Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'unity'

A new week, a new contributor! This week the team would like to welcome Marco Trevisan (Treviño) to the team. 

Marco has two feature improvements to the Unity desktop this week. The first is the notification when you mouse scroll to adjust the volume on the panel. This was covered by OMG!Ubuntu, which has a video if you want to see it in action. More importantly, Marco’s added scroll event support for the entire panel service.

…with Unity coming I consider it as a great chance for improving Ubuntu, making it something of really different that can be freely developed without being too much dependent from other platforms/projects; I’m always interested in knowing new platforms and to improve them (especially where they lack of something I’d need in my user-experience) so I firstly fixed some bugs in gwibber, plugins for synapse, adding markup support to improve indicator-datetime and indicator-sound (with the notify-osd patch).

The rest of Marco’s bio is here if you wanna check it out.

This week also marks the return of Stefano Candori, who has fixed Bug 688407, which was connecting the Trash can in the launcher to quick lists. (You’ll be able to now right click on the trash can in the launcher and empty it, etc.)

In hindsight the trash can bug was more of a full course meal with dessert than “bitesize”, so it took a while to sort it, so kudos to Cando for his tenacity.

The Big List

We’ve got some good turnover on bugs this week, so a good portion of these are fresh. This list marks the debut of Dash bitesizers and some requests for a little bling, mainly fade effects for the menu bar and window title.

I did a full podcast interview with Amber Graner if you want to listen in on how to get started with fixing these bitesize bugs. 

Here’s the full list.

Getting Involved

Want to tackle some of these? Instructions for getting started are available here.

For more information check out the wiki page:

If you have any questions feel free to pop by on #ayatana on Freenode.

Other Unity Tidbits

Two unity releases since last Tuesday! The alpha2 candidates brought good things (lot of bug fixes mainly) and bad as well (like freezes when you got the places installed). The full list is available here.

  • This release contains the first real Places implementation. Be warned, it’s a real first sketchup of it, quite unstable and not optimized at all. It has some bugs.
  • In addition to that, a lot of compiz uploads have been processed this week with a tremendous ABI break to handle, fixing finally the decoration sometimes disappearing, bringing other fixes to long standing bugs like the gnome-panel applets crashing, the menu stacking issue,
  • Some defaults were changed to avoid overlap of the launcher - Everyone needs to do a unity —reset!
  • The price for all this progress is a new bug where your mouse is grabbed and you can’t interact with anything with it anymore. Investigating it is the top priority after Alpha 2. From what we know, some window appears but is not mapped by compiz. Any info users can provide in that bug would be appreciated. This issue will be mentioned in the Alpha 2 release notes.
  • There seems to be some issue with LibreOffice as well & unity. Not reproducible for everyone though (unity freezes on the viewport you have LibreOffice opened, decoration doesn’t work, dnd as well…). Needs clarification and more investigation.

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Whilst we wait for chromify-osd to go through the Chrome App web store process I thought I’d point out some other ways where we could integrate Unity with the web. Here’s what my current New tab looks like in Chrome:

There are applications I’ve installed. And yeah, Jason Odoom has made a Launchpad application in the Chrome Web Store. Cool huh? 

However it doesn’t make sense to me that I have applications in my browser, it’s kind of too … bookmarkesque. Too many of these “html5 apps” are just fancy bookmarks. Here’s what I really want:

When I bookmark a web app, I want it in my launcher. (Or whatever your OS provides). And then when I click it, I want a full blown application:

Note how the Seesmic shortcut launches the web app in Chrome application mode. Clicking on those links spawn another browser process, no weird new tabs interfering with the web app. It behaves like a totally separate application.

This is just a sandboxed version of No adobe air, no dealing with pesky OS installation garbage, just my application. That’s all I want.

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I’m a day late due to being sick yesterday, now things are back on track. 

The team is now back from Dallas, Texas, and as OMG!Ubuntu! points out, much has landed after the sprint, a culmination of a week’s work of hacking. Neil talks about Unity in this interview. Nice work Joey and Benjamin for covering Unity updates whilst the team flew back home. 

Other Bits

  • A ton of updates to the indicator stack, mostly renaming a bunch of methods. Not complicated, but the equivalent of a 31,577 line diff had to be merged, the bulk of this work was done by Mike Terry, Ken Van Dine and Ted Gould.
  • Unity 2D has landed, thanks to the intense work of the Ubuntu ARM team to get this packaged and available despite the huge amount of work, great job guys!
  • Resizing windows will finally work! So instead of a 1 pixel target you now have the entire shaded area to resize the window. The theme needs to be updated by the design team, so not totally fixed yet, but … hallelujah!

Upcoming this week

  • Sam assures us that he’s finally been able to fix the menu problem (drawing BEHIND the desktop and generally just being the worst bug lately)
  • Cross your fingers for Dash/Places (yep, we know we said we’d land it last week)

The Hit List

The following bugs need a helping hand, feel free to dive in and fix em up!

Getting Involved

Instructions for getting started are available here.

For more information check out the wiki page:

If you have any questions feel free to pop by on #ayatana on Freenode.

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Chris Coulson has the Firefox application menu extension working and in PPA for Natty testers:

Instructions here.

Please note, this is fast moving, so if your going to blog or retweet it please link to those instructions as I will be updating it over the course of the next few weeks.

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Blur in Unity

Mirco Müller and Jay Taoko have just landed a Gaussian blur for quicklists in Unity trunk. It uses the OpenGL GLSL shading language on Nvidia. Intel and AMD/ATI will be implemented over the next coming weeks.

(AMD and Intel are currently using ARBprograms - later on if the hardware supports it they will also use OpenGL GLSL shading language)

 Expect this to land in Natty tomorrow.

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Welcome to the Unity report! Greetings from Dallas, Texas, where the the Ubuntu Platform team is gathered to get work finished for Natty.

The Unity team would like to say hello! This week the team would like to welcome Connor Carney to the team:

I’m a biochemist and part-time programmer who has been been using Ubuntu since Jaunty. I decided to contribute because I’m impressed to see real innovation on the desktop in Unity, and I wanted to help that effort. That, and the sound menu bug was *really* bothering me…

Connor busted out Bug 681428 - scrolling does not work on the sound menu — which was an annoting regression introducted with the port to Compiz. Now that that’s sorted the Sound Menu can really come together.

Shout out to Bertrand Lorentz, who has been tirelessly fixing integration details with Conor Curran in upstream Banshee. Mike Terry has fixed quick lists showing up as transparent.

Expect a bunch of things landing in trunk this week and a Unity release on Thursday into Natty.

The Hit List

Getting Involved

Instructions for getting started are available here.

For more information check out the wiki page:

If you have any questions feel free to pop by on #ayatana on Freenode.

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Call for Help and Ideas!

Everyone knows I love web apps. You have two extremes. Old school “native apps and in control of my data” and then the other which is basically ChromeOS; No local state, all web. Most people are in the middle. You might love Gmail but the thought of having a remote word processor might not work for you.

I want my cake and I want to eat it too. I want web apps integrated with my desktop, which is why I am a big fan of site specific browsers. Recently these have been popularized by Chrome applications in the Chrome App Store — which is just a pretty front-end to what Stuart and I have been yelling about for 3 years.

When people do it right  (like Seesmic and Tweetdeck), it’s a great user experience. When people do it wrong, it’s just a stupid bookmark with no window chrome, meh. However, we can do little things to make it great. 

One area where we can integrate is notifications. Chrome/Webkit has notifications, they look like this: 

These are becoming more popular; Seesmic, Stack Overflow Chat, and irccloud to name a few. Well, why stop there? I asked Aq to hook up a prototype and then Marco Cepppi finished it.

Let’s chromify-osd:

A little bit of glue makes all the difference. To try it:

bzr branch lp:chromify-osd

cd chromify-osd


Now, load the extension in Chrome. Wrench -> Tools -> Extensions, click on the developer mode link, and then choose Load unpacked extension and select the directory “chromify-osd”. Then use a webapp that uses extensions. Here’s an example one.

Aq passes along “Although remember that the best solution will still be to write a proper Chrome extension which intercepts notifications and uses D-Bus! An NPAPI extension. This is a hack.”

So what do we need? We need someone who can make a Chromium extension to connect web notifications to libnotify. I suspect that a proper extension will have to deal with sandboxing and a bunch of stuff Aq glazed over in order to give me hope that this is possible.

What else do we need? Well, we need Unity to decide to be the glue for the web. We can do this by connecting desktop services to the browsers. Wherever web app developers take this we need to connect it up for people. Here is the start of some plans Unity developers have for making this integration better.

Any takers on getting this started?

Where else can we do this? How about we make it so when people make the App Shortcut we “install it” for them?

Now we’re talking! I also what a nice high resolution icon on the launcher with little numbers for new emails, etc. fta pointed out the code where Chromium does the shortcut thing, maybe someone can take a crack at it once the Launcher gets closer to being finished.

(My examples use Chrome since it ships app shortcuts out of the box, the same should apply for Firefox/Prism)

Whether you agree with web apps or not isn’t the point. Some people like them and some people don’t, either way your desktop should give you the best possible experience if you use Evolution or Gmail or whatever. Thoughts?

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aka. Holiday Leftovers

Time for another Unity status report. As you can expect due to holidays around the world not much progress was made other than expanding our waistlines.

Expect a flurry of activity this week as Unity developers spin up for the new year. Next week the Unity team will be sprinting in Dallas, Texas along with other members of the Canonical Platform team so expect a bunch of updates.

New to Unity but not Ubuntu is Shane Fagan, who adds a unity —replace command. Hey, it’s all about the little things. Matthew Rasmus returns with 2 fixes (both committed in trunk but not yet released, expect it on Thursday/Friday):

  • 691765 - When a menu is triggered from Alt+key, app name stays visible on panel 
  • 691812 - Window border doesn’t get restored
  • Stefano Candori has made progress on getting quick lists connected up to the Trash Can. 
  • Mathieu Trudel’s been looking at fixing the top panel’s multimonitor awareness

The Big List

Lots of repeats here due to work stoppage, now is the time to jump in if you want a piece!

  • 684193 - compiz crashed with SIGSEGV in g_source_unref()
  • 683547 - Bottom launchers hard to expand with filled launcher bar, need edge scrolling
  • 687956 - should display the launcher tooltips after a delay
  • 687958 - should provide an IsUnityRunning() dbus method
  • 688816 - Don’t create windows over the panel
  • 689929 - Update managers Apply Settings window doesn’t trigger unity’s smarthide
  • 691114 - Quicklists for icons at the bottom of the screen are clipped by screen edge
  • 677594 - Workspace switcher useless with one workspace
  • 681428 - scrolling does not work on the sound menu
  • 686182 - Unity launchers run multiple copies of program if clicked multiple times before the program loads
  • 688537 - Launcher icon tooltip not following system font update
  • 689010 - wrong icon for “blank cd-r disc” in launcher
  • 692967 - First-run of Unity should scan AWN, Docky and other popular launcher settings
  • 600875 - No documentation for using/configuring Unity
  • 692444 - clicking trash multiple times opens multiple instances of it.
  • 693792 - Launcher icon goes behind launcher if dialog pops up while dragging icon

Here’s the full list.

Other Unity Work

  • Mathieu Trudel continues to work on the nm-applet port to application indicators. He’s now got wireless icons in the dropdown. (This is a screenshot of it from his laptop, so this is just a tease, nothing landing yet) 

  • Conor Curran has sent along an update on what’s going on with the sound indicator
  • Auto/intellihide is now on by default in trunk and intial support for using the Super key to invoke the launcher has also landed.
  • The launcher now supports scroll events (like your mouse wheel).

Getting Involved

Instructions for getting started are available here.

For more information check out the wiki page:

If you have any questions feel free to pop by on #ayatana on Freenode.

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Here’s something I discovered yesterday as I was tooling around on my home server while using Unity. This is what happens when you maximize a terminal in Unity Alpha in Natty (Assuming you have autohide on, it’s not turned on by default yet but it will be, here’s how):

(Bigger pic)

If this was normal Ubuntu you’d have another panel AND the titlebar. This is all now fused into one out of the way thing, saving pixels and getting out of my way. 

I know what you’re thinking. Endless combinations of terminal tabs and/or Terminator splits and byobu. I might almost want to be a sysadmin. Here’s gedit:

(Bigger pic)

This is real useful when I’m working on something, I need my desktop to be out of the way. Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done in this area, but it’s coming together, stay tuned for a Unity progress report later today. 

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Filing and fixing your own bitesize bugs = recommended and encouraged!

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It’s time for another Unity bitesize bug report. First off let’s welcome another new contributor:

Stefano Candori, aka Cando. He’s worked on other projects, like the GNOME Activity Journal, Emesene and Emesene 2.

Cando has fixed: 

Bug 683466 - There are 2 Quit menu options in Quicklist

Which was the annoying thing where applications that generated menus like Tomboy had had two two Quit Quit entries entries. See? I told you it was annoying. He’s currently checking out adding quick lists to the Trash Can. Unless of course you are from England, in which case the correct term is Rubbish Bin.

Here’s the interesting ones for the week. Feel free to grab any of these bugs and start hacking.

Here’s the full list.

Other Unity News

Reports are coming in about double window widgets and titles, don’t worry, it’s just a transition while we debug the widgets in the top panel (this is mostly fixed in trunk, expect a proper fix end of this week):

This week also includes fixes from Neil Patel and Jason Smith, with some other fixes from Michael Terry (a unity icon and a category in ccsm), along with the return of launcher drag and drop of icons. (Check out the picture)

The team would also like to send a thanks to Omar Akram and Hernando Torque for their ever vigilant bug work and testing.

Jason Smith ran a Unity Ask Me Anything on reddit if you’re interested in some of the gory details of what it’s like to work on Unity. You can also find more information on Unity from the developers by following the Unity tag on Ask Ubuntu.

Getting Involved

Instructions for getting started are available here.

For more information check out the wiki: page:

If you have any questions feel free to pop by on #ayatana on Freenode.

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Another week, another set of bitesize bugs! But first off we’d like to welcome Matthew Rasmus to the growing list of new Unity Contributors. Matthew has been working on Bug 686182: “Unity launchers run multiple copies of program if clicked multiple times before the program loads”

I’ve been wanting to contribute to Ubuntu in some way ever since I started using it a year and a half ago, and I finally decided to start doing something about that with Unity. I’m a full time college student working on my major in computer science, and in my spare time I find myself playing playing guitar, or piano, or video games. 

This week also sees Jamal Fanaian returning for a nice autohide fix. Here’s some goodies for this week:

Here’s the full list.

Getting Involved: Instructions for getting started are available here 

For more information check out the wiki: page:

If you have any questions feel free to pop by on #ayatana on Freenode.

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Chris Coulson has been working on adding Application Menu support to Firefox for 11.04. Here’s the initial cut:

The reason you still see the old menu inside the window is that for testing developers will have both running so they can compare them side to side.

You can find the code to the extension here:

Hackers and testers are welcome, but please remember that this is very young, so don’t expect ponies and unicorns. 

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Jason Smith sends this along:

So there was a seemingly simple bugthe launcher would autohide when the quicklist was open.This was due to the fact that the launcher was entirely unaware of when a quicklist was open.

So I layed out a design to follow in the bug reportessentially I left a stubbed class that someone could implement.

As it ends up Jamal Fanaian has returned for his 2nd straight day of Unity contributions. Jason continues:

The class he created tracks the state of all quicklists in the launcher, then informs the launcher when they show/hide/change. He then made the launcher consume this information and avoid hiding when one was showing. Oh, and he cleaned up a bunch of code while he was doing it, just for giggles.

Not a bad start!

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Just in case people aren’t aware here’s the coding style guide, freshly updated with C++ bits.

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Now that Alpha 1 is out the door the different bits are starting to come together. We’ve got the compiz-based Unity in people’s hands, now it’s time to start the feature work and testing.

The Desktop Experience team is building the base; but there are plenty of other parts that need to be done. Keep in mind that these parts are just as important and a critical piece of the entire user experience.

(Scott Mitchell)

When you pick up a Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass everything is as It Should Be(tm). The attention to detail is evident in every part of the bass. No one wants a cool looking instrument that sounds like slop, and no one wants an instrument that sounds amazing but can’t stay in tune. The person who does the seemingly unimportant part of polishing the neck takes their job as seriously as the person choosing the wood, or the person wiring the pickups. When you add all that up you get something magical. So what does this have to do with Ubuntu?

For developers we’re kicking off a Bitesize Bug campaign. Over the next few months we will be specifically finding small, easy to digest bugs that are just as important to the experience as the person doing the plumbing. This list will continue to grow and will contain not only fixes, but feature work as well, now’s the time to get involved if you want to get involved. Here’s a sample of some of the type of bugs we’re looking at:

So how can people fix these?

  1. Run Natty. You can either do this by running Alpha 1 on your bare metal or creating a USB key for this purpose. I’ve added documentation to that page so you can install a development environment on it so you can hack on code and keep the entire updated Unity environment on the key itself.
  2. Pick a bug from the list.
  3. Follow these instructions.
  4. Your work will be reviewed by someone on the DX team, after they review your code they will instruction you on what to do next.
  5. Celebrate!
  6. Go to step 1.

Expect regular weekly progress reports from me on the rock star craftspeople working on these bugs. The list of bugs will continually be updated, and now that Alpha 1 is out the door expect a nice steady stream of bitesize bugs that people can contribute fixes to.

Need help? Find us on #ayatana on Freenode, or the ayatana-dev mailing list.

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Thanks to the hard work of Brian Murray we now have a section for Unity on

And here it is for the package level:

You’ll notice the “bitesize” section, more on this next week 

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Unity Status update

Neil Patel has posted a status update of how Unity is coming along; for those of you chomping at the bit for compiz-powered goodness.

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A big thanks to This Week in Linux for summarizing the questions we’ve received during our Unity Q+A at Ask Ubuntu.

Please keep them coming and we’ll add detail as the plans from UDS solidify. Here are the questions you’ve asked so far if you want to browse.

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Tonight I will concentrate on answering your questions about Unity on Ask Ubuntu. Questions will be answered based on the number of votes they receive and ones that I can answer.

Unity developers will be advising me best on how to answer your questions and we can continue to develop the answers based on feedback. If you’ve already asked then we’ll keep working on our answers to be better.

(Note: Ask Ubuntu is about asking questions and getting answers, so if you’re going to ask a question make sure you read the guidelines. Argumentative and offtopic questions will be moderated.)

(Please ask your questions here, I won’t be answering the comments).

UPDATE: I am at UDS and this seems to be the best way to get the information out there. I am physically sitting next to them. Ask away!

UPDATE2: We will of course come back and update the answers with more details as we have them, remember we’re at UDS and pretty busy so we’re trying our best.

UPDATE3: Here are all the questions being asked.

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