Archive for October, 2007

FOSSCamp quick report

October 29, 2007

Overall, a good unconference. I got to see some old-school Debian developers that I last saw at Debconf 2 and meet in person others. Being in the same location as Colin Watson again was fun, though I don’t have long hair anymore so we’re harder to confuse.

One thing I noticed is that it seemed like everyone wanted to give a talk the first day, and then there were many fewer talks for the second. There was at least one talk the first day that I wanted to go to but had a conflict, whereas on the second day I only saw one talk that sounded compelling, though I had to leave early.


Good talk led by Scott on Upstart. One idea was that Upstart could be the backend for D-Bus System Activation, which made a lot of sense to me. Upstart seems like a good choice for a new Fedora init system, though I would like to be sure the API is dead-simple for 3rd party vendors, and Upstart should have an easy way to distinguish between services which have state to save at shutdown and which can just be killed.


The PackageKit discussion was very good; we reached a consensus that it makes a lot of sense to share high level desktop components like an updater applet between distributions, and hopefully share more as time progresses.


Thanks Ryan from Ars Technica for the well written Hotwire article!

Prism and replacing applications

October 28, 2007

David – there’s nothing specific to Google in Prism. It’s also confusing in a sense that they mention Adobe AIR and Silverlight in the blog post, because Prism isn’t really competition for them; Prism is saying HTML and JavaScript is an OK platform. You could certainly still use Silverlight or Flash on a web service packaged using Prism though.

Prism is basically the equivalent of a .spec file or debian/ for a web service. In other words, it’s a bit of goo code, not really very complex or platform-like. Now I did raise the idea of possibly elevating some privileges for services packaged using Prism, but it’s likely not to be useful unless IE does something similar, which I doubt Microsoft would be interested in.

But the real thrust of your post is is about non-open services, and I wish I had a good answer here. I can say that I’ve recently removed some Google stuff from the default configuration of the GNOME Online Desktop work. And Havoc is working on a better system for giving the desktop information about which services you use, so we can adjust more sanely rather than having a set of default services.

The fact is, the computing industry is clearly moving in this direction. Ignoring it or stopping work on integrating with different services gives us less control over the future, not more.

Mozilla Prism

October 25, 2007

Prism looks very cool. It fills in a gap we have in the GNOME Online Desktop project where we didn’t really have a good way to make web applications prominent in the desktop menus. Originally, we tried packaging things as RPMs, but it didn’t work very well because the web changes extremely quickly, and popular pages are can be highly locale-specific; desktop applications are none of these. Concretely, I don’t want to be the one updating spec files every time a new online office suite appears.

Prism starts this process naturally, from the web browser. Right now it’s basically a way to break things out of tabs sanely. Where I think things will get interesting is for example, elevating privileges somewhat for Prism applications, such as allowing web application authors to use the platform’s notification system.

And now – bling in your sidebar

October 22, 2007

So, I realized yesterday just how important bling is to creating buzz around free software projects. Today then, I decided to finish something that’d been cooking for a while – Google Gadgets in the sidebar:

Google Gadgets in Online Desktop sidebar

It seems that I need to do some gtkmozembed hacking to kill the scrollbar. But otherwise, it looks cool. Once I figure out fun focus issues, you might even be able to type in the todo list. Also in this screenshot you can see the widget manager which landed recently.

Reasons to Google your own stuff, #3

October 20, 2007

You might find someone has made a YouTube video of it complete with soundtrack! Nice, even if it is an older version and looks a bit ugly compared to 0.599.

Keeping Firefox integrated

October 19, 2007

Nicu – the question is, who would you rather have as an ally? Mozilla, or Apple? I know which one I’d pick – the people who open-sourced the browser and have been maintaining the very good Firefox experience for Linux (even if there are details to fill in), not the company making a proprietary platform that competes with ours for desktop marketshare.

That said, there is actually work ongoing now to integrate Tango for example. I don’t think it’s going to be easier or make more sense to change rendering engines just for the remaining integration points that could have been done as a Mozilla patch instead.

Stuff I’m Reading

October 8, 2007

Summit Happenings

October 7, 2007

Online Desktop

Owen, Bryan, Marina and I gave a talk on the Online Desktop effort that went pretty well, lots of stuff was demoed and there were some good questions.

Getting started

Bryan and Owen have done some good work improving the wiki; if you’re interested in trying things out, you can follow the JHBuild instructions available here, or if you have the appropriate system dependencies installed you can build from the “summit release” tarballs available here.
Look for a live CD soon.

Getting online-desktop components into GNOME

I mentioned web-login-driver on desktop-devel-list; hoping we can upstream components like this as we go. Possibly if we finish some work we could even make GNOME 2.22.
I also started a discussion about sharing some code between Online Desktop and Gimmie, hopefully something will come of that.

We’re also trying to move into the GNOME infrastructure (SVN etc.) to make it easier for people to contribute in terms of code and bug reports without new accounts, but for now if you’ve tried it out and hit bugs please file them here.

Summit General

So far it’s fun, a lot of people hacking on things here. Gave a short talk about the current state of Hotwire which went well. I think there’s a lot of interest but probably most people are waiting for bugs to be fixed; if you’ve tried it and found some, please file them!

Your sessions wanted

October 5, 2007

The Boston GNOME Summit wants your session proposals – if you’re attending and you have something to say add it to the list!