GNOME Tweaks 3.28 Progress Report 2

GNOME 3.28 has reached its 3.27.90 milestone. This milestone is important because it means that GNOME is now at API Freeze, Feature Freeze, and UI Freeze. From this point on, GNOME shouldn’t change much, but that’s good because it allows for distros, translators, and documentation writers to prepare for the 3.28 release. It also gives time to ensure that new feature are working correctly and as many important bugs as possible are fixed. GNOME 3.28 will be released in approximately one month.

If you haven’t read my last 3.28 post, please read it now. So what else has changed in Tweaks this release cycle?

Desktop

As has been widely discussed, Nautilus itself will no longer manage desktop icons in GNOME 3.28. The intention is for this to be handled in a GNOME Shell extension. Therefore, I had to drop the desktop-related tweaks from GNOME Tweaks since the old methods don’t work.

If your Linux distro will be keeping Nautilus 3.26 a bit longer (like Ubuntu), it’s pretty easy for distro maintainers to re-enable the desktop panel so you’ll still get all the other 3.28 features without losing the convenient desktop tweaks.

As part of this change, the Background tweaks have been moved from the Desktop panel to the Appearance panel.

Touchpad

Historically, laptop touchpads had two or three physical hardware buttons just like mice. Nowadays, it’s common for touchpads to have no buttons. At least on Windows, the historical convention was a click in the bottom left would be treated as a left mouse button click, and a click in the bottom right would be treated as a right mouse button click.

Macs are a bit different in handling right click (or secondary click as it’s also called). To get a right-click on a Mac, just click with two fingers simultaneously. You don’t have to worry about whether you are clicking in the bottom right of the touchpad so things should work a bit better when you get used to it. Therefore, this is even used now in some Windows computers.

My understanding is that GNOME used Windows-style “area” mouse-click emulation on most computers, but there was a manually updated list of computers where the Mac style “fingers” mouse-click emulation was used.

In GNOME 3.28, the default is now the Mac style for everyone. For the past few years, you could change the default behavior in the GNOME Tweaks app, but I’ve redesigned the section now to make it easier to use and understand. I assume there will be some people who prefer the old behavior so we want to make it easy for them!

GNOME Tweaks 3.27.90 Mouse Click Emulation

For more screenshots (before and after), see the GitLab issue.

Other

There is one more feature pending for Tweaks 3.28, but it’s incomplete so I’m not going to discuss it here yet. I’ll be sure to link to a blog post about it when it’s ready though.

For more details about what’s changed, see the NEWS file or the commit log.

Posted in Debian, GNOME, Linux, Ubuntu

logo.png for default avatar for GitLab repos

Debian and GNOME have both recently adopted self-hosted GitLab for their git hosting. GNOME’s service is named simply https://gitlab.gnome.org/ ; Debian’s has the more intriguing name https://salsa.debian.org/ . If you ask the Salsa sysadmins, they’ll explain that they were in a Mexican restaurant when they needed to decide on a name!

There’s a useful under-documented feature I found. If you place a logo.png in the root of your repository, it will be automatically used as the default “avatar” for your project (in other words, the logo that shows up on the web page next to your project).

I added a logo.png to GNOME Tweaks at GNOME and it automatically showed up in Salsa when I imported the new version.

Other Notes

I first tried with a symlink to my app icon, but it didn’t work. I had to actually copy the icon.

The logo.png convention doesn’t seem to be supported at GitHub currently.

Posted in Debian, GNOME, Linux, Ubuntu

GNOME Tweaks 3.28 Progress Report 1

A few days ago, I released GNOME Tweaks 3.27.4, a development snapshot on the way to the next stable version 3.28 which will be released alongside GNOME 3.28 in March. Here are some highlights of what’s changed since 3.26.

New Name (Part 2)

For 3.26, we renamed GNOME Tweak Tool to GNOME Tweaks. It was only a partial rename since many underlying parts still used the gnome-tweak-tool name. For 3.28, we have completed the rename. We have renamed the binary, the source tarball releases, the git repository, the .desktop, and app icons. For upgrade compatibility, the autostart file and helper script for the Suspend on Lid Close inhibitor keeps the old name.

New Home

GNOME Tweaks has moved from the classic GNOME Git and Bugzilla to the new GNOME-hosted gitlab.gnome.org. The new hosting includes git hosting, a bug tracker and merge requests. Much of GNOME Core has moved this cycle, and I expect many more projects will move for the 3.30 cycle later this year.

Dark Theme Switch Removed

As promised, the Global Dark Theme switch has been removed. Read my previous post for more explanation of why it’s removed and a brief mention of how theme developers should adapt (provide a separate Dark theme!).

Improved Theme Handling

The theme chooser has been improved in several small ways. Now that it’s quite possible to have a GNOME desktop without any gtk2 apps, it doesn’t make sense to require that a theme provide a gtk2 version to show up in the theme chooser so that requirement has been dropped.

The theme chooser will no longer show the same theme name multiple times if you have a system-wide installed theme and a theme in your user theme directory with the same name. Additionally, GNOME Tweaks does better at supporting the  XDG_DATA_DIRS standard in case you use custom locations to store your themes or gsettings overrides.

GNOME Tweaks 3.27.4 with the HighContrastInverse theme

Finally, gtk3 still offers a HighContrastInverse theme but most people probably weren’t aware of that since it didn’t show up in Tweaks. It does now! It is much darker than Adwaita Dark.

Several of these theme improvements (including HighContrastInverse) have also been included in 3.26.4.

For more details about what’s changed and who’s done the changing, see the project NEWS file.

Posted in Debian, GNOME, Linux, Ubuntu

GNOME Tweaks 3.25.91

The GNOME 3.26 release cycle is in its final bugfix stage before release.

Here’s a look at what’s new in GNOME Tweaks since my last post.

I’ve heard people say that GNOME likes to remove stuff. If that were true, how would there be anything left in GNOME? But maybe it’s partially true. And maybe it’s possible for removals to be a good thing?

Removal #1: Power Button Settings

The Power page in Tweaks 3.25.91 looks a bit empty. In previous releases, the Tweaks app had a “When the Power button is pressed” setting that nearly duplicated the similar setting in the Settings app (gnome-control-center). I worked to restore support for “Power Off” as one of its options. Since this is now in Settings 3.25.91, there’s no need for it to be in Tweaks any more.

Removal #2: Hi-DPI Settings

GNOME Tweaks offered a basic control to scale windows 2x for Hi-DPI displays. More advanced support is now in the Settings app. I suspect that fractional scaling won’t be supported in GNOME 3.26 but it’s something to look forward to in GNOME 3.28!

Removal #3 Global Dark Theme

I am announcing today that one of the oldest and popular tweaks will be removed from Tweaks 3.28 (to be released next March). Global Dark Theme is being removed because:

  • Changing the Global Dark Theme option required closing any currently running apps and reopening them to get the correct theme.
  • It didn’t work for sandboxed apps (Flatpak and Snap)
  • It only worked for gtk3 apps (it can’t work on gtk2 apps)
  • Some themes never supported a Dark variant. The switch wouldn’t do anything at all with a theme like that.

Adwaita now has a separate Adwaita Dark theme. Arc has 2 different dark variations.

Therefore, if you are a theme developer, you have about 6-7 months to offer a dark version of your theme. The dark version can be distributed the same way as your regular version.

Removal #4 Some letters from our name

In case you haven’t noticed, GNOME Tweak Tool is now GNOME Tweaks. This better matches the GNOME app naming style. Thanks Alberto Fanjul for this improvement!

For other details of what’s changed including a helpful scrollbar fix from António Fernandes, see the NEWS file.

Posted in Debian, GNOME, Linux, Ubuntu

Link: Ubuntu @ GUADEC 2017 and plans for GNOME Shell migration

Since Didier Roche’s blog is not on Planet GNOME or Planet Debian and I think his post is of widespread interest, I’m linking to it here. Enjoy!

Ubuntu @ GUADEC 2017 and plans for GNOME Shell migration

Posted in Debian, GNOME, Linux

GNOME Tweak Tool 3.25.3

Today I released the second development snapshot (3.25.3) of what will be GNOME Tweak Tool 3.26.

I consider the initial User Interface (UI) rework proposed by the GNOME Design Team to be complete now. Every page in Tweak Tool has been updated, either in this snapshot or the previous development snapshot.

The hard part still remains: making the UI look as good as the mockups. Tweak Tool’s backend makes this a bit more complicated than usual for an app like this.

Here are a few visual highlights of this release.

The Typing page has been moved into an Additional Layout Options dialog in the Keyboard & Mouse page. Also, the Compose Key option has been given its own dialog box.

Florian Müllner added content to the Extensions page that is shown if you don’t have any GNOME Shell extensions installed yet.

A hidden feature that GNOME has had for a long time is the ability to move the Application Menu from the GNOME top bar to a button in the app’s title bar. This is easy to enable in Tweak Tool by turning off the Application Menu switch in the Top Bar page. This release improves how well that works, especially for Ubuntu users where the required hidden appmenu window button was probably not pre-configured.

Some of the ComboBoxes have been replaced by ListBoxes. One example is on the Workspaces page where the new design allows for more information about the different options. The ListBoxes are also a lot easier to select than the smaller ComboBoxes were.

For details of these and other changes, see the commit log or the NEWS file.

GNOME Tweak Tool 3.26 will be released alongside GNOME 3.26 in mid-September.

Posted in Debian, GNOME, Linux, Ubuntu

#newinstretch : Latest WebKitGTK+

GNOME Web (Epiphany) in Debian 9 "Stretch"

Debian 9 “Stretch”, the latest stable version of the venerable Linux distribution, will be released in a few days. I pushed a last-minute change to get the latest security and feature update of WebKitGTK+ (packaged as webkit2gtk 2.16.3) in before release.

Carlos Garcia Campos discusses what’s new in 2.16, but there are many, many more improvements since the 2.6 version in Debian 8.

Like many things in Debian, this was a team effort from many people. Thank you to the WebKitGTK+ developers, WebKitGTK+ maintainers in Debian, Debian Release Managers, Debian Stable Release Managers, Debian Security Team, Ubuntu Security Team, and testers who all had some part in making this happen.

As with Debian 8, there is no guaranteed security support for webkit2gtk for Debian 9. This time though, there is a chance of periodic security updates without needing to get the updates through backports.

If you would like to help test the next proposed update, please contact me so that I can help coordinate this.

Posted in Debian, GNOME, Ubuntu

GNOME Tweak Tool 3.25.2

Today, I released the first development snapshot (3.25.2) of what will be GNOME Tweak Tool 3.26. Many of the panels have received UI updates. Here are a few highlights.

Before this version, Tweak Tool didn’t report its own version number on its About dialog! Also, as far as I know, there was no visible place in the default GNOME install for you to see what version of GTK+ is on your system. Especially now that GNOME and GTK+ releases don’t share the same version numbers any more, I thought it was useful information to be in a tweak app.

Florian Müllner updated the layout of the GNOME Shell Extensions page:

Rui Matos added a new Disable While Typing tweak to the Touchpad section.

Alberto Fanjul added a Battery Percentage tweak for GNOME Shell’s top bar.

I added a Left/Right Placement tweak for the window buttons (minimize, maximize, close) . This screenshot shows a minimize and close button on the left.

I think it’s well known that Ubuntu’s window buttons have been on the left for years but GNOME has kept the window buttons on the right. In fact, the GNOME 3 default is a single close button (see the other screenshots). For Unity (Ubuntu’s default UI from 2011 until this year), it made sense for the buttons to be on the left because of how Unity’s menu bar worked (the right side was used by the “indicator” system status menus).

I don’t believe the Ubuntu Desktop team has decided yet which side the window buttons will be on or which buttons there will be. I’m ok with either side but I think I have a slight preference towards putting them on the right like Windows does. One reason I’m not too worried about the Ubuntu default is that it’s now very easy to switch them to the other side!

If Ubuntu includes a dock like the excellent Dash to Dock in the default install, I think it makes sense for Ubuntu to add a minimize button by default. My admittedly unusual opinion is that there’s no need for a maximize button.

  1. For one thing, GNOME is thoroughly tested with one window button; adding a second one shouldn’t be too big of a deal, but maybe adding a 3rd button might not work as well with the design of some apps.
  2. When I maximize an app, I either double-click the titlebar or drag the app to the top of the screen so a maximize button just isn’t needed.
  3. A dedicated maximize just doesn’t make as much sense when there is more than one possible maximization state. Besides traditional maximize, there is now left and right semi-maximize. There’s even a goal for GNOME 3.26 to support “quarter-tiling”.

Other Changes and Info

  • Ikey Doherty ported Tweak Tool from python2 to python3.
  • Florian Müllner switched the build system to meson. For an app like Tweak Tool, meson makes the build faster and simpler for developers to maintain.
  • For more details about what’s changed, see the log and the NEWS
  • GNOME Tweak Tool 3.26 will be released alongside GNOME 3.26 in mid-September.
Posted in Debian, GNOME, Linux, Ubuntu

Moving On

While I had been interested in Debian/Ubuntu packaging for a while, it was the release of GNOME 3 two years ago that gave me the opportunity to get involved significantly. As Ubuntu switched to Unity by default instead of a tweaked GNOME desktop, there was a need for contributors who cared about GNOME to step in and help out.

I’m sad to announce that due to immense personal and family responsibilities, I simply won’t have the time or ability to contribute to the Ubuntu GNOME effort much longer. I get a lot of happiness out of participating in a major open source software project. It is my charity work. I am very pleased that my volunteered computer skills can improve the lives of millions of people.

If you’ve been following the Ubuntu GNOME community, you have no doubt seen Tim Lunn’s work. Tim (darkxst) is an Ubuntu member, a GNOME Foundation member, and a Ubuntu Contributing Developer. He has submitted several fixes to gnome-shell, gdm, and other GNOME components. Tim is the clear choice to take over the Technical Lead role for Ubuntu GNOME.

After our first official release last month, this is a great time to pitch in. We can use additional packagers, testers, and more. The Ubuntu GNOME project is especially in need of help with QA — testing the development releases (and our PPAs) to identify problems, triage incoming bug reports, and certify the releases. Thanks!

Posted in GNOME, Ubuntu

Resigning from the Docs Team

I first got involved with Ubuntu docs around the time the Ubuntu 11.04 Beta was released. That was a very busy time as GNOME 3.0 was being finalized and Ubuntu 11.04 was switching to Unity by default. The GNOME Docs team had undertaken a massive rewrite of their user docs using the new Mallard topic-based format. The official Ubuntu documentation then was currently a snapshot of the GNOME docs but it was a bit outdated, missing a lot of the finalization work done by the GNOME volunteers at a recent hackfest.

I had been interested in contributing to docs for a while and seeing the documentation as seriously incomplete was the motivation I needed to step in and figure out what I could do to help. We had to merge in the latest GNOME improvements and rewrite the docs to mention Unity instead of GNOME Shell. We didn’t meet the normal deadlines (which meant the translators didn’t have a chance to do much by release day) but we shipped a nice update to the user docs for Ubuntu 11.04. I provided a lot of help and I wasn’t the only one.

But after 11.04 Jim moved on to contribute to GNOME directly. (Jim bucked the stereotype by switching from XFCE to GNOME when GNOME3 was released.) I would periodically remerge the GNOME work back into the Ubuntu documentation. I ended up being by far the major force keeping the Ubuntu documentation updated. Meanwhile, I was also contributing to the community in other ways by getting involved in packaging (especially GNOME) and contributing back to Debian and to GNOME itself. I also helped get the Ubuntu GNOME project going because of the widespread demand for a GNOME flavor of Ubuntu.

I’m very sad that life and my other responsibilities are pushing me to need to give up some of my responsibilities. I am stepping down from my Docs team responsibilities now. I will still be around for the next few weeks to help pass the torch to anyone who wants to take my place on the Docs team. After that I will be withdrawing my ~ubuntu-core-doc membership as well. This is a very sad moment for me and I’ve been putting it off for a while.

I was able to help Benjamin Kerensa and Kevin Godby today with some of their work to get the 13.04 user documentation out the door. Maybe they’ll help lead the next round of keeping the docs up to date; maybe others will help too. While most of my work involved the Ubuntu user guide, the other flavors of Ubuntu can use help too. I’m happy to see Doug Smythies and Peter Matulis take charge of the Server Guide. Pasi Lallinaho did a major rewrite of the Xubuntu docs last cycle. And the other flavors can use your help too.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Ubuntu documentation, jump in and get involved. Coordination happens in IRC on #ubuntu-doc and on the mailing list. Good English skills and organizational abilities are a must and you have to be willing to work with a format that looks similar to HTML and XML. To coordinate, we use bzr as the revision control system. You’ll need to learn that too but you don’t need to know how to use it from the start. You do not need to be a programmer.

Open Help Conference & SprintsAlso, I strongly recommend you look into attending the Open Help conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, in June. I went last year and it’s a great opportunity to meet the GNOME docs team (and contributors from other projects as well). The accompanying hackfest allows you to work with others and get a lot done in a few days.

Posted in GNOME, Ubuntu

Jeremy Bicha

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