Wednesday Jul 01, 2009

Desktop Summit - Here I come!

Desktop Summit which is made up of GUADEC and AKademy will be held this year in the Gran Canaria from 3rd-11th July. This is by far the biggest events on its nature, FOSS and totally Desktop oriented.

I will be arriving on the 2nd July evening with the whole bunch from the Desktop group in Sun. Now that some of the people, Alberto, Luis are native Canarians. I am looking forwards to their local hospitality :) Also we meet up hackers old and new.

Many of the exciting talks including GNOME Shell, GNOME 3.0, Mobile Development are so exciting topics that I look forward to hear and see! I will be there until 9th July.

Friday May 01, 2009

My first git commit

I did my first git push yesterday (30/04/2009() since GNOME has moved from svn(1)to git(1). First of all, I really do appreciate those who worked on getting git(1) into OpenSolaris; save me having to build them from Spec Files Extra.

Looking at the my bash shell history, I issued the following commands:

git config --global "user name"
git config --global "email-address"

# That set up my basic identification.

git status
git clone git://

# First mistake, I checked out with read-only permission.

git clone ssh://"username"

# Checked out properly. Make code changes

git diff

# Look at code diff

git commit gnome-session/gsm-manager.c

# Commit code to local git clone

git push --dry-run

# Tried to push in dry run mode

git push origin HEAD

# finally pushed to master repository.

All the commands use are essentially nicely documented here

After making the commit, received a link from maintainer in how to make commit message more meaningful and conformance.

Just for future commits:

Lots of useful information can be found here
But I find this one is all that I need for doing my first git push! :)

Tuesday Jan 13, 2009

Accessible Relation - how to specify it using Glade-3

While I have been working to get a new printing application to work on OpenSolaris, QA has logged an accessibility bug which got me going to learn something about accessible relation. When a visually impaired person requires the use of speech program such as Orca to navigate around the GUI, it needs some context as to what a particular GUI element is supposed to do. In GUI we often have the label and text fields pairs to understand the context. When one is totally relying on audio, that label/text pair has to be closely associated. That is, when a input field is entered, the speech program not only have to tell the user what is the type of the input field and also what it is for based on the corresponding label.

If you are using glade tool to specify your GUI, this accessible relation can be easily specified by the following steps with glade-3:

1. Find out the name of the label, as the picture shows its value is 'label200'

From Accessibility relations

2. Find out the name of the related input field, as the pictures shows it to be 'cmbentNPTLpdHost'
From Accessibility relations

3. Express the label-for relation for the label, as the picture shows 'label200' is for 'cmbentNPTLpdHost'
From Accessibility relations

4. Express the label-by relation for the input field, as the picture shows 'cmbentNPTLpdHost' is labeled by 'label200'

From Accessibility relations

Once these relations are expressed using glade-3 (similarly with glade-2), the accessible technology tool such as Orca will speak out correctly when the user navigate to the input field.

Monday Jul 14, 2008

GUADEC 2008 - My Impression and Experience

GUADEC 08 in Istanbul is the fourth GUADEC I have attended. My first GUADEC was in Dublin back in 2003. Second one is in Kristiansand, Norway in 2004. Third GAUDEC in Vilanova, Spain in 2006. I totally enjoyed this GUADEC for a number of reasons.

Meeting up interesting people over the years and now we now seemed well acquainted, Luis, Jonathan Blandford, David Neary, J5, Micheal Meeks, Vincent Vuntz, Davyd Madeley, new acquaintance like Lucas, Reinout van Schouwen, Don Scroige, Peter Sikking and many other I have not be able to remember their names. Such as the conversation about only paying 1MB price for 12MB internet service in Spain at 2 a.m. (Identify yourself if you know that it is you). Though this year, we missed the presence of Jeff Waugh, Glynn Foster, Havoc.

Of course celebrity-like figure, Mark Shutterworth was even briefly queried about the printing BOF, and remarked that it has to work for CUPS, :(. Mark made my celeb list not so muh of Ubuntu, but his venture into space with the Russian.

What Really went well
Apart from meeting all the interesting people, I think the following things that
made GUADEC 2008 such an enjoyable one:

o Turkish Cushion/Raki/Water Pipes
These are unique to Istanbul and also such a powerful community building and
binding 'weapons', it is almost magical. Let me explains, around the corner
of the recommended hotels, there are these brightly coloured cushions laying
along the streets provided by the hotels, restaurants and bars that serve foods,
beers, Raki and Water pipes. Everyone can sit or lay down on these extremely
comfortable cushions/bead bags bare footed. Drinking beers or Raki which is a
local 40% alcoholic drink. Water pipes essentially is smoking fruit favoured
tobaco but filtered through water before it reaches the smoker's lungs (okay,
to keep the record straight for my children, I didn't smoke any :-)). You can
imagine the coziness, everyone is relax sitting shoulder to shoulder, taking
about GNOME, hacking ideas, FOSS, nice places in Istanbul, everything and
anything that comes into mind. I saw people who was passionate argued about
software development, etc. All is FUN!

o Boat cruise
The best social event is the boat cruise. It is perfect in a community
building/binding event again with the 2 similar key important elements:
o it started on time at 9.00 p.m. as that the time the boat left. Effective use
of times.
o Once you are on the boat, you can't go anywhere for 3 hours. You just got to
socialize while many cans of beers are served.

Of course the Ice Scream Death Match and SMASH added significant participation to the occasion. I joined in the Ice Cream DeathMatch in promptu. Shamefully to say, I managed only to eat one third of the 2 Litter box of ice cream, but that is a personal best :). Other enjoyed SMASHED mini-conference. SMASHED stands for the Single Malt Appreciation Society for Hackers, Engineers and Developers. I can see this mini-conference will be an integrated part of future GUADEC.

The beautiful night scheme of Istanbul subtle encouraged people to immersed into social participation.

o Helpful volunteers
I could not say more highly of the friendliness of the conference helpers
over the 5/6 days. They tried everything the could to help, at one point
when I was trying to set up access to the wifi, there were 3 or 4 volunteers
come to help.

o Istanbul
Such a beautiful city, the straits, the bay, all the history, beautiful
building, friendly people, nice restaurants convenience public transports,
infinite number of taxis.

What didn't go well
o Some of the BOF sessions were not run as well as it could be. It is a
combination of poor preparation of the speakers, or the lack of attendant from
the right group of people. I think we all owned to the community to play our
parts to the best we could. This is not meant to be a criticism, but seriously
for us to bring GNOME community to the next level, we need to do our parts
seriously and at the same times have FUN :), work hard, play hard! (My apology
to all who attended the printing BOF, the demo didn't go as well as it should.
I am too part of the problem).

o The University has blocked some ports which meant I can't read my company's
e-mail and which meant I have to spend more times at the hotel to reply
some of the more urgent mails.

o Lighning talks are excellent, in fact it is some well done that the other two
parallel sessions fell victim of it. So to the future organsing committee,
please do not have other parallel sessions when lightning talks is on.

On the whole, I consider the conference a BIG SUCCESS! Lots of interesting
works going on, GTK+ 3.0 and GNOME 3.0 are exciting news. GDM development shown the solid engineering works happening in the community. PackageKit are all encompassing and shown the important of user's experience.

The venue of GUADEC 09 will be in the Grand Canary. I really amused at the way the decision was made, it was voted in by a show of hands and a shout of hurray during the foundation member meeting. (Update: I read from the mailing list that it was actually decided by the Foundation directors before hand, hmm I am confused here).

Thursday Jul 03, 2008

GUADEC - Istanbul

I will be flying out to Istanbul on Sunday mid-day with the whole bunch of Sun people from Dublin. Should arrive late Sunday night. Stay in one of the recommended hotel, but do not have the details as I will be relying the other guys like Matt Keenan to figure the details when we arrive. This is a fairly big gang from Sun this year, I think it is 18 people all together, from Dublin, Hamburg, beijing and other places.

I will be doing the BOF on printing tools,
really looking forwards to people who are interested working in this area for GNOME. Will talk a bit about GTK+ Print dialog as well as I think this is an area printing tools will touch on to make better integration

Monday Apr 28, 2008

Mentoring GSOC on Printer Management

I have meant to write this up last week. I am mentoring for the first time ever for GSOC. His name is Rui Tiago Cação Matos, a final year of Computers and
Telematic Engineering at the University of Aveiro [1]. He will be working to improve the GUI for system-config-printer. The broad goal is to make it ready as a candidate for printers management to be blessed by the GNOME release team :)

Welcome Rui!! Looking forwards to work with you!

[1] It is in Portuguese, another little thing in life that I have to start learning :).
Though I am glad Rui's English is actually very good.

Monday Apr 07, 2008

GSOC 2008 - Integrated Printer Management for GNOME

Even since I expressed my interest in a BOF session to talk about tools for printers management in GAUDEC 2008, a number of things have happened since:

\* I have volunteered myself to be a mentor to the GNOME GSOC 2008 for Integrated Printer Management
\* I have also received a couple of direct inquiries from students who expressed interest to want to work on it. Both of them show great potential to make this project a success! I really hope that this project do get accepted, this is something really need to tackle head on, a GSOC project will help tremendously to make a head start!
\* Google has extended the student submission deadline from 31st March to 07 April, 5:00 PM PDT /00:00 UTC April 8, 2008. That is less than 8 hours from now. Hurry Up if you are interested in this project.
\* I have some very helpful comments from last BOF post. Thank you All! Keep it coming.

Still, I am looking to hear from You who are working in printer related tools! (Hints, hints, fedora folks, ubuntu folks, OpenSUSE folks, BSD folks, Debian folks ... and those I have not mentioned :-)).

Tuesday Mar 25, 2008

BOF proposed for GUADEC 2008

As I will be on vocation for the next 3 days, so I thought it is best that I submit my BOF (bird of feathers) proposal early. So below is the abstract I have written up.

The GNOME community has not prioritized printing since the last gallant efforts by Alex Larson and John Palmieri back in 2006. With the gradual adoption of GTK+ printing, the GNOME desktop has finally got all its components to use GTK+ print dialog in 2.22.0. With the unified application print dialog at hand, it is about time to move on to the printing tools. Currently, various distros come up with each unique solutions. While the existing tools are usable and are making steady progress, there is no such printing tools endorsed by GNOME as such.

The author proposes the following area for discussion:
\* printer management tool that support major print systems such as CUPS, Windows and LP (with pluggable modules)
\* examine the existing tools to enumerate the major must have and separate into nice to have features. The possible tools for evaluation include, gnome-cups-manager, gnome-cups-add, system-config-printer, and ospm-pm [1].
\* consolidate the (possible) GSOC work on integrated printer management if the project does go ahead.
\* create opportunities for the interested parties to work together.

[1] Most people are familiar with gnome-cups-manager, gnome-cups-add and system-config-printer as these have been around for sometimes. ospm-pm is at an early stage and there are useful features worth sharing.

If you are interested in involving with this work, please drop me a line regardless of whether you are going to GUADEC or not, here or post me a comment :) THANKS!

Friday Mar 14, 2008

GNOME 2.22 Released

GNOME 2.22 was released on schedule on 13th March 2008. The list of new features are here. The speed of announcement by the GNOME hacker, this blog entry literally is yesterday news. It is amazing how the community managed to pull it all together even when there was some doubts about the viability of the release back in December 2007. Well Done to All there!

GNOME 2.22 release on OpenSolaris is not official due until Nevada build 88 according to the current plan. The preview of that is actually in vermillion devel 86 if you know what I am talking about.

Update: Damien just sent out and email saying vermillion devel 86 is DOA . Workaround is on the way, but given many are on holidays over Paddy day and Easter. The wokaround is unlikely to be available until the holidays is over. So better off waiting for Vermillion 87.

Update 2: Good man, Damien has spent beyond his holidays and uploaded the HAL packages to make sure that vermillion devel 86 is working on download. Extra steps in the instruction is here. Kudos to Damien!

Wednesday Sep 19, 2007

GNOME 2.20 Released Today

19-09-2007. Today GNOME 2.20 is released. The GNOME community just amazing!! Since the release of GNOME 2.2 in a six monthly cycle, the community and the release team have consistently working to a very well-defined schedule and have not missed a single release date. Congratulations to the community and the release team!

Murray Cumming, Jorge Castro, Andreas Nilsson and others have also written the most extensive and beautiful release notes here. Whoever going to do the release note for GNOME 2.20 is going to face a BIG challenge!.

Tuesday Jul 10, 2007

SUN Patch Day

Laszlo Peter who is better known to be Laca has just announced 11th July 2007 to be Sun Patch Day in an effort to work with community members to upstream all these (skeletons in the corset) patches! Granted there are abut 500 patches, but lots of these are branding patches which means they are included for Sun's specific branding or features.

I personally am responsible for the following patches and I just jolt down some comments to help with community members and maintainers should they want any of these upstream and those should not upstream:


# date:2006-10-20 type:bug bugster:6228176 owner:gheet
Patch7: gnome-vfs-07-audio-cd-show-icon.diff
# date:2005-04-13 type:bug bugster:6243507 owner:gheet
Patch8: gnome-vfs-08-trash-skip-copy.diff

GTK+ Backend for PAPI (OpenPrinting Standard Printing API). Would like to see this upstream and some tidi`y -up is necessary.
# date:2006-09-17 bugster:6494571 bugzilla:382676 owner:gheet type:bug
Patch11: gtk+-11-printing-papi-backend.diff

# owner:gheet date:2006-04-23 type:bug bugster:6418204,6194525
Patch1: libgnomeprint-01-papi-print-dialog.diff
# owner:gheet date:2006-08-10 type:bug bugster:6437235 bugzilla:345012
Patch2: libgnomeprint-02-evince-crash.diff
# owner:dcarbery date:2007-03-14 type:bug bugzilla:418595
Patch3: libgnomeprint-03-guchar-pointer.diff
# owner:gheet date:2006-04-23 type:bug bugster:6418204
Patch1: libgnomeprintui-01-papi-print-dialog.diff

This is a patch I believe may be due to the different between the Solaris and Linux signals system.
I have reported this in but have never seen this in Linux.
#owner:gheet date:2004-06-03 type:bug bugster:5052479
Patch2: GConf-02-daemon-hanged-solaris.diff

This is a patch used by Sun's legacy applications which may run a GNOME GUI should the property GNOME_SM_DESKTOP is set. A useful hack though was refused may be harmless to include.
owner:gheet date:2004-08-06 type:bug bugster:5025823 bugzilla:98481
Patch1: gnome-session-01-gnome-atom.diff

This patch simply changes the purge warning delay to 30 seconds as according to the man page of gnome-session(1).
#owner:gheet date:2005-01-14 type:bug bugster:4978659
Patch4: gnome-session-04-reduce-purge-warn-delay.diff

This is the Trusted JDS patch based Trusted Extensions Framework, this requires some more coordination and review for this patch to be upstreamed.
owner:gheet date:2006-11-03 type:feature bugster:6393728
Patch6: gnome-session-06-trusted-extensions.diff


Branding patches, none of these should be upstreamed.
# date:2006-11-23 type:branding owner:gheet
Patch1: gnome-vfs-01-default-url-handler.diff
# date:2005-04-26 type:branding owner:gheet
Patch2: gnome-vfs-02-mime-info-file-path.diff
# date:2005-01-31 type:branding bugster:4951431 owner:gheet
Patch6: gnome-vfs-06-socks-version.diff

Sun's specific metacity Key binding
#owner:gheet date:2003-07-17 type:branding
Patch2: metacity-02-ctrl-esc-mod4-r.diff

These are patches that we created to deliver a Solaris print manager
# date:2007-02-06 type:branding owner:gheet
Patch1: printman-01-menu-entry.diff
# date:2007-02-06 type:branding owner:gheet
Patch2: printman-02-help-dir-changed.diff

Sun hipped a version of libgnomeprint-2 in GNOME 2.0 and we have to continue
shipping this set of libraries to maintain backwards compatibility.
# date:2007-02-06 type:brandisng owner:gheet
Patch3: printman-03-pkgconfig.diff

I will on the irc, irc:// on 11th July 0900-1800 Beijing time.

Wednesday Jul 05, 2006

GUADEC 7 - Impressions

The 7th GUADEC event was held between 24th and 30th June in Vilanova i la Geltrú, a mediterranean town situated 45km south of Barcelona and 45km north of Tarragona, and is only 20 minutes from Prat International Airport (Barcelona).

Now that the conference is over and after fixing up the urgent Real Work (TM) in the office, I thought it is nice to write down few things about this conference for the annul GNOME users and developers.

1. This is by far the biggest conference todate numerically. (Don't have the official number, but quite estimate it is very much 400+.

2. The Conference Corner Stone sponsor is Nokia, and they sure know how to make use of the conference to promote their presence in GNOME by sending the most number of attendees (about 20) and giving the most number of talks mainly via the works on on the Nokia 770. I guess GNOME is the all encompassing umbrella for the Open Source technologies Nokia has adopted in the hand-held 770 embedded device while Maemo comunnity ( is being built up.

3. Lots of passionate debates were involved in many of the sessions, including those of performances in GTK+, cleaning up of gnome-vfs, use of FUSE (, Printing support in GTK+.

4. Lot of talks surrounding Python bindings for GNOME. Although this is a interesting development, this also diversifies the development environment of GNOME potentially now into C, Python, Mono, and Java (when Sun open source it). These seem to be a lot of individuals in the conference would love to out their hands in Java, one really experience GNOME hacker even spoke to me who thinks Java is much better than Mono. Of course, he is to be remain anonymous :)

5. The communities are really warm to Sun's present comparing with 2 years ago when I was last there in the GUADEC conference in Kristiansand, Norway. Many technical disucssions were involved, many more social interactions involving drinking Spanish beers, Swapping of personal identity card were great crack!. The day usually starts from 9.30 a.m. and finishes around 1.00 -3.00 a.m., depending which conference buses can one catch at the end of the day.

So this is the best GUADEC conference I have attended thus far!

Next year, GUADEC will be in Birmingham, England.

Sunday Jun 19, 2005

GNOME Desktop Number in some perspective

Just found this which said,
HP today announced that it has set an industry-first milestone by shipping more than 1 million Linux servers to customers since 1998, 45 percent more than any other major hardware vendor.

This implies that HP plus the second vendor has shipped together just under 2 millions copies of Linux servers. Now that I am not sure how many subsequent vendors are there. My guess it would not more than 5 major vendors who ship Linux server in major numbers, I guess these include IBM, Redhat and SuSE.

Looking at these number from the desktop perspective, in particular GNOME. We know the major version of GNOME 2.0 was shipped in 2000. Therefore, many of these server shipped did not include a major version of GNOME Desktop. Most data indicated that Linux Server is the first being adopted, therefore we can reliably assume that there are more copies of Linux server shipped than there are copies for Deesktop. Assume HP has shipped a copy of GNOME with its server since and assuming linux is getting more popular than ever before, we assume 90% of the 1 million copies were shipped since 2000. This means 900,000 copies of GNOME were shipped. Pretty impression.

But looking at the Solaris 10 download number, closer to 2 million download since 31st of January 2005. Solaris 10 does bundles both CDE and GNOME 2.6 branded as JDS (Java Desktop System). Assuming half of the number downloaded uses GNOME as their desktop, we are talking about 1 million JDS/GNOME users. Pretty much the same number as the HPs Linux servers. If the GNOME community is looking to spread GNOME as the Open Source Desktop, please do not ignore these numbers!

I know some think Solaris is a pain, is really the last Unix competitor to fight against! But for the Open Source GNOME community, Solaris is really a competitor you should love to hold onto. With Solaris, suddenly, you are 2 million bettter than KDE )

Monday Nov 15, 2004

Novell Linux Desktop

Here is a review of the NLD 9 by lxer. Interesting comments about the decision of choosing GNOME or KDE. Man the compettion is on as Novell also priced that at $50 per user per year. Even though the main desktop components are based on GNOME 2.6, they have many add-ons which are beyond 2.6 such as Evolution and version of Firefox.

Wednesday Sep 15, 2004

GNOME 2.8 Released Today

Just announced GNOME 2.8 is released. See release page. Evolution 2.0 is now part of the GNOME release!.

Friday Jul 02, 2004

GUADEC V slides on line

The GUADEC wiki page is here. The GNOME Enterprise User - JDS paper and slides are under Day Two.

P.S. Thanks to Calum's hosting the files, I guess I can also upload using wiki, except the instruction to create a new user was rather subtle. Well, at last got this bit going.

Wednesday Jun 30, 2004

Last day at GUADEC

Attended a couple of talks in the morning, the GIMP tutorial was interesting. It shows many of the things that can be done like - ereasing someone out from a picture, make some object focus to the foreground and fading the background, image enhancing using various filters. The talk on usability in GNOME & Usability in Military Systems, Kathy Fernandes was interesting too. Very positive, but usability really needs to be better documentated and consistent to make it acceptable in that environment. GNOME 2.8 road map too was good, getting a good idea of where we are going next. See for details.

Monday Jun 28, 2004


GUADEC V started out with some 300+ attendees. Many Sun folks from all over the world, U.S., Germany, China, India, Ireland. Red hat has lots of hackers too, and presence of Novell is impressive.

Saturday Jun 26, 2004

Ready to go... GUADEC V

Like many of us who are going to GUADEC in Norway latter today as it is 1.20 a.m. and the flight is 4:20 p.m. I am still trying to figure out everything to bring, laptop, adapter and also the Sunday Sermon notes to be finished, look like this is just going to be short night sleep... Details of GUADEC V of course can be looked up here at Weather outlook in Kristiansand, Norway. Not that great! Forecast rain on Sunday night and Tuesday,

Friday Jun 25, 2004

Finding a bug by way of a noisy disk

While trying out a new machine today, I found a incredible interesting performance bug with Mozilla 1.7. This machine has a large SCSI disk which is incredible noisy, almost like back the good old day of IBM AT hard disk which at some point would have caused the table to shake when compiling. This performance related bug in Mozilla 1.7 is found because the machine made incredible random noise whenever the mouse cursor hovering over any URIs. So afterall, there are good reasons to make noisy disk which provide useful feedback to the user.

I work in the Desktop Group Site Meter


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