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GNOME

GNOME Desktop: Security Internship, History of GNOME and People Who Work on librsvg

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GNOME
  • GNOME Security Internship - Update 5

    This project started with a simple on/off switch in control center that entirely enabled or disabled the USB protection. A respectively so called always on and always off.

    Later on we introduced a smarter protection level that was active only when the user session was locked.

    While an always on protection seemed a good idea on paper it turned out that the advantages compared to the lock screen protection were very slim.

    When the screen is locked both protections have the same behaviour. They only differentiate when the user session is unlocked.

  • Pick a clock, any clock.

    After listening to the latest episode of Emmanuel’s podcast on the History of GNOME, nostalgia got the better of me, and I decided to dig out the GNOME 1.4 usability study that we ran at Sun Microsystems in March 2001, and make it available online again.

  • Who wrote librsvg?

    The shitty thing about a gradual rewrite is that a few people end up "owning" all the lines of source code. Hopefully this post is a little acknowledgment of the people that made librsvg possible.

    The charts are made with the incredible tool git-of-theseus — thanks to @norwin@mastodon.art for digging it up! Its README also points to a Hercules plotter with awesome graphs. You know, for if you needed something to keep your computer busy during the weekend.

Events: LCA Talks and GNOME Workshop in Faridabad

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OSS
GNOME
  • Saving birds with technology

    Two members of the Cacophony Project came to linux.conf.au 2019 to give an overview of what the project is doing to increase the amount of bird life in New Zealand. The idea is to use computer vision and machine learning to identify and eventually eliminate predators in order to help bird populations; one measure of success will be the volume and variety of bird song throughout the islands. The endemic avian species in New Zealand evolved without the presence of predatory mammals, so many of them have been decimated by the predation of birds and their eggs. The Cacophony Project is looking at ways to reverse that.

  • Mozilla's initiatives for non-creepy deep learning

    Jack Moffitt started off his 2019 linux.conf.au talk by calling attention to Facebook's "Portal" device. It is, he said, a cool product, but raises an important question: why would anybody in their right mind put a surveillance device made by Facebook in their kitchen? There are a lot of devices out there — including the Portal — using deep-learning techniques; they offer useful functionality, but also bring a lot of problems. We as a community need to figure out a way to solve those problems; he was there to highlight a set of Mozilla projects working toward that goal.
    He defined machine learning as the process of making decisions and/or predictions by modeling from input data. Systems using these techniques can perform all kinds of tasks, including language detection and (bad) poetry generation. The classic machine-learning task is spam filtering, based on the idea that certain words tend to appear more often in spam and can be used to detect unwanted email. With more modern neural networks, though, there is no need to do that sort of feature engineering; the net itself can figure out what the interesting features are. It is, he said, "pretty magical".

  • Lisp and the foundations of computing

    At the start of his linux.conf.au 2019 talk, Kristoffer Grönlund said that he would be taking attendees back 60 years or more. That is not quite to the dawn of computing history, but it is close—farther back than most of us were alive to remember. He encountered John McCarthy's famous Lisp paper [PDF] via Papers We Love and it led him to dig deeply into the Lisp world; he brought back a report for the LCA crowd.

    Grönlund noted that this was his third LCA visit over the years. He was pleased that his 2017 LCA talk "Package managers all the way down" was written up in LWN. He also gave his "Everyone gets a pony!" talk at LCA 2018. He works for SUSE, which he thanked for sending him to the conference, but the company is not responsible for anything in the talk, he said with a grin.

  • Shobha Tyagi: Workshop on Road to Become a GNOME/Open Source Contributor

    On Friday 18, January 2019, We organised the workshop on Road to Become a GNOME/ Open Source Contributor at Department of Computer Science and Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Manav Rachna International Institute of Research & Studies, Faridabad.

24 Excellent GNOME Extensions (Updated)

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GNOME

Freedom of choice is a central plank of open source software, and it’s very relevant when choosing and configuring a desktop environment. One of Linux’s best features is its modularity.

Extensibility relates to the ability to customize a desktop environment to an individual’s preferences and tastes. This flexibility is offered by themes, extensions, and applets.

GNOME ships with a System Settings tool which isn’t as diverse as some of its peers. There’s still useful options such as a simple way to enable remote access and file sharing. If you’re serious about customizing GNOME, you’ll need the GNOME Tweaks utility. It’s not an official GNOME app, but it offers some advanced tinkering. But when it comes to micro-configuring the GNOME desktop to your preference, Tweaks still leaves us asking for more. Fortunately, there’s an awesome range of extensions that provide additional functionality.

Here’s our recommended GNOME shell extensions. Most of the extensions are not officially supported by GNOME. But they all take the desktop to the next level, either by adding useful functionality, improving your workflow, or simply offering a touch of panache to the desktop. All the extensions all compatible with the latest release of GNOME. Naturally there’s only open source goodness on offer.

The extensions are best installed from the gnome-shell extensions website. Some extensions are installed by default with Linux distributions.

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Nautilus Exif, PDF And Audio Metadata Tag Columns Extension For Ubuntu

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GNOME
Ubuntu

These metadata tags added by the Nautilus Columns extension are not only useful for a quickly look at some particular audio, pdf or image information from the Nautilus list view, but also to sort some files by a particular metadata tag column to easily identify the files you're looking for.

Nautilus Columns is currently maintained by Spanish blogger Atareao, and it only supports English, Spanish and Galician languages.

Judging from the extension code, it's also supposed to support some video formats as well, but no information was shown for such files on my Ubuntu 18.10 desktop, so it probably needs some fixes in this area. Audio, PDF and Exif metadata was displayed with no issues on my Ubuntu 18.10 desktop.

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GNOME Desktop/GTK: Gnome Shell Extension for Chromecast, GTK Hackfest in Brussels, GTK+ Renamed to GTK and New in GNOME Photos

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GNOME
  • Stream Videos, Music And Pictures From Gnome To Chromecast With Cast To TV Extension (v6 And v7 Released)

    If you own a Chromecast device and you're using Gnome Shell, you should give Cast to TV a try. This Gnome Shell extension adds a new entry in the system menu which allows casting local files to Chromecast or other devices over the local network.

  • Report from the GTK hackfest in Brussels

    Thanks to the GNOME Foundation, various GTK developers were able to meet in Brussels right after FOSDEM, for one of our yearly hackfests.

  • GTK+ No More - It's Just GTK As Developers Prepare For This Year's GTK 4.0

    Beyond the FOSDEM conference itself this past week in Brussels, GNOME developers also used the occasion once again for hosting a developer "hackfest" as they prepare for the home stretch in GTK 4.0 development.

    First up, the developers did decide this week to do away with "GTK+" with the project formally just going by "GTK" now... The "plus" is no more. "The "plus" was added to "GTK" once it was moved out of the GIMP sources tree and the project gained utilities like GLib and the GTK type system, in order to distinguish it from the previous, in-tree version. Very few people are aware of this history, and it's kind of confusing from the perspective of both newcomers and even expert users; people join the wrong IRC channel, the URLs on wikis are fairly ugly, etc."

  • GTK+ renamed to GTK

    The GTK+ toolkit project has, after extensive deliberation, decided to remove the "+" from its name.

  • GNOME Photos: an overview of zooming

    One thing that I really wanted from the beginning was smooth zooming. When the user clicks one of the zoom buttons or presses a keyboard shortcut, the displayed image should smoothly flow in and out instead of jumping to the final zoom level — similar to the way the image smoothly shrinks in to make way for the palette when editing, and expands outwords once done. See this animated mock-up from Jimmac to get an idea.

    For the zooming to be smooth, we need to generate a number of intermediate zoom levels to fill out the frames in the animation. We have to dish out something in the ballpark of sixty different levels every second to be perceived as smooth because that’s the rate at which most displays refresh their screens. This would have been easier with the 5 to 20 megapixel images generated by smart-phones and consumer-grade digital SLRs; but just because we want things to be slick, it doesn’t mean we want to limit ourselves to the ordinary! There is high-end equipment out there producing images in excess of a hundred megapixels and we want to robustly handle those too.

    Downscaling by large factors is tricky. When we are aiming to generate sixty frames per second, there’s less than 16.67 milliseconds for each intermediate zoom level. All we need is a slightly big zoom factor that stresses the CPU and main memory just enough to exceed our budget and break the animation. It’s a lot more likely to happen than a pathological case that crashes the process or brings the system to a halt.

GNOME 3.31.90 Released

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GNOME
  • GNOME 3.31.90 released

    Hi developers and testers,

    GNOME 3.31.90 is now available. This is the first beta release for GNOME 3.32. To ensure the quality of the final release, we have entered feature freeze, UI freeze, and API freeze, so now is a good time for distributors planning to ship GNOME 3.32 to start testing the packages.

    If you want to compile GNOME 3.31.90, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot. Thanks to BuildStream's build sandbox, it should build reliably for you regardless of your host system:

    https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.31.90/gnome-3.31.90.tar.xz

    The list of updated modules and changes is available here:

    https://download.gnome.org/core/3.31/3.31.90/NEWS

    The source packages are available here:

    https://download.gnome.org/core/3.31/3.31.90/sources/

    WARNING!
    --------
    This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development status.

    For more information about 3.31, the full schedule, the official module lists and the proposed module lists, please see our 3.31 wiki page:

    https://www.gnome.org/start/unstable

    Michael

  • GNOME 3.32 Beta Released With Performance Improvements, Last Minute Features

    GNOME 3.31.90 has been released as what is effectively the GNOME 3.32 beta and also marks the feature/UI/API freezes for this next half-year update to the GNOME desktop.

  • GNOME 3.32 Desktop Environment Enters Beta, Final Release Arrives March 13th

    The GNOME Project announced today the release of the first beta version of the upcoming GNOME 3.32 desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems.

    The GNOME 3.32 Beta release (GNOME 3.31.90) is right on the schedule and it's now available for public testing. It's a major milestone in the development cycle of the GNOME 3.32 desktop environment updating numerous components and apps. A detailed changelog is available here.

    "This is the first beta release for GNOME 3.32. To ensure the quality of the final release, we have entered feature freeze, UI freeze, and API freeze, so now is a good time for distributors planning to ship GNOME 3.32 to start testing the packages," said Michael Catanzaro in an email announcement.

Black is Back: GNOME Shell Ditches Translucent Top Panel

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GNOME

Prepare to bid bye-bye to the fancy translucent top panel in the GNOME Shell desktop environment.

GNOME developers have removed the eye-candy see-through panel effect from the default Shell theme’s code, citing outstanding (and unaddressed) issues with text legibility.

“Nobody stepped up to address those issues in two years, so revert back to the fully opaque top bar”, GNOME dev Florian Müllner explains in a commit.

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GNOME 3.32 Gives Users More Say Over What Apps Can Access

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GNOME

Users can look forward to greater control over installed applications in the upcoming release of GNOME 3.32.

A new ‘Applications‘ panel has been created by developers that offers users more control over the majority of locally installed applications, including Flatpak and repo apps, and on a per-app basis.

Naturally a much wider range of settings are surfaced for installed Flatpak apps. Given that the fledgling format has more fine-tuned permissions model, this isn’t a surprise.

Switches to control access to your local files, system integration, notifications are present, along with a link to control permissions via the Privacy section. There’s also ‘Usage’ section that shows you how much space a given app is taking up.

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GNOME Settings: more GNOME, more settings

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GNOME

Before deep diving into the more extensive architectural changes that I’ve been working on GNOME Shell and Mutter, let’s take a moment to highlight the latest changes to GNOME Settings.

Being the (co)maintainer of Settings for a full year now, the development pace has been great so far. I would go as far as to say that the project is healthy and sustainable now. The shared maintainership model that we adopted allows us to decrease the review time, and yet make sure that every single contribution is reviewed by at least one maintainer.

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Shortwave – GTK3 internet radio software

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Software
GNOME

I recently explored the virtues of odio, a cross-platform radio streaming software that pulls 20,000 stations from a community database, radio-browser.info. Sadly, odio is not released under an open source license, although its developer is considering reviewing the position.

If you’ve a strong commitment to using open source software, is there a good alternative to odio? Step forward Shortwave, a quirky name for software that streams radio stations over the net. Like odio, Shortwave uses the radio-browser.info community database.

Shortwave was previously known as Gradio. Shortwave is its latest reincarnation. Whereas Gradio was written in the Vala programming language, Shortwave is a rewrite in the Rust programming language.

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