GNOME Boxes looking for Debian/Ubuntu help…
If you read any of my previous blog entries, you must be now familiar with this ‘express installation’ concept we have in Boxes. Its pretty neat actually, you just set a few options at the beginning and then you can leave Boxes (or your machine) and when you are back, everything is setup for you automatically in a new box.
I have invested a lot of time/efforts on this already and will be spending a lot more time in future as well but I am just one man so can not possibly cover all operating systems out there. That is why I am asking for help from anyone who will be interested in adding express installation support for Ubuntu and Debian while I focus on Fedora and Windows variants. Oh and if you are interested in adding support for some other distribution/OS, that contribution will also be more than welcomed.
In any case, happy hacking!
If you’re interested in doing this (it would be great to get Boxes in 12.04) let me know. You’ll likely need to link up with the Desktop Team, I can help get you talking to the right people if you want to rock this.
Giving space back to applications.
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)
Who are your mentors?
Allison Randall has blogged about her new role in Ubuntu; working at Canonical as the Technical Architect for Ubuntu. One thing which I think is awesome is how she mentions people who encouraged her:
To give credit where credit is due, there have been 4 great influences on my career over the years, mentors, friends, people who believed in me, encouraged me to dream big dreams and try big things, who taught me that I’m better, smarter, wiser, more dynamic, and resilient than I ever imagined. In alphabetical order: Damian Conway, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Mark Shuttleworth, and Nathan Torkington. Thanks guys, I wouldn’t be here without you!
Everyone has mentors in Free Software, so Allison’s post inspired me to talk about mine. People who made you who you are. I hope this encourages you to talk about the people who inspired you.
While Allison’s post motivated me, this next month I get to celebrate 3 years at Canonical and I would like to thank people who have motivated me to do what I do. Think of them as the root of me:
- Dave Camp - Dave is one of the older Ximian folk, a former co-maintainer of Nautilus, and later he worked on Mozilla. He taught me to ignore the haters, and rock on by your bad self. He’s a hacker’s hacker, a dude who puts his head down and skates. He doesn’t care about fame, fortune, or any of that jazz, he’s just a dude. He is also an amazing guitar player.
- Luis Villa - Not much to say here, he’s brought so many of us here that I have no words that could ever be kind enough to explain what Luis has done for so many of us.
- Jeff Waugh and Benjamin “Mako” Hill - I am going to mush them together, since at the time they were the collective first “Ubuntu Community managers”. Jeff for being the spark plug of motivation and getting me to a UDS, and Mako for being the Free Software advocate who leads by example, not by shoving the GPL down people’s throat. I would love to hear much more from both of you. Both of you believed in me from the beginning, and I will always be grateful.
- Asa Dotzler - many years ago when I first started wondering what Mozilla was he took the time to explain open source to me. I also love that he flames Linux for what it is, maybe someday we’ll get our act together. :) I’m not even sure if he’s looking at Linux these days but I’ll always appreciate his first interaction with me.
These people pointed me in the right direction, and these are the ones who focused me into a fine instrument of Ubuntu laser-destruction. If you hate me, then it’s probably these people’s fault:
- Luke Kanies from Puppet Labs (at the time from Reductive Labs), who convinced me to think about applying for my current job at Canonical.
- Oliver Grawert, who made me actually do that or he promised to punch me in the face.
- Daniel Holbach. The name mentioned by Jono Bacon when he said “I am starting a new team” that made me apply for the job on the spot and totally not care what the consequences are. He has that effect on people.
- … and of course the rest of you on the community team (and I just don’t mean Canonical folk) who have been supportive of me over the years, even when I quit the team and had a temper tantrum a few years ago.)
And on top of that I’ve got the old folks, the mentors who are just awesome by being there, they’re all good friends and good mentors. I am pretty sure that everyone who has worked with these people are not surprised:
- Chris Blizzard - old school GNOME, now at Mozilla. He builds airplanes ffs.
- Vincent Untz - old school GNOME, now at Novell. He builds ice cream ffs.
- Miguel de Icaza - old school GNOME, now at Novell. He builds stack exchanges ffs.
- Ryan Lortie - old school GNOME, now at Codethink. He builds dconf ffs.
I’d also like to take a moment to thank the new people — those of you who are new here and want to rock. Spend some time researching my generation’s heroes, and learn from what they have to say.
Hah, I just thought “Some day this entire mess will all be yours”, but I don’t know if that’s a nice thing to say or not, so heh to you.
Papercutter Profile: Marcus Carlson
Getting patches upstream and fixes out to users continues to be an area that we’re continuing to focus on. (See Operation Cleansweep) However there are plenty of people out there rocking things whom you might have never heard of doing the right thing day in and day out. Like Marcus Carlson:
Marcus has been working on the 100 Papercuts project on a piece of software called Nautilus, which is the default file manager for Ubuntu. Marcus is not only fixing the papercuts, but he’s doing the due diligence of making sure the patch and bug are filed upstream and committed by working with the upstream maintainers.
How is he doing this? Well, he’s Just Doing It, fixing them and sending the patches to the corresponding bug report in the upstream GNOME Bugzilla. So I asked Nautilus developer Cosimo Cecchi on how this is working out for him:
"I’d like to say a big thanks to Marcus Carlson for all the efforts he’s been devoting to improve Nautilus’ quality by sending patches and cleaning up our bugzilla. I feel this kind of behavior is great, and productive in building an awesome community around a project."
So a big thanks to Marcus for his work on making GNOME and Ubuntu better and to Cosimo’s work reviewing the patches.
If you have a passion for being the bridge between users and upstreams and need a place to start then I encourage you to find a papercut and rock it!
Predictability in donating
GNOME is looking for a sysadmin!
Don’t forget that you can support GNOME by becoming a Friend of GNOME! One thing I learned from people on the Board is that having a monthly subscription is more helpful to the project. I used to give one lump sum every year, but that’s a bit unpredictable.
When you sign up for a monthly subscription it makes things like having a reliable source of income to the project on a more regular basis more doable. This makes things like hiring a sysadmin easier to do.
So if you were like me and just randomly sending money once a year, consider setting up a monthly donation spread out instead!