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Save the date: GNOME LATAM 2021, March 27th

I’m happy to spread the word that a GNOME event in Spanish and Portuguese is taking place this month, on the 27th of March. It will be a free virtual event with talks and panels where everybody is welcome.

You can register at https://events.gnome.org/event/82/registrations/33/

You can send talk proposals (in Portuguese and Spanish) at https://events.gnome.org/event/82/abstracts/

See you there!

 

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Call for Project ideas for Google Summer of Code 2021

It is that time of the year again when we start gathering ideas for Google Summer Code.

This time around we will be posting and discussing proposals in GNOME’s GitLab instance. Therefore, if you have a project idea that fits Google Summer of Code, please file an issue at https://gitlab.gnome.org/Teams/Engagement/gsoc-2021/-/issues/new using the “Proposal” template.

Everybody is welcome to add ideas, but it would be nice to verify whether the ideas are realistic and mentorship for it will be available. We encourage you to discuss your ideas with designers in #gnome-design to get their input and plan collaboration, especially if your ideas are related to one of the core GNOME modules.

Keep in mind that there are a few changes in GSoC this year:

  1. Smaller project size all students participating in the 2021 program will be working on a 175 hour project (instead of a 350 hr project). This change will also result in a few other changes including the student stipend being cut in half.
  2. Shortened coding period – the coding period will be 10 weeks with a lot more flexibility for the mentor and student to decide together how they want to spread the work out over the summer. Some folks may choose to stick to a 17-18 hour a week schedule with their students, others may factor in a couple of breaks during the program (for student and mentor) and some may have students focus 30 hours a week on their project so they wrap up in 6 weeks. This also makes it a lot easier for students with finals or other commitments (weddings, etc.) to adjust their schedules.
  3. 2 evaluations (instead of 3) – There will be an evaluation after 5 weeks and the final evaluation will take place after the 10th week. We are also no longer requiring students complete their first evaluation (though we encourage them to do so), so if a student doesn’t complete the first evaluation they will not automatically be removed from the program. They are still required to complete the final evaluation.
  4. Eligibility requirements – In 2020 there are many ways students are learning and we want to acknowledge that so we will be allowing students who are 18 years old AND currently enrolled (or accepted into) a post-secondary academic program as of May 17, 2021 or have graduated from a post-secondary academic program between December 1, 2020 and May 17, 2021 to apply to the GSoC program.

If you have any doubts, please don’t hesitate to contact the GNOME GSoC Admins on Discourse or https://chat.gnome.org/channel/outreach

** This is a repost from https://discourse.gnome.org/t/call-for-project-ideas-for-google-summer-of-code-2021/5454 to reach a broader audience. Please share! **

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Delivering osinfo-db updates automatically for Flatpak users

If you are familiar with GNOME Boxes internals you are aware that our secret sauce is libosinfo. It does the OS image detection and provides us with a database of devices, preferences, and compatibility for the operating systems we support.

In the world of traditional package management tools, osinfo-db is the package responsible for delivering updates about new operating system’s releases, fixes, and improvements that Boxes will consume. So whenever you wonder why the newest EndlessOS or the newest Debian release isn’t listed in the Boxes download section, it is likely that osinfo-db is outdated.

The pipeline from upstream -> distros -> to users is extremely valuable for apps and libraries. It is our “integration testing” phase. But for data-only packages like osinfo-db, we noticed that most users’ complains are regarding the package being outdated. We rarely see bugs introduced by osinfo-db updates. The very separation of the dataset (osinfo-db) and the library (libosinfo) is the reason for us to feel confident about contentiously delivering the dataset directly to our users.

For this reason, Flatpak users of GNOME Boxes will now benefit from the OsinfoDb Flatpak extension. It allows us to deliver osinfo-db updates direclty to users without updating the entire Boxes Flatpak. If you are receiving automatic updates in GNOME Software, the osinfo-db update is seamlessly.

Boxes still bundles its own osinfo-db data for those that don’t want to consume the extension. This will be updated whenever the Boxes Flatpak is updated, so expect it in a slower cadence.

Nothing is required from users to transition to this. Flatpak will pull the extension for you once you update Boxes.

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GUADEC 2020: Intern lightning talks

This year’s GUADEC was a blast. I miss seeing everybody in person but, at the same time, the online event enabled the participation of many that otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend the conference. I hope we can continue having an online conference alongside our in-person ones, for more people to participate.

During the Intern lightning talks, we had the chance to follow up with the progress of 12 of our 14 GSoC interns and hear from 5 past interns about their experiences after finishing their internships with GNOME.

The past-interns lightning talks session is something I want us to repeat next year. It was a great opportunity for our current interns to inspire themselves with the journey of others that have managed to stay involved with the project. This is extremely important to us because the ultimate goal of having internships is to provide an opportunity for developers to get involved with GNOME long term, becoming the next generation of hackers that will continue pushing our community forward.

Managing a session with 17 different presenters was made easy thanks to Big Blue Button. The recordings are available below.

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Identifying Operating Systems in GNOME Boxes

One secret sauce of GNOME Boxes is libosinfo. It basically is an umbrella for three components: libosinfo, osinfo-db-tools, and osinfo-db.

libosinfo offers programmatic means to query for information about OSes. osinfo-db-tools is a set of tools that help manipulate and extract information from OS images (such as ISO files). osinfo-db is a database of operating system information describing requirements for virtualized installations as well as virtual drivers and devices that work with each OS in the database.

For a given image file, Boxes will use libosinfo to detect which operating system it contains and assign the appropriate configuration preferences for it.

When an operating system’s data was not present in osinfo-db, we used to treat the image file as an “unknown OS”, which would get set up with the Boxes default configuration preferences. This usually works, but when it fails, it gets really hard for a regular user to use the virtual machine. Think of a wrong virtual video driver causing the guest’s graphic session to hang, or a virtual tablet device getting on the way of gestures being passed to the guest, etc…

For this very reason, we decided to add an extra page in our VM creation assistant that will only get visible for those “unknown” OSes. This page allows you to specify which operating system you intend to install. This way Boxes can use libosinfo to set up your VM with the right configuration preferences for the chosen OS.

screenshot

If you can’t find your OS in the list, try picking a similar one. For instance, if Linux Mint isn’t on the list, you are probably better off telling Boxes it is a Ubuntu or Debian based OS.

Not choosing anything on this page is also fine, in this case, Boxes will go with its defaults.

New operating systems can be added to the osinfo-db by creating merge requests in their GitLab repository.

This (with some more polishing) and other changes will be available in GNOME Boxes 3.38. If you can’t wait, give a go to our *unstable* nightly Flatpak.

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GUADEC 2020: Intern lightning talks

Hi, I hope you are all enjoying GUADEC! I am just passing by to let you know that on Monday 27th, 18:00 UTC, we will have our traditional Intern lightning talks where you will get to see our Outreachy and Google Summer of Code  interns present their projects.

This year we will also have a few past interns sharing their stories about their experiences as interns and how GNOME has helped their professional careers.

https://events.gnome.org/event/14 (Track 1)

Stay tuned!

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Let’s welcome our 2020 GSoC interns!

It is Google Summer of Code season again and this year the GNOME project is lucky to have 14 new interns working on various projects ranging from improvements in our app ecosystem to core components and infrastructure.

The first period, from May 4 to June 1, is the Community Bonding period. Interns are expected to flock into our communication channels, ask questions, and get to know our project’s culture. Please, join me in welcoming our students and making sure they feel at home in our community.

This year we will be using Discourse as our main communication channel regarding the program, therefore if you are a mentor or intern, please make sure to check https://discourse.gnome.org/c/community/outreach for announcements. Feel free to create new topics if you have any questions. The GNOME GSoC admins will be monitoring the Outreach category and answering any doubts you might have.

Here is the list of interns and their respective projects https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/organizations/5428225724907520/#projects

Tips for students

First of all, congratulations! This is just the beginning of your GNOME journey. Our project is almost 23 years old and likely older than some of you, but our community gets constantly renewed with new contributors passionate about software freedom. I encourage you to take some time to watch the recordings of Jonathan Blandford’s “The History of GNOME” talk in GUADEC 2017 so you can grasp how we have grown and evolved since 1997.

The first thing you want to do after celebrating your project’s acceptance is to contact your mentor (if they haven’t contacted you first).

Second, introduce yourself on our “Say Hello” topic! Don’t forget to mention that you are in GSoC 2020, the project you will be working on, and who’s your mentor.

Third, set up a blog where you will be logging your progress and talking directly to the broader community. In case you need help with that, ask your mentors or the GSoC admins. Intern blogs get added to Planet GNOME, which is a feed aggregator of posts written by dozens of GNOME Foundation members.

Many of us read Planet GNOME daily! Besides, some of our active contributors have participated as interns in past editions of GSoC. You can dig for their blogposts and get a better sense of how these progress reports are written.

It is totally normal for you to have questions and doubts about the program, to help with that, we will be hosting a Q&A on May 12 at 17:00 UTC in our RocketChat channel. All of you will receive an invitation by email this week too. If you can’t make it, feel free to join the channel at any time and ask questions there as well.

If during your internship you have a problem with your mentor (lack of communication, or misunderstandings, or deep disagreements, or
anything else), don’t hesitate to report that to the GNOME GSoC administrators.

Last but not least, have fun!

 

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Announcing “Connections”: a modern remote desktop client for GNOME

Yes! Connections is a brand new app that I put together in the last month. It is a remote desktop client for the VNC and RDP protocols on top of the same backend code that we were already using in GNOME Boxes*: gtk-vnc and gtk-frdp.

The main motivation to write this application is to have a drop-in replacement for Vinagre** that is modern, easier to maintain and follows the HIG. Besides, we want to have a GNOME app to point users to when they ask for more/advanced remote-connection options in Boxes.

The app is at an early development stage where it can be tested and even used for simple remote connection tasks. I started filling issues in GitLab so others can pick up tasks that they might be interested in helping.

It basically has the same code base as GNOME Boxes for the protocol/display specific code, so you will likely get the same experience as with remote connections in Boxes today. Of course, the plan is for later to add more and more remote connection specifics to empower our users without cluttering our interface. That’s the GNOME Way™. 🙂

Connections can be downloaded from Flathub by clicking the button below.

Download on Flathub

For now, I would NOT encourage downstream packagers to distribute the application, since lots of it will change until our 3.38 (first stable) release. Flatpak allows for the control we need when starting the development of a brand new application, and this way we can strive for the best experience our users can have by delivering updates directly to them.

Putting GNOME Connections together wouldn’t have been easier without Flatpak, GNOME Builder, GNOME Boxes, Vala, and GTK. Our platform is becoming very accessible for native application development thanks to all these efforts. We all appreciate it! ♥

* These features will live in Boxes for some time to allow for user migration, but they will be likely removed by the time we will be releasing 3.40.

** Vinagre is now in maintenance mode and won’t be getting new features. Eventually, we will sunset it.

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DevConf.CZ 2020

Once again, DevConf.CZ, is our meeting-while-freezing winter conference in Brno. For this year I cooked up two talks:

An hour-long talk about Portals during the first day of the conference. The room was almost full and the questions were very relevant. A few attendees met me after the talk seeking help to make their apps start using Portals and with ideas for new Portals.  You can watch the recordings below:

On the last conference day, I had a quick twenty minutes talk about GNOME Boxes in the virtualization track. The audience wasn’t our known faces from the desktop talks, so I got the chance to show Boxes for the first time for a bunch of people. I did a quick presentation with live demos and Q&A. It was a success IMHO. Check the recordings below:

Besides, I participated in the “Diversity and Inclusion” and “Women in Open source” meetups. It was a good opportunity to see what other teams are doing to be more diverse and also to share my personal experiences with mentoring with Outreachy.

Langdon White had a talk on Fedora Silverblue raising important questions about the development workflow in it. I was glad some of their issues were already addressed and fixed, but I recommend to those who didn’t attend this talk to watch the recordings. It is important feedback.

I felt honored to be mentioned in Rebecca Fernandez’s talk about “Growing your career via open source contributions”, where she had slides showing people’s stories, including mine.

I managed to catch up with the developments of the virgil driver on Windows in order to support Direct3D, and discuss other future developments with folks from the SPICE team.

Other than that, I attended many podman/containers talks to better understand their development workflows and how we could accommodate these workflows in Silverblue. I spoke to Red Hatters from other teams that need CodeReadyContainers to test their applications, and how we could improve their workflow in Fedora Workstation.

Lastly, I had a great time with [delicious] food and drinks at the DevConf Party in Fleda, which is 200 meters away from our flat. 🙂

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Ten Years Contributing to GNOME!

Time flies! Exactly ten years ago today I made my first contribution to GNOME.

I rarely celebrate recurring dates but this is a nice rounded number that serves as the perfect excuse for me to publish this letter of appreciation to our community.

For me, it all started with a hardware vendor trying to cheap their desktop machine’s price by putting Linux on it. Initially, we didn’t have internet at home, so I spent a significant amount of time just exploring the OS and toggling every knob I could find in the UI. The first issues I encountered were missing translations. Googling for that lead me to discover the wonders of Free and Open Source Software. I could contribute that missing translation!

Playing with computers wasn’t always my hobby. I had an offline childhood, despite being a 90’s kid. A career in anything computer-related was unthinkable given our economic reality at the time. My parents are low paid public servants, so I was inclined to find myself a job in the public sector too. I had strong feelings about teaching, just like my mom, but computers… well, they are addictive!

When I was sixteen years old I made my first contributions to the Brazilian Portuguese translation team in GNOME. This was also when I started reading Planet GNOME. Your neckless floating heads were god-like figures to me. I couldn’t understand 90% of the topics discussed due to my limited English and technical skills at the time, but I basically just kept on reading everything. Really. IRC logs, mailing lists, blog aggregators, social media timelines… everything scrolled all the way to the bottom. This is indeed overwhelming, but it has helped me put everything together and ~kind of~ grasp what software development looked like.

Because of my new found passion for computers, and GNOME specifically, I decided to study computer science. Since then I have participated in Google Summer of Code, worked as a contractor with GNOME technologies, and landed my current (and dream) job at Red Hat’s Desktop Team. It’s been five years now since I moved to Brno, and these have been *by far* the happiest years of my life. I have now experienced so many things that were unthinkable back when I started, I have been able to help my family, and start a family of my own here in my new home, Czech Republic.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without those who came before, paving the way for me.

This way, I wanted to make this Ten Year Celebration about you, GNOME community member that might not know how much positive change you might be bringing to other people’s lives.

Thank YOU!