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Debian Desktop Etch+1 - the long road to binoculars.

Hi list,

I would like to show you some of my plans for our next Debian Desktop
release, some stuff that others people are doing and ask for some
suggestions, help and feedback in general. Before that, some history
for those jumping late on the bandwagon.

Debian Desktop Sarge
We had /devel/debian-desktop website, the mailing list and two desktop
tasks (kde, gnome) to be used into d-i and on a running system. It
wasn't possible install kde desktop task without explicit preseeding
though. There was no common artwork.

Debian Desktop Sarge+1 development process
There was an alioth two-person group, lots of wiki articles and the
same /devel/debian-desktop, three more desktop environment groups
(pkg-kde, pkg-gnome and pkg-xfce) and no common (art)work between

Debian Desktop Etch
We have common artwork on the alioth group cited above,
/devel/debian-desktop was updated, a lot of wiki articles reviewed. We
released with GNOME as default (as in sarge), but with two alternative
images to install the other 2 desktop environments involved (KDE and
Xfce). There's also multimedia support on the browser for GNOME (totem
using xine as backend). A lot of time was invested to make Debian
Desktop Etch the best as possible and working out of the box with 100%
free software.

Well, a lot of people don't realize that yet, even some of the most
active Debian contributors. The first thing I ask you is to spread the
word that Debian Etch is a big jump in terms of usability out the box
and everything else. I'm of course biased, but that's also the
feedback we're receiving from the press.

I was really amazed watching tons of people using Debian on their
laptops during debconf 7 with the *default artwork*. There's an
interesting side effect here for us that I'll outline below.

Debian Desktop Etch+1
* Common artwork

It was just to test the waters, I thought it would be easier keep the
discussion around desktop-base source package and did my best to put
people from pkg-kde, pkg-gnome and pkg-xfce cooperating. I remember
the online meeting when people started diverting the discussion, I'm
glad we managed to put things back on track.

With Debian Desktop Etch+1, I would like to see the common artwork
extended to g-i (as outlined by Frans Pop in another thread) and
splash screen (details below). I would prefer just a minor update in
terms of login screens and wallpapers, keep the Etch stuff is a must
have as it's document how the Lenny user will be able to revert to
previous artwork.

* Splash screen

I've been working behind the scenes since Etch development cycle to
enable a splash screen solution (usplash or splashy) by default just
for Debian Desktop! It would be possible preseeding grub configuration
and it wasn't done due to the splash screen solutions status on Etch
and lack of preseeding support for grub. There's also the grub2 issue.
The idea is release with grub2. In other words if you want to help
with this goal, please give some love to: grub2, usplash and splashy.

* Tasks

It's being harder than I though add/edit/remove stuff from the tasks
as it was during Etch development cycle. Anyway, we need to review the
list of packages and more than that work to make sure that these
packages and its dependencies are in good shape into testing.

If you would like to help with this, start running `tasksel
--task-packages gnome-desktop` - also desktop, kde-desktop and
xfce-desktop. I would be more happy with removals of packages and
proof that the feature can be achieved using something else.

We used to have http://qa.debian.org/developer.php?task=<taskname>
where I keep an eye on the tasks health in terms of version and bugs.
I'll ask the ddpo guys what's going on with that.

I'm sure that kde and xfce desktop tasks needs more love than
gnome-desktop and desktop, simple because I'm using more the later
two. I heard Corsac while writing the xfce desktop content, but I'm
sure it will be outdated during Lenny development cycle.

* Flash and Java support

It would be amazing if we could add stable enough: gnash or swfdec
(flash) and basically gcjwebplugin (java) or maybe something that will
come out from openjdk.

I've already seen people watching movie trailers from Apple website
(as I do) using Debian Desktop Etch without considering what was under
the hood to make that possible. We picked totem mozilla (gecko) based
browsers plugin with xine backend (packages: totem-mozilla and
totem-xine). Avoid gstreamer usage was intentional. I would be glad to
review such a decision, but with proof that we can support more
formats out of the box (about:plugins is your friend).

Any help testing, reporting bugs and sending patches to the upstream
in the projects cited above is appreciated. Tell us here about your

* Upgrade manager (update-manager)

I've discussed with kov some of the stuff that can be done to make
sure Debian Desktop Etch upgrades to Lenny will be easier than

* Installable Live CDs

The title says it all. Daniel (panthera), Otavio Salvador and maybe
others worked on this  during debconf7. First we will have installable
live cds 'as is' and hopefully sooner than later live cds able to call
the installer letting you install anything you want (eg: a dns server
from gnome using g-i).

Online meeting

I need to sort out some IRL issues but after that I'll make a call for
a new online meeting. I hope to see you all there.

Thank you very much for those who helped Debian Etch be a universal
desktop! ;) Oh, stop by http://get.debian.net/ . More to come soon.

-- stratus
get debian @ http://get.debian.net/

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