The Road to Alpha 3

This week the Unity team has still been concentrating on feature work and backlog bugs. All the changes in this week’s desktop team report have landed for the Alpha 3 release of Oneiric that will be out sometime today. However some of the community changes are in trunk so might not show up until the next Unity upload. The contributor team has been busy with the following changes:

Unity Contributor Activity This Week

  • Thanks to Treviño, indicators can now invoke advanced functionality by middle-clicking on them. Note that this will not generally show menus or provide functionality that is only accessible that way. So middle clicking is more like shortcut keys. This paves the way for muting sound by middle-clicking on the sound indicator fixing this bug.
  • Treviño also fixes scrolling over the panel by explicity asking to receive scrolling events. This included a quick fix to the direction of scrolling, such that scrolling up over the sound indicator would raise the volume not lower it.
  • Treviño also has improved the logic to reveal the launcher, by reducing the timeout and being smarter about inferring whether or not to show the launcher based on mouse movements.
  • Another bug fix by Treviño where previously if an application had minimized and unminimized windows, clicking the application’s icon would incorrectly unminimize all windows. This fixes this bug.
  • Andrea Azzarone is helping improve code quality by porting test code from Glib tests to Google tests
  • Andrea also improves how storage shows up in the panel, icons for partitions belonging to the same drive now have an option to safely remove the parent disk
  • Andrea also adds a CCSM option to change the launcher opacity. Yay for more options!
  • Another fix by Andrea where previously the desktop was being incorrectly shown upon clicking another application’s icon, when multiple windows were being shown in spread mode. With this fix in place, it is possible to set “Click Desktop to Show Destkop” to true by default, so we have a nice way to show the desktop when we are in spread mode. More details at
  • Andrea improves Unity stability by fixing a memory leak, and adds some eye candy by pulsing the trash icon once something is dropped on it
  • Daniel van Vugt helps make panel menus more responsive and less laggy, when scrubbing. This is done by avoiding to send pointer motion events over (slow) dbus. Thanks Daniel, who doesn’t love more speed!

Other Unity Work in Oneiric

  • Unity:

    • We get an unity release yesterday late (libunity-misc/nux/unity), giving the needed infrastructure for next week release for latest incoming features.
    • This version broughts some nice contributors fixes as well:
    • There is still known regression or mouse and keyboard events. Not planned to be fixed until feature freeze though
    • A last minute upload in nux, making it crashing on some intel card is in progress. Next respin will take it (bug report)
  • Compiz:
    • No tested compiz release went out from dx, so no gsettings backend ready for now. We reverted the unity dialog reverting light-themes, removing the unitydialogs plugin and reverted from unity-window-decorator to gtk-window-decorator to workaround the slowliness some people were getting. All of that for alpha3 being more testable. Hoping next release after alpha3 to bring the gsettings backend by default.
  • Unity-2d:
    • New unity-2d release, this version brings gtk2 indicator free deps \o/
    • New release of some qt components, like libqtdee, lilbqtbamf
    • A lot of bugs have been fixed here’s the list. This version now shares more code for the panel with the core unity code. unity-2d is now depending on nux and unity. Consequently, as there is no ABI guarantee, each release will need a nux; deps on libunitycore rebuild; deps on unity-2d rebuilt.
    • The new unity release consequently asked for a new unity-2d one ( for the new libunitycore ABI break, and a last minute alpha3 fix:

You can check out the rest of the progress on the desktop from the desktop team’s report for the week.

The Big List

Here’s a list of targeted bugs that the design team has picked out as a result of user testing and feedback that would make Unity nicer to use. Here’s the full list if you want to dig in.

  • 727902 Launcher icon highlighting should not switch off as soon the cursor moves after the app spread appears
  • 676453 Launcher – Add ‘installing’ animation for when app is installed via drag & drop
  • 616866 Installation of apps by dragging them to the launcher
  • 765715 Launcher – When a app icon de-couples from the Launcher a small shadow should appear on the bottom and right sides of the icon
  • 767272 Top bar menus – there should be a very quick and subtle fade out/in effect when a user shifts from one menu to another or closes a menu

How to Get Involved

1. Get the Code

Follow the Step by Step Instructions and Wiki Page. This will get the code from Launchpad, set up your development environment, and getting you used to the Launchpad workflow.

2. Pick a Bug

Here’s the full list, or you can just join the team and watch them roll in and pick what you’d like.

3. Fix your bug and then get your code into Unity

Don’t worry we won’t leave you hanging, you can get a-hold of a Unity developer through many different ways:

  • Join the ~unity-community-hackers team and start digging in.
  • We now have a Weekly Meeting at 1800UTC on #ayatana on Freenode IRC if you feel like hanging with us and getting organized and ask questions
  • #ayatana on freenode IRC during European and American workdays. Or you can post to the mailing list if you have a question.
  • We also have weekly IRC Q+A for any developer who wants to dive in and ask a Unity developer. 7pm-8pm UTC (That’s 2pm EST) every Friday!


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