Page Surfing: Improving Firefox in Ubuntu

I’m getting frustrated trying to scroll on pages and I’d like to introduce an idea:

Since we have a full screen app that really is taking up the entire screen, there seems to be a good opportunity to use the screen when an app is maximised to scroll the largest scrollbar in the app. I have no idea how hard it would be to tie the scroll bar into something which could be controlled via the operating system, technical details.

The idea here is to put the top and bottom infinities to use, allowing them to be used to allow easier viewing of the internet. This could obviously be made generic so it could be used to control all kinds of apps (optionally?).

Maybe this kind of thing could be made an extension, something to try out and do some experiments. Maybe others will see it as an essential part of their ubuntu experience.

Your thoughts, as always, welcome below…

Audacious CSS Desktop Programming

Take a look at this video, here I show an awesome new technology for using Clutter/Gtk with Cascading Style Sheets.

Audacious Video

You can test this out for yourself with Ubuntu 12.04 (Beta) using the following:

sudo apt-get install gir1.2-gtk-3.0 gir1.2-clutter-1.0 gir1.2-gtkclutter-1.0 gir1.2-gconf-2.0
bzr branch lp:csslavie
cd csslavie

Note: default clutter/cogl has a bug which prevents the background’s opacity setting, so you won’t get as cool an effect. But a fixed version of those libraries should be available eventually.

Please comment below what you think.

Netbook Launcher now available for Maverick!

OK so yes, this looks a bit weird but hear me out. The netbook-launcher package was the old clutter based user interface for the Intrepid to Lucid netbook editions of Ubuntu, which was supplemented by the netbook-launcher-efl package that used enlightenment for anyone who didn’t have 3D. After Lucid, the code for the non-efl hasn’t been development and now everything from Maverick onwards is Unity only.

The efl package is still available, but that has it’s own problems…

I always liked the netbook-launcher, I always put it on other people’s computers (especially for the elderly who need big icons) because it filled the screen and everything was right there on the desktop. Perfect.

Screenshot of Netbook-launcher working on Maverick

It wasn’t really available in maverick until tonight, when prompted by a friend who is delivering 10 new Ubuntu computers to the local working-class community. The plan had always been to use the netbook interface and the machines won’t run Unity. So here’s where I step in, I downloaded the Lucid code for liblauncher and netbook-launcher and have fixed the gtk bitrot errors and published the results on a new PPA.

I had to change the name of the clutter package because of the hatchet job done on the netbook-launcher package to upgrade people from Lucid to Unity/Maverick. This means that when you try to install netbook-launcher, you get unity instead. That aside packages are available here:

My friend probably wants to use the efl version which is still in development (by the heroic mterry no less, is there any cool project that guy isn’t involved with?). The problem with the shipped version is that it recommends the old ‘netbook-launcher’ package which pulls in unity. So I’ve built a new version of that without that dependency problem and I’ll try and get mterry to update the package for Oneric.

To use/test this branch try this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:doctormo/netbook-launcher
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install yeold-netbook-launcher netbook-launcher-efl

I hope this ppa will be useful to a few people and do let me know below if you would like a natty version of the package…

Design in Canonical

Something of an unknown change in the way Canonical does design is the new site for the Canonical design team to blog about and start the conversation about design decisions that are made and discussed. this goes along with the Ayatana irc room and mailing lists.

I’ve been very pleased with the blog posts on the new design team and I think they’re learning to have a constructive conversation where people can have their say, so long as the conversation is constructive and it doesn’t devolve into flame wars.

There has been mistakes made and I’ve been one people complaining and trying to work out what went wrong with the way the process worked. Button and branding changes just days before the UI freeze with very limited prior involvement from the community certainly is a way to fan the flames of resistance to changes.

What are your thoughts?

Preview of Project Management

Here is a preview screenshot of the current commit screen, it doesn’t yet allow you to choose which things to commit and which not, or show you any diffs, but it does commit files and auto add any new ones.


Question: Ubuntu Simple UI

I have a number of people in my family who suffer from poor eye sight, not blind, but poor. Some are elderly, some suffer from health problems. What they have in common is a reluctance to use the computer to communicate with their family and friends.

Now, I would suggest that these people adopt ubuntu, it’s more flexible that windows xp when it comes to what you can do with UI, especially with fonts, colours and accessibility options. But what I’d like is something even simpler. A GUI with very few buttons that can be installed on top of gnome, which contains a simple interface into a browser, a message/IM system perhaps with video chat and email. I know all the backend technologies are in place, I guess it’s just a matter of finding something that brings it all together.

So, Ubuntu community, what different UI’s do you know of?

I wanted to find out what ui was being used for UNR, but I couldn’t seem to find much information on it or how to install it on a standard ubuntu install. Thoughts? could that solve a few of these problems?