Let’s make it easier

A way to get more GNOME hackers

Since I moved to Ireland, I have left my workstation at home. So I had to leave my workstation at home with my jhbuld environment, the last couple of days, after installing Ubuntu Feisty on my laptop, I started building gnome from scratch using jhbuild, and faced the problem of external dependencies again.

One of the things that toke me a little while to set up when I wanted to submit patches to gnome, was to setup a sane build environment. Not only to retrieve the latest version of the platform, but to use cvs/svn to generate patches. I know a lot of people out there that are perfectly able to write patches and fix bugs but cannot figure out how to generate the patch and get the source code. Jhbuild makes this much easier, but if you don’t know how it works (module sets, .jhbuildrc, external dependencies) it’s quite hard to get used to it.

Also, people that are not used to install headers packages will face with this problem of the external dependencies, and spend the whole jhbuild compilation, dealing with the configure scripts errors from packages and in some cases, missing headers on compilation time, makes it even harder.

On the other hand, jhbuild  it’s a tool made for general purpose, so you cannot stick specific  dependencies on the bootstrap or the sanity check, the official page is outside of the gnome.org scope, which I think quite odd since it’s an important tool for everyone developing with gnome.

I have also realized that you get less problems building the latest module set from releng (btw, figuring out this releng thing is quite hard), and then build the trunk version from gnome svn to play with it and create patchs.

My short-term plan:

  • Create a standard .jhbuildrc for newbies.
  • Create a metapackage (the first of them for ubuntu since I don’t know anyone with rpm skills), gnome-jhbuild-essentials, with all the dependencies so you can build the whole desktop and leave your computer alone with the build.
  • Create a page on the wiki for newcomers, explaining howto setup the enviroment, play with module sets, and create a patch.
  • Try to make this page reach the top of the google search for "patching gnome" and similar queries.

For the long term, maybe an automated debian etch qemu/vmware image with the lastest build from gnome from jhbuild, so people can play with it.

Regarding my new job

I’ve been in Sun for to weeks now, and the only thing that I can say, is that I’m surprised how quick I’m getting used to the place, the people and the project.  I don’t know if I’m able to blog about the project details yet since I haven’t talked with my manager, tomorrow I will meet him at last and we’re going to start planning the roadmap.


5 thoughts on “Let’s make it easier

  1. I would really love to see something like this! A few years back I tried to get everything all setup and after a few hours I just gave up. It really dissuaded me from becoming an active gnome developer.


  2. Hi, Alberto.
    I heard you will give a talk on OpenSolaris in TCD tomorrow?
    Can you please contact me?
    You can use Cervantes’ language if you like.


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