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GNOME: Tracker 3.0, Sandboxing WebKitGTK Apps, DevConf.CZ 2020, GNOME's Mutter

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GNOME
  • API changes in Tracker 3.0

    Lots has happened in the 2 months since my last post, most notably the global coronavirus pandemic … in Spain we’re in week 3 of quarantine lockdown already and noone knows when it is going to end.

    Let’s take our mind off the pandemic and talk about Tracker 3.0. At the start of the year Carlos worked on some key API changes which are now merged. It’s a good opportunity to recap what’s really changing in the new version.

    I made the developer documentation for Tracker 3.0 available online. Thanks to GitLab, this can be updated every time we merge a change in Git. The documentation a work in progress and we appreciate if you can help us to improve it.

    The documentation contains a migration guide, but let’s have a broader look at some common use cases.

  • Sandboxing WebKitGTK Apps

    When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, that network might block your access to the wider internet until you’ve signed into the network’s captive portal page. An untrusted network can disrupt your connection at any time by blocking secure requests and replacing the content of insecure requests with its login page. (Of course this can be done on wired networks as well, but in practice it mainly happens on Wi-Fi.) To detect a captive portal, NetworkManager sends a request to a special test address (e.g. http://fedoraproject.org/static/hotspot.txt) and checks to see whether it the content has been replaced. If so, GNOME Shell will open a little WebKitGTK browser window to display http://nmcheck.gnome.org, which, due to the captive portal, will be hijacked by your hotel or airport or whatever to display the portal login page.

  • DevConf.CZ 2020

    Once again, DevConf.CZ, is our meeting-while-freezing winter conference in Brno. For this year I cooked up two talks:

    An hour-long talk about Portals during the first day of the conference. The room was almost full and the questions were very relevant. A few attendees met me after the talk seeking help to make their apps start using Portals and with ideas for new Portals. You can watch the recordings below:

    On the last conference day, I had a quick twenty minutes talk about GNOME Boxes in the virtualization track. The audience wasn’t our known faces from the desktop talks, so I got the chance to show Boxes for the first time for a bunch of people. I did a quick presentation with live demos and Q&A. It was a success IMHO. Check the recordings below:

  • GNOME's Mutter Working On Variable Refresh Rate Support (VRR / Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync)

    Sway's Wayland compositor recently added Variable Refresh Rate / Adaptive-Sync support to help avoid tearing and stuttering while now GNOME's Mutter is working on similar VRR support on the desktop.

    A work-in-progress patch series was posted over the weekend for adding variable refresh rate support into Mutter for X.Org and Wayland. This includes checking for VRR support from connected monitors using the DRM properties, support for activating VRR, and the ability to toggle the VRR support via a DBus API. The VRR support isn't advertised to Wayland clients at the moment for the lack of an upstream Wayland protocol around VRR.

Where are the best GNOME communities

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GNOME

As with all open source projects, GNOME is developed by volunteers as well as employees. These people communicate in many ways to drive the project forward. For development, the old way is mailing lists for discussion and repository sites for the actual code and issue tracking. When you want something that does not exist yet or have a problem you cannot solve, you need to find the communities passionate about GNOME. This takes a bit of effort, so here are some places to start. If you start developing, you need to find a community that talks your programming language. Many will also deal with GNOME, as a side effect if not as their main activity.

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GNOME's Red Hat-Centric Infrastructure, Fedora's Git Forge and More Red Hat/IBM

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Red Hat
GNOME
  • GNOME Infrastructure updates

    As you may have noticed from outage and maintenance notes we sent out last week the GNOME Infrastructure has been undergoing a major redesign due to the need of moving to a different datacenter. It’s probably a good time to update the Foundation membership, contributions and generally anyone consuming the multitude of services we maintain of what we’ve been up to during these past months.

    [...]

    ...Red Hat Storage Team who helped out reviewing the Ceph infrastructure design and providing useful information about possible provisioning techniques.

  • Fedora's Git forge decision

    Back in February, LWN reported on the process of gathering requirements for a Git forge system. That process then went relatively quiet until March 28, when the posting of a "CPE Weekly" news summary included, under "other updates", a note that the decision has been made. It appears that the project will be pushed toward a not-fully-free version of the GitLab offering. It is fair to say that this decision — or how it was presented — was not met with universal acclaim in the Fedora community; see this response from Neal Gompa for more.

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  • With Kubernetes Operators comes great responsibility

    Operators are a powerful way to extend the functionality of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Kubernetes. OpenShift provides features for deploying Operators in a safer way, such as OperatorHub, and the Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM). In this post we explore safe ways to deploy Operators to Openshift 4.x using OperatorHub, OLM and scoping rules for Operators.

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  • The IBM i Community Adapts To The New Normal

    As we enter the third week of the unprecedented coronavirus lockdown that has shut down large swaths of our country, IBM i shops are adapting to the “new normal” along with everybody else. For essential employees in certain industries, that means working in an uncertain and potentially hazardous environment, while for the rest of us, it means telecommuting from home.

    If you work in finance or insurance along the two coasts, chances are good your headquarters has been closed down and your colleagues sent home to work remotely from laptops, smartphones, and PCs. But if your company makes or moves stuff in the industrial heartland of the United States – home to the nation’s strategic paper-products supply – then many of your essential staff are likely trucking right through the coronavirus lockdown. (And if they’re actually in the trucking business, they’re likely enjoying the empty roads.)

GTK Apps and GNOME: Maps, Window Blur and Extension

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GNOME
  • Marcus Lundblad: Maps in GNOME 3.36

    There's been quite a while since the last blog post. Since then 3.36.0 was released, and also the first update for the stable 3.36 branch, 3.36.1 has been released.

    As I've written about before one of the main features in 3.36 is the support for trip planning for public transit using third party services, as shown here from Paris...

  • TIL Wayfire Supports Background Window Blur in GTK Apps

    One longstanding complaint I hear about modern day GTK apps is that they don’t like anywhere near as fancy as their macOS, Windows, iOS and even KDE Plasma counterparts.

    And a big reason for that is the lack of blur effect support in Mutter (and GNOME Shell at large, though yes: this is changing).

    Thing is, next-gen window compositors based on the Wayland stack are already capable of doing more than just ‘showing’ windows on the screen.

  • An introduction to GNOME shell extensions

    GNOME has a sleek interface, designed to support your work while being out of your way when possible. These considerations depend on your preferences. Some people want all the graphics and the icons, some wants to minimize distractions while remembering how to run stuff with keyboard shortcuts. A known issue is that GNOME has taken away the application menu that is common in other systems. you can add an extension to add it yourself. You write extensions for GNOME in JavaScript, though there are times when you can link to other languages. Because you use JavaScript, you can also use CSS packages such as Bootstrap.

    What are the extensions changing?

    This may seem like an irrelevant question but as you start troubleshooting, you need to know this. Any extension is actually adding code to the gnome-shell. Due to this, your desktop will crash due to a bad extension so test carefully before trusting any code. It is a good idea to remember this both when you are installing other people’s extensions and when you are coding yourself.

    You can learn how to make an extension quickly if you know JavaScript and you follow the documentation at the GNOME wiki. You can start by using the standard tools which create the required files for you. There are only two required files, though, so creating them yourself is not a big task.

Do Ubuntu’s Bespoke Changes Make a Separate GNOME OS More Likely?

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GNOME
Ubuntu

In the second part of his take on “what’s wrong with the free desktop app ecosystem and how we can fix it”, Tobias spotlight’s Ubuntu’s divergence from the upstream defaults as symptom of hurdles placed in front of developers who want to target the GNOME experience.

With GNOME desktop designers and developers (upstream) and the Linux distros shipping it (downstream) often pulling in different directions the ‘target’ developers should try to aim for is, well, a little less clear.

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Meet the GNOMEies: Regina Nkemchor Adejo

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Interviews
GNOME

Well, My full name is Regina Nkemchor Adejo, I am a Nigerian. I am a technology enthusiast who transitioned into sciences from an arts background. I currently work as a database and application specialist in a tax organization. I am a YouTube content creator, I create technical videos related to database and Linux administration.

Most importantly, I love computers! I spend most of my time on them.

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There is No “Linux” Platform (Part 2)

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GNU
Linux
GNOME

The problems outlined in Part 1 are of course not new, and people have been working on solutions to them for a long time. Some of these solutions have really started to come together over the last few years, empowering the people making the software to distribute it directly to the people using it.

Thanks to the work of many amazing people in our community you can now develop an app in GNOME Builder, submit it to Flathub, get it reviewed, and have it available for people to install right away. Once it’s on there you can also update it on a schedule you control. No more waiting 6 months for the next distribution release!

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GNOME Desktop/GTK: GNOME Themes and GObject Class Private Data

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GNOME
  • How does GNOME themes work

    The GNOME themes file is essentially a CSS file, done, you can stop reading. There are a few more details you may want to hear about. The theme files describe what your desktop looks like but that is not all. It also contains the artwork needed for it to work. You make all your configuration in the CSS file of your theme. A caveat is that much of the look comes from the GTK 2.0 and GTK 3.0 themes. Another issue is that the standard setup does not allow your own themes, you need to download the User Theme extension to use your own theme. The reason is that the theme files delivered with your distribution are compiled from gresource files. This integrates the themes closer to the development process but has the drawback that making your own requires more programming skills. Documentation is also scarce, for users that is. Development documentation is plentiful.

  • GObject Class Private Data

    It can be very handy to store things you might do as meta programming in your GObjectClass‘s private data (See G_TPYE_CLASS_GET_PRIVATE()).

    Doing so is perfectly fine, but you need to be aware of how GTypeInstance initialization works. Each of your parent classes instance init functions are called before your subclasses instance init (and in order of the type hierarchy). What might seem non-obvious though is that the GTypeInstance.g_class pointer is updated as each successive _init() function is called.

Zorin OS Core Makes GNOME More Comfortable

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OS
GNOME
Reviews

Zorin OS 15.2 is a simple yet workable computing platform. I would prefer to have an option to swap out Zorin OS' GNOME integration for the more flexible XFCE desktop on the Core edition.

If Zorin OS sounds promising to you except for the GNOME experience, consider trying the Lite edition. XFCE, despite its lightweight design, offers a more traditional desktop layout experience.

Zorin OS has some fine features that are buried within settings options. I would like to see some included help screens and other new user documentation built into Zorin OS. Users unfamiliar with Linux or the otherwise barren landscape when first seeing the Zorin desktop would have an easier time getting started using it.

This independent Ubuntu-based Linux distribution is designed especially for newcomers to Linux, but established Linux users looking for a change of pace without the need for stretching their technical acumen should not shy away from this distro.

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A Summary Between KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS And GNOME 3.36 Gresik

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KDE
GNOME

After publishing my latest GNOME and then Plasma articles, I think it is interesting to summarize between them in a separate article considering several interesting stuffs. First, their release date are the same, 11, except Plasma is in February and GNOME is in March. Second, they publish interesting videos and announcements I listed below. Third, they had conferences in 2019 that back them up namely Akademy and GNOME.Asia Summit I also listed below. Fourth, they have users who love to write reviews such as Dedoimedo and OMG! Ubuntu I listed below too. Last but not least, I also mentioned where to download their source code, to contribute to them, and the donation links. I wish this summary article helps you in figuring out more about both. Enjoy desktop GNU/Linux!

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More in Tux Machines

Red Hat Enterprise Linux helps pioneering unmanned marine research

In 1620, the Mayflower embarked on an uncertain journey across the Atlantic Ocean, with more than 100 pilgrims on board hoping to begin a new life in the New World. Now, 400 years later, The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) will follow in the footsteps of the original ship from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Only this time, there will be no human captain or onboard crew. It will be one of the first full-sized, fully-autonomous and unmanned vessels to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The MAS project is a global collaboration led by marine research organization Promare. Conceived as a way to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage, it could have long-lasting implications for the shipping industry and the future of oceanographic research. The autonomous shipping market is projected to grow from $90BN today to over $130BN by 2030. However; many of today's autonomous ships are just automated and do not dynamically adapt to new situations. Using an integrated set of IBM's AI, cloud, and edge technologies, ProMare is aiming to give the Mayflower the ability to operate independently in some of the most challenging circumstances on the planet. Read more

Android Leftovers

Games: OpenTESArena, OpenTTD, Merchant of the Skies

  • OpenTESArena - a modern game engine for The Elder Scrolls: Arena has a new release

    Now available free, The Elder Scrolls: Arena is something of a classic and it continues to live on with thanks to the free and open source game engine OpenTESArena. Bethesda Softworks actually made The Elder Scrolls: Arena free to download some years ago as part of the 10th anniversary which has certainly helped. Still in early development, with gameplay not really there yet, it's very promising and a big new release went up a few days ago further expanding what it's able to do with the original game data. OpenTESArena 0.11.0 adds in quite a lot including: original entity loading (static NPCs, creatures, trees, furniture, palace rulers, etc.), lights, water and lava rendering, fading voxels, translucent entity rendering, Ray Cast selection with pixel-perfect option and more.

  • Transport Tycoon Deluxe inspired 'OpenTTD' has a massive new release out

    Transport Tycoon Deluxe is a classic and OpenTTD is an excellent open source game engine directly inspired by it, with a huge new stable release out now. Saying it's inspired by it is perhaps not entirely accurate, it's a full replacement for it! With many new and advanced features, to make building a sprawling transportation network feel good on modern systems. It can use Transport Tycoon Deluxe data files or you can stick with the open graphics which still look good.

  • Relaxing strategic sky trading sim 'Merchant of the Skies' leaving Early Access on April 17

    Originally entering Early Access back in July last year for Linux, macOS and Windows it's had a lot of updates since release and it has become a much bigger game. In Merchant of the Skies you start off with a small ship and not much else, then progress through trade and quest completion. As you accumulate more wealth, purchase islands and establish your company you gradually go through more advanced resource chains and continue expanding. There's also something involving you needing to feed a massive fish-god. See the new release date trailer below:

Programming: Java, Compilers and Python/Django

  • You should know the comparison between Java 8 & Java 9

    Java language is based on an Object-Oriented Programming algorithm. Oracle is currently maintaining Java. Being licensed under General Public License GNU, Java 8 was released on 14th January 2014 whereas Java 9 on 27th July 2017. The latest version is Java 13, which was released on 17th September 2019. If you’re applying for a job position as a Java Developer, you might want to read some Java 8 interview questions and also clarify differences between Java 8 and Java 9. The 8th version of Java included important updates. The basic purpose of Java 8 was to provide enhancements, bug fixes and improve the efficiency of coding compared to its predecessor. Java 9 included updates to enhance industry-wide development through a new platform module system. Java 9’s accessibility and improved modularity help developers to easily assemble and maintain sophisticated applications. It also helps in making Java scale down on smaller devices while improving security and performance.

  • LLVM Plumbs Support For Intel Golden Cove's New SERIALIZE Instruction

    Yesterday we noted Intel's programming reference manual being updated with new Golden Cove instructions for Sapphire Rapids and Alder Lake and with that Intel's open-source developers have begun pushing their changes to the compilers. The latest updates add TSXLDTRK, a new HYBRID bit for Core+Atom hybrd CPUs, and a new SERIALIZE instruction. After GCC was receiving the patch attention yesterday, LLVM is getting its attention today.

  • Reuven Lerner: Reminder: My free “Python for non-programmers” course continues tomorrow!

    If you’ve never programmed a computer before — or if you tried, and found it frustrating and difficult — then you’re welcome to join my “Python for non-programmers” course, which takes place on Thursdays at 10 a.m. Eastern. The class is 100% free of charge, and open to anyone who wants. Just register at https://PythonForNonProgrammers.com/. Registering gets you weekly reminders, recordings of previous sessions, and invites to the private forum, where you can chat about the lessons with other students.

  • Django changes its governance

    The Django web framework has come a long way since it was first released as open source in 2005. It started with a benevolent dictator for life (BDFL) governance model, like the language it is implemented in, Python, but switched to a different model in 2014. When Python switched away from the BDFL model in 2018, it followed Django's lead to some extent. But now Django is changing yet again, moving from governance based around a "core team" to one that is more inclusive and better reflects the way the project is operating now. Django actually started out with co-BDFLs; Adrian Holovaty and Jacob Kaplan-Moss filled that role until they retired in early 2014, which motivated the change to the core-team model. By 2018, some problems with that new model were being felt, so James Bennett spearheaded an effort to change it, which resulted in Django enhancement proposal (DEP) 10 ("New governance for the Django project")—adopted on March 12. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the problems identified for Django are sometimes heard in Python circles as well; the changes for Django could be a harbinger of Python's governance down the road.