Older blog entries for lucasr (starting at number 232)

Moving to Fedora

After many years using Ubuntu as my primary distro, I’m now moving to Fedora. I’ve installed F15 Beta on my personal laptop during this long weekend and spent a few hours getting my development environment back together. I have a few reasons for moving to Fedora.

Ubuntu and GNOME 3. Ubuntu now has an uncertain user story for GNOME 3. They will provide a PPA for Natty with GNOME 3 but it pretty much comflicts with the official packages. Not ideal as I just want GNOME 3 out of the box.

GNOME 3 full time. So far, I’ve tried GNOME 3 on the live images and while doing GNOME releases but never used it for longer than a few days. I wanted to start using it full time as soon as possible and Fedora provides exactly that.

Red Hat and upstream. I have always had great respect for the big contributions that the Red Hat guys give to GNOME and other upstream projects. I want to support them in a more concrete way.

Out of comfort zone. I’ve recently decided to do a few things to get me out of my comfort zone. Changing distros is one of them. It’s not a big deal really—at least for me anyway—but it’s a step on a not-so-comfortable direction. I’ll surely learn a few things on the way.

Except for the apparently broken Eclipse in F15—couldn’t get the Android ADT plugin to install—and a few glitches and rough edges here and there, the experience has been quite good so far.

Syndicated 2011-04-25 11:27:50 from lucasr.at.mundo

Leaving the Release Team

Photo by Frédéric Péters

It’s been some time that I’ve kept my work on the GNOME release team to a minimum by just doing a few development releases. After some consideration, I decided that it’s a good time to leave. The awesome Colin Walters will replace me.

This is the team that set the general plan for the GNOME 3 release and I feel very proud of having been part of it. I especially remember a couple of very long conversations with my evil twin about GNOME 3 and the team discussions during our meetings at GUADEC and FOSDEM…

Leaving the release team means that I now have no official roles in GNOME anymore. I’ve left a few other positions recently—among others that I haven’t really announced. This is actually an explicit decision of mine to gradually free some of my (rare) spare time for other personal projects. You probably know one of them. But there’s probably more coming, stay tuned!

Syndicated 2011-04-17 23:22:53 from lucasr.at.mundo


What a day! This is one of those rare special moments. Hard to describe. Tricky to write about. It’s when the result of the hard work of the community is finally made available to everyone! 9 years since our 2.0 release and nearly 3 years of gestation. GNOME 3 is finally here!

GNOME 3 is a new baseline for innovation for the years to come. A new user experience, a clean platform, a gorgeous website, and more. This release brings a strong refreshing feeling to the community and this is simply awesome.

Celebrate my friends! Wherever you are! GNOME 3 is an amazing achievement and we should all be very proud of it!

Syndicated 2011-04-06 21:46:23 from lucasr.at.mundo

Cheese in The Board

Cheese in The Board

I spent a few spare hours during this week to finally implement webcam support on The Board‘s photo elements. I still need to polish the design a bit but it’s pretty nice already! Click the image above to see a video demonstrating how it works.

As you can see, I haven’t shown my face on the demo video. This is because I recorded it too late today and I would definitely have to shave—yes, I’m looking like an ogre at the moment. So, I preferred to introduce the feature using one of my daughter’s favourite toys, my pet mug, and my charming hands instead.

This feature was very simple to implement thanks to Cheese‘s library (libcheese) which recently received a lot of love from Luciana. Thanks to her and the Cheese team I was able to use Cheese’s functionalities in The Board with little hassle. The photos are saved on the location than the photos taken with the Cheese app. When you don’t explicitly write a caption before taking the photo, The Board gracefully defaults to a date and time caption—see third photo on the video.

This work is not in git master just yet because I need to get a few fixes in Cheese first. So, I’ve pushed the code to a remote branch for now. This feature should be available to testers soon—in the next development release. Stay tuned!

Syndicated 2011-04-04 00:07:42 from lucasr.at.mundo

The Board in the Summer

As you probably know by now, GNOME has been accepted as a mentoring organization in Google’s Summer of Code 2011. Student applications period started yesterday! If you’re a student excited about GNOME, have a look at our wiki page for more information and project ideas! Application period ends on April 8.

This year I decided to mentor one project related to The Board. The idea is to implement a Tracker storage for the app. Using Tracker will allow us to implement smart searches in the app itself and expose The Board’s data to other desktop components.

So, if you’re a student looking for an interesting project to hack on as part of the Summer of Code this year, this is an exciting opportunity to work on a cool app using bleeding edge GNOME technologies (Clutter, GTK+ 3, Gjs, Tracker, etc).

Syndicated 2011-03-29 16:59:24 from lucasr.at.mundo

The Board 0.1.2

It turns out that The Board‘s distro packages were a great success! The PPA package alone has been downloaded more then 330 times in just a week. Not bad for package only available for an unreleased version of Ubuntu. And I’m not even counting the implicit testers using the GNOME 3 live image. I’ve got some useful feedback from early testers and I expect get even more from now on.

I was planning to finish some new major features before releasing 0.1.2, but a serious crash has been reported and I felt I had to respond to it quickly to avoid losing early testers. So, I give you The Board 0.1.2!

Besides the crash fix, this release contains a few nice improvements and bug fixes such as the addition of keyboard shortcuts for aligning and distributing elements on the page, more subtle window dimming when an element is activated, and proper saving when multiple elements are dragged. Major features such as Cheese integration are probably coming as part of the next release.

I’ve already pushed the updates to The Board’s PPA. If you already have it in your sources list, you should get it soon. I expect openSUSE and Fedora packages to be updated soon. If you haven’t tried The Board yet, what are you waiting for? Follow the instructions from my last blog post and start testing a few minutes!

Syndicated 2011-03-28 22:40:04 from lucasr.at.mundo

The Board in Distros

The Board in GNOME 3

So far, testing The Board has been a complicated matter because it involved messing with jhbuild, build dependencies, compilation of a dozen of modules, etc. Those are fine for developers but not really for the people who just want to try the app. Here’s a summary of the progress made on the creation of distro packages for The Board.

Ubuntu. Robert Ancell initially created a PPA for The Board under the GNOME 3 team in Launchpad. Thanks Robert! I then fixed a few remaining build issues on the package and created a separate PPA for The Board. It contains packages for Natty. To install The Board, open a terminal and run:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:the-board-team/dev-snapshots
$ sudo apt-get install the-board

You have to enable Ubuntu’s Universe repository. There are still a few issues with running The Board in Unity—blurred icon on panel, no status icon, etc. I’ll have to talk with the Unity team to know how The Board can be better integrated with Ubuntu’s new UX.

GNOME 3 Live CD. Thanks to the work of Andrew Wafaa, The Board packages are available for openSUSE. Frederic Crozat then integrated Andrew’s packages into the GNOME 3 Live CD. So it’s now easy to try The Board while having a sneak peak on GNOME Shell and other GNOME 3 goodies. As I said before, I’m still unsure on how to nicely integrate the app with GNOME Shell. The use of GTK+ status icon doesn’t really fit GNOME Shell’s UI design.

Fedora. Cosimo Cecchi has created Fedora Rawhide packages which still need to be updated for the latest release and reviewed. It should be available soon, I guess…

All in all, my hope is that those packages will allow more people to try The Board with minimum hassle. Keep in mind that The Board is still under heavy development and is not ready for end-users. For now, I’m looking forward to getting feedback, bug reports, and patches from insightful early testers and developers! For instance, Luc’s 15 minute review is an excellent example of the kind of feedback I’m looking for.

Syndicated 2011-03-22 10:14:59 from lucasr.at.mundo

Selling my cameras

Exposure by Eugene Yurevich (CC-BY-NC-ND)

After some consideration I decided to simplify my photographer life and sell both my DSLR and compact cameras to get one of those simpler yet fancy micro four-thirds cameras. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll get a GF-2 or a E-PL2.

The reason is very simple: even though I have a pretty good DSLR camera, I rarely use it because it’s just too inconvenient to carry it around. It just doesn’t work well for casual photography—at least for me. The reason I bought a compact was simply to have a decent HD video recorder. Anyway, here’s what I’m selling.

Canon 50D with 2 lenses. This is a just over 1-year old body that came with a Canon 17-85mm kit lens. I’m also including my 3-year old 50mm 1.8 lens and a 4GB compact flash. I guess I don’t have to say that this is an excellent DSLR camera, right? Price: £830

Panasonic Lumix TZ7. This is a point-and-shoot camera with an impressive 12x zoom. Definitely one of the best compacts I’ve ever used. Records 720p HD video with fairly good quality. I bought it less than a year ago. Price: £100

Both cameras are in very good shape. No scratches or anything. If you’re interested in buying one of the cameras, please contact me. I’ll give preference to buyers living in UK for practical reasons.

Syndicated 2011-03-19 01:29:59 from lucasr.at.mundo

New Planet Editor

I’ve taken the post of editor of GNOME Planet with Vincent in 2009. Since then, the approval process for new feeds received a couple of important improvements. First, we made the process more transparent by publicly processing all requests in GNOME’s Bugzilla. Secondly, we added clarity to the process by writing down a set of guidelines detailing how requests are processed.

But it’s been some time that I haven’t been dedicating enough time to process new requests. It’s time to pass the ball to someone who will be able to process the requests more promptly while still ensuring the high quality of the aggregated content. So, I hereby announce that Alberto Ruiz is now replacing me as co-editor of Planet GNOME. He has already done a great job in processing existing requests and I am confident that he’ll continue to do so. Welcome Alberto!

Syndicated 2011-03-03 13:37:41 from lucasr.at.mundo

Horizontal Space

Bastien’s latest post about the new GNOME screen panel—which looks generally nice by the way—reminded me of something that bugs me a bit on certain user interfaces with abundance of horizontal space.

In the new screen panel case, the brightness slider widget fills most of the window width. My first impression was “Wow, I’ll have to drag the pointer quite a long distance to adjust brightness”. But this kind of misuse of horizontal space is not so rare in other contexts. You can also see it on MeeGo’s status panel with too wide buttons on top. Or in some Maemo 5 apps, with weird menu buttons filling the whole screen width.

This kind of issue usually happens when the UI has to conform with some broader constraints from the design. For example, the screen panel runs inside GNOME’s System Settings which requires all settings panels to have the same dimensions. MeeGo’s status panel could definitely be less wide but the design seems to require all panels to fill the screen width. All that for good consistency reasons. But you might end up giving more space then the UI actually needs—in which case you probably want to ensure nothing looks odd.

Bad use of horizontal space can be avoided by spending a bit more time getting your UI layout right for the available horizontal space. Adding inconsistency to better cover special cases might be acceptable—if the resulting UI doesn’t have a major negative impact on the user experience.

The examples I gave here are not the end of the world or anything. But they definitely add some unwanted awkwardness to the UI. And, you know, little details matter.

Syndicated 2011-02-16 17:59:00 from lucasr.at.mundo

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