Thursday, November 12, 2009

My stuff is online again

It's a while since the last post on my blog, so here the latest news:

Two weeks ago, after some weeks of absence, I tried to commit some patches to my hal/hal-info git repo at, but there was no git repo anymore. In fact my complete home at was empty. 

After wonder around about the reason, I found out that the freedesktop admins lost the complete /home filesystem during a power outage (see the announcement). Unfortunately there was obviously no backup (whyever!) and also no email announcement to the affected users after all . That's why my repos weren't reachable for nearly a month. Thanks for the service at in general (really!), but this was a lousy incident handling.

Anyway! You can find now again:

  • my HAL git repo: here
  • my hal-info git repo: here
  • several different versions of the HAL specification: here
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

HAL: new keys to match kernel version

Since a while there is the problem that e.g. suspend quirks or key mappings differ between kernel versions. While machines with newer kernel versions may need no longer to map scancodes (as in case of ThinkPads) or need no special suspend handling anymore, systems with older kernels may need other handling.

With current HAL versions it's not possible to match the kernel versions (e.g. > 2.6.28), except for a special version, because system.kernel.version is a string. This is especially a problem with data from the hal-info package, since the package depends on no special kernel version.

I added a patch to HAL to provide now these new comparable (using e.g. compare_*) keys:
  • system.kernel.version.major (int)
  • system.kernel.version.minor (int)
  • system.kernel.version.micro (int)
This change will be part of the upcomming 0.5.12 release. For openSUSE 11.1 you can get the latest HAL snapshot from my OSBS repo.
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TabletPCs: fix eraser detection in xournal

Some weeks ago I got a bugreport for SUSE about problems with automatic eraser detection of Wacom tablets/TabletPCs in xournal. After taking a deeper look into the problem, I discovered that it's again a problem with the naming of the wacom input devices in the xorg.conf.

To find out if the eraser is used, xournal checks for GDK_SOURCE_ERASER. And as it looks GDK can only identify an input device as GDK_SOURCE_ERASER if the devicename starts with eraser. But this is not the case at SUSE products since we use SaX2 which use Mouse[*] as device name.

I wrote a patch for xournal to use xsetwacom to find out if the currently used input device is a eraser, so that the automatic detection is working again and you can use the eraser without selecting the eraser tool again and again. You can find updated xournal packages for openSUSE/SLED in my OSBS repo.

In my opinion the real problem is, that there is (AFAIK) currently no way do mark and identify input devices in as e.g. stylus/eraser/touch. It would make it much easier for applications if there would be a device name independent solution in X in the future.
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