Sun, 03 Jun 2012

GNOME 3.4 in wheezy

Users of Debian sid will have noticed: the final (and interesting) bits of GNOME 3.4 have landed and if all looks as good as it does now, they should migrate to wheezy in about a week.

3.2 → 3.4 hasn't been as complicated as the previous horrible transition, but still had some complications due to Cogl/Clutter incompatibilities. Other than that, our major problem has been manpower, but this isn't new for many other Debian teams. We've also seen new incarnations of “Linux-only technology is now mandatory” which makes our lives a bit more miserable due to kfreebsd-* and hurd-i386, but for now we've still been able to dodge it. It seems wheezy+1 will be fun in that regard though, and we might need to take drastic approaches.

If all goes well and the current lot (GNOME Shell, Control Center, Settings daemon, Mutter...) transitions without additional problems, we should be wrapping up our transitions for wheezy with Evolution and friends (currently sitting in experimental), and hopefully GDM 3.4.

As we get many questions regarding the status of GDM in Debian, let's add a short note on this. Packaging GDM, at least in its current upstream form, is not a matter of unpacking a new tarball and editing debian/changelog. When Joss works on a new major version, the amount of tweaking to break away from stuff that works on other distros but is not so simple in Debian is outstanding (see, for example, the current unfinished work for GDM 3.2 in our SVN repo). In our case, to handle our GDM defaults, we even need changes to the underlying configuration system, dconf. This evidently takes some effort to do, and unfortunately our GDM expert has had little time for Debian lately, but we're confident we'll end up with a GDM in wheezy that is on par with Debian standards.

We are, as always, reachable at #debian-gnome in the OFTC IRC network. Have fun!