Avoiding kidnappers; a few rocking contributors; etc.

Thwarting abduction plots

Olav is pretty persistent, isn’t he? Sounds like there may be some co-conspirators in the plot as well. Although such plans would nicely take care of travel expenses for me, I’m thinking maybe I should put some plans together to go and request some official funding in order to be able to travel more comfortably than I assume normal abduction experts would provide. ;-) …even if it does mean a freakin’ long flight and lots of pain to get a visa or whatever is required. :(

Of course, this means coming up with something to present. And, unfortunately, I don’t know how long I have either as that site makes the annoying mistake of not specifying at what time on March 31st that abstracts are due (what? me procrastinate? Never…). So I’d have to do that soon, but am not sure what to cover. Jeff suggested something about how to file more useful Metacity bugs, but I don’t really know how to address that (or at least not enough for a significant talk) since most stuff beyond the basic guidelines often involves code familiarity. It could be cool to do something on Gnome Bugzilla, though Olav would be the more obvious choice for that (maybe we could do a joint presentation though). I’m really not sure what people would want to hear though, having been one of those slackers that hasn’t made it to these conferences before.

Are there things that others are interested in hearing about from the areas I work on? Are there any in particular that would be good for joint presentations or workshops (my talks and lectures tend to be very dry so you’d probably want them to be joint in some way to avoid such pain) My bet: With such a freakin’ long blog post like this, no one reads this and therefore no one responds, and I get to spin it and claim that there wasn’t any interest after all. ;-)

Keeping up with BJörn and Thomas

BJörn and Thomas have been lighting bugzilla up with metacity patches. It’s been very cool, though a bit hard to keep up with them at times. :) BJörn even started helping review other patches which is awesome. Now, if I can get Thomas to do that too… ;) Søren has also been plugging away doing all sorts of work on the compositor, and I think between the three of them, Metacity 2.16 is going to seriously rock — lots of old bugs being exterminated and much OpenGL coolness. :-)

Random odds and ends

  • Looks like I’m now syndicated on the new Utah Open Source Planet. Hi everybody.
  • Finally, at long last, I got the paper on unconditionally stable discretizations of the Immersed Boundary equations finished and submitted. Yaay!
  • Finally caught up on part of the backlog of important emails I have. Still have a bunch. I’m kind of embarrassed that some requests for new modules in bugzilla have sat for so long with no response, among several other things. :(

Is window moving/resizing/minimizing actually faster in Gnome 2.14.0?

According to this review of Gnome 2.14.0

Metacity’s most noticeable improvement is its speed — specifically, a faster redraw of windows when they are resized, moved, or minimized.

There were some changes that should have made it a little faster in 2.12, but the article seems to be contrasting 2.14.0 to 2.12.x. If the reviewer was using AIGLX or GLX and the compositor that’s part of Metacity or Compiz then I would know exactly where this claim is coming from, but it doesn’t look like he is using either from reading the rest of the article. So, I was actually surprised at this claim. I had previously been worried that I had actually slowed it down a little with my changes — but this is definitely making me feel better :) Now, there were a lot of changes that affected moving and resizing, but did they really make that much difference? Or is this an underlying speed increase from pango and gtk (which we use to draw the frames), and I just didn’t notice because I got the small incremental improvements as they were made when Federico et al. beat the performance problems out of those libraries?

While I’m on the subject of Metacity, I recently came up with a highlight list of improvements over 2.12.x, and I thought others might be interested in it:

  • Edge resistance when moving windows (not magnetism; too bad I didn’t notice this mistake in the release notes until too late)
  • Dozens and dozens of moving, resizing, and placement bugs fixed
  • Raise-on-click is a pref now for all you mouse/sloppy focus users
  • Display hostname in titlebar for remote X clients
  • Fixed multiple bugs with multi-head support (which probably eclipsed the xinerama bug fixes done)
  • Real vertical and horizontal maximization exist now
  • Make Alt-Esc really behave as “switch between windows immediately” including showing minimized windows
  • Don’t allow focus stealing from terminals (sadly, some consider this a misfeature; will probably be an option in 2.16.x and be off by default — hopefully that won’t disappoint a certain LWN editor)
  • Real support for –disable-gconf for e.g. embedded systems
  • An –enable-compositor mode that should be workable “if you’re the right kind of person”; not built by default (however, it will be compiled in to FC5 and enable-able & diable-able on the fly with gconf though…)
  • Tons of other miscellaneous bug fixes

Smoketesting Gnome 2.14.0

Want to be the very first to have built Gnome 2.14.0 and try it out to see all the coolness it packs? Well, considering that it’s already more than a few seconds after 23:59 UTC Monday, you’re probably too late to beat seb128. But, he’s not exactly mortal as far as building packages goes, so he shouldn’t count. ;-) Be the first on your block, or maybe even country to try it out. Help us make sure that no nasties crept in. Cure World Hunger. Save the planet. Or something like that.

Vincent has put together a page explaining how to help smoketest the release. Go do it. Now.

Um, I meant back when you read that previous sentence. But if you mend your ways, now should be good enough. :)


Wow, it amazes me how quickly people are able to do hackergotchi’s. I just checked my comments after posting yesterday, and four responses had been gimped up — from “nibblesmx”, “mhitka”, Einar Jørgen Haraldseid, and Jakub Steiner. Thanks everyone! I had my wife look at them and choose her favorite. She picked this one:

Partially missing in action…

Anyone know how to put more hours in the day?

Sorry to everyone that’s had to pick up some slack from me or got responses much slower (or not at all in some cases) over the past few weeks. I know this was a really bad time for me to not be very available, but it wasn’t really avoidable. It hasn’t been quite as bad as I expected, though, and I’ve at least been able to respond randomly and intermittently to some things. Hopefully I should be able to continue to help with some of the release stuff until things start clearing up in another week or so and I can start attacking a long backlog for other stuff…

On a similar note[1], I was supposed to go through my CV a long time ago and make a resume-ified version for free software positions since I want to keep that on the table. Anyone have some good tips on handling that? Maybe I should ping Luis; I remember him posting a similar dilemma a while ago… *sigh* I’ve really sucked at this whole job search thing. I’ve made a couple early contacts but should have done more and started actual applications. But trying to do that and finish my dissertation at the same time my wife is doing her student teaching has been nightmarish and just hasn’t left enough time; it has pushed things so that I decided to shoot for graduation in the Fall instead to give me a little more time. But, such is life I guess. And being too busy is always better than the alternative.