Jannis Pohlmann Personal website

Jannis

I am an open source enthusiast, student and musician from L├╝beck, 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.

Friday, June 5 2009

News Update

A lot of things are going on lately and it turns out I'm way to busy to update my weblog on a regular basis. So, this is just a short post to keep you all updated.

Last two weeks

  • I took a new student job at the university, at the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science, which I love most. I'll be working on haplotyping algorithms.
  • I went to Barcelona and had a great time at the Ubuntu Developer Summit overall. Stephan and I were very productive. One evening during dinner we discussed our development and release process and later started writing it down. The result is a beautiful document that still needs a bit of polishing. I hope it'll serve as a good foundation for the development and release process of Xfce in the future. Several others commented on it and it looks like we'll give the proposed concept a shot after we've switched to git and all that.
  • Even though the week in Barcelona was great for Xfce, I was disappointed with how it went with regards to the cooperation between Xubuntu and Xfce. I talked it through with Stephan and after I got back, I resigned from my position as the Xubuntu Xfce4 Liaison.

At the moment

  • I've started to implement the so-called thumbnail management D-Bus specification. My implementation is called Tumbler and it will hopefully start serving thumbnails for other apps soon. I'm planning to use it in Thunar, Stephan has expressed interest in using it in Ristretto and when discussing the specification and the existing hildon-thumbnail implementation, Philip van Hoof told me that Hildon/Nokia might be interested in dropping hildon-thumbnail in favor of Tumbler if it's flexible enough. I'm working on it as much as I can and I'm hoping to do a release within the next few weeks.
  • I'm still working on the Transifex installation for Xfce. It's already running but I still need to import all the projects, releases and of course create accounts for maintainers automatically.
  • The migration of Xfce to Git is still work in progress. Brian has most of the repository issues sorted out and is now waiting for me to finish the commit mail script. I have two or three possible implementations lying around but I need to have a look at that again.
  • Jim needs the documentation repository next week, so I'm about to set it up.
  • Our Buildbot server has arrived in Sweden. Today I set up the firewall. Samual is taking care of setting up the Buildbot host VM and other things. We're considering to move a lot of the services not related to development (like the Xfce websites) into separate VMs on that server too, in order to make the current server a development-only machine.

Besides that I'm trying to catch up with the work and personal stuff that piled up while I was away last week. And I really should go and sleep.

Sunday, March 15 2009

Getting Things Done Right

I've started to read Getting Things Done by David Allen some time ago. You can read about the concept of GTD at 43 Folders or Lunch & Learn if all you want is a short summary.

I think it's an interesting idea and it sounds very pragmatic and feasable. I'm a very unorganized person. I usually try to keep everything I need to do in my head and I rely on friends to remind me of birthdays, exams and other events because I don't have or use a calendar. I guess I'm a tough test candidate for GTD ... and I'm planning to give it a shot.

Now the only problem I see is the question which tools I should use. I'm not that much into paperwork, so I'd like to use my laptop for organizing my tasks. Of course you can use simple text files or other generic tools to do that (just like you can use paper) but that's really far from optimal.

About a week ago, a program called Getting Things Gnome! popped up on Planet GNOME and of course there is a number of online or offline tools designed after GTD available for Linux. Most of them allow you to define tasks, add notes, group them into projects and stuff like that. However, what they are missing is proper integration with other programs, online services and file formats. Notes are limited, they usually only consist of text, though sometimes they also support markup. In a lot of scenarios this is not enough (at least it is a very complicated way) to attach useful information to a task.

Just imagine the following situation: I receive an email from someone with a link and a few pictures and asks me to do something with them, e.g. upload these pictures to the website with the given link. If I want to make that a task, I'd like to be able to attach the pictures and the link to the task. So that afterwards I can trash the mail and thereby empty my inbox again. I don't necessarily want to keep it somewhere in my email program unless it has a really good search function.

Imagine another situation: Someone sends me an email describing a problem in my software together with a link to a bugzilla entry and a backtrace file. Let's say I'm working on a new release, there's a deadline for this release and the bug is critical. I'd like to create a task for that, attach the mail content and the backtrace file. Due to the deadline I also want to set the date this task is due and have my favorite calendar application being synchronized of course.

Basically, for a GTD application to be really useful in a computer environment, it

  • has to allow arbitrary task attachments likes files, emails, links or even calendar events (possibly implemented as plugins),
  • has to support calendar synchronization (off- and online),
  • needs to provide extensions for programs that are part of the workflow so that the user can create tasks from anywhere,
  • should use a storage format that can easily be converted into other formats (to make it easier for people to switch tools without losing all their tasks).

Of course there's more involved in getting it right. But most of todays GTD applications for Linux lack the above features and thus keep me from trying GTD out on my machine.

What are your experiences with GTD software? What features do you think are essential?

Tuesday, February 24 2009

Looking for a Job

My part-time contract with the university ends the next couple days and now I'm looking for a new job. I've worked at the university for the last few years but I'd like to work on something that is more relevant to my personal future from now on.

My involvement in the Open Source community has grown immensely within the last six months and I have realized that this where I see myself in the future. I love the vibrant communities around Open Source projects and the social and organizational aspects involved, like conferences, community coordination and, in general, meetings and discussions with people. This environment is exciting to work in and provides enough variety to keep me motivated. I'm always looking for exciting things to work on and I need change all the time. Oh, yeah, and I also love code. In fact, I'm a real code addict with a special affinity to clean C code, GTK+ and manually written ChangeLogs.

If you know or run a company which has a strong background in Open Source and preferably GTK+ which could be interested in hiring me, please let me know. My CV is available here. One important thing to note is that I'm currently not available for a full-time position because I'm still a student and am not going to graduate before next year. So something like 16-20 hours per week would be ideal.

Cheers, Jannis

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