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"From English to English: an introduction to dialectal translation"
  • overview of non-US English dialects: en-GB (and why it's not en-UK), en-CA, en-AU, others
  • is this necessary or important?  (Yes.)
  • How it's done (at an automated level); Abigail's script
  • How it's done (at a human level) and why we need to hand-check ("Colourado"; sometimes a check is not a cheque)
  • Common dialectal substitutions in software (we can find these out programmatically)
  • Controversies about translations: how on earth do we translate trashDialogue box or dialog box?  If we call the eraser a rubber, will people laugh?
  • Punctuation differences
  • Actual phrasing differences rather than spelling and word substitution
  • Dialect versus language (e.g. Scots)
  • How many teams in various free software projects are working on each dialect?  GNOME, KDE, Launchpad, Firefox... coordination
  • Automated transliteration into non-Latin alphabets for English (you knew I had to get this in somewhere), and why
  • How you can help with all this
"The history of window border decorations"
  • the concept of reparenting and frame windows
  • different ways to express decorations: preset, code, pixmap, vector...
  • reasons generalising theming is difficult
  • reasons theming buttons is particularly difficult
  • timeline of various WMs' ability to do this
  • particular cases of how various WMs deal with this, with examples
  • how it's played out over the history of Metacity
  • which theme formats are most widely used?
  • how window border themes relate to other kinds of theme
  • the theme artist community as opposed to the WM developer community
  • theme formats used across multiple WMs
  • CSS themes
I wonder whether anyone would be interested in either of these.  Would you come to hear them if you saw them on the programme?  Would they be of any use?  Perhaps I'll submit both of them and see whether either of them are approved.

Edit: Of course I could also do a talk on writing N900 apps.

marnanel: (Default)
Any of you who are interested in CSS themes will be interested, and any of you who are not will be relieved, to hear that I've moved discussion of them off this journal onto a new Cowbell blog.  See you there, perhaps.
marnanel: (Default)
There is a standard set of buttons you can use in Metacity.  Here is a rather nice diagram I drew a few months ago which tells you what they are and what they do.

The question I am pondering is whether we should allow window managers which use Cowbell CSS themes to specify new buttons outside the standard set of menu, close, minimize, maximize, shade, stick, above.

Why we should:
  • I want to make Cowbell as usable as possible by other window managers.  If a window manager has a button that can't be represented in that set, they can't use the theme format.
  • I would like to add new buttons to Metacity anyway, like screenshot and share.
Why we shouldn't:
  • Most importantly, themes need to declare how to draw buttons.  If we're going to allow people to come up with arbitrary buttons, how is the theme going to know how to draw them?  People can't write themes which know how to draw every button type anyone could ever dream up in the future.  I discussed this in more depth here.

Aero Snap

Jan. 22nd, 2010 03:59 pm
marnanel: (Default)
If any of you are running Windows 7, with the Aero Snap feature on, and wouldn't mind answering a few questions about it, I 'd like to talk to you.  Some people would like the same functionality in Metacity, and I want to be sure I understand how it works.
marnanel: (Default)
This week: Collabora have been supporting me in working on Metacity over the last week or so. I began by trying to get the CSS themes branch merged, but then decided that a better use of my time would be patch review, especially given the impending feature freeze. Here's a partial list of some of the things I've touched; I'll update it for this week when this week's over.

ProjectJournal: Producing the Metacity Journal and other Metacity blog posts has been a helpful record of people's work on the program, but blogging about the project does tend to drive out actual maintenance and development. For this reason, a while ago I wrote a program called ProjectJournal which would prepare Metacity Journal posts automatically.

ProjectJournal used to scan IMAP folders for Bugzilla notifications and svn checkins. It would then output a list of bugs that had been touched, files that had been modified, and translations that had been made, as well as any hits for the name of the project on Google Blog Search, add a photo, and then post it as a draft to Then a human (me) would come along and tidy it up and write the introduction, resulting in posts like this one. It was a neat hack, and saved a lot of time, but it's rotted because it was never rewritten to work with git. Also, Bugzilla should be queryable directly now, though ours isn't at a version where the API supports queries, so it would have to be done with a screen-scraper. Ugh.

What I'm wondering is whether any of you would be interested in using such a tool for your own projects, if I resurrected and modernised it. Do let me know.

(For several months there was also a daily Bug of the Day post, but although that was fun and got the community discussing the issues, it didn't help the time I had available for coding. Perhaps the project needs someone who likes writing better than coding, a sort of public recorder. Or perhaps I could carry on doing it if there were many other people writing the code.)

Posts that might interest you: In case you're not reading the Metacity blog, here are some interesting posts from the last week:

Feel free to dive in on the discussions. Feel even more free to volunteer to write patches for some of these; I'll try to give you all the help you might need.

Podcast: At one point I used to record myself reading all the Metacity blog posts (such as this one). I'm not sure whether I should bring this feature back, or what should happen to it further if I did.
marnanel: (Default)
cowbellI'm happy to announce the first experimental version of Metacity with support for CSS window borders ("Cowbell"). This work was largely supported by Collabora Ltd.

You can:

This diagram should explain everything, perhaps.

I would especially like to hear from:

  • theme artists, to let me know whether it's adequately powerful;

  • anyone else interested in hacking on this with me;

  • the GTK client-side decoration people, so that we can harmonise the way we represent things;

  • people who know a lot about CSS and can offer insights into the suitability of the way we represent things;

  • people who know a lot about the Dublin Core and can offer insights into whether our metadata system uses it appropriately;

  • maintainers of other window managers (especially Mutter), so we can talk about including CSS support in other window managers;

  • everyone else, to suggest which of the directions for future development are most interesting.

I think it may perhaps be helpful to set up a Cowbell mailing list, so that we can compare notes on implementations. For example, I haven't written down anywhere how to place an image to the right of the title, which is commonly needed (you use border-image).

Photo © Craft*ology, cc-by-nc.
marnanel: (Default)
I haven't posted for a while. Here are four things:

  1. Collabora have been supporting the CSS-on-window-borders project recently by letting me work on it during work hours. Here is a status update.

  2. Recent updates to include a gentle Shavian tutorial and translations of all the recent XKCDs into Shavian.

  3. Many years ago, I wrote a sonnet for use on a server's custom 404 page:
    So many years have passed since first you sought
    the lands beyond the edges of the sky,
    so many moons reflected in your eye,
    (familiar newness, fear of leaving port),
    since first you sought, and failed, and learned to fall,
    (first hope, then cynicism, silent dread,
    the countless stars, still counting overhead
    the seconds to your final voyage of all…)
    and last, in glory gold and red around
    your greatest search, your final quest to know!
    yet… ashes drift, the embers cease to glow,
    and darkened life in frozen death is drowned;
    and ashes on the swell are seen no more.
    The silence surges. Error 404.

    It's been spreading itself around, mostly without my permission, so I'm releasing it under a Creative Commons licence. Fly free, little sonnet! Please feel free to copy it onto your own sites, and if you would, let me know you've done so.

  4. I need to write more of the Maemo tutorials. They will be coming soon. Sorry; things have been busy.

marnanel: (Default)
Day: Woke up, went to the gym, came back, worked, and plexq made us some rather good quesadillas.  Fin made some lovely tag icons for to go along with the existing ones from rosequoll.

Theming: I would like to re-examine the Metacity theme format for GNOME 3.  To this end, I've been working on CSS theming for Metacity.  I have a reasonable first pass at it written, and several of the standard themes converted (and several more to do).  But it occurs to me that the people who would like to create themes and the people who would be willing to download and compile several experimental libraries are not necessarily the same.  To this end, I've created a wiki to demonstrate the system.  If you write CSS on a page whose name begins with Borders: it will display as the result of rendering that CSS.  There is a tour, which you should take first.

Please feel free to create your own themes, either from scratch or by making copies of the existing ones.  I was going to finish off all the sample themes before announcing this, and also to make a theme wizard that would put together a theme for you from parts (to show how the system is well-adapted to use with editors), but I decided it was better to release early, release often.

Of course, now that I've announced this, it's sure to be vandalised; I'll try to keep an eye on it, but if you could revert any vandalism you see, I'd appreciate it.  Let me know what you think of the system, either way.

Top fives: Ask me for my top five favourites of anything and I'll try to give a sensible answer.  So far I've been asked for cities, words, puddings, foods, beverages, heresies, books, and Tetris shapes.  Since there are only seven Tetris shapes, that's rather an easy question: the answer is all of them except "S" and "Z".


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