Desktop Team Updates - Monday 9th November 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 2nd November 2020


Snap Store:

  • Fixed theme issues (LP: #1867417)
  • Fixed fwupd issues with the 3.38 rebase

:desktop_computer: Gnome Shell and friends:

:hiking_boot: Boot failures:

:chart_with_downwards_trend: Bug tracking:

  • Ubuntu Core GDM Experiment:
    • Updated gpasswd calls in deluser to use --extrausers as well.
    • Cleaned out unnecessary changes in the systemd patch.
  • Subiquity Client:
    • Wrote a couple simple wrapper functions.
    • Began laying a foundation for automated testing.
  • Automatic Theme Snap Installation:
  • LibreOffice:


  • Continue improvments on client/service split and reusable API
  • Start work on a cat command and logs forwarding to priviledge client
  • Specs to generate dconf configuration files from GPO
  • Download of GPO for dconf settings and handling of default values.



  • Canonical internals
  • Babysitting of autopkgtest armhf nodes kept going down this week and the machine kept filling up its disk :frowning:
  • Cleaned up some small / easy patches to proposed-migration and forwarded them upstream, some got merged now!
  • Tried to get IS to prioritise some work we need, including introducing me to how they expect us to do Grafana based metrics.
  • Helped Gunnar with a vte merge which needed to have its patch rewriting
  • Verified some SRUs
  • Had a bit of a look into riscv64 preinstalled images not working (daily cdimage spam), ended up handing that over to @xnox and turning off the daily builds until they are likely to work again.
  • Started rebasing the new autopkgtest environment I worked on last year on top of the last few months of development, will finish that soon and re-deploy the staging environment to make sure it still works well.
  • Followed up a bit more with Eoan EOLing
  • one day off
  • helped a bit with the slick-greeter/lightdm regressions in bionic follow a systemd SRU (same issue we recently fixed in libghtdm-gtk-greeter on 20.10)
  • uploaded SRU fixes for slick and lightdm-gtk greeters to bionic for ^
  • debugged gnome-boxes segfault on start and reported upstream
  • fixed snapcraft using the wrong spelling for GTK_USE_PORTAL
  • helped debugging snap-store having a transparent background with non snapped themes
  • Updated pulseaudio to the new .3 candidate + ppa build on 20.10 to try for a bug reporter
  • versions
    • set up a status report for 20.10
    • reviewed and merged the python3 port from Marco (basically same work I had and reverted due to the lack of python3 bindings but he added some version checking and fallback)
  • sponsoring
    • uplodated Daniel’s fix for plymouth hanging on some multimonitor setups to focal
    • colord Debian update
  • SRU
    • uploaded a sanebackends update to 20.10 to disable the buggy locking code which was impacting plustek devices
    • helped getting tractions on some recent regressions caused by systemd and glibc SRUs
    • cherry picked an upstream rhythmbox contributor patch to fix xfade playing with the current gstreamer
  • thunderbird snap
    • enabled portal use so remote files can be used
    • updated the interfaces autoconnect request, with portals removable-media isn’t needed
    • updated to 78.4.1


Network Manager snap

  • Investigate netplan issue that turned out to just be a network manager issue… if you install the network manager snap and reboot, the system comes back with no networking. You really have to configure network manager before rebooting … or you’re gonna have a bad time!



firefox24 firefox

  • prepared 82.0.2 update and handed over to the security team − now published to xenial, bionic, focal and groovy
  • preparing 82.0.3 update

thunderbird24 thunderbird

  • preparing 78.4.0 SRU for groovy

chromium22 chromium

  • issued a call for testing for the revision in the candidate/gnome-3-28-extension channel (for details, read Igor’s excellent blog post)
  • updated stable to 86.0.4240.183
  • updated beta to 87.0.4280.47
  • Fixed source selector not showing .deb information in snap-store.
  • Fixed various bugs in gnome-control-center.

x11 snap incompatibility with GNOME 3.38’s Wayland session:

  • The mutter update that will fix Groovy is still in proposed. It is in the Hirsute archive though.
  • On the snapd side, I made some improvements to @zyga’s snapd PR #9530 (bind mount /tmp/.X11-unix into snaps plugging x11) to add a spread test and fix a few issues uncovered by that test. I’ve given my own review approval to the PR and it has received a positive security review, so it should land soon. That should help in solving the problem quickly on Fedora 33 (where they haven’t backported the Mutter fix), and prepare us for GNOME 4.0 where the abstract socket hasn’t been restored.

snapd dbus activation:

  • I received a tentative security review approval on snapd PR #8943 (generate D-Bus service activation wrappers), so we could finally see this landed.
  • The feature is still behind a feature flag (like user-daemons still is), which will need to be made default.
  • With this feature generally available, we would have all the infrastructure to support snapped gnome-shell search providers.

Other snapd work:

  • I’m expecting receive security reviews on a number of my other branches soon, so hopefully we can get those merged too.
  • I put together go-gettext PR #5 as an improvement for the translation support in snapd: reduce the amount of reads and seeks done during start up, instead memory mapping the translation catalogue as glibc/libintl does.


  • Ported versions script to python3
  • Added support for linking upstream version information [MR]
  • Prepared a new SRU for yaru in focal (thanks Seb for unblocking it) [yaru]
  • Sponsored a debian mutter update to fix 3g modems usage [mutter 3.38.1-2]
  • Studying the proper solution for smartcard login via gdm [bug


  • Revealed gdm security issue and merged the fix upstream [CVE, fix]
  • Shaped and opened the gjs MR to support (u)int64’s properly using BigInt [MR]
  • Libfprint upstream reviews