GNOME Summit Wrap Up: openSUSE perspective

Owen Taylor of gtk (and these days mugshot) fame wrote up a nice summary of the GNOME summit for days 1, 2, 3

A few things I want to highlight from an openSUSE perspective:

1) Pulseaudio

Takashi has had it packaged for a while now, but its not being used by default in 10.3. It provides an esound compat layer, so the adventurous amongst you might try to install it on 10.3/Factory and replace esound. Other desktop and sound system setup info is also available. There are some older screenshots. You may be wondering user wise what you get, the highlights: you get better PnP audio (plug in your USB headphones and the sound output switches), per app volume control, network transparency (stream it to bonjour devices), and you get to never have to wonder about the difference between “Master” and “Master Mono” and cryptically named alsa and oss devices.

This is also me poking Lennart to get a 0.9.7 release out and pointing you to his blog for more info.

2) PolicyKit (and the clock applet)

The guys at RedHat have taken the international clock applet from SLED (which is also in 10.3) and used PolicyKit to enable user to set the time (the UI is more polished already). The authentication for the privilege is done by talking to PolicyKit which is configured by a simple xml file (‘man PolicyKit.conf’ on 10.3). Authentication requirements can range from biometric authorizations, root password, user password (ala OS X), no additional auth needed etc and can be per user/group. PolicyKit exists in 10.3, but its not leveraged very much. In the future however PackageKit and NetworkManager will use it and there are a whole raft of other things we could tie it too to simplify administration in the desktop such as printing, bluetooth, scanners, sound, network configuration with NetworkManager, etc. The latest and greatest requires a new dbus that Timo should be checking in shortly to Factory.

This is me prodding Timo to start blogging again.

3) PackageKit

Very nice demo of PackageKit. Definitely worth exploring in the openSUSE 11.0 time frame. The dream of installing a package by swiping your finger on the finger print reader is nearly a reality. This could save us the trouble of maintaining our own opensuse-updater applets. Need to explore how much effort it would be to write a libzypp backend, Josh and Justin were looking into it, not sure how far they got.

This is me prodding Josh to start blogging again.

4) Accessibility

Sat with the a11y guys for a few hours to determine exactly how broken our a11y support is in 10.3. Its broken, which is a shame because with GNOME and the yast-gtk module you should be able to do everything on an installed desktop, including administering it, with accessbility support. HPJ and I are tracking down the bugs to hopefully ship some updates for 10.3. We are not experts on this subject however, so if you are interesting in helping out, please join the #opensuse-gnome irc channels and the opensuse-gnome@opensuse.org mailing list. Long term I’d like to see if we can turn a11y on at the gdm login screen by default at least for 11.0.

Just of the few potential tasty bits for 11.0.

Boyd was also kind enough to record my winning shot in the Novell vs RedHat Desktop Managers pool competition. jrb did put up good fight though.

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Overheard at the GNOME Summit

Mother: All the gnomes are gone
Mother (seeing me): Oh, there’s one, we wondered what a gnome would look like

Kids look at me.

Me: Hello

Kids eyes open *very* wide.

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Distributed Version Control

Jon on our OO team wrote a nice article about the usefulness of git workflows (although it would apply equally to any distributed version control system).

N.B. there is an openSUSE GNOME meeting this Thursday at noon EDT, Please add questions and agenda items to the wiki page.

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openSUSE 10.3 and GNOME 2.20

Francis G. aka apokryphos wrote a nice article on GNOME 2.20 and openSUSE 10.3 which will be out in just a couple of weeks.

With 2.20 and the 10 year anniversary of gnome, for nostalgia’s sake I went and dug up what I think was my first patch to GNOME.

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Change and other sorts of Logs

There has been a back and forth on formal ChangeLogs vs vcs commit messages via the GNOME mailing lists. Doing the latter exclusively has never sat well with me because I think it weakens good development practices (at least mine). I find many vcs commit messages lack the detail of ChangeLog commits generated by a workflow involving C-x-4-a in emacs for instance, which makes in easier to document changes on a per function basis, and that makes it easier for others to understand the changes that were made. And documenting on a per function basis forces me to review my patch prior to commit (good practice anyhow, but this puts it in my workflow).

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Plumbing the Pipe

Christian, a leak is certainly possible depending on the version and distro you are running. openSUSE 10.2 had a leak that you need to run the updater for. At one point a big problem was also hal libraries leaking (and when you have to poll, this adds up).

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Culture

For the old Boston 2000-2001 crowd: I resurrected DC in Toronto this year.

Sophisticated, elegant.

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