Desktop Team Updates - Monday 13th January 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 + 1 notes are here: Desktop Team Updates - Monday 23rd December 2019 🎄 🎅

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  • Fixed Bug #1856863 Ubiquity crashes when partitioning the disk with ZFS installation on disks larger than 2TB
  • Automated upgrades of Ubuntu to focal are now green.
  • Automated upgrade tests for flavors are now all green.
  • Debugging automated installer tests of Bionic dailies.
  • Attended OpenZFS Leadership team meeting.
  • Benchmark of ZFS performance with encryption and different disks technologies. Published a first set of result from bonnie++ and running tests with fio and various workloads.

[Including the week before the holidays up to Jan 13]

  • printing-stack-snap: Updated to CUPS 2.3.1, cups-filters 1.26.2, QPDF 9.1.0, added Ghostscript 9.50 as default PDF renderer (for better output quality and to also accept PostScript input), made all building again with current snapcraft, several configuration improvements, debugging options (see last commits). Lots of testing.
  • cups-filters: Released 1.26.1 to make the cups-browsed-generated local print queues actually work on all OS distributions and to get legacy (not actually designed for driverless IPP) printers better working.
  • cups-filters: Released 1.26.2 to make the cups-browsed work with CUPS running on others than the standard port 631, needed for the snap.
  • driverless (or standard-based?) scanning: Tested new SANE backends (“airscan” and “escl”) for scanning on multi-function devices which do Apple AirPrint, as they then also do Apple AirScan. Did many tests for the authors to debug the backends so that my HP DeskJet 2540 and my HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 scan this way. This will enable scanning on most modern printer/scanner multi-function devices and also allows USB scanning via ippusbxd. Note that this is not PWG’s IPP Scan standard.
  • ippusbxd: ippusbxd does not only do IPP printing via USB, it also gives access to non-IPP HTTP services, as the web admin interface of the printer and even scanning, using AirPrint/eSCL with the new SANE backends. Also did some debugging on ippusbxd with he authors of the SANE backends and found out about the shortcomings of ippusbxd’s architecture. Especially there is a new approach for IPP-over-USB implementation which solves most of ippusbxd’s problems. Cooperation with the author of this approach (and also of airscan), Alexander Pevzner, is great.
  • IPP Scanning: For implementing PWG’s IPP scanning, needed to allow scanner and Multi-Function drivers (like HPLIP) in snaps, airscan and AirSane will be good code bases.
  • Google Summer of Code 2020: This week the application window for the organization applications will be opened and I will apply again on behalf of the Linux Foundation. We already started selecting students and give them assignments to learn about OpenPrinting. Also the project ideas pages are set up and all former mentors are informed.
  • Bugs.
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Last week plus a few days worked over the holiday period

:desktop_computer: Gnome Shell Performance:

:beetle: Release bugs:

:chart_with_downwards_trend: Backlog tracking

  • Backported xdg-desktop-portal fix for Bug 1851807 to eoan
  • Reviewed, tested and merged gtk-common-themes fix adding the Breeze cursor theme which greatly improves the experience of snap running on kde. The fix is in gtk-common-themes currently in the candidate channel.
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libreoffice24-margin Libreoffice

Snapcraft Snaps

Unknown Dart

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I spent the whole week in Yaru sprint with the awesome people from this community. Discsussed plans for the LTS, made some automations and enhancement in the build system.


• Replied to a few forum posts
gnome-3-34 snapcraft extension:
added tests
◇ have been working on fixing travis test failures
◇ trying to get it released
• finalized blogpost about the gnome-3-34 snapcraft
• LAS 2020 organization efforts
• Started to look into game mode a bit

  • autopkgtest:
    • announced the upcoming migration
    • there’s some tedious bug going on at the minute where a bad kernel is failing at a weird place that we haven’t been handling up until now - it boots, gets network and then dies part way through transferring the source package. I’ve been trying to fix that, have a proposed fix now.
    • started looking into how to create health metrics so the admins can know more easily how the system is doing, asked the sysadmins for advice / an environment for this.
  • discussed gnome/systemd improvements a bit, and got some further discussions on the table for fosdem
  • released gnome-session 3.35.3 upstream and packaged it too
  • reviewed and merged a ton of MRs from The Debian Janitor, which is a pretty sweet thing
  • pushed gnome-shell and mutter 3.34.3 to unstable / focal / eoan
    • and finished the corresponding Yaru release which @3v1n0 did the work for
  • fixed up and got a systemd change merged to resolve a race between the drm subsystem and logind which sometimes breaks login on focal (see previous weeks)
    • also discussed and reviewed a followup from Lennart
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  • focal
    • opened an MIR for the new fonts-smc-gayathri
    • fixed libusb-1.0 cross tests on i386
    • updated network-manager to 1.20.8 and then to 1.22.2
    • fixed libxcb crosstests
    • merged pulseaudio with Debian, including a port of the equalizer to python3
    • updated plymouth to a new git snapshot, include a new indicator for keyboard layout/capslock indicator
    • reverted a gtk-doc change that broke the build of some gnome sources
    • fixed python-gobject remaining rdepends after the transitional binary got removed from Debian
    • fixed some meson/python build issue, one remaining to investigate still though
    • fixed the libdbusmenu ftbfs in focal
    • updated switcheroo-control to the current upstream version
    • some debian syncs
    • updated gnome-boxes to the current stable tarball, fixing the build with the new vala version
    • debugged a bit/provided info to the cups-browsed segfault in focal
  • sponsoring
    • bluez SRU updates from Daniel to have headphones proper default to high quality profiles
    • reviewed/sponsored usb-modeswitch fixes from a contributor
    • closed some sponsoring queue easy bugs (syncs, already uploaded, …)
    • uploaded the e-d-s/i386 fix from Steve to Debian
    • sponsored a gnome-control-center/bionic fix from oem for audio input controls not always working
  • other
    • some mid-cycle desktop plans reviews

firefox24 firefox

thunderbird24 thunderbird

  • updated to 68.4.1 in focal, and backported to bionic and eoan (awaiting publication)

chromium22 chromium

package24 other


snapd PRs:

  • I’ve been updating my pending snapd PRs, to make sure they pass the test suite against current master.
  • I think PR #7238 (systemd user service control interface) is ready with all review feedback addressed.
  • PR #7588 (adding a snap routine portal-info command to retrieve information about a confined process) has picked up a failure on Fedora 31 apparently related to unified cgroups support. It looks like existing similar tests are being skipped there, so maybe that is the right short term choice.
  • PR #7456 (a client library for talking to the user session agent) is mostly ready, but needs a proper review. The interface should be sufficient to allow the user daemons feature to proceed.

Make snapd’s xdg-open proxy call xdg-desktop-portal by default:

  • @mborzecki from the snapd team started working on a PR to have the xdg-open executable in the snap sandbox call the xdg-desktop-portal API for openning URIs or files in preference to the ones provided by snap userd (assuming it is available). In particular, this would get rid of the ugly Zenity dialog when opening files.
  • He ran into some roadblocks related to activating the portal service due to AppArmor denials (strange, since we’ve got existing C code that manages it), so I will be taking over the PR to try and solve those problems.
  • The AppArmor problems might be solvable by adding a AssumedAppArmorLabel=unconfined line to the D-Bus service activation file, but I’ll also need to test how things work on non-Ubuntu systems. In particular on non-AppArmor systems where current releases of xdg-desktop-portal can’t detect snap confined applications.

Github Actions:

  • Over the holidays, I decided to teach myself a bit about writing actions in node.js for Github’s new CI system. I hadn’t really done anything serious with node.js or TypeScript, so it was as much learning about that framework as it was about actions themselves.
  • One thing I came up with was an action that installs Snapcraft and LXD, and builds a snap:
  • it looks like there is enough interest in this plus an action to publish snaps that it might make sense as an official project. It seems like a useful tool for cases where is not sufficient (e.g. if you want to test a snap before publishing it).

Shorter week as 1 national holiday


  • Some more debugging and code checks of fix for bug #1852183
  • Various reviews and merges for libfprint
  • Reviewed mutter branch GNOME/mutter!575
  • Further review of libfprint early match reports and updating TOD
  • Studying some legal stuff


  • Prepared Updates and SRUs for mutter/gnome-shell 3.34.3
  • Updated yaru for gnome-shell 3.34.3