np237 (np237) wrote,

GNOME.Asia 2011 hackfest

For the whole week, I’ve been in Bangalore for the GNOME.Asia 2011 hackfest. I’ve been delegated by Stefano to represent Debian here, and my employer EDF has agreed to cover for travel costs since they are very interested in first-hand information the future of the Linux desktop and sharing our work on scientific computing.

It’s been a really exciting week; I’ve spent quite some time packaging missing pieces of GNOME 3.0 (well, the release candidate versions of course) in experimental, together with Fred Peters. I think it’s reaching a usable state now, so we’ll probably soon provide metapackages to make it easily installable.

The latest developments of the Shell make it a very exciting piece of software, with a strong focus on usability. Many things were written about it, but in the end my main criticism would be that it lacks some functionality - for example, the combined clock/weather/locations applet will be greatly missed. The good news is that it is extremely customizable, and with all the libraries being made accessible through GObject introspection, there are many features that are accessible from it. If you know how to write JavaScript, now is the time to write your favorite extension.

On the good news front, Vincent Untz also spent a lot of time improving the so-called “legacy mode”, which is more and more starting to look like the Shell without special effects, and with all the features from gnome-panel 2.x that are still here. We will try in Debian to cover all uses cases that there were for GNOME 2 with GNOME 3 technology, so that panel lovers are not left behind.

I’ve also proposed an update to the dh_gsettings proposal, which will provide the same functionality as dh_gconf and allow to easily set distribution-specific overrides. It is still missing a way to set mandatory settings, which might come as a problem for some corporate users, but this is planned for a future version of GSettings.

Today, we’re having a business track where I and representatives of other companies (Oracle, Lanedo, Dexxa) are sharing experiences about making money with free software. Unfortunately the local organizers didn’t manage to gather many people, despite our being in a city with an incredible number of IT industries.

Tomorrow, the public conference starts, and this should be the opposite: we’re expecting around 1000 people, which is a great achievement for a free software conference.

For an unrelated topic, being around so many GNOME hackers has some interesting side effects; I’ve been added to Planet GNOME. So, hey, hello Planet GNOME readers!

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