Tag Archives: News

Greybird 3.20.0 (to be clear: with support for Gtk+3.20) released

Finally – 5 months after the release of Gtk+3.20 – I’m happy to announce the release of the first version of Greybird supporting it.

Why has it taken so long? – you

The Widget Factory - 3.20
The Widget Factory – 3.20

may ask yourselves – and one reason was certainly me being totally busy with other things, but another one was that Ubuntu didn’t ship it in its 16.04 LTS release (which was a totally sane decision, by the way). Because of the latter it took some time before the issue of having a theme that supports Gtk+3.20 became pressing enough for me to take action.

Anyway, now it is done. (At least mostly.)

While porting the theme (in this case really: porting, not just: adding support for) I also decided to rebase it on Adwaita. Over the last releases so much stuff had piled up, so many quick fixes or patching up visual nuisances to support “the next Gtk+ release” that the theme had become an unmaintainable jungle – I frankly couldn’t have told you which line mattered anymore. While rebasing, I also went from CSS to SASS, which was the only right decision, as I’m sure now after having gone through with it. It made the code so much more maintainable and readable (kind of reminding me of the first Gtk+3 releases, when themes were still a lot leaner in terms of LOC).

So yeah, I’m pretty happy with where this has been going. There are still some rough edges (e.g. progressbars are probably not 100% greybirdy) and things I haven’t added support back for (e.g. elementary’s Granite widgets), but I think what is there now warrants an initial release as things still look consistent between Gtk+2 and Gtk+3 applications.

One final note: Greybird has recently switched to a new versioning scheme, which basically mirrors the Gtk+3 release numbers the theme works best with.

Download

https://github.com/shimmerproject/Greybird/releases/tag/v3.20.0

Xfce goings on (Gtk+3 port etc.)

So I’ve been busy lately porting Xfce apps and components to Gtk+3 (you can see on the roadmap page for 4.14 that we’ve come some way already – only the really uncomfortable behemoths are missing 🙂 ) and since I’ve been working on apps which I haven’t touched before (and which haven’t really seen much or any development in a while).

I thought I’d do a quick overview of some of my recent activities so everyone knows Xfce is still alive.


gtk-paste  clipman

I have ported clipman to Gtk+3 mostly as an exercise, to get back to coding and to re-acquaint myself with the “fun” that is porting to Gtk+3 (including the obligatory #ifdefs for different Gtk+3 releases).

I didn’t really have the energy to add any new features there (apart from general Gtk+3 stuff like symbolic icons, which is nice for the panel plugin), but it had the intended effect for me plus Eric and Florian helped out, which made it more fun. In the end we even got Steve to sit down and crank out a very nice fix for an extremely widespread issue in Xfce.


notifyconf  notifyd

Basically Ali did all the hard work of porting notifyd to Gtk+3. I was left with the hard work of polishing the edges and making it release-ready (which ended up being much more work than I anticipated and now that I’m mostly familiar with the codebase I’ve also started to add – for now: small – features). So yeah, 0.3.0 is out! Hooray! 🙂

I also managed to write down some basic docs for notifyd (they’ll be linked to in the 0.3.1 release) which also explains the theming aspect a little bit.

For now I’ve planned some features – we’ll see when and if I get to them, but amongst others:

  • “Do not disturb” mode (still have to figure out where and how to display the “missed” stuff or whether to bother with that at all)
  • More themes by default (currently we only have good ‘ol Smoke and evergreen ZOMG PONIES!)
  • More bugfixing
  • Better docs

preferences-desktop  settings

This is actually Sean’s project and he already ported most of the dialogs (only display missing at the time of writing) and this is really exciting as it is one of the core components. Can’t wait to install this beast on a productive machine to see what will happen 🙂


libxfce4ui  libxfce4ui

I didn’t do much here apart from handling the release and fixing the theming of XfceTitledDialog for Gtk3.20 (and below) in accordance with the Gtk+ Devs (still unreleased, will come with libxfce4ui-4.13.1). Generally speaking now that Glade support is fixed and we have working dialogs I guess there’s not much more to do in that lib (I may be wrong though).


terminal  terminal

This is Igor’s playground now, I merely helped with porting the settings dialog and getting rid of some rough edges there. I’m using the Gtk+3 port of the terminal on a daily basis though and am very happy with it – nice work Igor! 🙂

It has arrived: Xfce 4.8

The Xfce development team has announced the release of Xfce 4.8, the culmination of almost two years of work. The release makes Xfce once again a truly modern desktop environment by making use of recent desktop frameworks that, for example, finally allow you to browse remote shares or to edit the menu using a menu editor like Alacarte. Unfortunately, as the Xfce team makes clear in the release announcement, these frameworks often do not properly support non-Linux open source systems, meaning the Xfce team could not support those systems as well they would like to. For Xubuntu, being Linux-based, this has no effect.

Apart from adding many crucial modern features (which also meant completely rewriting the application that displays the panels), Xfce’s development process has been formalized, and the first steps have been taken in forming a non-profit organization, to ensure a viable future for Xfce. I covered the renewed development process and new features in my look at the first preview release. For a more detailed update by the Xfce team, check out the tour on new features in Xfce 4.8, part of (do these guys ever sleep?) the new website to accompany the new release.

The new version of Xfce is scheduled to be included in Xubuntu 11.04, to be released in April of this year.


Xfce alive and well: new version on its way

On 7 November, Jannis Pohlmann announced the first preview release of Xfce 4.8. The new version of Xfce, which is planned to be released on January 16th, brings much-requested features, and will close a development cycle in which the project made great strides forward.

Let’s first focus on the improvements coming in the next release of Xubuntu’s main component. Perhaps the most requested feature is support for remote filesystems. Much clamoured for, the feature required rewriting big parts of the core – something which has finally been completed.

Apart from that, the application that provides the panel(s) on your desktop has been completely rewritten, bringing a huge number of improvements, most notably in the support for multi-monitor setups, and a pet peeve of mine: the ability to drag application files to the panel to create launchers.

Also high on the wish list of many users was the ability to graphically edit the menus. Although Xfce still doesn’t ship its own menu editor, it is now possible to edit it using menu editors for other standards compliant desktops, such as Alacarte.

So, a lot has been rewritten in this release cycle – we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg above. Most important, however, are the improvements made to the release process in general, which will make the project more future-proof and will increase the speed with which new releases can be made, and lower the entry barrier to new contributors.

To start with the latter point, Xfce was one of the first of now many projects using the Transifex translation environment. Transifex makes it easier than ever for translators to help translating Xfce, as translators can now simply download the current translations and update their new translations via the web interface. I have used it myself, and it really is a huge improvement over the previous, cumbersome process. The new translation process has already attracted quite a few new translators, ensuring more of Xfce has been translated than ever, with even higher quality.

While the size of the development team has fluctuated over time (it has never been large, yet some people moved on – luckily there were new contributions as well), the team has managed to keep the desktop up-to-date with recent technologies, and has rewritten parts of the code, improving the quality to ensure it can be built on properly in the future.

Finally, the release process has been revised, now encouraging many small releases for sub-projects, as opposed to releasing all of them at once with a new version of Xfce. It is now much less work to release a new version, making that task less daunting and thus less likely to be postponed. Automatic release announcements also result in improved publicity for a new release, making it clear the project is alive and well, and more attractive for third-party contributors to help out. It also gets updated translations out faster.

All in all, the new release is shaping up to be a very solid one, closing a few big gaps in the feature set. Xfce is a truly modern desktop environment again, and what’s more important: its future, starting with the release of the new version on January 16th, is looking exceptionally bright.

In other news: as you might notice, this blog has not been updated in a while. Unfortunately, this post does not signify a change in the lack of updates. I’m really too busy with other things in my life that I’m hardly even tinkering with my computer, or actively involved with Xubuntu. So yeah, this blog is still dead. Also, it is not an official Xubuntu blog in any way, so do not draw any conclusions about the status of Xubuntu from this blog post; it is still awesome :)