Saturday, May 7, 2011

Layman-2.0 development testing

As reported in some earlier blog posts, I've recently taken over maintaining and developing layman. I have been working on replacing the high level api with one better suited for consumer apps use. I've also changed the cli to use the new api and that has resulted in about a 20-35% speed increase for the testing I've done.

I've also been extending the mid level api a little so that it is more flexible for use as a lib in other applications. It does not require an overlay definition be input via xml file only. It can now accept a python dictionary to define an overlay or for that matter any VCS be it a development checkout, etc.., also it's location can be anywhere in the filesytem. That is something portage/pkgcore or a layman gui might use, it is not intended for the cli interface.

Some notable changes:
    * New high level API
    * New cli connection to the new API
    * New add, sync, postsync config options for each repo type
    * repo xml definitions can now be placed in the /etc/layman/overlays/ dir and they will automatically be added to the available list without adding them to the config manually
    * New multiple config functions/classes allows for more flexible API use when using layman as a lib.
    * It now timestamps the remote list and only downloads a new list if there is a change since it was last downloaded.
    * New repo type g-common. The dep is not yet included in the ebuild as it is supplied via app-portage/g-cran from the science overlay. But if you use g-cran packages you probably already know this.
    * New Message class fully capable of re-directing output to the defined output passed in. Again mostly for guis or consumer apps use.
    * other code cleanups, small improvements.

So those that would like to help test:
echo 'app-portage/layman **' >> /etc/portage/package.keywords
# emerge =layman-9999

Please report any issues you have with it so I can get them fixed :)
I would like to try and stabilize the code for a release sometime in the near future.

gentoo forum thread

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Porthole 2011 GSOC project starting

Porthole has been chosen as one of this years GSOC projects. The project will encompass a complete re-structuring of porthole's backend so that it can make use of a new (soon to be stable) portage public API. Stable at this point means mostly a non changing interface for directly operating portage, getting information directly from portage while the backend code can change without fear of constant breakage for consumer apps like porthole.

The student doing the work is Cazou, the same person that worked to port kuroo to QT4 last year. This restructure is needed so that porthole can work even better with portage. It is also needed to be able to work properly with pkgcore which a backend for it will also be produced. That will give you more options as far as package managers are concerned.

More on this later...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

All is not lost

Hey everyone. No I've not dropped off the edge of the earth.

I am gearing up for another season of mentoring for another gentoo gsoc project. This time it will be for porthole. This project is to finish to back-end re-structuring and create a new pkgcore back-end.

Other news, I am now the developer/maintainer for layman. I have implemented the new api I did last year. Extending and improving it some more. I have also moved the cli to use the new api. This has resulted in a 20-35% speed increase for the testing I've done. I've also started a porthole plug-in for it.

Even more porthole news:
Paul Varner has done some work and has helped me get porthole working in a prefix install. I am finishing up the changes, porting them from the dev branch into the master branch code. I'll push out a live ebuild and/or a -0.6.2_beta release hopefully soon. There has not been much in feature additions. mostly more code re-structure and cleanup so it should be easier to modify and maintain. some bugfixes...

Here is a screenshot of porthole running on fuzzyray's mac.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Well, I've gotten everything rebased to layman again and merged into master. Along the way are several more fixes to the work I started in overlord. It is available in the layman-9999 ebuild in the main portage tree.

I'd appreciate all those that test it to make sure I haven't broken anything. I want to make a few more smaller changes to the code before making a layman-1.5 release. So test away, let me know of any problems or quirks that need tweaking.

With that part behind me , I've started to work on extending porthole's plugin system to be able to add custom views via plug-ins. My main goal is to get a layman plug-in working for porthole. I plan to use the existing porthole layout using the category listings for the installed, main remote list, add in lists. The package view for the short info listing and the summary (or possibly it's own tab) for the detailed info. With that part accomplished, I'll add the ability to add, delete, sync repositories.

Back to layman, I was thinking of adding a file in the same vein as portage and the main tree to record the last sync time. With that, i'll extend the layman cli to include an option to list the last sync time(s). It will also be available to api consumer apps like portholes layman plugin.

Layman related, I've been in touch with the dev that created a new git-2.eclass to see about extending it to be able to handle multiple listed EGIT_URI's with in it's declaration. That way if there are multiple protocols available or server locations it can be cloned from, it can cycle through them until one succeeds. just like layman does for adding an overlay to your system. That way if you are behind a firewall and the git:// protocol can not get through, it will try the next uri which may very well be an http:// protocol which can succeed. That should make live ebuilds more accessible to users.

meanwhile back to coding... :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getting Busy :)

Well, I know i haven't been very chatty here on my blog. Things have been getting quite busy.

I've been getting some work done on porthole:
  1. I've split up the mainwindow code into smaller managable chunks that all stack together.
  2. I've fixed the multi-selection for all commands like emerge, unmerge, update. Unfortunately I discovered a bad side effect of that. While selecting a bunch of dependencies I wanted to upgrade. I came across a pkg I emerged with --oneshot that I didn't want anymore. So clicked unmerge (old behavior would just unmerge the pkg selected), then continued selecting and then upgrade. To my surprise I discovered everything selected to upgrade failed due to wget failing. Then I discovered all the unmerge's which crippled my system. Fortunately I have --buildpkg enabled so was able to emerge a number of pkgs from the backups. My system is happily merging updates again. I still need to run revdep-rebuild after to catch any more missing deps from my unmerge stint.
I got to talking with Wizzleby (kportagetray developer) about the layman api I coded awhile back. That got us both going on some preliminary designs for collaborating on both a gtk and kde front-end to layman. Since I had not been getting any feedback about the new api from the main layman dev. I decided to start a fork to work on it more so that it can be released and ready for the guis front-ends. Well that lasted about a week, I made good progress on it, replaced the cli interface to use my new high level api. That resulted in a 20-35% speed increase. I am now the primary layman developer and maintainer. So now I have to port my changes back to layman's namespace. Anyway the new project's name is Overlord. I will keep it for the guis front-ends and possibly a few extras for layman. So give me some time and I'll have the changes in the Layman-9999 live ebuild ready for more testing.

I have been pushing to get the gentoo-guis mail list back in action again and discovered it hadn't been de-activated after all, but it was not listed either. So any of you interested in joining, it is We welcome all
to join in.

We have started a new gentoo-guis overlay for our live ebuilds and development work. It is not yet listed in the main repositories list, but I do have a gentoo-guis repositories.xml file in the overlay you can download and configure layman to use to add it. Actually I made that easier to do in overlord. Those repo.xml definitions can be plugged in for automatic detection and inclusion. Yes, that will be ported to layman too :)

So, I am accepting volunteers for help with things on porthole, layman, overlord,...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I finally got around to another quick blog post. I have been able to get some coding work done on porthole again. I hope to make a few improvements to existing features, nothing major. Then I'll get a new release out. After that I'll continue to produce a new plug-in for gentoolkit and another one for layman.

On the gentoolkit front I've just coded up another small analyse module "packages" to print out all the installed packages and the use flag settings. It is not 100% complete yet. I did this one for likewhoa who needed it for the livedvd release info. With some additional feedback from him, I am going to add csv output so that it can be used to accumulate stats on user's systems when submitted to an accumulation site. There currently isn't one being done anymore, likewhoa is planning to add one.

On the layman front, I've been doing some more coding. I've created new cli backend code that uses the new api I created. It has sped a few things up, and I've added a little more code to the api which has helped to make it more universal and a little faster.