Feature Freeze approaching

Cody A.W. Somerville cody-somerville at ubuntu.com
Wed Aug 26 03:51:33 UTC 2009


On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 9:25 AM, Steve Dodier <sidnioulz at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello folks,
> Feature freeze is going to occur in 11 days from now, which leaves little
> time to take decisions about the applications and features we want in
> Xubuntu Karmic. Several specs have been written, about default applications,
> but unfortunately two of them have not been followed by any action/decision
> so far (image viewer / mail client).

Feature Freeze is fast approaching, this is true. Luckily, this freeze is
not as "solid" as it is for say Ubuntu because of our smaller contributor
base. One of the main benefits of the freeze is to help start locking down
and ensuring proper coordination between developers to ensure a consistent
and well thought out release. Our smaller contributor base allows us to do
this much easier allowing us to make larger, well thought out exceptions to
the freeze that would be difficult to do in the scale Ubuntu operates. As
per an earlier e-mail to this list today, both Lionel and myself have the
ability to approve freeze exceptions.

This being said, please do not get the impression that we're not heading
into feature freeze - as we most certainly are. So kudos to Steve for taking
the time to write this e-mail to get the ball rolling in time.


> *Default Image Viewer*
> https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Xubuntu/Specifications/Karmic/DefaultImageViewer
> As we know, Stephan (developer of Ristretto) is re-designing Ristretto's
> features prior to writing it's next release, so we can consider the current
> upstream release as the final one for Karmic (unless we spot critical bugs /
> unwanted behaviour and take upon ourselves to write a patch for it). Maybe
> Stephan can tell us more about what is expected for Ristretto in the
> following weeks. Ristretto is slightly heavier than Gpicvieww, but it does
> have more features, and if we change, we can also bring a bigger userbase to
> Ristretto, thus helping finding (and fixing) bugs. On a purely distro point
> of view, this would allow us to provide our users with a more stable and
> feature rich image viewer for our next LTS.

In my opinion, Ristretto has come a long way and Stephan, the maintainer,
has proven to be hugely responsive. Since there is little risk to switching
back to our current image viewer if ristretto doesn't work out, I'd be happy
to switch to ristretto if we're going to be using the version he was
demonstrating at UDS to help get it some wider testing and to help determine
if its suitable to include in the release. If the version he was
demonstrating at UDS won't be available in time for Karmic, I'd strongly
recommend sticking with gpicview as the new 0.2 release seems to address a
number of the usability issues found in 0.1

> *Default Mail Client*
> https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Xubuntu/Specifications/Karmic/DefaultMailClient
> I'm not using mail clients at all, so I don't have an opinion about this,
> but it would be good to make a choice about the mail client. All I can say
> is that I don't think we will be able to do anything else than providing
> these applications "as-is" for this release. I'm not even confident about
> possible libindicate support, since the upstream libindicate developers
> still didn't separate libindicate from indicator-applet (which depends on
> GNOME). This also means we probably won't be able to get
> indicator-applet-xfce in Karmic. The next release being an LTS, I think
> Karmic could be a release of choice for introducing such changes and for
> getting user feedback, though.

Switching to clawsmail has been a frequent request and I think this wikipage
does a good job at comparing it to Thunderbird. . It may very well be
desirable for us to do so but I think its too late in the cycle for this
sort of change. I would have had liked to have made this change and had it
included in an alpha before feature freeze to feel comfortable. What do
others think?

> *Default Power Manager*
> There is no spec for this one so far, but are we able to tell what we want
> to do on Xfce4-power-manager in order to use it for Karmic ? Cody's been
> working on RAM usage, what else is lacking ? I'll try to find time for
> improving battery notifications to something such as lp #399492. We're also
> lacking PolicyKit support, as far as I understand. I don't think this is a
> realistic goal for Karmic, but is someone willing to work on it for Karmic+1
> ?

I was really hoping we could include xfce4-power-manager for karmic and it
may still be a realistic goal. Unfortunately, I've noticed some weirdness
like my laptop running out of battery because xfce4-power-manager failed to
notify me I was low on battery plus it is unnecessarily heavy on memory not
to mention currently crashes on logout (fix hopefully being uploaded soon).

I think we might want to switch back to gnome-power-manager for karmic and
look to have xfce4-power-manager ready for karmic+1 as Steve suggests.

> *GDM, gnome-screensaver*
> What are we doing about these ? I don't believe we want to depend on
> gnome-session, but it is really time to decide about what to use as a
> replacement for these two applications (and whether we can use something
> unsecure / ugly and fix the security flaws / GUI).

I'm going to upload gdm-2.20 tomorrow and have us use that for karmic.

> *NotifyOsd*
> *https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Xubuntu/Specifications/Karmic/NotifyOsd*
> *This is mostly done; I have working code for xfconf support, and for text
> size / bubble colour customization. It will only be lacking a GUI, because I
> just don't have the time for it, but I believe this should be feasible in
> Karmic+1. By the meanwhile, I will take the time to write a wiki page about
> how to customize NotifyOsd's appearence, and commands to turn the white on
> black to some tooltip-like look and feel. I am very sorry, Charlie, for not
> being able to write a GUI for it right now. I didn't expect to not code at
> all for two weeks because of personal life agitation.*

I'll have to look into the status of this specification further before
commenting. However, I don't think feature freeze will be a blocker to
moving forward on this if all is good.

> **
> *I may have forgotten stuff about what needs to be addressed for feature
> freeze, feel free to add it to the conversation.*

*Slim down the Xubuntu Session*

I had hoped to have much more done on this by now but work has been horribly
hectic. I intend to take some more vacation time in September to have a half
a week or so to devote to Xubuntu. I have, however, been able to do quite a
bit of research on this and have a list of ideas/things to try which I'll
try and get documented on a wikipage soon.

Unfortunately, I think that the wonderful ease of us that Xubuntu offers
over say Debian with Xfce (a great distro none the less in its own respects)
comes with a cost.


Cody A.W. Somerville
Software Systems Release Engineer
Foundations Team
Custom Engineering Solutions Group
Canonical OEM Services
Phone: +1-781-850-2087
Cell: +1-506-471-8402
Email: cody.somerville at canonical.com
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