8 December 2004

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I’ve been in Mataró (about an hour from Barcelona) now since Sunday, and it’s quite a nice place. It is a bit cooler than Perth due to it being the middle of Winter here, but the way most of the locals are rugged up you’d think it was a lot colder. It’s great to catch up with everyone, and a number of pygtk developers will be turning up over the next few days for the BOF on the weekend.

Gnome Foundation Elections

Congratulations to the new board members. It is a little disappointing that only about 56% of members voted though. Once the membership committee has the anonymous voting stuff set up, it might be worth doing the preferential voting referrendum.


I’ve been working on some preliminary documentation for JHBuild, which is available here. It should be useful for new users and people looking at writing new module sets for it. It has a fairly complete command reference and config file reference, so it is probably useful for current users too. It would be good to add some information about setting up a tinderbox like the one Luis set up for Gnome.

20 October 2004

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Even More Icon Theme Stuff

To make it a bit easier to correctly display themed icons, I added support to GtkImage, so that it is as easy as calling gtk_image_new_from_icon_name() or gtk_image_set_from_icon_name(). The patch is attached to bug #155688.

This code takes care of theme changes so the application developer doesn’t need to. Once this is in, it should be trivial to add themed icon support to various other widgets that use GtkImage (such as GtkAbout and GtkToolItem).


I started work on some extended documentation for JHBuild. At the moment, this just includes some information on setting it up and basic use. I’ll extend it to hold a reference to all JHBuild commands, some documentation on the module set file format and some frequently asked questions.

It would be good to include some information on setting up JHBuild’s tinderbox mode (like Luis has). Getting a few more tinderboxes running for Gnome on other platforms such Solaris/SPARC would be really useful — Luis’s build logs have already helped track down a few build failures, so having build information for a few more platforms would be very useful.

New Computer

I just got the last components for my new computer (an Athlon 64 system). It is a fair bit faster than the laptop I’ve been doing most of the development on, so should be quite nice once it is all set up.

It is amazing how much hardware has improved and gone down in price. The motherboard alone is packed with features I wouldn’t have expected for something costing AU$220:

  • Gigabit ethernet
  • An 802.11g wireless card (PCI)
  • An extra Promise SATA chip, bringing the number of SATA connectors up to 4, and the IDE connectors to 3.
  • Firewire
  • SPDIF output (both electrical and optical).
  • 6 headphone-style jacks on the back, so you can get 6 channel audio output without losing your line in and microphone jacks.

I also got a Raptor hard drive for the system. These drives seem to have up to twice the performance of most 7200rpm desktop drives, and make a big difference to the overall performance of the system.

It should be a nice system once I finish building it. Also, since it is an x86-64 system, it effectively provides two architectures to test stuff on.

4 October 2004

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Icon Theme APIs (continued)

Of course, after recommending that people use gtk_icon_theme_load_icon() to perform the icon load and scale the icon for you, Ross manages to find a bug in that function.

If the icon is not found in the icon theme, but instead in the legacy $prefix/share/pixmaps directory, then gtk_icon_theme_load_icon() will not scale the image down (it will scale them up if necessary though).


Jhbuild now includes a notification icon when running in the default terminal mode. The code is loosely based on Davyd’s patch, but instead uses Zenity’s notification icon support. If you have the HEAD branch of Zenity installed, it should display without any further configuration. Some of the icons are a little difficult to tell apart at notification icon sizes, so it would be good to update some of them.


The Double the Fist DVD is great. I hope they do another season, and release the second half of the first season on DVD. It is a satire on extreme sports and reality TV shows among other things, and is worth watching. Apparently it was originally shown on ABC digital, so not many people saw it during its original screening (digital television is fairly new in Australia, and equipment is still fairly expensive).

6 September 2004

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The LCA2004 team have put together the conference CD and DVD. Apparently they will arrive in the mail in about a week.

They put the CD contents on the web first, and I was a bit disappointed that the recording of my talk was missing (it does include my slides though). However, when they put the DVD contents up I saw that it included a video recording of the talk, which is pretty cool.

There are links to the CD and DVD contents on the wiki. The video recording can be found by following one of the “Explore DVD” links, and looking at the entry second from the bottom. There is also a video of Havoc’s keynote in there.


It sounds like Fluendo are looking at using the Subversion support I added to jhbuild. There were a few bugs in the code that jdahlin fixed, but it seems to be working pretty well. I still need to fix up the Arch support so that you don’t need tla unless you actually build a module managed by Arch.

I’ve also dropped one of the old versions of Automake (1.6) from the bootstrap moduleset and sanity checks. Maybe after Gnome 2.8 is out we can clean up the last few modules still requiring Automake 1.4, which should drop the number of Automake versions I need to deal with even further.


Today is the last day people can enrol to vote in the federal election. Last week we had John Howard defending one of his part members, Trish Worth, for comparing refugees to animals at a forum organised by the group Justice for Refugees.

There is also a Liberal (Peter King) who lost preselection, but is still running as an independent. He has been accused of splitting the conservative vote, which is a bit strange. I’d assume that conservatives who vote for him would give their second preference to the Liberal candidate, and vice versa. What might happen is that Labor voters might pick the independent candidate over the Liberal candidate (this happened in my electorate when a similar thing happened a few years back).

Meanwhile, the National party leader is going round telling people that the Greens are really communists: “They are watermelons. many of them – green on the outside and very, very, very red on the inside.”

One other weird thing was the postal vote applications sent out by the current MP. The weird thing was that they came with reply paid envelopes to send the application back to the MP instead of the AEC. She explained why in response to a letter in the local paper, but it still seems a bit weird for the applications to pass through the office of the currently elected member.

20 May 2004

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Mail Viruses

The barrage of mail viruses and their side effects is getting quite annoying. In the past week, I’ve had a gnome.org mailing list subscriptions disabled twice. After looking at the mailing list archive, it was pretty obvious why.

The mail server that serves my account is set up to reject windows executables a few other viruses at SMTP delivery time (so it isn’t responsible for generating bounces). Unfortunately, a number of viruses got through to the mailing lists and were subsequently rejected before reaching my account. After a certain number of bounces of this type, mailman helpfully disables delivery.

It’d be nice if mail.gnome.org was set up to reject these sort of messages too (in the case of gnome.org it’d probably be safe to block zip files as well, which would cut out virtually all the viruses).

It also seems that the email viruses don’t pick the sender and recipient completely at random. Apparently a number of infected machines keep on mailing the XML mailing list with my address as the sender. It got so bad that the list admin put me in the “always moderate” list. Of course, this meant that I ended up receiving many messages telling me my message awaits moderation (which are pretty easy to filter). Luckily the new version of Mailman limits itself to 10 of these messages a day.


I’ve merged in some of Thomas Fitzsimmons’ jhbuild patches. It isn’t yet at a stage where you can build GCJ using an unmodified jhbuild, but we’ve got some of the basics in there. A big part of the changes involve adding support for srcdir != builddir builds, which is apparently the preferred way of compiling GCJ. This is accomplished by setting the buildroot config key to the directory where you want builds to be performed. Things aren’t fully working yet, but at least some modules build in this mode. We’ll probably need to add support for marking some modules as not supporting srcdir != builddir builds, since some modules will most likely never support it.


I’ve been doing some work to simplify the gnome-common autogen script. A lot of the infrastructure dates back to the early 2.0 days where it was important to make sure developers could hack on 1.x apps and 2.0 stuff at the same time, which involved complicated infrastructure to make sure 2.0 packages didn’t see the Gnome 1.x autoconf macros and vice versa.

Since then things have changed. Developing Gnome 1.x apps isn’t really a priority any more (and no one was using the stuff installed by gnome-common for 1.x work anyway). We also have far fewer autoconf macros in gnome-common, and they aren’t particularly Gnome 2 specific. This is partly because I killed a lot of them last year, and deprecated most of the rest. While looking through the macros this time, it turned out I could remove another one, and get rid of the deprecated macros altogether. This just leaves some macros for setting compiler warning flags, one for adding a --enable-debug configure option.

The patch moves the remaining autoconf macros to the normal $(datadir)/aclocal directory so that aclocal can find it easily, and install the common autogen script as $(bindir)/bin/gnome-autogen.sh (which was previously a small script that would choose which set of macros and autogen script to call based on an environment variable).

Hopefully these simplifications will make it easier to debug autotool failures in the various Gnome packages. Many people seem to find autoconf hard enough to understand as is without us making things more complicated and adding extra ways that things could fail.