DevConf.cz 2016 is just around the corner (starts on Feb 5th). If you’re going to attend the conference, the organizers have prepared useful information for you. Check devconf.cz and especially the transportation page. If any of your questions stay unanswered, you can ask the organizer directly in a group chat for DevConf.cz attendees on Telegram. The group chat will also be useful during the conference, but we will send important announcements there, attendees can share tips there etc.
January 25, 2016
January 18, 2016
After two weeks I’ve got another update on the add-on metadata initiative. The last update was not overly positive, but no one else participated during the Christmas break. After people returned from the holidays, there was a bit of breakthrough.
First people updated information in the table and we identified add-ons that had been obsoleted and thus it doesn’t make sense to include them in the app catalog.
Quite a few add-ons got their metadata files, so they should now appear in Software. For instance, all LibreOffice extensions that are packaged in Fedora repositories (kudos to David Tardon). Or additional Evolution plugins (kudos to Milan Crha). Last time, I mentioned that the maintainer of thunderbird-enigmail had refused to include AppStream metadata even though the file had been provided. This has also been solved (kudos to Christian Dersch and Stephen Gallagher) and now all Thunderbird extensions in Fedora repositories should be covered.
I and KDE guys in my team have also discussed organizing a hackfest during DevConf.cz where we would focus on app and add-on metadata for KDE applications because those are still not fully covered. Add-ons not at all.
And you can also participate if you have a bit of time (writing a metadata file really requires very little time). The job is far from done. And it will help make Fedora more user friendly again.
January 12, 2016
A couple of days ago, DevConf.cz 2016 schedule has been published. It’s bigger than ever before. This year, we have over 200 talks and workshops! There aren’t many bigger events devoted to open source in Europe. And I can finally enjoy it more because after 4 editions (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) I’m no longer the main organizer.
It takes a team of people to go through almost 400 submissions and make a schedule with over 200 of them. I put together desktop, Fedora, and CentOS tracks. So if you don’t like them I’m the one to blame ;)
Since there are many Fedora ambassadors coming to DevConf.cz anyway, we’ve decided to organize an EMEA Ambassadors Meetup which will take place on Sunday afternoon. I hope to see any ambassadors as possible there.
December 21, 2015
Due to previous efforts we have a pretty good appdata coverage of apps themselves, but apps are not the only entities that can be exposed to users in GNOME Software and other app catalogs that use the AppData format. Add-ons are another one. If an add-on has a metadata file it appears in the profile of the app it extends. This makes them much more discoverable for users.
The problem is that the vast majority of add-ons don’t have the metadata even though the new packaging guidelines say they should.
And it’s not very difficult to write them. Much easier than app metafiles where you need to include screenshots, longer descriptions etc. Writing a metadata file for an add-on is a matter of a couple of minutes. So let’s do something about it!
I’ve created a wikipage with a list of add-ons that are present in Fedora repositories and extend GUI apps. If you find any missing, please add them. And if you find any that you like and think it should definitely be more exposed to users, just write the metafile and submit it to the package maintainer and ideally to the upstream project as well.
December 20, 2015
In the desktop team of Red Hat, I’m responsible for development and Fedora/RHEL maintenance of apps which also include email clients Thunderbird and Evolution. It’s quite useful for me to have a rough idea what email clients Fedora users use. So I went ahead and asked them on Google Plus and Facebook and here are the results:
The results from Google+ are probably much more representative because they come from a much larger number of users. Facebook doesn’t support polls, so users had to answer in comments which resulted in much fewer votes. Polls in G+ only support 5 options, so if someone wanted to vote for a different client than web, Thunderbird, Evolution, Geary, or Kmail, they needed to write it in comments as well. It might have disadvantaged other clients a bit.
Web – this includes all web clients, vast majority of it is Gmail which seems to be by far the most popular email service among Fedora users. On Google+, web got almost 40% which is not a number that surprises me a lot. A fairly large portion of users doesn’t use desktop email clients any more, but it’s also not big enough to say that desktop clients are obsoleted. 2/3 of users still use desktop clients to access their mail.
Thunderbird – the most popular among desktop clients, it’s a solid email client with many years of development, and many users value its support for various platforms, so that they can use it on other OSes, too. The most mentioned weakness was (in)ability to be a good groupware client (calendaring, Exchange support,…). Some lost faith in Thunderbird after Mozilla announced it wanted to spin off its umbrella which many understood (probably wrongly) as killing it.
Evolution – the second most popular client is the default client of GNOME – Evolution. Clearly the most appraised feature of Evolution is its groupware nature and support of Exchange, it’s probably the only Linux client that reasonably supports Exchange. On the other hand, it lags behind Thunderbird in IMAP support and it’s Linux only. Like Thunderbird, it doesn’t have a big developer force behind it any more. Red Hat is currently the only one who invests in Evolution, unfortunately.
Geary – it’s the biggest surprise to me. Considering its author – Yorba Foundation – ceased to exist at the beginning of the year and Geary has been dead for months, it’s still pretty popular. It’s a modern client with really good support of Gmail, but if Thunderbird and Evolution don’t seem to face big future, chances that Geary will be further developed are currently minimal.
Kmail – another surprise to me, I thought the default client of KDE would be more popular, it may be caused by the fact that Fedora is primarily a GNOME distro, but it may also be caused by the fact that users have lost faith in it after many ups and downs in development after KDE 4.0.
Mutt – I expected Mutt to be in TOP6. A CLI client will never win popularity contests, but it has a fair amount of loyal users. Another CLI client Alpine only received less than half of votes.
Among other mentioned clients were Claws Mail, Sylpheed, Mu4e, Nylas N1, Lotus Notes, Pine, Zimbra, Seamonkey… but they each got fewer than 10 votes.
Linux desktop clients are not dead, they’re still used by majority of users, but none of the traditional ones has a larger community of contributors and very active development which brings poses questions about their future. It will be interesting to watch new approaches to desktop clients such as Nylas N1 which moves IMAP client to the server and provides just a really thin desktop client.
December 17, 2015
I and Carlos Soriano, the upstream maintainer of Nautilus, have been discussing if batch file renaming is a feature that makes a sense for the default file browser in GNOME and Fedora.
I’ve seen quite a few users complaining/wishing for the feature and competition has it. Finder in OS X has probably the most advanced batch file renaming, but Windows Explorer and Dolphin can do it to some degree, too.
There are a couple of plugins that add the feature to Nautilus, but they’re not actively maintained, they haven’t been for years. So if we want to make this feature available to users, it’s probably better to include it in Nautilus directly than relying on any of these plugins.
Is is something you miss in Nautilus? Do you use any other tool or even the Nautilus plugins to perform such a task? What are use cases typical Nautilus users have for such a feature?