For the past few years the Ubuntu Massachusetts Local Community team has been asked to present Ubuntu at the LPANE / Intel Nor’Easter Lanfest and this year was no exception. In the previousyears we brought laptops and some low end desktops with wine barely running some low end games and showing off some of the open source games available at the time. We just didn’t have the proper equipment to demo. We did get some interest from people wanting to run Ubuntu dual boot for when they’re not gaming. But most people were really itching to bring their gaming experience to the Ubuntu desktop and until recently that wasn’t really an option (without a lot of work).
This year I was able to acquire a decent desktop and a 32″ LCD TV which I brought from home. This coupled with the latest innovation from the wine project enabled us to demo games from the Steam platform like Half-Life:2 and Team Fortress 2. We also had Starcraft playing perfectly. A lot of people were surprised on how well the games ran and excited about the progress Ubuntu and the wine project has made. We ended up doing 2 installs during the event and gave out a bunch of CD’s and what little swag we had.
The plan for next year is to have another decent gaming rig, possibly 2 or 3 so we can demo the recently announced Steam linux client, possibly even compete in some tournaments with an Ubuntu sponsored team.
All in all, it was a very fun event. Thanks to Martin for coming with me at the last minute and manning the table while I took off for a couple hours to geocache with Tom, the event organizer. Thanks to Justin who helped man the table the entire weekend and demo games. Thanks to Tom for having us at the event again and thanks to my fiance Sara who baked 4 batches cookies for everyone and packed me enough food and caffeine to last the 2 days and for supporting me in these projects.
P.S. we tried to get our table right next to the Microsoft Windows 7 tent which had one guy and a couple laptops and had a minesweeper tournament but another vendor got there before us. Take that any way you like and feel free to leave comments.
step #4 fix the problem. So it turns out that the way in which the icons were being displayed wasn’t exactly incorrect. We were just letting the “gtk-menu-images” overwrite us and not show the menu icons for the application. The solution is in gtk_image_menu_item_set_always_show_image (). This forces the display of the icons we specify. Thanks goes out to Glatzor and his comment to my original post about this issue. Thanks also goes out to kklimonda from #ubuntu-app-devel on FreeNode for helping me figure out the right syntax and areas to add this item. There was some grepping and reading involved on my part. I had the right file and was close to the right area, just didn’t have it 100% on my own.
step #5 submit fix to launchpad. Thanks goes out to doctormo for helping with this one. I had already used Ground Control to pull down a branch of my own to work on. Now it was just a matter of cleaning up the added files from compiling and committing my changes. After that you upload the changes to launchpad and propose the changes to be merged into the main trunk. I also linked my branch to the existing bug to keep things in order. Now I just wait for the maintainer to hopefully merge my changes and for them to make it into the next build of gSTM in some future version of ubuntu.
step #6 Now what I’d like to do is take my changes and the changes made in trunk that aren’t in the version of gSTM in the Ubuntu repositories, compile them all together, package them and submit them to my own PPA until they all make it into the main repositories. It’s going to be a bit pick and choose or at least involve some more bug fixing since one of the branches made a change that broke the notification icon. I might revert these changes in my PPA build since I don’t care for the intended new icon anyway.
One of the first applications I like to install on a fresh build of ubuntu is called gSTM or “Gnome SSH Tunnel Manager”. This allows me to setup and enable multiple ssh tunnels to/from different places with the click of a button. It provides a nice notification area icon which I can click and see at a glance all the tunnels I have preconfigured. In this same dialog box it shows the connection status of each tunnel indicated by a red(off) green(on) or yellow(?) icon to the left on the tunnel name.
Since Ubuntu 9.10, these status indicator icons are broken by default and need to be turned on by enabling “show menu icons” in the interfaces tab in the appearance preferences. Now with Ubuntu 10.04, this option has been removed from the preferences completely breaking the icons with little to no recourse(yes we can use gconf, I shouldn’t have to!).
Upon discussing (read: complaining) this problem with some of the Gnome community, I have been told that the use of these menu icons in this manner is incorrect and show be done by other means.
I plan to figure out the correct way to show these icons and resume functionality to this application and try to document my journey on here.
Step #1 Try to contact original developer: – fail. The contact the developer link on sourceforge gave me a bounceback email.
Step #3 Download the source code. – I originally downloaded the tarball from sourceforge. The problem with this is, there’s no debian directory and other magic bits to allow for easy packaging for debian/ubuntu which I would like to do in the end. I then downloaded the source in ubuntu using “sudo apt-get source gstm” which downloads all the source files to /usr/src/gstm1.2 including the packaging bits. And then I remembered about this whole Opportunistic developers thing and more specifically Ground Control by Martin Owens. I already had this installed so I just searched for “gstm” and downloaded the project and what I THINK is the correct branch to work from (gstm 1.2).
I’ve briefly looked at the icons it uses (green.xpm red.xpm yellow.xpm) and grepped for mentions of them in the code. So far i’ve come up with main.c and fniface.c.
Tonight I might try my hand at using one of the other applications mentioned in Jono’s Opportunistic Developer post called Quickly to see if I can import this project and see how it interacts with this developer environment.
Will the serial port as a console connection ever be displaced — especially for devices such as switches, routers, SAN boxes, etc.? In one sense it’s a simple connection. But it is the only current port that, in order to use, you need to know about wiring / baud rates / parity, etc. It has non-standard pinouts. And it is becoming too slow to upload firmware to dead devices, as the firmware updates get larger. Also, the serial port is rapidly disappearing from new laptops — which is where you often really need it, in data centers. Centronics, PS/2, and current loop are mostly defunct. Is there any sign on the horizon of a USB console connection?”
This has been a question of my own for a while. There are lots of switches, routers, PDU’s and even servers where we use serial for direct connection. For the servers we use IPMI for remote console. This helps when the OS has died for some reason or we need to change BIOS settings. It’s certainly a nice and alreasy existing feature to have. But as the article states, the setup is more manual as far as configuring port speed and such as well as being really slow for todays standards.
I don’t know. I’m torn between a tried and true technology and moving forward with improved speed and standard connections. What do you guys think?
Here’s another reason why removing menu icons in Gnome (as well as removing the choice to turn them back on) is a bad idea. What about the 3rd party applications that rely on menu icons that are now turned off by default with no easy way for the average user to turn them back on?
My example is a project called Gnome SSH Tunnel Manager (gSTM)
The application creates ssh tunnels using an easy interface. It sits in the notification area with easy 1-click(right) access to turn tunnels on and off while showing their running status with a red or green light next to the name of each saved tunnel.
This application uses menu icons for it’s status icons as well as the Quit button at the bottom and “show gSTM” button at the top.