Progress Meters, quicklists, and number count for the Unity Launcher
Here’s something I’ve been waiting for that I’m sure application authors will enjoy:
We now have an API for applications to leave a progress meter and/or a number on their launcher. The wiki page is a bit sparse so expect more detail there over the coming week.
What we need to do
Well, the first thing I’m working on is getting the wiki page up to shape. We’re going to need examples for different languages, and basically make the page useful for application developers. I’m on that this week. I could use a hand here if someone wants to dig in.
Next, we need people to think about where this is useful. So right away, you’re thinking mail apps, Transmission and Deluge, USC, update-manager, etc.
The library is called libunity, which is the same library you’ll use for Places and stuff, and you can use it in one of two ways:
Directly in your application, just link up to libunity, you’ll notice the the API is similar to app indicators. This is on purpose, so if you’ve already got libindicator support in your app, this should just be additive and straightforward.
For example, right now your application might put a “new message” counter in the messaging menu, this is designed so that you can also just plop the same number right on the launcher icon too.
Or standalone, like the example on the wiki page - this is for you people who want to write little wrapper scripts to monitor something (like say, your mutt instance on a remote server, *hint hint*) (think of the things we could get from byobu running on your server!)
Application developers, we’re looking for feedback for libunity, feel free to file bugs.
How You Can Help
Feel free to start filing bugs in Launchpad for applications to support this. Make sure you tag em “bitesize”, as these will be easy for people to dig into and make work.
Got a favorite application? Link the up to our resources or they can contact us directly if they want help with linking these up.
Other Unity Improvements that Just Landed
Part 2 of the things that landed today are much more user visible, mainly, drag and drop for the Launcher:
Drag stuff into the trash
Being able to drag files onto apps, for example select 4 text files and drag all of them onto the text editor and it will open them all up at once.
Drag any .desktop files right into the launcher, but you can’t drag from the Dash yet, but you will be able to soon. For an example of this drag and drop applications from /usr/share/applications to get an idea.
Drag anything from a GNOME menu, GNOME Panel, and any dock that does xdnd into the launcher (for those of you with frankendesktops) - remember that we already import those launchers on first run.
Because people only land cool stuff after my weekly report:
First off, Marco Trevisan (Treviño) has readded the old autohide behavior to the launcher for those of you that are into that sort of thing. Here’s the video showing you how it works.
Secondly, power keyboard users might want to check out the keyboard shortcuts page. I recently discovered the power of Ctrl-Alt-numpad, I think you’ll dig it.
And lastly, Jason’s made it so that when you drag a certain file type into the launcher the application that launches it stays lit, but the rest “shut off”. So assuming you have say, GIMP and Shotwell in your launcher dragging a .png close to the launcher will keep those lit and the ones that don’t support .png will not be lit. Small, but slick.
In case you didn’t know, you can middle click on window titlebars and they get pushed behind other windows. This can be a very handy window management technique, but now that we’ve welded the title bar with the top panel when a window is maximized this was missing. So thanks to Cando for preserving this bit of “UNIX Law that this feature must exist” on our desktops.
The second bit he’s working on is making it so that when you click on the Trash Can it only opens one window (or focuses it if you have it open but lost it) instead of opening a bunch of trash cans.
The Big List
Here’s the list of bitesize bugs that can be snagged and fixed by anyone who wants to get involved.
If you have any questions feel free to pop by on #ayatana on Freenode.
Other Unity Tidbits
Chris Coulson has landed the application menu work in Thunderbird!
Mat Trudel is continuing his work on multimonitor support in Unity but is probably realizing that this wasn’t bitesize at all. Yum!
Jason’s landed the Launcher API bits, which will allow applications to interact with the launcher better. Things like new mail indicators with a little number, download progress for clients, etc. (More to follow on this in the future)
Mikkel’s been working on the Places API, so expect the wiki page to be updated this week. Once this lands we’ll finally be able to have people implementing some of the great ideas for Places we’ve been collecting. (I’ll have a seperate blogpost about this one later)
Making a better apt.ubuntu.com (translators wanted)
One of the best resources we have (that people seemingly don’t use enough) is apt.ubuntu.com.
In the beginning we tried doing apt:// links, but that required websites and programs supporting it, so now we have a URL that you can just give to a person like http://apt.ubuntu.com/p/banshee, they clicky, and it fires up the Software Center and prompts them to install it.
A new week, a new contributor! This week the team would like to welcome Marco Trevisan (Treviño) to the team.
Marco has two feature improvements to the Unity desktop this week. The first is the notification when you mouse scroll to adjust the volume on the panel. This was covered by OMG!Ubuntu, which has a video if you want to see it in action. More importantly, Marco’s added scroll event support for the entire panel service.
…with Unity coming I consider it as a great chance for improving Ubuntu, making it something of really different that can be freely developed without being too much dependent from other platforms/projects; I’m always interested in knowing new platforms and to improve them (especially where they lack of something I’d need in my user-experience) so I firstly fixed some bugs in gwibber, plugins for synapse, adding markup support to improve indicator-datetime and indicator-sound (with the notify-osd patch).
This week also marks the return of Stefano Candori, who has fixed Bug 688407, which was connecting the Trash can in the launcher to quick lists. (You’ll be able to now right click on the trash can in the launcher and empty it, etc.)
In hindsight the trash can bug was more of a full course meal with dessert than “bitesize”, so it took a while to sort it, so kudos to Cando for his tenacity.
The Big List
We’ve got some good turnover on bugs this week, so a good portion of these are fresh. This list marks the debut of Dash bitesizers and some requests for a little bling, mainly fade effects for the menu bar and window title.
I did a full podcast interview with Amber Graner if you want to listen in on how to get started with fixing these bitesize bugs.
If you have any questions feel free to pop by on #ayatana on Freenode.
Other Unity Tidbits
Two unity releases since last Tuesday! The alpha2 candidates brought good things (lot of bug fixes mainly) and bad as well (like freezes when you got the places installed). The full list is available here.
This release contains the first real Places implementation. Be warned, it’s a real first sketchup of it, quite unstable and not optimized at all. It has some bugs.
In addition to that, a lot of compiz uploads have been processed this week with a tremendous ABI break to handle, fixing finally the decoration sometimes disappearing, bringing other fixes to long standing bugs like the gnome-panel applets crashing, the menu stacking issue,
Some defaults were changed to avoid overlap of the launcher - Everyone needs to do a unity —reset!
The price for all this progress is a new bug where your mouse is grabbed and you can’t interact with anything with it anymore. Investigating it is the top priority after Alpha 2. From what we know, some window appears but is not mapped by compiz. Any info users can provide in that bug would be appreciated. This issue will be mentioned in the Alpha 2 release notes.
There seems to be some issue with LibreOffice as well & unity. Not reproducible for everyone though (unity freezes on the viewport you have LibreOffice opened, decoration doesn’t work, dnd as well…). Needs clarification and more investigation.
Well, you could check out Ubuntu User Days. A full day of user-related tutorials this Friday and some sessions on Saturday night too weekend, depending on where you live.
At 0300UTC (10pm EST) on Saturday Jason Smith and I will be fielding Unity questions for an hour, followed by general “What’s cooking in Ubuntu”, where I’ll field questions on what we’ve been working on for the past few months.
Welcome to another installment of the Unity Bitesize bug report. We’re a little over a week away from Alpha2. In case you missed it, Rick reports that the initial implementation of the Dash has landed.
Sam’s taken care of 2 long-annoying bugs this week. The first is the “menus drawing behind menus”, and bug 705324, which was causing the flash plugin to crash in Chromium repeatedly. This week also saw the death of Bug 693073, which painted an invisible menus in your screen, leading to the impression that your application wasn’t clickable, since there were invisible menus painting over it. This one was so annoying that didrocks uploaded it right away, the other fixes you can expect on Thursday.
Here’s a list of bugs that are Fix Committed, that is fixed in Unity trunk but haven’t been uploaded yet. This is basically “what to expect this Thursday”.
The Hit List
The following bugs need a helping hand, feel free to dive in and fix em up!
Whilst we wait for chromify-osd to go through the Chrome App web store process I thought I’d point out some other ways where we could integrate Unity with the web. Here’s what my current New tab looks like in Chrome:
There are applications I’ve installed. And yeah, Jason Odoom has made a Launchpad application in the Chrome Web Store. Cool huh?
However it doesn’t make sense to me that I have applications in my browser, it’s kind of too … bookmarkesque. Too many of these “html5 apps” are just fancy bookmarks. Here’s what I really want:
When I bookmark a web app, I want it in my launcher. (Or whatever your OS provides). And then when I click it, I want a full blown application:
Note how the Seesmic shortcut launches the web app in Chrome application mode. Clicking on those links spawn another browser process, no weird new tabs interfering with the web app. It behaves like a totally separate application.
This is just a sandboxed version of seesmic.com/app. No adobe air, no dealing with pesky OS installation garbage, just my application. That’s all I want.
I’m a day late due to being sick yesterday, now things are back on track.
The team is now back from Dallas, Texas, and as OMG!Ubuntu! points out, much has landed after the sprint, a culmination of a week’s work of hacking. Neil talks about Unity in this interview. Nice work Joey and Benjamin for covering Unity updates whilst the team flew back home.
A ton of updates to the indicator stack, mostly renaming a bunch of methods. Not complicated, but the equivalent of a 31,577 line diff had to be merged, the bulk of this work was done by Mike Terry, Ken Van Dine and Ted Gould.
Unity 2D has landed, thanks to the intense work of the Ubuntu ARM team to get this packaged and available despite the huge amount of work, great job guys!
Resizing windows will finally work! So instead of a 1 pixel target you now have the entire shaded area to resize the window. The theme needs to be updated by the design team, so not totally fixed yet, but … hallelujah!
Upcoming this week
Sam assures us that he’s finally been able to fix the menu problem (drawing BEHIND the desktop and generally just being the worst bug lately)
Cross your fingers for Dash/Places (yep, we know we said we’d land it last week)
The Hit List
The following bugs need a helping hand, feel free to dive in and fix em up!
Mirco Müller and Jay Taoko have just landed a Gaussian blur for quicklists in Unity trunk. It uses the OpenGL GLSL shading language on Nvidia. Intel and AMD/ATI will be implemented over the next coming weeks.
(AMD and Intel are currently using ARBprograms - later on if the hardware supports it they will also use OpenGL GLSL shading language)
Welcome to the Unity report! Greetings from Dallas, Texas, where the the Ubuntu Platform team is gathered to get work finished for Natty.
The Unity team would like to say hello! This week the team would like to welcome Connor Carney to the team:
I’m a biochemist and part-time programmer who has been been using Ubuntu since Jaunty. I decided to contribute because I’m impressed to see real innovation on the desktop in Unity, and I wanted to help that effort. That, and the sound menu bug was *really* bothering me…
Connor busted out Bug 681428 - scrolling does not work on the sound menu — which was an annoting regression introducted with the port to Compiz. Now that that’s sorted the Sound Menu can really come together.
Shout out to Bertrand Lorentz, who has been tirelessly fixing integration details with Conor Curran in upstream Banshee. Mike Terry has fixed quick lists showing up as transparent.
Expect a bunch of things landing in trunk this week and a Unity release on Thursday into Natty.
Everyone knows I love web apps. You have two extremes. Old school “native apps and in control of my data” and then the other which is basically ChromeOS; No local state, all web. Most people are in the middle. You might love Gmail but the thought of having a remote word processor might not work for you.
I want my cake and I want to eat it too. I want web apps integrated with my desktop, which is why I am a big fan of site specific browsers. Recently these have been popularized by Chrome applications in the Chrome App Store — which is just a pretty front-end to what Stuart and I have been yelling about for 3 years.
When people do it right (like Seesmic and Tweetdeck), it’s a great user experience. When people do it wrong, it’s just a stupid bookmark with no window chrome, meh. However, we can do little things to make it great.
One area where we can integrate is notifications. Chrome/Webkit has notifications, they look like this:
These are becoming more popular; Seesmic, Stack Overflow Chat, and irccloud to name a few. Well, why stop there? I asked Aq to hook up a prototype and then Marco Cepppi finished it.
A little bit of glue makes all the difference. To try it:
bzr branch lp:chromify-osd
Now, load the extension in Chrome. Wrench -> Tools -> Extensions, click on the developer mode link, and then choose Load unpacked extension and select the directory “chromify-osd”. Then use a webapp that uses extensions. Here’s an example one.
Aq passes along “Although remember that the best solution will still be to write a proper Chrome extension which intercepts notifications and uses D-Bus! An NPAPI extension. This is a hack.”
So what do we need? We need someone who can make a Chromium extension to connect web notifications to libnotify. I suspect that a proper extension will have to deal with sandboxing and a bunch of stuff Aq glazed over in order to give me hope that this is possible.
What else do we need? Well, we need Unity to decide to be the glue for the web. We can do this by connecting desktop services to the browsers. Wherever web app developers take this we need to connect it up for people. Here is the start of some plans Unity developers have for making this integration better.
Any takers on getting this started?
Where else can we do this? How about we make it so when people make the App Shortcut we “install it” for them?
Now we’re talking! I also what a nice high resolution icon on the launcher with little numbers for new emails, etc. fta pointed out the code where Chromium does the shortcut thing, maybe someone can take a crack at it once the Launcher gets closer to being finished.
(My examples use Chrome since it ships app shortcuts out of the box, the same should apply for Firefox/Prism)
Whether you agree with web apps or not isn’t the point. Some people like them and some people don’t, either way your desktop should give you the best possible experience if you use Evolution or Gmail or whatever. Thoughts?
Time for another Unity status report. As you can expect due to holidays around the world not much progress was made other than expanding our waistlines.
Expect a flurry of activity this week as Unity developers spin up for the new year. Next week the Unity team will be sprinting in Dallas, Texas along with other members of the Canonical Platform team so expect a bunch of updates.
New to Unity but not Ubuntu is Shane Fagan, who adds a unity —replace command. Hey, it’s all about the little things. Matthew Rasmus returns with 2 fixes (both committed in trunk but not yet released, expect it on Thursday/Friday):
691765 - When a menu is triggered from Alt+key, app name stays visible on panel
Mathieu Trudel continues to work on the nm-applet port to application indicators. He’s now got wireless icons in the dropdown. (This is a screenshot of it from his laptop, so this is just a tease, nothing landing yet)
Conor Curran has sent along an update on what’s going on with the sound indicator
Auto/intellihide is now on by default in trunk and intial support for using the Super key to invoke the launcher has also landed.
The launcher now supports scroll events (like your mouse wheel).
Here’s something I discovered yesterday as I was tooling around on my home server while using Unity. This is what happens when you maximize a terminal in Unity Alpha in Natty (Assuming you have autohide on, it’s not turned on by default yet but it will be, here’s how):
This is real useful when I’m working on something, I need my desktop to be out of the way. Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done in this area, but it’s coming together, stay tuned for a Unity progress report later today.
I joined Canonical early January 2010 to fill the role of Sound Architect on the DX team. Ever since I have been implementing a redesign of the system sound menu. ‘Indicator Sound’ is part of a core group of system indicators which sit on the top panel of the Ubuntu desktop. Its main purpose is to allow users to control the system’s sound settings (through pulseaudio). PulseAudio which is the sound server generally used on Linux systems ( similar to Apple’s CoreAudio or MS’s WASAPI ).
From Maverick onwards the inidicator was enhanced to allow for popular Media players to be controlled from the menu. This was made possible by the good work of the MPRIS people particularly Mirsal Ennaimem, Alex Merry, Ian Monroe and Lennart Poettering. I feel our immediate use-case really spurred the new version of this MPRIS into fruition. Currently Rhythmbox, Banshee, Amarok, VLC, Xnoise, Media Player Daemon all support complete integration with the menu.
The Natty release uses exclusively the MPRIS2 protocol including the playlist extension. This will enable applications like Spotify (with the MPRIS extension) to integrate seamlessly into the menu as no extra dependency will be needed.
More information on client registration can be found in the spec. The launchpad home for the project is https://launchpad.net/indicator-sound and the source can be fetched from the development trunk at lp:indicator-sound (or alternatively you can grab a tarball of the most recent release).
I hangout on #ayatana, #ubuntu-desktop on #freenode under the alias of ‘ronoc’. Any questions please feel free to ping me any time or ask the developer mailing list.
On my roadmap amongst other indicator concerns will be a focus on the ubuntu user experience for the lightweight audio dabbler to the medium weight MP3 mixer. David Henningsson, Daniel Chen, Luke Yelavich and Rodrigo Moya have been doing great work around this area and as this is something very close to my heart I should really be more involved …
Which was the annoying thing where applications that generated menus like Tomboy had had two two Quit Quit entries entries. See? I told you it was annoying. He’s currently checking out adding quick lists to the Trash Can. Unless of course you are from England, in which case the correct term is Rubbish Bin.
Here’s the interesting ones for the week. Feel free to grab any of these bugs and start hacking.
Reports are coming in about double window widgets and titles, don’t worry, it’s just a transition while we debug the widgets in the top panel (this is mostly fixed in trunk, expect a proper fix end of this week):
This week also includes fixes from Neil Patel and Jason Smith, with some other fixes from Michael Terry (a unity icon and a category in ccsm), along with the return of launcher drag and drop of icons. (Check out the picture)
The team would also like to send a thanks to Omar Akram and Hernando Torque for their ever vigilant bug work and testing.
Jason Smith ran a Unity Ask Me Anything on reddit if you’re interested in some of the gory details of what it’s like to work on Unity. You can also find more information on Unity from the developers by following the Unity tag on Ask Ubuntu.
Lifehacker had an article on pianobar, a command line client for Pandora. I found it nicer to use than the web Flash player, but I just had to have my Last.fm scrobbling.
DoR answered my question on how to set up pianobar to scrobble to last.fm. Not quite user-friendly, but hey, it’s a command line pandora client, you’re not going to give up when you run into CPAN are you?
Matthew however, pointed out Pithos, a GTK client for Pandora with built in last.fm scrobbling. I head-desked myself for not knowing about this app sooner.
There’s a bug report for MPRIS/SoundMenu support, I’ve mailed the author to see if there’s a way we can help. In the meantime, rock out to the AC/DC.
Another week, another set of bitesize bugs! But first off we’d like to welcome Matthew Rasmus to the growing list of new Unity Contributors. Matthew has been working on Bug 686182: “Unity launchers run multiple copies of program if clicked multiple times before the program loads”
I’ve been wanting to contribute to Ubuntu in some way ever since I started using it a year and a half ago, and I finally decided to start doing something about that with Unity. I’m a full time college student working on my major in computer science, and in my spare time I find myself playing playing guitar, or piano, or video games.
This week also sees Jamal Fanaian returning for a nice autohide fix. Here’s some goodies for this week:
Now it’s not deja vu. This happened to me before. My other best friend is now also moving to California this month to work for a large company who is deploying tons of Puppet. It’s a tremendous opportunity for him, just like the last guy.
Best of luck to him, it’s always good to see projects like Puppet flourish and for Ken to have an opportunity like this. So as a goodbye/good luck we went to go see the Wings play the Sharks at the Joe. Unfortunately for him his home team will now be the San Jose Sharks, heh.
Here’s a picture of us at the game. (He’s the abandoner on the left.)
And my dad was in town as well, and hadn’t seen the Wings in like 15 years so he tagged along too.
So there was a seemingly simple bug, the launcher would autohide when the quicklist was open.This was due to the fact that the launcher was entirely unaware of when a quicklist was open.
So I layed out a design to follow in the bug report, essentially I left a stubbed class that someone could implement.
As it ends up Jamal Fanaian has returned for his 2nd straight day of Unity contributions. Jason continues:
The class he created tracks the state of all quicklists in the launcher, then informs the launcher when they show/hide/change. He then made the launcher consume this information and avoid hiding when one was showing. Oh, and he cleaned up a bunch of code while he was doing it, just for giggles.
If you’re interested in helping maintain the gtkmm stack in Ubuntu then please join this team. We could really use a hand as keeping finding people to help with this stack on a regular basis has been a problem for us.
While setting up the team Krzysztof also updated atkmm and gtkmm in Natty to the latest versions so you’ve got that to play with!
As I mentioned last week we’ve started a campaign for helping people get started on fixing bitesize bugs in Unity. Jono blogged about this as well. As it turns up, we’ve got our first bitesize contributor today!
From there he submitted it for review in Launchpad. In this specific example Alex Launi has started the review process. Now we’re cooking. So, how can you get started? First let’s have a look at the list and look at the progress people have made this week.
Now that Alpha 1 is out the door the different bits are starting to come together. We’ve got the compiz-based Unity in people’s hands, now it’s time to start the feature work and testing.
The Desktop Experience team is building the base; but there are plenty of other parts that need to be done. Keep in mind that these parts are just as important and a critical piece of the entire user experience.
When you pick up a Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass everything is as It Should Be(tm). The attention to detail is evident in every part of the bass. No one wants a cool looking instrument that sounds like slop, and no one wants an instrument that sounds amazing but can’t stay in tune. The person who does the seemingly unimportant part of polishing the neck takes their job as seriously as the person choosing the wood, or the person wiring the pickups. When you add all that up you get something magical. So what does this have to do with Ubuntu?
For developers we’re kicking off a Bitesize Bug campaign. Over the next few months we will be specifically finding small, easy to digest bugs that are just as important to the experience as the person doing the plumbing. This list will continue to grow and will contain not only fixes, but feature work as well, now’s the time to get involved if you want to get involved. Here’s a sample of some of the type of bugs we’re looking at:
Run Natty. You can either do this by running Alpha 1 on your bare metal or creating a USB key for this purpose. I’ve added documentation to that page so you can install a development environment on it so you can hack on code and keep the entire updated Unity environment on the key itself.
Your work will be reviewed by someone on the DX team, after they review your code they will instruction you on what to do next.
Go to step 1.
Expect regular weekly progress reports from me on the rock star craftspeople working on these bugs. The list of bugs will continually be updated, and now that Alpha 1 is out the door expect a nice steady stream of bitesize bugs that people can contribute fixes to.
The last set of videos from UDS have been posted! This includes my favorite part of UDS, the Lightning Talks. Remember we kick people off after five minutes so they’re kind of high stress. Apparently my crutch word is “ummm”. Aurelien did a Qt Creator demo, but also make sure you see Ryan Paul’s Qt demo, I talk about askubuntu.com with Robert Cartaino, Colin Watson does one on libpipeline. KDE daily builds, and what I call “The Rescue” by Dustin and the rest of the server team.
It can be a real bummer when contributions are ignored so I am glad we’re taking a more proactive stance on the problem and setting aside time for people to do it. You can find out more about the Sponsorship Process here.
Another important element to accepting gifts is Operation Cleansweep. Here’s the stats for the week:
Total bugs with patches: 2395 (+10)
Reviewed patches: 428 (+1)
Bugs with 'patch-needswork': 99 (-1)
Bugs with 'patch-forwarded-upstream': 192 (+5)
Bugs with 'patch-forwarded-debian': 63 (+1)
Bugs with 'indicator-application': 38 (0)
Bugs with 'patch-accepted-upstream': 60 (-1)
Bugs with 'patch-accepted-debian': 10 (0)
Bugs with 'patch-rejected-upstream': 19 (0)
Bugs with 'patch-rejected-debian': 3 (0)
Last updated: Sun, 21 Nov 2010 08:05:42 +0100
Plenty of work for many more people! If you want to dive in hit the Getting Involved page — Cleansweep is a good place to get started, you just need to know how to review code, you don’t have to worry about learning all the Ubuntu Developer-specific workflow to contribute!
Jono Lange has some ideas on how to make bugs easier to fix in Ubuntu.
Right now, when you run the script on your Ubuntu desktop, your cursor becomes a cross-hair. When you click on an application, start-hacking will tell you the source package that the application belongs to and where you can get the source (both Ubuntu source and latest upstream if available.)
There’s plenty of reviews out there on the new Boxee Box, here are my highlights:
The UI is too slow, the thumbnails take forever to refresh (it’s as if they’re not cached?)
It has played every thing I’ve thrown at it, it doesn’t break a sweat with 1080p at all (and all this over powerline ethernet!)
They updated the UI and kind of buried your local content behind the online content, which would be fine if most of the online content wasn’t a browser on your television that you might or might not be able to full screen.
Overall I think it’s great, it’s not quite awesome though. It’s a great value for $200 if you want to get your content to your TV.
Though the UI can be a bit frustrating I mostly care about presenting my media to me, and it does that very well even if it’s not as upfront to get my local media as I’d like. I have a Tivo, so I guess I am used to slow UX.
Hopefully the updates will fix the little details that are missing (little but annoting things like the subtitles always being on on every video and having to turn them off).
Given the quality of the online content I’ll probably throw XBMC on it when someone makes that possible and concentrate on that — the presentation of online content on this thing basically proves how little content providers care about their online presence, which is probably the most bummer part of the experience.
People have no idea (or care) where the problem comes from, they don’t care if it’s “upstream” or “distro”, they just want their software to work, and they don’t care who fixes it.
We’re not the only project to face this challenge.
This person thinks that we can bring pessulus/sabayon fixes to 7.04; a distro that is out of support, and even thought Scott Balneaves is now a contributing upstream; it doesn’t help this person who is stuck in some old version of Ubuntu, how do we help him?
So how do we fix this for plumbing? Those of us who have been around kind of know how this works. “I have a broadcom card, and it worked with foo distro, and then I upgraded, and it broke, so I moved to bar distro, and it worked; amazing, therefore bar distro is the win and foo is crap.”
My experience in this area was at Ohio Linux Fest. I hadn’t gone to a LUG meeting in a long time and I got into the elevator and ran into a guy from the LUG, after initial hellos he was like “Wow, what the /fuck/ happened with Lucid, worst release ever, I can’t even connect!”
I was in a serious state of anxiety. Here I was, pouring my heart into this damn thing. And not just coworkers at Canonical, but our immense community contributors, pouring our heart and souls into this release, and to be slapped in the face with failure, ouch! What was he upset about? Some stupid work around he applied 2 years ago to get his stupid Broadcom wireless card working. And on an upgrade it broke.
As it ends up we’ve reached a new level of what people expect.
My “linux geek correct” answer would have been “Hey bro, you have a broadcom card, it’s a saving throw; each distro release has different set of variables”. If you’re lucky you roll a natural 20 on a certain release of a distro — and if you’re lucky an upgrade is totally easy. I don’t even know what to say to the people to who own these realtek cards. People are still recommending “ndiswrapper” for these cards. That’s basically “Hey, I can’t fix your problem, so here’s a work around”. That’s not sustainable.
And as we know the people with broadcom cards don’t even get to roll the dice, they’re still waiting! It would be nice to reset the board and say “You’ve been hosed for years, but this time we’ll get it right.”
What a mess!
So in conclusion
I don’t think there’s something we can fix here. If someone rolls the ndis20 and gets a working wireless, then … yay? We can perhaps do a better job of explaining to users that they got lucky.
I don’t know much about about how Fedora does bug reports (or Ubuntu for that matter), but I am pretty sure if you have a Broadcom card that it will be a horrible piece of pain for you regardless of what distro you use. (Until the newer drivers are integrated, and even then there’s no guarantee that those will work with both your older distro AND your older hardware.)
Hey, I’ve heard this before.
Of course you have, Dan Williams has been preaching this for years. And, as it ends up, every distro has bugs. Every day I hear people “I am switching from foo to bar, they fix bugs!” … but in reality, we’re all in the same level of doom, as it stands today if you have a broadcom wireless card, you will be doomed; roll the dice. Depending on your video needs, ATI or NVIDIA? Roll the dice. Doomed.
If your hardware works with no workarounds, send the manufacturer a note. If it doesn’t work, then don’t buy it! If you want to make a difference, vote with your dollar!
UNIX is our generation’s fault; let’s not leave this burden with our children, let’s at least leave them a list of things they can fix.
Let’s spend more time rewarding hardware manufacturers who do the right thing than dogpiling manufactures that might not know how to support Linux.
Instead of flaming people who are frustrated that their computer doesn’t work maybe we should suck it up and deal with their bad attitude as long as it fixes the problem — it’s been proven over and over that people will do the right thing if they’re treated right.
As I mentioned in my last screencast; I prefer to have Banshee doing all my hard work for me. A great way to do this is via smart playlists. The problem is that they are very powerful and if you’re not overly clever off the top of your head you might feel stuck.
Luckily there are some handy smart playlists already included! In Banshee do Media -> New Smart Playlist
Go ahead and explore these, and come up with your own!