GTK+ Hackfest day #2

I have the opportunity to be attending a GTK+ Hackfest in Berlin this week. Visiting Berlin, (and sleeping about a block away from Checkpoint Charlie), is quite interesting, and a welcome new experience for me.

I promised some people back home that I would post daily updates on things that get discussed/decided here. The hackfest could only support a couple dozen people, but certainly there's a larger audience interested in the things happening here. And it would be a shame to not share things with that larger audience.

So far I've done a very poor job of actually getting those updates out. One snag was that due to some interaction of bugs in ikiwiki and/or planet, decided to post ancient posts of mine instead of recent ones. I still haven't worked out those bugs completely. In the meantime, I'm glad that some people that missed it the first time enjoyed my writeup on learning git. And for anyone wondering about my son Scott, it's been over 6 months since his first steps, and he's now walking, running, and doing everything else expected of a 2-year-old. Anyone who met him for the first time now would never know that he ever had any problem. So that's wonderful.

But getting back to the hackfest: Due to my travel schedule I missed the first day completely. I know that some transitioning-to-GTK+-3.0 plans were discussed then, and hopefully people have seen those slides. There was also a lot of talk about adding introspection to GTK+, (to enable automatic language bindings and other fancy things). The introspection discussion has continued over the second and third days, and hopefully it's going just great, (but I haven't been a part of it at all---somehow it's just one of those topics that makes my brain switch off---but I'm glad other people are interested in solving the issues).

So what I did do on Tuesday included a fantastic presentation from Behdad Esfahbod about the proposed "user font" API for cairo. This is something that's had some preliminary patches since 2006 when Kristian Høgsberg first needed this for supporting fonts embedded in PDF files. The discussion here took great advantage of having all the right people together at the same time, (though it would have been great to have Kristian here as well). We had an implementor (Behdad), a maintainer (myself), and two consumers of the API, (Benjamin "Company" Otte of swfdec fame and Alp Toker of WebKit/GTK+. That was a great group to have together to make sure we the API would make everybody happy. We found several changes that will improve the API quite a bit, but also shouldn't be too much work. Behdad plans to have the changes all committed to cairo, (on a new 1.7 development branch), before the end of the week.

Afterwards, Behdad returned my code-review favor by taking a look at the patch series I have for adding support for arbitrary true-color visuals to cairo. This series is to address a number of fatal bugs that occur when targeting X servers that don't have the Render extension, (Xvnc is a common case). I knew my patch series had some ugly bits in it, but I wasn't sure what the cleanest fix would be. Behdad set me straight right away. So I'll be landing this in cairo very shortly, and this is one of the very last issues left unfinished on the cairo 1.6 roadmap.

The only other unfinished feature on the roadmap is support for pseudo-color visuals, but Behdad is trying to convince me to let that slip, (it's a lot of work for fairly small gain). Who would be really hurt to see this feature slip again? Let me know if you are, (and I'll let you know how you can help make it happen too).