MirAL 1.0

There’s a new MirAL release (1.0.0) available in ‘Zesty Zapus’ (Ubuntu 17.04) and the so-called “stable phone overlay” ppa for ‘Xenial Xerus’ (Ubuntu 16.04LTS). MirAL is a project aimed at simplifying the development of Mir servers and particularly providing a stable ABI and sensible default behaviors.

Surprisingly, given the project’s original goal, the ABI is changed. This allowed us to address a couple of minor issues and the timing seemed good as downstreams are faced with Mir-0.25 moving some necessary APIs from libmircommon to the more ABI stable libmircore.

The changes in 1.0.0 are:

  1. The default movement of child windows can be overridden by the window management policy;
  2. A new “miral-app” script that runs the miral example servers as an application on an existing desktop;
  3. Bug fix LP: #1646431 “Examples fail to start under Unity8”;
  4. Bug fix LP: #1646735 “[miral-shell –window-manager tiling] windows are not correctly constrained to tiles”; and
  5. A couple of deprecated APIs have been removed.

Mircade

Mircade

I’ve been playing with the “kiosk” concept implemented by miral-kiosk. Kevin Gunn and Alberto Aguirre have been using it to demonstrate Mir snaps (kg’s blog) so I decided to join the fun.

Mircade is a very basic kiosk-launcher for whatever games are installed on a system. It tries to work out whether the game will run natively on Mir and, if not, will try running them on Xmir (if installed).

To play, you need the latest miral-examples and libmiral-dev installed. You can “apt install miral-examples” from Zesty archive/Xenial “stable phone overlay” PPA, or build it from source on Xenial or later.

$ sudo apt install miral-examples libmiral-dev mir-graphics-drivers-desktop xmir

Once you have that sorted, Mircade is available from github. It has a few dependencies (I’ve tried to list them, but have probably missed one).

$ git clone https://github.com/AlanGriffiths/mircade.git
$ sudo apt install libfreetype6-dev libboost-filesystem-dev libboost-system-dev cmake
$ cd mircade/
$ cmake .
$ make
$ miral-desktop -kiosk -launcher ./mircade

Navigation is by arrow keys (left/right) and selection by Space or Enter. When your game exits you return to the mircade launcher.

Not all games work perfectly on Mir (yet):

  • Most of the GTK based games (like gnome-chess) run, but sometimes fail to “fullscreen”;
  • SDL2 based games (like 7kaa) have a tendency to segfault on exit; and,
  • X11 based games using Xmir may or may not work.

Have fun!

MirAL 0.5

There’s a new MirAL release (0.5.0) available in ‘Zesty Zapus’ (Ubuntu 17.04) and the so-called “stable phone overlay” ppa for ‘Xenial Xerus’. MirAL is a project aimed at simplifying the development of Mir servers and particularly providing a stable ABI and sensible default behaviors.

Unsurprisingly, given the project’s original goal, the ABI is unchanged. The changes in 0.5.0 fall are:

  1. Some utility scripts to for common tasks;
  2. Improved “–window-manager tiling” mode of miral-shell;
  3. More configuration options for miral-kiosk;
  4. miral::DebugExtension; and,
  5. Some minor bug fixes.

Some utility scripts to for common tasks

There are two of these: miral-desktop and miral-screencast.

miral-desktop creates a pseudo-desktop session:

miral-desktop - Handy launch script for a miral "desktop session"
Usage: miral-desktop [options] [shell options]
Options are:
    -kiosk               use miral-kiosk instead of miral-shell
    -launcher <launcher> use <launcher> instead of 'gnome-terminal --app-id com.canonical.miral.Terminal'
    -vt       <termid>   set the virtual terminal [4]
    -socket   <socket>   set the mir socket [/run/user/1000/mir_socket]
    -bindir   <bindir>   path to the miral executable

For example, I use this to test the “tiling” window management with a UK keyboard layout:

$ miral-desktop -launcher qterminal --window-manager tiling --keymap gb

miral-screencast captures the Mir display (until you press enter) and then encodes it as an mp4:

miral-screencast - screencast capture script for use with Mir servers
Usage: /usr/bin/miral-screencast [options]
Options are:
    --width   set the capture width   [1920]
    --height  set the capture height  [1080]
    --output  set the output filename [screencast.mp4]
    --socket  set the mir socket      [/run/user/1000/mir_socket]

Improved “–window-manager tiling” mode of miral-shell

This has been updated to keep the focused window on the left half of the display (unless there’s only one window) and divide the right side vertically between the remaining windows. There’s also been a general refresh of the code that fixed a lot of minor issues.

More configuration options for miral-kiosk

The miral-kiosk now supports a few more options:

  • –keymap allows for non-US keyboard layout;
  • –kiosk-maximize-root-window kiosk has a new default behavior of maximizing root window, but this can be changed;
  • –kiosk-startup-apps-only prevents new connections after startup

miral::DebugExtension

This allows shells to enable (or disable) the client API “debug” extensions dynamically (AFAICS only useful for automated testing).

Some minor bug fixes

There was a race condition handling fullscreen surfaces when reconfiguring the display for hardware changes, the gmock version in zesty caused a FTBFS, and the clang version in zesty picked up some template instantiation issues.