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Adventures in primary display land

  • November 12, 2018
  • Simon Steinbeiß

As some may have noticed I have lately patched “Primary Display” support into a few of our components. It all started with the display settings dialog… But let me start right at the beginning.

“Primary” is a setting of X11’s RandR extension that “is expected to be used by desktop environments to mark the screen that should hold the primary menu bar or panel” (quoted from the specification). So in short: the “Primary Display” should hold your panels, your desktop icons, your notifications, potentially your presenter’s screen (if you use LibreOffice) etc. in a multi-display setup.

In 2016 I started by introducing a hidden setting in xfce4-notifyd. This meant your notifications wouldn’t pop up during presentations on external displays anymore (because the default setting before was to follow the mouse pointer’s location). I personally needed/wanted this and it felt like an easy fix.

In 2017 I added the feature to xfce4-panel. Before that you had to either hard-code the location of the panels or use the “Automatic” setting, which always puts your panels at the left top part of the screen (x=0, y=0). In combination with the display settings option this provided an easy way of moving the panel around and keeping it on certain displays even when connecting new additional ones.

In late 2018 I started working on the big missing piece of the puzzle, which is xfdesktop. At the time of writing, my patches are still in review in this bugreport (testing welcome!), but things work ok or at least well enough to give me hope that we will see this in the next development release.

Display Settings Primary information

In parallel to the xfdesktop patch I also picked up the display settings dialog again after gathering some input from friends at work and decided to pull in all the information about the usage and configuration of the “Primary Display”, as its settings are spread across several components and dialogs. The point of this popover is to show the current configuration status as well as adding a shorthand for accessing all those settings dialogs.

I also went with a new way of highlighting which display is configured as “Primary Display” that is hopefully more easily understandable than the panel I added in the 4.13.5 release. The star is shown both in the displays widget as well as in the properties list of each display, so users can easily visually match which display is primary and what that means.

Enjoy!

Xubuntu Development Update November 2018

  • November 1, 2018
  • Sean Davis

Aaaaaaaaaaaand, we’re back! After skipping last month’s development update, there’s a lot of new developments to unpack for the previous 2 months. Let’s get right to it.

Xubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish”

We wrapped up development on Xubuntu 18.10 throughout September and October, landing the following changes in the last month and a half of work.

This release includes 6 new GTK+ 3 Xfce components, giving users a snapshot of the Xfce 4.14 development. More information about the release can be found in the release notes.

Upcoming Fixes

Since the 18.10 release, we’ve identified fixes for two of our documented bugs. We’ll be pushing these fixes to our users via the stable release updates.

  • Panel: Window buttons are not clickable at the top pixel of the screen (LP: #1795135)
    • Resolution: Export GDK_CORE_DEVICE_EVENTS = 1 (Xfce Git)
  • Settings Manager: Mouse fails to scroll embedded panels (LP: #1653448)
    • Resolution: Export GDK_CORE_DEVICE_EVENTS = 1 (Xfce Git)

Xfce

September New Releases

October New Releases

4.14 Roadmap Updates

The Xfce development team has worked on tidying up the Xfce 4.14 roadmap over the last few days. Statuses have been updated, pending work has been moved to the top of each section, and completion percents have been adjusted to better reflect each project’s progress. With these updates, we can now see that…

Xfce 4.14 is now approximately 83% complete.

Of course, we need all the help we can get to get this milestone out the door. Check out the Xfce Contribute page to find out how you can help.

What’s Next?

With the 18.10 release now behind us, and the 19.04 cycle starting today, it’s time to get back to work! No release goals have been determined yet, so stay tuned to the Xubuntu Development mailing list for updates about Xubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” development.

Xfce Screensaver 0.1.1 Released

  • November 1, 2018
  • Sean Davis

The second release of Xfce Screensaver is now available! Featuring a number of bug fixes, translations, and general improvements, this release is a big step forward for the newest Xfce application.

What’s New?

General

  • Added support for color settings from Xfdesktop 4.12 and 4.13
  • The black fallback color has been replaced with the Xfdesktop default
    • #152233 or super dark blue
  • The interface files for the preferences dialog and lock screen are now compiled and included in the binaries
  • The warning displayed as the root user is now an InfoBar to make it more visible
  • Screensaver Preferences can now be embedded in the Xfce Settings Manager

Bug Fixes

  • Fix crash when no background placement is configured (Xfce #14769)
  • Redraw the screensaver on monitor configuration events (Xfce #14796)
  • Automate detection of PAM configuration, add a new flag to override (Xfce #14779)
    --with-pam-auth-type=<common|system>
  • Notify the user when Xfce Power Manager has an incompatible configuration and include a button to resolve it (Xfce #14782)
  • The unlock dialog is now correctly drawn with the Adwaita GTK theme
  • Fix builds on OpenBSD, build status can now be tracked on the Xfce Build Bot

Translations (All NEW!)

Albanian, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (China), Chinese (Taiwan), Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Lithuanian, Malay, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish

Packaging

With just a single release, packaging for the new screensaver is starting to appear all over the place! If you know of any other places it’s been packaged, drop me a line. 🙂

Screenshots

Downloads

Please be aware that this is alpha-quality software. It is not currently recommended for use in production machines. Please continue to test it, report bugs, provide feedback, and submit patches so we can make the best screensaver and locker possible for Xfce.

Source tarball (md5sha1sha256)

Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

  • October 15, 2018
  • Sean Davis

I am pleased to announce the release of Xfce Screensaver (xfce4-screensaver) 0.1.0! This is an early release targeted to testers and translators. Bugs and patches welcome!

About

Xfce Screensaver is a screen saver and locker that aims to have simple, sane, secure defaults and be well integrated with the Xfce desktop.

It is a port of MATE Screensaver, itself a port of GNOME Screensaver. It has been tightly integrated with the Xfce desktop, utilizing Xfce libraries and the Xfconf configuration backend.

Homepage · Bugzilla · Git

Features

  • Integration with the Xfce Desktop per-monitor wallpaper
  • Locking down of configuration settings via Xfconf
  • DBUS interface to limited screensaver interaction
  • Full translation support into many languages
  • Shared styles with LightDM GTK+ Greeter
  • Support for XScreensaver screensavers
  • User switching

Requirements

  • DBus >= 0.30
  • GLib >= 2.50.0
  • GTK+ >= 3.22.0
  • X11 >= 1.0
  • garcon >= 0.5.0
  • libxklavier >= 5.2
  • libxfce4ui >= 4.12.1
  • libxfce4util >= 4.12.1
  • Xfconf >= 4.12.1

Screenshots

Click to view slideshow.

Downloads

Please be aware that this is alpha-quality software. It is not currently recommended for use in production machines. I invite you to test it, report bugs, provide feedback, and submit patches so we can get it ready for the world.

Source tarball (md5sha1sha256)

New xfce4-settings release

  • October 2, 2018
  • Simon Steinbeiß

After quite a bit of development time I’m happy to announce the next development point release of xfce4-settings in the 4.13 series.

There are many fixes in this release – most visibly also UI improvements. This includes consistent padding/margin etc across all dialogs as well as a restored hover-effect in the Settings Manager. Finally both the advanced (fake panel as indicator for primary displays, re-arranged settings and distinct advanced tab) and the minimal display dialog (new icons, improved strings) received a facelift.

But – despite the nature of the 4.14 cycle – there is also a new feature:
display profiles.

This new feature allows you to store one or more profiles for a particular display configuration that you may be using. In order to uniquely identify single displays we rely on the so-called EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) so a profile becomes a combination of those unique EDIDs. As already mentioned, you can store multiple profiles per setup to cover use-cases like rotating single screens or when enabling/disabling or re-arranging certain screens may be necessary. For instance in office situations where you switch a lot between one or multiple docking stations, projectors and other external devices, this feature will allow you to do so with ease.
Every scenario just has to be configured and saved once.

It is important to note that the list of available profiles is always filtered based on the currently connected displays. To be exact: this means that at least the currently connected displays need to be part of the profile definition for the profile to appear in the list. In turn this also means that if you only have your internal laptop display connected, you will see all profiles because your laptop display will always be part of every profile (even if it is disabled!).

 

 

 

 

To make the deal a little sweeter I implemented auto-applying of profiles when new displays are connected. This is an optional feature that automatically enables the first – if there are multiple defined for the set of currently connected displays – matching profile.
This action is also triggered if you open the minimal dialog, giving you a shortcut to auto-apply profiles. 

What is not yet implemented is profile-awareness for xfsettingsd. So the settings daemon does not automatically enable a profile if you simply start your session, but previously worked in a different display setup. However, this is a point I would like to address in a future release.

In the meantime, enjoy xfce4-settings 4.13.5!

Xubuntu Development Update September 2018

  • September 8, 2018
  • Sean Davis

A week later than expected, it’s the September development update! The theme for August (and early September) has been visual improvements, with a few bug fixes tossed in for good measure. Check it out! 

Xubuntu

Bionic Beaver (18.04)

Bionic was pretty stable in August, with only one of our packages making it through the SRU process and into the hands of our users.

We’re currently looking to get these new releases and fixes into Bionic.

  • Catfish 1.4.6
    • This is a new release with numerous bug fixes and a much-improved thumbnailer.
  • Xfce Settings: Mouse acceleration not configurable in Xubuntu 18.04 (LP: #1758023)
    • This issue is related to libinput taking over mouse configuration, and will be resolved by building xfce4-settings with libinput support.

Cosmic Cuttlefish (18.10)

The following source package updates landed in Cosmic in August.

  • elementary-xfce 0.12-1ubuntu1
    • The elementary-xfce icon theme is now available on Debian! Previously, this theme was part of the xubuntu-icon-theme package.
  • ristretto 0.8.3-1 (Debian sync)
  • thunar-archive-plugin 0.4.0-1 (Debian sync)
  • thunar-media-tags-plugin 0.3.0-1 (Debian sync)
  • xfce4-taskmanager 1.2.1-1 (Debian sync)
  • xubuntu-artwork 18.10
    • The development wallpaper is set on boot and the desktop.
    • The xubuntu-icon-theme is now a branding package, that upgrades the elementary-xfce icon theme with the Xubuntu distributor logo.
  • xubuntu-default-settings 18.10
    • “Square icons” were enabled in all supported plugins, improving size and shape consistency on the panel.
    • Orage configuration was updated to use the “paplay” command for sounds by default (LP: #1054396)
    • The panel was updated to be 80% transparent at all times. This is a settings migration to support the new GTK+ 3 panel.
    • The Xubuntu session was updated to correctly set XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP (LP: #1590089)
  • xubuntu-meta 2.227
    • This package release replaces the fwupdate dependency with the newly minted fwupd.

Xfce

New Releases

Xfce had 3 new releases in August, featuring a variety of bug fixes and usability improvements.

Xfce Display Profiles (Preview)

Simon has been hard at work implementing a nifty new feature for the Xfce Display Settings, display profiles! This feature allows you to save and switch between various display setups, useful for users on the go or presenters. This hasn’t been merged into master yet, so designs are not final.

Spacing Improvements

I’ve spent the last week submitting patches to the Xfce core applications, panel plugins, and Thunar plugins. My goal is to improve the overall look and feel of Xfce by improving the consistency of it’s preference dialogs. A few before and after screenshots are below.

I’ve based my work on the excellent GNOME 2 HIG Window Layout documentation. Xfce has long borrowed the design philosophies from this document (to varying degrees) and is once again benefiting from the well-written work.

Shimmer Project

Elementary Xfce Icon Theme

Xubuntu’s beloved icon theme has had a few significant updates in recent weeks. From build optimizations to new upstream icons, there’s a lot to unpack.

The theme has added a Makefile and build tool to convert the theme’s SVG sources to PNG. Xubuntu has included the PNG-building functionality for some time, and now it’s available for everyone. PNG-based themes are faster to load and generally crisper at various sizes. Included in the new build options are PNG optimization. Optipng is now used to optimize each of the generated files, reducing the overall file size.

Updated icons coming from upstream this month include dialog-password, selection icons, graphics icons, and manila-colored folders. The manila folders are a sharp contrast from the longtime blue, but after using them for a few days, they’re actually pretty nice.

Other Updates

Mugshot 0.4.1

I released Mugshot 0.4.1 early last month with a number of bug fixes and code quality improvements. You can check out the release notes and find downloads here.

Contributing

Ready to start giving back to your favorite open source projects? Remember that there’s something for everyone, and you can get started quickly with the Xubuntu and Xfce contributor docs. If you don’t know where to start, join us at #xubuntu-devel on Freenode… we’ll point you in the right direction.

Xfce4 Panel Profiles (Formerly Xfpanel Switch) 1.0.8 Released

  • July 28, 2018
  • Sean Davis

Xfpanel Switch has a new name and home. With the 1.0.8 release, the application is now known as “Xfce4 Panel Profiles”, and is a part of the Xfce family. The latest release improves profile management and includes a number of translations.

What’s New?

At Home With Xfce

Bug Fixes

  • Failure to save some panel configurations (LP: #1765565)
  • Crash on corrupted panel configs (LP: #1765565)
  • Apply more strict logic when removing bad plugins
  • Remove orphaned plugins when loading configuration

General

  • Tidied up pylint notices

Translation Updates

Albanian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (China), Chinese (Taiwan), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish

Downloads

New releases of Xfce4 Panel Profiles will now be found at the Xfce release archive. Previous releases are still available on Launchpad.

Source tarball (md5sha1sha256)

Catfish 1.4.6 Released, Now an Xfce Project

  • July 15, 2018
  • Sean Davis

It’s a great day for fans of the fast and powerful Catfish search utility. With the 1.4.6 release, Catfish now officially joins the Xfce family. Additionally, there’s been some nice improvements to the thumbnailer and a large number of bugs have been squashed.

What’s New?

Xfce Transition

Catfish has long been included with most Xfce installations. It’s lightweight, fast, and a perfect companion to the Thunar file manager. With the transition from Launchpad to Xfce, things have moved around a bit. Update your bookmarks accordingly!

Improved Thumbnailer

Based on the FreeDesktop.org Thumbnail Specification, now featuring:

  • Improved error handling
  • Proper permissions for thumbnail directories and files
  • Logging of failed thumbnail generation
  • Saving of thumbnail file attributes
  • Support for relative thumbnail directories

Bug Fixes

  • Added inode/directory mimetype to desktop entry (Xfce #14505)
  • Disabled overlay scrollbars to improve interacting with the results list (Xfce #14487)
  • Enabled launching of executable AppImage files (Xfce #14500)
  • Fixed invalid date in appdata (Xfce #14502)
  • Replaced stock icons with standard Mime Type icons (Xfce #14503)
  • Improved handling of exceptions when parsing settings (Xfce #14491)
  • Improved handling of UnicodeDecodeErrors (Xfce #14490)
  • Improved handling of PermissionErrors (Xfce #14488)
  • Improved support for hidden files (Xfce #14497)
  • Remember window size and position between sessions (Xfce #14504)
  • Xfce: Open directories with the preferred file manager (Xfce #14483)

Translation Updates

Albanian, Belarusian, Catalan, Chinese (China), Chinese (Taiwan), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, Galician, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian

Downloads

New releases of Catfish will now be found at the Xfce release archive. Previous versions will be added there soon. In the meantime, past releases are still available on Launchpad.

Source tarball (md5sha1sha256)

Xfce Settings 4.12.4 and 4.13.4 Released

  • June 21, 2018
  • Sean Davis

The latest developments in Xfce Settings continue to make their way to both the stable and development releases. Both 4.12.4 and 4.13.4 include a number of improvements, and 4.13.4 is steadily marching toward the 4.14 future.

What’s New?

Bug Fixes (4.12 and 4.13)

  • xfsettingsd --replace does not replace old daemon (Xfce #14381)
  • Uninitialized scalar variables (CID #292062, #292063)
  • Resolved warnings for -Wcast-function-type (GCC 8)
  • Fixed redefinition of DISTCLEANFILES in Makefile.am
  • Fixed typo in display manufacturers, “PRECISON” to “PRECISION”

Improved Display Manufacturer Recognition (4.12 and 4.13)

  • Refreshed PNP IDs from hwdata
  • Added support for VBX (VirtualBox)
  • Standardized and shortened manufacturer names
  • Updated laptop detection to include eDP in XfceRandr

Xfce 4.14 Progress (4.13 Only)

  • Xfce Settings has been ported from D-Bus GLib to GDBus as of 4.13.3
  • D-Bus GLib was deprecated in favor of GDBus with GLib 2.26

XRandr Display Scaling (4.13 Only)

  • This new feature is equivalent to xrandr --scale and is used to scale the entire display area
  • The scale values are stored in Xfconf under /Default/<NAME>/Scale/{X,Y}
  • For now, this setting can only be configured via Xfconf. If you’d like to submit a patch to add it to the GUI, we’d love to have it! 😉

Translation Updates

Belarusian, Catalan, English (Australia), Galician, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian

Downloads

XFCE SETTINGS 4.12.4

Source tarball (md5sha1sha256)

XFCE SETTINGS 4.13.4

Source tarball (md5sha1sha256)

Exo 0.12.1 (and 0.12.2) Released

  • June 21, 2018
  • Sean Davis

Xfce application developers rejoice! A new version of the Exo support library is now available. With performance improvements and full support for GCC 8, both users and developers should be excited for this news.

What’s New?

Bug Fixes

  • Use the “user-bookmarks” icon instead of “bookmark-new” (Xfce #14243)
  • Properly scale application icons in Preferred Applications dialog (Xfce #14362)
  • Remove pure attribute of function that returns void (Xfce #14427)
  • Missing varargs init or cleanup (CID #30799)
    • Reverted in 0.12.2 to get rid of some unwelcome segmentation faults (Xfce #14465)
  • Uninitialized scalar variable (CID #127777)

Exo Icon Chooser Dialog

  • Dropped deprecated International icon context, added Stock icon context
  • Increased context title max length to support long translations
  • Symbolic icons are no longer populated in the icon chooser dialog, which could lead to significant performance gains with various icon themes
  • Added a new test to the test suite for the GTK 3 version of this dialog

Helpers

Compiler Support

  • Disabled -Wexpansion-to-defined and resolve various compiler warnings for GCC 7
  • Fixed -Wcast-function-type for GCC 8

Translation Updates

Albanian, Amharic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (China), Chinese (Taiwan), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (Australia), Finnish, French, Galician, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish

Downloads

Source tarball (md5sha1sha256)