I took a trip out to see the folks at the Indiana LoCo team to talk about 11.04. That means ROAD TRIP! (Note how we avoid Ohio):
One thing I totally suck at is remembering to sync my phone with new music before I go on a trip. For the last 6 months or so though I don’t really have to, since we have Ubuntu One Music Streaming.
The basic idea is that since I keep all my music in the cloud anyway I can just stream it back to myself, so when I buy a new album it’s just there, so I don’t have to remember to sync my phone or whatever.
But on a 3.5 hour trip with varying network conditions? Surely this won’t work. I’ll have to switch to more conventional ways to rock out for sure. Let’s find out.
The first step to any road trip is preparation:
I have Bluetooth audio support in my car, so the first thing I did was pair my phone, this was pretty straightforward. Then I fired up the application, queued up Alice in Chains’ Jar of Flies and hit the road. At this point in my trip I was on 3G.
One of the nice things that the application automatically does is cache songs for you. That way the next time you want to listen to it you don’t have to hit the network. I told the music app to store 10GB of cached songs. So basically instead of my usual “Sync 10gb of songs to my phone” smartlist I just use these settings. When a song is cached the application shows a little yellow asterisk:
So as I’m listening to the songs the U1 app is caching the next songs for me. While the Alice was cranking I went ahead and queued up more albums. Since the app integrates with last.fm you can see what songs I listened to on the way there and on the way back. And since they’re my songs it’s at a nice high bitrate.
The queuing works well, the only interruption was when I was north of Fort Wayne, where I spent a while on a “G” network, which is apparently even worse than edge. I had finally caught up to the queue. This is also where I discovered the “unlimited” setting for caching songs. On longer trips where you know you’ll be far from 3g you probably want to turn this on instead of the default 3 songs.
You’ll need power. You have the bluetooth and data radios on, and if you’re using the map, GPS.
The phone gets quite warm. It was uncomfortable sitting on my lap, for a longer trip I am mulling a bracket for the dash.
All of a sudden I want to replace my car radio with a tablet that runs this.
The app has an offline mode, if you’re totally without network it just functions as a music player playing the songs you have cached.
Well, we’re a week away from 11.04 so I decided that I would collate the information about Unity on the web and put it into one nice page for everyone to find. Got some more tips you’d like to add? Add them in the to the answer!
One of the (great) trends that browsers are doing these days is “getting out of the way”. That is, less “chrome” more space for content. I was curious to how we’ve been improving in this area, so I asked Jason to do some math, and here’s what we came up with.
So, given a desktop that you log in, how many pixels do we consume and how much do we leave for apps? Well, by default here’s how GNOME 2.x, 3.0, and Unity consume your pixels. These are the amount of pixels (broken down by resolution) that these three desktops use:
I measured Unity twice here. By default if there’s nothing in the way, we show you the launcher, if you move a window there or maximize, we get out of the way (the green bar). So, GNOME 2.x takes up a given amount of space no matter what. Unity takes more but gets out of your way once you start using it to about the same level as GNOME 3.0. Notice how both GNOME 3.0 and Unity are already giving the pixels back where they belong, to applications. :)
Next we have how much space we take up when working, for me I maximize my applications. We maximized the window in GNOME 3.0 by dragging it to the top bar to measure it but didn’t take into account the window decorations and stuff. Still, much better across the board. I only measured Unity once because the launcher in this state goes away.
But wait a minute, doesn’t the application menu belong to the application? Let’s measure how much UI Unity consumes if we give the menu back to the application. So when you maximize an app the only UI Unity uses up is the home button, the window controls, and the indicators. There could still be dead space there in the menu, but that really depends on the length of the menu and per application, and I’m not going to go measure half the archive.
Caveats and Conclusions
a) GNOME 2.x is fat… :)
b) When you use them GNOME 3.0 and Unity are trending towards giving real estate back to applications. (I think this is good)
c) Unity does give the most space back, but remember that’s really all I’m measuring, this doesn’t imply that it’s better (or worse), and it also doesn’t take into account how we actually interact with the desktops, it’s just a raw measurement of pixels. Sorry guys, no flamebait here.
d) We didn’t measure how much space ayatana-scrollbars save you. This would be nice to know.
e) We didn’t take into account overlay-ish things like the dash or the overlay thing that GNOME Shell does. It could very well be that those UI interactions mean that you don’t have to care about those pixels (or care more), but that’s for an expert to figure out, my goal was just to figure out “Is it just me or are desktops following browser chrome trends?”
f) We didn’t take into account full screening applications.
Here’s the spreadsheet if you want to mess with it, or add your favorite desktop. (I didn’t measure KDE)
Went to see Rush this weekend….. I had pretty good seats (and I should hope so the way ticket prices are these days):
As a bonus I was on Geddy’s side, so I got to see all his basses lined up. See if you can find the distinctive Orange amps. All of his basses were Fender J’s.
As you can expect, the performance was pretty immaculate. Alex’s guitar cut out during one song for a few seconds but other than that they sound great. They ended up playing 3 instrumental songs; Leave That Thing Alone, YYZ, and they encored with La Villa Strangiato.
The 2 new songs sound great, though they could have probably left Presto off the set list and no one would have noticed. Also, the B-side of Moving Pictures is way better than I remember. The I Love You, Man video at the end was pretty funny too.
Here’s the code. I need a volunteer to grab the packaging from the Ask Ubuntu branch and package this up and PPA it. Find me if you want to do this (no time to do this yet, but maybe one of you can help us out)
Though maybe I should assign the one I ssh to the most under the first Exec and save some space. Of course, if this was a dynamic quicklist that just autopopulated the list based on what avahi says is around that would be slick.
My wife got me a pretty unique birthday present this year. Instead of a normal gift she sponsored the restoration of a whale rib.
This weekend the donors participated in the unveiling of Basilosaurus isisreconstruction at the University of Michigan’s Paleontology Museum. We are talking about a massive animal here, 45 feet long, it didn’t really fit in the range of my camera.
I talked briefly with Dr. Phillip Gingerich and learned some interesting things about B. isis. First of all, it took a month to dig out, and 2 years to get it exported out of Egypt. Another year to do casting and molding, and they have another year to go of studying it before it can finally be returned to Egypt.
There are over 1,000 specimens of ancient whales in Wadi Al-Hitan, but to find one that is so complete is unique, he considers the area more magnificent than the pyramids, and hopes that in the future that someone will build a museum so the whales can be observed in their own natural habitat (which is now a desert, heh).
The bones themselves weigh over a ton, so it’d be impossible to mount the real bones in such a manner. It is quite impressive to see a whale the length of a bus hanging above your head though.
Dr. Gingerich considers basilosaurus unique. It was the first whale we found with those little feet in the back (hard to see in the picture of the skeleton), and more curiously, a complete evolutionary dead end. A torpedo-looking eel-like whale with a monster head with teeth is unlike anything we have today. What happened? This was likely a top predator of it’s day, why did it go extinct? How did other whales make it but not this kind? Those are all interesting questions.
Anyway I am glad I had a small part of preserving this kind of thing so kids can ask these sorts of questions when they see it at the museum.
Since I was in the neighborhood I took an opportunity to pose with a ginormous sauropod leg (that’s the hip behind me)
I’ve already talked about how I multitask with Unity. Today I’m going to talk about how I use the Dash.
(Unfortunately the flicker is way more annoying in this video than before. Jason tells me it’s my nvidia driver, I’ll need to hunt down a non-nvidia machine to rerecord this video, but it gives you a general idea)
Glitches are from the recording, it’s smooth on my actual desktop, also, when I say something in the video and it doesn’t happen it’s because I am fat fingering it, unfortunately we haven’t found a solution for that yet.
This is a guest session version of how I work to give you an idea of the things you can do (my normal session is a cluttered mess so I tried to go for more of an out of the box experience). Feel free to share your tips in the comments!
Thanks to the hard work of Marco Trevisan Unity now has better support for Chromium web applications.
If you look at the pic you’ll notice that each web app has it’s own icon and it’s own window (and of course when you click on icons they’ll open in a proper browser window):
Thanks to Fabien Tassin for his guidance, and of course thanks to the upstream guys at Chromium for making this possible. There’s some other fixes left to land (you need a newish Chromium and Unity from tomorrow’s release) but this should be sorted out as both projects release going forward.
While there is no exciting new bling to talk about this week, there are plenty of bugfixes to be had for this Unity release. This week the team welcomes Nico van der Walt as he makes his introduction fixing Bug #731212: “Applications” and “Files & Folders” keyboard shortcut overlays not drawn correctly with scalable launcher and Bug #741346: superkey shortcut labels does not scale properly.
"The Ubuntu community is a big inspiration for me and I love how friendly everyone is. Unity will be a big success and I look forward to being a part of this great Linux distribution."
Also this week we have Andreas Richel submitting his first fix for implementing a more robust method of launching applications from the home view (lp:730623). Unfortunately his camera is broken so no picture, but he sends along "I’m a 20-year-old German computer science student in my 6th semester. I’ve been passively following Ubuntu and the bug trackers for some time now, but was unable to find enough time to dig into an ongoing open source project. So this really is a first for me :)"
Also back this week are veterans Marco Biscaro and Andrea Azzarone, fixing Bug #742985 ‘Lenses with no shortcut still display black box when pressing super key’ and Bug #741775 ‘Launcher icon progress-bar too big for a 32px launcher’. These two are like clocks, something landing almost every week!
Wait, more Bugs?
This week the list is up to 39 bugs, a new high. Now you might be thinking “Wait a minute, I thought all these brilliant people were doing awesome, how can the list of bugs go UP!?!” As it turns out, there have been about 50 bitesize bugs fixed so far (the green line):
What happens is at the beginning the bugs aren’t really bitesize since a bunch of plumbing work is going on. Towards the tail end as we get towards the polishing phase it’s easier to nick off and fix bitesize bugs, especially as more and more people are able to run it the closer you get to the Beta milestone. If anything, the list of bitesize bugs will probably continue to grow, especially when Unity goes into another feature phase after Natty. However as you can see the green “Fix Released” line, the number of bugs being fixed also goes up as the code matures and is exposed to more people who want to hack on it. The slow march towards progress continues.
As usual, Unity (and related components) released last Thursday, ready for beta (3.6.8) + some bug fixes cherry-picked crash fixes for the beta freeze.
This week, we got, in addition to a lot of bug fixes:
Multitouch full support handling. If you didn’t test it and you have a supported hardware, you should probably give it a try, the handles (that you can activate by ccsm and a keybinding) are just… gorgeous!
Introduction of a pending waiting for approval “fade and slide” effect when hovering the bfb (in experimental plugin settings) that may be set by default.
Some keynav better handling in both the launcher and the dash, as well as Quicklist having now the title name in the Quicklist (as in maverick)
Launcher now responds to theme change!
Under the cover, a rewrite of the Hide behavior machine enabling more effective automated tests.
New Zeigeist synced with debian to get in sync with the latest debian stack
Some new compiz uploads to fix miscellanous issues, like more invisible window fixes, Alt + Tab fixes, some redrawing issues and autorespawn on crash
One of my friends has a Syma S107 Micro RC helicopter and when I heard these are about $30-$40 I decided to snag a Z008, which is similar but adds these side fan things so I can slide side to side:
It’s a bunch of fun to fly inside, and very beginner friendly. I hear they’re setting up a course at a local hackerspace so people can do races, etc. I was getting off easy the first week but today I broke a tail rotor and a main blade, luckily it came with spare parts and they’re pretty hackable.
Anyway I had no idea RC helicopters had gotten so easy to fly and cheap, it only took a little while to get going, though I’m going to need more room, heh.
So finally, after 20 years I have finally scored Rush tickets. Growing up I could never afford it, and even now with ticket prices how they are it’s not necessarily cheap for 2 people. On top of that, with as amazing as live concert DVD/BR production is these days why pay that much for $8 beers and sticky floors?
Well, first off, this changed my mind. Everyone who loves rock music should own this, whether you’re a fan or not:
Same dude who did Maiden’s Flight 666 and Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.
In one scene they’re talking about the fans; basically a bunch of nerdy people my age who know every note, every riff, and we have the air guitar/bass/drum chops to prove it. So basically, me. So this time I’m willing to pay to be around people who have no shame air rocking and knowing every riff and drum fill.
This tour looks great, here’s the setlist. La Villa Strangiato as an encore will be amazing. So tonight I am cranking up some Show of Hands, which is my favorite Rush era. Yes, the one where the world’s best hard rock trio is smothered in keyboards. \m/
What’s your favorite Rush song/album/era? Leave a comment.
I get a weird error with the new ayatana scrollbars with multiple monitors:
Luckily Cimi says:
the bug is in os_scrollbar_sanitize_x and os_scrollbar_sanitize_y. We should use gdk_screen_get_monitor_geometry instead gdk_screen_get_width… (or a combo), if someone is willing to do these calculations, it is pure math (bitesize bug?)
If someone wants to tackle this bug to make the scrollbars nicer on multiple monitors it would be appreciated: Bug Report
Most of known common crashers for unity have been tackled
Lot of accessility improvments
Lot of launchers fix and most of “false show” positive or “launcher being crazy” on intellihide mode fixed
Drag and drop from the application and file places to the launcher is now functional (but still in beta Funny
New shortcuts with the Super key:
tap super open the dash
Keeping super press will get some shortcuts showing: Super + to get active window of an application or show the places/ws switcher/trash
if you add Shift to the dance, it will open a new instance of an application instead of getting an existing one
Key navigation to all elements of the launcher now, and quicklist! Alt + F1 showing the launcher when hidden.
Rework fade effect animation when hovering the bfb (the ubuntu logo) Still some known crasher on the unity window decorator. It’s tracked and under debugging right now. Hope we can get a fix after alpha3 on upgrade.
How to Get Involved
1. Get the Code
Follow the Step by Step Instructions and Wiki Page. This will get the code from Launchpad, set up your development environment, and getting you used to the Launchpad workflow.
2. Pick a bug
This week we want to focus on these bugs, pick one:
Bug 718889 - Launcher does not hide/unhide on Expo
Bug 660010 – No ‘safely remove’ option is present in the unity menu when a usb disk is inserted
Bug 718885 – Launcher responds to click off from a quicklist
Bug 721121 – Icon in Launcher should be home folder icon
Bug 718885 – (NEW!) Launcher responds to click off from a quicklist
Bug 725529 – (NEW!) Double-click on panel to unmaximize only works in right half
Bug 724727 – (NEW!) Super key shortcut overlay not with umlauts, greek/cyrillic letters
Here’s the full list if you want to find more, feel free to just grab one, assign it to yourself, mark it in progress and get started. I’ll be picking a new selection for each blog post each week, but the list is always changing, so you can always just dive into the list and snag one. 3. Fix your bug and then get your code into Unity
Don’t worry we won’t leave you hanging, you can get a-hold of a Unity developer through many different ways:
#ayatana on freenode IRC during European and American workdays. Or you can post to the mailing list if you have a question.
We also have weekly IRC Q+A for any developer who wants to dive in and ask a Unity developer. 7pm-8pm UTC (That’s 2pm EST) every Friday!
Mikkel and Ken have a weekend present for you for those of you who have been waiting to add Unity Launcher bling to your Python apps. I guess these are bindings or “accessible in python” or whatever the GI way of saying it is:
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?