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How To Save Artwork from Weavesilk.com

  • January 25, 2011
  • Brian Tarricone

I just discovered weavesilk.com, which I think is pretty cool. However, it looks like they don't give you a way to save your generated artwork. If you're running Google Chrome (or, as I am, Chromium), there's a trick you can use to save what you've created. This can probably be done with Firefox using Firebug, and maybe in some other ways, but here's how I do it with Chromium.

  1. Create your artwork by dragging around.

  2. Right-click somewhere on the page and select "Inspect Element."

  3. In the new browser pane that comes up, click to the "Console" tab and enter the following:

    canvas = document.getElementById('render')
    img = document.createElement('img')
    img.src = canvas.toDataURL()

  4. The browser will probably freeze for a few seconds (or more than a few), and your CPU usage will shoot up. Be patient.

  5. Click to the "Resources" tab in the developer pane, and look in the list for something that starts with "data:image/png". Click it, and you should see your artwork to the right, on a transparent checkerboard background.

  6. Right-click the image and select "Save Image As."

The image will save with a transparent background, but you can open it up in an image editor and add a solid background color if you like.

How To Save Artwork from Weavesilk.com

  • January 25, 2011
  • Brian Tarricone

I just discovered weavesilk.com, which I think is pretty cool. However, it looks like they don’t give you a way to save your generated artwork. If you’re running Google Chrome (or, as I am, Chromium), there’s a trick you can use to save what you’ve created. This can probably be done with Firefox using Firebug, and maybe in some other ways, but here’s how I do it with Chromium.

  1. Create your artwork by dragging around.
  2. Right-click somewhere on the page and select “Inspect Element.”
  3. In the new browser pane that comes up, click to the “Console” tab and enter the following:
    canvas = document.getElementById('render')
    img = document.createElement('img');
    img.src = canvas.toDataURL()
  4. The browser will probably freeze for a few seconds (or more than a few), and your CPU usage will shoot up. Be patient.
  5. Click to the “Resources” tab in the developer pane, and look in the list for something that starts with “data:image/png”. Click it, and you should see your artwork to the right, on a transparent checkerboard background.
  6. Right-click the image and select “Save Image As.”

The image will save with a transparent background, but you can open it up in an image editor and add a solid background color if you like.

Update the GeoIP database

  • January 23, 2011
  • Mike Massonnet
GeoIP is a proprietary technology provided by MaxMind that allows the geolocalization of IPs. It provides databases as both free and paid solutions with IP records matching the country and the city. The GeoLite Country database can be downloaded for free and is updated about once a month.

The database can be used with the command line tool geoiplookup . By calling it, it will check for the default database, but you can specify another one through a command line option.

First download and install the latest database and license under your home directory, for example ~/.local/share/GeoIP/. Make sure to decompress the database with gunzip. The directory has to contain these files:
GeoIP.dat
LICENSE.txt
Next create an alias for the command geoiplookup, for example through your ~/.bashrc script put the following line:
alias geoiplookup='geoiplookup -d $HOME/.local/share/GeoIP/'

And done! But why all the hassle? Because your system may not provide the updates on a regular basis. Of course you can set up a scheduled task to download the database right into your home directory.

Update the GeoIP database

  • January 23, 2011
  • Mike Massonnet
GeoIP is a proprietary technology provided by MaxMind that allows the geolocalization of IPs. It provides databases as both free and paid solutions with IP records matching the country and the city. The GeoLite Country database can be downloaded for free and is updated about once a month.

The database can be used with the command line tool geoiplookup . By calling it, it will check for the default database, but you can specify another one through a command line option.

First download and install the latest database and license under your home directory, for example ~/.local/share/GeoIP/. Make sure to decompress the database with gunzip. The directory has to contain these files:
GeoIP.dat
LICENSE.txt
Next create an alias for the command geoiplookup, for example through your ~/.bashrc script put the following line:
alias geoiplookup='geoiplookup -d $HOME/.local/share/GeoIP/'

And done! But why all the hassle? Because your system may not provide the updates on a regular basis. Of course you can set up a scheduled task to download the database right into your home directory.

Xfce 4.8 on BSD flavors

  • January 19, 2011
  • Jannis Pohlmann

I should’ve made this more clear in the Xfce 4.8 release announcement but for a moment there I forgot that not everyone knows what we developers are dealing with under the hood.

Many users have been asking what the BSD problems are that I mentioned in the announcement. As some of you may recall is that HAL, the hardware abstraction layer that has for the past few years been used for volume and power management as well as a few other things, has been deprecated and replaced by a variety of frameworks. Today there is udev for device information, udisks for volume management, upower for power management as well as ConsoleKit and PolicyKit for session and permission control.

At least udev is strongly linked to Linux and as far as I know is not available on any of the BSD flavors. Unfortunately it is now the only good way to detect storage devices, cameras, printers, scanners and other devices using a single framework. That’s why we use it in Xfce now in situations where HAL provided us with device capabilities and information to distinguish between the different device types before. The consequence is that thunar-volman no longer works without udev and thus only compiles on Linux. In Thunar itself udev remains optional.

I don’t know what the porting status of the other frameworks is. But I am pretty sure not all of them have been ported to other platforms yet which is why I felt the need to express our disappointment in the announcement. For 2-3 years now all this has been a big mess. New frameworks were invented, dropped again, renamed from *Kit to u* and somewhere on the way it became impossible to keep Xfce as portable as it was before. I know that this is nothing new and that BSD folks faced the same situation as they do now back when HAL was invented but I don’t think it has to be this way.

For the question how we can improve the situation I have no answer yet.

Xfce 4.8 released!

  • January 16, 2011
  • Jannis Pohlmann

Today, after almost two years of work, we have the special pleasure of announcing the much awaited release of Xfce 4.8, the new stable version that supersedes Xfce 4.6.

We hope that everyone will enjoy this release as much as we do. Sadly, this will not be the case as the folks using any of the BSD systems will notice a sudden loss of features. We think that this announcement is a good opportunity to express our disagreement with the recent “Linux-only” developments in the open source ecosystem, especially with regards to the utilities we need in desktop environments.

Xfce 4.8 is our attempt to update the Xfce code base to all the new desktop frameworks that were introduced in the past few years. We hope that our efforts to drop pieces like ThunarVFS and HAL with GIO, udev, ConsoleKit and PolicyKit will help bringing the Xfce desktop to modern distributions.

With Xfce 4.8 our users will be able to browse remote shares using a variety of protocols (SFTP, SMB, FTP and many more). The window clutter has been reduced by merging all file progress dialogs into a single one.

Our panel application has been rewritten, thereby improvingpositioning, transparency, item and launcher management. It also introduces a new menu plugin to view directories. Its plugin framework remains compatible with 4.6 plugins.

We also improved our settings dialogs. The display configuration dialog now supports RandR 1.2, detects screens automatically and allows our users to pick their favorite resolution, refresh rate, rotation. Screens can be configured to either work in clone mode or be placed next to each other. Keyboard selection has become easier and more user-friendly. Also, the manual settings editor has been updated be more functional.

Aside from the features implemented in Xfce, the 4.8 development cycle brought us a bunch of other goodies. For the first time we had a serious release strategy formed after the “Xfce Release and Development Model” developed at the Ubuntu Desktop Summit in May 2009. A new web application made release management a lot easier. We worked hard on improving the situation of Xfce translators which led us to setting up our own Transifex server. Something else you will hopefully notice is that our server and mirroring infrastructure has been improved so that our servers hopefully will not suddenly surrender shortly after this release announcement.

There is a lot more to discover and we hope a lot of you will give Xfce 4.8 a try! There is a brief tour online on

http://xfce.org/ and http://xfce.org/about/tour

A summary of the changes since the 4.8pre3 preview release is available on the following URL (it also includes links to the changes introduced in all preview releases):

http://xfce.org/download/changelogs/4.8.0

The release can be downloaded either as individual releases or as a fat tarball including all these individual versions:

http://archive.xfce.org/xfce/4.8/

2011 has just begun and we are already planning for the future. The 4.10 schedule will be worked on soon and hopefully, we will be able to turn Xfce into a non-profit organization at this year’s FOSDEM, so stay tuned!

But until then we hope you will enjoy today’s release and join us in celebrating. Thanks go out to all our contributors, bug reporters as well as the awesome efforts of our translators and packagers.

Best regards,
The Xfce development team

It has arrived: Xfce 4.8

  • January 16, 2011
  • vincent

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.


Looking for mirrors for archive.xfce.org

  • January 15, 2011
  • Nick

In the last couple of days we’ve radically changed the server layout for the various Xfce domains. A new server is hosting most of the websites (php/mysql) and archive.xfce.org is now using MirrorBrain to distribute the load across the mirrors using GeoIP.

Although we are very happy with the new mirrors that were kindly made available in the last couple of days; the picture below clearly shows only Europe and North-America are properly covered.

So, if you have a server or know anyone (ask around!) with mirror possibilities in the other continents, please contact us! Because we not only try to write a fast desktop environment, we also want everyone to download it in a blink of an eye.

More information on how to become a mirror: http://wiki.xfce.org/mirror

Attending FOSDEM 2011

  • January 10, 2011
  • Jannis Pohlmann

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open
Source Software Developers' European Meeting

Today Nick and I booked hotel rooms for FOSDEM so now it’s official that the two of us will be there. I’m very much looking forward to it and I’m hoping to meet some of you at the FOSDEM Beer Event on Friday! Still need to think about a way to make ourselves recognizable as Xfce folks though.

If you are planning to attend and would like to meet any of the Xfce folks, please add your name in the wiki:

  http://wiki.xfce.org/events/2011/fosdem

We haven’t decided where and when to meet on Saturday and Sunday but I’m sure we will find something. Stay tuned for additional announcements on this weblog.

In addition to celebrating the 4.8 release of Xfce which is scheduled for next weekend, one of our goals for FOSDEM 2011 will be to sign the papers for registering the Xfce Foundation e.V. in Germany. The details of this still need to be worked out, however. I’ll keep you posted about this as well.

If you would like to talk to me about things other than Xfce, please drop me a mail and I’m sure we can arrange something.

Xfce 4.8pre3 released!

  • January 2, 2011
  • Jannis Pohlmann

Xfce 4.8pre3 is now available for download.

It includes the following releases of Xfce core components:

 exo 0.5.6
 gtk-xfce-engine 2.7.0
 libxfce4ui 4.7.6
 libxfce4util 4.7.5
 libxfcegui4 4.7.0
 thunar 1.1.6
 thunar-vfs 1.1.1
 xfce-utils 4.7.4
 xfce4-appfinder 4.7.2
 xfce4-dev-tools 4.7.4
 xfce4-panel 4.7.7
 xfce4-session 4.7.3
 xfce4-settings 4.7.7
 xfconf 4.7.5
 xfdesktop 4.7.5
 xfwm4 4.7.4

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/4.8pre3/src
 http://www.tx-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce/4.8pre3/src
 http://www.p0llux.be/xfce/xfce/4.8pre3/src
 http://www.ca-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce/4.8pre3/src

A tarball including all individual releases can be downloaded here:

 http://archive.xfce.org/xfce/4.8pre3/fat_tarballs
 http://www.tx-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce/4.8pre3/fat_tarballs
 http://www.p0llux.be/xfce/xfce/4.8pre3/fat_tarballs
 http://www.ca-us.xfce.org/archive/xfce/4.8pre3/fat_tarballs

Today we are pleased to announce the third and hopefully final preview release of Xfce 4.8 which is set to be pushed out to the public on January 16th, 2011. Compared to Xfce 4.8pre2 this release mostly features translation updates and bug fixes.

With christmas and new year’s eve between 4.8pre2 and 4.8pre3 it comes as no surprise that for most components only a few issues were tackled.

Among other things we updated the default keyboard shortcuts to include monitor keys. The status icon of the file manager’s progress dialog is now properly hidden when the dialog is destroyed. It’s wallpaper plugin is now capable of handling filenames with spaces. The environment variables of commands launched from the Xfce run dialog were not set properly, so we fixed that so that commands launched from the dialog always inherit the environment of the Xfce session.

We also made the --reboot and --halt parameters of xfce4-session-logout work again which previously simply logged out the active user. In order to avoid a race condition at session startup and in order to speed things up a little more we no longer use xrdb to update xft and cursor settings and instead, update the related XSETTINGS properties ourselves.

In the window manager xfwm4, we aligned the time period required for a double click with that of normal applications. Via the hidden option “/general/mousewheel_rollup” one can now disable windows being rolled up via the mouse wheel. The window manager now also properly handles resolution changes in fullscreen windows like those appearing in games. Xfwm4’s application switcher now only appears once in cloned mode.

This may sound like a few useful fixes but it’s nothing compared to the amount of work that went into the new Xfce panel once again. Around 20+ known bugs and regressions were fixed. Here is a short excerpt of the complete changelog: Translation domains were fixed for external plugins, plugins can be reordered with DND again, double-clicking items in the item editor shows their preferences, dragging items to the item editor dialog removes them from the panel again, tasklist windows can now be filtered by monitor. Another issue that appeared recently and has now been fixed is the icon sizing in the notification area, also known as the systray.

Xfce 4.8pre3 also features a lot of translation updates, as can be seen in the complete changelog on

 http://xfce.org/documentation/changelogs/4.8pre3

Since we’re following the Xfce release model for 4.8, we’d normally announce code freeze and the creation of early lifecycle support branches today. We decided against this because there are not enough people active to take care of all this at the moment. So we will continue fixing bugs in master branches as we did between 4.8pre2 and 4.8pre3.

We’re hoping that you will enjoy today’s release. Thanks a lot to everyone contributing this time around! We’re pretty sure 4.8 is gonna rock.

Kind regards,

The Xfce development team

P.S.: Happy new year everyone!