GNOME at Linux Install Fest

On Saturday (a week ago, I know, I know, I had a full week😦 ) there was this event called Linux Install Fest held at my university. It’s an event organized in order to help first year students install a Linux distro on their laptops (here at our uni, we work almost entirely on Linux, so we need to help those that have never used it and set up their distros🙂 ).

Us, the 5 GNOMiEs (Iulian, Gabriel, Alex, Razvan and I), were just a few of the helpers that were running around (45 in total) trying to respond to the huge request of students wanting to hurry up and have a running (usually in dual boot mode) environment. There were around 220 students (new record actually😀 ) that were present throughout the day, so it was pretty intense.



Of course, some of them were really desperate, as we weren’t enough helpers to accommodate the demand:


We used the L.I.F. as a first chance to promote GNOME in Bucharest. And we did. We handed fliers (that were designed by Bastian) and we talked about what GNOME is and what we do.

The two distros that we installed were Ubuntu GNOME and Ubuntu (the standard one with Unity). It’s worth mentioning that there were some laptops that wouldn’t boot the GNOME Live USB (for unknown reasons). Some of them wanted Ubuntu specifically, while others chose GNOME. There were also some unfortunate laptops that simply wouldn’t allow us to configure a dual boot environment (and we ended up either installing a virtual machine or giving up entirely😦 ).

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good event and it was also our first try at promoting GNOME here, which worked out pretty well. We are actually looking forward for the next events (we have some in mind, but we need to dive into the details of them).

So stay tuned for more!

My GUADEC experience

It’s been three days since I got back home and I have to say that I already miss being there with all the GNOME community🙂.

I actually didn’t know how this experience would be. I had never actually been to a GNOME meeting before and all my interaction with the community was purely online.

But man, the whole trip was great. I met really awesome, fun and amazing people that I would enjoy working with. And we actually did that, as some of the time was actually spent rebasing and rewriting the git history of my GSoC project😀.

I was amazed by how friendly everybody was and how quickly I integrated myself into the community. They made it so much easier. It didn’t take more than a few minutes until we started having beer together and cracking jokes. And this was just the first night when I had just arrived there.

The core days involved attending talks throughout the day (with a lunch break and several smaller ones in between the talks). I even volunteered to film two of the presentations and it was fun. I even had my own lightning talk, during which I presented my GSoC work.

The next three days had a schedule that was a bit more relaxed, the BOFs were quite interesting and I learnt quite e few interesting things during them.

I would really like to thank the GNOME foundation for sponsoring me on this trip and for giving me this awesome opportunity!



Rebasing on the way

As the title says, the User Tracker and the Contextual Popovers are merged and work fine😀, all that remains is to come up with a logical history of the commits so that they make sense chronologically.

Basically, we’ll use the magic that git provides in order to combine, modify, split (and so on…) patches so that they look nice (way better than they look now) when they are going to be landed🙂.

I admit, the way I committed things doesn’t quite make this task easy, as I would often begin working on something, then commit that, then fix some other thing in some other part, and then commit that, then come back to the first thing that was committed, maybe modify that or delete it completely, or whatnot.

The reason for that is the fact that you cannot always predict what the next step will bring, and that’s totally fine. You don’t even have to. You just make the necessary changes, you end up in a place where you realize that you need to rethink some bits, and then you go back and do that. As I said before, our magical friend Git is here to save the day (only if i were a guru in that, which I am not, but still it’s fun).

More on this soon🙂

Some Rework on Tracker and Popovers

For the past three weeks there was a lot going on. First of all, the userTracking idea we initially had proved to provide a bit less than we actually needed, so we agreed that we needed to come up with something more complex, and that lead us to the creation of a new module, the UserTracker. Basically, the user tracker is a whole new module that does what its name says it does🙂. But the old userTracking stuff was integrated in the ChatView (hence the need to separate the logic into a stand-alone module). This was a bit difficult as not all the things were clear from the start: what signals to send, how to filter them so that we don’t end up with a ton of signals everywhere around the app that would need their own filtering process.

Very important thing: the UserTracker watches users both locally (in the room you are on) and globally (all the rooms you are on, rooms that are all on the same network). So, each network (or account, as they are called) has its own UserTracker that has the job of tracking the local status in all the rooms, and the global one on that network.

The global tracking part uses detailed signals, while the local one uses callbacks in order to kind of simulate the idea of signals. Both these measures were taken so that we minimize the number of filtered signals (basically there is minimum filtering done).

Whoa. A lot about the tracker so far. Now the visual part that will use it. Well, visually speaking there is not much of a change on the Popovers, sure, there were some minor bugs fixed, but in a nutshell the popovers are very much the same visually speaking. What happens in the back-end, well, that’s a different story🙂.

The Popovers had to be rebased on the tracker branch, and that had its own challenges as well. The current work that’s being done is in order to make use of all the things that tracker has to offer, but inside the popovers.

Stay tuned for more news on the popovers, as the work on them is advancing towards the finish line🙂.

Progress so far

My exams ended two days ago and I must say that it’s been quite a month. I started working on my GSoC project before my exams and i worked as much as i could before the exams started. Then, I pretty much had some very full days, but still I managed to organize my time in such a way that I was able to code in between my exams🙂.

The first part of my work was called ‘user tracking’ and it involved, well (you guessed it), tracking users, more specifically their status (either online or offline). It’s not as if this functionality hadn’t been present before, it actually was, only that there was a case in which it would provide faulty results. So my work actually involved enhancing the user tracking functionality already present in Polari.

What was it all about? Well, if the same person would be online with multiple clients at the same time (let’s say user ABCD is logged in on both his PC and laptop and that he is on the same IRC channel with both, with names like ‘ABCD_PC’ on his PC and ‘ABCD_LAPTOP’ on his laptop so that the two nicknames are not identical). The tricky part was that if the user would disconnect either of the clients (only one of them, not both), both nicknames would be marked as offline, even if one client still remained active. This behavior would persist until the still active client would send a message so that Polari would notice that he is actually active.

After userTracking was finished, I started working on the next part, called ‘contextual popups’. This part involves both the UI and the functionality behind it. This is a completely new feature and I’m really excited about out it begins to look. Also, it relies a lot on the previous feature, userTracking.

Here’s a picture about the current progress on the popovers:


There are still things to be done in order for it to be complete, and i will focus on those in the following days. Visually speaking, there is only a button left to add (and the functionality behind it) and I will write a new post as soon as it is ready, so stay tuned!

GSoC 2016

GSoC 2016

Hello everybody! My name’s Rares Visalom and I’m a second year Computer Science student at “Politehnica” University of Bucharest, currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

This summer I have the opportunity to contribute to GNOME as a GSoC 2016 student. First of all I’d like to congratulate all the other students that were accepted. I’m sure all of us will give our best in order to actively contribute to the open source community.

My proposal involves improving the user experience for both new and already existing users of Polari, the IRC client developed by GNOME. I’m very excited and I can’t wait to begin the actual implementation of the ideas. With the help of Florian Muellner and Bastian Ilso, whom will aid me as mentors in the process of developing these ideas, I plan on adding user-friendly features that would enhance the user onboarding capabilities of Polari, making it easier for people to use our application.

I will regularly post updates on my progress throughout the summer so if you’re interested, this is the place to find out more about my work 🙂.