During the week of 8 April 2013, developers from the KDE, GNOME, Unity and Razor-qt projects met at the SUSE offices in Nürnberg to improve collaboration between the projects by discussing specifications. A wide range of topics was covered.
There was agreement on a specification for a D-Bus interface to be implemented by applications. Pending implementation, applications are now capable of being launched using D-Bus activation instead of executing a binary. Changes were also agreed for the desktop entry specification for applications to advertise this capability.
We reached agreement on a modification to the trash specification to allow for an efficient means of determining the size of all items in the trash (to warn the user when the size is getting too large).
A new file format was defined to cache and index the contents of all .desktop files within a particular directory. This new format will allow efficient full-text search over desktop files as well as efficient lookups of various other kinds (for example, identifying which apps support a given file type) while increasing performance by reducing disk seeks. It will also reduce memory consumption because it can be shared by all processes using mmap.
The in-development kernel D-Bus implementation was presented at the meeting. Representatives from the desktop environments made suggestions to improve the kernel API to facilitate implementation of libraries.
We discussed the future of accountsservice and how, going forward, the project will be sensitive to the needs of desktops other than GNOME. This included specific discussions regarding implementation of storing user locale in the service as well as providing an extension mechanism for structured storage of arbitrary key/value data, without needing to patch the service.
There were initial discussions (with no concrete results) on a wide range of other topics including D-Bus session management APIs, a replacement for X11-based startup notification, application intents and "portals", exporting action groups on D-Bus and adding actions to context menus in the file browser.
Perhaps most importantly we have come to agreement on a plan for improving the maintenance of freedesktop specifications going forward. One representative from each of GNOME, KDE and Unity will form a joint maintainer team. This team will monitor and participate in conversations on the xdg list and decide when consensus has been reached. The intention is to revive the usefulness of the xdg list as the primary point of communication between desktop projects.
GNOME.Asia Summit 2013 will be held in Seoul, Korea in May 24-25, 2013. We are looking for YOUR help to design t-shirts for this year's Summit. We need two new shirt designs, one for participants and another for volunteers.
The contest is open from now until April 19th, 2013. Voting will begin April 20 and run through April 23, 2013.
Everyone is encouraged to log in and vote at this page:
No contest should be called a contest without some prizes! This year we have the following up for grab:
- Winner: A Special gift from Korea and two t-shirts with your winning design
Note: The final decision will be made by GNOME.Asia Summit Committee. Please understand that the highest vote score of the design may not be designated the final winner due to cost or other production considerations.
The GNOME Project has officially released GNOME 3.8 today. This latest version of GNOME 3 delivers major new features, a brand new application and a host of smaller bug fixes and enhancements. Speaking on behalf of the GNOME Release Team, Matthias Clasen said, “We are excited to release this latest version of GNOME 3. It is an extremly strong release, and is a major update to the GNOME 3 experience. We would like to thank the entire GNOME community for their hard work and dedication.”
Highlights for GNOME 3.8 include:
- A redesigned application launching view, which makes finding applications easier than ever.
- Enhanced search, with an updated search results view and new controls for results.
- New privacy settings let you contol who has access to the content on your computer.
- A new classic mode for those who prefer a more traditional desktop experience.
- Improved animation rendering, resulting in smooth transitions and window resizing.
- A new Clocks application, which provides world clocks for different time zones as well as alarms, a stopwatch and timer.
- Heavily updated settings, with four new settings panels and major updates in many other places.
- Many of updates to GNOME applications, including major improvements to the performance of Web, UI enhancements to Documents and a new Contacts editing mode.
You can find out more about the many other improvements GNOME 3.8 in the release notes.
GNOME's partners have already welcomed the new release. Stefano Zacchiroli, Debian Project Leader, said “Thanks to GNOME, our default desktop since many many years, we have been able to offer to our users a free productivity environment which is both visually appealing and easy to use. I wish the GNOME community all the best of luck for GNOME 3.8, which we are looking forward to have in our development release.”
“We're really excited about the 3.8 release," said a statement issued by Igalia, "in part because Web, the GNOME browser, debuts its WebKit2 backend, something we at Igalia have been working hard on for years. WebKit2 delivers a state-of-the-art web runtime to our platform, with increased responsiveness, security and stability, making Web 3.8 and all the applications using WebKit much more pleasant and exciting to use.”
A press release also accompanies the launch of GNOME 3.8.
GNOME lost an old friend last week. Malcolmn Tredinnick passed
away on Sunday, March 17. Malcolm was probably best known for
his work on Django, but before his work with Django, he was a
member of the GNOME community. He made contributions across the
entire GNOME project, and he served a year on the GNOME Foundation
board of directors.
Malcolm made great improvements to free and open source software
over the last 13 years. And more importantly, he made friends
wherever he went, and enriched our communities. He will certainly
be missed by everyone who had the privilege of working with him.
Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends.
Funeral services will be held on April 4th in North Ryde NSW,
Australia. If you're in the Sydney area, you're welcome to attend
and pay your respects. Please contact the Django Foundation
so they can put you in touch with Malcolm's family.
The GNOME Project is proud to announce the imminent release of GNOME 3.8 in less than two weeks. As with every release, there are many new features and technical improvements. We asked William Jon McCann, a GNOME designer, about the direction of the project and what he is anticipating for GNOME in the future.
Question: GNOME 3.8 is going to be released. As always, your work has been very impressive in this release cycle. What are the features you're most proud of?
Answer: For me, one of the things that I'm quite happy about is to see a lot of focus on improving the experience for application developers – in addition to the usual effort to improve the experience for our users. We've been doing a number of things to move this forward, but one of the most helpful has been to become application developers ourselves in order to really understand what is needed.
We started with a number of designs for some core applications that solve very common problems and then we set out to find the best and easiest way to get them done. GNOME Documents is a good example.
We started the project a few releases ago in order to prototype some new design patterns. We learned a lot in that process. We found that many of the tools we needed – just were not there.
So we set out to create new tools, new widgets, new patterns, and I think in 3.8 we're finally starting to see this take shape. Documents at this point is a very capable document reader, as good as anything else out there.
But perhaps as interesting as that is that in the process we have had to create a new library of tools (libgd) that has proven to be incredibly useful for creating new applications, and has essentially become the staging ground for the next generation of the application development toolkit for GNOME – GTK.
I think we're going to see a lot of exciting changes happening in the next few months in this space. And I'm incredibly excited about it.
Question: GNOME 3 has introduced a fresh user experience, but nevertheless, has been severely criticized. Do you believe that GNOME Classic could be a replacement for GNOME 2-nostalgics? Or how do you consider GNOME Classic?
Answer: Nostalgia is a very interesting thing. I think most of the time if you look at it carefully you see that it is most often a longing for a past that never existed, a romantic notion of what was.
And there is certainly some of that here. We know this because we wrote GNOME 2 - the same people that wrote GNOME 3; that said, for some people GNOME 2 suits them better, I don't doubt that and, honestly, I think they should be free to continue to use GNOME 2 forever, but it is incredibly hard to do so.
One reason for this is the nature of the distribution model we use to deliver our work: it is a train that doesn't stop and that never really stops at any of the stations; and sometimes people either don't want to continue on - or don't really like how fast it is going., and that is fine.
We should allow them to get off at any of the stops. We should have the stops in the first place and those stops should not disappear after a certain amount of time and force them back on the train.
In order to make this happen we need to consider our work more like a whole product.
We need to move away from the idea that all the cars are moving in different directions: they all arrive at the station at the same time.
For this, we need to consider the entire experience - we need to create an operating system, a cohesive and coherent, integrated user experience and developer experience that will allow us to continue to move ahead without losing steam and still allow regular stops to occur.
We can't afford to stop and just look back. Things don't stand still.
Question During the last months, Windows 8/RT became an interesting competitor of Android and iOS in mobile environment. Which of them is more inspiring for you, in developing a new design language for GNOME?
Answer There is just a wild amount of innovation occurring at the moment, I don't recall anything like it. To me this is fascinating and fun, I tend to act a bit like a user experience entomologist, observing, testing, and cataloging the ecosystem. There has never really been such a dynamic and rich environment. And the truth is no one really knows what the future looks like but what is great is that this doesn't stop people from trying to create it.
You learn from what doesn't work as much if not more than from what does: that's how progress works.
To me, that is the inspiring thing, that all of them exist - are all very interesting - and that we don't know what tomorrow will bring.
Question: Recently Ubuntu has released a new mobile version. When can we expect to see a GNOME phone or a GNOME tablet?
Answer When a partner steps up to work with the project to make it happen, which is one of the really great things about the position GNOME plays in the open source movement. We aim to create an operating system that is better than anything that exists. Better for users. Better for developers.
But what some people don't realize is that because we are a non-profit that isn't controlled by a single corporation, there are opportunities for partners that don't exist anywhere else.
We are the level playing field and this is something that we've seen partners really value: we are an open project in every sense of the word. So, I can't give you any specifics but I think this is something that would be really neat to see if it was done properly.
Question: How do you like to draw the future of GNOME, based on distro/packages system or on free apps? Or what else?
Answer: The future of GNOME is pretty clear. The world's premier and, in fact, only truly free software operating system. We've reached the end of the utility of the package based mentality that has been effective at getting us to where we are now. It was a useful implementation detail but we got a little kooky about it: we turned it into our identity.
It turns out that it is now holding us back, we can't afford to be sentimental about bits.
They served their purpose and now we need something different, we're in the process of determining what that will look like but we know it will be a dramatically better experience for our users and for application developers and for our partners.
It will make it much much easier for our downstream partners to integrate, test, and deliver their products and to make our partnership much stronger in the process: more focused collaboration, much less conflict.
For details, I'd like to refer our readers to the discussions on the GNOME OS list.
Question: In some recent interviews, Linus Torvalds expressed his appreciation of GNOME Shell Extensions. What is your position on extensions?
Answer: Extensions are a great technology. And they have proven to be very useful for tweaking some of aspects of the operating system shell: it is great to see new and old contributors using them to experiment.
We've responded to this interest by making some of them obsolete. We've incorporated some of the most popular extensions into the core in the last few GNOME releases.
Question: During the latest GNOME Developer Experience Hackfest you told us that "Some really cool stuff is coming". Would you give us some spoilers?
Answer: I've already mentioned a couple of the awesome things we're working on. In essence: applications. Applications are coming. These are very exciting times.
Awesome! It seems the best is yet to come! Thank you very much Jon for spending time with us and for your amazing efforts to deliver the best user experience for everyone!
GNOME.Asia 2013 is calling for papers. GNOME.Asia Summit is Asia’s GNOME user and developer conference, spreading the knowledge of GNOME across Asia. The conference will be held in NIPA Business Center, Sangam-dong Seoul, Korea on May 24 -25, 2013. The conference follows the release of GNOME 3.8, helping to bring new desktop paradigms that facilitate user interaction in the computing world. It will be a great place to celebrate and explore the many new features and enhancements to the ground breaking GNOME 3 release and to help make GNOME as successful as possible.
Call for Papers
- Submission: March 8th, 2013
- Notification of Acceptance: March 15th, 2013
- Conference Date: May 24th - 25th , 2013
- Venue: Nuritkum Square - Business tower(3F, 4F), Sangam-dong 1605, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea
Possible topics include, but are not limited to
- How to Promote/Contribute to GNOME in Asia
- GNOME Marketing
- Promotion of Free and Open Source Software
- How to run a Local GNOME User Group
- Asia Success Stories/Local GNOME Projects
- GNOME and Education
- GNOME Outreach Program for Women
- Google Summer of Code
- Hacking GNOME
- Lastest Development in GNOME
- GNOME 3 & GNOME 3 Usability
- GNOME Human Interface Engineering (Icons and Graphic Design)
- Bugsquadding in GNOME
- GNOME Accessibility
- GNOME 3 Coding How-to
- Adapting GNOME to New Types of Devices
- Develop GNOME on mobile device, like smart phone, tablet PC
- Develop GNOME on embedded system or open source hardware
- On-going Projects, Success Stories
- Find FOSS Friendly Hardware Manufacturers
- Localization & Internationalization
- Input Methods
- Other topics
Any topics related to free and open source which are not listed above is still welcome.
A five-minutes presentation to demonstrate your work or promote an interesting topic. Reservation and on-site application are both accepted.
A standard session at GNOME.Asia 2013 will be scheduled as 45 mins (35 mins talk + 10 mins Q&A). Please take into consideration any time you will need for preparation. The session could be a technical talk, panel discussion, or BOF.
If you’d like to share your knowledge and experience at GNOME.Asia 2013, please fill in the form at http://2013.gnome.asia/cfp before March 8th, 2013. Please provide a short abstract about your proposal (under 150 words). Include your name, biographical information, a photo suitable for the web, a title, and a description of your presentation . The reviewing team will evaluate the entries based on the submitted abstracts and available time in the schedule. You will be contacted before March 15th, 2013 on whether your submission has been accepted or not.
All interested contributors are highly encouraged to send in their talks. Please help us to spread the invitation to other potential participants. Even you do not plan to be a speaker, please consider joining GNOME.Asia 2013. This is going to be a great event!
Following our fund raising campaign through Friends of GNOME, and with the help of Mozilla, the GNOME Foundation is looking for developers to enhance the accessibility of documents within GNOME.
Knowledge of the GNOME development process will be required to carry out the work.
The tasks should be set out in each of the bids, with the goal of enabling accessibility of documents such as PDFs, word processing documents, and HTML content.
The non-exhaustive list of modules and software projects that could be involved in enhancing accessibility for GNOME is as follows:
- poppler (PDF rendering library)
- libxps (XPS rendering library)
- evince (PDF and XPS reader for GNOME)
- WebKitGTK (HTML rendering library used in Web, Yelp, and Evoluhttps://www.gnome.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=3561&action=edit#post_nametion amongst others)
- GNOME Documents (document viewer for local and remote documents in GNOME)
The money available for the project is $30,000 ($10,000 from the Mozilla Corporation, $20,000 from our Friends of GNOME campaign). The bid selection will be made by a group including professional consultants with GNOME-related experience and GNOME Foundation Board members.
Bids should include:
- a list of specific tasks to be achieved and the list of components impacted
- details of your research into what level of accessibility the targeted end-user modules have.
- a time line and schedule for the whole project
- references to previous GNOME or accessibility related work.
Note that the goal of the GNOME Foundation for this project is upstream acceptance of the various modifications made during the project.
Please send your proposals to karen AT gnome DOT org with the subject line ”A11y of Documents Bid” by March 15, 2013.
GNOME needs your help to make its software available to all! GNOME is used on computers all over the world, in countries that use different languages and sometimes even alphabets. We offer everyone the opportunity to have a localized version of GNOME 3, and to use the appropriated keyboard layouts for their country and language. This is made possible by a database which is used to identify which layouts will be interesting to users depending on their country and language. Unfortunately, this database has a lot of gaps.
That's where you come in. By supplying the information we need, you can help us to predict which keyboard layouts are relevant to a user.
Helping with this task is easy: check out the wiki page and find any keyboard layouts that you use. Then fill in the code for your country and language. If you are new to wikis, we have instructions that will help you get started.
Helping us collect this information is a really quick and easy way to participate in GNOME and to improve the GNOME 3 user experience.