hortont · blog · summer of code

On RCOS (or, Open Software at Rensselaer)

2009.11.11 in code, gnome, school, and summer of code


This post has been stewing for a very long time, as is evidenced by it covering a span of three years. With such a long timeframe comes a terribly scattered and disconnected process of storytelling (for me, at least), so keep that in mind while you notice how long your scrollbar currently is... there is no structure here, only late-night babble.

Also, I apologize in advance for making anyone feel bad over the course of the next few paragraphs...

The Problem

A freshman's eye would peg Rensselaer as a paragon of proprietary software, and they certainly wouldn't be wrong. A majority of the academic portion of campus is heavily entrenched in software like Office, MATLAB, Mathematica, and various CAD packages (or Creative Suite, Max/MSP, and Final Cut Studio, on the other side of campus). I wouldn't blame this on the 'tute, though — many of these packages have no free/open source counterpart even remotely in the same tier. The problem centers more around how much the attitude that comes along with such software is also pervasive here.

Going to RPI — for most people (mainly the engineers and artists, who together comprise way more than half of the student body) — is about spending four years learning how to make lots and lots of money using the tools that you have to use in your particularly overspecialized field; nothing more, nothing less. There's been a recent push for multidisciplinary studies, but I feel like this isn't as serious as it could be, yet — destroying entire departments (foreign language, for example) doesn't lead to much faith in this program...

While this heavily money-and-proprietary-software-driven philosophy might be a little off-putting to someone coming from a background filled with free and open source software (or even a science-for-science's sake background), there is hope!; this is what I want to write about, since it's much more interesting than what's broken...

The Real Problem

I should first clarify that I don't have a problem with proprietary software; I use OS X as my primary operating system, I often resort to Mathematica or Final Cut to do things that can't be easily solved otherwise... I'm very much a right-tool-for-the-job person. My problem is with the attitude; the attitude that says that "everything I create should be mine because there's a chance I can make fame or fortune off of it, and why in the world would I want to share that with other people?"... that is the attitude driven by total immersion in a corporate-academic/closed-source world, and that is what I have a problem with, and it's deeply embedded within both the faculty and a significant portion of the student population.

During freshman year, I spent the whole year doing physics and hiding my disapproval for the overarching RPI philosophy by spending lots of time with my few dozen extremely social floormates. Robb and I often chatted about how we felt about the school, and supported each other as much as we could in terms of not following in everyone else's footsteps.

By the beginning of sophomore year, Robb and I had heard rumors from one of our CS professors (Robert Ingalls, who taught our operating systems course) that there was actually a forming contingent of like-minded folk — people who enjoyed writing software in order to share it with the world, people who believed in the world we believed in.

Finding RCOS

This group turned out to be the Rensselaer Center for Open Software (RCOS, as we semi-lovingly call it). Headed by Moorthy (who was also my data structures professor at the time, though I didn't make the connection until mere minutes before we met him to propose our project), RCOS is an interesting beast. It provides funding, support, and — more importantly, at least in my opinion — a home for people interested in working on or learning about free/open software.

In order to participate, you have to bring a project to the table. It could be something small, as you're just getting started with programming, or something grand, far beyond the scope of a single person project, something you just want to peck away at — as long as there's something to be done, and you're willing to share your code and ideas, you're welcome to stay as long as you'd like.

Three times a semester, the group (or individual) hacking away at each project has to get up in front of the rest of the group — which now numbers somewhere around 30 — and show off what they've done, where they've come from, and where they hope to go; these presentations take place at weekly meetings which form the primary social interaction of the group and provide a place for people to bounce ideas off everyone, show off what they've learned, and get support from the rest of the group when they're having an issue.


First semester sophomore year — shortly after we discovered RCOS — Robb, Matt, and I proposed the "Orange Window Manager", a next-generation window manager that we were planning to write, utilizing Robb's knowledge from his time working on Compiz, as well as various technologies not then being used in window managers (primarily, Clutter). We wrote Seed, the JavaScriptCore<->GObject-Introspection bridge which we were planning to use for extensibility within our window manager, instead, mostly after realizing that we didn't have the time nor patience to write a window manager. Hearing about Shell and Mutter and friends at GNOME Summit affected that decision a slight bit as well; we had already accidentally duplicated some of the effort in creating Seed alongside GJS, we weren't interested in continuing down that path.

RCOS ended up funding two semesters of Seed development and also provided a place for us to show off what we were working on to a bunch of people from outside of the GNOME developer community — which is really a great thing, and lets you put a little bit of perspective on what you're working on... both semesters we had other overarching projects in mind, but both semesters Seed was the primary target of our development time, because it was something feasible and something potentially useful to others.

Big Picture

Without something like RCOS, Seed almost certainly would not have been written; I would still be sitting here having never gotten my hands dirty in the GNOME world (some would say we'd be better off that way :-D); and, more importantly for the big picture, dozens of undergrads would never have gotten a taste of community in software, nor of writing code out in the open, nor of thinking of themselves second for once when coming up with ideas.

I believe that this is incredibly important, and — shockingly — something relatively unique to our campus (I realize it happens in other places, but not nearly as many as one would initially hope), and that more campuses should take heed and — if at all possible — try to pull off something similar!

The Man with The Plan

It turns out that this is all made possible by one person: Sean O'Sullivan, who graduated from RPI in '85 and went on to help found MapInfo — far from being a model citizen of the free/open-source world, but the timeframe excuses them, without question.

Mr. O'Sullivan apparently believes in our world too — so much that he donated a significant chunk of money in order to initiate and fund RCOS for a few years, as well as to create a annual semester-long course on developing open source software (which Robb is currently enrolled in, and is having a blast with, from what I hear...).

Reasonable social protocol would dictate that Seed contain some sort of "thank you" to both Mr. O'Sullivan and to Moorthy; unfortunately I never quite feel comfortable inserting any sort of message to that effect anywhere, nor bringing it up this late in the game, so this is my thank you: thank you for the last three semesters, and hopefully three more; thank you for believing in our cause and our world; and thank you for showing even just a few new people something they hadn't seen before, and possibly wouldn't have had their paths not crossed yours.


RPI has an awesome-but-underappreciated program for getting people involved in open software, run by Mukkai Krishnamoorthy and created by Sean O'Sullivan, and it gives me the little bit of hope I have for our community...

Clutter Export

2009.08.19 in code, gnome, and summer of code

I had a painful experience trying to make the video of gnomines-clutter for my last post... it seems to be very hard to capture OpenGL apps under X with any reasonable framerate. Anyway... after finally getting one of the dozens of programs that I tried to work (I can't remember which one now...), I decided I'd try to fix the problem from a different angle.

I'm really only interested in exporting the output of Clutter views, mostly. So, I figured I'd hack up Clutter to output PNGs for each frame. I added a check for the CLUTTER_EXPORT_FRAMES environment variable (or the --clutter-export-frames argument); if it's set, I discard the system time and instead draw every frame (incrementing the master clock by 1/CLUTTER_DEFAULT_FPS, so that the "frame rate" of the output is adjustable). When clutter_stage_paint is called, I read the pixels of the stage and export them to incrementally-numbered PNGs in the current directory.

This should work in theory. In practice, for some reason, some animations randomly speed up or slow down. You can see it in the video (most specifically with the sliding bounces when you finish a level).

Video of Lights Off with this here.

Patch is here. It's not particularly attractive... but maybe once it works I'll make it make more sense...

I'll have to harass someone working on Clutter and see if we can make it work/what I'm doing that's so crazy, because I'd really love for it to work!

There's at least one other thing that needs to be taken into account: idle time. Since frames are only exported when the stage is painted, when you're just sitting there doing nothing, nothing is exported, so the video runs like you're very, very quick with the mouse :-) But I'll work on that later...

Anyway, this might all be crazy or pointless. If so, I apologize! In any case, it can't possibly be as crazy as Carol's first blog post in many months... which is quite entertaining and awesome all at the same time, and details from a layman's point of view what she worked on all summer (while making fun of most of our crew at the same time). It's nice to see her getting along with GCC, finally! :-)

GSoC '09 Endgame

2009.08.18 in code, gnome, and summer of code

Today marked the final day of this year's Google Summer of Code! It's been a good summer, though I certainly didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, a lot of cool stuff got finished this summer.

Future in GSoC

I've decided that this is my last year participating in GSoC as a student; I had a great deal of fun both years, but I guess it's time to give others a chance, and I really don't like working on open-source with a definite deadline... it's more of a hobby to me than a "job", and I'd like to keep it that way for now — at least as long as I'm sitting at home/school; I think things would work a lot better if I had to go into work instead of working from somewhere where I'm comfortable/easily distracted. I guess a lot of people run into that problem...

Anyway; though I'm not going to participate as a student next year, I'd absolutely love to help out or mentor/co-mentor someone working on a GNOME-related (especially games, or Clutter, or Seed) next year. I think that would be great fun! But that's a good ways away now...

Also: be sure not to take any of the above to suggest that I'm leaving; far from it! I'm definitely going to be at Boston Summit this fall, and I plan to continue working on Seed and GNOME Games for the foreseeable future (as long as nobody wants to get rid of me (I realize there are some who want to get rid of all of us who peddle Clutter/GL/JavaScript/etc., but whatever...)).

Summer Results

It seems the general consensus is that my three games (lightsoff, same-gnome-clutter, and gnomines-clutter) will be moved to the "normal" section of GNOME Games (versus the "staging" section in which they currently reside) in master as soon as 2.28 is branched, and will ship with 2.30.

  • seed — I was more or less the active Seed maintainer during the majority of the summer, so this involved a lot of releases, patches, and bugs. I wrote a lot of documentation over the course of GSoC.
  • lightsoff — I completely rewrote Lights Off during the GSoC period, and created the entirety of the surrounding UI. It's 99% of the way there; it needs documentation and one preference to be removed (or made functional). The new version has theming, and is much more attractive and less buggy than v.1 or v.2.
  • same-gnome-clutter — Lots of updates and reorganization, as well as a bunch of preferences. And theming! (though there are no other themes, at the moment)
  • gnomines-clutter — Started an initial implementation, using things I've learned over the course of writing and rewriting the other two games. It has a very preliminary Clutter UI, but the game is theoretically playable.
Overall, I'm very happy with the games as they stand... I'm a little iffy about the performance of same-gnome-clutter, but I think I might know how to fix that. There's still a lot of work to do (saving high-scores still doesn't work, but I put that aside to work on gnomines-clutter so I would have something to show by the end of the project).


Since nobody's seen any of gnomines except my family and Thomas, I guess I might as well show it to you here! Keep in mind that this is a total of a day of Clutter work (after working on and off for a few weeks in between other things on the underlying structure of the game and getting a playable CLI version working), so it'll get a lot better shortly. Also, I stole the flags and bombs from the current version of gnomines... that could be a good thing, or a bad thing... we'll see!

Click on the image for a short video!

I'll be creating a gnomines-clutter branch on GNOME Games git tomorrow (if nobody has any complaints) in which to continue working on this (right now I'm just using a local Git repo, so the code isn't published anywhere yet).

Seed 2.27.90 - quite the jump!

2009.08.10 in gnome and summer of code

I just pushed the tarballs/tag of Seed 2.27.90; Robb and Matt and I decided to jump to match the GNOME release number, to reduce confusion now that we're a module. Not sure that was a good idea because people might expect that we've passed "1.0" now, which we most certainly haven't done!

This is the first release to come with the FFI module, so you can do stuff like this:

var app = new ffi.Library();
var strcmp = app.strcmp;

strcmp.signature = {arguments: [GObject.TYPE_STRING, GObject.TYPE_STRING], returns: GObject.TYPE_INT};

print(strcmp("Hi", "Hi")); print(strcmp("Boo", "Foo")); print(strcmp("Foo", "Boo"));

(but please, only do that if you're really crazy... there are more useful applications; Robb has an example that calls out to XLib, too... which is a little longer but a good bit less silly...)

It also comes with a much more attractive way to install properties on GTypes. I haven't yet written documentation for this, but will in the next cycle. For now, I'll just note that it lets you do things like this:

OscillatorWidget = new GType({
    parent: Gtk.VBox.type,
    name: "OscillatorWidget",
    properties: [
          name: "frequency",
          type: GObject.TYPE_INT,
          default_value: 1000,
          minimum_value: 0,
          maximum_value: 3000

The property's flags default to readable/writable, but you can mark them as construct properties and then set them with the JSON construction notation. As I said before, documentation and polish are forthcoming.

And, for your reading pleasure, the Seed 2.27.90 complete ChangeLog:
  • Expanded and updated documentation; also available at library.gnome.org
  • All JavaScript contexts now have a __script_path__ property, which exposes the absolute, canonical path to the evaluated script
  • Add __init__.js functionality; if an imported folder contains __init__.js, it will be evaluated with the imported context as the 'this' object
  • Fix bug which caused inheritance from a GType created in Seed to fail
  • Add "pretty" property installation, see gtype-property-nice.js
  • New FFI module, provides an interface for calling non-introspected native C functions from JavaScript

Seed, the module!

2009.07.27 in gnome and summer of code

Last Wednesday, I got a wonderful email saying that Seed (alongside numerous other awesome projects) was accepted as an official GNOME module for 2.28. Many thanks to the release team and everyone who spoke out in support of us during the discussion period!

I've got no idea what's next in terms of things to do to get Seed ready for 2.28; I've been away (in Boston, visiting colleges with my little sister), so I haven't had a chance to look around and see what sort of work is involved. If anyone has any pointers, let me know!

Unfortunately my travel-netbook (Eee901) decided that Clutter wasn't something it wanted to deal with (on Karmic with xorg-edgers PPA, so I'm not surprised...), so I didn't get much GNOME Games work done this week, in Boston. I wrote some Seed documentation on the bus ride down, though. Oh, well. More to do this week!

In other news, I want some Tango t-shirts...

Happy Moon Day!

2009.07.20 in gnome, personal, and summer of code

As I'm sure everyone knows already, it's the 40th anniversary of Armstrong & Aldrin's landing on the moon. I really wish I'd been alive to see that — indeed, nobody's set foot on the moon or elsewhere in my entire lifetime so far! Hopefully we'll remedy that soon... I'd really like to visit, even if just for a short while. Someday!

It's also my 20th birthday! The 20th anniversary of the landing is pretty much one of the best possible birthdays for a geek, in my opinion...

Other things of note... the four of us are going to Boston (to visit schools with Amy) from Wednesday through Saturday; Amy's show (Romance/Romance) was excellent (one of the CTC's best...); Kaitlyn's home!; I started playing around with getting Mines going; etc.

At jclinton's request, I merged gsoc-seed-games into gnome-games master this week, so if you were tracking that, it's gone. Which, of course, means I managed to confuse some translators with unfinished strings and stuff (oops!). Hopefully that's mostly sorted out now (though I did notice that "Same GNOME (Clutter)" and "Same GNOME (Clutter, C)" are still getting translated unnecessarily, and I'm not sure what to do about that/what to call it/etc. Or, if we should just build one or the other depending on if you have Clutter or not... probably.

Some random pictures for your amusement (mostly all what people have seen before):

P.S. I apologize for shoving JavaScript and Clutter down your throats :-) (I really don't want to get in the middle of this...)

Seed 0.8.5, now with organized docs!

2009.07.11 in code, gnome, and summer of code

Just this afternoon, I pushed Seed 0.8.5 and gnome-js-common 0.1.1 to GNOME FTP. Both of these are primarily maintenance releases; however, Seed sees two new bits of code: native modules to bind MPFR and gettext. The bindings for the former are still incomplete and experimental, but the latter has already found use in my gsoc-seed-games branch of GNOME Games. Many thanks to Matt Arsenault for the MPFR bindings.

The largest change in 0.8.5 is a massive reorganization of the documentation. I've recently been somewhat irritated at some other projects' poor documentation, and have always appreciated the care that Clutter and GLib/Gtk+ always seem to have taken with their reference manuals (all three of which I rely on daily). This reorg is the first step I'm trying to take towards having a good reference guide for Seed, too. I realize that there's still a lot of writing to do, but the framework is finally there in a way that I feel comfortable working within.

Between 0.8 (I realize it says 0.7, someone forgot to update the source) and 0.8.5, we went from this:

to this:

As you can see, that's a pretty significant jump in structure. I've also decided to jump on the one-manual bandwagon, unless anyone objects, so I'm going to be updating and moving the tutorial into the manual, as well as constructing a Seed+Clutter tutorial (probably a walk-through of constructing a draft of one of my games, unless someone has a better idea). In addition, the runtime documentation (which covers using the JavaScript side of Seed) will be merged in (and is in dire need of updating).

I realize that some of the right-hand side long descriptions are somewhat contrived, but it looks so empty if you leave one out!

After the jump, the 0.8.5 ChangeLog:

  • Significant reorganization and expansion of the reference documentation
  • New native modules:
    • gettext
    • MPFR (partially complete)
  • Same Seed has moved to the gsoc-seed-games branch of Gnome Games (and will eventually move to master)
  • Add seed-module.h, which includes a handful of macros to make writing modules slightly more attractive. Look at gettext or the reference docs for examples.
  • Prefix native modules with seed_ (libseed_readline.so, etc.); this fixes the need to incessantly 'make clean' seed and cuts down on ambiguity in naming.
  • Add 'seed_value_is_string', 'seed_value_is_number', and 'seed_value_is_object_of_class' to libseed
  • Update examples to latest (now frozen) Clutter API changes.
  • Fixes a bug with the importer search path which resulted in the search path being overwritten each time something was imported
  • The importer now also searches the directory in which the script being executed is located by default.

End-of-June GSoC Status Update

2009.06.30 in code, gnome, and summer of code

It's been way too long since I've written here; and, it's going to stay that way for now, unfortunately. I'm just going to quickly copy my weekly status reports for the first five weeks of GSoC in here, to share...

Week 1

Hi, all!

I was in Barcelona at UDS last week, so I didn't get that much work done, but I also started early so as to get something done.

So far:

* I started (and got a good ways on) a much-cleaner and more-modern-seed rewrite of Lights Off. There's all kinds of awesome brokenness (mostly a result of airport coding practices) so I wouldn't suggest installing it at the moment. (http://jayne.hortont.com/git/cgit.cgi/lightsoff3.git/) (https://files.hortont.com/lo3.png)

* I created a PPA for those of us working on GNOME Games to publish our work; I'm going to get introspection and Clutter and seed and whatever you guys need in there shortly, and once all that is working, I'm going to merge all of the GSoC GNOME Games branches, build a copy, and push it to the PPA (and wash, rinse, repeat, at least once a week). (if anyone has working debian packaging for the as-yet-unreleased gobject-introspection-0.6.3, let me know, I've been fighting with it all morning) (https://launchpad.net/~gnome-games-experimental/+archive/ppa)

* I worked with racarr to get seed-0.8 out the door while at UDS, which includes an important GC-related fix that affected ClutterAnimations, so we reduced leakage (or hacky code to avoid leakage) in all of the seed games. (http://ftp.gnome.org/pub/GNOME/sources/seed/0.8/)

* I blogged about the Lights Off tiles (just for fun!), and got about 1000 votes, choosing the new ones 4:1 (not even remotely surprising). (http://www.hortont.com/blog/2009/05/lights-off-tiles/)
Week 2
I spent a good part of the last five days (my last status report was late, so the duration between these two is less than it ought to be; do let me know if Sunday night is the wrong time for these!) working on various things:

* I created a branch of GNOME Games for myself (gsoc-seed-games) and imported the rewrite of Lights Off from last week into it.

* I finished populating the PPA that I mentioned that I created in the previous cycle. It has fresh-from-Git versions of webkit, seed, opengl-glib, gobject-introspection, gir-repository, gnome-js-common, clutter, and clutter-gtk as well as a copy of gnome-games which includes my branch, Guillaume's branch, and Zhang's branch (so, as far as I know, all of the GNOME Games GSoC Goodness).

* I talked to both Guillaume and Zhang to fix tiny packaging problems in their branches in order to achieve the above.

* I spent the better part of an entire day deep inside the Clutter source, trying to determine the source of a bug; I eventually found the _source_ of the bug (#1631), but do not have a proper patch; the PPA includes a patch (which is also in the seed repo, in the patches subdir) that removes the broken optimization, but I'm not sure how to appropriately /fix/ it... in any case, this means that the most significant animation bugs are fixed.

* I cannot wait until Clutter-1.0's API stability. There was lots of updating Lights Off to the changes caused by the merge of the integration-1.0 branch into head, this week, too...

All in all, a week of bugs and packaging, and not a whole lot of awesome new code... but these are important things! I also made a very overview-y next-steps-to-do list at Thomas' request:

1) Get libgames-support installed + building gir/typelib.

2) Consume libgames-support inside LO so I get game-related stock items and stuff, finish LO UI.

3) Move LO + Same into gnome-games git. (this is half done, now)

4) UI for Same (consuming libgames-support stuff); high-scores, preferences (?)

5) Mines!
Week 3
Hi, again!

This is going to be a terse status report, as I'm currently running around rather busy...

This week, I:

* got libgames-support installing into prefix/share/gnome-games-common (commondatadir)

* got libgames-support build generating introspection data

* consumed the aforementioned introspection data in Lights Off, and started (about halfway) to consume it (for high scores) in Same

Next, I want to:

* move Same into my branch of gnome-games, and get it building as an option (alongside the C version)

* figure out what to do about ggz introspection data

* finish high scores code in Same, menu, etc.
Week 4
Another week! Another short, last-minute status update.

* Fixed a longstanding bug (#579008) in gobject-introspection, which was requiring us to carry around a patch to Clutter that would /never/ get applied (it removed annotations to work around the bug). Hasn't been committed yet, but since it ended up only being a single line (once I realized what was going wrong), I'm sure it will be soon. Also, filed a bug (#1653) against Clutter to *add* some necessary annotations once this gets fixed...

* Worked a bit on getting the SVN version of GGZ to generate its own introspection data. This is proving to be slightly annoying, because GGZ is split into numerous parts, and I'm having awesome crashes and stuff...

* Moved Same (the JS version) into gnome-games repo, get it building properly (right now, it installs beside the real version, should become a switch at some point).

* Same (when it was still in the Seed repo) has a C version that I'm using to figure out some oddities with Seed+Clutter, and both that and the JS version work with Clutter head now.

Stuff in the gnome-games repo hasn't been pushed yet (just got home from NY, fighting with Git, I hate losing the ability to rewrite history, etc.; it'll all be up by tomorrow).
Week 5
* Made a to-do list to keep up to date (http://www.hortont.com/gsoc-seed-games-todo.html) Right now, it only has stuff that I could think of off the top of my head this morning, but it's already a relief to no longer need to keep such things in my head. Anyway, I'll continue updating it and checking things off from here on out.

* Cleaned up animation and events and stuff in Same, which fixes some strange flickering when you move the mouse over the window, and makes most of the animation smooth again (update to match the fact that Seed handles animation memory now, too). This is incomplete, still, there's a little left to be done.

* Wrote a tiny 'gettext' C module for Seed, so that we can _("asdf") from JS. I still have no way to scan JS files (xgettext in C mode pulls out all of the strings for some reason), but my to-do list links to a promising project (I don't know what licensing problems would be involved in utilizing a MIT-licensed project to do this, though...) that scans JS for gettext calls.

* Added an About dialog to Lights Off, after getting gettext working as above.

* Finished the LO menu (except for "Help"), fixed keyboard accelerators.

* Fixed the blue corruption around the LED display, and make drawing much more logical and efficient (not sure what I was thinking making dozens of ClutterCairoTextures)...

* Theme names are pretty printed now, not just the name of their directory.

* Keyboard-based play (use the arrow keys and enter) — move around a small glowing dot, and play without the mouse. It's not fun, but I saw it somewhere else — Same, maybe? So it seemed like a good thing to have. Accessibility in games? I'm not sure.

* GConf schema for LO prefs! Whoops; this one should have happened a long time ago.

* Got most of the PPA updated. However, for some reason, gnome-games refuses to build on non-x86 architectures. If anyone wants to help me, please do :-D

Anyway, LO is almost done (needs "Help" and various bits of cleanup, but it's mostly happy)... Same isn't far behind.

Get your fresh games here!

2009.06.05 in code, gnome, and summer of code

During one of my first conversations with my GSoC mentor, Thomas H.P. Andersen, he suggested that we set up a Launchpad PPA. A PPA would be a great way for people (people using Ubuntu, at least) to get ahold of the very latest work being done with Gnome Games, provide a lot more eyes, and encourage much more feedback from the community during the summer development process.

So, this week, I went ahead and created the gnome-games-experimental PPA. It currently contains all of the dependencies for my branch of Gnome Games (including WebKit, seed, gobject-introspection, and Clutter), as well as a build of Gnome Games itself. This build includes three branches:

gsoc-seed-games — my ports of Same Gnome and Mines to Clutter+Seed, and a new game, Lights Off

gnibbles-clutterGuillaume Beland's port of Gnibbles to the Clutter canvas

sudoku-tubeZhang Sen's implementation of joint Sudoku games over Telepathy tubes

Keep in mind that we've only been coding for a week and a half, so if you go ahead and try out the PPA today, expect to see very little working, and within what works, lots of horribleness (I personally know of numerous gigantic animation bugs in Lights Off that you'll get to experience!). However, if you do decide to jump onto the cutting edge, you can feel awesome about yourself for helping us out, and you'll also get to play with the finished products long before anyone else.

I plan to update the packages in this PPA once a week at the minimum; you're welcome to use it (please, use it!) and let me know how it goes... I'm new to packaging things (relatively; I packaged bits for Seed before, but that never went well), and I'm probably doing it slightly (or totally) incorrectly. Let me know, and I promise I'll fix it!

It seems to install properly against a fresh Jaunty install (just add the repository, upgrade gnome-games, and watch as the dependency list explodes in your face; most of those won't end up actually being dependencies of Gnome Games, it's gir-repository's fault...); Karmic builds will be ready soon. I make no promises about stability or about these packages not screwing up your machine (especially things that use WebKit)... but if you have trouble, again, please let me know!

Lights Off Tiles

2009.05.23 in code, gnome, and summer of code

Today more or less officially starts coding for GSoC; however, I'm leaving for Barcelona (for UDS) at 10AM. To offset the fact that I'm going to be missing for the first week, I started hacking on the clutter-0.9/modern-seed version of Lights Off. You can check it out [Ed.: merged into gnome-games Git] if you want, you'll need a recent version of Seed and a patched Clutter (the patch is in the Seed repo, under /patches). I'd suggest you wait, though, because all of the shiny (animations and such) is currently broken (looooong airplane flight tomorrow, we'll see what happens!).

Anyway; the Lights Off tiles from the video are from six months ago, and were made in a matter of minutes in Inkscape, designed to look as much like the physical copy of the game as I could achieve (I am not an artist). Robb has since been trying to convince me to try again, suggesting that they might not be the most Gnome-y tiles in the world. I decided to grab the nicer, Tango-colored tiles I made for my Seed port of Same Gnome, create a black tile, and see how that looked (redesigning most of the rest of the somewhat-minimal UI in the process)...

In any case, I'm not sure what to use! I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a few swappable themes, but I don't know what to use as the default... or even if either of these were the best we can do. In the meantime, I figured I'd let you guys vote between the two, and if you have any ideas for improvement (or, even better, SVGs!), send me a note!

Newer style is on the left, the originals (from January) are on the right. Click away (your last vote is the one that counts, and voting is immediate when you click the link)!

[Ed.: voting is closed]

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