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GNOME

GNOME Devs Experiment with a Refreshed GTK & Icon Theme

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GNOME

Now, if you’re a regular reader of this site then may recall our post on a new GNOME icon theme back in July. At the time only a handful of core GNOME apps had been given newly redesigned icons.

Fast forward a season or so and not only is the give-core-apps-new-icons initiative well underway, but the redesign effort has extended to other parts of the desktop experience, including the default theme.

Modernising the look and feel of GNOME apps and the shell is a) a bit overdue and Cool happening as part of a wider update to GNOME design guidelines. The idea is to give the desktop a distinct yet consistent appearance.

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GNOME and GStreamer

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GNOME
  • Week 1 of GNOME usability testing

    The Outreachy internship started this week! For this cycle, we are joined by Clarissa, who will help us with usability testing in GNOME.

    I wanted to share our progress in the internship. I hope to provide regular status updates on our work.

  • Web overlay in GStreamer with WPEWebKit

    After a year or two of hiatus I attended the GStreamer conference which happened in beautiful Edinburgh. It was great to meet the friends from the community again and learn about what’s going on in the multimedia world. The quality of the talks was great, the videos are published online as usual in Ubicast. I delivered a talk about the Multimedia support in WPEWebKit, you can watch it there and the slides are also available.

    One of the many interesting presentations was about GStreamer for cloud-based live video. Usually anything with the word cloud would tend to draw my attention away but for some reason I attended this presentation, and didn’t regret it! The last demo presented by the BBC folks was about overlaying Web content on native video streams. It’s an interesting use-case for live TV broadcasting for instance. A web page provides dynamic notifications popping up and down, the web page is rendered with a transparent background and blended over the live video stream. The BBC folks implemented a GStreamer source element relying on CEF for their Brave project.

  • GStreamer’s playbin3 overview for application developers

    Multimedia applications based on GStreamer usually handle playback with the playbin element. I recently added support for playbin3 in WebKit. This post aims to document the changes needed on application side to support this new generation flavour of playbin.

    So, first of, why is it named playbin3 anyway? The GStreamer 0.10.x series had a playbin element but a first rewrite (playbin2) made it obsolete in the GStreamer 1.x series. So playbin2 was renamed to playbin. That’s why a second rewrite is nicknamed playbin3, I suppose Smile

GNOME: Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo", Daniel García Moreno and Amber

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GNOME
  • GNOME Shell In Ubuntu 19.04 Should Be Faster, Ubuntu Devs Still Working On New Installer

    Being more than a month past the Ubuntu 18.10 release, development on Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo" is progressing at full-speed.

    Ubuntu 19.04 is starting to take shape with more changes queuing for this next six-month installment to Ubuntu Linux. Over the past week in particular have been several development changes/additions worth pointing out from their development summary.

  • I tried and I failed.

    This summer, during the GUADEC 2018, the GNOME foundation announces some job positions. One of that job was for a Gtk+ core developer. I tried to get that job and after a long period I was rejected.

    The final developer selected for this possition is Emmanuel Bassi, a very active developer in the core of GNOME and the one that's behind the great The History of GNOME Podcast.

    To be honest, I really wanted that job. It's a dream job for me, working fulltime in a free software project, by a foundation, with the great GNOME technology and community.

    But I've to say that just when I saw the foundation announcement about this position I thought about ebassi, because as far as I know, he's the best one to do that job. In any case, I wanted to give a try and go for that job, I didn't know about other people going for it, so maybe I can do it.

  • Amber Is A Cool Ambiance-Inspired Gtk / Gnome Shell Theme

    Amber is a Gtk+ 3, Gtk+ 2 and Gnome Shell theme inspired by Ubuntu's Ambiance theme.

    Amber uses slightly different colors than Ambiance, and no gradients for the applications toolbar, while still reminding of the ex-default Ubuntu theme (Ambiance was default until Ubuntu 18.10, when the default theme was changed to Yaru).

    Designed by Mattias (lassekongo83), known for his work on the beautiful Zuki themes, Amber "is almost finished", with some polishing being on the todo list, or so it says on its repository page. The theme looks great on my Ubuntu 18.10 desktop (with Gtk 3.24 and Gnome Shell 3.30), and I've been using it for about a week with no issues.

Flatpaks in Fedora – now live

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Red Hat
GNOME

I’m pleased to announce that we now have full initial support for Flatpak creation in Fedora infrastructure: Flatpaks can be built as containers, pushed to testing and stable via Bodhi, and installed by users from registry.fedoraproject.org through the command line, GNOME Software, or KDE Discover.

The goal of this work has been to enable creating Flatpaks from Fedora packages on Fedora infrastructure – this will expand the set of Flatpaks that are available to all Flatpak users, provide a runtime that gets updates as bugs and security fixes appear in Fedora, and provide Fedora users, especially on Fedora Silverblue, with an out-of-the-box set of Flatpak applications enabled by default.

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KDE and GNOME Leftovers

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KDE
GNOME
  • Necuno To Launch Linux-Based Smartphone With KDE Plasma Mobile

    The world of smartphones is largely divided by two OS: Android and iOS. But now, open source enthusiasts who are unhappy with those two choices will soon get a third option with the upcoming GNU/Linux-based phone.

    Necuno has unveiled its plans of releasing an open-source alternative to iOS and Android phones. The company has teamed up with KDE, maker of the Plasma desktop for Linux and Plasma Mobile interface, to make the Linux based smartphone.

  • KDE Plasma Now Allows Configuring IP Tunnel Settings Plus A Ton Of Other Improvements

    The KDE developers haven't slowed down at all due to the winter holidays approaching but rather there is a ton of great improvements and new features with their next round of software releases.

  • Better Room History in Fractal

    Over past month I’ve been sponsored by Purism to work on improving the message view in Fractal. This post will highlight the biggest and most interesting changes.

    The first thing I improved was how older messages are added to the message view when scrolling back. Before, there was a jarring cut when new messages were loaded, but now you can just scroll upward and older messages are loaded continuously. This makes it much easier to search for a message in the history, because there are no sudden jumps when messages are added to the list. In the video you can see the how the smooth history loading works.

Frogr 1.5 released

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Software
GNOME

Not many changes this time, but some of them hopefully still useful for some people, such as the empty initial state that is now shown when you don’t have any pictures, as requested a while ago already by Nick Richards (thanks Nick!), or the removal of the applications menu from the shell’s top panel (now integrated in the hamburger menu), in line with the “App Menu Retirement” initiative.

Then there were some fixes here and there as usual, and quite so many updates to the translations this time, including a brand new translation to Icelandic! (thanks Sveinn).

So this is it this time, I’m afraid. Sorry there’s not much to report and sorry as well for the long time that took me to do this release, but this past year has been pretty busy between hectic work at Endless the first time of the year, a whole international relocation with my family to move back to Spain during the summer and me getting back to work at Igalia as part of the Chromium team, where I’m currently pretty busy working on the Chromium Servicification project (which is material for a completely different blog post of course).

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What about Gnome apps then?

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GNOME

Strangely, if we look at the Gnome desktop applications, it comes short, but not that much more than KDE, albeit for very different reasons. Gnome does a few areas really well, like accessibility, image editing, instant messaging, mail, and screenshots. But all these happen to be applications designed before Gnome 3, which makes for a curious pitch. In other areas, the desktop environment is severely lacking, like the office suite, browser and education. Much like Plasma, it also struggles with media and package management.

Again, you may think I’m being negative. Nope. My overall usage arsenal is a mix between Gnome and Plasma, which shows that neither of these desktop environments fully satisfies my needs, and I’m sure the same is true for the needs of many other users. The Gnome desktop environment has lost a big part of its popularity and edge recently, whereby visual minimalism also impacts functionality. This would be fine if there was a range of excellent, complete programs to compensate for the desktop shell changes, but this is not the case. In turn, this makes Gnome 3 feel fragmented, bland and with sub-par software that does not really excite. Except the hardy veterans that still march on, years and years later, a testament of smart, elegant design and wicked functionality.

Much like KDE – in fact more so – Gnome comes with a lot of small, single-purpose programs that are just inadequate, so you’re most likely to just ignore them. All in all, the Gnome application stack is need of some serious revamp. Most of the new programs aren’t that exciting or useful, the old ones are pretty robust and just need some visual realignment, but the rest of the stuff is unnecessary. Also, Gnome needs to work hard in creating content in some of the categories, as it does not exist today, making the whole desktop experience rather disjointed.

The solution would be to unite all the different desktops and projects, eliminate all the overhead of developing the same thing nine times over, and create an ultimate punch that has everything, alas this is not likely to happen any time soon. Which means that most people will end up using curious recipes, with something like 30% Plasma, 15% Gnome, and 55% third-party stuff. That’s fine, but that’s also 55% missed opportunity to create a unique and lasting identity with the users. One can dream, though.

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GNOME On Wayland Will Now Work Correctly For Non-60Hz Refresh Rates

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GNOME

It's been a busy week in GNOME's Mutter space as in addition to the GPU hot-plugging and DisplayLink improvements, Mutter when running as a Wayland compositor will now behave correctly when setup for non-60Hz display refresh rates.

Up to now when GNOME was running on Wayland it has basically been stuck to a 60Hz fake vsync refresh rate, but now it's able to query hardware presentation times and support swap throttling for working better in the growing world outside of 60Hz refresh rate displays. Of course, GNOME on the X.Org Server hasn't had such issues.

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Desktop Icons Gnome Shell Extension 1.0 Release Candidate Available

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GNOME

Nautilus lots its desktop icons feature with version 3.28. This functionality was brought back in Gnome via a new Desktop Icons extension, which had a first beta release back in August.

The Desktop Icons extension is getting closer to its 1.0 stable version, with a release candidate being published on the Gnome Shell Extensions website yesterday.

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GNOME: GNOME's Mutter On Wayland, Rust Loves GNOME Hackfest and Federico Mena-Quintero on Propagating Errors

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GNOME
  • GNOME's Mutter On Wayland Will Now Support GPU Hot-Plugging

    GNOME's Mutter compositor native back-end will now deal with GPU hot-plugging at run-time and begin managing its display outputs.

    GPU hot-plugging isn't particularly common but this Mutter backend work was done to improve the USB DisplayLink graphics support. This GPU hotplug code may also help external GPUs like those connected via Thunderbolt.

  • Rust loves GNOME Hackfest

    Last week I was in Thessaloniki, Greece for the GNOME+Rust Hackfest #4. I liked the city, but sadly during the weekend we had really bad weather, and it was much colder then I excepted. The hackfest itself was awesome though. The thing I liked the most was starting to contribute to new projects. I guess it’s so much easier to get started when you have the maintainer sitting next to you and you can bother them with your silly questions Wink.

    I had some time to do sightseeing as well. The city has a long and interesting history. Everybody who goes to Thessaloniki should go to one of the most known monuments of the city: the white tower. It gives you a pretty good overview of the history of the city. And also the panorama view you get on top of the building is really good.

  • Federico Mena-Quintero: Propagating Errors

    Lately, I have been converting the code in librsvg that handles XML from C to Rust. For many technical reasons, the library still uses libxml2, GNOME's historic XML parsing library, but some of the callbacks to handle XML events like start_element, end_element, characters, are now implemented in Rust. This has meant that I'm running into all the cases where the original C code in librsvg failed to handle errors properly; Rust really makes it obvious when that happens.

    In this post I want to talk a bit about propagating errors. You call a function, it returns an error, and then what?

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