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октомври 20, 2006

News on the Linux desktop

Recently I have been working on the GTK theming ground. Some success have been reached. The new GtkToolBar can be seen here.

the GtkToolBar

From the Ubuntu forum the new GTK macmenu patch is available and it is now completed with a nifty little panel applet that hosts the menu bar, it has been fixed to correctly hosts the reappearing windows (like gaim's main window and the f-spot window). The patch is available for gtk 2.8 and 2.10 and the applet works in both 214 and 2.16 of the gnome desktop environment. They can be seen in the screen shot at the end of the post.

The new software I have installed the last days is called democracy player. Here is the official website. My first impression is very positive. As a software it is really damn good and practical. I have been looking for something like this for a long time. It supports RSS for video broadcasting and podcasting, also it can search YouTube, Google videos and Yahoo! video. It uses the xine-lib software to play the downloaded files. Unfortunately the xine-lib cannot play the audio in the flv files. It is documented that the support for h264 is not working due to a bug in the xine-lib but I am successfully playing such files with totem-xine for a long time (the HD trailers from the Apple site for example) and now it plays ok in the democracy. I guess they have made the tests with the xine-lib packaged from livna. I use another repo.
A screen shot can be seen here


I'd say the concept of the application of using already existing software and to make a new one that greatly improves the user experience is like a beacon in the outer space, but hey, this might be just the beginning. I really like the idea of using the mozilla rendering engine, the xine-lib playback capabilities and the download management of python (including torrents) and deliver the great user experience is inspiring. Try it and you'll notice how better the Linux applications might be than expected.

The last news is about a new GTK engine. It is a fork of the original murrine engine written by cimi86. It includes the long ago talked functionality of random widget graphics i.e. every widget gets it's own drawing schema, so widgets of the same class look a bit different. The difference is random and the buttons are still recognizable. Here is the link for the original announce. As you can see in the thread the theme using this engine is 2 to 3 times slower than the original murrine based theme but it is caused by the Cairo graphics library. Let's hope there will be improvements soon. I really like the idea and back there (aprox. 2 years ago) when I read the blogs with such ideas I told myself OMG it will be great but after a while it understood it wont be such working prototype soon. And now there it is! Isn't this just GREAT?

PS. As the new panel applet for the patched GTK is working I'm totally convicted. No way back to the menus on every single window damn it! I even doubt I'll switch soon to the Fedora Core 6 distribution as it might not work as well. Also fedora does ship compiz but does not ship gset-compiz. Whatta heck!!??!! How am I supposed to set the properties, using gconf-editor? Unbelievable....

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