Desktop Team Update - Monday 15th July 2019

Hi everyone, below you will find the updates from the Desktop team from the last week.

If you’re interested in discussing a topic please start a thread in the Desktop area of Discourse.
We also have our weekly meeting on IRC. We meet on Tuesday at 13:30 UTC in #ubuntu-desktop on Freenode. There will be an “Any Other Business” section at the end where you are welcome to raise topics. These topics might be discussed during the meeting, or afterwards depending on the time, depth of conversation, topic and so on.

Also new this week; Release affecting bugs are now listed here:

That post is a wiki and you should be able to provide any updates inline.

Last week’s notes are here: Monday 8th July

Next week’s notes are here: Desktop Team Update - Monday 22nd July 2019

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  • Updated thunderbird snap to 60.8.0 and disabled the built-in update check
  • USN refreshes

GNOME build-snap

  • Cleaned up and updated source branches and tags.
  • Fixed paths in loaders.cache and xml2-config on final priming.
  • Symlinked paths such as ‘gettext-0.19.8’ to avoid explicit versions in dependants.
  • Moved gettext, itstool and librsvg into the build-snap.
  • Unstaged common compilers and interpreters from the platform-snap.
  • 5 snaps now building in various stages of completeness:
  • Updated our LP listener to rebuild the above snaps on changes to the build-snap.

snapcraft24 snap profiling

:computer_mouse: Gnome Shell performance (stutter | latency | CPU):

:computer_mouse: Gnome Shell other things:

:bug: Release bugs:

:chart_with_upwards_trend: Backlogs progress



  • Implemented the “machine” layer, which enable to detect and group ZFS datasets per machine (system on boot and late system datasets, userdata and persistent datasets) + history of each one (clones and snapshots)
  • Continue discussion and addressing comments of the Fedora zfs maintainer.
  • Implemented Boot phase: Switch on and off correct datasets for mounting + cloning what’s needed to be cloned, like userdata with user dataset revert if booting on a snapshot. /!\ needs to make them idempotent.
  • Implemented Commit phase: Tag as appropriate user datasets with system, and promote needed ones.
  • Incremented and changed/rethought the design to have as few changes as possible before Commit() and ensure that if boot fails, no impact on further boots.
  • Adapted zfs layer to those changes, simplifying the golden files.
    Note: tests nor CLI hooks are implemented yet, this will be the next steps
  • Found an issue with go-libzfs 0.8 compatible upstream branch now that 0.8 migrated to eoan: Proposed a fix upstream as We are using our fork right now.


  • Helped on yaru/chromium browser snap debug
  • Eoan archive work
    • reviewed/sponsor an ibus fix to handle common_name properties from Gunnar
    • reviewed our plymouth package patches, found that some were not needed anymore and had been fixed upstream differently, removed those, upstreamed some others
    • updated plymouth to a git snapshot include the new bgrt theme
  • SRUs
    • SRU-ed the livepatch indicator control in s-p to bionic
    • reviewed/sponsored a pulseaudio segfault fix to Bionic from Daniel
    • backported/SRUed NTLMv2 support to libsoup/bionic which is required by evolution-ews to be able to connect to some exchange servers
    • sponsored a gtk printing SRU fix from Till (bionic)
    • review some autopkgtest failures follow SRUs in bionic, retried them since they looked like archive issues
  • Other
    • looked again at the duplicity python3 update, reported some test failures from the current trunk version. Tested the new 8.01 but it still has failing tests issues
    • booked travel for GUADEC
    • investigated/discussed some gcc9 fallout issues
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  • Worked on various mutter Memory fixes [MR]
  • Addressing reviews for big refactor branch on G-S [MR]

Packaging stuff

  • Updated mutter’s debian/master to newer 3.32.2 git snapshot to fix hanging and crash issues [MR, merged - thanks Laney]
  • Reworked mutter’s bionic SRU [merged]
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firefox24 firefox

  • prepared firefox 68.0 update (3 release candidates over the last week), now published to all stable releases
  • successfully tested a distro-patch to override the default build ID (a timestamp) with the build candidate number, to ensure packages targetting different Ubuntu releases have the exact same build ID, to address bug #1830096, and submitted the relevant part of the patch upstream
  • successfully tested Łukasz’s update of rustc to 1.35 by rebuilding firefox against it in a PPA

chromium22 chromium

  • updated bionic deb packaging branches to use clang and llvm 8, now that they are in bionic-updates
  • committed a tentative fix for bug #1821765. Ken later confirmed the fix as working, and found a reliable way to reproduce the bug, so I was able to confirm the fix too.
  • updated beta to 76.0.3809.62
  • filed bug #1836616 to track the problem of loosing saved passwords when transitioning from the deb to the snap because the password-manager-service interface is not auto-connected

snapcraft24 snaps

  • reviewed and merged Marcus’s PR #190 that decreases significantly cold startup time for snaps that use the desktop helpers
  • backported a fix from snapcraft-desktop-helpers to the 0AD snap

package24 other

  • Tested WSL in a Windows 10 VM, failed to upgrade to WSL2 because this requires nested virtualization and I haven’t managed to make it work (yet)
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snapd user session agent:

  • I addressed the last round of review comments on PR #6954, with it waiting on Samuele to sign off.
  • As a side effect of this work, I submitted PR #7036 to make the main snapd rest service use the newer stdlib http.Server.Shutdown method, as used in the session agent. That PR got merged this week.

snapd interfaces for snap store

  • No change on PR #7042 (appstream-metadata interface).
  • For PR #7054 (packagekit-control interface), I received some review feedback from @jdstrand that I have responded to. I’ve tightened up the rules governing access to transactions, and set the base declaration to deny the ability to install a snap using the interface without a store assertion specifically allowing it (as is done for e.g. snapd-control).

snapd icon theme support

  • I worked on PR #6959 (the EnsureTreeState helper), adjusting the semantics as requested and adding a few more tests. I think this is fairly solid now, which should unblock the icon theme PR.

Other snapd interface work

  • PR #7073, extending the opengl interface to allow access to drivers provided by the base has been marked blocked.
  • There is some push back against adding ad-hoc AppArmor rules to the interface implementations to support one particular base snap, which I can understand.
  • There is some discussion on the forum about how AppArmor file based restrictions should be handled for base snaps other than core/core18. My personal preference would be to use a fairly open profile for non-bootable base snaps: there isn’t really any reason for them to include files that would be off limits to application snaps using them as a base, so why not make the entire base readable?
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  • network-manager: Further improvement on debuggability of autopkg test script, more testing of where the test fails.
  • network-manager: Seth Forshee reported that the autopkg tests of NM fail more frequently with the new kernel 5.2.x in Eoan. Had some discussion on #ubuntu-release with him. As tests do not fail always it looks like a timimg issue (appearing of resources takes longer). Seth released the kernel anyway and reported bug 1836209. My tests after updating a VM show less failures than before, especially The emulated API for Wi-Fi appears reliably.
  • Google Summer of Code 2019: Had a look into the code of the Printer Application Snap framework, student is committing frequently.
  • GTK SRU for print dialog: SRU for Bionic got sponsored so it is in -proposed now (Bug 1763520).
  • Linux Plumbers Conference 2019: Schedule is out.
  • Bugs.