April 16, 2014

Maynard: a Wayland desktop shell for the Raspberry Pi

Marco Barisione

In the last year or so, Collabora has been working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation on a web browser and on Wayland. See Daniel’s and Pekka’s blog posts about their Wayland work.

To make Wayland on the Raspberry Pi actually usable, we needed a shell, but lightweight desktop environments (like LXDE) don’t support Wayland and normal desktops (like Gnome and KDE) are just too heavy.
This meant we ended up writing our own shell based on Tiago Vignatti’s gtk-shell, so Maynard was born!

No video displayed here? Watch the video on Youtube.
Maynard running on my laptop (webm video file)

No video displayed here? Watch the video on Youtube.
Maynard running on a Pi (mp4 video file)

Maynard is far from complete, but it’s already starting to take shape nicely. Its goals are to be functional, light and pretty, so it will never see some of the features one might expect from Gnome or KDE for instance.

The main current limitations are:

  • No XWayland support, so non-Wayland applications cannot run (issue #1).
  • GTK applications take too long to start (issue #2).
  • Active apps are not shown in the panel (issue #3).
  • No configurability (issue #7). I hope you like the background from kdewallpapers we use as you cannot change it for now ;)

Interested in the project? Follow these links:

by barisione at April 16, 2014 12:37 PM

February 07, 2014

An experiment in space building

Trever Fischer

Greetings, fellow humans! Some people may have noticed a lack of FOSS-y contributions from me over the last year or so. A lot of that time went towards running the first full year of SYNHAK, the Hackerspace in Akron, OH that I helped found in 2011.

As it began to grow and take off, my interests in FOSS moved towards the infrastructure that actually makes a Hackerspace tick. Hackerspaces are wonderful things: autonomous collections of people where even the organization structure itself is designed to be resiliant and hackable. From the outset, I wanted SYNHAK to have a minimal bus factor. Being the first person to come with any kind of workable plan and convince some others to help it out, I had a significant hand in constructing the foundations that we maintain today.

Before SYNHAK, I was very involved in KDE and Linux spheres for a good number of years. FOSS is an amazing environment for new ideas to sprout and take hold, and a lot of that is due to the infrastructure supporting it: the tools, public and open documentation, instantly hackable sources, community governance, and more. I wanted to bring that to SYNHAK. I feel that for the most part, it has been highly successful on all of those fronts. I would argue that SYNHAK bears the right to be called an Open Source Hackerspace.

Forking SYNHAK

SYNHAK’s infrastructure is easily forkable. You can have your own local copy of SYNHAK up and running in a day, if you’ve got the time. I drew a lot of my design decisions from the FOSS world. Almost all of SYNHAK is available online in git. The rest is in a wiki. We are incredibly transparent with heaps of documentation, discussion, and documentation of discussion.

In particular, the ideas I brought from FOSS were:

  • The community governs itself
  • Release early, release often
  • Transparency in operations
  • If it didn’t happen on the mailing list, it didn’t happen
  • Meritocracy

Over the next few days, I will be publishing a series of articles I wrote on the various pieces of infrastructure I contributed to for SYNHAK during it’s first two full years of existence in an attempt to build an open source hackerspace from the ground up.

by Torrie Fischer at February 07, 2014 04:10 PM

February 04, 2014

Multi-touch gestures in Mutter-based compositors

Tomeu Vizoso

A customer has asked for documentation on handling multi-touch gestures in their Mutter-based compositor (see my previous post) and I thought that it could be a good idea to have it in the GNOME wiki, in case it helps when they are added to GNOME Shell:

Multi-touch gestures in Mutter-based compositors

I'm not sure of what would be the best use for multi-touch gestures in the Shell, probably for resizing windows (with a 4-finger pinch gesture) or for switching desktops (with a 3 or 4 finger swipe). Probably some ideas can be taken from the multi-tasking gestures in recent versions of iOS, such as using pinch gestures to activate hidden panels or to switch to another views.

Something I feel strongly is about restricting system-wide gestures to more than 3 fingers, because the user experience and the implementation gets quite complicated if the compositor and the applications need to compete for touch sequences in similar gestures.

It's currently a bit convoluted due to zero support in Mutter for touch events, but once the Shell starts using touch events, I think it will make sense to move some of the setup and boilerplate into Mutter.

Once more, thanks to my employer Collabora for sponsoring this work:


by Tomeu Vizoso (noreply@blogger.com) at February 04, 2014 02:59 PM

December 11, 2013

WebKitGTK+ hackfest 5.0 (2013)!

Gustavo Noronha Silva

For the fifth year in a row the fearless WebKitGTK+ hackers have gathered in A Coruña to bring GNOME and the web closer. Igalia has organized and hosted it as usual, welcoming a record 30 people to its office. The GNOME foundation has sponsored my trip allowing me to fly the cool 18 seats propeller airplane from Lisbon to A Coruña, which is a nice adventure, and have pulpo a feira for dinner, which I simply love! That in addition to enjoying the company of so many great hackers.

Web with wider tabs and the new prefs dialog

Web with wider tabs and the new prefs dialog

The goals for the hackfest have been ambitious, as usual, but we made good headway on them. Web the browser (AKA Epiphany) has seen a ton of little improvements, with Carlos splitting the shell search provider to a separate binary, which allowed us to remove some hacks from the session management code from the browser. It also makes testing changes to Web more convenient again. Jon McCan has been pounding at Web’s UI making it more sleek, with tabs that expand to make better use of available horizontal space in the tab bar, new dialogs for preferences, cookies and password handling. I have made my tiny contribution by making it not keep tabs that were created just for what turned out to be a download around. For this last day of hackfest I plan to also fix an issue with text encoding detection and help track down a hang that happens upon page load.

Martin Robinson and Dan Winship hack

Martin Robinson and Dan Winship hack

Martin Robinson and myself have as usual dived into the more disgusting and wide-reaching maintainership tasks that we have lots of trouble pushing forward on our day-to-day lives. Porting our build system to CMake has been one of these long-term goals, not because we love CMake (we don’t) or because we hate autotools (we do), but because it should make people’s lives easier when adding new files to the build, and should also make our build less hacky and quicker – it is sad to see how slow our build can be when compared to something like Chromium, and we think a big part of the problem lies on how complex and dumb autotools and make can be. We have picked up a few of our old branches, brought them up-to-date and landed, which now lets us build the main WebKit2GTK+ library through cmake in trunk. This is an important first step, but there’s plenty to do.

Hackers take advantage of the icecream network for faster builds

Hackers take advantage of the icecream network for faster builds

Under the hood, Dan Winship has been pushing HTTP2 support for libsoup forward, with a dead-tree version of the spec by his side. He is refactoring libsoup internals to accomodate the new code paths. Still on the HTTP front, I have been updating soup’s MIME type sniffing support to match the newest living specification, which includes specification for several new types and a new security feature introduced by Internet Explorer and later adopted by other browsers. The huge task of preparing the ground for a one process per tab (or other kinds of process separation, this will still be topic for discussion for a while) has been pushed forward by several hackers, with Carlos Garcia and Andy Wingo leading the charge.

Jon and Guillaume battling code

Jon and Guillaume battling code

Other than that I have been putting in some more work on improving the integration of the new Web Inspector with WebKitGTK+. Carlos has reviewed the patch to allow attaching the inspector to the right side of the window, but we have decided to split it in two, one providing the functionality and one the API that will allow browsers to customize how that is done. There’s a lot of work to be done here, I plan to land at least this first patch durign the hackfest. I have also fought one more battle in the never-ending User-Agent sniffing war, in which we cannot win, it looks like.

Hackers chillin' at A Coruña

Hackers chillin’ at A Coruña

I am very happy to be here for the fifth year in a row, and I hope we will be meeting here for many more years to come! Thanks a lot to Igalia for sponsoring and hosting the hackfest, and to the GNOME foundation for making it possible for me to attend! See you in 2014!


by kov at December 11, 2013 09:47 AM

November 29, 2013

Redirect loop with interaktiv.nsb.no (and how to fix it)

Tollef Fog Heen

I'm running a local unbound instance on my laptop to get working DNSSEC. It turns out that with the captive portal NSB (the Norwegian national rail company), this doesn't work too well and you get into an endless series of redirects. Changing resolv.conf so you use the DHCP-provided resolver stops the redirect loop and you can then log in. Afterwards, you're free to switch back to using your own local resolver.

November 29, 2013 07:37 AM

November 24, 2013

Folks2 progress

Xavier Claessens

I am working on Folks2 when I have a bit of free time. In short it is a rewrite from scratch of Folks in C with a daemon/db to remember who is merged with who. The goal is to be faster and being able to load individuals separately instead of having to load them all.

Recently, I’ve been writing libfolks2-roster, a GTK library providing widgets to display a contact list and contact details. It is using awesome GTK 3.10 GtkListBox, GtkStack and GtkSearchBar. The main issue I’m facing now is GtkListBox slowness, it really needs a model to create only visible widgets.

(Yes it is ubuntu theme, I’m usually using unity but video recording didn’t work)

by xclaesse at November 24, 2013 05:48 PM

Last updated:
April 20, 2014 11:31 PM
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