Jannis Pohlmann Personal website


I am an open source enthusiast, student and musician from Lübeck, Germany. In my free time I enjoy hacking on Xfce and Lunar Linux. I've been a member of both teams since about 2005. Besides developing software, I love to listen to and play music (Guitar, Bass and Drums) and hang out with friends.

Contact me via jannis@xfce.org. My public PGP key is 0x354AFBA6. You can download it from here.

My CV is also available for download.

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Thursday, February 9 2012


This year’s FOSDEM is over and I hope that most of us have by now recovered from an exhausting weekend that was first and foremost exciting and a lot of fun! With about 12 people, the Xfce group was—I think—larger than ever before. Add to that a fairly large number of my colleagues from Codethink, into which I bumped at the beer event and FOSDEM itself from time to time. Despite mostly staying with Xfce, I enjoyed knowing and meeting people all over the place.

Unfortunately, some of us—myself included—missed half of the beer event because our trains and planes arrived late. Snow in Brussels, a cold weekend ahead. When we arrived at the Delirium Café at around midnight, I was glad to see that all the others had already made friends again. Olivier, Stephan, Peter, Nick, Simon, Christoph, everyone was there, some of them sufficiently drunk, I imagine. Although to be be fair, you wouldn’t really notice. Most of us left not to long after that in order to be in a good condition in the morning. Having only caught up half on drinking, Christian, Mike and I ended up staying at the Delirium with a few Codethink colleagues including Sam, Luc and Javier—until they finally kicked us out at around four in the morning.

Food, taxi, 2 1/2 hours of sleep later and we were sitting in the hotel, enjoying a fantastic buffet breakfast. Admittedly, I couldn’t eat that morning, ending the night in the Delirium had lead to quite a strong hangover. After the majority of us had gathered in the hotel lobby, we squeezed ourselves into the 71 bus in two groups and finally arrived at FOSDEM. I do not remember the details of the day, but it was a great mix of talks (including my own one about Tumbler, which I felt was not very special, picture below), chatting and minor hacking (at least on my side; Nick made good progress with the settings editor in the meantime). During the day, Jean-Francois, Jens and Mark joined us and we (or most of us at least) ended the day having food in a Vietnamese restaurant close to the hotel and a beer in the hotel lobby.

Sunday was similar, except that I could finally enjoy the breakfast. Lovely. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get everyone together anymore, so our initially large group was now split up into smaller ones for the rest of Sunday. We still managed to have a few technical chats about Xfce that day and made a few decisions (see below). Regards talks, I mostly remember the Wayland Q&A session and a talk about social engineering in free software communities, Most of us left in the afternoon or evening. I met up with Luc, Sam, Javier and a bunch of other people to have food in a very nice restaurant. Got up at six in the morning, walked to the central station, took a plane home from the airport and went back to work in the afternoon. Unlike a few others I seem to have escaped the typical illnesses (cold, broken sleep cycles, general exhaustion) that events like FOSDEM always bring along.

Xfce-Related News — Fresh from FOSDEM

Wayland was big this year. I will spare you the details of how it works. Throughout the weekend, we had various discussions that involved Wayland. While it may take some load of Olivier by eventually making window managers obsolete, there is still a major problem with it: it does not support the XEmbed protocol, and therefor will break pluggable settings dialogs and panel plugins. We have sent mails to the wayland-devel list to find out how they feel about this. For now, I suppose this is all we can do.

Reorganization of the settings dialogs

One thing we decided on Sunday was to reorganize the settings dialogs so that the location of particular types of settings becomes more predictable. This applies to appearance and window manager themeing, and the application keyboard shortcuts and window manager keyboard shortcuts in particular. We will rearrange some of these tabs and merge them so that all related settings are in one place. We will also merge the window manager and window manager tweaks dialogs into one.

Release Schedule for Xfce 4.10

Despite a lack of completed features in Thunar (which are unlikely to get finished before 4.10), there are only a few things that really keep us from releasing Xfce 4.10. We have not decided on a release date, but if things go well, we should be able to roll the first pre-release one month from now, in early March. This would mean that a final release in May or June would be feasible.

Possibility of a hackfest

Meeting up with the team is always great fun. Unfortunately, FOSDEM is a busy event and only lasts two days. Like last year, we discussed the possibility of an Xfce hackfest in the future. I would love to see this idea becoming reality. If half a dozen of the relevant people can make it for at least a couple of days, this could greatly benefit the development of Xfce. Ideally, such a hackfest would span over at least 4-5 days, ideally including a weekend to make it easier to attend for people with jobs. Given a relatively small group, it might even be possible to hold an event like this at someone’s flat. This is definitely something that we will look into soon.

Like every year, FOSDEM 2012 was a great event. And like every year, a few more nicknames have turned into real faces that, unsurprisingly, belong to incredibly friendly human beings! I only wish that we had more time to discuss things face to face and do some serious work on Xfce together. In any case, this calls for another iteration next year. And with that, I shall end this wrap-up.

Tuesday, December 1 2009

Donations, FOSDEM

It’s been a while that I used PayPal for anything, so it came as a nice surprise that when I logged in yesterday I was presented with 60€ worth of donations for Thunar and Xfce as a whole. Thanks to Michael Gstettenbauer, James Wallen and Alin Anton (I hope the names are correct), you guys rock!

Edit: Of course this money will be used for Xfce activities and stuff exclusively, not for my own private expenses. ;)

Another interesting piece of information I noticed last night is that despite our inactivity with regards to FOSDEM, there is a developer room reserved for cross desktop talks at next year’s event. I haven’t talked to anyone yet but since they excplicitely mention Xfce as possible participants, I guess there still is a chance for one or two presentations related to Xfce. Anything you’d like us to talk about?

Wednesday, November 25 2009

News From Busyland

This is just a short heads up concerning Tumbler. I just merged Philip’s last critical commit to complete support for specialized thumbnailer services into master. We’ll have to give this some testing but I’m quite optimistic that we’ll be able to release 0.1.0 this weekend or next week. A new release of Thunar will follow shortly after that in preparation for 1.2 (to be released along with Xfce 4.8), supporting virtual and remote file systems based on GIO.

I’ve been pretty occupied lately. Aside from learning for my final university exams I finished my short thesis on porting Thunar to GIO. I already got the very positive results back and I’m going to publish the official version of the thesis soon. Unfortunately, being busy has started to cause not-so-positive developments as well. I haven’t had much time to hack on anything lately and my attendence of FOSDEM 2010 is uncertain. I might still go but I failed to organize anything related to Xfce this year, leaving us without a devroom and talks. So it’d be more like a private meetup rather than an organized team trip with the goal to represent Xfce.

Another consequence of me being busy is that Xfce 4.8 might include less features than planned, at least with regards to the ones I had in mind. For now let’s just hope that I’ll find a little more time for hacking the next months. It doesn’t look too well right now but who knows…

Thursday, February 12 2009

Xfce at FOSDEM 2009

FOSDEM is over and it was a blast! Finally, after about four years, the team met again. It was the first time for me and it was great to meet them all in person. Olivier, Yves-Alexis, Nick and I stayed at the same hotel. Stephan stayed in Gent and the others spread over several other hotels in Brussels.


I arrived early on Friday and relaxed in the hotel room for a while, going through my slides and listening to a couple having sex next door for hours. If you’re able to count the orgasms then it’s definitely too loud. So I left the hotel and walked around in the inner city of Brussels for a while until Yves-Alexis, and shortly after that, Nick and Stephan arrived. We had a few beers at a bar around the corner and later went to for Pasta and Pizza in an Italian restaurant close to the hotel where Jens joined us. After that we went to the FOSDEM beer event and stayed there until half past midnight, only interrupted by the arrival of Olivier whom we had to take to the hotel. The beer was nice and since the place was so crowded we had a hard time understanding each other … but we somehow managed it.


We got up at around 7am the next morning and of course the beer from the evening before didn’t really make things better. The nice thing about the hotel (Hotel Du Congres by the way) was that there was free breakfast included though. It was rather basic but it did it’s job. Shortly after that we left for FOSDEM. We arrived in time for the keynotes and met Jean-François and Maximilian on our way to Janson (the large auditorium). Later we went for some french fries and mainly spent our time in the X.org devroom. Some of us went to the LXDE lightning talk and were quite amused by their claim that LXDE is better than Xfce (which is denied by the guys at LXDE, so they might not actually have said that … what does better mean anyway?) and the huge number of slides showing photos of their team at different conferences. Later that day we went to a restaurant called Big Mama in the very heart of Brussels were we had a beer and nice food. Everyone went to bed afterwards, except Nick, who kept hacking on the panel.


Sunday was a big day for me - I had a talk about Xfce 4.6 and the future of Xfce scheduled at 11am. I didn’t really sleep well and was nervous the entire morning. It didn’t get any better when I had finally booted up my laptop and the microphone was turned on. I don’t know how long I talked but I have the feeling that I literally speed-talked through the slides. I forgot a few things I would’ve loved to mention but all in all I think it was ok. There were quite a few sceptical faces in the audience but also a few who looked very pleased by the features and plans I presented them. I definitely think it was ok for my first talk in English at a big conference but I know I can do better. So I’d be absolutely happy to do that again next year!

I felt very relieved afterwards. We then went out to take a few group pictures (the following one was shot by Jens). In the meantime, Samuel and Jelle de Jong had joined us (I have no idea where Jelle went afterwards, but Samuel stayed with us for the rest of the day).

Xfce group picture at FOSDEM 2009

After that we want back to one of the devrooms until Maximilian came back from his car with a number of sandwiches he had bought on the way. We had a beer at the FOSDEM bar, ate our sandwiches and then went back to the cross desktop room for Stephan’s talk about Xfce as a platform. I think he did a good job overall, especially considering that he had just finished his slides the night before. I would’ve loved to see more about how to use the different libraries and maybe more details about our plugin APIs but he covered a few very important things about Xfconf.

After that we had another beer at the bar and went to the last talks in Janson. Samuel dropped his full beer, I accidently kicked my empty one and Olivier and I left early for the FOSDEM bus back to Brussels-South. I managed to catch an earlier train to the airport, had a short flight, then had to wait for the bus from Hamburg to Lübeck for 90 minutes and finally arrived at around half past midnight.

I think it was a lot of fun and I’ll definitely go to FOSDEM again. It was nice to put a face to all the names of people I’ve been working with over the last few years. Thanks to everyone I met there, it was a real pleasure! Hope to see you all again! Thanks to all the people who went to our talks (oh, and to that guy who wanted that picture of him and me - could you send it to me please?) and asked questions (“Has the Xfce team ever thought about participating in Google SoC?”, “How good is the relationship of Xfce with Xubuntu?”, “Are you still aiming to be lightweight?” amongst others). It was also great to see several packagers, like Mark from Foresight, Landry from OpenBSD and Christoph from Fedora.

As I’ve mentioned before, I would really like to talk at conferences again. It’s a challenge but definitely a nice one. If you know any that could be interesting for Xfce, please let me know!

Oh, and by the way, if you’ve taken any pictures of us at FOSDEM, please let us know!

Sunday, January 18 2009

FOSDEM schedule and graphical 4.6 installers

The FOSDEM schedule has been published. You can find the Cross Desktop room schedule here. There will be two talks about Xfce. Short descriptions are linked from the schedule. We're also mentioned in the press release.

We will be a fairly large group of people (around at dozen at least, with most of the core developers being present) so it'll definitely rock! On the Xfce mailing list people have been asking about graphical installers for 4.6. I'm currently preparing them and there should be installers for Xfce 4.6 RC1, RC2 and the final release. The main installer is already working except for one thing that's bugging me. Should be able to fix it though.