Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Portrait Feature Merged Into Thin Clients

A conversation that has taken place over the last few months is the idea of adding portrait mode as a supported thin client workstation feature. This is being done for two reasons: 1) to promote electronic document construction and review for those users that do this often as part of their jobs. We still have a good number of employees that use paper as part of the construction process. They print the document, hand write their notes on the paper and then submit it back and someone re-types their changes. (sigh!). One bad thing we have done in the technology arena is widen our screens for beautiful landscape views....and yet continued to design documents in portrait mode for printing on paper. From this perspective we kind of have promoted not working electronically. Hopefully this change will reduce these older techniques. 2) With tablet devices getting more popular this footprint needs to be tested and accounted for in design. Note: I'll be blogging about an offshoot of issue number 2 in the next week or two.

Since I was updating the thin client operating system anyway to make picture management easier (see earlier blogs), I decided to use the short week to just get this feature deployed. After a few mods to our standard xorg.conf file, our ATI cards are working great with xrandr -o and rotating cleanly with no artifacts. Nice.

gdm on GNOME 2.30 plays nicely with rotated screens and I'm happy with the results. Authentication cleanly worked, GNOME started and avant is working well in this mode. In the shot below you can see 1050x1680 in all of its beauty. OpenOffice looks great and for the most part everything is working as anticipated.




One issue that is being discussed is whether or not we will allow users to flip their monitors day to day or if this will be a setting that is locked down. As anyone knows that supports lots of users: anything that moves or can change will have failures and increases support. Something as simple as a power cord popping out produces calls to our help desk.

I made a quick change to our login chooser (below), and will get get this out to a few beta testers in the coming weeks. Initially we will allow the users to flip the screen on their own, and see how it works.



In my next blog (probably week of December 6th), I'll write about some tablet/mobile ideas that are a part of this portrait project. We have some ideas on how to save money in this regard.

1 comment:

Marius Gedminas said...

I don't suppose the monitor exports its current orientation in some way that could be detected by the software, using the current open-source stack?