Winds of Change

In my previous post I mentioned that 2013 would be a year of change. Well, here is the moment to say why that will be so: I have quit Igalia.

Igalia is a very special company to me, I joined it in December 2008. These were 4 intense years where I saw how the company evolved, how it moved to a cool new office, how it grew and I learned a lot in there. I had the chance to participate in several important projects like Maemo or Meego and also to create others. I could even tell the world about them in the many conferences I spoke at and I am also proud to have accomplished things such as putting the company’s name for the first time in the highlights of online media like ArsTechnica.

So the question people always ask is: why did I leave!?
As some of you may know, Igalia is organized in a flat structure where we take more responsibilities than just coding and the ultimate part of a career in the company is to become a partner. I knew this when I joined and I think this is a wonderful thing. Being at the end of my 4th year, the next stage would be to become a partner, however, for a while now I have been feeling the need of a change, of trying something different. I take my responsibilities seriously so joining as a partner would 1) only perpetuate these feelings and 2) not be fair to my colleagues. This and other factors led me to make the very difficult decision of leaving.

The future

My wife and I moved to A Coruña (Galicia, Spain) shortly after I joined Igalia. We like the city and its people but moving is part of that change I was talking about and the truth is that we were only here for Igalia in the first place. (I will probably write a few more words about this beautiful city when we actually leave)
The most difficult part of it is definitely leaving our friends. We met very nice people during these 4 years in Coruña and we consider some of them good friends rather than simply coworkers. But life is like this and I am sure we’ll stay in touch.
On the other hand, the good thing of working in a Free Software company is that you can keep contributing to the projects you worked on in there if you want, so I hope I will keep doing that.

Since I have only started looking for a new job after I notified Igalia of my decision, I still do not know where we will move to but we are open to many places.

If you are interested in what I can do for your project or company, be sure to contact me through email or LinkedIn so I can send you my CV.

That is all. I am already in touch with some companies so wish me luck!

OCRFeeder version 0.7.10

The previous OCRFeeder‘s version was released in April. I have been busy with Skeltrack and other projects but, between my personal time and Igalia‘s precious hackfest time, here we have a new version of the best Free Software OCR application.

For this 0.7.10 version I have improved the way that the document generators (the classes that generate the desired exportation formats) are used inside OCRFeeder. I have abstracted their use making it easy to add new document generators in the future.
The command line version, which has been limited to generating only the original exportation formats (ODT and HTML), also benefits from these changes; from this version on, it is possible to generate documents with any of the existing exportation format from the command line. For example, to generate a plain text file:

$ ocrfeeder-cli -i scan1.ppm -i scan2.jpeg -f TXT -o text_doc.txt

The current PDF exportation still has flaws that will take some time to fix but for now I have fixed a big issue: line wrap. The text lines would not wrap when written in the PDF document and so, long lines would go beyond the pages’ limits. This should be improved with this new version and I hope I have the time in the future to fix the other issues.

Moving (or swapping) pages by dragging them seems to have stopped working. This seems like a PyGTK bug but anyway it was the necessary excuse to implement actions for selecting and moving the pages using the menu or shortcuts. This will make the mentioned bug less important and also offers the possibility of moving pages easily to visually impaired users.

Screenshot of the select or move pages menus

Future

I want to fix some issues in OCRFeeder’s architecture, especially in what comes to the UI part. This should probably be done together with a port the amazing GObject’s Introspection.
Jan Losinski, from TU Dresden, was kind enough to send me some patches that make the OCRFeeder’s recognition parallel. This feature needs to be polished but it will likely land in the next version of OCRFeeder.
Last but not least, I need to check how to make it easy to integrate the user’s language in the OCR recognition. I exchanged some emails with the people from AltLinux distro who seem to have already implemented this in their repositories but I need time to try and review their patches.

Contribute

If you want to contribute and make this project better, fear not! The code is all Python and I’m available to help you get started so email me if you’re interested.

Enjoy OCRFeeder 0.7.10!

Source tarball
Git
Bugzilla

Going to GUADEC without leaving town

That’s right, this year GUADEC is taking place in the city I moved to more than 3 years ago in order to become an Igalian: A Coruña. It’s fun to see this event happening just 20 minutes walking from my place when in the previous editions I had to catch several planes in order to attend it 🙂

Going to GUADEC

In this year’s GUADEC, I am presenting two projects I have created:

  • OCRFeeder, the most complete OCR Free Software solution;
  • Skeltrack, the first Free Software library to perform human skeleton tracking from depth buffers such as the ones given by the Kinect.

If this sounds interesting, be sure to attend the talks or have a chat about the projects when you see me.

Since I feel pretty much like a local, I can tell you that you must not leave the town without trying “pulpo á feira” (octopus + olive oil + paprika) or, in case you’re not into cephalopods, just go to some traditional Galician bar, have a beer and enjoy the folk music of Celtic origins.