Goals for next Xfce releases

Benedikt Meurer benedikt.meurer at unix-ag.uni-siegen.de
Sun Jan 28 14:21:14 CET 2007

Jasper Huijsmans wrote:
> Hello friends,

Hey Jasper,

> - Cleanup and merge libraries:
>   - compat, util, netk, gui, mcs, menu (?), ...
>   Is there any package that wants to depend on libutil alone? I can't
>   really think of any. In that case we could decide to have only one
>   xfce-libs package. Maybe mcs should be separate?

I'd suggest to keep the libraries we have as they are for now... the
first step should be to copy the relevant parts from libxfcegui4 to the
appropriate applications, i.e. xfwm4 and xfdesktop. The next step should
be IMHO dropping the netk stuff completely and adopt libwnck. There's no
need to duplicate efforts. If we have patches to improve libwnck, they
should be applied.

> - Settings daemon. No gui, use D-Bus to get/set values and listen for
>   changes. Dialogs are started from .desktop files. This will make it easier
>   to combine the interface for settings from different packages
>   (keyboard shortcuts for instance), if we want that.
>   Needs to depend on X for xsettings :( Or should that be separate?
>   Or maybe we should just use GConf? It still depends on CORBA, I guess...

Yeah, but that should be something desktop independent. Maybe not for
4.6. I did something here some time ago... have to check that again.

> - Allow dependency on D-Bus for IPC. I wouldn't mind making this a hard
>   dependency for Xfce, if it enables us to integrate our components
>   better, which I think it will.

Definitely. Atleast for exo/thunar/terminal D-Bus will be a harddep now
that 1.0 is available. The only reason why D-Bus was optional so far was
the lack of the 1.0 release and the not-yet-frozen API.

> - New infrastructure?
>   - There is a notification daemon, are there programs that would like
>     to depend on this?
>   - ...

IMHO that notification daemon should either be part of xfce4-session or
atleast xfce-utils.

> Session manager
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> We probably want to keep an eye on the efforts to rewrite gnome-session.

msm is dead. The other gnome-session related news is not really worth
the read... the usual breakage. Nevertheless xfce4-session could be
better, but probably not for 4.6.

> Desktop manager
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Do we want a separate program to manage the background or should it be
> part of thunar? How about the desktop menu?

Thunar will be able to do that. Dunno if xfdesktop should still be
around for people that don't use thunar. But desktop icon rendering and
handling the backdrop isn't probably that amazing anyway...

...the menu is the really interesting thing. Jannis already did some
work on this. It'd be really nice if 4.6 would provide a fully standard
compliant and easy to use menu implementation.

IMHO this stuff should be moved to the panel to avoid too many modules.
Afterall this is primarily relevant for the panel. We can later put that
stuff into libxfce4util/libexo if desired.

> Panel
> ~~~~~
> I'm very interested to know what people are missing in the current panel
> (besides CDE emulation ;-), so if you have wishes, preferably with an
> example use case, this would be a good time to let us know.
> Some ideas of my own:
> - Transparency. I guess what people want is a translucent panel with
>   opaque icons. This is hard. It means we have to write our own panel
>   widgets, because every widget with a window needs to handle
>   transparency in its expose handler. Ideally Gtk would handle this with
>   a style property that could be set from a gtkrc file, but that is not
>   the case now.

Not that difficult. The real problem is the limited color handling in Gdk.

> - Separate desktop files for launcher items. Someone mentioned this
>   recently, I think it was benny. I'm not convinced this is necessary.
>   We already use the same structure (Name,Icon,Exec,etc...), but the
>   launcher items are not stand-alone programs, they are programs +
>   options, so we can have 10 terminals with different arguments. Why
>   would we want separate files for that?

Read the mail again... ;-)

> File manager
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~
> No lack of ideas here, I believe. One from me: do we want to try and
> integrate with Tracker for searching? It does sound more in line with
> our philosophy than Beagle.

I've tracker installed: it's slow and heavy on resources, and that MySQL
embedded dependency is a pain. Maybe not really "in line with our

> - Printing. I never use it, so I have no complaints ;-)

HAL integration for automatic printer detection. Configuration GUI for
CUPS stuff and remote printers.

> - Mixer/Volume. Works for me at home, but at work I have a USB headset
>   and the mixer plugin always falls back to the soundcard, so I guess it
>   could still be improved. It also uses GOB, which IMO sucks, sorry
>   Danny.

Get rid of libxml dependency.

> - Appfinder. Should use new frap menu (libxfce4menu?). It's still an
>   interesting alternative interface for finding and running applications,
>   I think.

See the xfce4-appbrowser I posted some time ago. Another approach would
be to use the Novell Appfinder like interface as suggested in the same

> - Text editor. Mousepad is a cute little application, nothing to add
>   from me.

Some cleanups (Erik's already working on this). Maybe syntax highlighting.

> - CD Burning. I sometimes use this, and it has a nice interface. JF is
>   doing a good job with it.

Same old story... get rid of the linux code. Use HAL or something like
that... but I haven't tried the xfburn branch so that may be obsolete.

> - Media Player. Works well enough for my needs.

Maybe use gstreamer instead of Xine, or even both.

> cheers,
>     Jasper


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