Desktop Team Updates - Monday 10th February 2020

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.

Last week’s notes are here: Desktop Team Updates - Monday 3rd February 2020

  • 18.04.4 Release testing
  • ZFS:
    • Workaround a bug in ZFS that breaks grub menu generation
    • Implemented several zsysctl service commands: dump, stop, refresh, loglevel, trace, status and list.
  • Removed remaining Qt4 dependencies from autopilot.
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  • On holidays since friday some only 3 days work
  • Focal work
    • GNOME 3.35 updates
    • Other udates&merges (brltty)
    • wrote a post about unity needing some work for the incoming gnome-desktop soname transition
    • Update poppler to build with libopenjpeg now that the MIR got approved
    • helped with some archive admin work
  • Proposed migration
    • upstream a meson fix distro patched by Stefano
    • some extra gvfs tests hang debugging, uploaded a workaround
    • libvala soname transition (thanks Rico for providing some patches!)
    • Upload n-m/netplan test fixes to unblock the update
    • Restored the automake/armhf test skip, the test isn’t fixed
    • Opened MIR bugs for amtk/tepl (needed for the new gedit version)
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GNOME Software/Snap Store snap

  • Load only the snap plugin when running on Ubuntu
  • More polish and testing


  • gtk2-common-themes now building for amd64, arm64 and armhf and published to the stable channel

GNOME Build Snap/Extension

  • Built some more snaps using the gnome-3-34 to flush out remaining issues

:desktop_computer: Gnome Shell:

:beetle: Release bugs:

:house: House keeping:

  • Lots of laptop testing with focal.
  • Rebuilt my focal development machine.

:chart_with_downwards_trend: Backlog tracking


libreoffice24-margin LibreOffice

Snapcraft Snaps

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firefox24 firefox

  • preparing 73.0 update (due for release tomorrow)
  • looking into backporting a more recent libstdc++ than what’s in xenial, because firefox 73.0 requires C++17

chromium22 chromium

  • updated stable to 80.0.3987.87 (ready for publication by the security team)
  • updated dev to 81.0.4044.9

package24 other

  • continued implementing Channels tab in software-properties (WIP branch)
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Most of my time spent on trying to get the libreoffice snap to build and trying to get the build snap to build with additions.


Build snap

  • continued debugging efforts to add mm-common and gtkmm to the build snap. After talking with an upstream gtkmm developer, I found the issue and now these two packages have been added to the build snap successfully and the build snap is currently in the snap store in candidate
  • triaging issues as @kenvandine found them (thank you for finding them!) with building packages using the gnome-3-34 extension.

Other stuff


  • Got dev access to fprintd!
  • Finished fprintd port to gdbus, need to clean it up to propose
  • Updates on the memory cleanups in fprind [MR, merged]
  • Wrote around hundred of tests for fprintd, finding various issues and fixing them [MR]
  • Fixed an issue leaving devices not usable anymore after releasing them while they had some operation in progress [MR]
  • Improved meson handling for python tests [MR]
  • Made fprintd to use CI-generated docker images and templates to share variables with libfprint [MR, merged] [MR, merged]
  • Found and fixed one more final quite-bad crash in libfprint, wrote tests and fixed. Helped in preparing the 1.90.1 release. [MR, merged]


  • Started at importing new shell stack

snapd user-daemons / dbus activation:

  • PR #7456, adding a client library for the snap session agent has been merged. The final review was mainly focused on some test coverage gaps, and removal of some logging code that could become overly chatty if it was triggered.
  • I’ve been working on PR #5822 (user daemons support), bringing it up to date. I’ve updated it to work with the systemd API changes that occurred since the branch was started, and have it passing all the existing tests (unit and spread). At present I’m still working to integrate the control of user session daemons via the session agent, and will have to improve the spread tests to demonstrate that the services are started and stopped on package install/removal.

snapd portal support:

  • Answered a few review questions, but I’ve mainly been focusing on user daemons/dbus activation. The xdg-desktop-portal side implementation is also waiting on a lock down of how we’ll detect snaps on cgroupsv2 systems (such as current Fedora releases).
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  • Revved GLib SRU for eoan, due to some apparent i386 regressions which are fixed in .4.
  • ubuntu-drivers work: continued with that, now it can install oem-*-meta packages and upgrade them (for the OEM archive).
    • Prepared an MIR exception for these packages which I’m going to present to the MIR team for their reviews
  • Followed up on broken e-d-s upload which reverted i386 changes, blocked on broken libical3 which should be fixed RSN
  • Reviewed and sponsored the all new Yaru, now on an ISO near you
  • Some massaging to unbreak gobject-introspection in focal
  • ghostscript: With the MIR for libopenjpeg2 being solved (9 years after being posted) I tried to sync from Debian, but unfortunately, this is not possible. Ubuntu’s default optimization is -O3 while Debian uses -O2 and ghostscript does not build with -O3 on ppc64el. Asked the Debian maintainer to add the exception in debian/rules to the Debian package but he rejects anything derivative-specific. So we need to live with this excption rule as smallest delta.
  • fonts-urw-base35: Posted MIR on the attempt to sync ghostscript. MIR got solved, posted bug reports on libwmf and python-reportlab to completely replace unmaintained gsfonts by fonts-urw-base35.
  • hplip: Investigated bug of HPLIP breaking Python updates and found out that the problem is people installing and uninstalling newest upstream HPLIP to support newest printers. Solutions: Snapping HPLIP completely, even better: driverless printing and scanning.
  • SANE: Tried to update to 1.0.29 to get the “escl” backend for AirScan (driverless scanning) to get rid all these nasty driver problems, including users messing with HPLIP.
  • system-config-printer: Removed IPP-over-USB support patch in udef-configure-printer, as we do not need to make exceptions for HP printers any more, thanks to driverless eSCL scanning.
  • cups-filters: Fixed several bugs in the filters and completed support for zero-page print jobs, with the great help of student candidates for GSoC.
  • IPP-over-USB: Further tests on the ippusbxd replacement ipp-usb, especially its debianization by the upstream author.
  • Google Summer of Code 2020: Continued to let student candidates work on assignments (like cups-filters bugs) to evaluate them for this year’s GSoC.
  • Bugs.
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