Archive for the ‘GNOME’ Category

GNOME Packaging Day

Monday, January 26th, 2009

In the last few openSUSE-GNOME team meetings, it was decided to do regular packaging days whenever GNOME point versions are released, with the goal of providing bleeding edge updates as quickly as possible. So, next week is that time: along with the GNOME 2.25.90 release on Feb 4th, Thursday Feb 5th we’ll be helding a packaging day to get the latest unstable GNOME release packaged into our GNOME:Factory project (to be used for openSUSE 11.2 but also available for 11.1). It is a great opportunity to find out how to contribute to the packaging of GNOME for openSUSE.

The packaging day will last the whole day long, so just come around #opensuse-gnome IRC channel on FreeNode at any time you want and ask how to help.

AdminKit 0.0.1

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Last week it was hacking week for the openSUSE-GNOME team, so I continued working on a little project I started a few weeks ago, which is, in the good old Richard Hughes tradition, a thing called AdminKit, which is a PolicyKit-based framework for allowing user applications to run administration tasks.

Most of the time hacking on this has been dedicated to the PolicyKit stuff, but now everything should be in place, and, apart from the 2 methods I added (RunAsRoot to replace gnomesu/gksu/kdesu, and AddUser as an example of how to use YaST’s command line interface for the operations), more methods (users management, firewall, samba shares, etc) can be easily added. With this and the GUI from gnome-system-tools, I think we can start providing a distro-independent (and acceptable to all of them) set of administration tools for GNOME (and KDE, if they adopt AdminKit), or just add the needed admin functionality to already existing applications. From now on, here are my ideas:

  • Move PolicyKit mechanisms already existing in some GNOME modules (gnome-panel’s SetTime and SetTimezone, for instance) to AdminKit, provided people agree on adopting it
  • See system-tools-backends and reuse as much knowledge/code as possible
  • See at changing gnome-system-tools’ GUI to use AdminKit (once the functionality needed is moved to AdminKit)
  • Add more admin operations, as needed. For openSUSE, we have quite a lot of functionality via yast’s command line interface, and other distros have similar stuff, so anything we need can be added AFAIK.

Get the code with:

git clone http://www.gnome.org/~rodrigo/git/osc-plugins.git

(cd AdminKit, the other top-level dirs contain unrelated projects)

And, soon, packages at my home build service repository.

openSUSE 11.1 ideas

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Just recovered from the success of the openSUSE 11.0 launch, the openSUSE-GNOME team is already working on the future 11.1 (expected in December), so we are starting to get feedback for new ideas from users. Anyone can add their own ideas to this page, so if you want something new in either GNOME or openSUSE, add your ideas to the wiki.

openSUSE 11.0

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Today’s release day for openSUSE 11.0, the best openSUSE distribution ever… yeah, that’s true for all new distributions, ok. But it is the release I feel more proud of, since it’s seen a lot of GNOME-related work, as Vincent explains in this interview. And this work will continue in the soon-to-come 11.1.

Where we are going we don’t need roads

Saturday, June 14th, 2008


Been reading this last week the decadence in GNOME thread in Planet GNOME, so just wanted to add some thoughts:

  1. First of all, I don’t think GNOME is in decadence at all. The development platform does nothing but improve (GTK/glib, new gio/gvfs, libgnome/bonobo/etc disappearing, good bindings for lots of languages, etc), and applications do the same.
  2. We offer incremental updates on each release, a lot of work is done, but it’s true that for some end users, they might not see changes big enough to consider it a new version. So maybe, apart from the time-based releases (which work pretty well, IMO), we should maybe try to have, apart from the individual modules’ roadmaps, some sort of desktop-wide features to accompany each release. If we set, for instance, a “all apps will use gio and support working with remote files” goal, I think that would make a better release feature that end users will better appreciate. Similar desktop-wide goals could be used for each release, which will change, IMO, the user’s impression of the new releases.
  3. I hear some people considering 3.0 should contain a lot of development platform changes. And well, while changes in the development platform are great (that’s why it’s improving all the time), I don’t think the future of GNOME (the desktop) releases should be so tied to the platform. On the contrary, the platform should adapt to the applications being written. Some years ago we did a lots of improvements to the platform because we were writing big apps (Nautilus and Evolution).
  4. Since I started using GPSs, I ended up visiting forums and mailing lists about the subject, finding that most people use illegal software (cracked programs downloaded from P2P networks) and maps (ditto, got from P2P), so if we could offer a free software-based solution for these people, they would probably move on. This is of course just one example, which is even being already covered by OpenStreetMap, but I’m sure there are lots of similar markets out there that we could try to cover better to bring 1000s of new users to our desktop.
  5. As for innovation, this is probably something we need to improve. There is innovation for sure (Gimmie, Pulseaudio integration, Compiz Fusion (not really a GNOME thing, but it’s got GTK-based tools that nicely integrate into GNOME), Banshee 1.0 (try it, it’s great!), Clutter, etc), but it’s true it’s not easy to make revolutionary changes (like using gimmie instead of our current panel, for instance), since it means convincing a lot of people in endless discussions. I think part of the problem is that people working on similar stuff are not put together to come to decisions (like distros working on similar solutions for the same thing :-) ), so we probably need improvement there, like having the hack meetings that were discussed recently.

PulseAudio in openSUSE

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

After several bugs fixed and lots of debugging, I can say now PulseAudio should be working almost perfectly (still some problems with stuttering sound on low-end machines) in openSUSE 11.0. So, here’s a summary of the things we have done, which I should have bloged about before.

First, we tried to replace the GNOME-upstream volume control with padevchooser (a system tray icon that gives access to all PulseAudio tools), but people complained loudly about the difficulty of just setting the volume with this, they just wanted a volume slider. So, we got back to the upstream volume applet, but changed it to open the PulseAudio volume control instead of gnome-volume-control.

volume applet using PA volume control

Another problem we found early was PA not working correctly on 5.1 (or other) speaker setups. There was an easy fix, just changing the number of channels in the config file, but there was no GUI, so we added one to paprefs:

paprefs-speaker-setup.png

With this, you can now control all your speakers individually:

Speaker setup on volume control

Apart from that, we had to tweak ALSA and SDL configurations to just use PulseAudio when on GNOME, since KDE is not using it, but I think everything should now be ok.

GUADEMY 2008

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Last weekend I’ve been in Valencia for the II GUADEMY, organized by PoLinux (the Linux Users Group of the Universidad Politécnica, where the event took place).

The purpose of this II GUADEMY was to really serve as a starting point for further sharing between free desktops (it’s true it was just about GNOME and KDE, although I’m sure we could easily get other free desktops in), and I really think that it has succeeded. There were some core KDE and GNOME developers around, even though lots of GNOME/KDE Spanish developers were missing (where were you?), and even though not big decisions have been made, I feel that this is the beginning of a new era in free desktops sharing. Of course, it’s a very long trip what we just started, but seeing people from both desktops willing to cooperate as much as possible means we (the people that believe in further sharing) are not that wrong :-)

So, here are my conclusions from what I have seen/heard during this weekend with lovely weather and very little sleep in Valencia:

  • We are sharing some stuff now, much more than a few years ago (HAL, DBus, PackageKit, WebKit, poppler, fd.o specs, etc), but we still have a lot of duplication (duplicated screensaver / power management / login manager / etc cores, with lots of security and other issues).
  • People generally agree in sharing code, but sometimes in the form of “here’s our implementation, based on our technologies, use it if you want”, which doesn’t work. There were complains about how GIO was written without taking KDE’s KIO people into account, and about KDevelop new code, which didn’t take into account Anjuta’s people. So, we need to fix this.
  • We need a process to determine what to share, as Will said in our talk, and, from what I got from Vincent‘s talk, Freedesktop.org is in need of an official board that can establish a formal process for accepting standards and implementations, and also it needs to get more KDE people involved so that it’s not seen as a GNOME-only thing. It seems to me the natural way would be to fix fd.o’s situation and use it for further sharing.
  • The whole Saturday morning was dedicated to talk about the GUI toolkits’ future, with Carlos Garnacho, Holger Freyther and Javier Fernández from igalia. It was really interesting to see what the future might bring us, since free GUI toolkits need not only to cope with better look&feels, but also with different devices, given the mobile device market is making a lot of use of our technologies.
  • Some further examples of things that could be shared: an indexing/metadata system, PIM data access and management.
  • I missed Sunday’s talks, since my bus was leaving at 11AM, but I’ve heard there were some joint conclusions in the last session, so let’s see if someone that attended publishes them.
  • Vincent didn’t want to believe me, but really, normal Spaniards don’t usually go to places like Los Bestias :-) (details from Jos). I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone, except for stag parties (if you ever go to this kind of parties), but it was fun to see something different, we laughed a lot during the dinner. Fortunately, we arrived a bit late, so we just had to listen to the Karaoke for a few minutes, after that, it was shut down.
  • Not related to GNOME/KDE, but I convinced a couple of more people to use their GPSs to record their travels and send them to me for uploading to the OpenStreetMap database, even though one of those guys’ GPS suffered a disgusting accident :-)

Just wanted to end up with a big congratulation to the organizers, they managed to do a great conference, with core international speakers, even though the planning started quite late. Now looking forward to GUADEMY III, which might perfectly take place, why not, in the joint GUADEC/Akademy in 2009.

You can see the slides of my talk here. These don’t include Will’s plan for code sharing process, which I guess he’ll publish soon.

Summer of Code 2008

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

For the first time, I am mentoring a student for this year’s Google Summer of Code, who will be working on a GNOME client for the openSUSE build service.

Mario (ie, the student) seems to be a very motivated person, so I’m willing to see the results of his work this summer, and to have another future contributor to openSUSE and GNOME.

As for the mentoring itself, following Federico’s mentoring HOWTO should make things easier for me, so I hope to do a good job. More news about the project as things progress.

Desktop effects activation (compiz)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

The discussion about how/where to put the activate-desktop-effects thing in the appearance capplet seems to not reach a good solution for all distros, at least for now, so, while waiting for a good solution for all upstream, and since in openSUSE desktop effects means compiz, I added a patch to the simple-ccsm openSUSE package to activate compiz directly from the same place where it is configured.

So, the ‘Desktop Effects’ icon in the GNOME control center:

starts now simple-ccsm, which contains a check box to activate/deactivate compiz.

The old ‘Desktop Effects’ capplet (aka gnome-xgl-settings) will soon die, since gnome-xgl-switch script has been moved to the XGL package, and the hardware database is already on a separate package.

Desktop effects activation

Friday, March 28th, 2008

After having implemented the same functionality already available in Fedora and Ubuntu (different implementations of the Desktop Effects tab on the appearance control-center applet) for openSUSE, it is time to come to a common solution for all distros to remove their need to add this functionality. An initial patch is available here.

Still lots of things need to be discussed and clarified, so if you care about activating desktop effects in GNOME, GNOME Control Center mailing list.