10 Jahre WordPress

Warning: The following post is not only in german, it’s entirely personal. If you want to learn something about what WordPress is, and how it grew to what it is now, you are better off using your favorite search engine.

Zugegeben, ich bin etwas spät dran: WordPress, die Blogsoftware, die auch hier hinter den spärlichen Kulissen werkelt, ist bereits vorgestern 10 Jahre alt geworden. Gratulieren will ich dennoch, denn WordPress begleitet mich schon lange, nämlich seit den letzten Dezembertagen des Jahres 2004. Damals, als Schüler, setzte ich mein erstes Blog auf – und WordPress 1.2 “Mingus” war das System meiner Wahl.

Ganz ehrlich: Ich weiß nicht mehr, warum ich ausgerechnet WordPress wählte. Ich hatte bereits seit Monaten den Plan gehabt, eine leicht aktualisierbare Homepage zu bauen, hatte schon ein Layout konzipiert und umgesetzt, aber die Selbstprogrammierung eines basalen CMS mit PHP gelang mir nicht wirklich. Also wurde es WordPress, höchstwahrscheinlich auch damals WordPress.org zu den besser gestalteten Blogsystem-Projektsites gehörte. Und das Layout, welches ich mir mühsam abgerungen hatte, verwarf ich für das damalige Standard Template von Dave Shea, welches ich mit der Zeit Stück für Stück meinen (anderen) Vorstellungen anpasste. Statische Seiten realisierte ich damals noch mittels “richtigen” HTML-Dateien. Bald kam dann 1.5 “Strayhorn”, mit “Kubrick” von Michael Heilemann als Standard-Template, welches man bis heute hier und da noch sieht, auch wenn es auf hochauflösenden Breitbildschirmen nicht viel seiner ursprünglichen Eleganz behalten hat.

Mit mehreren Updates (1.5, 2.0, 2.1 usw., alle nach Jazzgrößen benannt) und unzähligen Layouts, bei deren Erstellung ich meine HTML und CSS-Kenntnisse vertiefte bzw. erwarb, ging es dann weiter bis in den Mai 2007, in welchem ich mich, müde in freier Meinungsäußerung geworden1, meines Blogs entledigte.

Das hielt nicht lange: Es folgte (nur ein paar Tage nach Einstellung des anderen) ein anonymes Blog bei WordPress.com, und als die Beziehung, die mit dem einhergehenden Glück auch zum Ende des ‘txtblog’ geführt hatte, im Sommer 2008 vorbei war, ein Versuch der Wiederbelebung desselbigen, wieder mit WordPress, aber ohne Altlasten. Dann gab es da noch verschiedenste Ideen, zu deren Verwirklichung ich stets zunächst zu WordPress griff, oft in Verbindung mit bbPress2 .

Und auch dieses Blog, Brimborium, läuft wieder mit WordPress.

Nein, ich war nicht stets treu: Brimborium lief zunächst mit Habari, LINMOB, das englischsprachige Blog über “Linux on mobile devices”3 war zunächst bei Blogger.com und dann bei tumblr. Aber ich bin zurückgekommen, weil ich die Flexibilität, die Erweiterbarkeit und das “einen eigenen Platz haben”, welche eine WordPress-Installation ermöglicht, irgendwie vermisst habe.

Auch wenn sich Blogs in Zeiten der Social Networks nicht mehr so aufdrängen, und somit der Aufwand, selbst Webspace oder gar einen Server zu buchen, und auf diesem ein WordPress samt Plugins zu installieren, oder gar selbst Plugins und Themes zu entwickeln, teils vielleicht hinfällig geworden ist, ist es doch toll und notwendig, dass es so ausgereifte Systeme wie WordPress gibt.

In diesem Sinne: Happy Birthday, WordPress!

P.S.: Vor allem auch einen ganz herzlichen Dank an die unzähligen festen und freien Entwickler rund um Matt Mullenweg, die WordPress zudem gemacht haben, was es ist: Ein großartiges Stück freie Software.

Weiterführendes:

  1. auch durch Social Networks wie studiVZ, mit denen man die persönlich bekannten ohnehin viel besser erreichte []
  2. Welches damals noch nicht seinen heutigen Plugin-Charakter hatte []
  3. jetzt ein Teil dieses Blogs []

Warning: This place might become droidy..

Though there is no way to root the german G1s / HTC Dreams yet, I decided to get one. This can mean that this place will become pretty androided soon, I am thinking of software reviews and such.

But for those that already start crying for the good old times: After having seen Debian for the rooted US/UK-G1s I had to think about something like that for the good old A910s. No more news about that, and until the last week of february I will have absolutely _NO_ time to work on that front. So just keep cool and watch out.

News, again: Android, OpenEZX, Motorola…

Android has been opensourced a some time ago, just in time with the release of the T-Mobile G1, and it has been adopted by the community for several devices as it seems, including OpenMoko´s Neo1973 and its younger and superior brother, the FreeRunner – certainly this is making the FreeRunner more attractive for “normal people” – the problem is that ANDROID needs a hardware keyboard ATM to be usable – and as everybody who knows the current OpenMoko Devices, knows: It should be pretty unusable.

Anyway, there have been some news regarding other devices, too (Well, there have to be, as i haven´t published a single line in october (shame on me ;) )). OpenEZX support for A910 and of course for the other devices, too – has improved, A910 is the first OpenEZX device with camera support, just to name an example. You might say “Well, who cares about this bad camera?” and you are right, but nontheless this is great news.
I haven´t done much mobile device related in the last month, i didn´t even create another Motorola-mod, but some (?) chinese guys did. It is a great mod, though I think that some of the features they implemented are.. well.. not that necessary – but they did great work that would have taken much time for me to do. One example: EDGE support – even if i don´t think that Motorola disabled EDGE for no reason. Another one? USBNET works like a charm, as it does with the unbranded firmware. I don´t know, if SIP is working, too – but anyway: this is great work, I am pretty sure that I could have done it, but: It would have taken ages for me to figure out how to get this USBNET menu option. I tried to do so, several times, in english E2 forums – but nobody wanted to tell me.
This firmware inspires me, I think you can feel that by the way I write, and I will take it as a base for another igeekmod release – hoping to have time for that on sunday. Let´s hope that no friends will think of disturbing me ;). I will basically remove some things I dislike and add a freakbox again, try to translate some chinese tools and there will be some more languages than english and chinese (at least german and french).

Finally, there are some news regarding my long time favourite cellphone builder, Motorola: They won´t go on with MotoMAGX (ok, the recently leaked and released VE66 still runs it, in a new iteration, btw), they won´t go on with UIQ (last UIQ devices were 3.5G enabled Z8 and Z10, UIQ is dead, anyway) – they will use ANDROID instead and will go on creating and producing Windows Mobile and P2K phones. I think that this is not the worst decision: they have to cut their costs – and if they had kept MotoMAGX they would have had to put much development effort into it, which would have been expensive. And ANDROID is there and quite attractive (for developers and users) thanks to its “ANDROID market” – MotoMAGX would have had no real chance against it, and “QT Software” is a part of NOKIA…
And there is even more news, which I would call “bad news”: Motorola is about to (at least that´s what they are planning to do currently) leave the european market to focus on asia and the americas. Looking at sales figures, this is easy to understand, but(!): You can´t just look at sales figures, you have to think of what you offered in europe as well, Motorola! Asia got all these nice EZX devices, and Europe? And in the US there are all these non-GSM handsets, that weren´t that bad…
It is sad. European marketing department sucks, and after that poor europeans … Well, I will stop crying. It´s not too sad. Maybe my i780 won´t stay my only Samsung, as i780 is a nice and pretty device, even though it runs Windows Mobile 6 (still no official update!) which is definitely an ugly OS – but as Samsung is looking forward to create ANDROID devices (I know that this link is old and outdated… but it shows something I dream of ;) )

A910 section at MotorolaFans.com

I didn’t write here for quite a long time – I didn’t feel like writing about Linux on mobile devices – and: When there are no real news, why should I write something? Ok, my VIA-based Mini Note / Netbook is there and it is nice, though I wasn’t able to add the touchscreen to it yet, as the onboard-usb has weird color codings and I don’t want to brake it.

Since some hours there is finally a A910 section on Motorolafans – that’s great. But as there was an enourmous (in relation to before) amount of A910s being sold at ebay.co.uk the last week, I believe that it is a good idea to open a new section for a relatively old device.
And I just got my self a third one, so that I will have two A910s – one to use and one to “mod”.

This means: I’ll go on with firmware modding, and I hope to release a new version of my modified A910 firmware in about two to four weeks. If you want to help me with this – please contact me – I would like to have somebody, who is able to work on shell scripts (not to complicated, but as i have no experience you could save me a lot of time.
Additionally I have been thinking of creating a wiki which documents Motorolas (A910 or EZX) firmwares lately, lists known bytes of ezx_flexbit.cfg and so on. If anybody has the time (and webspace) to do so, I would be very grateful, as I believe that such a wiki could become quite useful.

And if anybody has got ideas how to get this Motorola firmware to run faster (without overclocking, I tried some APMDs for RoKR E2 and they drained the battery in no time (and the phone was way too hot)), please, again: Contact me, please!

GUIs on phones and PCs .. next step?

As some of my regular readers might have already realized, I want to use a mobile phone like a PC, I want to have it as a smaller PC to have a PC everywhere – that’s why I am quite happy with my HTC Universal, thanks to its keyboard (though the next device does not have to have a keyboard, if it is able to use a bluetooth keyboard, but that’s another cup of tea) it is quite like a PC.

So if you ask me for that what I like on a mobile phone (or internet-tablet, because devices have to have some size if you want to use them for web-browsing, document-editing and stuff), I will answer: Give me that what I have on my PC – but do I really like that, what I run there?

To be honest: No, but ATM it is ok. I used Gnome, which i used since 1.4.x – I always liked it´s look and feel. Now I started to use XFCE, which I like a lot and which I made to look almost like my previous Gnome Desktop. The reason for switching is: Thunar. I discovered that I prefered it over nautilus, when I had to do something as a root I used it quite often – now I am only using it.
And I am still happy with it.
But if I’d work out an interface i would really like, it would have more drag and drop capabilities -i guess it would be something like GNUstep or étoilé (i’m sad that there are no etoile packages in Ubuntu, and it is hard to get GNUstep working).

To understand that, you have to know that I was born as a Mac-guy, the first computer I used was a Apple Macintosh Performa 600, featuring a Motorola 68030 CPU running at 32MHz, 4MB of Ram and a 80MB harddrive – running Mac OS 7.
It had no games on it, so I was forced to explore the system (without damaging something, because it was my parents computer). I am still able to use Symantec Great Works 2.0 (that´s the Office-Suite that my parents used on this system), as it is the office software I am most familiar with. Great old times.
Seven years after that my parents bought a Windows-Box, and they still aren´t able to use it as well as their Macintosh, my mother is still somehow unable to use right-click and shortcuts like Ctrl+C. And you can´t blame her on that – she is just used to have windows with little borders and to do drag and drop.

I am able to use MS products, I even do it while I am writing this (university…), i know how to get a dead windows system running again. I can tell you how to install a driver that isn´t easy to install in Windows (9x,2k,XP) without having a system next to me, just by remembering what the dialogs look like.
But I don´t like them. All these windows popping up and filling at least half of the desktop, making Drag´n´drop difficult and…. and…

Another thing I believe in is that a graphical user environment should be FAST. It´s better to have a fast UI, than a good-looking polished and shiny UI – that doesn´t mean I don´t like shiny software, but it should be FAST as well. That´s why I´ll leave Gnome when I set my PC up the next time. There were huge improvements on speed in Gnome, but some days ago i was using WindowMaker (without a GNUstep environment, because it wasn´t installed back then, and it was so much faster that I was asking myself whether I was dreaming, even big fat Firefox (which has become smaller and faster (especially if you have to use bloated JS/AJAX websites) in version 3, it´s usable again on old machines (600MHz PIII e.g.) felt a lot faster. If you have a look at mobile phone / mobile device GUIs, you have to say that QTopia is quite fast – at least without X11.

A graphical user interface should be SIMPLE. If 6 icons are enough, don´t use 15 smaller ones, because the user will become slower by that, more options to choose lead to a longer choosing process. SIMPLICITY. It´s really important, if you ask me. Those old programs on that slow old Mac, which wasn´t slow, even after it was upgraded to 7.6.x (ok, it got 12MB of ram ;) ) where simple and fast and I ask myself: Why shouldn´t programs be like that today?
Ok, some more features, if they are easy to use, why not. As system have became so much faster since then, it should be absolutely no problem to keep the speed, to keep it fast – it´s much harder to keep it simple.

Keeping it simple is important for “architecture” as well. Don´t use to much librarys, if you have good librarys, you shouldn´t need to do that. To keep things simple and usable.
Recently I compiled Abiword with embedded UI on my Universal (I was to lazy to set up a crosscompiling toolchain (I know I´ll have to do that soon), and i removed the printing part and Gnome bindings. While starting it up as it is packaged in Debian, this abiword-embedded 2.6.3 is really fast compared to the experience before. You´re able to use it without waiting eons (ok, that is exaggerated).

Let´s focus on mobile systems. As you might know, I like OpenMokos “old” GTK attempt (I believe that it is a good decision to be toolkit-agnostic, though using too many toolkits at the same time won´t make things faster, but it might attract more developers and might lead to more and better applications (and I appreciate the decision not to use matchbox which didn´t make me happy on my HTC Universal)), as it is delivering a free phone. But concerning the software – I don´t use it. Why?

First of all, it is rather slow, it is shiny, but slow – it´s heavy graphics make it slow, and the extensive use of librarys. There are people saying that this is due to GTK – i am no expert, but i don´t think it is due to GTK, it is due to all that stuff which is included next to GTK (Gnome, pixbuf… ). It eats your ram and requires your CPU to work harder – things become slower.
But that is not the only point I dislike regarding OpenMoko GTK. The UI itself.. it reminds me of Windows Mobile in a way. The really bad thing about WM is that it isn´t that simple it appears to be on the first look at it and this makes it somehow annoying. If you click a symbol, which means “close” on your PC, the application is gone, but it´s still running. Openmoko doesn´t even have a symbol that looks like close – you have to get back to the main screen, enter the taskmanager and quit the tasks. That is very … bad – I think it should be easy to start a application, and it should be easy to quit again. There may be some reasons for that behaviour of OpenMoko and WM, faster application startup times, saving data, but I doubt it´s really faster. After some time your system will become horribly slow, because you run out of ram – at least on the HTC Universal which has only 64MB Ram – which is not enough, but could be. And why don´t I create applications which have the features the user needs, but are slim enough to start fast? I know that developing applications is not easy. But I believe that it should be possible somehow, as it was possible to run good, usable and feature-rich applications on hardware, which is much slower than todays mobile devices hardware.

If you want to talk about the future of how mobile GUIs should look like, you should first define how to use this devices by thinking of what their hardware will look like (will they have a touchscreen (i guess they will) or won´t they, will you use a stylus or something like that or not (it´s nice to have the option to do so, because it makes using desktop-apps easier) will they have other controls (why not, people are used to “hardware buttons”)).
And you have to have a look at the existing solutions.

First of all, the GUIs we´ll look at have different origins, I will focus on the solutions that run on Linux first:

GPE and OPIE (I) are GUIs that were developed for PDA-Devices, which featured a touchscreen used with a stylus. They were build like Palm OS and Windows CE/Windows Mobile, like “smaller desktops”.
QTopia PE is, as it´s name (phone edition) says, developed for mobile phones – and somehow limited in it´s usage due to this fact, and if you don´t use with X11, you will be forced to use QTopia/QT-Apps only.
OpenMoko (GTK), which is something like a smartphone aimed GUI – little less limited than QTopia PE, but there are still limitations, as it´s finger-touchscreen optimizations eat up much screenspace.
GPE PE is much like that…
Hildon – The GUI of Nokias internet tablets, should be usable without a stylus
QuantumSTEP – a project that attempts to build a linux-based environment for mobile devices, which is aimed at Mac Users (development needs a Mac according to tutorials) and based on GNUstep, optimized for stylus usage

Now what´s my idea? I like some aspects about each of these GUIs.. but to be honest: There are things that I dislike as well.
QTopia PE e.g. is really nice as a phone GUI, but when I think of my HTC Universal, which isn´t a small device, I don´t like the fact that there aren´t much QTopia-applications and that if I use it without X11 I can´t use any application which uses another toolkit.
As I have this big device with its keyboard and its flip-screen, I would like to have some GUI, which is “dual mode” – one easy touchscreen mode for phone and organizer functions, and another mode for document editing and stuff like that. which has much “screenspace” for the document – and it would be really nice, if it could be still usable without a stylus, but it would be ok to use one.
As I said before, I would like to be able to quit applications easily, and I would like to have drag and drop as far it is possible on a little screen.

I did a little mockup, i am not really confident with it, but i think it is close to something I could very well live with, though it might look slightly old fashioned.
The image doesn´t show how “application windows” would look like on this system: I imagine a single application handler, usually showing the application logo, which contains a menu regulating the windows size on double tap (to be able to show two (..) applications at once) – next to this object we would have some space for menus.
If you want to close that application, just drag its handler into lower right corner. (I am sorry for not knowing the correct vocabulary concerning this, excuse me, please..)

Some other features would be smart scrolling for “everything”, including the space on the right of the app handler, to make advanced applications possible.
And to make that plan unrealistic: It should be toolkit-agnostic.. ^^

HTC Universal on Debian with X


My Universal is on Debian Lenny / Titchy Mobile again and it is working great (of course), even X is working.
Debian is a nice distribution, and I really like it, since I first tried it. But there was one thing I did not like since that first time: relatively old packages – I prefer to be relatively near to bleeding edge, if there is a new release, I want to try it out soon.
GPE in Debian is still 2.6; which means it is quite old (2.7 was released in early 2006, unstable packages aren’t newer), and that makes it much less interesting.
And it looks weird as you can see on the picture, matchbox-desktop seems to be taken from poky – because poky’s sago looks much like that. As I prefer to have some folders in the background, i am now running icewm which is nice and fast.

BTW: I tried to install hildon (maemos’ UI), but apparently, there are not all packages – the interface looked horrible (lower image).

Another problem in Debian are browsers with a small footprint – I could not find a midori package yet, nor a gpe-mini-browser package. I chose epiphany-webkit, as I like webkit a lot, but it is to thick to be usable – that’s why i use dillo now, which runs fast, though it doesn’t render todays websites well. But it isn’t much worse than WM6s’ IE and pretty fast – not bad.

The same issue with special or adjusted apps, like abiword for embedded devices, with another UI, no printing support but many import filters to edit or at least view documents on the go. Nothing of this in Debian – but hey, it can’t contain everything.

I think i’ll have to compile all this stuff myself, which will be a nice experience, but I think it is worth doing it as vpnc works and I can use HTC Universal as a micro notebook (smaller than EEE, UMTS, Touchscreen, longer lasting battery ;) ).

And to sum it all up: New kernel would be nice, improvements on power management (show batterys’ power) and wifi are very welcome, maybe a easy to setup easy to use graphical phone app (i think about using zenity, xdialog or something like that to work with htcunid like whiptail does).