Experimenting with Gtk+ theme variants: Adwaita red

Most Gtk+ themes offer a “light” and a “dark” variant, however I found out that these names are just conventional: a Gtk+ theme can define variants with arbitrary names, so maybe this can be used for some fun stuff.


Gnome 3: go to Shell? Not just yet, thanks.

In Debian Unstable the transition to Gnome 3 is taking place; when Gnome 3.0 firstly came out some unnamed geeky users complained loudly about the design decisions of the development team to push strongly towards gnome-shell as a new default UI; gnome-shell was designed focusing on usability (usability is a metric relative to a certain target audience BTW) and simplicity, hiding a lot of details from the users. Obviously you can never make everyone happy so some of us simply happened to be “out of target”: you know us computer people (*cough cough*), we like to be in charge and control The Machine...

Gnome Shell default look on Debian
gnome-tweak-tool show desktop icons
Gnome 3 fall-back mode default look on Debian
Gnome 3 fall-back mode applets rearranged
Gnome 3 fall-back mode rethemed to have a light panel


Kinect linux kernel driver

It looks like Santa came early this year.

KernelLabs sponsored me for a Kinect sensor device unit so I can experiment writing a Linux kernel driver for it.

So in the next weeks I'll be working on a gspca driver for this device. For now the code is going to be hosted in the gspca_kinect repository, as an out of kernel module, this will ease compile/test cycle; if it comes out that changes are needed to gspca itself, then I'll decide whether hosting these changes as patches, or switching to a kernel clone repository; suggestions will be welcome. The driver is working already, but currently you can just use the sensor as a normal WebCam.


User-aware scheduling

Recently both OSnews and Slashdot pointed out some experiments about context-aware UIs done by Christian Giordano at Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu GNU/Linux), and the first results are somewhat interesting. As you can see in the good video demo from the original article the effects are nothing mind blowing, but they serve greatly to illustrate the concept, and by building on that something more useful would come out eventually.

That reminds me of another (never realized) old idea of mine from when I was attending the Operating System course at the university, I wanted to bind system responsiveness —at a lower level— to user presence, by tuning scheduler parameters according to the user being at his/her computer or not.


Poor Man's Multi-Touch: using multiple mice with Xorg

Since Jan. 13th, 2010 Xorg version 7.5 has landed to Debian unstable; one of the most notable additions to it was the XInput2 system, which incorporates the MPX efforts. So I hooked up a second USB mouse to my machine and started playing with it.