Using Xephyr on debian sarge

To test graphical applications on Scratchbox you have several X server to export display (VNC, Xephyr, …) However, i conclude Xephyr is the best option because its very light and fast. I know the most of developers use testing or experimental version of Debian; however, sometimes is not possible to update your machine due several reasons: important legacy services which require Sarge, too much stress to lose time on it :), too much busy system administrator, …

In case you want to develop using Scratchbox and Debian Sarge, you should know there is no available version of Xephyr (a very common problem). However, software developers community is great and they always think in all these things to make our life easier. I found a precompiled version of Xephyr, with required static libraries to run it independently of installed Sarge libraries:

The steps to install and run Xephyr on Sarge are very simple:

  1. Download the Xephyr binary here
  2. Extract it into your work directory (pwd).
  3. Export LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable to add Xephyr library path:
    • export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=pwd/Xephyr/lib/
  4. Execute Xephyr with the following options:
    • ./bin/Xephyr :2 -host-cursor -screen 800x480x16 -dpi 96 -ac

Obviously, you could add pwd/bin to your PATH environment variable.

Working an learning about Maemo

This year i have been working quite a lot on Maemo platform to develop some GNOME applications into a cross-compile architecture. It’s being a very interesting experience, especially be part of GMAE and Maemo developer community and try to provide my experience in some projects.

This kind of development its oriented to mobile devices, which requires a different kind of applications and development strategy. As most of you know, mobile devices frequently needs some kind of external device to store data, cause internal memory is very expensive and therefore limited.

Scratchbox ( its a cross-compiling environment to develop applications oriented to mobile devices. However, its very difficult int this environment to develop functionalities which requires access to this kind of external memory devices.

I found a simple way to emulate external memory devices using, for instance, a common usb key, to catch gnome-vfs events and handle them as it were emitted from an external memory card. From GNomeVFS point of view, these devices are managed in a similar way, so you cant test your uses cases in your PC.

  • Install mount in sbox.
apt-get install mount
  • Edit /etc/fstab file on sbox
    none      /proc         proc   defaults       0 0
    /dev/sdb  /media/memory   vfat   user,noauto    0 0
  • From host, set ownerships and permissions to sbox mount and umount commands
chown root:root /scratchbox/users/jfernandez/targets/i386-2007-07-26/bin/mount
chmod 4755 /scratchbox/users/jfernandez/targets/i386-2007-07-26/bin/mount
chown root:root /scratchbox/users/jfernandez/targets/i386-2007-07-26/bin/umount
chmod 4755 /scratchbox/users/jfernandez/targets/i386-2007-07-26/bin/umount
  • Insert your USB key
  • Mount your virtual file system
mount /media/memory

Now, gnome-vfs monitor could detect mount and umount events of your USB, emulating insertion of an external memory device.

GUADEC 2007 – Birmingham

It was a really, really interesting conference.

The mobile environment was present in a lot of talks and i notice some exciting in GNOME community about this topic, Web desktop was a very interesting new approach, Gtk 3.0 brainstorming was started in this GUADEC, … well, community lives and grows .

I would like to emphasize excellent talk about Tinymail and Modest projects , a new approach to build mail clients for mobile services. They are very interesting talks and i would congratulate to Dirk-Jan Binnema and Philip Van Hoof for their fantastic job. I had the opportunity to work in Tinymail framework and i could ensure it’s a very good tool for implementing mail clients for mobile devices.

Business management software and GNOME

I recently was in the Guadec conferences at Vilanova to present the Fisterra development platform as a first try to build an open architecture to build business management applications (ERP). I knew this is a few popular kind of project inside GNOME roadmap and i would like to summarise my experiences during this conference.
The conclusions about this subject can be described in the following list :

  • There is a low interesting about this kind of applications by the GNOME community.
  • The GNOME project is focused to improve the GNOME desktop , making special efforts to build new multimedia applications and to optimise the performance of all GNOME technologies.
  • There are a few projects oriented to this kind of applications like Glom, Stock, Gapzacho, Kiwi.
  • There isn’t a open architecture proposal for business management applications.
  • The GNOME community does not takes into account the business wok environment as target of future developments.

These are only a few ideas and personal experiences extracted from my first Guadec conference. I would like to discuss about them in this blog, show my efforts to change the current situation and notice the importance of business management software to increase the GNOME desktop implantations.