Older blog entries for sisob (starting at number 78)

SuSE LiveEval 9.0

I just tried out the SuSE LiveEval cd to see what "the competition" are up to. And I have to say - I don't get it. My Law-student girlfriend can sit down at my Gnome desktop and get to the applications she wants, but I, a CS student, can not easily find my way around KDE in SuSE

There are still loads of kisms which means that you have to run every application to see what it does. There is also loads of duplication of function and loads of little things that make the apps feel like they were thrown together and not maticulously designed.

Gnome isn't quite "there" yet, but I think that we're doing pretty well.

That siad, hardware detection and general configuration in SuSE is pretty impressive, but Yast isn't "free" so that doesn't count.

Original Again

The Project page is up. CVS no works with servers that have register_globals turned off in php.ini which should help a lot of people get it working.


Cvs is up. CVSROOT is ":pserver:anonymous@cvs.tuxfamily.org:/cvsroot/original".

I've also created a live demo of cvs on my college linux account but that isn't working so well. Will need to debug. I think they may just have a very broken php setup.

Todo: Throw together an Original page here

More "Original" Stuff

Jimmac seems pretty happy for me to go ahead so I've created a cvs repository. Unfortunatly stargate is on now, so there won't be any code in it till tomorrow at least. I'm busy for most of this week, but do have friday afternoon off so I'll try to merge as much of my code as possible in then. I'm also going to try and set up a daily-updated-from-cvs demo of Original somewhere at some stage.

Colin Marquardt is finalising a patch that makes Original not rely on register_globals being "On" in the php.ini. Not that I know what that means, but I do know that Original doesn't behave very well on some servers so this will definately help. (Mark reflects on the power of open source)

I had the mad/interesting idea of combining the Individual image and Image gallery pages/views in a web version of the following UI used in the eog nautilus view:

<img alt="Screenshot-Nautilus-eog.png" src="http://sisob.tuxfamily.org/archives/Screenshot-Nautilus-eog-thumb.png" width="371" height="365" border="0" />

This would mean that you would choose the gallery and then could browse that with a minimum of changing ui. We would need to use frames - but they aren't always bad.

Self Fixing Bugs
When fixing one bug, I inadvertently fixed another! So now I can use either a file specifying the date of the gallery, or let original pick it up from the modification time, and it all works happily together :) I thought I was going to have to re-write a whole load of code.

Note to self: Contact the people listed on Jimmac's site who have made modified versions of Original.

Photo Managment

Forgot to mention this from Just Raphael's diary:

<img alt="album_dialog.png" src="http://sisob.tuxfamily.org/archives/album_dialog-thumb.png" width="447" height="195" border="0" />

It's his response to mine and Seth's discussion about Photo Managment. I think it is a very good way of getting info to use from the user - but at the end of the day, for this and some other storage related stuff, I think that the user will have to learn that for certain things like the content of photos the system can only use the info given to it when querying.

I'm uncertain if we need to make this really obvious - maybe a tooltip for the description entry that tells the user that this info will later be used when searching for photos. I wonder how obvious it would be to a total newbie that a computer can't tell if a photo is a family photo ...

Photo Gallery

I've gotten further with the photo gallery. I've added some photos, integrated it with the rest of the site - and started on making it support using a file for the date instead of using the galleries modification time. (I've also done some general tidy ups - usability stuff)

My only problem is that it is still using the folders modified time to order the folders. I need to come up with a way of ordering the array(of gallerys and their respective months) by month.

Colin: The small thumbnail bar is fairly cool, but not absolutely necessary and I'm trying to cut down on visual clutter. If I can find a way to integrate it will I'll re-enable it.

Update: I got it working! And I had to write my own code to do it. I'm so proud - I usually just copy and past code. Anyway, now the months are in order. There will be more issues to iron out when I add more photos, but for the moment it looks good.

Notes on sftp

To make sftp work if you installed it manually you might have to:
cp /usr/etc/gnome-vfs-2.0/modules/* /etc/gnome-vfs-2.0/modules/

Also, IIRC if you are connecting to a host for the first time you must do it from the command line so that you can accept the key.

Lastly, read the comments on the last post - some people posted very useful info.

Website Hacking

I'm creating a custom version of Original to integrate with this site. It's still pretty unfinished but you can see it here.

Origional is great - but needs a little bit of usability polish :) I also need to modify it not to use the files creation date to sort it - I have 2 years of photos that I have to upload by ftp. I'll need to make it read the date from a file in the gallery.

Then all I need is an improved nautilus script that will prompt for individual file comments and for the gallery name - shouldn't be too hard. Maybe we can use original or something like it in the future as part of Gnome's Photo Managment.

Quick and easy ssh access with nautilus

For ages now I've been dieing to have nautilus browse files remotely via ssh, and I've been unable to get a simple answer as to how to do it. And guess what - it is only two commands! (I still don't know what people were on about when they kept saying to use ssh-agent)

1. Run ssh-keygen -d on the client and press enter for each of the questions it asks to accept all of the defaults. Do not set a password.

2. Still on the client run scp .ssh/id_dsa.pub [remote]:.ssh/authorized_keys where [remote] is the host name or ip of the server.

Now test that you can connect with ssh from the command line without a password. If that works then you can browse if from nautilus by browsing to ssh://[remote]/[remote path]

ps. I use the same username on both machines, if you don't I image that this will work by specifying the username at step 2 and when using nautilus.

pps. This may be extremely insecure, don't do this unless you know what you are doing.

Update:ssh: is still very slow and flakey - install and use gnome-vfs-sftp instead. It works the same as above except it uses sftp:

Bug Busting

The The Cooperative Bug Isolation Project looks very promising. Imagine how cool it would be to have the whole of the Gnome 2.5 series enabled with this :)

First to Market

It looks like longhorn is going to be out some time after 2006, by then we can assume that XP will be well intrenched. So we now have at least 3 years to beat longhorn to market with a really featureful/usable desktop os I think we can be fairly optomistic. After all Gnome is only what? 5 years old - by then we will be looking at Gnome 4.

Microsoft will have WinFS and .Net - we have to make sure we are in the position to say "So What!" and I think that we will be :)

The really ironic thing is that Longhorn will not be natively backwards compatible with XP and below - which might lead to Linux being more compatible with windows software than Longhorn (think wine + 3 years).

Gnome Deamon
We really need a generic Gnome deamon. It would include the clipboard deamon, the vfs deamon, the settings deamon as well as be responsible for diplaying battery, sound and network icons in the notificiation area.


I've finally collected together the 4 essays I've written about Open Source Stuff and put them here. I still need to integrate in properly into the rest of the site tho.

Also need to get my photos online, and maybe a copy of my old site for reference.


Seth: Yeah, I was thinking about the Family bit too, and the fact is that the photos would have had to have been designated "Family" by the user at some stage. I personally use Folders for this purpose, but in the Future I'd prefer to be using something like iPhoto.

So we assume that either the user is comming to Gnome with loads of photos or they are importing them into gnome as they take them: Either way we come up with an unobtrusive way to get the user to keep their photos organised.


Have been mental busy learning about hexadecimal and mad computer science stuff like that. Still very tired so I haven't really had time to do anything useful open source wise, but I am thinking about what sort of Image Managment tools we need in gnome.

We already have eog, gThumb and now we haveGNOME Photo Printer and in the future we may even have gnome-scan.

What we lack is a top down design for Gnome's Photo Managment, part of which may include an intelligent way to store and retrieve photos (ie. Something better than files and folders viewed in nautilus). Storage may be the key to this if it would let us make queries like "Family photos taken in October 2003".

We would also need a way of doing useful things with photos once you have stored and retrieved them, eg. printing, burning, e-mailing. I'm gonna go look at iPhoto on the college Mac Machines at some stage to see what it's like.

More Fedora

I take it all back: I updated to the latest version of the graphical boot and it's really sweet. I looks a whole lot better and is shit fast. Good work Blandford.

I'm number one for "Mark Finlay" at last, but only on page 9 for Finlay :/

The rise of the Laptop

People have been saying it for years: Laptops are going to replace desktop computers, and back in the day it sounded plausable that it could happen eventually but it didn't look like it would happen very soon. But now the time is upon us, the question is: is Linux ready?

I've only recently come to realise that the time of portable computing is upon us, and that Linux will probably never take over the home desktop like some of use would dream about. This is because everything will be portable by the time Linux takes over.

In one of my CS lectures this week the lecturer showed us a graph of the number of computers on campus. It showed a steady increase until 2003 after which it sharply leveled off. The reason for this is not that there are less computers being added to the netowork, but that the college are now having trouble counting the computers. Up until now an increase in computers ment new computer rooms but now it can also mean an increase in handhelds and notebooks on campus. That graph showed us that there has not been a falloff in the growth in pc nubmers on campus, but that the current growth is in portable computing.

There is also loads of incidental evidence - lots of people I know are buying laptops nowadays because they are not that much more expensive than pcs and have equivelent specs and even have extras that a lot of desktops don't (firewire, flash readers), and are of course more flexible, protable and compact than computers. They can easily be put away or moved etc..

Linux on the Laptop
I recently commented on some nice features that XP has for portable users, so I'm not going to go further into what linux needs to do for portable users (yet). [The issues that spring to mind are PnP hardware and networking as well as suspending to ram and disk and fast bootup and shutdown times. Also support for Step-up-Step-down processors]

For my own computing needs I expect to have mostly migrated to a new laptop (maybe this one) for my day to day computing by the end of the year. I will be using the one I have more and more once I get wireless access in Uni at the end of the month. I will probably still use my workstation as a file server and for compiling Gnome betas to test. I think that in the future the workstation will resume the role it had in days Gone by as a tool for people with really heavy computing needs - but if you are just a "user" then laptops etc.. will be the way to go.

There is increasingly more and more interest in Linux technology that can make Linux on the laptop viable from both users and developers and it looks like the future is bright.

Been pretty wrecked this week. Managed to get to all my lectures but didn't do anything else of note. Have been sleeping 12 hour nights and waking up tired. All part of the healing process etc... I'm still 7/8 kg lighter than I should be and so look pretty gaunt. Only lost the weight over the last month and mostly likely will take about 6 months to put it back on.

On the up side I heal real quick and my doctor says I'm an advertisment for his work: Starting Uni 13 days after having a lung removed :)


Fedora is starting to look really nice. The menus seem to be fixed so I will actually be happy to use the Gnome that comes with redhat for the first time since 7.x

I can't wait till it is officially released and people start creating repositories for it. It comes crippled from a multimedia point of view by default so one really needs a replacement set of gstreamer rpms as well as libxine and totem.

The only thing that really sucks about it is the graphical boot which is slow as hell and is pretty much just a hack to make init use X instead of doing it the right way. Hopefully redhat will switch to SystemServices when it is released and useful.

If they could make init and GDM use the same X server it would be ok - but starting the X server twice during the boot is just silly and slow.

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