Category Archives: Weekly News

Xfce Weekly News by Erik Harrison

Second beta, German translations, FOSDEM

Just in case some of you are wondering already – yes, we’re late with releasing the second beta of Xfce 4.6 by a few days. It’ll probably be released this weekend, so we won’t fall behind the schedule too much.

On Wednesday we had a very productive IRC meeting with the most active German translators being present. Plans we made on that evening include to clean up the team’s wiki page so that it only contains rules and hints that are directly useful for everyone. We also decided that we need a better communication channel than private mails or the Xfce i18n mailinglist, so we’re probably going to have a mailinglist focused on German translations. Other teams might have the same need, so we’d like to do it public and encourage other teams to do the same, maybe officially hosted on foo-projects.org.
Another idea was to take a look at some of the distributions shipping Xfce. Do they have a translation system on their own? Are there potential translators among the users/developers of these distributions? How can we motivate more people to take part in the translation process so that everyone is happy with the result?
We’ve decided to have another German team meeting next Wednesday at 21:00 CET (20:00 UTC). Feel free to join if you’re interested and your German is good.

Today, we had a little discussion about the upcoming FOSDEM in February 2009. Several of us have expressed an interest to go there. With 4.6 out of the door and 4.8 ahead February is a pretty interesting date for Xfce as a project. I’m sure we could come up with several nice presentations and discussions about the future if we were to apply for a developer room. Xfce has been part of FOSDEM in 2005 already but since then a lot of things have changed and many new developers have joined the project, so it would be a great opportunity to finally meet everybody and have a few pints together.
We haven’t decided on whether Xfce is going to apply yet as we’re planning to get the second beta released before. Deadline for developer room applications is 11/22, so we still have some time. Even better, the deadline for the schedule itself is three weeks before the actual event. Enough time to prepare some decent speeches.

I’m pretty excited about all this. There’s a quite a lot of movement in the Xfce community at the moment (and also, related to this movement, a lot of exciting things are happening for me, with UDS and all that). I feel that things are improving constantly in terms of development as well as organization and communication. Now all we need is a proper goal – and FOSDEM might be exactly what we need to discuss things like that.

2AM, time for bed. Have a nice day (or night).

News and Xubuntu HugDay

There are only ten days left until the first beta release of Xfce 4.6 and we still got a lot of things to do. Over the past week(s) we’ve been working on new features in xfwm4, xfce4-session and xfce4-appfinder mostly.
Olivier added NET_WM_PING support to xfwm4. This means you can now kill applications which are not responding using a dialog that pops up after a few seconds – great! As a funny coincidence I was just browsing the xfce4-dev mailing list archives a few days ago when I found one of my first posts there which was about a similar feature.
About one or two months ago Auke Kok posted a patch for parallel application startup for xfce4-settings on the mailing list. Brian now took the time to implement it and finally committed it yesterday. It notably speeds up the Xfce startup process.
When we tried to fix the main xfdesktop crash which we thought to be related to libxfce4menu a few weeks ago, I tried to reproduce it by adding ThunarVFS monitoring support to xfce4-appfinder and see if it would crash as well. My modifications were pretty rough and I decided to rewrite the appfinder to make its code more readable and flexible. I’ve been working on this for the last two days and comitted it today. I’ve used recordMyDesktop to record a video presenting the new features again, but this time I also recorded my (creepy) voice! It’s awful to hear how long it took me to pronounce “freedesktop.org menu specification compliance” and how I sucked at mentioning the name of the library it’s based on: “libxfce4menu”. Apart from that I’m glad it worked, so I can continue to plan the video series for 4.6.

On to something else: Last week I’ve been announced the official Xubuntu Xfce4 Liaison and I completely forgot to announce that on the mailing lists … anyway, this reminds me of the topic of this post: today is Ubuntu BugDay with special focus on Xubuntu. If you’re interested in getting things fixed in Xfce 4.4.x or Xubuntu in general, you’re welcome to take part by hugging a few bugs!

That’s it! I’ll try to keep you posted on news about the beta release.

Cheers,
Jannis

Edit: I already fixed the categories problem as you can see here.

Weekly news? Nah.

Last weekend we finally released Pinkie. While the reactions on news sites and forums have been quite mixed (as expected) we surprisingly received some very positive feedback from GNOME for xfconf. To me this gives proof that we did the right thing for 4.6. When we discussed the original design proposal for a D-Bus based settings daemon, we also took gconf and dconf into consideration. We decided to write xfconf instead for one reason in particular: Time. We wanted to have this concept in 4.6 and we didn’t want to wait for others to finish their work. Today this sounds reasonable as GNOME still seems to be struggling with dconf. Anyway, we appreciate the feedback and maybe we can cooperate on this one in the future.

So what happened this week, after the long awaited alpha release? The first thing I did was to merge the support for embedded settings dialogs into trunk. Most of the Xfce settings dialogs appear inside the main settings dialog now (as demonstrated in this video). Those which do not support this feature just pop up as usual. We’re using the new X-XfcePluggable key in .desktop files to announce support for this feature. This way it’s pretty easy for third parties to embed their own dialogs.

Stephan continued working on his graphical settings editor for xfconf. He and Brian also moved xfsettingsd into xfce4-settings. From now on xfconf will contain non-UI code only. As always our amazing translators comitted translation updates. I finally added xfconf support to the new mixer. Then, yesterday, Brian fixed our number one bug: xfdesktop used to crash almost everytime the contents of a directory monitored by xfdesktop/libxfce4menu changed and the desktop menu was regenerated. I’m glad this turned out not to be a reference counting bug in libxfce4menu but a very difficult to track down race condition inside xfdesktop. And Brian found it!

Today, I started planning the goodies installer for 4.6. We had different graphical installers for the 4.4 series and I’d like to continue that starting with the first release candidate of 4.6. I asked all maintainers to add their goodies to the list if they are still maintaining them and if they consider their goodies stable. I also wrote down my plans on a video series for 4.6. I recently tested the audio support of recordMyDesktop and it seems to work pretty well, so I thought it would be nice to introduce users and developers to the new release by recording some video presentations and tutorials during the release process.

So, this is it for now. Tomorrow I’ll be visiting my family for a couple days which gives me enough time to fix a few remaining things and get my components in shape for the beta. I’ll keep you posted!

Edit: Oh, what I completely forgot to mention: It’s great that gnomefiles.org is back! But this is even better:

Best Rated:
1. Thunar  9.39
2. catfish 9.38
3. midori  9.37
4. Xfce    9.36

Xfce News – From Then Till About Now

Let’s pretend the last several months haven’t happened, and I’ll pretend that more than three of you read this.

That said, it seems like the best thing to do is to lay out where we are going, where we are, and what’s happening to get us there. If you care what’s been going on in Xfce, but haven’t been following the various blogs and lists, this is your chance to get caught up.

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