Posts Tagged ‘Fedora’

Obituary: CurvyLooks

June 16th, 2015 No comments

Just over a decade ago, I took the reigns on a Fedora package called gnome-theme-clearlooks-bigpack. Among other niceties, it had many color themes and Cairo-enabled widgets for the Clearlooks (now Adwaita) GTK+ theme engine. But there was one and only one reason I took it: The Cairo_Curve theme.

This theme was a very smooth and rounded (thank you, Cairo rendering) but otherwise faithful reproduction of the Bluecurve color scheme and design philosophy (whether written or not) of just being simple and easy on the eyes for long periods of time. As you can imagine, this is great for people like myself who are using their systems for many hours at a time every day. As someone who used it on a daily basis, when it was orphaned I could not simply let it go unmanaged.

Time went on, as it so quickly does, and in mid-2007 I found myself a bit despondent: the upstream maintainers had all but vanished. What sources I had, I immediately mirrored onto my personal webspace; and I changed those in the RPM .spec file to match. I realized that if I cared about it enough, I should become the upstream contact myself.

And that is exactly what I did. That November, I ripped away every theme except for Cairo_Curve, as that was the only one I had any interest in, and formed the CurvyLooks project: A modest attempt to keep the Bluecurve-like color scheme and theme design for Clearlooks and essentially forward-port it to future versions of GTK+ as necessary.

Time again went on, however, and the chaos of life caught up with me. Newer GTK+ versions caused a few minor bugs (warnings about unused or invalid portions of the gtkrc file, for instance); but since it still more or less worked, I did little to fix them.

And time continued on. It was now July of 2011, and GTK+ 3.0 had just been released. I had already a release candidate of CurvyLooks that “worked” (though not well) together with the series of GTK+ 3 release candidates; but the distinction between “functioning” and “working well” can be a large one, as it was here. I fixed what I could of the theme drawing issues (such as opaque tooltips) and updated it to work with GTK+ 3 and the then-new Adwaita engine (which superseded Clearlooks). I released this as as CurvyLooks 0.4 RC2; and there it has stayed for nearly four years.

Except I also did something else. I also disabled the Dark theme, as I had become so accustomed to the idea of a bright background and dark text/foreground that it simply made no sense to me. In particular, some programs would use the Dark theme if it was installed, while others stayed with the “normal” variant; and that mismatch was rather frustrating.

A few short months later, I happily installed the Fedora 17 Beta and was thrilled with what I saw. In fact, the default Adwaita theme was almost exactly what I imagined CurvyLooks should be. I kept using that default but there was something…some je ne sais quoi about that Adwaita theme that broke my “easy on the eyes” rule. I couldn’t tell if it was that the contrast was too high or that the colors were not saturated enough or something else entirely but it just didn’t feel right. So I forced myself to try the dark theme. And I liked it.

No, scratch that. I loved it. Having long since grown accustomed to the light-on-dark theme on my Android phone, my UI tastes had changed rather drastically. To quote Morpheus from The Matrix: “Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.” I enabled the forced global dark theme and time went on once more…

It was now July of 2012. GTK+ uses Adwaita as its default and the theme is bundled as a gresource tarball file within the engine itself. Hoping to update CurvyLooks, I started by writing a simple gresource extraction script to unpack those files so that I could base my new CurvyLooks version on a recoloration of that theme. But having no need for the theme itself anymore, as a user of the Dark Adwaita theme, I simply did not have the patience to work through how to implement it for this new format of theme packaging. I focused my time and efforts elsewhere, in Fedora and in real life. Thus time slipped into the present…

I suppose this end is long overdue; but such is one of the great lessons about flexibility and power of Free software: Just because the original maintainers disappeared, as long as I was willing to put in the effort, I could keep the project running myself. While my contributions to it were small at best, it was fun, in its own little way, to go through the process of setting up and publishing my own work. But it was just “working” and rarely “working well;” and I could no longer give it the due diligence to make it as awesome as it once was.

It’s only fitting that I should let time slip, once and for all, into the future; but without CurvyLooks advancing with alongside it…(Unless, of course, someone else wants to repeat this upstream initiative and maintain it themselves!)

Cherry-Picking With Git, For Fun And For Profit

February 23rd, 2012 3 comments

(This is more as a reminder to myself in the future, rather than a full-fledged posting.)

As I learn more about Git and how we use it in Fedora packaging, I keep discovering cool new things about it that I love. One particular aspect that I’m quickly growing to adore is the feature to cherry-pick between commits in related branches. Suppose I’m currently working on the master branch of a package which is kept in sync with f16 and f17 branches.

Now, a new version comes up or I make a patch to fix a bug. After committing the changes to master, I can easily copy those commits to the release branches with a simple cherry-pick operation:

$ fedpkg switch-branch f17
$ git cherry-pick master

This copies the most recent commit from the master branch into the current one. (See the Git documentation for more information on specifying commit IDs.) Compare this to CVS, where we had to manually diff the devel/ branch directory and apply that to each branch by hand…it’s so much nicer with Git. 🙂

Then it’s a simple matter to push the changes to the Fedora repository and run builds for them through Koji, by running fedpkg push and fedpkg build in each branch. Sweet!

Also, the fullscreen mode of WordPress’ new post editor is fantastic – I owe someone a beverage for that.

Now to get some sleep, so I can finish this Algorithm Analysis project tomorrow. Ta for now!

Categories: Fedora Tags: , , ,

Bugzilla Spam, Ahoy!

August 2nd, 2011 No comments

In an effort to organize my Fedora bug squashing, I’ve been going through all the bugs assigned or CC-ed to me on Fedora’s Bugzilla. The first thing I’ve done is to remove myself from the CC and Assignee of many bugs whose packages I no longer maintain or have interest in. Unfortunately, if you’re on these bugs CC-ed or otherwise, you’re about to get an influx of 200+ automated email notifications from bugzilla about these changes. My apologies! 😮

Silence is NOT Golden!

October 13th, 2010 No comments

It’s been a long long while (6+ months! Eep.); but to quote the great Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “I’m not dead yet!” – and neither is this blog.

So, what has this geek been up to recently? On the one hand, my search for a decent [part-time] job is…well, it’s still ongoing. On the other, I’ve been very busy with classwork, family obligations, and other real life duties.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on updates to several of my packages in addition to new goodies (such as the successor to the GNOME Music Applet, Panflute). I apologize for the rather lengthy delays in these! But, I should be able to get to all of them sometime within the next several days or so. (Git still puzzles me slightly, so please bare with me as I slowly resume my packaging duties.) And lastly, I would like to shout a huge THANK YOU to all those who have helped triage and maintain my packages during my brief hiatus. Now, to finish this Deluge update…

ThinkPad T500: Initial Fedora Report – Marvelous!

September 14th, 2009 3 comments

Well, after receiving my ThinkPad T500, I set about tweaking the pre-installed Windows Vista, and spent most of the weekend attempting to get it dual-booting Vista and Fedora nicely. For better or worse, neither Fedora’s GRUB nor Windows’ BCD bootloader would accept booting the other OS properly. I came to realize that I hadn’t used or needed to use Windows in over 5 years (even the server at work is CentOS), so It’s highly unlikely that I will need it in the foreseeable future. Just in case though, I can always run it in a VM. So, after burning the Product Recovery Discs, I wiped it all and installed Fedora on this wonderful machine. 🙂

I configured it with 4 partitions:

  1. /boot (about 500 MB)
  2. Swap (about 5 GB)
  3. / (FS root, about 35 GB)
  4. /home (the remaining ~210 GB)

As far as the hardware goes, everything appears to work out of the (quite literal) box. The processor’s throttling is automatically handled by cpuspeed and ACPI. The LCD was automatically detected at the appropriate resolution (WSXGA+, 1680×1050) and DPI (129), and graphics (integrated Intel GMA X4500HD) work very well – 3D, Compiz, and everything. Virtualization extensions (so-called “VT”) were disabled in the BIOS by default for whatever reason, but enabling them took only a few seconds and KVM works wonderfully (running an Ubuntu 9.04 virtual machine for a Linux class).

The TrackPoint(tm) and TouchPad both work splendidly, although the TrackPoint does take a lot of practice to get comfortable with. I’m tempted to disable the touchpad in the BIOS, since I don’t actually use it for pointing (and I often erroneously swipe it with my palm while using the so-called “nipple mouse” of the TrackPoint); but I do use it for the scrolling, so I’ve not yet found a happy medium. Suggestions appreciated.

The hard disk (Western Digital WDC WD2500BEVS-0) and DVD burner drive (HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-U20N) are surprisingly speedy. I’ve already burned two copies of the Fedora 11 LiveCD and several data discs (backups) with no problems. The Bluetooth works well, and I can easily send and receive files to and from my phone through the included Bluetooth stack. The wifi  (Intel WiFi Link 5300 [AGN]) works beautifully with the included iwlagn driver, enabled by default. Also, NetworkManager makes connectivity trivial. (Thanks, devs!)

The firewire and PC Card slot also seem to work – they are autodetected and drivers loaded. However, as I have no firewire- or PC Card-based devices, I cannot verify their functionality.

I have come to quickly love the GNOME Power Manager stack. According to it, the battery on a full charge should last me about 5 hours. It keeps track of how much charge the battery has, how quickly I’m consuming or charging it depending on if I am plugged into AC power, etc. It even shows me a graph of my recent power history! Wonderful little tool. With the help of Intel’s fantastic PowerTOP utility, I’ve increased that computed estimate to nearly 6 hours. (!)

With regards to multimedia, things worked beautifully without me even trying. The built-in webcam works perfectly with Cheese, and the built-in sound works for both playback (surprisingly loud at maximum volume!) and recording (not fantastic quality, but it’s very good at eliminating surrounding static and other noises). I can’t wait to try video-calling someone with the recent Empathy enhancements!

All of the hotkeys – brightness-switching, volume control, playback/navigation, etc.) work as expected, and ACPI (with GNOME Power Manager) even automatically suspends when I close the lid – wonderful!

I’ve also noticed that the machine stays colder in Fedora than it ever did while running the preinstalled Windows. Maybe this is only subjective though, as I never checked the actual temperatures in Windows. Or perhaps Linux/Fedora is better at staying in deeper C-states for longer intervals. In either case, I can work with it directly on my lap quite comfortably.

One of the main reasons I decided upon the T-series instead of a similar R-series laptop was weight. Even with the battery installed, it is only about 5.5 pounds. (That’s about 2.5 kilograms for the rest of the world who use a less-insane system of measurements.) This is quite comfortable to carry with me around school and work without tiring my shoulder.

The only thing which I’ve been unable to test, aside from the firewire and PC card slots, is the dual-screen capability. According to the included manual, it should be capable of using the DisplayPort interface to attach a secondary screen (such as a projector) and automatically resize appropriately, with [Fn]+[Spacebar]. I suppose that if this does not yet already Just Work(tm), it will be fixed by the time I need to worry about actually using it though.

Overall, I love this laptop, and am extremely happy with my purchase decision. In fact, the only qualm I have with this wonderful computer is that it’s not yet decorated! Oh great lazyweb, doe anyone know where I can get stickers for GNOME, Fedora, Linux/Tux, et al., to adorn it with? 😀

Also: A huge THANK YOU to all of the developers who helped make my first Linux-on-a-laptop experience an absolutely wonderful one. I love it when things work so simply and effectively!

Leonidas: On the Brink of Release

June 9th, 2009 2 comments

With Fedora 11 (“Leonidas”) released earlier today and Rawhide looking to the future, I find myself instead looking back at what has made Leonidas such an excellent release.

With over 50 new features in this release (more than any previous release, I’ve been told!), it would seem logical that this staggering amount of new improvements would leave us with many majors bugs and issues yet to resolved – the more features we add, the less manpower/resources we can expend on each individually, right?

Wrong. With so many test days and an amazing Quality Assurance team, we’ve hammered, smashed, pounded, banged, and kicked this release into a uniquely rich and stable Fedora experience.

One of my favorite features of this release is Presto. Though not enabled by default, Presto allows users to use so-called DeltaRPMs to update the packages installed on their system. That is, instead of downloading the whole new updated packages, only the changes between the installed version and the update need be downloaded. Especially for large packages (such as some game data and or those who are on a slower or pay-per-usage internet connection, this can be a very hefty savings both in time and cost. I used it immediately after installed Leonidas, and it saved me quite a bit on the initial updating:

Size of all updates downloaded from Presto-enabled repositories: 14M
Size of updates that would have been downloaded if Presto wasn't enabled: 128M
This is a savings of 89 percent

Win! The DRI2/KMS support has also been updated heavily and now works out of the proverbial box, at least for a large portion of Intel and AMD/ATi hardware. (This allows a proper composited desktop with 3-D and all. By default. VERY awesome.)

Another excellent feature is that the installation now defaults to using the Ext4 filesystem where applicable. I must admit, I was a bit afraid of actively using this when I was first reading about it, due to all of the reports of data corruption people have experienced; but it seems those issues are long-since fixed, as I’d been using Ext4 for my root partition since Fedora 10. With Leonidas, I took the plunge and upgraded my /home partition (via Anaconda) from Ext3 to Ext4, and have yet to notice a problem. (For those wishing to do similar – and even for those not – I would still highly recommend keeping proper backups Just In CaseTM)

Finally, while I could pinpoint each and every feature and how I feel it’s improved Fedora, suffice it to say that I don’t have adequate time to type out such a long rave. However, as much as these individual features improve Fedora on their own, it is their conglomeration which impacts us the most – the way things are so well-integrated and work properly “out of the box” (so to speak), the way that we as a community of many actively support all of this so well, the way we as a community so diverse handle bugs and packaging, the beautiful artwork and the amazing work of the Release Engineering team to distribute this blend of creativity so readily.

I’d like to rehash those last few points: It’s the wonderful combination of the efforts of you countless contributors and users which makes Fedora so great. Thank you all. Keep up the impressive work. I can’t wait for what’s to come in Fedora 12+!

Epiphany & WebKitGTK+: And so it begins…

May 31st, 2009 1 comment

I just noticed that a few hours ago, Matthias Clasen committed Epiphany 2.27.2 to Fedora’s CVS and in the process switched the build to using WebKitGTK+. instead of Gecko/XULrunner. This means that, once the switch is flipped for rawhide to start composing from the F-12 tree, Epiphany will be using WebKitGTK+ by default. Epic win. Many thanks, Matthias – you’re also added to my ever-growing “I owe drinks to these people” list. 🙂

I’m…geekin’ out!

May 8th, 2009 No comments

Right, so I just got back from seeing the premier showing of the recent Star Trek film at the GardenWalk IMAX with a bunch of friends, and I’m completely geeking out. Yes, there were some plot flaws in it (such as the way Kirk defeated the Klingons in the “Kobayashi Maru” exam) but it was meant to be a bit of an alternate history, and I was thoroughly impressed with the movie as a whole. The actors played their roles amazingly well, but I especially liked McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg)  and Spock (Zachary Quinto).

I was also quite pleased in that, as the limelights dimmed for the movie to begin, at least two other people in the theater joined me in shouting Qapla’! (Klingonese: “success”). There were no Klingons in this film, but that made it no less fun!

On the other hand, I do apologize that schoolwork has taken up most of my free time recently, and will continue do so until the end of the semester (two more weeks), and because of this I’ve not been very active on the Fedora front. However, I hope to change that once classes let out for the summer. 🙂

Offline After Nearly 7 Billion Rotations

April 8th, 2009 1 comment

(That’s slightly more rotations than there people on Earth! :o)

With Spring Break giving me some much-needed time off from classes, I had some time to install and test the recently-released Fedora 11 Beta. While I do think there are many minor issues (such as Urban Terror having no sound and not being able to quit), there are many awesome improvements over Fedora 10 already. Among these are such niceties as DRI2 & Kernel Mode-Setting support for Intel video (enabled by default!), DeviceKit, and the obvious benefits of GNOME 2.26.

However, one thing that I noticed over the past weekend (looking through the awesome new Palimpsest disk utility) is that my secondary hard drive (a Western Digital WD740 Raptor) has begun to show its age after nearly 4 years of trusty service. The automatic block-reallocation and CRC error counts were already listing as “Failing” and just about everything else in the SMART self-test results are listed as “Pre-Fail.” Thankfully, it persisted long enough to backup my entire home directory to the primary disk (a 40GB Maxtor something-or-other). However, this backup has made that primary disk – which I have partitioned with everything else) almost full, with only about a gigabyte free. (That was close!) So, until I can get that replaced, I’m going to be getting my work done on my parents’ computers and those in the school labs – which means I’m not going to be able do anything Fedora-related other than simple bug-triaging for a while. With schoolwork and other duties now, it’ll probably take me about a week or so to order the new drive from NewEgg, have it shipped, and properly install it in my PC.

I do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; but as I’ve said on prior occasions, hardware and I seem to have a very love/hate relationship.  :-/