Ubuntu Desktop News - First issue!

Vincent Untz vuntz at ubuntu.com
Thu Dec 15 17:30:21 GMT 2005

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first issue of UDN, the Ubuntu
Desktop News. UDN will be randomly issued once in a while, but if
everything goes well, there should be a new issue every two weeks.

Please note that there is no definitive format for UDN and that *you*
can change it and make it better. Like the Ubuntu Desktop.

In this issue:
 * GConf should be faster than ever
 * Simplified menu for the user
 * How to install a .deb file? Double-click on it!
 * All your translations are belong to us
 * New logout dialog
 * What's new in the Dapper desktop?
 * Light on... rhythmbox
 * Interview with a desktop hero
 * Love tasks for Desktop lovers
 * Desktop Team meetings
 * Hug days
 * About the Desktop Team

GConf should be faster than ever
In an amazing development, Sébastien uploaded a new GConf with merged
directories [1]. We could explain what it is, what this changes, why it
is great and why you always wanted it, but no, technical details would
be boring, wouldn't they? Okay, there would also be some errors in what
we would say since we didn't have time to look at it in details ;-) But
what is important is that this should improve performance quite a bit,
especially login time. Don't you see how the Desktop Team loves you? :-)


Simplified menu for the user
Following the Ubuntu Below Zero conference, decisions were made to try
to make the menus even more easier to use for the users. Martin, Michael
et Sébastien worked on hiding the administration tools for users who can
not use them (and also hiding update-notifier for these users) [2].
Moreover Sébastien and other packagers identified all the menu items
that are most often not used from the menus and hide them by default
[3]. Those items can of course be shown with the menu editor.

[2] https://wiki.ubuntu.com/HideAdminToolsToUsers
[3] https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MenusRevisited

How to install a .deb file? Double-click on it!
You just downloaded a .deb file from the net and you wish to install it.
How do you do this? Just double-click on it! With gdebi [4], you can do
it without thinking about all the dependencies: everything will just
works, as shown in this screenshot [5]. After 4 minutes of thinking, its
author, Michael, told us "gdebi will change the way your computer work".

[4] http://packages.ubuntu.com/dapper/admin/gdebi
[5] http://people.ubuntu.com/~mvo/gdebi/gdebi-3.png

All your translations are belong to us
Martin and Zygmunt have made the changes required to have the
translations of .desktop files (the files used to describe the menus
items) in the language packs [6]. This change enables the translators to
update the translations of those files in Rosetta, and it will make
update of the translations easier.

[6] https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LangpacksDesktopfiles

New logout dialog
Manu has started working on a new logout dialog [7]. This dialog will
be prettier than anything that exists in the universe. Okay, maybe not
that pretty, but you get the idea. It will enable the user to log out,
switch user, restart/sleep/hibernate/shut down the computer with a
single click. A "wow, it looks so cool" screenshot is available [8].

[8] http://www.manucornet.net/GNOME/logout_dialog/Capture.png

What's new in the Dapper desktop?
With the GNOME 2.13.3 upload, a lot of cool new stuff has landed in

Maybe one of the most promising feature is the search integration in
nautilus: just hit Ctrl+F in a nautilus window and feel the love of the
nautilus maintainers. You can learn more about this in a blog entry from
Alex Larsson [9].

Some other cool features from GNOME 2.13.3 include: a new Gedit codebase
that enables you to easily edit remote files, some tab reordering love
in gnome-terminal (for all the terminal freaks ;-)) and a lot of
performance work (look at the new version of pango!) which should make
your desktop feel lighter!

GStreamer 0.10 was released at the beginning of December [10] and we
couldn't resist: it's already available in Dapper [11], so you can
already start to play with it. More and more applications will use it in
the near future!

A great new packages is nautilus-actions [12]: it makes it possible to
easily launch programs on selected files in nautilus. Try it and you'll
love it.

And if you felt that it was difficult to send files with bluetooth, just
try the latest version of nautilus-sendto [13] which now features
bluetooth file transfer.

[9] http://blogs.gnome.org/view/alexl/2005/12/07/0
[10] http://gstreamer.freedesktop.org/documentation/gstreamer010.html
[11] http://packages.ubuntu.com/dapper/source/gstreamer0.10
[12] http://packages.ubuntu.com/dapper/gnome/nautilus-actions
[13] http://packages.ubuntu.com/dapper/gnome/nautilus-sendto

Light on... rhythmbox
Rhythmbox is a music player for GNOME. It enables you to organize and
listen to all your music with a nice and easy-to-use interface. The
development is very active again, and in the latest releases, we can
find some interesting features:

 * podcast support
 * audio cd support
 * ipod support
 * DAAP support (unavailable for now in Dapper, but it will be soon!):
   this enables you to share your music on the network
 * support to burn CD
 * tag editing for some formats
 * and of course, a lot of bug fixes

You can test it by installing the rhythmbox package [14].

[14] http://packages.ubuntu.com/dapper/gnome/rhythmbox

Interview with a desktop hero
Sébastien Bacher is probably best known in Ubuntu as the crazy guy who
can package all the GNOME modules faster than you can read this
sentence. He helped (and still helps) package GNOME for Debian before
joining Ubuntu and doing some heroic facts that are still frightening
children, like packaging GNOME 2.8.0 in less than two days for the first
public preview of Ubuntu. Let's talk a bit with this french guy.

UDN: When we look at your work, we sometimes wonder how you can do all
this. What do you eat every morning?

Sébastien Bacher: Depending of the day, but some coffee to wake up for
sure! Usually bread/butter/jam or some biscuits when I'm lazy :)

UDN: More seriously, can you sum up a bit your Ubuntu activities?

SB: Some people call me "sebuild", I'm kind of a "serial updater" :).
Joke aside my main job is to update GNOME packages every time upstream
roll a new tarball and to handle bugs we get about the GNOME packages
(most of the desktop stuff). Daniel (dholbach) is working on this with
me now for some months. I also do some bug fixing and coding when I'm
uptodate with my packages and not lagging too much on bugzilla.

UDN: Some of us know that you're a supporter of the FC Metz (a french
football team). Why such non-sense? I mean, why do you support a team
that can't win? :-)

SB: What kind of statement is that? They did win a match 2-0 this
year :p

UDN: You're still working on Debian. Does it need much organization to
do Ubuntu and Debian work? Or is it some synchronization work most of
the time?

SB: The issue is not really the organization but to work on 2 differents
things when you can run only one at time. I tend to try pushing the
fixes upstream rather because that's where it makes sense, the work
between distro is mainly synchronization right.

UDN: You didn't take a standard flight to go to Ubuntu Below Zero: you
took Canonical One. What was it like to fly in Mark's jet?

SB: It was really a great experience! You should give it a try if you
have the opportunity one day ;)

UDN: How do you think the Ubuntu community *should* be? Are there
things that you'd like to see improved? Or things that you'd like to
stay the same?

SB: I'm probably not the best person to ask that, I tend to be quite
busy and I don't really look at users chans/forums/list. I've read a lot
of good comments about it though, and I'm quite impressed by how active
Ubuntu-fr people are (list, forum, website, wiki, translations on
rosetta, events, associations, ...) and the number of people visiting
the site, subscribed to the list or the translation team.

The user community is great but I would not be against having some new
contributors for the distributions tasks (out of the translations), the
desktop team by example. Having a strong group of people to do
advertising, marketing stuff etc for events would be nice too.

UDN: Is brown your favourite color?

SB: No. (I use the standard clearlooks and not the ubuntu theme)

UDN: What do you plan to do in the near future in the Ubuntu Desktop?

SB: You can read the plans for dapper on the wiki, especially
DapperDesktopPlan. Basically some polish on the current desktop, not
revolutionary changes since dapper aims be rocking stable :)

UDN: Tell us a bit about the Moselle, where you live.

SB: What to say. To start, no it's not in Germany even if that seems to
be a popular joke in you area :) The weather is classic continental, you
can argue it that's nice or not but I like it ... and we have a great
football team around with the FcMetz, you can't have everything, can
you? :)

UDN: Thanks a lot, Sébastien. Keep up the good work!

Love tasks for Desktop lovers
Love tasks are some things that we'd like to see in the Ubuntu Desktop.
Some of the tasks might be hard to implement, other might be easy. Try
to complete them and if you have some difficulties, just ask: everyone
in the Desktop Team will be happy to help you.

For this first issue, we selected one code task and two packaging tasks
to implement. This is a good first step to join the Desktop Team! If
you're interested in completing them, just send a mail to
ubuntu-desktop at ubuntu.com

1. gtk fileselector should default to "Documents"
 => The behaviour has change with GTK 2.8.7, 001_fs_documents.patch
    needs to be updated.

2. package GShow TV
 => http://staff.akumiitti.fi/~pvakevai/gshowtv/

3. package Gnomolicious
 => http://www.nongnu.org/gnomolicious/

Desktop Team meetings
The first Desktop Team meeting took place on November 25th. Daniel sent
some notes about it [15]. The main conclusion was that the team needed
more organisation, more publicity and more information on what we do and
how it is done. Guess what? One of the goal of UDN is to help with this

The next meeting will be held on Friday December 16th at 16:00 UTC, in


Hug days
Every day is a hug day. But there are special hug days that are also bug
days. Some people also say that every day is a bug day. And then,
logically, every day is a hug day and a bug day. Well. That's true. But
there are some special days. Okay, maybe this wasn't clear? :-) Let's
start again with a real introduction.

Hug days are the Ubuntu bug days [16]. We're not sure yet if people
outside the Desktop Team refer to them as hug days too. Anyway, if you
have some free time, you can make a difference by triaging some bugs.
It's not hard and everyone with a browser can do it. And guess what:
you'll be able to meet a lot of Desktop Team people there. It's really a
good way to contribute.

The next hug day will happen on Wednesday December 21st, in

[16] http://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuBugDay

About the Desktop Team
For more information about the Desktop Team, see:

Everyone is of course welcome to join the team:

If you want to send some great news for the next issue of UDN, please
send a mail to the ubuntu-desktop mailing list:


Les gens heureux ne sont pas pressés.

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