Idea for Lucid (and beyond..)

J. Anthony Limon j at
Sat Dec 5 08:21:35 UTC 2009

Steve Dodier wrote:
> Hi there,
> 2009/12/5 Pasi Lallinaho <open at <mailto:open at>>
>     J. Anthony Limon wrote:
>      > Hi team,
>      >
>      > I just thought I would open the door for some brainstorming in
>     the area
>      > of Lucid and beyond! I have some thoughts I'd like to extend
>     everyone's way.
>      >
>      >
>      > 1) gnome-app-install
>      >
>      > Do we really need it? Who really uses it? How stable is it anyways?
>      >
>      > I feel gnome-app-install does more harm than good in the XFce
>     desktop.
>      > Firstly it does a poor job of representing the total software in the
>      > repositories. Secondly, we almost *always* send people to Synaptic or
>      > apt-get to install software. Thirdly, I've found it to be
>     HORRIDLY unstable.
>      >
>      > On my system I've ---purge autoremove'd it. A nice side effect
>     was that
>      > my XFce menu looks a lot nicer without that wide entry at the top. :)
>      >
>     I agree you on this. I don't really know gnome-app-install since I
>     always use apt-get or Synaptic myself. Maybe we should just seed
>     Synaptic as the default application/repository manager in Lucid?
> Both Synaptic and gnome-app-install are being replaced by the Software 
> Centre (not sure if it's the exact name). This new app brings a few 
> dependencies but it's likely that removing gnome-app-install and 
> synaptic will make enough room on the CD for it.
> As long as it doesn't pull mono and gnome* I'm all for giving the new 
> app a try.
> Maybe we could ask the desktop team what they think will be ready for 
> Lucid in the software centre, and whether they think they'll be able to 
> replace synaptic in this release.
>      > 2) gnome-system-monitor
>      >
>      > I know this app has some serious features that alternatives do
>     not, but
>      > is consistently a source of problems and bugs, primarily in the
>     area of
>      > super high CPU usage and memory leaks, ironic given the nature of the
>      > application.
>      >
>      > On my system I use a mixture of xfce4-taskmanager and htop, I'm
>     not sure
>      > if this would be satisfactory on the majority of people's
>     desktops but I
>      >   am of the opinion that GSM has to go.
>      >
>     For now, I don't think the Xfce components can deliver the same amount
>     of features and, regretfully, quality. I also like htop, but we can't
>     consider it as the main application for system monitoring, as it's CLI
>     and many people fear command line.
> Gnome system monitor monitors system load, network load, ram and swap 
> usage, and HDD usage. It may be doing too much for one's needs, but when 
> you want to know if some app is using all of your bandwidth, it's cool 
> to can check in the system monitor without having to go in command line.
> While xftaskmanager may be more appropriate for your needs, 
> gnome-system-monitor is in my opinion better for end users.
>      > 3) Totem
>      >
>      > Is the plan to stick with Totem for Lucid? It's kind of stagnant
>     issue
>      > but it's also a difficult one to address with the next release
>     being LTS.
>      >
>     Agree. There is loads of *decent* video player alternatives. I've never
>     liked Totem. It sounds it is from the stone-age. I'd really like to see
>     something else already in Lucid.
> I can name only one player that also uses a decent backend and that is 
> written with a proper GTK+ GUI. It's Parole, and I'm looking forward to 
> it, but considering that it's rather new, we can't expect it to be as 
> integrated in the desktop yet (for instance, does it already manage to 
> find missing codecs for the user?).
> Whats the point of a player with tons of features like audacity, mplayer 
> or vlc if it crashes miserably when you launch a file or if the GUI is 
> difficult to use because of some particular skin, or very debatable 
> keyboard shortcut choices? I'm all for keeping Totem for the LTS, and 
> testing Parole from the very beginning of Lucid+1's release cycle (ie. 
> before alpha 1, and until beta 1 at least, so we can report bugs to Ali 
> and see what's missing from the Xubuntu point of view).
>      > 4) GDM
>      >
>      > This seems to be an issue entirely out of anyone's hands unless they
>      > want to try making one using xfce libs.
>      >
>      > This is about all I can think of right now, but I do know I am
>     missing a
>      > couple things which I will bring up at another time. I feel this is a
>      > good start to a brainstorming. Also, nobody has any intentions of
>      > adopting Pulse Audio into the Xubuntu system, right? ;)
>      >
>     My personal experience is that PA is only bringing in problems, but if
>     we can get those sorted out, I can live with it. I hear PA can do
>     wonderful things once it works.
>     We probably want to ship Exaile as our default media player for Lucid
>     also, but I want to finger at the really bad quality of media players in
>     general in Karmic. Most of them do not work for me at all (read: they
>     crash constantly or leak into memory).
> I was also disappointed by some last-minute performance regressions in 
> Exaile. And the disappearance of some gstreamer codecs in the 64 bit 
> version didn't help (yeah, now Canonical sells them for real money... 
> there is no explanation over why they aren't packaged and free of charge 
> anymore). Exaile 0.3.1 uses GIO, and has a few mem usage optimisations. 
> It also contains some of the missing Exaile plugins/features, and it 
> should be ready for Lucid. I didn't look at the progress done by other 
> players developers recently (except Parole, but as I said back then I 
> think music players should have a music-oriented GUI, which eliminates 
> media players in my point of view). If there are things that you 
> consider wrong in Exaile, it's the time to tell them, because it was 
> clear to me that the switch to Exaile would be done in two parts, and 
> that the goal was a seamless music player in the LTS. I'm still 
> available for working on Exaile.
> Concerning PulseAudio, I think Lucid may be the right time for a switch. 
> In fact, it looks like PA and Wine work fine together, and Wine's new 
> sound architecture should be much more friendly with PulseAudio (I don't 
> know when it'll be released as stable though). PA solved a number of 
> recurrent problems I had, but it also introduced new ones.
> The first problem is that, whatever people say, PA is NOT compatible 
> with the Gstreamer mixer plugin. This results in sound being muted after 
> login, because xfce4-volumed does something perfectly valid and normal, 
> it fetches the track's volume, and somehow it seems that PA doesn't like 
> that and mutes the volume instead. Switching to PA means writing a PA 
> backend to xfce4-mixer and xfce4-volumed. Trying to write such a backend 
> (and a new frontend) is very high in my To Do list, but I can't tell 
> when I'll be free from the school project I work on at the moment.
> I would also like to say that latest releases of xfce4-power-manager are 
> getting more stable, and that it now works rather fine for me. But if 
> you experience bugs with it, please report them directly to 
> <>, Ali (the upstream dev) is 
> responsive and will very likely look quickly into them. It's important 
> to have it work seamlessly in Lucid, since it's a LTS. But I'm quite 
> happy of the switch to xfpm, I must say.
> One last thing: do we still want to look into a replacement for Firefox? 
> That'd require some testing, to draw a features table to tell what's 
> really badly missing in Firefox's competitors, so we can see if it can 
> be replaced in the LiveCD. In my opinion the best competitors are Midori 
> and Chromium, and I have a soft spot for Chromium.
> -- 
> Steve Dodier
> Student at École Nationale Supérieure d'Ingénieurs de Bourges
> Free Software Developer
> OpenPGP : 1B6B1670

A quick reply (for now) .. I think switching to Midori for the sake of 
being "Xfce friendly" makes about as much sense as Ubuntu's switching to 
Empathy in favor of the much more liked Pidgin just because GNOME is all 
for it.

- J

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