openSUSE 10.3 almost ready

We’ve been hard at work on openSUSE 10.3, to be released in a couple of weeks. RC1 marked the “transition point” for me. I’ve moved my main machines over to 10.3 RC1 from 10.2. It’s very nice to be running the latest GNOME again. Some major things I was involved in for the 10.3 cycle:

  • Lots of Banshee work, of course. The latest release (0.13.1) is in openSUSE 10.3, and we will be pushing major updates into the proper channels when they are ready. We plan to deliver support for the new disgusting iPods in the coming weeks, probably just after the final release of 10.3.
  • The new codecs installation web application. We have hooked into the proper places in GStreamer to handle “codec missing” problems in Totem and Banshee.

    If you are missing a codec, you will be taken to the new codecs web application. Depending on what codecs you are missing, what’s displayed on the web page will change. For instance, if you installed from only the OSS media and tried to play an MP3 through a GStreamer application, you will be given a 1-Click Install option for the Fluendo MP3 decoder (which is now shipped and installed by default through the non-OSS patterns, like the DVD).

    What we are able to offer for our users through this web application will likely change for the better in the future, but we have a wonderful solid starting place for the release.

  • Shipping Brasero. This is a new all-singing-all-dancing CD/DVD burning application for GNOME with a lot of potential and very active development.

    Because Brasero is so new, this decision was initially a bit daunting, especially when coupled with the bad experiences some of our users had with previous versions on openSUSE 10.2, but it has been rock solid in all testing so far. Kudos Brasero developers! In openSUSE 11 we will investigate making Brasero the default burning application for GNOME (currently it is still Nautilus, but Brasero is installed by default).

openSUSE 10.3
openSUSE 10.3 RC1 – Click for Full Screenshot

One of the first things I did after switching my primary machine to 10.3 was some theme work. I am a big fan of Gilouche — great color scheme and it has some wonderful custom theme polish for the new GNOME Main Menu, Application Browser, Control Center shell, and the new International Clock. However, I really like the Clearlooks Gummy theme that is new in GNOME 2.20. So naturally I had to combine the two. Garrett will investigate making it official, but I am going to link to my version right now for anyone interested in using it now.

Anyway, here is Gummy Gilouche! It’s featured in the screenshot above, so click it for a better preview. I disabled the gradients that are drawn on the tabs. If you want to enable or disable certain things in Clearlooks or this Gilouche derivative, see Marco Barisione’s post for details.

I highly recommend everyone check out openSUSE 10.3 – the RC1 is solid, and the final release will be out soon. Keep it on your radar!

AmeriCone Dream – OR ELSE

Nation, if you love yourself, care about freedom, and support healthy cows, stop what you are doing, and go buy a truckload of Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream. AmeriCone Dream is now the only ice cream I won’t feel guilty about eating. I’m eating for freedom and you should too!

The flavor, Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream™ is a decadent melting pot of vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl. It’s the sweet taste of liberty in your mouth.

Do your part! Don’t let the terrorists win!

Quick Tip: load an M3U playlist

Tonight on #banshee, a user asked how to load an M3U playlist into the local queue feature of Banshee. This is an automatic source that is created when you start Banshee with files passed on the command line. Files can also be loaded into this source by passing –enqueue to an already running instance. This allows users to open multiple files in Banshee from Nautilus, for instance. We do not import the files into the library since often when a user plays files from their file manager, they just want to preview them or listen to them one time only. (It is easily possible however to import files from the local queue source if it is so desired).

Unfortunately, one thing that is not currently supported is loading static playlists into the local queue. There’s really no excuse for not supporting this — it could be implemented in maybe 20 lines of code (hint, hint) as all the underlying playlist parsing infrastructure is already in place for many formats.

However, as a quick hack for our guest in the channel, I came up with this, but sadly he departed in haste before I had time to share it with him:

grep -Ev ^# album.m3u | sed 's,",\\",g;s,.*,"&",g' | xargs banshee --play --enqueue

It’s not a perfect solution, but it certainly works. Now if only we had a patch…

Update: To clarify, Banshee does support parsing playlists served up by Internet radio stations, and can parse and play a playlist from the open location dialog as well. Banshee can also import and export a source from/to a static playlist file. The only thing that is not supported is loading playlists on the command line (e.g. through your file manager) into the local queue.

I Care About the Issues!

Greatest new source of tech news to date:

Unfortunately, MyTube, which is implemented entirely in Ruby on Rails, is hitting a scaling barrier at peak usage hours, which are reportedly between midnight and 2am PST. An insider at MyTube tells us confidentially that they get up to 100 users before the system slows to a crawl, causing bored users to delete random files from their servers by requesting well-formed URLs like http://mytube.com/database/delete and http://mytube.com/debugger/start. “It’s just so rude”, MyTube engineers were overheard saying in their Atlanta office. “Some of our users are just plain wankers.