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Gnome 2.28 Upgrade Guide


1.  Changes

Note: You can select gnome subprofile to automatically enable most USE flags needed by gnome-base/gnome and, then, not needing to care about missing USE flags being enabled. Please follow these instructions to select this profile if desired.

Note: When running gconftool-2 to change settings, remember that you can run it as root appending --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults to the end of the command to set default preferences for all users.

Drives automounting

sys-apps/gnome-disk-utility support in gnome-base/gvfs is now required by nautilus to automount drives. Because of this, you need to be sure gvfs is built with gdu USE flag enabled.

We have decided to not enable by default that USE flag in gvfs because it would add too many extra dependencies to people using gvfs but not full Gnome desktop. Because of this, we have decided to make gnome-base/gnome require gvfs to be built with gdu USE flag enabled since most of users installing this meta will expect to get a fully working desktop. Regarding gnome-base/gnome-light meta, we finally decided to let its users handle this dependency as they prefer configuring automount USE flag (enabled by default).


A dependency on gnome-extra/polkit-gnome has been added to gnome-base/gnome meta ebuild to be sure users who enable policykit USE flag get information when they do not have the correct priviledges.

Suspend/hibernate from power manager tray icon

Upstream decided to hide suspend/hibernate options from systray icon as they think it was not a great shortcut for them. You can still enable them again through gconf running:

Code Listing 1.1: Show actions in systray icon menu

# gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/ui/show_actions_in_menu true

Suspend/hibernate requires consolekit

ConsoleKit became a runtime dependency of gnome-extra/gnome-power-manager in 2.27/2.28 cycle as explained in bug #287025. If you know how to solve this, we will welcome patches in above bug report to make consolekit depend optional again.

Icons in menus and buttons

Icons in menus and buttons were disabled by default by upstream as reported in Gnome 2.28 Release Notes since they think it will standardize the look and feel of menus and present a cleaner interface to users. Since we know some people will disagree with that decision, you can revert the change through gconf running:

Code Listing 1.2: Show icons in menus and buttons

# gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /desktop/gnome/interface/buttons_have_icons true
# gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /desktop/gnome/interface/menus_have_icons true

Synaptics hal settings are ignored

Due sys-apps/hal deprecation, upstream decided to drop its support causing synaptics hal settings to be ignored. As a workaround until migration away from hal ends,you can try to configure your touchpad using the settings tool in System->Preferences->Mouse->Touchpad, but it will not allow you to define some settings like touchpad size, tap zones, tap sensitivity, etc.

If it is not good enough for your setup, you can try to disable mouse plugin through gconf running:

Code Listing 1.3: Disable mouse plugin

# gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /apps/gnome_settings_daemon/plugins/mouse/active false

Other changes

Please see the GNOME 2.28 Release Notes for what else new is in this major release of GNOME.

2.  Troubleshooting

Missing information in menus while upgrading

Menus might loose their long version/translation while upgrading because of gnome-base/gnome-menus changes during the progress. It should get back to normal once log off/on cycle has been done.

Epiphany 2.28 not marked stable

Since it was released, some of Gnome team members have been using new epiphany every day to test if it is ready to go stable. Due their important regressions like missing password saving support, missing extensions, crashes related with net-libs/webkit-gtk and upstream focusing more in 2.29/2.30 to solve most of the problems, we have decided to keep using 2.26 series until 2.30 (or newer) are ready to go stable with a newer net-libs/webkit-gtk version also.

You can, anyway, try to install newer epiphany and epiphany-extensions simply following handbook instructions to install testing packages on a stable system.

Gvfs problems while upgrading

Restarting gvfs at the end of the update is needed to avoid weird errors. The safest way to restart it is to log off/on again because doing it on a logged in session could cause crashing problems.

Cannot click on Flash elements and other problems related with mouse interaction

GDK has been rewritten to use client-side windows. This means that GDK maintains its own window hierarchy and only uses X windows where it is necessary or explicitly requested. Some of the benefits of this change are reduced flicker, the ability to do transformed and animated rendering of widgets, easier embedding of GTK+ widgets, etc. Click here to see client-side windows in action.

On the other hand, this change can cause problems on applications still not prepared to use it like flashplayer or vmware-workstation. For workarounding these issues, you simply need to launch the app running GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1 application like, for example, GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1 firefox, getting flashplayer working ok again since that variable turns off this new feature.


Page updated March 30, 2010

Summary: This is a guide for upgrading from GNOME 2.26.x to GNOME 2.28.x.

Pacho Ramos

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