Ubuntu Desktop News - Second issue

Vincent Untz vuntz at ubuntu.com
Fri Feb 10 12:23:43 GMT 2006

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second issue of UDN, the Ubuntu
Desktop News. The previous issue was released more than six weeks ago,
but we're sure you remember that we wrote "UDN will be randomly issued
once in a while" :-)

Please note that there is no definitive format for UDN and that *you*
can change it and make it better. Like the Ubuntu Desktop. If you want
to contribute to UDN, just send a mail to the ubuntu-desktop mailing

In this issue:
 * "Good day"?
 * Here comes the desktop lover
 * Snappier multimedia experience
 * New interface to install packages
 * What's new in the Dapper desktop?
 * Light on... ekiga
 * Interview with a desktop hero
 * Love tasks for Desktop lovers
 * Desktop Team meetings
 * Hug days
 * About the Desktop Team

"Good day"?
One big event that happened in dapper is the promotion of avahi [1] to
the main repository. Since this doesn't sound exciting, let's look at
what it enables: share your bookmarks on the local network and browse
the ones of other users (works with epiphany), or do the same for your
music (works with rhythmbox), or talk with some people (works with
ekiga), or even discover the shared desktop on your network (works with
vino). Got the idea? Welcome to the zeroconf world: discover services on
your local networks and use them without any configuration!

[1] http://avahi.org/

Here comes the desktop lover
In the last issue of UDN, some love tasks were proposed to help people
start contributing to the Ubuntu Desktop. This is where the magic of the
Ubuntu love stepped in: Alain Perry contributed a patch to change the
default directory in the GTK+ file chooser (which was one of the love
tasks). But Alain didn't stop there: he continued and wrote a patch for
nautilus to make it use the Documents folder in the sidebar, so that it
is consistent with the patched GTK+. Wooohoooo: Alain is a desktop
lover and we love his contributions!

Snappier multimedia experience
Did you notice that there's no noticable delay any more when starting a
new song in rhythmbox? And that seeking in totem is now working better
than ever? GStreamer 0.10 [2] has landed in dapper and more and more
applications are now using it. While it still have some rough edges (DVD
support is not available yet, for example), it makes the multimedia
experience really smoother. Not all plugins are installed by default
since some of them cannot be in main for legal reasons, but more plugins
are available in the universe and multiverse repositories.

[2] http://gstreamer.freedesktop.org/

New interface to install packages
More and more packages are getting in Ubuntu. This is a great thing
since it gives more choise to the user. But it was getting difficult to
find the package you're looking for in gnome-app-install: lots of
packages generally means scalability issue in an interface. Sebastian
Heinlein and Michael Vogt worked on this and proposed a new interface
for gnome-app-install. After some comments and some small changes, this
new interface [3] is what is available in dapper now. Fast and good

[3] http://people.ubuntu.com/~mvo/gnome-app-install/new-look/gai--new-look.png

What's new in the Dapper desktop?
Are you wondering what's new in dapper? Well, as usual, there's a lot of
small (and not so small) new features and fixes. Here's a quick
highlight on some of them.

Since the last issue of UDN, three new GNOME versions have been
uploaded: 2.13.4, 2.13.5 and 2.13.90. It really shows how active our
lovely packagers are: dapper users could benefit from all the new GNOME
goodness right after the GNOME releases.

A small patch was added to evolution so that you can use bogofilter [4]
to detect spam in your mails, instead of spamassassin [5]. You really
don't have to live with spam, and you can choose how to live without
them now :-)

[4] http://www.bogofilter.org/
[5] http://spamassassin.apache.org/

To offer an even more integrated experience, people have been working on
a GNOME frontend for the X-Chat IRC client. It's called XChat-GNOME [6]
and has been rocking for some time. And it's now the default IRC client
in Ubuntu. You'll feel interface love when you'll try it.

[6] http://xchat-gnome.navi.cx/

New versions of the notification framework have come in, with
interesting UI experimentations for the notifications. There has been
the old look [7], a new bubble look [8], and another standard look with
a small close button [9]. But it might change again with the new version
that will be in dapper soon ;-)

[7] http://people.ubuntu.com/~mvo/notification-daemon/notify_unchanged_small.png
[8] http://people.ubuntu.com/~mvo/notification-daemon/bubble.png
[9] http://people.ubuntu.com/~mvo/notification-daemon/notify_right_top_small.png

The PenguinTV software [10] is now packaged. It's a new feed reader, but
it is a bit different from the other ones: it has been designed so that
podcasts and video blogs work really nicely in it.

[10] http://penguintv.sourceforge.net/

Note that the Dapper desktop also benefits from a lot of fixes and
updates made by the Debian developers. Many thanks to them!

Light on... ekiga
Ekiga [11] is the new version of GnomeMeeting, with a new name, but also
lots of new features and enhancements. Ekiga is a Voice Over IP
software, and also features video calls. It uses standard protocols (SIP
and H.323), which are enabling users to choose the software they use to
communicate. The ekiga community also launched ekiga.net, a service that
enables users to have a public SIP address so they can easily be
reached. But ekiga can also connects to any SIP account, making it
possible to have call-in and call-out with an external service provider.
NAT traversal is of course included to make it easy for all users to use
VoIP. You don't have to use ekiga to have VoIP, but it just works, so
try it. And free your speech!

Ekiga features:

 * audio and video calls (SIP and H.323 protocols)
 * zeroconf support (find people to talk with on the local network)
 * call-in (with an external provider)
 * call-out (with an external provider)

[11] http://www.ekiga.org/

Interview with a desktop hero
Daniel Holbach is working in various areas on Ubuntu: if you find a team
where he's not participating, then this is nearly a bug (no, don't
report it in malone): he's everywhere. But he is probably best known
through all the love coming from this german Ubuntero. Let's talk a bit
with the man behind the legent, most famous for his dogwalks.

UDN: One of the photos I've seen of you is you with a flower. We could
say that you're the incarnation of the Ubuntu love. What's the Ubuntu
love for you?

Daniel Holbach: Thanks for that assessment. :-)
Ubuntu Love is the feeling that you get as soon as you enter the Ubuntu
world. Your input and ideas are appreciated, you become a valued member
of the team and feel hugged by life. I often felt the blazing energy
when I talked people who just got involved and started to make things
just work. Ubuntu Love is the kind of atmosphere that we should keep as
the most precious aspect of our community.

UDN: Did you ever do the famous Ubuntu circle with some people? If yes,
is there a photo available?

DH: I shall get one from the London sprint. ;-)

UDN: It's kind of hard to believe, but you seem to be involved in a lot
of teams in Ubuntu: MOTU, Desktop, Accessibility, and probably some
other that you'll list for us. What's your favorite team and how do you
manage to handle all the tasks?

DH: You forgot the Bug Squashers team!

To be honest, I can't really say which team I like best. Every team has
its special "history", one longer, one shorter than the other. It's
great I can get to know so many people and work together with them.

UDN: Can you tell all our readers who is Murphy and why Murphy is

DH: Murphy is my seven year old dog [12], a Tibetan Terrier (for our
readers interested in the canine world) who even after such a long time
manages to make me laugh with silly ideas she gets. (Dropping walnuts
under my office chair, so I'd roll back and crush them for her, hump my
leg whenever I arrive at a place with many people, I know...) The
dogwalking breaks I take keep me sane, although pitti suspects me to
work for a secret service during that time.

[12] http://murphy.gplan.info/galleries/Murphy/tn_18.JPG

UDN: I think you start working on Ubuntu as a MOTU, am I right? How did
you progress from a simple user, to a MOTU and then to a
I'm-touching-everything-except-the-kernel guy?

DH: That's a good question. I started off as a Debian- and GNOME-User,
filed (silly) bug reports, asked questions, started my own project for
university and always pondered getting involved in projects like in
Debian. Michael Vogt then invited me to test Ubuntu, I got to know some
people and was amazed by the Ubuntu Love spirit. The possibility to just
DOIT! - to help out with whatever you're good at or what interests you
was the opportunity I finally jumped at and I was hugged for life: I met
great people, I learnt a great deal and those people even value my work.

UDN: I've heard you're having some... hrm, how can I say it...
"interesting" discussions with Michael (Vogt) on phone. I also overheard
you saying to Michael that you're not the one who likes to be kicked...
What is the exact relation between Michael and you? :-)

DH: Erm *mutter* ripped out of context *cough*.

Michael is a great friend of mine - I'm very grateful for having had the
opportunity to get to know him - he's considerate and helpful. When I'm
thinking about something and don't manage to see the answer, he usually
thinks in a different way, which often contains the enlightening bit,
that helped.

About our phoning habits: we always phone while one of us is either
washing the dishes, walking the dog or does other stuff.

UDN: What would you like to see improved in the near future of Ubuntu
and of the Ubuntu community? What would you like to never change?

DH: I think I answered part of this already. What I'd love to see is a
more energetic and funny Bug Team. Some people like Phil Bull started
off doing bug triage and it's incredible to see this all happen. I
personally wished we'd be more and I'm sure, once we're getting bigger,
we'll be the team with the highest fun factor. :-)

UDN: Ton apprentissage du Français progresse-t-il bien ? Que penses-tu
de faire du Français la langue officielle d'Ubuntu ?

DH: Non, ça ne progresserait pas du tout (toujours Harry Potter 4). Je
suis capable de lire et comprendre des choses faciles, mais former
sentences françaises demandes beaucoup de ma temps toujours. :-)

Je suis membre de la conspiration française. Bien sûr nous voulons une
langue officielle d'Ubuntu!

UDN: Tell us a bit about Berlin, where you live. (Or correct me if I'm
wrong :-))

DH: Berlin rocks. It is very diverse, there's a constant rustle and
bustle, and even so, you can always find the spot that fits your mood
best. The situations I experienced in the city reassured me that my gut
feeling was right: even if people sometimes sound a bit harsh in the
beginning, its their openmindedness which attracted me and makes things
of a different sort happen.

UDN: Thanks Daniel! We're waiting for the photo at the London sprint!

Since the London sprint is now over, we can wonder if Daniel made such
a photo ;-)

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.

This is a good first step to join the Desktop Team: try to complete them
and contribute to Ubuntu! If you have some difficulties, just ask:
everyone in the Desktop Team will be happy to help you. If you're
interested in completing them, just send a mail to the ubuntu-desktop
mailing list!

There are several interesting programs for the desktop that needs to be
packaged. We've selected three of them as love tasks:

 * GShow TV [13]
 * Gnomolicious [14]
 * gnome-translate [15]

[13] http://staff.akumiitti.fi/~pvakevai/gshowtv/
[14] http://www.nongnu.org/gnomolicious/
[15] http://www.nongnu.org/libtranslate/gnome-translate/

Desktop Team meetings
The latest Desktop Team meeting took place on December 16th. Daniel sent
the minutes [16]. There was some technical discussion (we want a new
dbus, we'll have GStreamer 0.10, etc.), but other themes were discussed,
such as getting more documentation for for the team to help people, but
also to move more discussion to the ubuntu-desktop mailing list (this
worked well :-)). Bugs were another topic of the meeting since there are
a lots of them and the team looks for the best ways to control the
number of open bugs.

The next meeting is not scheduled yet, but it will be held in
#ubuntu-meeting, as usual. An announce will be sent to the
ubuntu-desktop mailing list so that everybody interested in the meeting
can attend.

[16] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-desktop/2005-December/000118.html

Hug days
Every day is a hug day in the Ubuntu world. 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 [17]. 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 Friday February 17th, in

[17] 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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