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New upstream versions of xrootconsole and keynav in Debian Experimental //at 16:45 //by abe

from the There-are-X-worlds-other-than-GNOME,-KDE,-XFCE-and-LXDE dept.

I recently uploaded new upstream versions of two neat small X tools to Debian Experimental:

  • xrootconsole displays on a transparent or shaded layer on the root window what it gets as input on STDIN, from a FIFO or from a file, and
  • keynav, a way to control your mouse cursor efficiently with the keyboard.

Both packages introduce several new features and I’d be happy if users of these packages in Debian Sid or Debian Sid users curious about them could test the versions in Debian Experimental.

xrootconsole 0.6 + patches

xrootconsole saw no love since 2006 with the last maintainer upload having been in 2002. Nevertheless it never got kicked out of Debian just because of this. The package had been forcibly orphaned just less than a year ago. So it’s no big wonder that this new upstream version I packaged was released already back in 2004. :-)

But besides packaging a new upstream version, bumping Standards-Version and debhelper compatibility, fixing tons of lintian warnings and some bugs, I also added two patches which add new features not (yet) available upstream:

  • UTF-8 support: Upstream xrootconsole just drops all bytes where the 8th bit is set which only allows ASCII. Miroslav Jezbera submitted a patch to allow at least displaying localized text containing single byte 8 bit characters as used in all ISO-Latin encodings. Inspired by the patch to add UTF-8 support to ratmenu, I wrote a patch to add UTF-8 support for xrootconsole, too.
  • ANSI color support: Last year, Julien Viard de Galbert, who is also active in Debian, posted a patch in his blog to support ANSI colors as produced by many log colorizers like e.g. loco (RIP), colortail, lwatch, or ccze. (Didn’t get colortail and lwatch to work with xrootconsole yet, though.) I included this patch and made it compatible with my UTF-8 support patch. The patch raises the memory consumption per displayed character by one byte, but effectively I just saw an overall memory usage increase of about 25% which seems acceptable.

Of course I informed upstream about these feature patches, but I haven’t got any feedback yet.

But I got feedback from Julien Viard de Galbert, and he’ll join me in packaging xrootconsole as co-maintainer.

keynav 0.20101014.3067

I adopted the Debian package of keynav recently, subscribed to the keynav mailing list (well, it’s a Google group), got a nice welcome mail from the very friendly upstream developer Jordan Sissel who offered to help with any keynav issues.

I told him what features I’d like to see in keynav to fit better the setup where I’m using it. And just a few days later there was a new upstream release including both features I suggested, some more neat new features, and one bug fix. Jordan Sissel writes in the upstream changelog (emphasis and italic text by me):

  • Added ‘restart’ command. Makes keynav restart. Useful for binding a key to reload the config.
  • Added ‘loadconfig’ command. This lets you include additional config files to load on the command line or in one of the default keynavrc files. (requested by Axel Beckert) … and already in use here.
  • keynav will now restart if it receives SIGHUP or SIGUSR1
  • Map ‘Enter’ by default to ‘warp,click 1,end’ (requested by Axel Beckert)
  • Fix a bug causing the point under the mouse cursor to not click through the keynav window in certain conditions. Reported via mailing list by Eric Van Dewoestine and Krister Svanlund.

Both packages will be reuploaded to Debian Sid (Unstable) after the release of Debian Squeeze (currently “testing”).

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This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

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