Today is the day. For a premiere

Last days have been extremely busy with the finalization of a partnership of Ulteo with  a major Open Source organization. Their software can soon be accessed through the Ulteo Online Desktop in one click, without any download or installation. Finally some publicly available stuff 😉 Stay tuned! And I can’t wait the release of the V2 of this stuff which has been under heavy development internally for several months.

iPhone SIM unlock, done

I thought I would wait for a couple of weeks more, but when I read this unlocking tutorial, I really couldn’t resist any longer! It took me about 30 minutes to unlock, but that was very easy because all the software is provided and the procedure is very clear. The unlocking tools that have been released are really awesome, in particular iBrick and the installer are very convenient and impressive. For those who are going to do it and had already unlocked it (just unlock, no SIM-unlocked), I’d recommend to:

  • uninstall iTunes
  • reinstall iTunes (from old version 7.3)

Then, remove the AT&T SIM, and start by restoring the iPhone from iTunes (follow the tutorial). Beware that during the restore process, you are going to lose all your pics, and other configuration stuff stored on your iPhone.

Just before you can really SIM-unlock it, you’ll have the thrill to ssh into your iPhone:

[gael@spoon]$ ssh root@iphone
root@iphone’s password:
Last login: Sat Sep 15 13:28:49 2007 from spoon

# ls
Library Media
# ls /
Applications Library System bin cores dev etc mach private sbin tmp usr var

Ain’t it cool? Then on your iPhone, you can easily install some great software, including a VT100 emulator which is very convenient to connect to your PCs through the net, and many others. First time I can put a real PC in my pocket 🙂 SIM-unlock went flawlessly (Tele2/Orange SIM) and I can use SMS without any issue. I had to sync my old Nokia’s contact book to Outlook Express, and then exported them to the iPhone through iTunes.

A few pics…

iphone1.jpg

This shows that the iPhone handles the GSM carrier, and all the available apps.

iphone2.jpg

This shows the software manager within the unlocked iPhone.

iphone3.jpg

You can easily use common cmd-line tools (ping, ssh, grep…) from a VT emulator.

Udate / Sept 17th, 2007: I also can use EDGE very easily, but be very careful with this option if you don’t have a special data-option! By default with Tele2 carrier, for maybe 15 minutes of cumulated use , I got 8.5MB transferred for a total cost of… 130 euros! That’s a shame, so I wouldn’t recommend use EDGE with a regular cell subscription service. Check with your carrier!

More hardware supported under Linux than under Vista

According to some experience we have had with Vista it really seems that Linux is currently supporting more hardware than Vista does. For instance, we have a motherboard that officially supports Vista but that doesn’t have any driver available for its onboard network card, which means that you cannot access Internet with Vista on this machine (not a problem under Ulteo!). Another example is a USB Wifi key that is not supported under Vista…

Ulteo Online desktop close to beta!

Good news: we have entered a pre-beta stage for the Ulteo online desktop. This means that a few hundreds people have already been granted access to the early beta version. Then we will progressively add more users, and this will lead to a publicly open Online Desktop soon! Of course this is only the first part of the whole Ulteo architecture, but believe me, the rest is also very exciting 🙂 Stay tuned…

Anwiki, best multilingual Wiki/CMS ever

When I started the first Mandrake Linux website in 1998, it became multilingual very quickly, because many people liked to contribute their own language. For sure, not everybody can read and speak English! Just before it disapeared, in 2005, mandrakelinux.com was supporting fully 15 different languages, helped by a great team of contributing translators. Anyway, that was difficult to maintain because we had not the right tool, and maintaining a website with several languages is very different from localizing software, because content is constantly changing. During the time mandriva.com was revamped (was not looking “professionnal enough”), I had the chance to meet a really promising and friendly guy, Antoine Walter, who joined later to help on Ulteo web development. He eventually told me that he was working on a new multilingual wiki-CMS called AnWiki. When he showed me the first demos, I was very impressed and I asked him if we could use  AnWiki for ulteo.com: many people were asking to get localized content and we couldn’t do it easily because no tool was powerful enough for that. After one year of hard work and discussions about features, Antoine has finally released a first beta engine for the Ulteo.com website and we’re using it in production now. Antoine will decide when he’s going to release the AnWiki to the world, but stay tune with this project: it has awesome features, awesome ways to edit translations. That’s something nobody has never seen before and I’m very confident it’s going to have a brilliant future. Thanks to Antoine for this great achievement, and long-life to AnWiki!

The iPhone wild ride

Despite their excellent brand image, Apple is truly a close-source minded company. We all know about iTunes and the use of DRM, now it’s the iPhone turn: if you purchase an iPhone, good luck to use it with another phone operator than AT&T, or even use for its basic features (camera, wifi…). If you are outside the USA, it’s still worse: while you can easily order an iPhone on eBay, you have to wait they decide that European people can enjoy the iPhone too. The good news, is that smart people are working legitimately to circumvent these awful practises. As a result, “DVD Jon” already posted how to unlock the iPhone and use its basic capabilities (such as Wifi access and iPod player). Others are already providing ways to access the iPhone and modify it (and they need help!). The next step is to get support for any SIM card, which will let iPhone owners to just… use the iPhone as a cell-phone! And don’t forget the Nokia N95.

Is it still worth going to school?

I first wondered about this question considering my personal case: since I was young, at least since 8 years old, I have been attracted by computers and software. I learned by myself a lot, mostly in books and magazines, but at this time there was still no Internet, no Wikipedia, so you couldn’t learn everything. When I went to college and passed my “baccalaureat” (this is the exam you pass in France when you are 18, just before going to University), I had always the maximum note in computer sciences because it was so… simple. Then I went to Uni and had still to study physics, chemistry and mathematics for 2 years before specializing in computer sciences and software engineering. During this period, I (and all others) became a kind of specialist of n-dimension spaces, vectorial spaces, Schrödinger and Maxwell equations, orbitals, neutrophil and electrophil molecule sites, pKa, pKb and a mountain of things that were very interesting and exciting. But for computers sciences, I only got 2hours a week + a specialization in OO programming. Serious things only started the next three years when I was able to end (totally) with Physics, Chemistry and Maths, and focus on software development and related. At this stage I was 21. I really started to study computers sciences and learn something about it at 21! Of course, I started to learn a lot by myself on the net too (and still doing!), but I had to start doing something in my life. It’s already been a long time I wanted to start a software project/company and at 25 years old I was able to do so. I really think I could have started sooner. I like Physics, Maths and others, but really, I was in computer sciences since 1982, and couldn’t participate sooner while I’d had loved to do so. Now with Ulteo I’m meeting software developers who, at 18 or 20, have the same or better programming skills of people who, in the past, usually had to wait to complete their cursus and be 24 or 25 and acquire some experience for several years in real situation. These young guys I’m meeting (and trying to hire!) have been into software development for years, learned everything on the Internet (and also learning with others on Internet). They are going to school at the same time, because here, you have to get your exams and diplomas or your salary will be miserable. They are just going to school to have the University or school diploma and get a good position. Is it serious? The only benefit they get by continuing to go to school is to learn something else than computer sciences, just for their personal benefit.

Favorite PDA?

110119011023.jpgRecently, I have been looking around for a PDA. Not that I really need it: it’s been so many years I’ve kept on using paper for my agenda, or to take notes and maitain my todo list… Anyway, although I never had a PDA so far, I always loved them. So I started to wonder why I don’t a PDA yet, and while at the same time I love them!? I think I love them because it’s kind of an ideal device. It brings the concept of *personal* computer to its highest. You can bring a PDA everywhere you go, and now it’s even supposed to have the capability to communicate with the rest of the computer world. So why the hell I still don’t have a PDA!!? Actually, I think I had already two “ideal PDAs”… Once was a Toshiba Libretto 100CT that I used at the early Mandrakesoft times, because I spent much time travelling on train between my home and Mandrakesoft’s headquarters. The 100CT is a marvelous machine, very outdate though. I could run Mandrake Linux on it, and catch emails (and even browse the web a little) by connecting it to my cell-phone. It was very small so I could just put it inside my document bag. But I had to abandon it because it was too limited in performance and it’s been harder and harder to load it with an up to date Linux system. One year ago, I  was eventually seduced by a small “ultra-portable” ASUS laptop that I can still carry with me everywhere I have to go to meet people for the Ulteo project. It’s very nice, has wifi and is very fast. I couldn’t find an easy way to connect it to the net through my cell though. Which is kind a regression compared to my Tosh. But still it is not *really* what I would imagine as an ideal  Personal Digital Assistant. So I started to look around for an ideal PDA. And I discovered a strange world where I couldn’t really find what I need. First deception was that most of these PDAs are now provided with the Microsoft Windows Mobile OS, which is something I obviously can’t support. Some others are provided by other proprietary OSes but seem to rather limited as well (or did I miss something?).  I could find a few appliances that run Linux (such as a Nokia…) but as far as I understand, most of the time it is loaded with a limited version of Linux that can run their exotic processor. Of course I heard of the Yopy a few years ago, and I put great hopes in it. But it turned to be rather deceptive. Another aspect of the PDA world is that nowadays the frontier is thin between the ones that do only agenda, the ones that are a real PC, the ones that can communicate through wifi and or gsm/gprs/umts, the ones that provide a GPS and a map, the ones that can take pictures or videos. Sometimes they provide several of these options at the same time, but I’m not sure I even saw any that offers *all* the options at the same time. So I’m really stuck at a point where I couldn’t choose what fits my needs: a PDA that would be not too big (I could bring it in my coat), that would offer a small keyboard (or virtual keyboard on the screen), that would offer wifi access, that could connect to gsm/gprs(/umts) directly or through a cell-phone, that would have a camera, and that would offer me a real (preferably Linux) OS where I could run a real webbrowser (even with java plugin), a VNC viewer and a ssh client.  And that could play ogg/mp3 files of course. So if you have a PDA to recommend or share you experience with a Linux PDA, just tell me! 🙂