Source: Call For Artists: New Icon Theme
Since the founding of the Lumina desktop project, one of the most common questions I get asked is: “I am not a programmer, but how can I help out?” Well today I would like to open up a new method of contributing for those of you that are graphically-inclined: the creation of a brand new icon theme for the Lumina desktop!
This new icon theme will adhere to the FreeDesktop specifications for registering an icon theme, and the good news is that I have already handled all the administrative setup/framework for you so that all you need to do to contribute is basically just send in icon files!
Here are the highlights for the new theme:
- Included within the main Lumina source repository
- All icons will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License. This is comparable to the 3-clause BSD license, but specifically for static images/files (whereas the BSD license is for source code).
- This will be a high-contrast, high-resolution, fully-scalable (SVG) theme.
- The general concept is a white foreground, with a black outline/shadow around the icon, and colorized emblems/overlays for distinguishing between similar icons (“folder” vs “folder-network” for instance). We are going for a more professional/simple look to the icons since tiny image details generally do not scale as well across the range we are looking at.
The details on how to contribute an icon to the theme are listed on the repository page as well, but here is the summary:
- Icons which are still needed are listed in the TODO.txt files within each directory.
- Submit the icon file via git pull request
- Add an entry for your icon/submission to the AUTHORS file (to ensure each contributor gets proper credit for their work)
- Remove the icon from the appropriate TODO.txt file/list
If you are not familiar with git or how to send git pull requests, feel free to email me the icon file(s) you want to contribute and I can add them to the source tree for you (and update the AUTHORS/TODO files as necessary). Just be sure to include your full name/email so we can give you the proper credit for your work (if you care about that).
As an added bonus since we don’t have any actual icons yet (just the general guidelines), the first contributor to send in some icons will get to help decide the overall look-n-feel of the icon theme!
 FreeDesktop Specifications
- Theme Registration: https://specifications.freedesktop.org/icon-theme-spec/icon-theme-spec-latest.html
- Icon Names: https://specifications.freedesktop.org/icon-naming-spec/latest/ar01s04.html
The Lumina desktop environment has just been updated to version 0.8.7! Pre-built packages for this version are already available on the PC-BSD “Edge” pkg repository (x11/lumina[-i18n]), and will be included in next months 11.x “development” image as well.
This version also includes a few PC-BSD specific changes, such as now we have a custom “PCBSD” compile time option which installs the pre-configured settings for PC-BSD desktop systems, and removes the need for an additional file overlay by the PC-BSD project. If you are using “pure” FreeBSD, you may also install the PC-BSD settings by enabling that compile time option when you build the port.
For the full release announcement, head over to the Lumina website!
Just in time for PC-BSD & FreeBSD 10.2 (coming soon), the Lumina desktop has been updated to version 0.8.6! This version contains a number of updates for non-English users (following up all the new translations which are now available), as well as a number of important bug-fixes, and support for an additional FreeDesktop specification. The PC-BSD “Edge” packages have already been updated to this version and the FreeBSD ports tree will be getting this update very soon as well.
In addition, the Lumina desktop now has its own website! While we are still working on cleaning up some of the visuals, all the information about Lumina (how to download/install it on various OS’s, a summary of the features, description of the project, screenshots, etc..) is all there and up-to-date. We are also working on a full handbook for Lumina (similar to the PC-BSD/FreeBSD handbooks) which can also be viewed directly from the website. Please check it out and let us know what you think!
Changes Since 0.8.5:
- Add the ability to set system-locale overrides (used on login), allowing the user to “mix” locale settings for the various outputs.
- Add the ability for the user to switch the locale of the current session on the fly (all locale settings changed for the current session only), and these settings will be used when launching any applications later.
- Fix up the translation mechanisms of the Lumina interface, so everything will instantly get re-translated to the new locale.
- More languages are now fully translated! Make sure to install the x11/lumina-i18n port or pkg to install the localizations and enable all these new features!
- Add support for the “Actions” extension to the XDG Desktop specifications.
- This allows applications to set a number of various “actions” (alternate startup routines) within their XDG desktop registration file.
- These actions are shown within Lumina as new sub-menus within the Applications menu as well as in the User button (look for the down arrow next to the application icon).
- Change the Lumina OSD to a different widget – allowing it to be shown much faster.
- Add new “_ifexists” functionality to any session options in luminaDesktop.conf. This allows the distributor to more easily setup default applications (browser, email, etc..) through an intelligent tree of options (which may or may not be installed).
- Bug Fixes
- Apply a work-around for new users which fixes a bug in Fluxbox where the virtual desktop windows could still be changed/closed by various Fluxbox keyboard shortcuts. If an existing user wants to apply this fix, you need to replace your ~/.lumina/fluxbox-keys file with the new Lumina default (/usr/local/share/Lumina-DE/fluxbox-keys) – which will overwrite any custom keyboard shortcuts you had previously setup.
- Fix some bugs in the new window detection/adjustment routines – fixing up issues with full-screen apps that change around the X session settings to suit their own temporary needs.
- Fix a couple bugs with the automatic detection/load routines for the new QtQuick plugins.
- Add in the “Ctrl-X” keyboard shortcut for cutting items in the Insight file manager.
- Fix up the active re-loading of icons when the user changes the icon theme.
The next version of the Lumina Desktop Environment is now available! This version includes a significant number of updates, particularly to the main desktop session/interface, so I highly recommend that you update to the new version as soon as possible. While the full list of changes is posted at the bottom of the announcement, there are a few that I want to highlight here:
- The user button has received a significant speed boost, and can now be used for full browsing of the user’s home directory (files and directories).
- Desktop icons have received a large number of changes in styling, amount of visible text, and functionality. There is also a new feature to automatically generate plugins for items in the user’s Desktop directory – where each plugin may be individually moved/changed (not trapped within a container like the “desktopview” plugin).
- A new desktop plugin for monitoring the system hardware status (memory/CPU usage, CPU temperature, disk I/O). This functionality requires support for your particular OS, and is currently only available for: PC-BSD, FreeBSD, and Debian
- Lumina has now been fully translated to German, Russian, and Spanish, and almost-completely translated to Catalan (89%), Chinese (61%), Estonian (53%), Indonesian (76%), Polish (89%), Portuguese (89%), Portuguese-Brazilian (89%), Swedish (91%), and Turkish (88%). Thank you to all our translators for all your hard work!!
- To install the translation files on PC-BSD/FreeBSD, you will need to install the (new) x11/lumina-i18n port/package. These translations files are located in the lumina-i18n repository on GitHub, if you wish to package up the translations for your particular OS/distribution as well. Details about how to install those translation files are listed in the repository information.
- To contribute to the translation effort, you may create an account on the PC-BSD translation website and get started today!
- PC-BSD users currently running the EDGE package repo will be able to update their packages via the updater GUI or “pc-updatemanager” utility within the next couple days. Updates for users on the PC-BSD 10.1.2 / PRODUCTION repo will be available once 10.2-RELEASE is available later this year.
- FreeBSD users may now update Lumina directly from the FreeBSD ports tree (x11/lumina), or wait until the FreeBSD package repository is updated with the latest changes before updating with pkg.
- For other Linux/BSD users, please contact the packaging team for your distribution/OS to determine the availability of pre-built packages.
- The Lumina-DE source repository is available on GitHub, and contains a detailed list of instructions on how to build/install Lumina on various types of systems.
- A static archive of the sources for this release may also be downloaded directly from GitHub, to aid in the creation/distribution of pre-built packages for your particular OS.
- Found a bug in Lumina 0.8.5? Please report it (with as much detail as possible) to our bugs database. https://bugs.pcbsd.org
- The new system for desktop plugin settings requires that any desktop plugins will be reset back to defaults on upgrade to this version of Lumina.
- There is a known bug/conflict between Qt 5.4+ and Fluxbox 1.3.7 which results in the “close” button on unlocked desktop plugins having no effect when clicked. To work around this issue, you may right-click on the title for the plugin and select the “close” option from the menu to remove the desktop plugin. Alternatively, you may also remove desktop plugins from the Lumina configuration utility (lumina-config).
- IRC: #pcbsd and #Lumina-DE channels on Freenode
- Email: The PC-BSD mailing lists
- GitHub: The Lumina-DE source repository
With the amount of changes to the Lumina desktop environment and the increasing number of questions/comments we are receiving, I thought it would be a good time to post a status report about it and answer many of the commonly asked questions.
As always, please post any bug reports or feature requests on the PC-BSD Bug tracker.
If you wish to get involved in the development of the Lumina Desktop Environment, you can find the source code in our repository on GitHub.
Lumina Desktop FAQ/Status Update:
What is the Lumina Desktop Environment?
- The Lumina Desktop Environment (sometimes referred to as Lumina-DE or just Lumina) is a BSD-licensed, FreeDesktop-compliant graphical interface for a desktop operating system.
- It has been written from scratch in C++/Qt5 (it is not based on any existing DE code-base). It uses Fluxbox for the window management in the background and xscreensaver for screensaver/screenlocking functionality. The only other runtime dependencies are a couple of small X11 utilities (xnumlock, xbrightness, xterm, xrandr).
- This results in a very lightweight, very smooth desktop experience with minimal system overhead.
What is the current development status?
- While the current version (0.8.4) is still considered to be “Beta” quality, that is primarily because there are still a couple external utilities which have not had in-house replacements written yet (Fluxbox and xscreensaver primarily).
- In its current state it is very stable and completely usable on a daily basis for both developers and non-developers alike.
- The only caveat for its “beta” status is that since there are some backend systems which are still in major development, we reserve the right to break a user’s customized settings during the transition to these new systems (the window manager and screensaver settings are where I anticipate this happening once the replacement systems are in place). However, we already have a good track record of backwards compatibility with older settings formats, and will continue to work on ensuring a smooth transition between different versions of the desktop (even during heavy development/backend changes).
What are some of the features of Lumina?
- Restore files from ZFS snapshots directly through the Insight file manager (lumina-fm).
- View picture slideshows or play multimedia files through the Insight file manager.
- Completely configurable – the interface is designed around a plugin-based mentality where everything you see/use is a compiled-in plugin (ensuring that every plugin is guaranteed to work). This means that you can create an interface custom-tailored to your specific needs.
- Easy-to-use configuration utility (lumina-config). This single utility controls all the different configuration options for the desktop in one simple location.
- Total system search capabilities through the lumina-search utility (without having a daemon eating memory in the background).
- Screenshot functionality through the lumina-screenshot utility (also tied to the “print screen” key by default).
- Multi-monitor support through xrandr (every monitor is treated as a distinct screen, with it’s own background, interface, etc..). Lumina also provides a graphical utility for adding/removing monitors from within the Lumina session (lumina-xconfig).
- Simple system controls through the “System Dashboard” for things like audio volume, screen brightness, battery status/notifications, and workspace switching.
- Easily select which application to use when opening a file and set that as the default for the next time. If you happen to remove that default application, it will automatically re-open the application selection dialog the next time you open that type of file again. This utility (lumina-open) is also tied into the commonly used xdg-open utility so that 3rd party applications will automatically use this utility for opening files outside of the application scope.
How is it different from other desktop environments?
- Designed on PC-BSD, specifically for the BSD community at large (although it is easily ported to any OS, including Linux distros).
- Does not require any of the commonly-used desktop implementation frameworks (DBUS, policykit, consolekit, systemd, HALD, etc..).
- Does not come bundled with any “end-user” applications (web browsers, email clients, multimedia software, office suites, etc..). The only utilities that Lumina brings to the table by default are the ones written specifically for the project and are generally for background/utilitarian functionality (the largest utility is the file manager).
- Simple text-based configuration file for setting system-wide defaults for new users. This allows distributors of the desktop to easily pre-set the system defaults/interface so it just works for the end user.
- Plugin-based interface design. This allows the user to make the desktop as light/heavy as desired (within reason) simply by choosing which plugins to have running on their desktop/panels.
Are there any PC-BSD specific features?
- Hardware-level screen brightness control (sysctl control through pc-sysconfig on PC-BSD 10.1.2+).
- Links to the PC-BSD Control Panel and AppCafe are embedded directly into the Lumina interface for system control/modifications.
- Detects when system updates are in progress and prevents the user from shutting down the system until that is complete (you can log out of Lumina and then shutdown the computer from the PCDM login manager if absolutely necessary) .
- Designed to work hand-in-hand with the PC-BSD utilities (mounttray, AppCafe, Life Preserver, etc.) preventing conflicts between DE and OS utilities.
Is it available for any other operating systems?
- There are currently source files in the project for building/using Lumina on: FreeBSD/PC-BSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD, kFreeBSD, Debian, and generic “Linux” distributions.
- Please contact the package management/distribution team for your particular OS to determine the availability of pre-compiled packages.
What does it look like?
- Due to the flexibility of the interface design and the ease with which the themes may be customized, the Lumina desktop can take many various forms. Here are a just a few of the variations that I have assembled on my system:
- As we continue to create more plugins with every new version of Lumina, the variability of the interface just continues to grow. If you have a particular plugin/feature that you would like, please post a feature request on the PC-BSD bug tracker!
What plugins are currently available (as of version 0.8.4)?
- Panel Plugins: AppLauncher, AppMenu, BatteryMonitor, Clock, DesktopBar, DesktopSwitcher, HomeButton, Spacer, SystemDashboard, SystemTray, TaskManager(with or without grouping), UserButton.
- Desktop Plugins: AppLauncher, AudioPlayer, Calendar, DesktopView, Notepad
- Menu Plugins: AppLauncher, AppMenu, LineBreak, OpenTerminal, OpenFileManager, SettingsMenu, WindowList
- More plugins are being created all the time!
What is being worked on right now?
- Right now, we are mainly focused on expanding the scope of the desktop through creation of new plugins and enhancement of the existing plugins.
- The next “big” change planned is the move to a new window manager which is in the process of being written right now. This change will correspond with version 0.9.0.
- We are also working on tweaking the default themes and colors right now, and are looking into adding new themes & color schemes “out of box” for people to be able to simple select and use.
A new window manager? Is something wrong with Fluxbox?
- Fluxbox is a great WM, and the Lumina project will be still be using it for quite some time yet while the replacement is being written. The main reason a new WM is planned is for better integration with the Lumina desktop in the following areas:
- Interface/font scaling
- Keyboard shortcuts (particularly with using the default application registrations in Lumina)
- Addition of WM “modes” for use on various types of devices.
- Allow compositing between windows (for better transparency effects)
- Uniform Theme/Appearance
- In addition, having a custom WM specifically for Lumina allows us to be able to combine the functionality of a few common background daemons into a single utility (since at their core they all revolve around responding to particular base system events).
- Window Manager (ICCCM/EWMH events)
- Screensaver/Screen Locker (All Input Events – transparent watcher)
- Keyboard shortcuts (Keyboard Input Events)
- Application message logger/viewer (some EWMH events – transparent watcher)
- Power management (system events through devd/HALD/other)
- Having all these systems within the same utility allows us to be able to create a much tighter level of inter-functionality between them. For a few quick examples:
- Temporarily disable the screensaver while a window is full-screen (such as when watching a video)
- While the screen is locked, prevent the window manager from showing any new windows on the screen and stop all keyboard shortcut handling (preventing possible security issues), while still allowing some notifications and background procedures.
- Enable different levels of power management while the screen is locked or the screensaver is active.
- This is a fairly massive undertaking, so I want to re-iterate that I expect it to be quite some time until this new window manager is ready for use and we will continue to use Fluxbox in the meantime. The Lumina desktop will remain within the 0.8.x series of version numbers while this new utility is in development.
How can I get involved?
- If you are a C++/Qt developer, there are tons of areas where you could contribute! Some of them are: finding/fixing bugs, writing new interface plugins, adding functionality to existing plugins, and more!
- If you are a CSS developer, then you might be interested in making new themes for Lumina (using QSS: it is very similar to CSS but specifically for Qt applications/widgets). These themes can be created/modified directly within the Lumina configuration utility, and also provides an easy way to directly implement the user’s current color scheme. Once you have a theme put together that you like, you can just send us that file (located in ~/.lumina/themes) and we can get that included with any future versions of the desktop.
- If you want to create new color schemes, you can do so via the Lumina configuration utility. Once you have one that you like, just send in that file (located in ~/.lumina/colors) and we can get that included with any future versions of the desktop.
- If you found a bug or have an idea for a cool new feature, you can post bug reports or feature requests on the PC-BSD bug tracker!
How can I contact the developer(s) with questions/comments/snide remarks?
- IRC: The #Lumina-DE or #pcbsd channels on Freenode
- Mailing List: The PC-BSD “testing” mailing list
- GitHub: Post an issue on the Lumina source repository or directly contact me
What else is new in PC-BSD 10.1.2? How about a new version of the Lumina Desktop Environment! PC-BSD users who stick to the “Production” branch of packages will find that the Lumina desktop has evolved/improved an incredible amount since the last quarterly update for PC-BSD (10.1.1), so I highly recommend that you try it out! The release notes for this new version are also listed at the bottom of this announcement for those of you who have been tracking along with its development, so please try it out and let us know what you think!
- Users currently running the EDGE package repo can now update their packages via the updater GUI or “pc-updatemanager” utility to be brought up to date. Updates for users on the PC-BSD 10.1.1 / PRODUCTION repo will be available once 10.1.2-RELEASE is announced.
- Found a bug in Lumina 0.8.4? Please report it (with as much detail as possible) to our bugs database. https://bugs.pcbsd.org
Lumina Desktop changes since version 0.8.3:
- Add mouse tracking support
- Add support for variable-length panels (a percentage of the screen edge length).
- Add support for pinning the panel to a particular location on the screen edge (either corner, or centered)
- Automatically re-scale the panel size if the monitor used in the previous session was a different screen resolution.
- For hidden panels, have 1% of the panel size be visible on the screen while it is “hidden” (rather than a hard-coded pixel size). This is better for high-resolution screens.
- Remove the restriction that panels be on opposite screen edges.
New options/usage for lumina-search:
- Easily change file/dir search preferences on a temporary basis
- New command-line flags for starting searches instantly
- Search functionality integrated into the Insight file manager. The Ctrl-F keyboard shortcut or the “Search” menu option will start a search for a file/directory with the current directory as the starting point.
- A “Search” button has been added to the home directory browser in the user menu. This will allow the user to easily start searching for a file/dir within the selected directory.
New “Favorites” system backend:
- This new backend is much faster and more reliable than the old system of sym-links.
- Your favorites should be automatically converted to the new format when you log into the new version of Lumina.
New Utility: lumina-fileinfo
- This utility allows the user to view basic file information, such as timestamps, owner/group info, file size, and read/write permissions.
- If the file is a XDG desktop shortcut (that the user has permission to modify), this utility also provides the ability to make changes to that shortcut.
- This can easily be used by right-clicking on files in the desktop view plugin or within the Insight file manager and selecting the “Properties” option.
- A big thank you to contributor William (william-os4y on GitHub) for writing this utility!!
Other Random Improvements:
- Better application recommendations for files/URL’s (especially for web browsers or email clients).
- Major cleanup of XCB library usage.
- Hardware-brightness controls now used for PC-BSD by default (if supported by the system hardware).
- Putting the system into the suspend state is now supported for PC-BSD/Debian.
- New clock display formats.
- A large number of session cleanup improvements
- A large number of session initialization improvements (including resetting the user’s previous screen brightness and audio volume settings).
- New default keyboard shortcuts for tiling the open windows on the screen (new user configurations only)
- Better support for the URL input format when required by an application.
- Make the user’s “log out” window appear much faster when activated.
- There is a known bug in Lumina 0.8.4 regarding “unlocked” desktop plugins. The close/maximize buttons for the plugin are unresponsive when using Qt 5.4.1, preventing the user from easily removing/maximizing a desktop plugin. We are still looking into this, but at the moment it appears to be a bug in Qt itself. As a temporary workaround, you can simply right-click on the titlebar for the unlocked plugin and select close/maximize from the menu instead.