my blog

Wednesday 9 March 2011

WebKit-powered gnome-web-photo

A few weeks ago, I was looking at what was still using an old version of XULRunner in openSUSE, and one of the few applications that was left with no port to XULRunner 2 (the one that will be out with Firefox 4) was gnome-web-photo. In case you don't know gnome-web-photo, it's a small utility originally written by Christian Persch, to capture screenshots of a web page, which can also be used to generate a thumbnail for web pages. It's actually the main reason why we care about it in openSUSE: having a thumbnailer for HTML files is a nice little touch.

So I look at porting gnome-web-photo to XULRunner 2, and... I felt some pain. I asked Christian about his plans and if he thought porting this utility to WebKit could be a good idea. As Christian was not working on it actively, he was open to the idea. After a few hours of coding (WebKitGTK+ is really cool, with its easy-to-use API), a rewrite was ready.

I did some more cleanup and added the option to print directly a web page to a printer, and then released gnome-web-photo 0.10. The only real regression, as far as I know, is that it won't handle correctly very tall web pages (like this one): it will simply cut the web page, because we're hitting some limits in some libraries below us. This is probably fixable by scrolling the page and writing the resulting image ourselves, but I really wanted to get the rewrite out and I'm not even sure people would notice this regression ;-)


Monday 7 March 2011

Google Summer of Code 2011 for GNOME & openSUSE

Every once in a while, I fall into a trap that causes me to care about a specific topic. Last week, this happened for the Google Summer of Code 2011.


I'm apparently going to be a GSoC co-admin for both GNOME and openSUSE, assuming the two organizations get accepted. But I'm not unhappy about that, since GSoC is one really amazing opportunity for free software projects to get useful contributions, but more importantly, to introduce new people to the projects. People who will stay as contributors later on, if we do a good job at making them feel welcome.


GNOME has participated to all GSoC, and that's something we're very proud of. The best part is that past students have become highly involved in GSoC in later years, with some of them being the main admins for GNOME. We usually have a team of several admins (at least four), and everybody has experience of GSoC, so organizing our participation is probably easier than for many projects. We've put all of our GSoC documentation online, and that's really the place to visit if you want to be a mentor or student for GSoC on a GNOME-related project.

We've just started collecting project ideas. If you work on something GNOME-related (or a cross-desktop technology), don't hesitate to add your project ideas there. The admin team will triage the list of ideas later on, so don't worry if your idea seems to be lost in a big list of ideas :-) Christophe will send a proper request for ideas in the next few days (if he hasn't already, I haven't read all my mails).

With GNOME 3 just around the corner, there is without a doubt a good opportunity to attract students: those are exciting times for GNOME where a student could make a big difference for 3.2/3.4 with a single project, and become a core actor of the GNOME 3 development, and therefore of the GNOME community!


For openSUSE, things are different: we participated three times (2006, 2008 and 2009), and our application was unfortunately rejected last year. So a few people worked hard in the past few weeks to increase our chances to participate this year (special thanks to Manu who did a good part of the job).

We gathered all the relevant information on the wiki and our community already offered many different project ideas (roughly 40, as of right now). What's exciting is with openSUSE, we offer topics ranging from low-level C code to Ruby on Rails, from infrastructure tools to end-user features, from openSUSE-specific topics to cross-distribution ones, etc. Our list of ideas is extremely broad, and we believe the technologies we cover are exciting for students. Thanks to this preliminary work, we've already got several students contacting us about the projects. Isn't that cool?

As the openSUSE Foundation might not be setup in time to receive GSoC money, we're considering various options as to what to do with the money. The two main contenders are leaving the money to Google for future similar initiatives (GSoC or Code-In, for example), and giving the money to another non-profit organization that we believe is important. We welcome feedback on this, so raise your voice if you have an opinion :-)

Friday 4 March 2011

openSUSE 11.4 Launch Party in Paris!

Andreas announced it yesterday: we're now all set for the release of openSUSE 11.4, with the final ISO being ready. The official release will occur next Thursday, on March 10th (we're giving a full week to mirrors so they can synchronize everything).Obviously we should all celebrate this release with a launch party!

There'll be such a party in Paris, at the Flam's near Châtelet on Saturday, March 19th at 19:30. This will be a great opportunity to meet other people from the openSUSE community in France! And if you can't come to Paris, then why not organize a party near your place?

If you want to attend the Paris launch party, please add your name to the wiki page so we can make an appropriate reservation.

If you wonder what comes next for the openSUSE-GNOME team, this answer is simple: GNOME 3 goodness! Frédéric already did most of the job, and we'll integrate that properly so that 11.4 users can enjoy GNOME 3 next month. Stay tuned...

by Vincent