Update on GNOME Versions for Ubuntu 12.04

Now that Ubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” Alpha 2 will be rolling out on Thursday and Feature Freeze is soon after (on February 16), I want to give an update on the versions of GNOME components that will be in 12.04. Because 12.04 is a Long Term Support release, designed for people and businesses that prefer a stable Ubuntu to the newest code, we’ve been a bit more cautious this cycle. For those who like things a bit less cautious, there’s the GNOME3 PPA.

3.0

The Totem movie player will stay at 3.0 because 3.2 switched to using clutter which means that (as currently configured & tested on Ubuntu) videos won’t play for people who don’t have working 3D drivers (as is the case with a Dell Mini I own unless I use a hacked X stack and drivers). At this point, we don’t have a newer version of GDM than 3.0 ready (it requires a lot of patching to work well on Debian/Ubuntu), but you’re using LightDM now anyway, right?

3.2

We’ll be keeping Evolution at version 3.2 since it will be better tested and stable than 3.4 which was scheduled to get some significant infrastructure work done this cycle (specifically switching to gsettings and webkit). On the other hand, I don’t think Evolution 3.3 has been considered either to see how stable it is and whether the planned new features will make it this cycle or not. Aisleriot Solitaire will probably remain at 3.2 because it uses guile-2.0 and we don’t want to support two different guile versions in main.

Disk Utility (renamed in 3.4 to “Disks“) will stay at 3.2 because 3.4 is a complete rewrite and drops libgdu in favor of udisks2. udisks2 has not been tested by as many people and libgdu is currently used by unity, update-notifier, gvfs (which is pretty important). Similarly, gnome-keyring has had some refactoring which hasn’t really been tested in Precise so that will stay at 3.2.

System Settings (gnome-control-center, gnome-settings-daemon, and gsettings-desktop-schemas) is also unlikely to be upgraded to 3.4. This requires an update to unity-greeter as it expects certain things to be present in g-s-d which were reshuffled in the new version (and is why the new version isn’t in the GNOME3 PPA because we haven’t tried to patch the greeter yet). And Unity will need to be checked to make sure keyboard shortcut settings are recognized correctly but the Compiz developers have plenty of work to do already this month. So, using 3.4 is possible but it’s probably too much work to get done in 2 weeks. The unfortunate side effect is that GNOME Shell 3.4 needs the new settings stack so that its keyboard shortcuts can be changed without people having to dig into gsettings or dconf-editor. GNOME Shell 3.2.2.1 is a good release though.

3.4

Basically everything I haven’t mentioned will be getting 3.4 (well the kernel will also be 3.2 but that doesn’t count!) which is a pretty long list. And there’s quite few cool features: among them are Nautilus undo support (should land in Precise next week), significant work to the GNOME Games, and GNOME’s new menu system (Unity support isn’t in Precise yet). And even without shipping 3.4, bugfixes and even some features are being backported to Precise packages.

I’ve also done some initial packaging for Boxes (GNOME’s new virtualization and remote desktop app). But the default remote desktop app for 12.04 is still scheduled to be Remmina.

And of course, we’re always looking for more packagers and developers to join the Ubuntu Desktop Team to allow us to do more. There’s quite a few spots where we could use some help (testing Evolution 3.3, packaging the split gnome-utils, fixing bugs, etc.) so join us in #ubuntu-desktop if you’re interested. Your contributions can directly influence an operating system used by millions around the world!

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28 comments on “Update on GNOME Versions for Ubuntu 12.04
  1. Roger says:

    Is the intention to stay at these versions for the next 5 years for the components, or will they be upgraded to 3.4 as they become very stable? It must be considerably more work to maintain components across 3 different versions of Gnome than stabilising on just one.

    (Personally I’d rather you just used 3.4 for everything as I don’t use Unity and do use gnome-shell and prefer new shiny over multi-version chimeras)

    • Jeremy Bicha says:

      Upgrading a package from 3.2 to 3.4 is definitely beyond the SRU guidelines and they’re too disruptive even for backports so, yes they will stay at whatever major version they are on release day. GNOME (& KDE) bugfix point release upgrades are good candidates for SRUs though, but there won’t be any more 3.2 point releases.

      I don’t know if you saw the original list, but it said “by default stay on 3.2, pick up some new components” so I think we did pretty well. I think it’s closer now to “let’s go with 3.4 if it’s not too disruptive or experimental.”

  2. Who wrote the Nautilus undo feature?

    I owe that guy some serious beers.

  3. You mentioned testing Evolution 3.3, is it available in a PPA for easy testing?

  4. Alin says:

    It’s not very clear, so Gnome Shell will stay at 3.2.x?

      • Roger says:

        Hopefully the folks who run webup8 will provide a more recent version of gnome-shell and dependencies. The irony for me is that I switched from a different distro to Ubuntu many moons ago because I was sick and tired of being far behind current Gnome – it would often take them 6 months or more from a Gnome release to it being marked stable.

        Fortunately PPAs solve some of that pressure. Unfortunately Canonical’s focus on things I do not use (eg Unity) is what is causing some of the problem in the first place. (Unity is completely unusable on large multi-monitor setups with focus follows mouse.)

        • Jeremy Bicha says:

          Hi, if you read the first paragraph of this article again, you’ll see a link to the GNOME 3 PPA where GNOME Shell 3.3.4 is already available. No need to have to wander all over looking for a good PPA as the extra GNOME stuff is in the same place it’s been since 11.04.

          Ubuntu 12.10 (in the fall) will definitely be targetting GNOME 3.6. You have to understand that a LTS release is different and Ubuntu has a limited number of developers, but we’re looking for more people to get involved!

        • Roger says:

          I had been using the Gnome 3 PPA before but gave up for reasons I don’t clearly remember. I think it was something like packages getting into a completely hosed state (contradictory dependencies or something like that).

          Trying again now with the “official” Gnome 3 PPA using Oneiric. Hopefully once Precise comes out it will be sticky to Gnome 3.4 and not future/development versions. The webup8 PPA is good as they also packaged the Mint Gnome Shell extensions. (With a minimum of two emacs windows, two Eclipse windows, two browser windows and about 7 shells I need a taskbar.)

          I won’t be one of those people getting involved. I already do lots of open source work, and then there are differences of opinion I have with Canonical that I won’t bore these comments with.

        • Jeremy Bicha says:

          The GNOME3 PPA will be sticking with 3.2 for Oneiric and 3.4 for Precise.

  5. Jeremy could you please tell me where nautilus-gksu went ? I found very helpful to be able to right click on a folder and open as administrator. I’m very disapointed that 12.04 has only made that much more difficult for me to open simple file in administrator mode. Could you please recomend they put that useful option back into 12.04 and if not how can I get that option back for my own personal use. Kindest regards.

  6. [...] le discussioni su questa futura ed interessantissima versione di Ubuntu, ci pensa Jeremy Bicha che attraverso il suo blog, ci illustra quali saranno i componenti di GNOME presenti in Ubuntu 12.04 e ci illustra anche quale [...]

  7. [...] le discussioni su questa futura ed interessantissima versione di Ubuntu, ci pensa Jeremy Bicha che attraverso il suo blog, ci illustra quali saranno i componenti di GNOME presenti in Ubuntu 12.04 e ci illustra anche quale [...]

  8. [...] giochi, eccetera. Per avere una panoramica più chiara sugli attuali sviluppi, Jeremy Bicha ha pubblicato una lista degli aggiornamenti delle versioni di alcuni componenti di GNOME per la prossima versione [...]

  9. [...] Bicha, a great contributor to the Desktop team, wrote up a nice explanation of how the components of the Ubuntu Desktop were chosen this cycle. It shows how much consideration [...]

  10. [...] Bicha, a great contributor to the Desktop team, wrote up a nice explanation of how the components of the Ubuntu Desktop were chosen this cycle. It shows how much consideration [...]

  11. [...] le discussioni su questa futura ed interessantissima versione di Ubuntu, ci pensa Jeremy Bicha che attraverso il suo blog, ci illustra quali saranno i componenti di GNOME presenti in Ubuntu 12.04 e ci illustra anche quale [...]

  12. [...] le discussioni su questa futura ed interessantissima versione di Ubuntu, ci pensa Jeremy Bicha che attraverso il suo blog, ci illustra quali saranno i componenti di GNOME presenti in Ubuntu 12.04 e ci illustra anche quale [...]

  13. TechLW says:

    Really nice,
    very cool sharing.

  14. [...] giochi, eccetera. Per avere una panoramica più chiara sugli attuali sviluppi, Jeremy Bicha ha pubblicato una lista degli aggiornamenti delle versioni di alcuni componenti di GNOME per la prossima versione [...]

  15. […] Bicha, a great contributor to the Desktop team, wrote up a nice explanation of how the components of the Ubuntu Desktop were chosen this cycle. It shows how much consideration […]

  16. […] Bicha: Update on GNOME Versions for Ubuntu 12.04. 1. Februar 2012, abgerufen am 13. April […]

  17. […] Bicha, a great contributor to the Desktop team, wrote up a nice explanation of how the components of the Ubuntu Desktop were chosen this cycle. It shows how much […]

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