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Unity 2D to enter GNOME:Ayatana soon…

May 19th, 2011 by

In the past days I’ve been packaging and fixing some issues on Unity 2D for inclusion on the GNOME:Ayatana repository in the openSUSE Build Service.

This gave me an excellent opportunity to test a few components share by both, Unity and Unity 2D, which is the case of ‘unity-place-applications’ and ‘unity-place-files’, both using Zeitgeist which is already in Factory for the upcoming openSUSE 12.1. We thank the integration of this packages to Federico Quintero. Thanks Fred.

A few more additional packages need some care and once they get updated and tested they will be uploaded to GNOME:Ayatana, at which time I will provide an installer (1-Click) for those willing to test Unity-2D. Unity 2D will be the first application to use the indicators I have prepared in the past which all all found working, except 1, the AppMenu (strangely it works on GNOME2 panel without issues).

This is how Unity 2D looks like. There are transparencies because I enabled ‘composite’ on metacity, which works very nicely. As far as I could understand, the developers of Unity 2D are also looking into implementing Compiz with Unity 2D, which would be sweet.

Unity introduces the ‘dash’ which is pretty much the following screen. Transparencies are enabled (though metacity composite) and the notification bubble belongs to NotifyOSD (already present in openSUSE 11.4 as optional). This is one of the three issues I have to fix, the icons displayed on the dash should have text underneath, it’s not showing. The top icons are quick links to Program Categories and the ones bellow are the default applications which are setup in GNOME.

The launcher panel on the side auto-hides, and seems to be working. The three icons displayed in last are respectively: Workspace selector, applications menu and files. Everything seems to be working with them, and the 2 last are components shared with Unity, and they both rely on Zeitgeist. Here’s a few captures of what they do…

There’s also a feature from Unity which is cute… The title artifact of the decorator window (metacity, which required a few patches) is removed and implemented on the top bar when the window is maximized. Sadly for me the AppMenu (menu proxy) isn’t working properly, this is another thing that needs fixing…

This should cover pretty much the functionality that is available currently. There’s a few issues still remaining before I can push this to GNOME:Ayatana:

– I tried not to have the need to patch gnome-session, but since Unity relies on the Session Indicator to have this functionality, gnome-session will need to be patched (should be ok, because it also requires the backport patch for  defining –sessions for openSUSE 11.4).

– Unity 2D itself relies on a few gconf hacks that should be on a schema file. I’ve talked to upstream and this is planned already, so once it’s release, that’s when it will be published.

– There’s one issue also with backgrounds and workspace switcher… unfortunatly the workspace switcher only renders wallpapers if they are in image format (no .xml stuff), so this can turn some wallpapers not to render, which eventually ends up in the background of the switcher being the one defined in GNOME as solid color.

So the order of TODO’s for GNOME:Ayatana is pretty much this one:

1. Implement dependencies and then Unity 2D;
2. Make sure Compiz is well implemented, because Unity will require Compiz at it’s best shape;
3. Make sure nux and other twisted dependencies are properly implemented;
4. Implement Unity itself;

This are the latest news for GNOME:Ayatana…

Massive update on Ubuntu software…

January 20th, 2011 by

Screenshot using Radiance Light Theme and default Ubuntu indicator layout.

Some brief updates about the ongoing work towards bringing Ayatana Project software into openSUSE:

1. Software Updates

Canonical recently released a batch of updates which bring new functionality (Indicators seem to respond faster now) and very nice improvements, some of them contributed by down-streamers. From my humble experience I would risk to claim that Canonical is doing an excellent job as an upstreamer. I’ve updated all packages to the latest versions. This allowed to remove some patches.

2. Unity

Unity is now one step closer. For Unity I’ve started to package Compiz git snapshots from the correct branches pointed by Unity documentation. This brought something new to me, cmake. I’ve done this very slowly, reading some docs meanwhile about cmake. My packaging around Compiz is mainly based on OBS X11:Compiz repository, so pretty much all the credits should be for the original project Packagers which done an awesome job. Currently I’m missing only 3 packages to test Unity. Recently with kernel and mesa updates some issues around ATI hardware seem to have fixed for openSUSE Factory users, which enabled in my case FireGL, therefore I can test properly Unity now and check for the integration into openSUSE.

Unity by default uses the Ayatana’s Indicators, and if they are not present, it will fallback to GNOME’s applets. This is very nice and I’m thankful Canonical made it this way. This brings non-Ubuntu users the Unity experience at almost no trouble, since there isn’t actually much patching required to implement Unity.

3. GNOME:Ayatana Repository

GNOME:Ayatana Repository will be populated during the next two weeks with the latest changes and will provide for the time being the Ayatana’s Indicators and Unity. I am currently working around libappindicator stack and it’s Indicators. Currently I’m testing the patches required on the GTK+ stack and this is pretty much the last barrier before going into #STAGE2, polishing and populating GNOME:Ayatana.

It’s not decided yet what packages are going to present on Factory. My wish is to push only Unity into Factory and it’s dependencies, this might not happen for 11.4 as I’m not sure about the freeze schedules and it might be too late already, but since we’re depending on Compiz upstream, we’ll see what happens. Even if Unity isn’t going to be available on Factory, I’m sure we can use KIWI or SUSE Studio to release a small openSUSE Unity Spin.

I’ve also decided that I (typo: previously would) wouldn’t like to see Unity available by openSUSE before the official release from Ubuntu, for which I wish all the success.

Since the very early start that I’ve been using pkg-config as much as I can. According to some information that I collected previously, this would be great for cross-distribution build. Depending on the time and work done, I might make the necessary modifications and enable cross-distribution building on this project, thus, making it available for other RPM distributions supported by OBS. This will require a bit of testing before, so it will be work to be done after 11.4 is released and during it’s lifecycle. Maybe by the time of openSUSE 12 gets released, we will have this project also available for other RPM based distributions. I have no knowledge on Debian packaging, but Ubuntu ships this software and Debian probably has it also available so… that won’t be a problem.

4. Artwork

I am providing on GNOME:Ayatana Ubuntu’s Light Themes (Ambiance and Radiance) and offering a patched version of Metacity that renders those themes perfectly. I’m not changing the original colors from the themes or modifying them in any way. So they might be a bit more of orange and not green.

I’ve contacted some people to ask if they would be willing to donate some artwork to make a small package with Wallpapers, some have answered yes, so I will make a small package with a couple of wallpapers for the traditional resolutions and distribute it alongside with this software as optional as always.

5. GTK2, GTK3 and QT

Implementation of GTK3 will be done within the next days, as I am also considering enabling QT support for KDE users (Indicators only for now).

That’s pretty much the result of the last days of work… more news to come in the nearby future.