Quick (or not so) thoughts

July 18, 2007

Pyro is the right technology

If you haven’t seen it, Pyro Desktop is a cool project. Alex is spot on about developers and HTML/JavaScript in particular. It’s not that are current desktop APIs are necessarily bad – but they are different. Someone who wants to code something cool that may be coming from a OS X or Windows background will have to drop down for a week while they learn the APIs.

A window manager, or…?

Now, what confused me honestly is that Pyro seems mainly to be focused on being a compositing window manager. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I don’t find the desktop bling that interesting – from any source, Compiz/Pyro/whatever. Sure, it looks pretty, but at the end of the day it feels like there are just a few things (fade-in menus) that are definite improvements, and everything else is just “because we can”. Maybe it’s also because I’m an all-windows-maximized+alt-tab person. I also don’t use workspaces.

The apps

What I thought was missing from the Pyro demo was the apps. To someone who’s not a developer, it looks like a desktop theme. The Flickr feed I see on the website is more interesting to me. Certainly, if I was going to start a project like the Big Board part of the Online Desktop now, it would make a lot of sense to write it using Firefox/Pyro. I had to spend at least a solid week of work on the HTTP library in BigBoard alone. One thought is it may be interesting to embed Firefox iframes inside Big Board.


If you’re like me, you acknowledge JavaScript’s ubiquity, but you still hate its crazy prototype “object system”. Enter Google Web Toolkit. I can definitely imagine the future of application development being HTML+CSS+Java (or another sane language).

Online Desktop

Havoc had a good summary. One thing I think that should have been stressed more strongly is that in a lot of cases, being online is just a matter of changing workflow or defaults for existing regular GNOME apps, not just dropping them. For example, changing F-Spot to make it easier to get your photos online – getting your account info (or pointing you to some samples if you don’t have one), but still having a good local photo tool for picking which photos to upload, fixing redeye, etc. I think there was actually a talk about this which I missed.


Gave a lightning talk on Hotwire and talked to a few people about it. Seemed like people were interested, but it’s really hard to get people to switch. But I think it’s been successful in letting me prototype out some shell ideas. I have been having some different UI ideas lately though, and am also pretty frustrated right now with the Python runtime (not the language) – the GIL is a serious brick wall for improving Hotwire.
Update – Just discovered POSH when googling for the GIL link – this may be exactly what I need.


Haven’t seen many people blog their GUADEC photos (I’m sure it’ll happen en masse after the conference), but I tossed my current photo set online.


Victoria square

Hackers in Etap

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