My Five Answers…

… to the five questions on the GUADEC website.

1) Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Calum Benson, and I work for Oracle (neé Sun). As well as working on some GNOME-based projects for Solaris and OpenSolaris, I’m one of the authors of the original GNOME HIG, and I’m one of the maintainers of gnome-themes, where I mainly look after the high contrast themes.

2) How did you get into GNOME?

I was hired by Sun in 2000 when they started to replace CDE with GNOME in Solaris. I’ve been working on GNOME ever since, and have attended every GUADEC except Paris and Stuttgart.

3) Why are you coming to GUADEC?

To talk about, and hopefully get some work done, on the new HIG and UI pattern library that we’ve been planning to do for GNOME 3.x. I dare say one or two beers may also be consumed.

4) In 1 sentence, describe what your most favorite recent GNOME project has been. (Doesn’t have to be yours!)

Hmm. Sadly haven’t really been involved enough with any recent project enough to have a firm “favourite”, but SparkleShare could revolutionise the way designers work on GNOME. (Except me, because just at the moment it’s way too hard to get it working on OpenSolaris…)

5) Will this be your first time visiting the Netherlands?


Bothersome themes

(Public service announcement: I’ve always hated themes and still wish they’d mostly just go away so we could all just concentrate on building and using the same sexy pixel-perfect GNOME look-and-feel. GNOME branding wins, performance wins, some people complain but don’t they always, yadda yadda. Now, with that out of the way…)

I was having a look at this OpenSolaris bug report yesterday. Basic problem: icons from the OpenSolaris Nimbus theme are showing up in some places larger than they ought to. Apparent cause is that the icon theme doesn’t provide those particular icons in a small enough size, and the larger versions aren’t being scaled down as required. The vinagre toolbar is the example given in the bug report, but I’ve seen it other places too (e.g. in the Glade toolbar editor).

Wrongly sized icon in Vinagre toolbar
Wrongly sized icon in Vinagre toolbar
Wrongly sized icons in Glade toolbar editor
Wrongly sized icons in Glade toolbar editor

Having a look at the index.theme file for Nimbus, I saw that all the icon folders were marked as “Type=Fixed”, and assumed that was the problem. However, I spent a couple of hours trying every combination of “Type=Scalable”, “Type=Threshold” and Threshold=[some-big-number]”, and “MinSize=[some-small-number]” that I could think of, and nothing changed. (I regenerated the icon cache after each change, and also tried without any icon cache at all.)

Just what should an index.theme file look like to ensure that (say) the 48×48 icons will always be scaled down to (say) 24×24 when required? Nimbus also has its own engine, could a bug there cause this problem? Or a bug in the gtk+ widgets/applications where we’re seeing the issue?

EDIT: Further to Matthias’ comment, Type=Scalable is working fine now. Not sure what I was doing wron yesterday…

OpenSolaris Governing Board, Acrobatics

The results are in; the OpenSolaris community has a new Governing Board. However, the proposed new constitution failed to gain sufficient support for approval.

Have to say I was slightly surprised (and, to be honest, a little disappointed) to see that only two non-Sun folks were voted in this time around (especially as one of those is a former Sun folk), but I have no doubt they’ll do a fine job… starting, I expect, by revisiting that constitution issue.

In other news, the long hiatus between releases of Adobe Reader for [Open]Solaris x86 is over… grab Reader 9.1 now on Adobe’s download page. Very fine though Evince is at handling the majority of PDF-reading tasks, some jobs still just require the proprietary Real Thing…and however one might feel about that, it’s great that Solaris and OpenSolaris are now sufficiently (re-)established on x86 that Adobe are offering that option once again.

Six Degrees of Richard Herring

The “Nationally Known Comedian” Richard Herring unleashed a thrilling new craze on the world during this week’s Collings and Herrin (sic) podcast… it goes like this1:

The aim of the game is to get between two specific Wikipedia entries using only the highlighted blue links. The player who navigates between the two pages within the fewest clicks, or uses the cleverest path is the winner. For example, to get from the Wikipedia page for American actress Argentina Brunetti to French anti-communist party La Cagoule, one could go via the following clicks:

  1. The Lone Ranger
  2. Chocolate
  3. Nestlé
  4. L’Oréal
  5. Eugène Schueller
  6. La Cagoule

(Argentina played a supporting role in the Lone Ranger in 1955, The Lone Ranger starred in a chocolate advertisment in the mid ninties advertising Rolos, Nestlé are a chocolate manufacturer, Nestlé are shareholders in L’Oréal, L’Oréal was founded by Eugène Schueller and Eugène Schueller provided financial support and held meetings for La Cagoule.)

Have fun.

1Description lifted from this RH forum to save me making up my own…