Nomination period open for Nordic Free Software Award 2012

The Nordic Free Software Award is given to people, projects or organisations in the Nordic countries that have made a prominent contribution to the advancement of Free Software. The award will be announced during FSCONS 2012 in Gothenburg.


You nominate your candidate(s) via FSFE‘s web site:

The nomination period ends October 14

Join the award committee
Send an email to award [AT] (moderated mailing list) with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your email
  • Motivation why you want to join the award committee

Previous Award winners

Thesis; HW simulators with Erlang

Finally read a thesis done by some students that took some of “my” courses in the past, Rickard Olsson and Reza Javaheri. I have previously seen the results from their thesis work so the time it took to read the paer is not due to lack of interest, rather a sign of lack of time.

The thesis is call “Embedded Erlang Simulation”. It contains some interesting views on simulation that I support (it should be possible to simulate almost everything). Due to timing constraints of the thesis and also to fit the “customer’s”, and possibly also their own personal interest they focused on Erlang. This is not in any way a critique of mine, but rather a wish for future research.

In short the thesis is about creating simulators for device drivers and a work flow for developing under Erlang Embedded.I recommend reading it.

This area in computer science is interesting and I am somewhat surprised that so few people in the industry projects I’ve been involved in neglect the possibilities given by a good simulated environment.

GNU Xnee does to some extent a similar thing as they are trying to do. And hey, Xnee is mentioned in the paper.

The software is available, under Apache 2.0, at github:

A pdf versison is available here

GNU Xnee 3.07 released

We are pleased to announce the availability of GNU Xnee 3.07

GNU Xnee is a suite of programs that can record, replay and distribute
user actions under the X11 environment. Think of it as a robot that can
imitate the job you just did. GNU Xnee can be used to:
 Automate tests
 Demonstrate programs
 Distribute actions
 Record and replay 'macro'
 Retype the content of a file

Getting the Software

or one of the mirror sites as found in:


 f9fca0c7475a90487c86eca2027d0fcd  xnee-3.07.tar.gz

 510662476 1779830 xnee-3.07.tar.gz

New in this release

 * New features:
 Supports recording xnd replaying of XInput device events
 * Forced replaying of X11 core events can be done
 * Backward compatible with old session files

 * Build changes:

 Checks for makeinfo once, uses result many times
 Can build guis and manual without all doc stuff

 By default Xnee is built with XI support

 Looks for gtk-config when configuring
 Checks for makeinfo once, uses result many times
 Can build guis and manual without all doc stuff

 * Issues
 Human printout of X Input events needs more work
 Need to make X Input code be totally ifdefed away

 * New options:
 Discard recorded X Input device data,
 use recorded core device data

 Disable recording of XInput events

 * Fixed bugs as reported on ubuntuforums:

 savannah bug: #30134 "Missing xnee.xpm in gnee"
 savannah bug: #30136 "Configure misses to check for gnome.h"

 * Reported problems on N900 are fixed

 * Patches from Tuukka Pasanen, Fabian Keil

 * Experimental and undocumented features (read the source):
 * replay backend
 * xswine - new swinput backend for Xnee

xswine: new program for the GNU Xnee suite

I been writing a small program, xswine, that can take a recorded GNU Xnee session file and replay that to swinput . Swinput had its share of changes and a new swinput release will see the light of day any day. The difference betwen replaying using swinput compared to replaying using Xnee itself is that swinput fakes the device events from the kernel and Xnee fakes at X11 level using XTest.

There’s a some questions that need to be solved before a proper xswine release, such as:

  • how to map the device id as recorded from X Input Extension to the “correct” input device as presented by swinput
  • timing – what do we do when we drift away from the start time, but want to keep the recorded diff between events

Currently there’s not much of the recorded X11 events that can be replayed. Here’s the current list:

  • X11 motion event – no
  • X11 button event – no
  • X11 key event – no
  • X Input device motion event – yes!!!
  • X Input device button event – no
  • X Input device key event – no

This means xswine can replay (using the kernel) recorded Multi-touch events!

But if that’s all xswine can do do, why do I bother writing a blog entry. Two reasons:

  1. nobody reads my blog…so nobody will complain about this blog post
  2. I want to “claim” the name xswine

So, what does xswine mean?

X – is for Xnee

swin – is for Swinput

e – dear reader of this blog (just claimed I had zero readers!), help me out … what should e stand for?

If you compile GNU Xnee and swinput (and install) from CVS HEAD you should be able to do:

sudo modprobe swmouse devs=4 && sudo chmod a+rwx /dev/swmouse*
./cnee/src/cnee --record --mouse -o whoa-mule.xns
cat whoa-mule.xns | ./xswine/xswine

GNU Xnee, Xvfb and Xephyr …. and evdev?

In an attempt to automate (read cron) the Xnee tests using swinput I did the following:

  • Start Xvfb (Xvfb can’t read any keyboard and mouse)
  • Start Xephyr inside Xvfb (using evdev as input)
  • Attach the swinput devices to the Xephyr display only

Still the faked user input (mouse, keyboard) from swinput was ‘written’ to the console. Uh oh. Bad!

So, I will now with a new computer (with more than the 500MB of RAM I have on this) test Xnee in a sandbox, probably using qemu for both x86 and ppc. Doing this I should be able to:

  • Run every test case and report using the new coverage stuff in gnulib. All tests and builds can be done in x86 as well as ppc.
  • Verify that cross compilation to ppc works

Can’t wait….. but I have to.