Friday 4 March 2011

GNOME 3 on Gentoo and related news

As those of you who follow the Gentoo GNOME Overlay know, GNOME 3 is shaping up nicely in the overlay, and runs according to upstream's intentions quite well. Whatever is missing should be filed as a bug and will be taken care of. :-)

Now that it's been a few days since the release cycle entered UI freeze, we have been able to evaluate whether or not you folks (i.e., our users), will be able to transition from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 without too much pain. We came to the conclusion that there is no particular hurry to let go of GNOME 2.32, and that we should wait for things to settle down before unleashing GNOME 3 on our users.

Hence, this blog post serves as a notice for all Gentoo GNOME users about the fact that the addition of the latest GNOME to ~arch in the Gentoo portage tree will be delayed much more than usual. People who wish to be early-birds and try out GNOME 3 (and help with bugs!) should check out the Gentoo GNOME Overlay (layman -a gnome).

One of the reasons for this is that besides the inevitable (temporary) feature regressions, parts of the design of GNOME 3 are still a work-in-progress, and some of the existing designs aren't fully implemented yet. For instance, file management is currently in a half-way state, network-manager-applet is still being used, and the fallback mode needs work. In addition, a11y support in GNOME Shell is incomplete, and from what I can make out, it's not in a "shippable" state.

However, the list will definitely change before the final release. Things are in a fluid state at the moment, with upstream maintainers working hard at fixing bugs before the final freeze (you should help them in this!).

Another reason for the delay is that the influx of GNOME 3 libraries which need to be installed alongside GNOME 2 libraries means that the dependencies of a lot of in-tree ebuilds need to be adjusted. This is mostly straightforward work; except where slotting of libraries was not feasible, and porting to GTK+3 will need to be done. To ease the transition, and allow porting, GNOME 3.0 will probably be added to the tree hard-masked, or stay in the overlay till the work is done.

Looking at how things are moving, the upper limit for when GNOME 3 will get added to the ~arch tree is the 3.2 release. I have a personal stake in this, since I particularly love GTK+3, GSettings, GDBus, and GNOME Shell. I somehow feel an OCD need to see everything ported away from GTK+2/GConf/dbus-glib/bonobo/libunique towards GTK+3/GSettings/GDBus/GtkApplication. :D

In related news, thanks to the efforts of Amadeusz Żołnowski (aidecoe), Plymouth is now in the tree! I tried it out, and it seems to work quite well. I'd love to see the Gentoo community create more Gentoo-centric themes for it. The absence of Larry the Cow was sorely felt. :-)

Some of you may remember my last blog post, which was about systemd on Gentoo. Fellow dev Greg KH has taken up the mantle of getting systemd into the tree. Thanks to everyone on the bug report for making systemd work on Gentoo, and thanks to Greg for volunteering to get it into the tree!

Here's to a very exciting 2011 year!