Friday, 3 August 2012

GUADEC 2012 and Zeitgeist hackfest

As many others, I've been to great La Coruna to meet up with fellow gnomies and zeitgeistians, and even though I arrived on Sunday, I still managed to make it to a couple of interesting talks and on Monday we started Zeitgeist hackfest which lasted till Wednesday.

The biggest chunk of work I managed to do was to review RainCT's libzeitgeist2 branch (with more than 3 thousand line vala-diff), which extracts the datamodel and dbus interface bits from the not-that-long-ago-rewritten-in-vala zeitgeist-daemon and puts those bits in a library which will supersede the current version of libzeitgeist. The old version was conceived during my GSoC (in 2010) and was purely C-based and since at that point the daemon was written in python it had no connection to the current sources, and currently this was more of a maintenance burden for us - you can imagine that it's easier to keep the lib up-to-date when the daemon itself is built with it. By the end of the hackfest the branch was merged into master, and even though there are still some small pieces missing (like documentation and syntax sugaring), we should finish those in a couple of days. The API is currently very similar to the old libzeitgeist, although we did change the stealing behaviour that was used, therefore now it's not as convenient to use in C as it used to be. On the other hand though, it's straightforward to use it from introspected languages as well as Vala itself.

Other than reviews of huge and small branches, we were brainstorming about Zeitgeist's FTS extension (which does textual search of the log for us, but has issues). Unfortunately it seems that all the open source search engine libraries have some issues, be it memory balooning problems, fact that they're written in Java (which I think is pretty unusable on desktop), limbo state of commits to them, or lack of features. Currently the best option seems to be LucenePlusPlus, but it falls into the "limbo state of commits" category. That being said, perhaps proclaiming our interest in it could change that? Pretty please? :)

Besides Zeitgeist, I also managed to stop by at the PyGObject hackfest and bother Pitti with memory leaks we're seeing when using libdee. Although we didn't manage to tackle them, I have high hopes that we do. I also discussed ways to make a library as optional as possible with Ryan, and will apply that to the instrumentation lib I'm currently working on.

One of the things that pleasantly surprised me was an increased general interest in Zeitgeist from the community (at least when compared to last year's GUADEC) and big number of smaller contributions, which are of course great and integrating with Zeitgeist is the way to improve the general user experience. Plus overall it's nice to see this after pushing for it for the past couple of years. Hopefully we will even see direct support for Zeitgeist in GTK soon. ;)

Last but not least, I want to thank GNOME foundation for sponsoring my stay.
Sponsored by GNOME foundation

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