Category Archives: identica

Xfce 4.8pre2 released!

Xfce 4.8pre2 is now available for download.

It includes the following releases of Xfce core components:

 exo 0.5.5
 gtk-xfce-engine 2.6.0
 libxfce4ui 4.7.5
 libxfce4util 4.7.4
 libxfcegui4 4.7.0
 thunar 1.1.5
 thunar-vfs 1.1.1
 xfce-utils 4.7.3
 xfce4-appfinder 4.7.1
 xfce4-dev-tools 4.7.3
 xfce4-panel 4.7.6
 xfce4-session 4.7.2
 xfce4-settings 4.7.6
 xfconf 4.7.4
 xfdesktop 4.7.4
 xfwm4 4.7.3

Release tarballs can be retrieved from the following mirrors (please note that it may take a few hours for the mirrors to catch up):

 http://archive.xfce.org/xfce/4.8pre2/src
 http://www.tx-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce/4.8pre2/src
 http://www.p0llux.be/xfce/xfce/4.8pre2/src
 http://www.ca-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce/4.8pre2/src

A tarball including all individual releases can be downloaded here:

 http://archive.xfce.org/xfce/4.8pre2/fat_tarballs
 http://www.tx-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce/4.8pre2/fat_tarballs
 http://www.p0llux.be/xfce/xfce/4.8pre2/fat_tarballs
 http://www.ca-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce/4.8pre2/fat_tarballs

Release notes for 4.8pre2

We are pleased to announce the second preview release of Xfce 4.8. This release marks the beginning of the string freeze. From today on until the final release, strings may no longer be changed in the master branch of Xfce core components. This will help translators to prepare their translations for the final release scheduled on January 16th, 2011.

For this release we focused on fixing bugs in all Xfce components. We managed to close a great number of them thanks to all the persons who reported them and tested proposed fixes quickly.

A few minor panel features were added despite feature freeze. We also managed to work on two long time requests: proper support for editing the application menu with menu editors (Alacarte being the one that we tested) and integration with the Compiz viewport. Of course, this release also features a lot of new and improved translations thanks to the amazing work of our translation teams.

A list of all changes is available on:

http://mocha.xfce.org/documentation/changelogs/4.8pre2

We hope you will enjoy this release. Please give us feedback by sharing your thoughts, blogging, tweeting, denting or by filing bug reports. With your help, 4.8 will be the best release ever (at least until 4.10)!

Kind regards and thanks to everyone who has contributed to this release,

The Xfce development team

Xfce 4.8 Schedule Changes

As the Xfce release manager, I’d prefer to be the bringer of good news. Unfortunately, we have to make some adjustments with regards to the Xfce 4.8 release schedule.

You may well remember last year’s chaos with the 4.6 release date. We’re trying our best not to repeat that and if it should happen again, we’ll at least keep you posted about the issues as good as we can.

So, what’s the deal with 4.8?

One thing that hasn’t changed much is that our development team is very small. A hobby project of this size requires a certain amount of time to be invested by each individual developer. Time not everyone has as much has he would like to dedicate to Xfce.

Today, Brian announced his absence for the coming months due to his new job, leaving 2-3 of our core components (xfdesktop, xfconf and xfce4-session) more or less unmaintained (aside from bugfixes). The good news is that Jérôme (who has recently started to improve xfce4-settings and port xfce4-session to libxfce4ui) and Daniel (the maintainer of the thunar-shares-plugin) have offered their help with xfdesktop and xfce4-session.

Brian is not the only one having little time at hand though. I’m preparing myself for my final university exams, so ideally I’d be sticking my nose into lecture notes all day long. I still have the time to write mails like this but there hasn’t been much activity around thunar and related projects lately.

Again, I’m really happy to see people volunteering to help because that’s what we need right now. There’s a lot left to do before we can release 4.8. Let me get to that now.

As some of might have heard, thunar was ported to GIO this summer. Through GVfs, GIO brings new features such as SMB, SFTP, FTP browsing which some people use one a daily basis already. Now, GVfs has turned out to be problematic for us for various reasons. At first it shipped a HAL-based volume monitor with a hard-coded dependency on gnome-mount. Today it ships a volume monitor based on gnome-disk-utility (uses DeviceKit-disks itself) which proves to be inconsistent and somewhat incompatible to the HAL mounting code in exo.

The result: thunar-volman (not part of the core but important for thunar nonetheless) and xfdesktop will have to be ported to udev (the mounting being done with GIO, ideally). I’ve started working on this but this is far from being finished.

Question to the other developers: Didn’t xfce4-session use HAL for logging out and stuff? We might have to look into replacing those portions of code with something based on ConsoleKit, I guess?

HAL/udev is not the only issue however. With Xfce 4.8 we’ll be replacing libxfcegui4 with a new library called libxfce4ui. Not all core applications (again, xfdesktop being one of them, I think) have been ported to it yet. In most cases, this is no big deal and probably could be resolved within a few days though.

Then we have garcon, the much improved menu library that is supposed to replace libxfce4menu. At the time of writing the only feature it is lacking that is crucial for 4.8 is file system monitoring. We’ll probably implement basic monitoring like we had in libxfce4menu. Work on this hasn’t started yet.

Also, xfdesktop needs to be ported not only from ThunarVFS/HAL to GIO/udev but also from libxfce4menu to garcon.

So, as you can see there is quite a lot of work ahead of us. Taking into account the little free time some of us have these days, we’ve decided to postpone the 4.8 release until June 12th instead of April 12th. The entire release phase in our schedule has been moved by two months in time, as you can see on the official schedule wiki page:

 http://wiki.xfce.org/releng/4.8/schedule

To be honest, I wouldn’t consider this new date fixed either. It all depends on how much we can do until the feature freeze on April 1st. I’m optimistic that meeting the deadlines is possible though.

For all of you who can’t wait until June, try out our development releases which are announced on http://identi.ca/xfce. I have at least something good to share: For a few weeks now I’ve been running Fedora 12 with a mixture of Xfce 4.6 packages and development package from the upcoming 4.8 series and the new components have proven to be very stable already.

I’m especially happy about the new panel which works almost flawlessly (except for a few dual head issues) and not only supports real transparency and more comfortable launcher creation based on garcon, but is also compatible to panel plugins written for Xfce 4.6. (Good work, Nick!)

So, I guess this is it. A mixture of good and bad. I hope nobody is too disappointed. As always, we’re doing the best we can.

Cheers!

The new Xfce release manager for users and packagers

I deleted the last post about the release manager because due to the high number of changes I made it was soon out of date. So let's get back to the topic again. I'll split it up into two posts: this one which is for users and packagers mostly, and another one directed to developers or, more precisely, maintainers.

Let's start with a simple question (with a long answer): what am I talking about and what is this release manager anyway?

First, a bit of background. At Xfce, we are currently working on improving our infrastructure. We are about to switch to git and along with that, our repository layout will change. Xfce and goodie repositories will no longer be found in separate locations. We thought it would be nice to implement the same layout in other places as well, like Bugzilla and our download archive.

Nick went ahead and enabled so-called bugzilla classifications and used those to resemble the repository layout on bugzilla.xfce.org.

That still left us with separate download archives for core Xfce, goodies and other stuff. For goodies, we had a very simple release manager web application written in PHP that uploaded tarballs to http://goodies.xfce.org/releases/ and was able to send release announcements to mailing lists. The design however was very limited. For Xfce releases we had nothing like that. Uploading and copying tarballs around manually for each release was what we had to do.

And this is where the new all-in-one release manager comes into play. It's called Moka, it is written in Ruby using Sinatra, ERB and JSON and the source code can be found here.

For you as a user or packager, it does two things:

  1. it uploads all (core and goodies) tarballs to http://archive.xfce.org which uses the same layout as our future git repositories and bugzilla
  2. it pushes release announcements out to mailinglists, Atom feeds, identi.ca and Twitter.

Download archive

The layout is described in the archive reorganization section of this mail. It contains releases of all projects, be they goodies, core components or something else. Again, we use classifications like apps, libs, bindings or core to add semantics the archive layout.

All tarballs are accompanied by an MD5 and SHA1 checksum file. In the future, we're hoping to also support PGP signing of tarballs. So, for the 0.4.0 release of terminal, you'll get these three files:

  • Terminal-0.4.0.tar.bz2
  • Terminal-0.4.0.tar.bz2.md5
  • Terminal-0.4.0.tar.bz2.sha1

If you download one of the checksum files along with the tarball you can verify the download went fine with md5sum -c Terminal-0.4.0.tar.bz2.md5 or sha1sum -c Terminal-0.4.0.tar.bz2.sha1.

Announcements

Release announcements are sent to different mailinglists (almost always to xfce@xfce.org, so you're on the safe side subscribing to that one), identi.ca/xfce and twitter.com/xfceofficial.

The status updates on identi.ca/xfce and twitter.com/xfceofficial use the following format:

terminal 0.4.0 released! http://releases.xfce.org/feeds/project/terminal !Xfce

Atom feeds for all projects are available on http://releases.xfce.org/feeds/project/. There also is a dedicated feed for bundle releases of Xfce core components available on http://releases.xfce.org/feeds/collection/xfce. These feeds provide more information about the releases than the posts on identi.ca or Twitter do. There's no central feed for all releases yet, but you can as well subscribe to the feeds offered to you by identi.ca or Twitter.

Mailinglist announcements and feed posts use the same format. Here's a good example for a project release announcement:

xfce4-power-manager 0.8.3 is now available for download from

  http://archive.xfce.org/src/apps/xfce4-power-manager/0.8/xfce4-power-manager-0.8.3.tar.bz2
  http://archive.xfce.org/src/apps/xfce4-power-manager/0.8/xfce4-power-manager-0.8.3.tar.bz2.md5
  http://archive.xfce.org/src/apps/xfce4-power-manager/0.8/xfce4-power-manager-0.8.3.tar.bz2.sha1

  SHA1 checksum: 2d531b9fc2afec3cff034e1acfc331051d8bf47a
   MD5 checksum: 0db6b6f5b13c8b0829c6a07b7dfdc980


What is xfce4-power-manager?
============================

This software is a power manager for the Xfce desktop, Xfce power
manager manages the power sources on the computer and the devices that
can be controlled to reduce their power consumption (such as LCD
brightness level, monitor sleep, CPU frequency scaling). In addition,
xfce4-power-manager provides a set of freedesktop-compliant DBus
interfaces to inform other applications about current power level so
that they can adjust their power consumption, and it provides the
inhibit interface which allows applications to prevent automatic sleep
actions via the power manager; as an example, the operating system’s
package manager should make use of this interface while it is performing
update operations.

Website:
  http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-power-manager


Release notes for 0.8.3
=======================

- Provides more standard org.fd.PowerManagement DBus methods and signal
(bug #5569).
- Make it possible to compile without network manager support.
- Add never show icon to the system tray configuration (bug #5613).
- Fix a typo that prevents from getting the correct critical
configuration (bug #5619).
- Use Gtk as a popup indicator to show the brightness level as the cairo
seems to be 
  problematic on some hardware. (bug #5544 #5632).
- Better alignement in the interface file, worked by Josef Havran.

This is what the new release manager does for you. I think or rather hope that it provides an efficient way to to keep you posted about what's going on. And hopefully, all of you enjoy our efforts to unify our infrastructure and by that make things more transparent. As always, if you have any ideas for improvements, let us know!