31 December 2008

Holiday Hacking

I haven't posted in about 2 weeks, so I figure I ought to give a quick update on what's going on. I'm with the family for the holidays, and there's no wireless at my mom's house, and things are nuts what with the whole extended family visiting. Oh, and my mother has not complained at all about Hardy (upgraded her computer from Gutsy in August), so yay. I mentioned before that I wanted to teach my little cousin Python. I gave her an old laptop I salvaged that runs Edubuntu for Christmas. She seems to love KAnagram. She was also really excited when I showed her KTurtle and helped her make the turtle draw a blue triangle. In the Python world, I've only shown her a print "Hello "+name thing so far. She looked back and forth between the line where I set name's value and that line and the output line a few times then went "oh!" so I think she understood variables.

OK so I got Hardy and Edubuntu into that paragraph. See, I wasn't totally off-topic! Anyway, the rest is about my "Holiday Hacking" project.

I like having a gradient on my gnome-panel. Consequently, every time I change my theme, I go into GIMP and make a matching gradient background image. I improved this process slightly by creating an SVG in which I can just change the color values. Blogger won't let me upload an SVG, so here's a png:

screenshot of my current panel background

Since this gets old after a while, I'm working on adding functionality to gnome-panel so that I can pick a shadow color, a highlight color, and an opacity level for the highlight. I can't be the only one that likes the look of a gradient on a panel, so I'm sure someone else could get some use out of this.

A peek at the addition to the panel-properties-dialog:

screenshot of configuration GUI

I need to look more into how Cairo's gradients work though. One of the things I did to make the gradient on my SVG look balanced and keep the text legible was put the highlight's color stop 1/3 from the top and the top shadow color stop is actually 15% above the edge of the image. I'm not sure I can do that 15%-outside thing with Cairo. Might have to find a midway color value and set that as the top color stop. We'll see.

The status of this project is that I've modified the .glade file so there's some UI already, and I've settled on using GDK's Cairo integration because Cairo can easily paint linear rgba gradients. I think I've gone through all the functions that setup what options there are for background types, and tonight I started tying the functions to the buttons I made in Glade. Still a lot more to go (like actually writing the gradient part), but I need to have a way for the buttons and gconf to communicate before I can have any way to interact with (read: test) the gradient stuff, so I figure I ought to do that first.

I don't know if this'll make it into GNOME 2.26 or if it'll have wait until the Fall release. UI Freeze is next week, and obviously there's a UI change involved. Maybe I can submit the UI change next week and then keep working right up until Feature Freeze (19 Jan) to get it in this release.

Anyone else spending their holidays hacking on FOSS?


Jon Wayne Parrott said...

Great idea, I've been using gradient images forever, I think it's well over-due to have this feature. If you need some help getting it done before feature-freeze, let me know.

Livio said...

Can we wish for other gradient types also ^^ ?

Mike said...

Awesome addition! I want this as well.

Anonymous said...

Very worthy addition Mac.

Great work if you can get it finished...


Mackenzie said...

I'm just working on a basic "shine"-style gradient, but other styles could be added later. It's FOSS after all :P

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Really your mother uses LINUX full time wow.... IDK I just found linux hard.... I tried UBUNTU and it just gave me a headache so Ive been with windows everysince.

I liked KDE.... but everyone told me its dead or is dying... heh...... And using REGULAR Ubuntu like I said just blows my itty bitty windows brain lol.

~ Christopher ~


Anonymous said...

I'm curious Christopher, what exactly did you find so difficult about Ubuntu? I write a blog and I would like to address these issues.


Mike said...

Chris, I'd also like to know too. The first part of learning how to use Linux is to not focus on how different it is from Windows. Decide what you need to accomplish and research/learn how it can be accomplished. There are some great FOSS alternatives to Windows only software.

Mackenzie said...

Haha my mom's used Ubuntu since 6.06, just like me. I put it on my laptop in July 2006 and on her desktop in Nov that year.

She couldn't figure out Windows. She would open old Word docs and hold down backspace to get a blank document because she couldn't figure out the Start Menu. That arrange-by-vendor thing doesn't make nearly as much sense as the categories the GNOME menu uses.

Ethan Anderson said...

My mom, grandma, sister, and I use Ubuntu. I wouldn't think of putting them on anything else, and I've found nothing else better for myself (and I do try other things every once in a while).

The gradient thing sounds great and I would love for it to get into Jaunty. Thanks for your efforts.

Jon Wayne Parrott said...

I've been using Linux for many years, and I just feel comfortable on it. I work with windows and mac machines all day, and it's nice to use my linux machine. It just feels like coming home. =}

@Christopher: KDE is far from dead, check out KDE.org, it may just be the most revolutionary desktop movement as of right now. ( KDE 3 is dead, but you can still get it, and run KDE 4 and Gnome apps on it. )

Keith said...

I've got mature students using Linux via the Asus EeePC and similar 'webbooks'. The College where I teach Maths has a couple of trolleys with the little computers on, and these are doing great things for OS software and Linux acceptance.

A local library runs StarDesktop computers with a Linux OS, OpenOffice and Firefox. I asked one of the Librarians how people reacted to this. She said something along the lines of " the younger ones just work it out, the older ones need help anyway, irrespective of OS"

MacKenzie said "She looked back and forth between the line where I set name's value and that line and the output line a few times then went "oh!" so I think she understood variables."

Ace: you can teach her a lot of maths that way as well!

sultoni Lung said...

nice to meet you......

Anonymous said...

WOW.... version 6.06 holy cow thats way back when... My parents they would go what the heck is this lol if I put it on the old pc.... I think they're like me they've used windows forever and ever.

I tried ubuntu and I just dont know I couldnt get use to it. I had a friend try to teach me and it was just way over my head having to remember sudo this and sudo that... I know that I found ok call this weird but KUBUNTU easier to use than UBUNTU for some reason... I really had no issues with it even though everyone tells me that its dead lol and hardly worked on that they're putting more into GNOME than KDE. :(