Desktop Team Updates - Monday 13th July 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 6th July 2020

:desktop_computer: Gnome Shell and friends:

:chart_with_downwards_trend: Bug tracking:

:8ball: Other randomness:


Linux alpha for Flutter has been announced!

Now that it’s out in the open, here’s what I’ve been up to for the last 3 months:


firefox24 firefox

thunderbird24 thunderbird

  • 68.10.0 was sponsored to all supported releases by the security team
  • working on packaging updates for the upcoming thunderbird 78.0

chromium22 chromium

package24 other


GNOME stuff

  • g-c-c some improvement on toggling the fractional scaling
  • Improved mutter fixes related to nvidia bug (not fully fixed though) and some more for monitors management
  • Added support reverting fractional scaling setting once deactivated
  • Fixed handling for fractional scaling setting in vmware player
  • Monitored and debugged some gnome-shell SRU regressions as per e.u.c, got them unblocked.
  • Deployed the new proposed-migration, shiny new output & behaviours are now influencing package migration from proposed to release, yay!
    • There were a couple of last minute regressions that I fixed after people pointed them out to me
  • Attended a virtual internal sprint, lots of meetings and exciting projects
  • Helped with some light sponsorship and upstream (systemd session) reviews/discussions
  • Snapcraft/CUPS Snap: Got an answer from @jdstrand on my tests with the test packages he provided me two weeks ago, he also told that interfaces for “Snap Mediation” need to get implemented in snapd (this means for example telling whether a client is a Snap and which interfaces it plugs to). snapd is already capable of this but there is no interface yet through which this can be done safely without getting to much access to snapd. @jdstrand promised that he will post a pull request for the needed changes on the CUPS Snap this week. Also fixed a bug in resolving DNS-SD-service-name-based printer URIs.
  • cups-filters: Added also a function to convert IPP attributes which accompany a job to the corresponding PPD options, ripped out of the ippeveps utility from CUPS. Also did some further investigations about which other PPD handling functions need to be taken from CUPS, like PPD defaults setting of lpadmin? cups-driverd? … Closed 6 issues with the help of students working on them as assignments in the selection process for the Linux Foundation Mentorship Program.
  • Printer Applications: Video meeting with the snapcraft team about printer and scanner drivers, how to snap them as Printer/Scanner Applications and how to possibly improve snapcraft to make this easier. I wrote a longer e-mail to describe the situation to everyone involved: Michael Sweet as upstream author of PAPPL, the snapcraft guys, the GSoC students, … to initiate the discussion of what is needed.
  • ipp-usb, sane-airscan: Worked on getting the new software for driverless printing and scanning into Debian, by creating/commenting on packaging requests: ipp-usb, sane-airscan Both got packaged by Didier “OdyX” Raboud, printing package maintainer of Debian, and are in the NEW queue now. I will sync them as soon as they got accepted.
  • Google Summer of Code 2020: Continued mentoring work, answered student’s questions, explained them what is needed, …
  • Linux Foundation Mentorship Program: Mentored the student candidates on doing their assignments (working on cups-filters bugs).
  • OpenPrinting: Monthly phone meeting and OpenPrinting News.
  • Bugs.

99 merge requests later… We have an alpha release of Flutter for desktop Linux! :butterfly: :butterfly: :butterfly: I’ve been mostly working on the Linux runner implementation and the plugins.

This week:


snapd dbus activation:

  • No new progress on this feature this week. snapd PR #8861 still needs the second review, and snapd PR #8943 is still in draft state waiting for the first to land.

snapd theme support:

  • I put together a proposal for the snapd API to support snapd-desktop-integration.
  • The main difficulty is authentication: the snapd folks do not want this API to require snapd-control, but it should not be available to all snaps. Those are the only two options presently, so we need to extend the access control code.
  • The current plan is to reuse the snapd-snap.socket socket and $SNAP_COOKIE environment variable used by snapctl, and check if the snap is has the appropriate interface plugged.
  • As the existing Command.canAccess method is fairly long and twisty, I think the best way forward is to split it into smaller checks that can be composed together. Something like this will be needed to allow polkit checks on requests coming from the snapd-snap.socket connection.

Running a graphical display manager on Ubuntu Core

  • I’ve been attempting to get GDM up and running on an Ubuntu Core system. The initial plan has been to try and shove GDM into the base snap used to boot the system. This probably isn’t the final form things should look like, but should help us get closer.
  • First road block was that stage-snaps does not currently work for core20 projects. I put together snapcraft PR #3211, but things still don’t quite seem to be working correctly.
  • Also, LXD makes it difficult to create a snap containing device files. It is possible to work around that though, so maybe that’s another change.
  • At this point I’m putting the core20 based snap aside, and will attempt the same with core18.

Final work on the Flutter for Linux Alpha release:

Attended virtual product roadmap sprint

  • one day off
  • G-series
    • updates: evolution/eds/ews, evince, gnome-control-center
    • fixed network-manager tests follow the cleanup of compat name of services
    • update webkitgtk to build with libopenjp now that’s in main
    • merged the newer util-linux version from Debian, needed by glib
    • spent some time trying to get util-linux, bsdmainutils and glib to migrate
    • fixed the formiko autopkgtest to allow webkitgtk to migrate
    • tested the evince 3.36 snap update and promoted it to stable
    • update the thunderbird snap to build the 78 candidate version to edge/78 ('snap install --channel=edge/78 thunderbird)
  • SRU
    • evolution/eds/ews, evince, gnome-control-center
    • verified some of the focal desktop SRUs
  • Sponsoring
    • pulseaudio/focal ucm priority fix from OEM and pulseaudio/bionic headset autoselect fix
    • backported a gcc/gvc/sound panel ucm fix from OEM
    • g-c-c fingerprint redesign from Marco
  • Other
    • joined mid cycle roadmap review meetings
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