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This Week in Pop! – April 30th

Pop!_OS is a Linux distribution by System76, a Linux-based desktop hardware OEM. It is based on Ubuntu, with many enhancements specific to our vision of the desktop, and provides an optimal platform for our hardware, which is thoroughly tested throughout each release. These weekly posts highlight the developments that have been made each week in Pop!_OS.

Week of April 22-26

HiDPI Toggles Re-Added for 19.04

HiDPI toggles in GNOME Settings were briefly unavailable when the 19.04 ISOs were released. This pull request re-added these toggles to bring the functionality back. Due to some changes that were made between 3.30 and 3.32, the patch to add these toggles had to be rewritten.

Fixed Sidebar Icon Padding in Nautilus 3.32

An issue in the GTK theme in 3.32 caused the labels to sit too closely to the icons in the Nautilus sidebar. With this pull request, padding has been re-added to the sidebar in Nautilus as it was in GNOME 3.30 in 18.10 and prior. If you see any other issues with the GTK theme in 19.04, be sure to submit a issue report!

VAAPI / VDPAU Enabled for Open Source Graphics By Default

With this pull request, VAAPI / VDPAU support is now enabled by default for open source graphics drivers. This enables support for hardware decoding of supported video codecs on compatible graphics hardware. Most graphics hardware today contains dedicated chips for hardware decoding of a variety of formats. NVIDIA graphics drivers have always come with the necessary drivers to enable HW decoding. Now Intel and AMD graphics can benefit from VAAPI support out of the box, too.

However, Chromium and Firefox both lack support for HW decoding on Linux entirely, so this will only apply to supported video players, such as MPV and GNOME MPV.

Disabling Mouse Acceleration in GNOME Settings

A new feature has been added to our fork of GNOME Settings in 19.04: the ability to disable mouse acceleration — a feature highly requested by PC gamers, artists, designers, and anyone who expects their mouse to have a predictable, "flat" acceleration profile. This functionality was previously hidden away in GNOME Tweaks, but will now exist front and center in the area where you would most expect to find it: in the mouse panel of GNOME Settings.

This patch was submitted upstream to GNOME by Mathew Bouma, but was not accepted. We think it’s a critical feature to have, given our target audience, and so we’ve elected to include this work on our desktop. Many have not been aware of the ability to disable adaptive acceleration on the desktop, and it’s caused quite a bit of grief for gamers and artists expecting this feature to exist in an obvious place.

Pop Upgrade Progress

This week focused on improving the upgrade daemon and its accompanying CLI.

The upgrade daemon now sends a signal to clients to notify them of unsupported apt repositories. It is then up to the client to send a respond back to tell the daemon which repos should be kept, and which should be disabled. The client may then re-attempt a release upgrade after applying the modifications locally.

Some extra error handling was also added. If the upgrade daemon is restarted after an upgrade has been queued, the apt sources are reset to their original suite, and the upgrade canceled. This was only partially implemented before, but is now fully implemented.

When performing a recovery upgrade, the version and build is now stored on the recovery partition to make it easier to determine when the recovery partition should, or rather should not, be upgraded. An 18.04 install with an 18.04 recovery partition will upgrade the recovery partition to the latest build of 19.04 before proceeding with the update.

With this work complete, the major focus of the next week will be the completion of the client integration within GNOME Settings.

youtube-dl Updated

The youtube-dl package in Ubuntu is broken, due to recent changes in the YouTube API. Exactly the kind of package that should always be kept to the latest version, or not at all. We’ve updated it in disco to 2019.04.24, and will try to stay on top of updates for this package.

Pop!_Volunteers This Week

  • @derpOmattic has submitted a handful of DEP11 appstream metadata: GNOME Authenticator, Lollypop, & PulseEffects. Made possible through the help of @stratact and his dep11 convertor. MR
I am a System76 software engineer, maintainer of Pop!_OS, and contributor to Redox OS. My preferred programming language is Rust, with four years of e...