It has been a busy period, getting ready for various things, and various travels.

Right now I’m writing this post from the Ubuntu-it meeting in Bologna, with a great amount of people from the Italian community. Interesting talks and ideas are coming out from this day, discussion also about the role that our community is playing and what are our bonds with Canonical and the overall international community.

After returning to France, I will be at the fOSSa 2011 Conference, in Lyon (France), with Silvia Bindelli, where we have been invited to talk about our role in leading and managing part of the Italian community. It is an interesting opportunity and conference, also because I’ve never really gave a public talk with slides and everything in English. I’m really looking forward to traveling to Lyon and spending a couple of days there.

After this, I will be leaving for the USA to attend, thanks to Canonical for the sponsorship, UDS-P where as usual there will be a lot of interesting tracks. I do not have yet a schedule for myself, but I know it will be packed, and I will be running from room to room (this year I would also like to follow virtualization and server tracks).

Looking forward to meeting Ubuntu/GNOME people in Lyon and to leave for UDS!

No, I haven’t been living under a rock in the past months, it’s just that life came knock-knocking at my door and I’m happy with it! 🙂

Things to take care of, new things to do, new adventures in front of me! I will probably be somewhat offline or less present for still a while: I’m moving out of Italy, living with my girlfriend, starting a new job, learning a new language! A little bit scared, but excited nonetheless!

We’ll be living in France (well… she’s already there since this week, I’ll reach her at the end of May) in Antibes, a very cute city between Nice and Cannes in the Cote d’Azur region! Next to the sea! Closer to it than where I’m living right now!

I will be working for INRIA in Sophia-Antipolis on a two years contract: the project is very interesting and exciting, and everything runs on Ubuntu! I couldn’t ask for more! 🙂 It’s an European project that will be open-sourced (don’t know yet if under a GPL or an Apache license). They are building a P2P kind of social platform, using pretty cool technologies, and I’m looking forward to start working on it!

It’s is a little bit scaring leaving the place you grow up, your family, my little niece, your friends, your work, and start a new adventure also in such a short time (I found the job two weeks ago!), not knowing the language spoken there (I’m starting to study it, but luckily where I’ll be working they speak English!). Even if it’s not that far away from Italy, it’s a totally unknown place to me: new habits, a new culture to discover, new places and cities to visit… a new life to build!

It gives you strange sensations and feelings… a mixture of excitement, fear, and curiosity, something that you are eager to do, eager to start… something to you look at in some sort of awe, but you so want to start it that the happiness of all of this is overwhelming! It gives you excitement, and adrenaline that you can’t even sleep at night, thinking about things to do, things to buy, stuff to move; thinking about the new job, the new house, the new life…

I will need a little bit of time to settle down as soon as I reach my new place, but i will be back, more excited than ever! 🙂

PS: any Gnome/Ubuntu users from Antibes? Wouldn’t mind having a beer or two sometimes! 😉

PPS: know any French teacher in Antibes or a cool place where to learn French? Apart for practicing it as much as you can by yourself with the local people 🙂

The acronymn in the title stands for:

Debian Ubuntu Community Conference – Italy

and that’s, to my knowledge, the first of its kind… but definitely not the last.

First of all, big kudos to the people behind the organization of this wonderful event (in totally casual order):

  • the men and women behind FSUG Italia (Free Software User Group Italy) (I can’t remember all your names, apologies, but I think you know who you are!)
  • Luca Bruno (kaeso) from the Debian Italian community
  • Paolo Sammicheli (xdatap1) from the Ubuntu Italian community (and Monia too! also for their hospitality!)
  • the men and the women from the Perugia hacklab “Projectz on Island”
  • the Maths Department of the University of Perugia
  • Stefano Zacchiroli for being there with us
  • all the men and women that were there!!!

The DUCC-IT has been a remarkably experience: seeing gold old friends, and meeting new people from the FLOSS world, and in particular from Debian and Ubuntu, is always great.

DUCC is a joint Debian – Ubuntu conference born from an idea of the FSUG guys (if I’m not totally wrong) (I was wrong, thanks Zack for the heads up!) at the last UDS from Stefano, Paolo, and Sergio Zanchetta. Debian and Ubuntu hackers sharing the stage in their expertise fields, talking about what they love the most with the people from the other side of the barricade (if you pass me the expression).

I really loved the idea and the experiment of sharing my talk with somebody else (Francesca Ciceri in my case) from the Debian community. I think we should try to repeat it more often: it’s a great way to work more closely together even outside of the normal workflow we all stick to.

I have a lot of things to say about these last two days, but can’t make up my mind to find the right words… As usual, it’s sad to leave such great people after some wonderful days together, we don’t always know when we are going to see each other again.

Just to try to sum it up, ‘cause words are really hard on me tonight:

  • We decided that we will be holding another DUCC-IT next year (where and when not yet decided)
  • We are going to open a neutral “forum” (mailing list or whatever) where our two communities can talk together (something that doesn’t have the Debian or Ubuntu word in it) (Stefano, if you will ever read this: remember to open the alioth project! 🙂 )
  • When the next DUCC-IT meeting will arrive, we have to know where and when the next one will be held
  • After the Debian / Ubuntu Women talk, we need to take more action, and we need to have a women space again in our next meetings
  • I hope the FSUG people, or whoever is behind the DUCC-IT acronym, will not kill me: to all the Debian and Ubuntu communities out there, take the DUCC-IT acronym, replace IT with your local country code, and repeat this experience with your local Debian/Ubuntu communities.
  • My photo-stream of the conference

I should have blogged more about it, but I already suck at blogging (I have to improve this), and also the Internet connection was not really working well with my computer at the conference (now I’m using the hotel connection!).

One world: AWESOME.

My first GUADEC, and I’m really enjoying it.

A lot of interesting talks, lots of great people, and also lots of work to do.

We had the documentation workshop the day before GUADEC started, and it has turned out really cool and interesting: lots of people are interested in documentation, users and developers documentation; and this is absolutely great!

We had interesting discussions with the Anjuta developer, the Evolution developers, people from Openismus, and many other I can’t probably even remember the names (apologies for that!).

Phil and I have also been working quite a lot in these days: Phil on the what is going to be the new GNOME users help, me mostly on the Rhythmbox docs.

Today we will have the BoF room at GUADEC for us and we will brainstorm a lot on new topics for the GNOME users help. If you want to help us out, or just to hang around and see how we work, please join us!

Last but not least: there are rumors about having a developers documentation hackfest, probably in Berlin, thanks to Openismus. It’s not confirmed yet, but it would be absolutely great! (I hope I can have days off from work to help out with that too).

Sweating and sweating, I’m trying to get this post out… it’s 12 days that I can only use one hand: I dislocated my right shoulder, and will be like that for the next few days, wearing this tutor thing that keeps my arm blocked, and keeps me very well warm (not that in this period I needed that…).

But I’m not writing for that, I’m writing for this:

Yeah, the Ubuntu for Non-Geeks: 4th Edition.

I think it is better if I leave you to our own Phil Bull blog post describing the book, since he’s one of the author:

I had the opportunity to read the book while I was reviewing it (thanks to Phil that mentioned my name to someone!), and I have to sat that it is a very well written book, easy on you. A worth read if you are moving your first steps in the Linux and Ubuntu world. Spread the voice, it’s a really good book!

Oh, and by the way, I’ll be at GUADEC! (I’m really looking forward to my first GUADEC!) And remember, we are holding a documentation workshop on Tuesday the 27!

A big thank goes to the GNOME Foundation!

(Time taken to write this blog post: almost 20 minutes…)

I just got my brand new Nexus One (thanks to a friend of mine, ‘cause in Italy we can’t buy it), and since I’m kind of a picky translator that enjoy taking a look at how things have been translated into my own language, I was looking at the Italian translation of my Nexus One.

Well, first it is nice to have a localization even if you can’t really buy the phone in Italy, but there are things that made me laugh. When you add a contact in the Nexus One, you are asked for the “Given name” of that person: in Italian it has been translated a little bit too literally in “Nome fornito”. 🙂 That really made me laugh!

I’m pretty sure that a Free Translator would have never done that! We Rock the World!

PS: does somebody know how Google handle the Nexus One translation? Just got mine, so I’ve not start to look at all those things…

For your eye pleasure, directly from the Desktop Help Summit, the 10 top things you shouldn’t do when writing documentation. Enjoy.

Hi guys,

Top 10 things not to do with your docs:

Reading the interface back
∘ Don’t document the entire interface – it’s safe to assume certain
things are obvious and don’t need to be discussed.
∘ Don’t read back the interface – people can figure out that the Open
button opens something.

Not aiming at a consistent level of technical expertise
∘ Say something basic and something advanced in the same sentence, e.g.
“Click Open to open the document” in the same sentence as “you need to
install GRUB after you partition.”

∘ Explaining things at great length, in the same topic as where you give
the instructions.
∘ Just link off to a conceptual topic instead.
∘ Assume people will skim – don’t make them read loads of intro before
you get to the instructions.

Incorrect level of formality
∘ It’s OK to use contractions.
∘ Still use reasonably formal language (i.e. don’t be crazy or overly
friendly), but don’t make it sound dry. it should flow.

Lack of context
∘ Need to give context so people understand what is going on.
∘ Don’t just write a big list of commands.

Over-use of screenshots
∘ Only use them to illustrate a point.
∘ Don’t need to use them everywhere, the user is probably looking at the
screen anyway.

Leaving out steps or using too many steps
∘ Need to choose the appropriate level of detail. No need for one step
per mouse movement.
∘ Likewise, don’t miss things out if they seem obvious, just cover them
very briefly.

Documenting things which no-one cares about
∘ Document things that people need to know about, don’t just scratch an

Putting more than one topic in one document
∘ Results in long, rambling documents.
∘ Confusing, difficult to link to, overlap.
∘ Users confused by irrelevant, buried information.

Don’t talk down to or patronise your users
∘ Using phrases like “obviously” can make people feel bad if it’s not
actually obvious.

If anyone can find one or two examples of any of these mistakes, that
would be cool.

Does anything come to your mind?

Oh, BTW, buttons are on the left.