Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ia Ora follow-up

I must confess I quite happy getting comments and suggestions on our new theme. Funny is to see nobody gave me known issues (well, Reinouts did give me an almost complete list three days ago :). I'm going to list all of them with some explanations :

  • thin border : initially, Helene (our graphist) wanted to drop completely window borders and uses instead shadows but since all those fancy (and often crashy) 3D effects provided by compiz/metacity-compositor won't be enabled on everybody's computer (and I know I don't want to replace metacity with something else), we did a 1 pixel border. Unfortunately, it had unwanted side effects : hard to resize window (you must grab the 1 pixel wide border) and hard to choose window when using Alt-Tab (metacity is using a black&white rectangle to highlight to be focused window, but since our border is 1 pixel, the rectangle is only white and hard to see)

  • stripes on progress bar : currently, white stripes are draw on full part of progressbar, but it causes unreadable text, we will try to draw stripes in light blue

  • slider : know issue. When I first saw its design, I had some doubts (also because I use trackballs which are less precise than mouse, which is good to test widget usability) and I discussed with Helene (our graphist) and we decided to go with it and wait for feedback. I'll see if we can wider it on both sides of 1 pixel (we don't want to clutter its design). We might also need to dark it a little bit when widget is insensitive (for instance, when totem is playing a unseekable stream). Slider center isn't very visible because we wanted it to be subtle, after all it isn't that important to detach it from the rest of the widget.

  • color schemes other than dark blue too light : we knew about it, we will try to dark them a little more

  • combobox popup text is black instead of white for the selected choice : I haven't the correct gtkrc class match to fix it yet (funnily, there is no problem with other widgets like optionmenu)

  • gtk warning about unparsable color for treeview odd/even color background : gtk+ is having some issues with symbolic colors (yes, Mitch, I know you like my bugs about symbolic colors ;)

  • wrong color on selected row and preferences dialog background when focus is lost (should be a light blue, not gray)

  • missing line for panel separator : this one is wanted because it tends to clutter interface. But don't worry, when moving mouse cursor over the separator, there is a color hightlight on the entire widget, not only on the three points.

  • about color selection : guess what, each color palette is supposed to be associated with one of our product (but all colors will be available for everybody) : light blue for Download (aka Free) version, yellow/orange for Discovery and One (liveCD), dark blue for Powerpack and Gray for PowerpackPlus (ie the professional oriented one). So, I guess we choose them correctly ;)

  • disabled / unmovable scrollbar are drawn blue : this is a gtk issue/bug (I haven't fill a bug report yet), since scrollbar should appear disabled when it can't be moved (open a new gnome-terminal window and move your mouse over scrollbar, it will highlight but I think it shouldn't). I'll try to workaround it in Ia Ora engine (I don't want to break other themes by patching gtk without upstream approval) but I don't know if it is possible.

  • about X in check box : both Alan and Thiago comments are very interesting but rewind a little. Using X in checkbox was already present in Galaxy and I never got any comments (bad or good) about it for three years it has been out in the wild. Moreover, for French people (and maybe other european dudes), when you fill a form, you always do a X (I only learn about the check mark when I saw some US made TV advertising broadcasted for France and at that time, the check mark was feeling not right for me). This is why we never noticed it. I did a fast review of various gtk themes available (as well as Apple and Microsoft UI guides) and only HighContrast is using a cross but for visual reasons (a blurry cross can still be recognize). Anyway, I'll discuss this point with Helene (and anyway, we also use a checkmark in menu, since a cross without any border would feel ackward there).
On a somehow related subject, I recently read (through #FF00AA) about an Office User Interface blog which is quite interesting (I haven't had time to read it entirely).

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ia Ora, GNOME, photography

Ia Ora:
During last month, I've been working with our graphist on a new theme for soon to be released Mandriva 2007.0, since our previous theme (Galaxy) needed to be refreshed a little (it was already 3 years old). So, we prevent Ia Ora (which means hi for french polynesians). And because different people have different tastes in colours, we will provide it in 4 colors : dark blue, light blue, yellow/orange and gray. GNOME/GTK 2 engine is already available in Mandriva 2007.0 beta2 (beta 3 should be available next week) and KDE engine will be available soon. And of course, mandatory screenshots are available here. Dark blue version is considered almost final, other colored versions will be tuned next week, they are not dark enough for controls.

As part of release team, I did RC1 release of GNOME 2.16 (2.15.92) last tuesday. I must confess it was quite painful, mainly because it was the first release I managed (even if I'm part of release team for quite some time) and getting a complete build to succeed and work from scratch using tarballs is not easy at all (we are using jhbuild for that, not GARNOME whose maintainers take care of the various caveats of building a entire stack). And doing that when you are working in parallel on fixing bugs for next beta release of your distribution is really stressing. Anyway, release is out, please test it and reports bugs as early as possible, so maintainers have enough time to fix them before 2.16.0. (Subliminal ad : 2.15.92 is already available in Mandriva cooker and will be available in 2007.0 beta 3 released next week ;)

Since last GUADEC and my visit of Barcelona, I've been doing a lot of reading and research about my photography needs. Trigger was this photo and Kathy Siera keynote about passionate users. You can clearly see a nice but unwanted) distorsion which made me release I needed to learn a little more about photography basis and maybe change my camera (my Canon S60 is still nice but not as powerful as a digital reflex). So, I bought and read both "National Geographic Practical Photography Guide" (a small and good guide you can take even when travelling) and the excellent "New Manual of Photography" from J. Hedgecoe (a must, very complete and understandable). And I've been trying to apply some lessons learned from those readings since then in two walks in Paris. And now, I've almost convinced myself to buy a new camera. Initially, I thought about Canon 350D (aka Digital Xt) but with Canon 400D announce this week, I'll probably wait a little and buy this one. The though choice will be lenses one, since I mainly shoot landscapes and town building (in this case, often some details). If you have some hints (and please, don't tell me to buy only Canon EF L IS lenses, my budget is not infinite ;), feel free to comment. And to test this soon to be bought camera, I plan to visit my native neighbourhood (something I never did as a tourist) next October, ie la Lozère and probably Montpellier too, since I never went back there since I was a student.