March 18th, 2007
Been scratching more itches lately.
Besides more work on the wiki documentation, I went after two main things.
One complaint about 2007 was that there were no good Bittorrent clients on the discs. While looking into this I noticed we really don’t ship many good torrent clients. There’s ktorrent, which is good apparently, but it’s KDE. Besides that, there’s the official bittorrent-gui , gnome-btdownload , rtorrent , and azureus. Official bittorrent is not that great, and throws a lot of annoying (but non-fatal) python errors. gnome-btdownload just doesn’t seem to work at all. rtorrent is nice for advanced users but doesn’t really fit the ‘simple graphical front end’ bill. azureus is a good app and popular, but the MDV package isn’t ideal (most people want to run it with Sun Java, but it’s built against free Java and pulls in a shedload of free Java dependencies) and it’s a resource hog.
So I packaged up Deluge and transmission, two fairly light GTK+ clients with nice interfaces. Unfortunately, dbarth decided not to let them through the 2007.1 freeze, so they still won’t be in the release. I will backport them as soon as 2007.1 is released and the repositories are unfrozen, though.
Funda Wang mentioned that he has packaged BitStormLite, and it made it in before the freeze. It’s another light GTK+ client. Unfortunately, it’s rather immature and not really ready to be a default app, so we can’t go with that one. For now I’ve recommended going with bittorrent-gui.
The other itch was a personal one, in a way. Often, when I’m writing documentation or Errata, I have to advise the user to edit a system configuration file, which requires root privileges. There is really no ‘nice’ way to do this in Mandriva (and many other distros, I think): you have to open a console, become root with ‘su’, then launch a text editor from the console. This is not obvious to GUI-based users, requires a lot of explaining to them, and creates a bad impression when they have to do it.
So I built a couple of packages named gedit-root and kate-root. These use consolehelper to create gedit-root and kate-root commands, which will ask for the root password and then run gedit or kate as root. They also include menu entries for these commands. So if you install gedit-root, on your system menus, you will see Text editor (administrator), you can click on it, enter the root password, and gedit starts up with root privileges. Ditto for kate-root (the menu entry is Advanced text editor (administrator) there). And thanks to the awesomeness of the fd.o stuff, you get shell integration for free: right click on a text file (or anything else usually associated with a text editor) in Nautilus or Konqueror or whatever, and you get an option to open it with Text editor (administrator) or Advanced text editor (administrator).
Now I just have to convince dbarth to include them in the release.
Other than that, I’ve been mostly tracking release critical bugs and trying to get them fixed. 2007.1 is looking quite hopeful, although the fact that Bugzilla mails are not currently going to Cooker is *really* annoying.