Xfce – Xfwm4 zoom mode in 4.12

Xfce is my main desktop environment since more than 6 years, and I really like it. I try to make some patch from time to time, and if you search a project to contribute, it's here ;-)

The core team is really small (2 or 3 people), so development evolves rather slowly, and the 4.12 will be released when it is ready.

One of the latest feature is the implementation of a compositor zoom, like the compiz ezoom plugin, from an external developper ( see this thread).

Here a little video with latest git version ( from http://git.xfce.org/xfce/xfwm4/ ). You just need to press ALT and scroll up/down to zoom in/out.

(yeah, it's an excuse to test the html5

I will try to make some blog posts about new features in xfce world for the upcoming 4.12 (in 2014 I hope!), stay tuned !

archbang

i pulled the slow magnetic hdd running gentoo from my thinkpad r61i; swapped it with a 2009-era 32GB ssd running archbang, a variant of arch linux.

it’s been several years since i last tried arch, and i wanted a desktop environment installed & preconfigured. archbang offers a minimal openbox desktop with a few basic programs: web browser, terminal, text editor, file manager, etc.

arch is fast. from cold boot to logged-in at the desktop: 5.5 seconds. that’s on an old supertalent ssd, artificially limited to SATA-I speeds by the thinkpad’s BIOS; the hardware is capable of running at SATA-II. even topped out at 150MB/sec read/write, this system is screaming fast. apps execute instantly, queries and searches complete as soon as i hit Enter, and even heavyweight firefox only takes a second or so to load. my experience is vastly improved over the same environment on gentoo, on the magnetic hdd.

gentoo didn’t run this fast on this drive when it was installed in my now-defunct desktop. i switched to a more useful xfce desktop, which didn’t affect boot/login times at all; still under 6 seconds.

so, why arch, and not gentoo? apparently, my music-making environment went through too many upgrades and changes between 2011 and now. i probably should have left it as-is once i got a working setup for live performances and studio production. it mostly doesn’t work anymore. kernel changes, upstream audio package changes, lots of factors. it’s impossible to diagnose, so i’m temporarily without a gentoo system, at least until i swap disks.

the upstream developer of my primary audio software runs arch, so i figured i may get better support & overall user experience by running the same OS and environment. i haven’t yet configured my desktop for realtime/low-latency audio work besides install the ck kernel. arch has most of my usual music stack available as binary packages, so i’ll only have to compile a few apps from the AUR.

i really like installing binary packages, rather than having to spend a whole day building them on this slow 2007-era CPU. and, since this is an exceptionally light flavor of arch, i don’t have the bloat and slowdown i experienced when using ubuntu for music production.

i’m not sure if i’ll keep arch installed or not, but this has been an interesting trip so far.

Xfce translations moved

For quite some time Xfce used a private installation of Transifex because this “old” version was capable of pushing to git directly and the tools provided by transifex.com were not extremely suitable at the time. But time went by and transifex.com improved to a nice platform, while our installation started to struggle more and more.

So it was about time we moved and since yesterday all translations moved to the Xfce hub project! There are separate projects for the core modules because there we work more active with different branches, and there are “collection” projects for the various goodies, like panel plugins, thunar extensions and applications outside Xfce core.

The platform is (imho) a huge improvement for translators; the interface is very nice, a way better online editor and a translation memory across the components to translate similar string more quickly and consistently. On the developers since everything is still automated since a cron script will pull the translations and submit them to git (if they reached a minimum percentage of 50% and passed all checks).

During the migration a lot of files were removed from git because they did not pass msgfmt –check, so at the same time this was a nice cleanup of broken translations in the repositories.

There are still some things to do; cron script needs some more testing and also more pot files need to be removed from the repositories to avoid broken or incomplete translations, but the largest step is taken.

So in case you were translating Xfce or want to, sign up at transifex.com and joint a translation team in the Xfce project!

Reorder network devices set by udev

In order to reorder network devices (e.g. swap eth1 with eth2), the persistent-net rules from udev can be edited. Usually there is a file at the following location:
/etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules
The file contains several rules, for example:
SUBSYSTEM=="net", ACTION=="add", DRIVERS=="?*", ATTR{address}=="3c:ab:cd:00:ab:cd", ATTR{dev_id}=="0x0", ATTR{type}=="1", KERNEL=="eth*", NAME="eth2"

SUBSYSTEM=="net", ACTION=="add", DRIVERS=="?*", ATTR{address}=="3c:ab:cd:00:ab:ce", ATTR{dev_id}=="0x0", ATTR{type}=="1", KERNEL=="eth*", NAME="eth3"
By editing this file it is possible to change the NAME of each rule. After that, to reload the rules, simply issue this command:
udevadm control --reload-rules
Edit: you need to unload the modules first (modprobe -r e1000e for example), ensure the udev rules are reloaded, and load the modules back in. If the network drivers are built into the kernel, you need to reboot.

Reorder network devices set by udev

In order to reorder network devices (e.g. swap eth1 with eth2), the persistent-net rules from udev can be edited. Usually there is a file at the following location:
/etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules
The file contains several rules, for example:
SUBSYSTEM=="net", ACTION=="add", DRIVERS=="?*", ATTR{address}=="3c:ab:cd:00:ab:cd", ATTR{dev_id}=="0x0", ATTR{type}=="1", KERNEL=="eth*", NAME="eth2"

SUBSYSTEM=="net", ACTION=="add", DRIVERS=="?*", ATTR{address}=="3c:ab:cd:00:ab:ce", ATTR{dev_id}=="0x0", ATTR{type}=="1", KERNEL=="eth*", NAME="eth3"
By editing this file it is possible to change the NAME of each rule. After that, to reload the rules, simply issue this command:
udevadm control --reload-rules

Making use of custom actions with Xfce Appfinder

One addition in the latest versions of Appfinder was the custom actions. I never used it until after I started typing several times twitter which didn't work (a habit from the web browser url bar).

The custom actions can be useful for anything, and it's really quick to run it.

Examples of custom actions:
  • twitter: xdg-open https://twitter.com/
  • us: setxkbmap us
It can be very handy, check the online documention for a quick setup. There are also online examples, don't mind to leave a comment or to fill the bugtracker if you have clever ideas, I can add them, I just did with the setxkbmap us example ;-)

Making use of custom actions with Xfce Appfinder

One addition in the latest versions of Appfinder was the custom actions. I never used it until after I started typing several times twitter which didn't work (a habit from the web browser url bar).

The custom actions can be useful for anything, and it's really quick to run it.

Examples of custom actions:
  • twitter: xdg-open https://twitter.com/
  • us: setxkbmap us
It can be very handy, check the online documention for a quick setup. There are also online examples, don't mind to leave a comment or to fill the bugtracker if you have clever ideas, I can add them, I just did with the setxkbmap us example ;-)

Stable releases!

Last week-end, our awesome Nick released new stable versions for almost all Xfce major components: libxfce4util, tumbler, xfce4-appfinder, xfce4-session, xfce4-panel, xfwm4, xfce4-settings, garcon, thunar, xfce4-terminal and tumbler (this is not amnesia, we got two releases in a single day for this component!).

I still need to release libxfce4ui 4.10.1 which would fix some keyboard shortcut issues: numpad shortcuts, shortcuts with Shift, shortcuts with Alt+Print... I need some testers for this stable branch before releasing. So grab the code on git or from this tarball and please confirm if it works fine after restarting your session. Thanks in advance for your help.

The list of changes which can be found in those stable releases in available on the Xfce Announcement mailing list. I wish you all an improved Xfce experience!