Ubuntu Desktop Weekly Update: July 28, 2017

Here’s the latest in the world of Desktop:

GNOME

We’ve been looking at ways to port the feature of allowing the sound to go above 100%. This is needed because some computers (e.g. Thinkpad X220) have a fairly low volume at 100% and so adding some software amplification is a useful addition. While this does already work in GNOME Shell, using the keyboard volume buttons is still limited to 100% – if you have the volume set to more than 100% and press the volume up key – the volume would max out at 100%, and so effectively turn the volume down.

Snaps

Promoted gnome-dictionary, gnome-calculator, quadrapassel, gnome-clocks, and gnome-sudoku to the stable channel. You can get these fresh GNOME apps on Xenial with a simple snap install.

We explored adding more themes to the default desktop launcher for Snaps. However, this substantially increases both the size of the snaps and the build time. There is work going on to make theme support “just work” for Snaps, so we will focus our efforts on getting that implemented soon.

Video, Audio & Network

It seems that our work on getting video acceleration working across the whole graphics stack is starting to inspire others to work on this complex problem as well, or perhaps it’s a happy accident. An engineer at Intel has proposed some patches to Chromium to get video acceleration working on Linux:
https://chromium-review.googlesource.com/c/532294/

Work continues on captive portal work in Network Manager. This week we’ve added support for enabling/disabling captive portal support via a d-bus API. These patches are pending a review upstream: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=785117
Once that’s done we can add a toggle switch to the Control Center.

BlueZ 5.46 is being tested in a PPA before we decide if we’ll upload it to Artful.

Updates

Gtk+3.0 is updated to 3.22.17 in Artful

LivePatch

We’ve added code to the root daemon to send events and a user daemon to listen to those events and display notifications for when Live Patch events occur. The architecture and design of this is under review however, and this is likely to change again in the coming weeks, specifically with a view to not require another daemon running in the user session.

In The News

Linux Action News covers the July bug shakedown and the application survey.
And so does the Ubuntu Podcast.

OMG Ubuntu also covers the application survey.

That’s it for this week. We’re at GUADEC, and if you are too please come and say hi.

About the author

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Will leads the team working on the Ubuntu desktop at Canonical. He has a diverse background originally specialising in data networks and global communications systems and has provided consultancy to clients such as BT, Verizon, Inmarsat and Schlumberger. Will has been using and contributing to Ubuntu since 2005 and in 2015 he was recognised as an Ubuntu Member. He has three kids, plays golf badly and is a member of The Royal Institution of Great Britain.

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