Tuesday, April 27, 2010

User Presentation Available

Today I'm having a quick meeting with interested users as I begin to look at using OpenSuse 11.3 to replace 10.2 as our desktop server. I built some quick glade mockups to kick around some ideas. The MIME bars that you get when you double-click have worked well for us, so I'm looking at ways to make improvements. I also am going to write a simple application to allow them to make Compiz changes which falls in between ccsm and simple-ccsm. The slides are cryptic, but might be interesting reading.

The presentation is here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What I'm Working On...

I haven't posted in a while, guess it's time. The days seem to go quickly and blend together. I sit in a cubicle listening to XM Radio with headsets most of the time, but am making steady progress on some projects.

Evolution Deployment
Still not live yet on SLED 11 :( , but in the last 3 weeks have made some progress. Our beta testers have been patient so far, and I really hope we are nearing the end of this process. All features that we need are now merged. We had a nasty performance problem that took a while to resolve. It turned out that a user had birthdays entered on a blackberry, and Groupwise gladly synced and uploaded them. The problem is that it uploaded them for 100 years. Our version of evolution-data-server doesn't play nicely with a calendar that goes out that far into the future. We found it, cleaned the users data and things are better. Now are awaiting the code to make bug-buddy launch so that I can get some backtraces from the users.

Thin Client Updates
All for of our thin client devices are synced and work with the same code and provide identical features. Our support group has started updating the thin clients around the City with the new code and for the most part is a nice upgrade. The one issue that I am tracking is that there seems to be an X crasher when using 3D effects in Debian Lenny on the ATI driver. It happens to me about once every 2 weeks and you lose all of your work. I need to get a bug report packed and hope that someone is interested in working on a fix. It doesn't seem to happen to 2D users.

Firefox Server Upgrade
With the explosion of Internet and Firefox usage we are going to be building a new server to hold us for the next few years. We also got word that we are buying a major new application that uses Java in the browser. Java has always proven not pleasant to deploy, so hopefully this server will meet our needs and provide adequate performance. It's an eight processor, six core machine. 'top' is going to report 48 CPUs, that's going to be interesting for sure. :)

Next Generation Desktop
I brought down OpenSuse 11.3 beta and have started poking at it and am going to be building a server for alpha testing it as part of a plan to upgrade our desktop (login) servers. These servers provide GNOME and 3D. XDMCP seems kind of broken and untested in the current betas. I'm going to see if updates exist. Gnome-shell was a no-go over remote display, so looks like we will be using Compiz for another upgrade cycle. I did some testing of compiz and performance was excellent. I'm doing a kickoff presentation for our users next week and will be showing them screen shots and mockups of ideas that I have to improve our current design. Of course, as things are deployed I'll post them here too.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thanks Pepp!

When you have an idea for a feature and do a bounty and finally get it back it's a wonderful thing.

Today we finally received just such a feature; Drop and drag from Evolution into PDF format. Being a Governmental agency, our users have to keep copies of hundreds of emails a day in project folders. Previously in order to keep them in PDF format, they would have to do them one at a time by "printing to PDF".

This feature will save us countless hours. Once it's been tested fully, I'll work with the Evo guys and get it merged into the community build too.

It's a good day.