Metacity Journal 2010-01-18

Green JackThomas has been working on Metacity this past week, supported by Collabora Ltd.  Thanks, everyone!

A. Last week. Work on Metacity has fallen into three parts over the last week:

A1. Routine work such as reviewing patches. This included

  • GNOME bug 598231 (null dereference in visual bell).
  • GNOME bug 336750 (potential DoS on shift-printscreen).  This patch looked correct, but in testing it didn’t solve the problem; I am still trying to find out why.
  • GNOME bug 604897 (session management issue)
  • GNOME bug 592940 (markup in translatable strings)
  • GNOME bug 530702 (Metacity stops Compiz from starting up). This appears correct, and certainly fixes a bug, but I cannot test whether it fixes the presenting problem; can someone confirm?

A2. Cowbell (CSS themes). I have been working on merging the cowbell branch with the main branch, but this has been slow going.  I am wondering whether it would have been better to move all the Cowbell-specific code out to a separate library so that it could be called from other window managers as well; it would be quite a challenge to make it abstract enough.

A3. GNOME bug 531512 (EWMH and D-Bus).  What began as a brief comment to a bug turned into a blog post, which turned into a script, which took a fair chunk of the day to get working.  But it does demonstrate that the idea is sound, and I’d rather have working code than hand-waving any day.

B. Going forwards.

B1. Bugs. There are still more bugs than can be reasonably dealt with by your chronicler.  This is important, because it looks like Metacity is here to stay after all.  Therefore:

  • Most of all, I need your recommendations as to which bugs should be dealt with first.  Obviously there’s the bug’s priority to decide this already, but I know there are many little things that get under people’s skin (Launchpad bug 160311 springs to mind).  I’d like people to nominate their least favourite bugs.
  • Also, I would like some help with patch review and the very inglorious Bugzilla work.  If anyone’s feeling like volunteering, let me know.
  • I plan to work out some kind of GNOME Love-type mentoring scheme where people get help learning to keep a project going.

B2. Cowbell: separate library?  I’ll think about it.  If you know someone from another WM who would also be interested in integrating such a library, let me know.  If you believe it would be better for the spec to be shared but not the code, let me know as well.

B3. EWMHbus: worth extending to a full set of EWMH abilities?  Worth rewriting in C?  Would anyone really use it?

C. Other things

I used to have a script which wrote most of the Metacity Journal for me, and it would include mentions of Metacity on blogs, and translation commits, and so on.  That script has rusted, which is a shame; maybe I should bring it back and generalise it so other projects could use it.  Several translation commits were made this week, anyway.  Thank you all.

Photo © Bushtick, cc-by-nc-sa.

Recent happenings in Metacity and Mutter

Mother and ChildHere’s a quick round-up of interesting goings-on in the Metacity and Mutter worlds this week.

Photo © Tiara, cc-by-nc-sa.

Recent Mutter and Metacity activity

"Monumento à Mãe" StatueHere’s a quick roundup of recent happenings with Mutter and Metacity.

Photo © Fernando Ariotti, cc-by-nc-nd.

2009-02-02: Metacity Journal

The Peahen, St Albans. Photo by Gary Houston, public domain.
It’s that journal thing again.


    They just keep piling up, don’t they?

  • GNOME bug 163023 – claimed no longer relevant
  • GNOME bug 310842 – prefixes, squib from a few days back: what’s the use case?
  • GNOME bug 339692 – possible patch; compiz doesn’t like it
  • GNOME bug 387139 – possibly actually a gedit issue
  • GNOME bug 549886 – property notification has been refactored
  • GNOME bug 552303, GNOME bug 552307, GNOME bug 552973 – leaks, plugged
  • GNOME bug 555909 – alt-tab fixups should get into 2.26
  • GNOME bug 568365 – longstanding crasher about colourmaps fixed
  • GNOME bug 569289 – metacity should restart when it crashes. (If! If it crashes!)
  • GNOME bug 569654 – Screwtape finds silly restrictions on border radius
  • GNOME bug 569658 – gconf error from last release
  • GNOME bug 569812 – undecorating maximised windows leaves a gap; patch; needs testing
  • GNOME bug 570044 – apparently disabling gconf loses the titlebar buttons!
  • GNOME bug 570047 – autotools fix needed
  • GNOME bug 570070 – should alt-tab allow scroll wheel input?
  • GNOME bug 570079 – replace alt-tab entirely (oh, this has to be tomorrow’s squib)
  • GNOME bug 570130 – another leak
  • GNOME bug 570203 – your chronicler has a bad feeling about this one, hard to pin down
  • GNOME bug 570275 – yet another autotools fix needed
  • GNOME bug 570283 – careless use of curly brackets, fixed

Checkins on branches/rpnparser

Checkins on trunk


Photo: The Peahen, St Albans. Photo by Gary Houston, public domain.

Metacity Journal: 2009-01-27

Your chronicler is once again reminded to overhaul this script. Those who are reading this from other projects– would you be interested in a copy when it’s more polished?


As ever, feel free to join these conversations.

  • GNOME bug 171174 Xephyr crash– is this still a problem?
  • GNOME bug 437910 option to switch resize/menu keys, often asked for; will someone test this patch who isn’t Thomas?
  • GNOME bug 475038 applications should open on the workspace you launch them from
  • GNOME bug 504729 alt-tab speed (today’s squib)
  • GNOME bug 518712 not sure I understand this well enough to summarise; some GL problem with the compositor
  • GNOME bug 521914 switch to using Zenity– research continues on how to replicate current behaviour; today, transience
  • GNOME bug 531512 someone thinks freedesktop should move EWMH efforts onto dbus
  • GNOME bug 549886 refactoring of window property handlers completed; some more optimisation is certainly possible, though
  • GNOME bug 569289 metacity’s desktop file should ask for it to be restarted automatically
  • GNOME bug 569366 too many expose events when switching desktops

Inbox Zero

1 day passed from when there were 447 bugs; there are still 445 from yesterday, because new ones have been opened in the meantime; if this continues we will need 7 months. Still on target, though.

Checkins on trunk


A bit short on links this time.  Post something in your own blog about Metacity– either something you’ve read here or something you come up with independently– and we’ll notice and (probably) link it here.  And it’s always good when people link us so we get more readers joining in discussions: link away!

Till we meet again, gentle reader, farewell.

Photo: The Cricketers, St Albans. Photo by Gary Houston, public domain.

Metacity Journal: 2009-01-25

The Inn on the Park, St Albans. Photo by Gary Houston, public domain.Your chronicler attempted to produce this version of the Metacity Journal using the old script; however, it had not run for so long that it listed hundreds of changes. Therefore it was largely pared down by hand, and only the changes from the last few days have been mentioned. If you’d like to dive in on any of these discussions, please do so!


  • GNOME bug 567757 – live preview in alt-tab – the current bug of the day
  • GNOME bug 425899 – clock swings confuse resizes. _NET_WM_MOVERESIZE_CANCEL is now in trunk, but the reporter says that doesn’t fix the problem.
  • GNOME bug 553981 – patch was committed ages ago, should have been closed
  • GNOME bug 526723 – also fixed ages ago
  • GNOME bug 339692 – possibly a struts issue
  • GNOME bug 555909 – should the frontmost transient get focus by default? (Yes.)
  • GNOME bug 445479 – edge resistance is currently in pixels; should really be in millimetres
  • GNOME bug 475038 – the launcher should be telling us on which workspace a program should appear
  • GNOME bug 513866 – does anyone know how to make keybinding translations work?
  • GNOME bug 437910 – switch resize and menu buttons; patch written; will probably go in

Tobias Mueller has been very helpfully closing bugs which are INCOMPLETE.

Inbox Zero
0 days passed from when there were 447 bugs; there are now 445; if this continues we will need 7 months. On target.

Checkins on various branches

There’s been some work on veracity (a test system), and a few other “labs” ideas, checked into svn branches. Veracity will need to be working before some of the bugs we currently have can be closed.

    Checkins on trunk

      Too many to list this time.

      Photo: The Inn on the Park, St Albans. Photo by Gary Houston, public domain.

      2008-12-23: Metacity Journal

      Listen to this.

      • The patch in GNOME bug 482354 (the one about windows which present to other workspaces, which almost every distro has included) was finally committed.
      • GNOME bug 83892, double-click to close, is still being argued over; your chronicler would like to hear some usability experts discuss the reasons given for its inclusion.
      • GNOME bug 565241 is a small change to Atlanta, the default theme.
      • GNOME bug 160311, requesting the ability to change border sizes independently of the theme, has finally gained a patch which may well be included.
      • GNOME bug 345233 has the rather pleasant idea that “Take a screenshot” should be added to the window menu.
      • GNOME bug 343824 is a request for the default maximisation keybinding to be a toggle, which seems reasonable.
      • GNOME bug 564343, Launchpad bug 298463, and others have said there’s a problem with the print screen button on some distributions.  Still trying to track this one down.
      • GNOME bug 565409 believes there should be an option for alt-Tab to display all windows on all workspaces all the time.  What do you think?

      We’re not doing the “around the blogs” section this time because they’re mostly repeats of what’s gone before.

      2008-11-23: Metacity Journal


      • GNOME bug 550670 led to the discovery of GNOME bug 561911, which is also possibly related to GNOME bug 513944, that errors happen because of graphics contexts being of different depths.
      • Launchpad bug 296757: gdesklets and Metacity’s compositor apparently don’t play nicely.
      • GNOME bug 344072: It has been suggested that alt-Esc should be removed, and alt-Tab should depend on the state of the reduced_resources flag: if it’s TRUE, it behaves as alt-Esc does now, with no popup, and if FALSE, it behaves as alt-Tab does at present.  Gentle reader, what do you think?
      • GNOME bug 99335: Should ctrl-alt-del bring up some kind of logout dialogue?  (It does on Ubuntu.)
      • GNOME bug 560990: Compilation without the compositor turned on is broken in various ways.  This needs fixing soon.
      • GNOME bug 351647: Some kind of command-line option to choose which screens Metacity comes up on might be a good idea.

      Things that need writing

      Thomas has been working on a test suite for a while, but it’s not ready yet.

      Also, before Vectacity gets anywhere near usable, we need to start with an editor.

      Around the blogs

      2008-11-11: fullscreen, focus and so on

      Listen to this.

      Welcome back, gentle reader, to the Metacity Journal, which now talks to you over your cornflakes.  This may not be a long-term feature, but your chronicler thought it worth trying.

      It’s been a quiet few days in the world of Metacity, but here’s the latest news.  As ever, feel free to dive in on any of the bugs mentioned.

      The recent post about why window matching is currently impossible brings up a chicken-and-egg question.  The window manager doesn’t do window matching because it’s nearly impossible, since windows don’t identify themselves, but windows don’t identify themselves because there’s no need, since the window manager doesn’t support it.  Perhaps adding window matching as an experimental option would help persuade people to add the GTK call to enable window matching in their programs.  Meanwhile, Thomas has suggested making these changes as a new GNOME Goal.

      There has been some offlist discussion about reviving Vectacity, the SVG-based branch.  This would make theme editing a fair amount simpler.

      Recent bugs

      • GNOME bug 560142: AisleRiot and Metacity arguing over fullscreen mode.
      • GNOME bug 533277: session restoration problems
      • GNOME bug 524468: problem with the screenshot button reported; Thomas cannot reproduce it
      • GNOME bug 487356: there are focus issues if a buried window is fullscreen.  This is quite important to fix and is currently at the top of the hitlist.

      Around the blogs

      And that’s all until next time.

      2008-10-29: Metacity Journal

      Another day, another Metacity Journal, and your chronicler still has not resurrected the script.


      As ever, feel free to dive in with any of these.

      • GNOME bug 558058, Launchpad bug 258054, and possibly Launchpad bug 266929 were obscure bugs caused by dereferencing the values of GConf keys which are never null on a properly-configured system; changes in GDM allowed Metacity to be run sometimes without values for these keys, exposing the crashes.  Now fixed.
      • GNOME bug 558309: Leonardo Ferreira Fontenelle noted that some names of variables weren’t double-quoted in error messages.  Now fixed.
      • GNOME bug 557921: Lennart Poettering suggests adding sound effects to Metacity.  What are your thoughts, gentle reader?

      Around the blogs

      There was a lot of discussion about theme patriation on gtk-list for apps such as icanhasedit; almost all the responses were negative.  This diverged into a discussion about window matching, which Thomas has promised a blog post on soon.

      Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
      This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.