Desktop Newsletter - 15 December 2017

Here’s the last newsletter for 2017, we’ll be back in the new year. On behalf of the whole Desktop Team I wish you all a happy holiday and a peaceful 2018.


Some important fixes landed in fonts-noto-emoji. :hamburger: :beer::cheese:

Work continues on removing as much gtk2 as we can. A fresh 18.04 install now only installs three gtk2 rdepends: Firefox, Thunderbird and libgtk2-perl (for debconf). Firefox 58 (in beta) has dropped the gtk2 dependency. Bug #1585903 “Make it possible to remove gtk2” : Bugs : Ubuntu GNOME

Found and fixed a shadow offset bug in gtk+ related to the fraction scaling work:


The MIR for spice-vdagent is progressing. This adds some nice features to guest systems running with GNOME Boxes such as copy-and-paste between host & guest and arbitrary screen resolution support.

We’ve ported our Selenium autopackage tests for Chromium over to Firefox as well. This makes a wider range of automatic integration tests available to Firefox.

Avahi: We received the patch for advertising services on localhost. It is actually a one-liner! Courtesy of Rithvik Patibandla one of the GSoC 2017 Open Printing students. 18.04 will ship the complete driverless printing fun, including USB.

We’re looking for more help to verify the Unity 7 fixes. If you can spare an hour or two please see this thread for more info:


A couple more upstream projects have merged our snapcraft.yaml files in to their trees. You can see the current state of the GNOME snaps we are maintaining here: DesktopTeam/GNOMESnaps - Ubuntu Wiki



  • updated chromium beta to 63.0.3239.84 and updated snap in beta channel
  • updated chromium dev to 64.0.3282.14 and updated snap in edge channel
  • updated chromium stable to 63.0.3239.84 (all supported series + bionic-proposed), snap in candidate channel


  • promoted 5.4.3 snap to stable channel

On the topic of Ubuntu as a VM guest: what about creating an official virtualbox and VMware desktop image? Quickly spinning up a new Ubuntu Desktop image to test something (like “getting started” instructions) is super handy, but for the moment, we need to either install it ourselves or use third party images from questionable sources.

@merlijn-sebrechts I think having VM images is a great idea. The unfortunate part is that you have to manually create them. Consider that the other flavours would want in, too (I speak for at least one of them). Also consider that everyone has their VM of choice, so we would need to supply multiple images. And then (at least for flavours/server) there’s multiple archs to worry about, too. I think if this was “easy” we’d have already done it by now, especially considering most manual testing happens on virtual machines.

I would honestly be very surprised if it was that much effort. osboxes is run by a bunch of students and has hundreds of images for both virtualbox and vmware. Ubuntu already creates a ton of virtual machine images, they are just server only.

Having virtualbox and vmware images will cover most users since these are also compatible with KVM and derivatives such as Gnome Boxes. Having them for default Ubuntu will go a long way, and I’m sure the process will scale easily once there is an automatic build system… Isn’t kickstart made for this?

Since you seem to have some familiarity with osboxes, ask them what they use and give it a shot. If you’ve got a working system that’s something that could be easily drummed up.

I did, I’m waiting for their response. Should I make a new topic to try and see if other people are interested in helping out?

That’s what I’d suggest rather than hijacking this one. At the very least, if people are scanning topics by subject they’d never notice it otherwise.

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