GNOME Summary, May 31-June 7

This is the informal, unofficial GNOME Summary for the week May 31 to June
7.  Thanks to everyone who sent appreciative email and suggestions
regarding last week's summary.

If you follow up to the summary, please mail only gnome-list, not

New gnome-core, gnome-libs

New bugfix releases of gnome-core and gnome-libs came out this week. 
Numerous bugs were fixed; upgrading is strongly encouraged.


Erik Walthinsen released several versions of GVoice, which adds voice
control support to Gtk. He's using IBM's ViaVoice SDK - it sounds like 
this is pretty cool, though I don't have a microphone and haven't
downloaded the giant ViaVoice thing so I can't say. :-)

has some documentation (docs for a week-old API - Erik is a maniac!).

You can download the code at:

Now all we need is a free replacement for ViaVoice; any voice
recognition experts out there?

libxml 1.1

Daniel Veillard released a new version of gnome-xml - it has lots of
bugfixes, and a complete SAX API so applications can load streaming
XML (without building a parse tree). This release should be
backward-compatible with previous releases; no applications will break
if you upgrade.

 As a tar file at


 Updated documentation is on-line at:

Dax Kelson's updated RPMs

Dax is building new RPMs on a regular basis, and making them available
on his FTP site. These are for Red Hat 6.0, and are available at:

Window Manager Spec Extensions

Should more stuff be added to the window manager specification to
improve Gnome's communication with the window manager?

The topic came up on the mailing lists this week. There's talk of
adding a CORBA interface requirement to the spec; there's fear that
window manager authors will refuse to accept patches implementing
this, however. We'll probably end up with "compliance levels" or

Some people argue that Gnome should just pick a "standard" window
manager and be done with it.

My opinion (hehe, I get to shamelessly insert my opinion) is that we
want to keep things modular. Window managers should manage
windows. Session managers should manage the session. The panel should
be a panel. The only way to achieve this is to write and publish
interface specifications, and adhere to them. Modular software gives
users the most choice, and the most functionality.

A big part of the Gnome project should be the creation of standards
for interoperation and communication between various pieces of free
software. This is an essential aspect of improving free-Unix-clone
usability. (prime other example: PPP frontends and pppd.)

Gnome already has bunches of non-Gnome-specific spinoffs, including
esound, libxml, and ORBit. Let's keep it up.

OK, I'll stop now. A post on this topic is here:


Another desktop-like project was mentioned on gnome-list; see the post

The XFCE home page is:

Continuing my little commentary from the previous item: the XFCE panel,
which looks interesting, should be able to plug right in to a Gnome
desktop or talk to a "Gnome" window manager. I say "Gnome" in quotes
because the Gnome window manager spec is not really Gnome-specific.

XFCE comes with a hacked FVWM2 to get their pager to work; this is
madness! Let's get the cooperation going, people. User choice, user
choice, user choice. Interoperation, interoperation,
interoperation. These are the mantras of free software, and big goals
of Gnome - let's keep it up.

Write Free Manuals and Earn $$$

Jumping in on the free documentation thread, Richard Stallman 
had this to say:

    The FSF would gladly pay someone $20k for the rights to a well-written 
    and comprehensive GNOME programming manual. We would then publish as 
    free documentation--free as in freedom, of course. We would sell 
    copies in bookstores, just as these companies do, just we do for our 
    existing manuals. 

    We also pay people to write manuals; we are paying two people now for 
    this, and we have the money to pay another--provided we find someone 
    with a proven ability to do the job, of course. 

$20k is at least equal and maybe closer to double what a proprietary
book publisher will pay you for a book. Food for thought.

As mentioned last week, Tim O'Reilly also indicates willingness to
publish free books. MacMillan has indicated likewise.

Gnomify AbiWord, dangit

Despite my prodding last week, no one has Gnomified AbiWord yet. You
guys are so freakin' lame.


Karl Nelson has been hacking on a signal-callback framework called
libsigc++ for months; a release has finally appeared. Check it out:

This was originally written for Gtk--, but is also useful in other
applications. It's a type-safe runtime signal-callback connection
mechanism; it works with standard C++, no funky stuff required.

Hacking Ideas

Miguel posted some ideas for small hacking tasks people might want to
work on. See the email here:

As always, more substantial tasks are in the gnome-status module in
CVS. And patches for your favorite not-quite-right rough edge are
always appreciated.

Hacking Activity

Miguel did bunches of work on printing support for Gnumeric; this is
in the GNUMERIC_PRINT branch of the gnumeric module. The web team is
hard at work on the new developer's web site; tons of commits went by
about that. Elliot is rewriting orbit-idl (the IDL compiler); this
should fix a bunch of bugs and add nice features like C/C++/ObjC
keyword detection. Gnome support for Glade continues to churn along,
thanks to James and Damon. Tim Janik is hard at work on BEAST, which
is some sort of sound application; not yet announced. He's committed
some stuff to the GLE GUI builder/editor as well. Kjartan Maraas
translated about a million things into Norwegian. Bonobo development
continues, Gnome GhostView (ggv) is looking nicer, resizable panel is
moving along, bug fixes went in to many modules, gnorpm got several
enhancements, and a whole bunch of other stuff too.

Special mention goes to all the work on IDEs and debugger frontends
and so on. Modules that appear to be in this category: glade,
libglade, gle, gnome-filer, dryad, photon, gdb-guile... I think most
of this stuff interoperates, so it will be interesting to see what
comes of it.

If I didn't mention you don't take it personally, there were 474 CVS
commits in my commits folder this week. :-) Oops, make that 475: Peter
Teichman is in under the wire with Think patches.

New and Updated Software

As mentioned earlier, GVoice, libxml, gnome-core and gnome-libs were
updated. Also on the software map this week, we have new releases of:

Electric Ears 
Gnome patch for Blackbox 
Cloned XUnzip 
Gnome Portfolio Manager

OK, I can't think of anything else. By the way, if you have an item you
think should go in next week's summary, just send me mail by Sunday night:


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