Monday, January 26, 2009

Tomboy 0.13.3, Tomboy 0.12.2, Tasque 0.1.8, and Giver!

There have been some very important Tomboy and Tasque releases in the past month or so that I have neglected to share. I think it's true that Twitter removes a lot of the motivation to blog. Here are the takeaway points:

Shiki-Colors Theme (click for larger version)

So what else is going on? Tomboy 0.13.3 features some fixes that cut down my memory usage by 25% (with ~200 notes). It should also speed up start-up time if you have a big note collection. One user with 621 notes reported a change from 11 seconds to 4 seconds when he upgraded! The fixes were almost all related to extra work done on a per-note basis, so the memory and performance wins are most significant on these large note collections.

That being said, there is a lot more work to do on memory and performance. Ruben Vermeersch blogged about adapting Federico's timeline tracing tools to chart Tomboy start-up performance. This is going to be extremely helpful in figuring out where we're slowing things down. And as for memory usage, I have only fixed the low-hanging fruit; there are more wins to be had! If this is an area of computer science that you find fun, all help is welcome. :-)

Tomboy Startup (click for full-size graph)

My day job of working on the Mono Accessibility team has kept me pretty busy, and it's been hard lately to find time to work on Tomboy and Tasque. Sure, my team understands when I take a few hours every couple of weeks to prepare a Tomboy release, but that doesn't provide enough time for big feature work or difficult bug fixes. For example, we knew about the problems with Tasque and for a month before we were able to fix it and get a release out. Fortunately, Novell has its cool "ITO" (Innovation Time On) program. I accumulate 4 hours of ITO every week; that's basically the equivalent of 10% time! As I used up all of my regular time off with hospital visits last year, I scheduled four days of ITO during the week of Christmas. I was able to use that time to review a ton of outstanding patches for Tasque, fix the bugs in the RTM and SQLite backends, and make it easy to build on Windows and Mac OS X. This is also when I did all of the memory fixes for Tomboy. So a big thanks to Novell for supporting me in this work.

Lastly, I'm really excited about Ankit Jain's work on Giver. I never worked on Giver, unless you count the moral support I lent during that first Hackweek. :-) But I am amazed at how many people are asking for updates, Windows and Mac versions, etc. As somebody who works from home, Giver isn't that useful to me, but apparently it is very popular and more people are learning about it every day. With Ankit's help, this project may not be so dead after all. You can help him out by testing his Windows builds, trying latest SVN, filing issues, and hanging out in #giver on GIMPNet.


Anonymous said...

you the man!

Bertrand said...

Is it normal that Tomboy won't install on the Windows 7 Beta ? The Microsoft Windows Installer stops working and crashes when I try to install Tomboy (a software that I use extensively on Ubuntu).

Sandy said...

@papperskorg: I have never used Windows 7 so I have no idea what is normal there. If the installer doesn't work, maybe you can try building the software yourself (it's easy; just install GTK# SDK, open up Tomboy.sln in Visual Studio or SharpDevelop, and hit F5 to build and run).

In the future I will provide zip builds for people who can't run the installer, btw.

I will not be supporting Windows 7 until I have it or somebody willing to do the work does some QA on it.

That being said, your problem is probably with WiX (the installer software we use), so maybe you could see if those guys are aware of any issues with Windows 7?

Anonymous said...

Great to see Giver alive!

One feature I never gotten to work with Tomboy/Conduit is synchronization. It would really make a difference if it had some simple sync out of the box.

Sandy said...

@jimmac: Honestly I've never used Conduit. It is neat but I found it confusing and it doesn't solve the problem of needing a central place to store everything.

Tomboy has its own sync support if you can bring your own webDAV or SSH server (or actually you can just sync to anything mounted on your system if that's more convenient). See the Help document, or ask in #tomboy or on tomboy-list.

What I *want* to do is operate our own online service that makes it super easy for users to sync their notes and view/search/edit them online, maybe share them with friends, etc. I think the most promising approach to this right now is TomboyWeb, which runs on Google's AppEngine. It would have built-in authentication via your Google account, and we wouldn't have to maintain a server. Need more people working on it, though...

djcb said...

maybe of interest: I recently blogged a bit about writing/reading tomboy notes from emacs, using the d-bus api:

Sandy said...

@djcb: I did see that, it's pretty cool. I should do a post soon about all the neat tools people are building around Tomboy.

tkubacki said...

Why TomBoy's windows installer doesn't work with mono's gtk-sharp package ?

Sandy said...

@j23tom: Please see my previous blog post for instructions. You probably need to install the SDK installer. Sadly, there are currently two big bugs in the installers (note that Novell's are just newer versions based on Mesphere's).

1) Runtime installer doesn't install a registry key that we need in order to verify that it's installed.

2) On Vista and sometimes on XP, there is a particular file that needs to be hand-edited after install.

Tomboy *should* work fine after you have a working gtk-sharp installation. If it doesn't, please file a bug. Thanks!

Sandy said...

And please, let's keep in mind that these Mac and Windows releases are considered unstable. Hopefully the story will look better by the time stable 0.14.0 is released. :-)

Anonymous said...

@papperskorg: that's a bug in Windows 7 -- they have a work around now posted in the solution center or whatever that thing is. If you try the installer again it should take you there.

Anonymous said...

Task simply sucks on openSUSE 11.1!
It crashes when adding tasks and a simple vi mytasks is better that this!

Sandy said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for the helpful feedback. Are you using Tasque 0.1.8? Which backend? With 0.1.8, there are known bugs with the EDS backend, but RTM and SQLite should be working fine. Please file bugs if you are having problems with them.

Anonymous said...

Bug report with Tasque (is it only me?)
Ubuntu 9.04 - Tasque 0.1.8

I am not sure I can explain well:

The titles (e.g. Tomorrow, Future, Next day) are stripped - the title is crossed by white lines either on the top, or middle or bottom of the title, depending of it's location in the window.

It occurs anytime a title is located on the 3rd line from the top. The first title is not affected, the following titles past the 5th line (line-feed) are not affected either.

It is only the title located between the 3rd and 5th line (from the top of the list)

A print screen would illustrate much better but I can no send attachment.

How/where can I contact the developers and eventually send a print screen? I have tested on 2 notebook with a similar result.

I will check the blog for some feedback, thanks

Sandy said...


Let's keep bug reports to bugzilla. ;-)

That bug has already been filed here:

Feel free to add a comment there, or add yourself to the CC list to find out when it's fixed.