Archive for the ‘KDE’ Category

Netlink-based D-Bus

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

As stated in my last blog post, we have been looking at different options for optimizing D-Bus. After some internal discussion and reviewing of the feedback we got, we think the best solution is to get the best ideas from AF_DBUS, but without having to create a new socket family, which wasn’t very well welcomed by the Linux kernel developers. This brought us to having to choose a transport that allowed us to do that, so we decided on Netlink (an IPC mechanism for kernel to user-space communications).

Below is a detailed description of the architecture we are planning.

Netlink sockets
The Netlink protocol is a family of socket based IPC mechanism that can be used to communicate between the kernel and user-space processes and between user-space processes themselves. It was created as a replacement for ioctl and to receive messages sent by the kernel. It is a datagram-oriented service with both SOCK_RAW and SOCK_DGRAM valid socket types. It is based on the Berkeley sockets API and uses the AF_NETLINK address family. Netlink supports different Netlink families such as NETLINK_ROUTE, NETLINK_FIREWALL and NETLINK_SELINUX, each of which is used to communicate with a specific kernel service.

Since Netlink is used as an IPC mechanism for processes (and the kernel) on the same machine, its address only has a port number that identifies each peer (nl_pid). Since Netlink supports both unicast and multicast communication, a message to a group (nl_groups) can also be sent but only process with uid 0 are allowed to send multicast messages from user-space. A Netlink address is represented using the sockaddr_nl data structure:

struct sockaddr_nl {
        __kernel_sa_family_t    nl_family;      /* AF_NETLINK   */
        unsigned short  nl_pad;         /* zero         */
        __u32           nl_pid;         /* port ID      */
        __u32           nl_groups;      /* multicast groups mask */
};

A Netlink message header consists of the fields:

struct nlmsghdr {
        __u32           nlmsg_len;      /* Length of message including header */
        __u16           nlmsg_type;     /* Message content */
        __u16           nlmsg_flags;    /* Additional flags */
        __u32           nlmsg_seq;      /* Sequence number */
        __u32           nlmsg_pid;      /* Sending process port ID */
};

The Netlink protocol is explained in detail here.

Generic Netlink subsystem
Every Netlink family is identified by an integer number that allows using different Netlink services. Currently there are 21 assigned Netlink families from a maximum of 32. To avoid a shortage of Netlink families the Generic Netlink subsystem was created.

The Generic Netlink subsystem can multiplex different communication channels on a single Netlink family NETLINK_GENERIC. Generic Netlink subsystem is not only a simplified Netlink usage but also the communication channels can be registered at run-time without modifying core kernel code or headers.

The Generic Netlink subsystem is implemented as a service bus inside the kernel and users communicate with each other over it. The users can reside both in user-space or inside the kernel. The bus supports a number of Generic Netlink communications channels that are dynamically allocated by a Generic Netlink controller. This controller is a kernel Generic Netlink user itself, that listens on a special pre-allocated Generic Netlink channel “nlctrl” (GENL_ID_CTRL) where users send requests to create, remove and learn about available channels.

Communication channels are uniquely identified by a channel number that is allocated by the Generic Netlink controller. Users that want to provide services over Generic Netlink bus have to communicate with the Generic Netlink controller and ask it to create a new communication channel. Also, users that want to access those services have to query the Generic Netlink controller to know if these services are available and which channel number are currently using.

Every channel is identified by a Generic Netlink family and defines a set of commands that users can trigger. Each command is associated with a function handler that gets executed when a user sends a message specifying this command.

A Generic Netlink message header consists of the fields:

struct genlmsghdr {
        __u8    cmd;
        __u8    version;
        __u16   reserved;
};

Generic Netlink uses the standard Netlink system as a transport so its message format is defined as follows

  0                   1                   2                   3
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
 |                Netlink message header (nlmsghdr)              |
 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
 |           Generic Netlink message header (genlmsghdr)         |
 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
 |             Optional user specific message header             |
 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
 |           Optional Generic Netlink message payload            |
 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

The family (communication channel) used is specified using the Netlink message header (nlmsghdr) type field (nlmsg_type).

Each Generic Netlink family can use a family specific header to be used by the service provided in that channel.

D-bus as a Generic Netlink service
D-Bus can be implemented as a Generic Netlink service by creating a new Generic Netlink family (communication channel) “dbus”. Applications will use this communication channel to send and receive D-Bus messages.

In this scenario, most of the work that is currently done by the dbus-daemon will take place in the D-Bus Netlink service, such as adding applications to the bus when they gain ownership of a name (NameAcquired signal), route the messages to the destination based on the application’s unique name and maintaining match rules (AddMatch method).

The D-bus daemon will only be a special user of the Generic Netlink D-bus service, although it will still have some responsibilities such as authentication and, of course, implementing org.freedesktop.DBus service.

The other D-Bus users (apart from dbus-daemon itself), will just work as they do now, using the D-Bus wire protocol on top of the Netlink transport, although they will have to do some extra step, as explained below.

Genetlink D-bus will provide to applications the following services:
Mechanism to create and delete D-Bus buses: Since we need to separate the traffic for the different buses (system, user, etc) in the kernel module, we need a way for dbus-daemon instances to register buses in the kernel module. To do so, we can specify D-Bus family commands DBUS_CMD_NEWBUS and DBUS_CMD_DELBUS. The process who creates the bus will be the D-bus daemon implementing that bus and all the messages that have org.freedesktop.DBus as destination will be routed to it.

Besides the commands, we have to define a way to specify the name and type of the bus to be added. We can either store that information in a user defined header or define Generic Netlink family attributes to pass that information to the D-bus Generic Netlink service. In any case, the dbus-daemon will be the responsible for choosing a unique name (in the form netlink:name=unique_name), so that the kernel doesn’t have to read any configuration at all, and just has to associate the unique addresses with each bus.

Another option would be to map a D-Bus bus to a multicast group and use the Generic Netlink controller CTRL_CMD_NEWMCAST_GRP and CTRL_CMD_DELMCAST_GRP commands. But we need more fine-grained control over the routing of the messages. We can’t just use genlmsg_multicast() and send the message to every application in the bus. A signal message sent to a bus is not received by all the applications since AddMatch rules can prevent some applications to receive the message. So, we have to maintain our own multicast group based on match rules.

Connect and disconnect from buses: To allow applications to connect to a bus we can define another set of D-bus family commands DBUS_CMD_CONN_BUS and DBUS_CMD_DISC_BUS. When an application wants to connect to a bus, first the bus type is checked, if the type is a
session bus, then only processes that are executed with the same uid as the one for the D-bus daemon are allowed. This restriction is not true for system bus, which allows connection from processes running as any user. Connection requests are routed to the D-bus daemon who does the authentication.

As the create/delete group case, we need to specify to which bus we are trying to connect. We can also store that information on the user defined header or define a set of Generic Netlink family attributes.

Transport to send and receive messages: Receiving messages is straightforward. You only have to create a socket with:

int sd = create_nl_socket(NETLINK_GENERIC, 0);

and use standard BSD socket API such as recv().

To send messages to the bus we have to define a Generic Netlink D-bus family command DBUS_SEND_MSG and fill the Netlink header, Generic Netlink header and if applicable a D-bus service specific header:

struct sockaddr_nl nladdr;
struct {
	struct nlmsghdr n;
	struct genlmsghdr g;
	char buf[256];
} req;
char *dbus_message;

memset(&nladdr, 0, sizeof(nladdr));
nladdr.nl_family = AF_NETLINK;

req.n.nlmsg_len = NLMSG_LENGTH(GENL_HDRLEN);
req.n.nlmsg_type = dbus_family_id;
req.n.nlmsg_flags = NLM_F_REQUEST;
req.g.cmd = DBUS_SEND_MSG;

na = (struct nlattr *) GENLMSG_DATA(&req);
na->nla_type = DBUS_ATTR_PAYLOAD;
na->nla_len = NLA_HDRLEN + strlen(dbus_message);
memcpy(NLA_DATA(na), &dbus_message, strlen(dbus_message));
req.n.nlmsg_len += NLMSG_ALIGN(na->nla_len);

ret = sendto(sd, (char *)&req, req.n.nlmsg_len, 0, (struct sockaddr *) &nladdr,
	     sizeof(nladdr));

All this is even easier when using libnl, a library that simplifies a lot the use of Netlink in user-space applications. This library is used in other system services, like NetworkManager, so adding a dependency on it to D-Bus shouldn’t be a problem.

The Genetlink D-bus service will parse the D-bus message, add the sender field and route to the correct destination in the case of a unicast message. If the message is a signal, the service will get the recipients list according to the match rules.

Also, it will process the NameAcquired and NameLost signals as well as the AddMatch method calls, so that it can keep track of where the messages need to go to.

Security framework: In the previous sections, authentication was mentioned as one of the responsibilities of the dbus-daemon itself. This is indeed what it does right now, but with the kernel Netlink module doing the routing based on user id, as explained above, maybe no authentication is needed on the dbus-daemon side. The question is whether the dbus-daemon should trust all that comes from the kernel or just do an extra check.

For some more fine-grained security, D-Bus services can use PolicyKit to prompt the user requesting the operation for extra authentication.

Support sending large messages: Some D-Bus users complain about bad performance from D-Bus when sending large chunks of data over it, that being the reason for file descriptor passing being available on D-Bus. It is true, though, that one can argue that those applications shouldn’t be sending that much data over the bus, and that it is the application’s responsibility, but the truth is that the problem exists.

Netlink provides the ability to send large messages by using multipart messages, so that the data to be sent can be sliced into chunks (no bigger than the kernel socket buffers’ size), resulting in better performance.

Implementation details
All this needs a bigger change to libdbus/bindings as in our initial plan, since the Netlink messages, as explained before, carry on an extra header that needs to be parsed before the real D-Bus message is processed.

So, for libdbus, we will implement DBusServerNetlink object for the implementation of a Netlink-based D-Bus server, and DBusTransportNetlink for the actual implementation of the wire protocol to be used when using Netlink as a transport. DBusTransportNetlink will be responsible for getting and parsing messages from the Netlink D-Bus kernel service.

For bindings, similar work will be needed to add support to reading and writing Netlink messages, but with the use of the libnl library, this should make it easier, and anyway, it is part of our plan to add whatever code is needed to the most popular bindings.

And that’s all for now, any comments/feedback is appreciated.

D-Bus optimizations

Monday, February 27th, 2012

In the last month and a half, I have been working, as part of my work at Collabora, on optimizing D-Bus, which even though is a great piece of software, has some performance problems that affect its further adoption (specially on embedded devices).

Fortunately, we didn’t have to start from scratch, since this has been an ongoing project at Collabora, where previous research and upstream discussions had been taking place.

Based on this great work (by Alban Créquy and Ian Molton, BTW), we started our work, looking first at the possible solutions for the biggest problems (context switches, as all traffic in the bus goes through the D-Bus daemon, as well as multiple copies of messages in their trip from one peer, via the kernel, then to the daemon, to end up in the peer the message is targeted to), which were:

  • AF_DBUS work from Alban/Ian: while it improved the performance of the bus by a big margin, the solution wasn’t very well accepted in the upstream kernel mailing list, as it involved having lots of D-Bus-specific code in the kernel (all the routing).
  • Shared memory: this has no proof-of-concept code to look at, but was a (maybe) good idea, as it would mean peers in the bus would use shared memory segments to send messages to each other. But this would mean mostly a rewrite of most of the current D-Bus code, so maybe an option for the future, but not for the short term.
  • Using some sort of multicast IPC that would allow peers in the bus to send messages to each other without having all messages go through the daemon, which, as found out by several performance tests, is the biggest bottleneck in current D-Bus performance. We had a look at different options, one of them being AF_NETLINK, which mostly provides all that is needed, although it has some limitations, the biggest one being that it drops packets when the receiver queue is full, which is not an option for the D-Bus case.
    UDP/IP multicast has been mentioned also in some of the discussions, but this seems to be too much overhead for the D-Bus use, as we would have to use eth0 or similar, as multicast on loopback device doesn’t exist (hence no D-Bus in computers without a network card). Also, losing packets is another caveat of this solution, as well as message order guarantee.

So, the solution we have come up with is to implement multicast on UNIX sockets, and make it support what we need for it in D-Bus, and, of course, make use of that in the D-Bus implementation itself. So, here’s what we have right now (please note that this is still a work in progress):

The way this works is better seen on a diagram, so here it is. First, how the current D-Bus architecture works:

and how this would be changed:

That is, when a peer wants to join a bus, it would connect to the daemon (exactly as it does today), authenticate, and, once the daemon knows the peer is authenticated, it would join the accept‘ed socket to the multicast group (this is important, as we don’t want to have peers join by themselves the multicast group, so it’s the daemon’s job to do that). Once the peer has joined the multicast group, it would use socket filters to determine what traffic it wants to receive, so that it only gets, from the kernel, the messages it really is interested in. The daemon would do the same, just setting its filters so that it only gets traffic to the bus itself (org.freedesktop.DBus well-known name).

In this multicast solution, we might have to prevent unauthorized eavesdropping, even though peers need to authenticate through the daemon to join the multicast group. For this, we have been thinking about using Linux Security Modules. It is still not 100% clear how this would be done, so more information on this soon.

The above-mentioned branches work right now, but as I said before, they are still a work in progress, so they still need several things before we can call this work finalized. For now, we have succeeded in making the daemon not get any traffic at all apart from what it really needs to get, so a big win there already as we are avoiding the expensive context switches, but the socket filters still need a lot of work, apart from other minor and not so minor things.

Right now, we are in the process of getting the kernel part accepted, which is in progress, and to finish the D-Bus branch to be in an upstreamable form. Apart from that, we will provide patches for all the D-Bus bindings we know about (GLib, QtDBus, python, etc).

Comments/suggestions/ideas welcome.

GCDS summary

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

After an exhausting week at GCDS, a similarly exhausting weekend partying in Pamplona for San Fermín, and an again exhausting return to day to day work, just found some time to write some notes from last GCDS.

  • First, about RMS’s talk. I really didn’t find offensive his comments, just was a bit upset by the way he answered some of the questions asked by some people (this is a stupid question or something like that was one of his answers), but well, I can live with that and didn’t feel offended at all. But I found his talk very, very (did I say very?) boring. Talking about how cool is free software in front of an audience of free software enthusiasts, and about the history of GNOME and KDE in front of many of the core contributors to those projects was, IMHO, a total waste of time. While the talk is great for other audiences, it was totally out of place at GCDS. And that’s all I have to say about this, no meme from me.
  • There was a lot of interest on CouchDB from many people:
    • Tracker guys might want to use it to store metadata and files.
    • Roberto Majadas, the newest incorporation to the GNOME Hispano board, has been working on Vala bindings for my couchdb-glib library. He should announce them soon, I think.
    • Henri, from Midgard, implemented, while in Gran Canaria, the replication protocol used by CouchDB for Midgard, which means you would be able to sync (contacts, bookmarks, notes, etc) not only to CouchDB servers, but also to any server running Midgard.
    • People liked a lot (at least they applauded a lot) the demos for the stuff we’ve doing for bookmarks (Firefox) and contacts (Evolution and Akonadi) storage in CouchDB, that Steve Alexander showed in his talk on Wednesday. Thanks BTW to Ryan Lortie, who kindly gave his slot for his gnio talk so that Steve could talk about our work.
  • About GNOME 3 technologies, I have to say that the platform changes seem to be very well on track (thanks to Andre Klapper for keeping track), and GNOME Shell looks really good, even though it seems to still miss some functionality (applets? notifications?), which I’m sure the people working on it will settle down. Not so sure about Zeitgeist. It looks really great, don’t misinterpret me, but after thinking about it for a while, I couldn’t imagine how it would be useful for me, given how I access files. I’m sure it would be quite useful for lots of people, I’m just talking about me, but I think it would make a lot of sense if, instead of a separate application, it were a Nautilus view, just like you have the icon, list and compact views. But well, I’ll try testing it soon and maybe I’ll get convinced.
  • I liked a lot the Telepathy tubes stuff for desktop sharing, as well as the libnice talk by Youness Alaoui. These 2 open the door for very nice things to be added to desktops in the not-so-distant future.
  • I talked with several people about the contents of the conference, and most people agreed that, for someone that follows GNOME development the whole year, most talks are useless. Not that they are not interesting, because they are, but it would be much more useful if they were replaced with discussion groups that came up with plans for the next development cycles. Talks are still ok for new people getting to the conference, but having BOFs just after the core days, where a big percentage of the attendees are already gone, is, IMO, not a good idea, they should really be part of the core days. UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit) has this right IMO, where there are only a few keynotes, and then several rooms hosting those discussions for different topics, where people come up with clear plans of what they should be working on. I hope we can do something similar for next year.
  • And after complaining about too many talks, I have to say that one of the best things in the conference (along with the GNOME 1, 2, 3 talk by Fernando Herrera and Xan López), at least for me, was the Pitivi tutorial, by Edward Hervey, which showed to the profanes like me how to do nice videos. I hope I’ll be able to follow his teachings and, soon, publish some nice videos of my motorbike and skiing rides as well as my holidays, with good rock&roll as the soundtrack :-) That, along with Mistelix (a DVD authoring tool) might change radically the way my friends and family enjoy my photos and videos.
  • Federico was selected as the first GNOME Hispano honorific member in the GNOME Hispano dinner on Thursday. It’s just a honorific title (accompanied by a bottle of local rhum as the prize :) ), but he really deserves anything we can do to show him our admiration to the best hacker I’ve ever worked with.
  • I missed the FreeFA tournament, because playing football at 3PM under the Canarian sun is something my religion forbids :) But yeah, even with me not playing, Bastien lost again :-D
  • Also nice was to have the personal hobbies lightning talks on Tuesday. As I discussed with some people, sexist problems, IMO, might be solved if some people, instead of being all the time in front of a computer, got out once in a while and met some non-geeky people (including women, of course) and share some hobby with them. That might make them understand better how to behave in front of women or people with different cultures. So I hope mega geeky people in the audience used those lightning talks as a starting point to find non-technology hobbies.
  • I really missed more KDE<->GNOME cooperation talks. Most of the cross-desktop talks were about things specific to one or the other desktop, not about how both projects could cooperate more. At the end, except in parties, it was hard to find KDE people (at least I only saw the KDE people I know in parties) around, and I guess the KDE people had the same impression. We even had 2 separate parties one day!!! Have to say though that the GNOME one was funnier, as some KDE people that showed up at the GNOME one told me :-D

Last but not least, as always, meeting again all the people I already know and making new friends is the best part of this kind of events. It makes you feel again part of a great community.

And to finish, a big thanks to the people that helped in the organization. They already had a big round of applause at the GNOME Foundation Annual Meeting, but I’ll say it again here: thanks a lot!

GCDS expectations

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

With just a few hours before I leave to Gran Canaria, here’s a list of things I personally would like to get from the conference:

  • I’ve been to all GUADEC’s except for 2 (Stuttgart and Istanbul), and every time I’ve missed one GUADEC, I was doubly excited to go to the next one, so this year, having missed last year’s, this is the case again.
  • Since for the first time we are having a joint KDE/GNOME, I am expecting to have a big push on collaboration and cooperation between the 2 projects. I am not sure what would come out of this, but we should all really be looking for this, since it would just help both projects a lot. So, keep the rivalry only for the sport activities, please (maybe a KDE vs GNOME football game? :-) )
  • As I’ve already blogged about recently, we (at Canonical) are trying to push CouchDB use to the desktop. I’ve got all the code I’ve been working on ready to be shown (karmic packages here, but broken for jaunty right now, sorry), so if someone wants to see it in action (a technology preview, of course, not everything is done yet), just find me around and I’ll do a personal demo (a better demo if you buy me a beer :-D ). Other Canonical staff will be around also showing these (and other) technologies, so if interested, just ask.
  • GNOME 3.0 plans and technologies like mutter, gnome-shell.
  • I only played the FreeFA tournament in Vilanova (yeah, was part of the cool champion team), so looking forward to revalidate the title :-D
  • Mojo Picón, a spicy hot sauce typical from the Canary Islands. Make sure you try the Papas Arrugadas with that sauce.
  • Have a lot of fun!

Only bad thing is that I’m going to miss the first few days of San Fermín festival in Pamplona, but well, since I’ll be back home on the 10th, I’ll have the chance to enjoy the last few days of it. As I said other times, please use other dates than July 6th to 14th next year!

See you all in Gran Canaria!

Desktop data/settings replication

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

In the last UDS, there were some talks about UbuntuOne, the technologies it uses, and how it could be well integrated into the Desktop. Also, there were discussions about how it could be integrated painlessly into upstream projects. So, here’s an idea on how this could be done.

First, it must be said that the easiest (and quickest) way of achieving UbuntuOne integration in Ubuntu would be to just patch/extend applications so that they supported accessing the UbuntuOne server, and have Ubuntu packages use that as default for users with UbuntuOne accounts. That would make most Ubuntu users happy, but it would not benefit at all users of other distributions, and worst, the upstream projects.

Now, if we look at the technologies being used in UbuntuOne, there is one awesome thing, called CouchDB, a project supported by the Apache Foundation, which provides databases (of JSON documents) that can be replicated (and 2-way synchonized) to other hosts. So, what if we had Linux Desktop applications use this for storage of files and settings?

couchdb-in-the-desktop

Well, what would happen is that we’d gain data / settings replication and synchronization for free. And also, if we could come up with standard formats / locations for common information (accounts, notes, mails, calendars, etc, etc), we’d also gain a shared storage for all applications to use, solving the problem of incompatible formats / locations used by similar free software applications.

And other advantages:

  • CouchDB knows already how to deal with conflicts, as this is included in the automatic replication / syncing features it provides.
  • While normal documents in CouchDB are JSON, you can attach any kind of file to any JSON document (even to empty JSON documents), so any kind of files can be stored. Also, it allows users to create as many databases as needed, so storage for different needs can be easily separated.
  • CouchDB provides a sort of revision history, so it could be used for nice stuff like Zeitgeist.
  • This, not being an Ubuntu-only solution, could benefit every Linux Desktop user.
  • UbuntuOne would be a service built on top of this that users can subscribe to. But others could just setup a CouchDB server on their home / company network and use that by just pointing their local CouchDB to their remote CouchDB replication server.

To continue my investigations/playing on this, I’m going to try writing a gvfs backend to manage files in the CouchDB instances. Once that’s done, applications could start just writing their files to couchdb://… URIs instead of file://… ones and enter the replication/synchronization world with just a single change. Next, a GConf/d-conf backend could be added for replicating/sync’ing settings, and so on.

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.

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.