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Michael Catanzaro: Product review: WASD V2 Keyboard

Planet GNOME - Pre, 01/12/2017 - 10:54md

A new blog on Planet GNOME often means an old necropost for us residents of the future to admire.

I, too, bought a custom keyboard from WASD. It is quite nice to be able to customize the printing using an SVG file. Yes, my keyboard has GNOME feet on the super keys, and a Dvorak layout, and, oh yes, Cantarell font. Yes, Cantarell was silly, and yes, it means bad kerning, but it is kind of cool to know I’m probably the only person on the planet to have a Cantarell keyboard.

It was nice for a little under one year. Then I noticed that the UV printing on some of the keys was beginning to wear off. WASD lets you purchase individual keycaps at a reasonable price, and I availed myself of that option for a couple keys that needed it, and then a couple more. But now some of the replacement keycaps need to be replaced, and I’ve owned the keyboard for just over a year and a half. It only makes sense to purchase a product this expensive if it’s going to last.

I discovered that MAX Keyboard offers custom keyboard printing using SVG files, and their keycaps are compatible with WASD. I guess it’s a clone of WASD’s service, because I’ve never heard of MAX before, but I don’t actually know which came first. Anyway, you can buy just the keycaps without the keyboard, for a reasonable price. But they apparently use a UV printing process, which is what WASD does, so I have no clue if MAX will hold up any better or not. I decided not to purchase it. (At least, not now. Who knows what silly things I might do in the future.) Instead, I purchased a blank PBT keycap set from them. It arrived yesterday, and it seems nice. It’s a slightly different shade of black than WASD’s keycaps, but that’s OK. Hopefully these will hold up better, and I won’t need to replace the entire keyboard. And hopefully I don’t find I need to look at the keys to find special characters or irregularly-used functions like PrintScreen and media keys. We’ll see.

Daniel Pocock: Hacking with posters and stickers

Planet Ubuntu - Pre, 01/12/2017 - 9:27md

The hackerspace in Lausanne, Switzerland has started this weekend's VR Hackathon with a somewhat low-tech 2D hack: using the FSFE's Public Money Public Code stickers in lieu of sticky tape to place the NO CLOUD poster behind the bar.

Get your free stickers and posters

FSFE can send you these posters and stickers too.

Hacking with posters and stickers

Planet Debian - Pre, 01/12/2017 - 9:27md

The hackerspace in Lausanne, Switzerland has started this weekend's VR Hackathon with a somewhat low-tech 2D hack: using the FSFE's Public Money Public Code stickers in lieu of sticky tape to place the NO CLOUD poster behind the bar.

Get your free stickers and posters

FSFE can send you these posters and stickers too.

Daniel.Pocock - debian

Debian LTS work, November 2017

Planet Debian - Pre, 01/12/2017 - 6:54md

I was assigned 13 hours of work by Freexian's Debian LTS initiative and carried over 4 hours from September. I worked all 17 hours.

I prepared and released two updates on the Linux 3.2 longterm stable branch (3.2.95, 3.2.96), but I didn't upload an update to Debian. However, I have rebased the Debian package on 3.2.96 and expect to make a new upload soon.

Ben Hutchings Better living through software

Mini-DebConf Cambridge 2017

Planet Debian - Pre, 01/12/2017 - 6:51md

Last week I attended Cambridge's annual mini-DebConf. It's slightly strange to visit a place one has lived in for a long time but which is no longer home. I joined Nattie in the 'video team house' which was rented for the whole week; I only went for four days.

I travelled down on Wednesday night, and spent a long time (rather longer than planned) on trains and in waiting rooms. I used this time to catch up on discussions about signing infrastructure for Secure Boot, explaining my concerns with the most recent proposal and proposing some changes that might alleviate those. Sorry to everyone who was waiting for that; I should have replied earlier.

On the Thursday and Friday I prepared for my talk, and had some conversations with Steve McIntyre and others about SB signing infrastructure. Nattie and Andy respectively organised group dinners at the Polish club on Thursday and a curry house on Friday, both of which I enjoyed.

The mini-DebConf proper took place on the Saturday and Sunday, and I presented my now annual talk on "What's new in the Linux kernel". As usual, the video team did a fine job of recording and publishing video of the talks.

Ben Hutchings Better living through software

I was trying to get selenium up and running.

Planet Debian - Pre, 01/12/2017 - 6:20md
I was trying to get selenium up and running. I wanted to try chrome headless and one that seemed to be usable seemed to be selenium but that didn't just work out of the box on Debian apt-get installed binary. hmm.

Junichi Uekawa Dancer's daily hackings

Hans Petter Jansson: GNOME and Rust

Planet GNOME - Pre, 01/12/2017 - 11:52pd

I’ve been keeping an eye on Rust for a while now, so when I read Alberto’s statement of support for more Rust use in GNOME, I couldn’t resist piling on…

From the perspective of someone who’s quite used to C, it does indeed seem to tick all the boxes. High performance, suitability for low-level tasks and C ABI compatibility tend to be sticking points with new languages — and Rust kills it in those departments. Anyone who needs further convincing should read up on Raph Levien’s font renderer. The usual caveat about details vis-a-vis the Devil applies, but the general idea looks exactly right. Rust’s expressiveness and lack of baggage means it could even outperform C for non-trivial code, on top of all the other advantages.

There are risks too, of course. I’d worry about adoption, growth and the availability of bindings/libraries/other features, like a good optional GC for high-level apps (there is at least one in the works, but it doesn’t seem to be quite ready for prime-time yet). Rust is on an upwards trajectory, and there doesn’t seem to be many tasks where it’s eminently unsuitable, so in theory, it could have a wide reach: operating systems, platform libraries, both client- and server-side applications, games and so on. However, it doesn’t appear to be the de facto language in many contexts yet. Consider the statement “If I learn language X, I will then be able to work on Y.” Substitute for X: Java, Javascript, Python, ObjC, C, C++, C# or even Visual Basic — and Y becomes obvious. How does Rust fare?

That is, of course, a very conservative argument, while in my mind the GNOME project represents, for better or worse, and C use notwithstanding, a more radical F/OSS philosophy. Its founding was essentially formulated as a revolt against the Qt license (and a limited choice of programming languages!), it was an early adopter of Git for version control, and it’s a driver for Wayland and Flatpak now. For what it’s worth, speaking as mostly a downstream integrator, I wouldn’t mind it if GNOME embraced its DNA yet again and fully opened the door to Rust.

Hans Petter Jansson: New toy

Planet GNOME - Pre, 01/12/2017 - 11:52pd

I got a new toy. It’s a WASD keyboard with Cherry MX Clear switches. The picture doesn’t do it justice; maybe I should’ve gotten a new camera instead… I guess it’ll have to wait.

Mechanical-switch keyboards are pricey, but since I spend more than 2000 hours a year in front of a keyboard, it’s not a bad investment. Or so I’m telling myself. Anyway, it’s a big step up from the rubber dome one I’ve been using for the past couple of years. The key travel is longer, and it’s nice to have proper tactile feedback. Since the Clear switches have stiff springs, I can also rest my fingers on the keys when daydreamingthinking. It has anti-slip pads underneath, so it stays put, and it doesn’t bounce or rattle at all.

Until our last move, I clung to an older, clicky keyboard (I don’t remember which brand — I thought it was Key Tronic, but I’ve a hard time finding any clicky keyboards of theirs at the moment), worried that the future held rubber dome and chiclets only — but today, there are lots of options if you look around. I guess we have mostly gamers and aficionados to thank for that. So thank you, gamers and aficionados.

I did plenty of research beforehand, but WASD finally drew me in with this little detail: They have some very well thought-out editable layout templates for SodipodiInkscape. Good taste in software there.

Daniel Espinosa: Large number of XML Nodes and GXml performance

Planet GNOME - Enj, 30/11/2017 - 2:09pd

GXml performance has been improved since initial releases.

First implementation parse all to libxml2 tree and then to a GObject set of classes, in order to provide GObject Serialization framework.

Over time GXmlGom was added as a set of classes avoiding to use libxml2 tree improving both memory and performance on Serialization.

GXml has been used in many applications like parse Electrical Substation Configuration Language files by; to Mexican Tax Authority XML invoices format, among others.

QRSVG Performance

For my private projects, I need to create QR of size 61×61 = 3721 squares. This means at least 2700 XML nodes. This is a large number of nodes and because QRSVG depends on GSVG and it depends on GXml, all them depend on GXml’s implementation for performance.

Initial measurements suggest that, at no surprise, using a simple array of objects takes up to 0.5 seconds to add just a node, as maximum time measured.

So GXml’s implementation should be improved for large number of nodes. Now it uses Gee.ArrayList, is clean and easy to wrap a node list implementing W3C DOM4 API. But now I’m considering to use Gee.TreeMap, because it is designed for large collection of objects, from its documentation:

This implementation is especially well designed for large quantity of data. The (balanced) tree implementation insure that the set and get methods are in logarithmic complexity.

The problem is its Map interface, where I need to implement a Gee.BidirList interface over it, in order to ensure fit in W3C DOM4 API and get performance boost.

Lets see how evolves this. Any suggestion?

Ismael Olea: So we are working in new conferences for 2018

Planet GNOME - Mër, 29/11/2017 - 4:37md

Well, now we can say here (Almería, Spain) we know something about how to do technical conferences and meetings, specially opensource/freesoftware ones. In 2016 and 2017 we co-organized:

And we are really grateful to those people and communities who trusted us to be their host for some days. The reunited experience aimed us to new challenges. So here I just want to share in which conferences I’m currently involved for 2018:

  • SuperSEC 2018, a national (Spain) conference on secure software development, in the orbit of OWASP, to be held in next May. And we are almost ready to open the CFP!

  • GUADEC 2018, the European conference for the GNOME et al. community, from 6 to 11th of July.

But we want mooar, so we are currently biding to host Flock 2018, the annual meeting for the Fedora Project community

Our goal is to host both sister conferences one just after the other, so a lot of people could attend both saving good money.

So, if you are a contributor of any of those communities or just an opensource enthusiast consider this extraordinaire opportunity to match your summer holidays in a nice place for tourism and the July 2018 opensource world meeting point!

Wish us luck :-)

PD: Just updated the definitive dates for GUADEC 2018.

Jiri Eischmann: Fedora Media Writer Available in Flathub

Planet GNOME - Mër, 29/11/2017 - 1:54md

Fedora Media Writer is the tool to create live USB flash drives with Fedora. You can also use dd or GNOME Disks, but Fedora Media Writer is the only graphical tool that is tested with Fedora ISOs (please don’t use UNetbootin and such because they really cause faulty Fedora installations).

Fedora Media Writer is available as an RPM package in Fedora repositories and we provide installation files for Windows and macOS. Those are actually offered to users with Windows and macOS as the default download options at We’ve provided users of other Linux distributions with a flatpak, but it was hosted in its own repo. Recently we managed to get the flatpak to Flathub which many users have already enabled, so now it’s even easier and faster to install.

Pranav Kant: Dialog Tunnelling

Planet GNOME - Mër, 29/11/2017 - 9:53pd

So I’m finally resurrecting this blog to life after a long time.

I’m simply going to talk about what I’ve been currently working on in Collabora Online or LibreOffice Online, as part of my job at Collabora.

In our quest to bring more features available to our users editing documents in the browser, we are attacking something that contains the majority of the features in LibreOffice – the dialogs. One of the complaints that power users make in Online is that it lacks advanced features: they cannot add coloured borders in their paragraphs, manage tracked changes/comments, correct the spelling and grammar in the document, etc. The question before us is how do we bring these functionalities to the cloud at your disposal in your browser tab?

We really don’t want to write another million lines of code in Javascript to make them available in your browser and then dealing with separate set of bugs for time to come.

So we decided to come up with a plan to just tunnel all the hard work that developers have done for the past couple of decades: come up with appropriate infrastructure to open the dialog in headless mode, paint them as a bitmap in the backend, and tunnel then image to you in the browser. And then add life to them by tunnelling your mouse/key events as well which will invalidate and update the new image you are seeing the browser. Don’t worry; we are not sending the whole dialog image back to your browser every time. Only the part that needs updating in the dialog is sent back to the browser saving us precious time and network bandwidth improving your UX.

The current state of the project looks really promising. Not just the modeless dialogs, we are able to tunnel the modal ones as well which is not something we had expected earlier.

Since text is boring, here’s a preview that shows dialog tunnelling in action in our test tools, GtkTiledViewer. The integration with Online is ready too and undergoing some final polishing. But it’s not something you’d have to wait for too long; we are polishing a big refactor to LibreOffice core master to install the dialog infrastructure needed for integration. Now you will be able to do pretty much all the things in Online (and in CODE version 3.0 soon to be released) that you’ve always wanted to do.

Here are the slides from the talk I delivered on the same topic in our annual LibreOffice Conference in Rome this year.


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