1: # Notes on Desktop Project
3: ## Some links on Desktop Project
5: * <http://mail-index.netbsd.org/netbsd-desktop>
6: * <http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70037-0.html> - something to muse on
7: * <http://wiki.netbsd.org/projects/code-in/> - parts of general plan
8: * [[pkgsrc/remote]] - remote desktop software
10: Wiki page with project ideas vanished. Someone has to dig it out.
13: ## Opinions
15: I've discussed the state of Desktop NetBSD Project (DNP)
16: with various developers on IRC and in mail,
17: and I've received different opinions on how developers view it.
19: I shall not discuss problems arising from lack of hardware drivers,
20: most notably network interfaces, wireless and "wireful," and
21: graphical adapters.
22: I'm concentrating on more general questions here.
24: ### Binary packages
26: One of perceived problems (mbalmer) is that we don't have
27: any toolkit for graphical user interfaces in base, and thus
28: we don't have any chance to write anything with GUI.
29: It is opined that the lack of applications readily available
30: (that use this toolkit) is less important; since there's no
31: toolkit, no applications are available.
33: Another perceived problem is lack of binary package updates in pkgsrc.
34: I still don't understand what exactly is the problem here,
35: and nobody cared to provide elaborate explanation what it is.
36: We have several different ways to manage software installations
37: using binary packages.
38: Besides using pkgsrc in a way to reuse binary packages
39: ("bin-install" in DEPENDS_TARGET),
40: there exist pkg_chk with support for binary updates,
41: and there exists pkg_rolling-replace, which, I think,
42: can be set up to reuse binary packages as well.
44: My perception of this "binary packages problem" is that it is imaginary.
45: I've heard some loud praises of pkgin, but I haven't heard more than
46: several voices. Thus I'd rather attribute this problem either
47: to the lack of experience, or to the lack of documentation,
48: or very scarce publicity rather than lack of support.
49: I don't deny though, that there exist real problems
50: which may prevent users from using pkgsrc effectively.
52: ### X11
54: Tobias Nygren (tnn) suggested idea that removing X.org from base
55: can free human resources and help development of more coherent system.
57: Indeed, moving base X11 version into pkgsrc has brings at least one major benefit:
58: it is much easier to update a package than part of base system.
59: Also, pkgsrc has much shorter release cycle, a quarter rather than
60: two or three years. This means that developers can spend their time
61: more effectively, they can save time otherwise spent in adaptation
62: of new packages to older X.org libraries, drivers, or applications
63: as found in older NetBSD releases.
65: It was argued (joerg) that there're very few sensible reasons
66: to continue development of base X.org, one of them is
67: cross-compilation, another one is ease of development.
68: pkgsrc provides some cross-compilation support for quite a long time;
69: there exist documents describing how to utilise it, and one of them
70: addresses cross-compilation of (modular) X.org specifically.
71: Thus the only reason remains: ease of development.
73: I've heard two different opinions related to the ease of development.
74: David Holland pointed out that we need topic-oriented patches in pkgsrc;
75: this needs pkgsrc tools with functionality similar like quilt.
76: Tobias Nygren expressed more radical view, that
77: convenience of two or three developers shouldn't hold the whole project.
79: It should be possible to help the transition by using
80: support for CVS-based packages from pkgsrc-WIP.
81: In my opinion, this could be used to help X.org hackers
82: working with CVS X.org version (xsrc module) during development cycle.
83: NetBSD could distribute its own X.org version for some time,
84: which could co-exist with pkgsrc's version for some time.
85: This idea met rather strong opposition,
86: but I don't really insist on performing transition exactly this way.
88: ### Applications
90: #### Priorities
92: It would be nice to have a list of important packages.
94: While sometimes it may be hard to come to consensus,
95: there exist packages which are unique (Firefox, OpenOffice)
96: or where there're few important alternatives.
97: A (prioritized) list of them would be nice to have.
100: An approximation of it could be a list of packages most used by users.
102: Each quarter we ask users to provide information on installed packages:
104: "We'd also really appreciate it if people would install the
105: pkgsrc/pkgtools/pkgsurvey package, and then run the pkgsurvey script for us.
106: This will forward us a list of the packages installed on that machine,
107: and the operating system and release level of the operating system.
108: The results will be kept confidential, but the output will help us analyse
109: the packages that are most used."
111: It is not clear
113: * why the information is kept secret;
114: * if there's enough statistics being gathered;
115: * if this information is used at all.
117: Perhaps we should publish it or start publishing it in future.
119: #### Release cycle
121: We need someone running pkgsrc bulk builds from current tree before freeze.
123: We don't even see build problems before first bulk build results,
124: which appear closer to planned end of freeze.
125: Sure, knowing of problem existance doesn't automatically entail quick fix.
126: But we don't even know that the problem is there at the first place.
127: (E.g. in 2010Q4 freeze the problem with renderproto package
128: was discovered 3 days before the freeze ended.)
131: We need pkgsrc bulk builds with modular X.org.
133: In many cases base X.org is too old to provide necessary hardware support,
134: significant number of users are forced to use pkgsrc X.org.
137: ### Organisation
139: It is obvious from above, that many problems need organised effort to be solved.
140: Some of them are rather large to be worked on singlehandedly,
141: others require cooperation of some other developers or even users.
143: It isn't clear if we can get X.org out of base in realistic future,
144: since it requires cooperation of unnamed X.org hackers and, perhaps
145: and most possibly, some other developers.
147: It isn't clear if we can get realistic picture of pkgsrc usage at all,
148: since it requires cooperation of users, at the very least.
150: It isn't yet clear if we can get realistic description of use cases
151: of binary packages let alone improve anything in this area.
152: This requires rather long period of maintaining different systems
153: in different ways and by different people.
155: What is clear, in my opinion, is that we have organisational problems
156: and very passive community. There's very strong faction of developers
157: and users who want Unix as it was decades ago.
160: ### Unsorted/unprocessed
162: * lack of interactivity support in pkgsrc tools
163: * NetBSD-specific problems in X.org (possibly connected to 64-bit time_t):
164: touchscreen looses ButtonRelease events,
165: problems with X_GetImage (in Xnest and other applications, e.g. FriCAS)
166: * touchscreen calibration support
167: * X server which doesn't need configuration file
168: * "Distribuition" based on NetBSD?
171: X Error of failed request: BadMatch (invalid parameter attributes)
172: Major opcode of failed request: 73 (X_GetImage)
CVSweb for NetBSD wikisrc <wikimaster@NetBSD.org> software: FreeBSD-CVSweb