Tag Archives: 3.0

File Organization & Gnome 3.0

Thank-you to Felix Kaser for pointing out Mark Shuttleworth’s interview with derStandard.at. It was an incredibly interesting read. While at the GCDS this year I made many guesses about the Ubuntu opinion on Gnome Shell and the plans for 3.0. They, as the largest distributor of a consumer linux desktop, have the most to lose or gain from the awesome 3.0 plans.

The part of the interview that struck me directly was Mark’s opinion on what is missing from our proposals:

Well initially there was a lot of discussions about something that was much less visual which is how files are organized and I even blogged about it. I think actually that could be a bigger  improvement in the every-day user experience of the GNOME desktop”

I don’t know about Mark, but I was surrounded by people who are desperate to solve this type of problem at GCDS. Rob Taylor & Philip Van Hoof were both present and really pushing tracker as a a usable, fast data-store for desktop metadata. I attended Thursdays ontology BoF with the two of them. Mark is right, this is generally an unsexy problem. People who missed the ‘Nature of e-mail containers’ conversation on Thursday afternoon avoided the GCDS nadir of boredom.

The real problems of how we present this to our users is still to come, and its much more difficult than providing a fast data-store or getting consensus on what the meta-data should look like. Still, its the sexy, exciting part where we should be able to get everyone involved. Mark may be surprised by how many at Codethink and elsewhere in the community are working on replacing the awful file-system metaphor for data organization. Obviously we haven’t done enough to get his attention yet, but that could change soon. (Small secret) Codethink should be putting resources into a demo app over the coming months for the purpose of showing off some cool new technologies, including the new Tracker. Wait for a blog post from Rob Taylor for the full details.

Accessibility 3.0

Last week I attended a week-long meeting at the Sun offices in Dublin. The purpose of the trip was to hammer out issues with the D-Bus AT-SPI port, so that everyone can feel more confident about its readiness for Gnome 3.0.

What a great week we ended up having. I should first say thanks to all that attended, Willie Walker, Mike Gorse, Li Yuan, Ke Wang, Brad Taylor, and Rob Taylor. Sun, Novell & Codethink also need thanking. They paid for everyone to be there, some flying from China, with no foundation money involved. The Gnome community is extremely lucky to have Willie devoting his time to accessibility. I dread to think what Gnome a11y would be like without his organization and direction

Willie organized the event, I imagine more out of fear at what he found in the D-Bus AT-SPI code-base than anything else. All told I think everyone was pleasantly surprised. The project will take a-lot of work to get to the level of maturity required, but loads has already been done. What is required of us for Gnome 3.0 isn’t our of our reach.

We started the week with a very brief overview of the design for AT-SPI D-Bus. Only Mike and I had much experience with the project and we wanted to get everyone up to speed.  This very quickly turned into a Q&A session and we figured out what the main issues were on Monday afternoon. Tuesday was spent on the important task of checking the D-Bus protocol specification against both the code and the IDL spec. This bought up a number of bugs, issues and improvements. It was well worthwhile. Amazingly Wednesday & Thursday were spent hacking by everyone, which is a great feat considering that four of us had only peeked at the code previously. So much got done. Orca is now running with a fair degree of success and we can move on to performance issues and application-specific bugs. For a full run-down of the still-to-dos and what-got-dones take a look at the weeks wiki.


Outside of work was great fun also. Dublin really is a beautiful city. Lots of green spaces nice buildings and extremely friendly people. The business park is pretty swanky also, and luckily the Oracle buildings are across the road from Sun. We went out to eat and drink in Temple bar, which apparently isn’t a bar. Wednesday involved a trip to the very very small Novell offices in Dublin. They are a way out of town, Brad and I were lucky to get there at all given the distinct lack of signs and road-names that have changed since Google scraped them. We met up with Alan McGovern, a Moonlight hacker, and along with a meal and a few drinks geeked the night away.  Alberto Ruiz took us all out for a nice meal on Thursday night. I forget where it was. You’ll have to ask him for the recommendation. Later we attended the Sun Pub Quiz. Luckily for me, our arrival was just as the Quiz part was ending. I’m not so good with the questions.

Me for 3.0

What am I doing for 3.0 I hear you ask? I’m sure you didn’t but I’m going to blurt it out anyway. I’ll be finding time any-where I can to work on D-Bus accessibility. Codethink has already dedicated lots of my time to the project, and there may be a little more in the future. The accessibility plan looks a little sketchy in the road-map, but I believe that with some hard work it can become a big success for the big release.


After ranting about my work I’d love to hear what everyone else us up-to. There must me more than a few semi-secret 3.0 charges taking place.