4.4 ETA?

Brian J. Tarricone bjt23 at cornell.edu
Mon Dec 5 02:32:06 CET 2005

Hash: SHA1

Jani Monoses wrote:

> - is the coupling between panel, xfwm and xfdesktop going to be loose
> enough to use one but not the others from 4.4?

None of the three depend on each other in any way.

> - is xfdesktop the same as Benny's xfdesktop from os-works?

No.  Also, is not considered a part of the "official" Xfce, and AFAIK,
Benny's xfdesktop is not developed any longer.  Differences off the top
of my head:

Benny's xfdesktop:

* Has a more-or-less fd.o-compliant menu system.

Official xfdesktop:

* Creates the menu similar to how fd.o suggests, but does not use menu
files as specified by the spec.  The menus end up being a bit different
in practice.
* Has more features in the menu plugin for the panel (icon and text, use
different menu files).
* Has a couple more backdrop-drawing features (Xinerama stretch, etc.).
* Has support for minimised window icons on the desktop.

This may be a bit of an unfair comparison, as I've never used Benny's
xfdesktop, so I only know what I've been told, and I don't know if he's
been working on it behind the scenes.  Also the official xfdesktop is my
work, so obviously I'm likely to promote it a bit more.  I'm by no means
an unbiased source.

> - do new apps and orage in particular assume xfce4.4 or will they run on
> 4.2 too? Do xfcegui, xfceutil and xfcemcs stay mostly compatible?

The base libraries should remain backward-compatible, but apps that
require a higher version will not run on a lower version.  I'm not sure,
but I think orage requires 4.3/4.4 at present.  You can always try
compiling against 4.2 libs to find out.  Xfmedia will continue to work
against 4.2 libs for at least a few months after 4.4 comes out, and
possibly longer.

> - what new fd.o standards are planned to be supported in 4.4 vs 4.2?
> From the above article 'Session Manager: Now supports the new startup
> items standard' and also Erik mentioned the possibility of using tango.

Aside from the autostart items spec, I don't believe there's anything
new on this front.  We're not going to use Tango's icon theme, as we
already have a perfectly wonderful icon theme.  We may modify the Rodent
theme to provide the icon names suggested by the icon naming spec, but I
don't think anyone's actively working on it.

> - what is the status of xfce feature-freeze-wise as I understand the
> code itself is still devel. Anything else planned for panel besides
> stabilization and porting of existing plugins? Anything planned for
> xfce-session?

Feature-freeze is not in effect yet, and we haven't discussed a firm
date (maybe we should?).  I can't speak for the plans of others, but I
don't really plan on doing all that much more with xfdesktop aside from
bugfixes and minor improvements.  Though that's not set in stone; search
bugzilla for all 'enhancement' requests for a list of things I might
work on if I have time, plus anything random that pops into my head.

> I hope you take this just as a gentle nudge and not an annoying attempt
> at making you reveal your most secret devel plans :)  But since most of
> the development - besides thunar maybe - goes on in relative quiet, it
> is not easy to figure out from just svn commits what stage you're at and
> how to best integrate this with the clearer schedule I need for ubuntu.

I know you're mostly joking, but there are no "secret devel plans".  In
many cases there are no devel plans at all.  Some think this is a bad
thing, but I don't really look at it as good or bad at all: it just is.
 We're a very small group of developers, with other lives beyond Xfce,
so whatever we have time to do ends up being what gets done.  Lurking on
this list will usually tell you what's going on, though I'll admit for
myself I probably don't talk too much about what I'm doing until I make
the first SVN commit adding the new functionality.  Probably because I
never really know if I'll have time to get around to finishing something
until it's done ^_~.  I'm sure this is seems a bit confusing and
disorganised if you're more familiar with the GNOME or KDE development
processes, and you'd probably be right.

> PS: and since Brian mentioned xfce's reputation yesterday please feel
> free to make suggestions regarding what you expect from an xfce centric
> distribution, and also what decisions you would feel uneasy with.

1.  I'd feel a bit uncomfortable with someone distributing a non-release
version, unless they'd done a significant amount of stabilisation work
(and hopefully contributes that work back to Xfce!).  While many people
will report bugs via your distro's bug tracker, we will still get a lot
of people reporting bugs to us, and there's no way we can provide
support for slightly-forked version.  It'll likely waste a lot of our
time simply finding out that the person with a problem isn't even
running one of our releases.

2.  If you're going to call it an Xfce-based distro, it would be nice to
use all "official" Xfce components, or at least make the defaults all
official, and offer easy choices later on.  If not, you should probably
call it something else.  If you want to supplement the base Xfce with
extra apps and things, that's certainly fine - we don't pretend to offer
a full everything-including-the-kitchen-sink environment.

That's really pretty much it (from me, anyway).


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