Tuesday 19 April 2011

Get your hot (beta) GNOME 3 distro!

Want a distro with all the best gizmos? systemd, with learning read-ahead for faster boot? GNOME 3 getting out of your way so you can do work? And much more.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Want to debug an old status icon applet?

If you want to debug an "old" status icon when running the GNOME Shell, and it duplicates functionality from a icon in the shell itself (say Bluetooth or Sound volume, in my cases), there's two tricks available.

The shell looks at the WMNAME for the applet when choosing to hide it, or show it.
  • For most applets, gtk_status_icon_set_name() isn't called, we just need to change the binary name. Create a symbolic link to your binary with a different name (say, "test-applet"), and launch your application from that.
  • If the applet calls gtk_status_icon_set_name(), just name it differently. Unfortunately, that will require recompilation.
With those tricks, I fixed the volume status icon for the fallback mode, and helped Frédéric Crozat pin-point a (likely) bug in the Bluetooth menu in the shell, as we could not reproduce the bug with the fallback status icon.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

GNOME 3.0 is out!


Loads of thanks to all the people who have helped, poked, nudged, nagged, and kept me honest for the past 9 months, in no particular order, Rodrigo Moya, Thomas Wood, Jon McCann, Richard Hughes, Luca Ferretti, Giovanni Campagna, Cosimo Cecchi, Matthias Clasen, Florian Müllner, Kjartan Maraas, Sergey Udaltsov and Daniele Forsi, and most likely a number of people that I'm forgetting.

They helped make the System Settings (including my favourite parts, the Bluetooth and Sound panels) what it is in GNOME 3.0.


Monday 4 April 2011

Totem in GNOME 3.0, plans for 3.2

Totem for GNOME 3 is available in the GNOME FTP servers. And now onto GNOME 3.2.

There's a couple of major UI changes planned for Totem 3.2, with designs from the GNOME Design team (and Hylke in particular). These include the removal of the status bar, better fullscreen controls, more contrast when playing movies, etc.

New colours
The changes for contrast are already in Totem itself, and you can grab a 3.2 version of gnome-themes-standard to see the "dark" variant of Totem (or enjoy the screenshot below).

Black Swan, go see it.

New video widget
For the rest of the changes, we needed a video widget that was more flexible than the X-based one we were using. So from Totem 3.2, we'll start using clutter, and clutter-gst.

This means that we'll be able to implement things like OSDs for more than just the fullscreen version, use an indicator in the video directly when buffering for live streams instead of the status bar. It would also allow other useful features, like rotating videos with animations, to preview movies from your phone or camera in landscape mode.

Performance-wise, if you were already using an OpenGL-accelerated desktop, the difference should be minimal, comparing clutter-gst's video sink to an Xv overlay using OpenGL, the major difference being the addition of the videobalance element to the pipeline.

If you don't have OpenGL drivers for your machine, Totem 3.0 will still be maintained, with important bug fixes being backported.

Misc changes
We expect a Grilo plugin making its appearance, which will allow us to focus our bug fixing on the interface parts, rather than having to maintain the code to access various video resources.

We also made changes to the nautilus properties tab, which should make it faster, using Edward's GstDiscoverer.

You can start testing the clutter-based Totem, the dark variant, and the faster nautilus properties right now, in the master branch of Totem in GNOME git.