Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Evolution, OpenOffice 3 And Screen Dumps

I have been busy the last few weeks QAing software for deployment. OpenOffice 3.0 is running well, and has been pushed to our beta testers and they are pleased with how it works. One interesting development in regards to OpenOffice is how much the native Mac port is helping with user perceptions. Even though we don't run it here, an ever increasing number of people are buying OS X computers for their homes. They *love* how well the Mac port turned out and use if for their personal use. This is leading to greater acceptance at the City.

OpenOffice 3.0 goes live on Monday December 1st for our 700+ employees. I wanted a greater level of notification of new features, so I wrote a quick little dialog that opens once immediately before going into the license acceptance screen in OpenOffice (please, please allow admins to accept this license once in the future!). Here is what they will see:

Prepping Evolution 2.24 for deployment has been taking a good amount of time. Much of the "under the hood" code had changed in the last few years, and needed to be tested with the Groupwise backend. My friends in India are knocking out the issues and we are getting closer to reaching a milestone, and working in some much needed calendaring features. Milan cooked up a patch that displays the status of whether people have accepted their meeting requests (shot below) in the tooltip. This allows you to hover your mouse and see if people have declined.

So here is a shot of how Evolution 2.24 and OpenOffice 3.0 will look to the users, coming along very nicely.

Some have been interested in modifications that I make to the standard GNOME desktop. By default, (print) does a screen dump of the whole screen. (alt)(print) allows you to dump just one window. Two other things were happening and required a third option. 1) Some users wanted to be able to take shots of pulldown menus actively in use; 2) Some MS Windows applications running over Citrix/RDP have a canvas which shifts when focus is removed from the window via mouse click or keystroke. So, I globally added (ctrl)(print) which gives them a notify-send popup and alerts them that a screenshot will occur in 10 seconds. They can then position their software was desired and the snapshot is taken.

I have been working on a Wiki/document management/GNOME integration project and will blog about it soon. It's still being discussed and designed at a very initial level, but coming along nicely.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Evolution Testing + Compiz Cube Caps

This last week, I have been busy doing QA work on Evolution 2.24 with the Groupwise backend and submitting all of the issues to Novell. Sankar shipped me a patch late yesterday that allows me to widen my beta testing to more employees. Looks like we will be merging in a lot more calendar functionality which will be greatly appreciated by our users. Each upgrade gets us closer and closer to feature parity to the Groupwise client, which is excellent.

When I was teaching Compiz classes to other employees it was an often requested feature to put other images on th top of the cube caps. This is another example of something too hard for most users with the ccsm interface because it assumes:

- They know what size to create the image
- They know what file format to create, and don't just change the file extension
- They know how to work with transparent layers in GIMP
- They know where to save the file.
- They know where to find the file later.
- They know how to give it permissions that other users can use as well
- They know not to delete it, because it's already been "attached" (ala email).

I went through and generated 10 pre-defined caps with color matched sky domes and then created a very simple custom GUI. All they have to do is push a button and click [ OK] and everything is taken care of for them. 4 of our departments have their logos, and it's little things like this that generate excitement about using Linux.