Some desktop updates for this cycle

Sebastien Bacher seb128 at
Tue Nov 5 19:06:46 UTC 2013

Hey everyone,

There has been quite some discussions happening, on 
lists/IRC/conferences, about LTS plans. Since not everything happening 
at the same place, it might be useful to have a status update... so here 
we go (the plan concerns mostly Ubuntu/Unity)

We most likely are going to:

* update glib to 2.40 (tracking 2.39 during the unstable cycle)

rational: we have active maintainers, upstream and downstream, and glib 
tends to be stable (good record, well tested)

* update webkit to the current version

rational: the new version is needed to unblock updates/other work, it's 
also going to be easier to maintain in the LTS. There is a 
software-center bug which was listed as blocker, but it seems we already 
have issue in the current, so we mgiht not stop on that one to be resolved

* GTK: the default option is to stay on 3.8, we are looking at updating 
to 3.10 though

rational: 3.8 is stable/tested. Updating to 3.10 would makes app 
developers happier (and we expect some of them to want to stay on the 
LTS for some time), and unblock some work for Ubuntu GNOME. It should 
also bring performance improvement to our unity menus.

We are still looking at updating the patches to have a build of the new 
version to test (that works is going to be useful, even if that's not 
this cycle). Then we expect to have some theming issues to resolve (as 
usual with recent GTK update). Once those are resolved we can give some 
testing to the new version and see what are the costs/benefits of the update

* GNOME 3.8: We are going to stay on the current saucy version (3.8) and 
fix bugs/stabilize it.

rational: the current version is solid and should work fine for a LTS. 
GNOME 3.10 is bringing quite some changes to the look of its 
applications, we feel like that we are better off mixing styles for the 
LTS. We also have limited resources, due to Ubuntu Touch work, so we 
feel like we can't do a proper job of bringing new version and dealing 
with the extra work that would require to stabilize things.

* gnome-settings-daemon/gnome-control-center

The new versions bring an increasing design shift and extra depends on 
gnome-shell. We plan to "fork" those 2 packages for Unity and stay on 
the current version there, doing that should unblock the GNOME 
remix/users who want to run the new versions (it should also means less 
patching/closer upstream experience for those users).

* New "GNOME style" apps

The new "GNOME style" (having no menubar/using GtkHeader/client side 
decoration) doesn't work well under non gnome-shell desktops. We only 
have a few of those so far and we plan to make them more integrated in 
Unity again.

We are going to add menubars back to e.g evince, gnome-calculator, 
nautilus, etc (the plan is to upstream those patches, and to make the 
menubar be displayed in a conditional way depending of the environement, 
that's what is done already in gedit).

We are looking also at a way to make the GtkHeader/client side style app 
work in a more consistent style with the other applications we are using 
(while they are great, they look different from any other app at the 
moment). The idea is mostly to turn on wm decorations again for those 
and to hide the close button from the bar. We still need to look more 
into details on how we can do that only out of gnome-shell sessions.

That's mostly it for this cycle I think, let us know if you have any 
question or comment

Sebastien Bacher

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