need that more long term thoughtfulness and we should always be looking out for chances to plan ahead.

There are a number of things I’ll be focusing on, some infrastructural, some QA and some desktop experience; but most of what I’ll be doing will be community stuff. I love to meet the other developers of Ubuntu (all flavours) and I look forward to meeting other LoCo members, team leaders and talking some more to the head-honcho Jono Bacon (Buy his book, In stores Now!).

I have some printed copies of Ubunchu which I will give to dedicated fans of my blog1 and I’m planning on asking Mark to sign two for Seotch and C-quel who did so much hard work on it without even being in the ubuntu community themselves (yet).

We did send 100 CDs and 50 printed copes of the manga to the Boston Anime convention, big thanks to DPic for organising and dragging me out of bed to get the editing done for the booklet format and folding lots of paper. They all disappeared in a few hours on Friday, even when all the other leaflets on the table had disappeared. Looks like next year we’ll have to take a few thousand CDs.

Things I’m excited about discussing are further thoughts towards unified data access systems, config management, infrastructural qa and some hardware management topics. Look for me if any of these pip your interest. Oh and don’t forget about the LoCoRST project, I’ll be trying to hack on that some more on the flight.

Happy traveling everyone!

1Or people who I wish to carry favour with *bribe smile*


All funding is currently on the edges, bar one bit that serves OEMs directly and not users. hmm, I wish we could fill that core development funding model: