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mercredi, mars 16 2011

New Empathy icon!

Since its first release, Empathy was using the Telepathy logo as icon.

This icon suffers different problems, the main ones being its look in smaller sizes. Also, 2 blue heads may not be the best way to present an IM client to users.

So, after lot of discussions and different propositions, Empathy has now, thanks to Jakub Steiner, a new icon! As you can see, we now have slightly different versions depending on the size.

I hope you'll like it!

jeudi, février 3 2011


Just 2 days before FOSDEM! Like most years, I helped a bit with the organisation on the GNOME side. So I can already tell you that we'll have stickers and brand new t-shirts available at our stand.

But my most important contribution is certainly the organisation of the GNOME Beer event. The most common complain regarding this event was the massive amount of smoke at La Porte Noire, so we decided this year to look for a new place. It wasn't an easy task as it's pretty hard finding a big enough place having a decent choice of beers and a non smoking policy. But I'm glad to say that La Bécasse fits all these requierements so I'm sure we'll have a great time.

See the wiki for all the details and an extensive FAQ where I tried to reply to most of the questions you may have. If I forgot anything please just ask.

See you there!

edit: humm looking at the top 3 posts of this blog, it seems that my main contribution to GNOME is now organizing beer-oriented events; I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or not...

mercredi, décembre 15 2010

GNOME Brussels Beer : change of place!

So, tonight is the first GNOME Brussels Beer. The good news is, 11 people have planned to attend! That's a lot more that I would have expected, cool. :)

The bad news is, there has been a problem with the place where we initially planned to go. So it's not at La porteuse d'eau any more but at Chaff. Check the wiki for the exact address, but don't worry, it's pretty close to the initial place.

I'm really sorry for this last minute change. I already contacted all the people on the wiki, so hopefully that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

mardi, décembre 7 2010

GNOME Brussels Beer 1.0

We have a ressonably good Belgian GNOME community (for such a small country) but even so we only see each other once or twice per year. In order to try to improve that I'm happy to announce the first GNOME Brussels Beer event which will take place the 15th December[1].

The idea is pretty similar to the London Beer events: meet at some nice place to discuss around some beers (except ours will be proper beers ;).

So if you're around Brussels this day, feel free to join us!


[1] I know it's a bit short notice, sorry for that. Hopefully the next ones will be announce earlier

vendredi, octobre 1 2010

What's new in Empathy 2.32.0?

GNOME 2.32 was released a few days ago. As most of the developers focused on the upcoming 3.0 it's not exactly the most exciting release ever but I'm glad to say that Empathy is one of the modules with the most user-visible changes.

  • The main one is definitely meta-contacts. Thanks to the awesome work of Travis Reitter and Philip Withnall, it is now possible to easily link contacts together. This has been achieved using Folks, our new contacts aggregator library. See Travis's post if you want to know more about Folks.

  • Another new feature I really like is the contacts list live search implemented by Felix Kaser and Xavier Claessens. It allows you to very quickly find any of your contact by typing in the contact list. I hope to see more GNOME applications using this feature in the future as it's a very efficient way to dig through a treeview. Xavier even proposed to add this feature directly to GTK+. See Felix's post if you want to see it in action.
  • Notifications bubbles now have actions buttons allowing you to quickly accept or decline incoming events such as calls, file transfers, room invitations, etc.

  • Server certificates have been improved thanks to Cosimo Cecchi. Empathy can now ask the user if he wants to accept an untrusted certificate.

  • The IRC account widget has been improved to make it easier to select your IRC network. You can easily search through the list of networks using the live search feature and you can now create IRC accounts using the accounts assistant.

  • Empathy is now able to display vCard of your contacts and allow you to edit your own.

  • The audio/video pane gained a Details page displaying technical info about the call such as the codecs used which is always nice when you want to know what's going one without digging the logs

  • Some preferences have been added, by popular request, such as the ability to disable chat logging or automatically display incoming events (without blinking in the status area).
  • Connection error messages have been improved. Hopefully it should now be easier to understand the problem when an account fails to connect.
  • Empathy is now using status icons from the theme so artists can easily tweak them to fit well with the rest of your desktop.

Once you'll update your distribution you'll probably also update your Telepathy components. These upgrades should bring you some nice new features as well:

  • GTalk compatible p2p file transfers allowing you to exchange files with users of Google's GTalk desktop client. See Youness's post for details.
  • MSN file transfers and the return of MSN audio/video calls
  • And, last but not least, proxy support! Telepathy-gabble and telepathy-butterfly should now be able to make use of your proxy settings when connecting. Once again, best to check the blog of the one who implemented the feature if you are interested in details: Nicolas

Most of this work has been sponsored by my employer Collabora. But let's not forget all the contributors who have done a great job at reporting and triaging bugs, submitting patches, writing documentation, translating, etc. Your hard work is greatly appreciated!

mercredi, juillet 28 2010

GUADEC: Collabora party and Telepathy/Empathy talk

Once again I'm attending GUADEC thanks to my employer Collabora. There are certainly a lot of interesting things going on during these 3 days but I'd like to highlight 2 events that you certainly don't want to miss.

The traditional Collabora GUADEC party will take place on Thursday night at 7pm and will be a barbecue over the beach! Check the parties map for the exact location.

Friday at 9:30 am I'll give a talk called GNOME 3: the Telepathic Desktop. The first part of the talk will be some kind of overview of the cool new stuff we have recently added to the Telepathy framework or which should land soon. I'll also talk about the work we have done to make Telepathy easier to use by third party applications. The second part of the talk will present new features we have added to Empathy during this cycle. I'll also focus on integration of Telepathy in the GNOME desktop in general. I'll have some demos to show hoping they won't fail horribly. :)

Hope to see you there. I know that's pretty early in the morning, especially after the Collabora party but I'll be there in time so you don't have any excuse. :p

edit: Seems there is a live stream of sessions so you should be able to watch the talk even if you are not at the conference.

jeudi, juillet 8 2010

Empathy ported to GTK+3

As a good GNOME citizen, Empathy 3.0 will have to be able to build with GTK+3. As Ubuntu is not going to ship GTK+3 by default in its next release, we decided to stay compatible with GTK+2 for this cycle.

Empathy already built with GSEAL checks so porting was just a matter of playing with autoconf. Libraries linking to GTK+ itself have to be updated as we can't use GTK+2 and GTK+3 in the same process:

  • libcanberra-gtk, webkit-gtk and libunique now have releases using GTK+3 instead of GTK+2 so all we had to do was to change the PKG_CHECK_MODULES calls to check for the -3 flavour of the libs.
  • nautilus-sendto plugin has been ported as well since 2.90.0 but it breaks its public API so we had to do some #ifdef magic to stay compatible with older versions.
  • Since 0.5.1 libnotify doesn't link on GTK+ any more but use GModule instead (Thanks Bastien!) so we just had to make sure that this version was used when building with GTK+3.
  • Unfortunately clutter-gtk and champlain haven't been ported to GTK+3 yet so we had to disable champlain support for now. I hope to see a port of these libs soon.

During configure, we check if GTK+3 is present; if it is then we check for these new version of the deps. If it's not or if Empathy has been configured with --enable-gtk3=no then we continue to use GTK+2 and the old versions of the libs.

If you're interested in details, everything has been merged to master so you just have to look at Empathy's file.

This should hopefully make all the distributions happy during the transition. Once Empathy 3.0 is released we'll drop GTK+2 compatiblity and will start using the fancy new features offered by GTK+3.

jeudi, mai 20 2010

Azimuth 0.2 released

I just uploaded the second release of Azimuth, the Maemo application allowing to publish your location to your contacts.

Lot of cool stuff in this new release! Thanks to Alban Crequy Azimuth gained a control panel menu. It can be used to easily enable/disable publishing so you can now safely install Azimuth even if you don't want to always publish your location (be aware that this option is turned on by default though). We also added an option to reduce the accuracy of the published position if you don't want to publish your exact location to your contacts. There is a third button than can be used to quickly turn the GPS on/off but be aware that letting the GPS always running will drain your battery.


Azimuth in the settings panel


Azimuth's control panel

Last but not least, Azimuth now has its own icon! Anthony Carré (yeKcim) designed a great icon which fit pretty well with the existing Maemo icons. I hope you'll like it as much as I do. Anthony is well known for his graphic work on the Wormux game.


I'm glad that my small pet project already attracted 2 contributors. :)

Here is the NEWS file:

* Add control panel
* Add option to enable/disable Azimuth
* Add option to reduce accuracy of the published position
* Add option to enable the GPS
* Use Maemo GPS icon
* Set Maemo display name
* New icon thanks to Anthony Carré (yeKcim)

dimanche, avril 25 2010

Introducing "Azimuth" for Maemo

Here is a small project I've been working on in my copious spare time.

The Nokia N900 is a great device but I felt kinda frustrated not being able to publish my location to my contacts in a way that Empathy can display it. Good news is the N900 uses Telepathy so that's something that can easily be fixed.

Here comes Azimuth a small daemon publishing your location using the Telepathy Location interface. The interface is only implemented in telepathy-gabble at the moment[1]. That means that your Jabber server has to support Pubsub to be able to publish. Unfortunately, Google Talk servers don't[2]; see the Telepathy FAQ for details.

I just uploaded the first version of Azimuth to Extras-devel (thanks Bigon for the package!) so you should be able to easily install it. This is my first Maemo application so I kept it pretty simple for now. Azimuth doesn't enable the GPS itself so you have to start another application using the GPS (as OVI Maps or Map Buddy for example) to publish.

So, if you want to test it you have to:

  • Install Azimuth
  • Reboot your N900 (the package doesn't start it automatically; suggestions about how to fix that properly are welcome[3]).
  • Set your IM presence to online
  • Start an application making use of the GPS

Be aware that once installed Azimuth will always publish your location when an application is using the GPS and your IM accounts are connected!

Plans for future versions include:

  • Add UI (probably a settings widget) to easily enable/disable publishing.
  • Allow Azimuth to poke the GPS for a position every $N minutes/hours
  • Add an option to reduce location accuracy for privacy reasons.
  • Allow using the Cell to get a position?
  • If you have more artistic skills than I have, an icon would be much appreciated.

If you experience issues or have nice ideas for improvements feel free to mail me. You can also use the Garage page if you feel brave enough. :)

Empathy displaying location using libchamplain


[1] XEP-0080 if you're into XMPP

[2] Google, I hate you for this

[3] The trick is to start the daemon as user and not root

lundi, mars 29 2010

Empathy 2.30 released

Here we go; after 6 months of work I just released Empathy 2.30 and I have to say I'm pretty happy with this milestone. As expected we didn't complete the full roadmap but I think we have done a good job making our software better and easier to use.

Let's see few of the new things this release brings to our users.

Improved accounts dialog

  • The accounts dialog now lives in its own process and can be started from the Gnome Preferences menu, even if Empathy is not running.
  • We improved its interface so that you can easily see the status of all your accounts and the detailed status of the selected account.

  • The first-time run accounts assistant had also be improved. It should now be more reliable and ask for details when creating the link-local XMPP account (aka Bonjour in Mac's world).

  • Thanks to K. Vishnoo Charan Reddy, we gained nice icons for a lot of protocols. Speaking of icons, if someone wants to design a better icon for link-local XMPP I'd be happy to use it. :)

Better chat room support

  • Empathy now supports a subset of most used IRC commands such as /join, /topic, /nick.
  • It is now also possible to join password-protected rooms[1].

Better error reporting

  • The contact list now displays a nice bar when an account is disconnected. You can easily try to reconnect it or open the accounts dialog to change its settings.

  • We also use these nice GtkInfoBar to display an error if something goes wrong during a VoIP call.


  • You can now easily send files to your contacts by drag and dropping to the contact list or a chat window.
  • The chat window gained a nice search bar.

  • Links in status messages are now clickable.

For Developers

  • We stopped pretending to be a library and so dropped libempathy and libempathy-gtk. Those libs never had any API/ABI guarantee and was a burden without real benefits. Plan is to continue to improve telepathy-glib client side API and create telepathy-gtk containing widgets useful for most applications.
  • Empathy 2.30 also stopped to dispatch tube channels. Tube applications should now use the very nicely designed Mission Control API. We ported Vinagre so be sure to upgrade it as well if you want to continue to use the desktop sharing feature with Empathy 2.30.
  • Empathy can now use the ContactCapabilites interface so if you are using telepathy-gabble 0.9.x Empathy will refuse to send files to contacts who don't support file transfers (such as Facebook contacts for example).

Those are just a few examples, we fixed more than 310 bugs during this cycle! If you are interested in more details, I suggest you to read the NEWS file.


[1] be sure to have at least telepathy-idle 0.1.6 if you want to use this feature with IRC

jeudi, mars 25 2010

Use of standard status icons in Empathy

One of our goal for Empathy 2.31 is to use standard status icons rather than empathy specific ones. That means Empathy will respect the XDG Icon Naming spec so icon themes will be able to easily define their own icons.

Currently some themes, such as Ubuntu's humanity icon theme, already define their own status icons by implementing empathy-* icons. If you are a theme author be aware that this won't work with Empathy 2.31.x so you'd probably want to implement the official icons as well to ensure that your theme will continue to work properly with future releases of Empathy. That's what the humanity theme has done for example.

Note that the user-invisible icon isn't officially part of the spec but Empathy will make use of it. I requested to add it so it should hopefully be integrated at some point.

I also sent an email requesting to rename user-idle to user-extended-away as the current naming is pretty poor but until it's accepted you should continue to use the current name.

Empathy using Ubuntu Lucid's icon theme

jeudi, février 11 2010

Facebook chat in Empathy

As you probably know, Facebook now allows you to connect to Facebook chat using any XMPP client. This is a great news as it allows Facebook users to chat using Free Software and can potentially bring millions of new people to XMPP, our favorite IM protocol.

As a XMPP client, you can already use Empathy to connect to Facebook. Alan wrote a nice post explaining how to configure Empathy to do so.

One of our main goals with Empathy is to make the application really easy to use for all kinds of users. So, today I added a new widget to configure Facebook accounts. Facebook now appears as a separate protocol[1] and the widget provides information to the user about how to configure it properly.

The release team folks have been kind enough to allow merging the branch despite the UI freeze so this new widget will be available in Empathy 2.29.91 (which will be released the 22th of Feb) and of course 2.30!


[1] as GTalk does

mercredi, décembre 23 2009

Moovida ARTE plugin

Few weeks ago I released a new plugin for Moovida. This little brother of my RTBF plugin brings content from the ARTE+7 website to Moovida.

ARTE is a cultural Franco-German public TV network providing lot of very interesting documentaries. Unfortunately, because of legal reasons, most of the documentaries are only available from Germany, France and Belgium. That's a shame because the content is generally pretty good. So if you are lucky enough to live in one of those countries you should really install Moovida and give the plugin a try (it should be installed by default now).

Three weeks ago Fluendo and Mandriva organized a plugin developement contest. The contest ended last week and I won! To celebrate that I wrote a small text introducing myself and my FOSS contributions on the Moovida blog.

mercredi, octobre 21 2009

Empathy 2.30 Roadmap

More and more distributions are now planning to ship Empathy as their default chat client: Fedora, Mandriva, Moblin, OpenSuse, Ubuntu, and so on. As a result of this, and because we want to offer the best experience to our users, we at Collabora decided to put more resources on the Empathy project. That's why, as of this Monday, I'm now working full-time on Empathy, and have become co-maintainer with Xavier.

One of my first tasks has been to write a roadmap for Empathy 2.30. As I said on the wiki page, these are really just guidelines detailing the general direction we want to give to the project. We'll, of course, continue to review patches[1] from contributors and to fix nasty issues such as regressions and crashers reported by users.

So don't hesitate to report any issue you could have experienced with Empathy and join the Empathy/Telepathy community to help us to make 2.30 rock!


[1] yay for the new review feature on the GNOME Bugzilla!

mardi, septembre 22 2009

Empathy 2.28: Easy Desktop Sharing

One of my favorite new feature in Empathy 2.28 is definitely the Vino and Vinagre integration. Users can now easily share their desktop with their contacts by a simple click in Empathy. The contact then receives an invitation which will automatically launch Vinagre and connect it to the Vino server of the sharer. No need to worry about sending your internet IP or open and forward a port in your firewall; all the technical details are hidden to offer the easiest user experience as possible.

This integration between IM and application is done by using Telepathy tubes in Vino and Vinagre. Kudos to Arnaud Maillet who worked on this as his internship project at Collabora and to the Vino/Vinagre developpers who welcomed our work with lot of enthusiasm.

With the switch to Mission Control 5, I hope to see more and more projects starting to use Telepathy in order to increase the collaborative user experience in the GNOME desktop.

What next?

Better integration

Mission Control 5 and the new ContactCapabilities interface will allow us to improve the integration during the 2.30 cycle. We'll be able to hide the 'Share my desktop' button if Vino hasn't been built with Telepathy support and to unsensitive it if the contact doesn't have a tube enabled Vinagre installed.

Better performance

Currently telepathy-gabble tries to connect the tube to the peer using the following algorithm:

  • If available connect to peer's IPv6 address
  • Try to connect to peer's IPv4 address
  • Try to use a SOCKS5 proxy
  • Fallback to IBB

That means that if your are on a different LAN than your contact, without IPv6, and that your Jabber doesn't provide a fast SOCKS5 proxy, the connection will be pretty slow. We hope to solve this at some point by implementing stream tube Jingle NAT penetration in telepathy-gabble. Thanks to the Telepathy abstraction, Vino and Vinagre won't have to change a single line of code to benefit from this improvement; they'll magically start to use it as soon as Gabble gains this feature!

KDE interoperability

George is also working on implementing similar feature in KDE using Kopete, krdb and krdc. Easy cross desktop sharing is coming!


Share your desktop in one click

lundi, septembre 21 2009

Empathy 2.28: Adium theme support

Empathy 2.28

Xavier recently released Empathy 2.28 which is a really important milestone for us. Lot of people have been involved in this new version which contains lot of changes and cool new features. I will try to present some of them in a few blog posts.

Adium themes

We merged an one year old branch implementing Adium chat themes support using Webkit. Old GTK+ themes are still present as well. Adium themes can be selected using Empathy's preferences dialog; they just have to be installed in ~/.local/share/adium/message-styles/ or /usr/local/share/adium/message-styles/ so distributions can easily package themes.

Adium themes support is currently optional; be sure to build Empathy with Webkit >= 1.1.7 to enable them. The Empathy package shipped in Debian and Ubuntu Karmic already have this feature.

What next?

Our wiki has a page listing tested themes. Feel free to try some, update the wiki and report bugs if you experience issues.

The theme selector could also be improved to display a preview or support CSS variants. It would be also rocking cool to have adiumxtra:// links properly managed so users would be able to easily install themes from the Adium website.

If you are interested in implementing one of these features, your contribution will be really appreciated. :)

The Renkoo theme in Empathy

lundi, septembre 14 2009

MSN audio/video chat in Telepathy

Lots of you were waiting for it, it's finally there: you can now make MSN compatible audio/video calls using Empathy! Louis-Francis released telepathy-butterfly 0.5.1 today, bringing this long awaited feature to our users.

In order to use it you'll need:

Packages should reach Debian and our Ubuntu Telepathy PPA pretty soon.

Lot of people deserve credits for this big achievement which involve a lot of work in different Collabora projects:

  • Philippe Kalaf, Olivier Crête, Youness Alaoui and Richard Spiers for the Farsight 2 plugins.
  • Youness, Ole Andre and Louis-Francis Ratté-Boulianne for the reverse engineering of the MSN protocols and its implementation in Papyon.
  • Youness (him again!) for the NAT traversal code in libnice.
  • Louis-Francis and Jonny Lamb for the Telepathy layer in Butterfly.
  • The Empathy team and especially Jonathan Tellier who polished the audio/video GUI

Let's not forget the amsn project which was used as a base of the protocol work.

Bigon and me testing Empathy interop with the official MSN client.

So what next? As audio/video video wasn't enough to keep Louis-Francis busy during his summer internship at Collabora, he also implemented file transfer support in Butterfly! His branch should hopefully be merged soon and so Empathy will gain MSN FT support! Olivier Le Thanh Duong on his side just finished implementing offline messages support. As you can see Butterfly development is more active than ever!

mardi, juillet 7 2009

Let's make GNOME a collaborative desktop

This morning, as planned, I gave my talk: "Let's make GNOME a collaborative desktop". I think it did pretty well. The audience (I'd say around 50 people) seems really interested and excited about the new features I presented. I uploaded the slides and added them to the list of Telepathy related talks.

I suggest you to take a look at them if you are interested about Telepathy/Collaboration integration in the GNOME desktop and/or are working on one of the following project: Epiphany, Tomboy/Gnote, Evince, Abiword, the clock applet... I suggested (with mockups!) some ideas about how Telepathy could bring some cool new features to your app.

If you are interested in implementing one of these days ideas, we'll be happy to help you on our IRC channel or mailing list.

lundi, juillet 6 2009

Gran Canaria Desktop Summit

Since Saturday, I'm in Grand Canaria attending the Desktop Summit with almost all the Collabora Gang.

I'll give a talk tomorrow (Tuesday 7th) at 11:00: "Let's make GNOME a collaborative desktop". I'll talk about Telepathy and how it could be used in GNOME to bring new cool features to our users. I'll try to focus as much as possible on concrete use cases and be less technical as possible. So don't hesitate to come if you are interested about improving GNOME's user experience, collaboration or just want to see crappy mockups[1]. :-)


[1] Yeah, I suck at Gimp

dimanche, juin 7 2009

Elisa Media Center RTBF plugin 0.6 released

I just released the 0.6 version of my Elisa/Moovida RTBF plugin. The goal of this release is to integrate better with Moovida's user interface.

- Fix "Use this plugin" hook with Moovida.
- Use new, Moovida style, square icon.
- Move radios menu to "Internet -> Radio"

It should hopefully be available through Moovida's plugin section next week.

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