Contributed by deanna on from the on the desktop dept.
I'm sure you haven't missed previous Gnome 2.18 update so i though it was a good idea to talk about the recent update of Xfce to its latest stable version, 4.4.1, released on 4/10/07. For people interested in more information on this desktop environment, check this tour.
First, a little word about myself : i'm a happy OpenBSD user since 2005, first on my gateway with 3.7, and i soon decided to give a try to OpenBSD as a desktop OS, near 3.9 release. Still a pleasure, stability, awesome documentation, simple and powerful ports/package management.. i was quickly convinced that i could easily use it too on my personal desktop and on my work laptop.
In the end of '06, i had the opportunity (thanks to our best-ever french BSD/*NIX user group, GCU-Squad) to write an article in a French Free Software Magazine, named 'GNU/Linux Magazine France', whose editor in chief wanted to have a 'BSD-oriented special number'. As i started having a good knowledge in Packet Filter syntax, i wrote a ten-pages 'PF for dummies' article, which was well received by readers. Two months later, we then had the opportunity to write articles in a second 'BSD-oriented special number', and as i had always wanted to familiarise myself with ports-tree internals, i quickly decided to write about 'How to create your own third-party port for OpenBSD'.
I decided to start with ports for libofx and grisbi, which were quickly reviewed, corrected and committed by ajacoutot@, a great thanks to him for this. Writing this article was a real pleasure, i had to dig through porting.html, ports(7) and bsd.port.mk(5), and i quickly fell in love with ports-tree internals too. My only previous experiments on creating packages was dealing about RPM .specs, or hacking FreeBSD ports for my personal needs, so OpenBSD ports-tree was a real hack-laboratory for me.
I was then using an svn version of Xfce4 on my systems, because the version in ports was rather outdated. I soon became more and more confident with Xfce internals, but it was quite a pain to compile it from svn source on OpenBSD (little quirks everywhere).
Then, a friend of mine sent a first rough update to Xfce 4.4.0 for the in-tree Xfce. I quickly decided to take it as a starting point, and decided to work on submitting a clean and polished update to the latest stable version. I first splitted this big diff in several diffs against cvs, one by port, tested it on -CURRENT/Xenocara, and after a lot of iterations and submissions to ports@ i quickly had a 'working' Xfce 4.4.0 version on my computer. I solved various little problems spotted by various people (Christian Rueger, Lars Hansson, Lawrence Theo and others), as i knew a little upstream code, it was not that hard, i only had to adapt some Makefile's and learn how to cleanly patch code.
At this moment, OpenBSD devs started the switch to the latest Gtk/Glib needed by the 'being-updated' GNOME 2.18, and Xfce devs released 4.4.1 maintenance release. This gave me the occasion to rework and recheck all my diffs (on i386 and sparc64, thanks to an old Ultra10), i then created a website dedicated to this porting effort (ports.gcu.info). For me, it was a way to present/comment my various diffs, and discuss the reasons of all the choices i've done in activating/disabling things in Xfce components. Now this website welcomes new contributers, if you want to use it to host/present your ports/diffs, i'd be happy to create you an account.
For my great pleasure, steven@ and ajacoutot@ then decided to have a deeper look into my work, and after a lot of discussions/comments and help on corrections, they decided it started to look good, and steven@ committed the first bits of Xfce, core libs, then core apps (window manager, file manager, desktop manager, settings manager, session manager, panel,...). I struggled a little on two issues with xfce4-mixer and Thunar, but these bugs were quickly corrected. Finally, other Xfce apps like mousepad, orage and Terminal were imported, and steven@ and i started updating existing panel-plugins and porting new ones.
Now, Xfce 4.4.1 is mostly complete in OpenBSD ports-tree, and has recently appeared in snapshots. I'd really like to thank all people which provided help, testing, comments and feedback at various moments of this porting/update effort (which took nearly two months) : So, thanks to Steven Mestdagh, Antoine Jacoutot, Markus Bergkvist, Josh Grosse and others i'm surely missing. Working with them was a real pleasure.
And finally, the mandatory screenshot. Thanks a lot to all OpenBSD folks, keep up the good work !
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