Showing posts from July, 2009


Congrats to the SUSE Studio team on releasing their awesome service. Their hard work and dedication to usability has made it so easy to create your own Linux distro that even I can do it.

Great job guys!

Now lets clone the Studio team and put them to work on some of our less usable things. (I'm looking at you, OBS!)

The Power of Moore's Law

One of my personal projects has been writing a buildbot that builds Mono on Windows. Although we have an official one on monobuild, it takes about 4.5 hours per build, so it can't build many revisions. Mine doesn't do everything that the official one does yet, like running tests, but it looks promising as far as cutting down on the build time (primarily by not using cygwin).

I run it on an old desktop that was lying around that I converted to a dedicated builder server. Its stats are roughly:
Windows Server 2008 (32bit)
Pentium IV 2.4ghz768 MB ram5400 rpm IDE HDIt builds Mono on Windows with the following times:

Svn update mono, mcs2:25 minCopy mono and mcs to a fresh directory6:38 minBuild Mono runtime4:38 minBuild 2.0, 3.5 assemblies (101 assemblies)8:01 minRemove mono/mcs directory1:00 minTotal22:42 min
Not horrible, but it's hard to be satisfied with that knowing I have a spiffy quad core machine and could build most of the managed assemblies in parallel. I had to try i…

My GTK Pet Peeve

One thing I've never really liked about GNOME is GTK. I like GNOME for its focus on simplicity, however I've never thought it was particularly attractive (no matter the theme).

I especially don't like the large amounts of padding around every object. I get the feeling that having 100px buttons is like giving me safety scissors. Granted, it probably helps people who are just learning how to use a mouse, but at some point we outgrow that and should be given real scissors.

It makes me feel like I'm playing with a toy instead of a real operating system. Of course, this is all very subjective and I'm sure there are just as many people who feel the opposite.

At some point, I was playing around with what *I* would like an application in GNOME to look like and chose Nautilus. Monday I saw David Siegel's blog post about his redesign of Nautilus, and I was inspired to finish mine.

I am definitely not an artist, and I may be the only person who finds this appealing, but …

Audio Killer Feature

Last night I listened to the latest Stack Overflow podcast, since it was about Mono. Personally, I am not a big fan of podcasts or videos, as I find them to be a very inefficient way of learning. It is much quicker to read an article (and reread the sections you want) than to listen to an hour of rambling.

Anyways, the one thing that makes it more tolerable is a feature of Windows Media Player called Fast Playback (they also have Slow Playback). It plays the stream at 1.4x (I think) speed, so less time is wasted.

I have never seen this feature in another media player. Are there any other media players that support this?

Banshee as a Platform

Every time I use YaST's Software Manager, I wonder if it would be better implemented using Banshee. Banshee's interface has been tuned for usability, both on its own, and what it borrows from iTunes. Software management is a naturally scary operation, and using an interface that the user is already familiar with could help reduce user fear.

Of course, it would just be the interface pieces of Banshee in a new app, you wouldn't actually start Banshee for software installation.

Another feature I would like to see taken from iTunes/Banshee is downloading/installing in the background. Once I hit Install, go ahead and download the application in the background, and install it in the background. I can click on the "Downloading/Installing.." menu item if I want to see what's going on. Most of the time, I'd rather be looking at other things to download.

Speaking of looking at other things to download, why not help me find apps I want to install? We have the ope…