Wednesday, November 28, 2007

3D Desktop Release And Testing

The replacement desktop server for our thin clients is nearly ready, but unfortunately vacations and Christmas have pushed the go live date into January. That gives us time to finalize, test and do some training for volunteers.

The new desktop server is running OpenSuse 10.2. Users can pick running regular 2D GNOME or they can enable 3D (Compiz-Fusion) if they so wish. The login scripts check hardware at login and if a user is configured for 3D and logs in with an Xserver that doesn't support Compiz, it automatically drops back into regular metacity.

I created the following cheat sheet which I will be handing out in the class tomorrow. I always gain more respect for technical documentation writers when I try and create content for 'regular users'. Let's see what the users say tomorrow :)

I also have experimentally added avant-window-manager to the desktop which is enabled via icon for those that like to try new things. This provides a 3D panel. Because users like to delete things, the startup script automatically adds an icon to the far left of avant that looks like our City seal; this icon when clicked opens the application-browser. That way they never get themselves in a position that they cannot reach software applications. Further testing is ongoing, but seems like it's deployable and runs well over remote display.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I know there have been some blogs about the future design of bug-buddy. The current design has not been effective: When a program crashes it's very likely that users have lost work or time and they usually aren't very happy. They normally never go through the process of submitting bug reports and just want to get back to the software. So lots of useful information by hundreds of people is being lost and not getting back to the developers.

Bug-buddy needs a way for Admins to dump the information to a directory and hide the GUI from the users completely. It's my job to review them and get them submitted. I was happy to find that the hooks into bug-buddy from a crashing application are not deep, and that I could slip in my own script called bug-buddy to perform a fully automated dump.

If you want to get dumps from your users, the following simple script might be useful:

more /opt/gnome/bin/bug-buddy
# $1: Program that crashed
# $2: Process ID
# $3: Version Number

/opt/gnome/bin/zenity --info --text "Currently dumping crash information, Evolution will restart when finished" &

pid=`echo $2 | awk -F "=" ' {print $2}'`
prg=`echo $1 | awk -F "=" ' {print $2}'`

stamp=`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S%N`

/usr/bin/gdb -p $pid --eval-command="thread apply all bt" --batch --nw > /home/largo/tmp/evolution_crashes/$outfile