As 2019 draws to a close, I’d like to use a blog entry to look back at what happened in Calamares in this year. I’m not doing this on the Calamares website itself, since this is more of a personal-retrospective than anything else.
In this year, there were 16 Calamares releases. There was at least one release every month except march (that one took a long time, and prompted a switch to “short cycle” later) and september (bracketed by august 30 and october 1 releases). I have tried to switch to “short cycle” releases (starting with Calamares 3.2.6) so that there’s faster turn-around on bugfixes and small features can be delivered more easily.
The short-cycles are about three weeks, and that’s held up reasonably well. What I do notice is that the number of small things remains constant and a couple of big-ticket items are still languishing. That’s still something I don’t know how to deal with.
I’d like to specifically thank Bill Auger for sending in lots of little fixes and improvements – and also for sending in work-in-progress stuff that we finished up together. Bill’s contributions have made a real difference in the paper-cuts department.
In a similar vein I’d like to thank Balasankar for pushing me to better support Malayalam and generally have better translation support in Calamares. I’ve changed some of the development workflow so that “short cycle” does not get in the way of “good translations” any more.
There’s one big thing in-flight with Camilo Higuita doing design work, and that’s supporting QML as a user-interface design within Calamares. This is something that Harald has been bugging me about for a long time, and many Plasma(-ish) developers who love QML have supported that.
There’s a bit of a balancing act here – isn’t there always – that if Calamares ships some QML as a user-interface it will need to be generic enough to get the job done, while still being “forkable” for theming. I’m not entirely sure how we’ll get this done.
Technically, this means that a bunch of code needs to move from really-old-fashioned QWidgets use to more modern Model-View Qt code (and the existing QWidgets adapted to use those models, which is usually trivial). Then some kind of UI loading and instantiation needs to happen, which usefully supports customizations while still driving the same (internal) jobs that eventually do the work. I expect there to be lots of opportunities to shoot distributions in the foot.
Always big plans: encryption and installing FreeBSD through Calamares.
Whether these move forward much depends in large part on how much time I manage to put in on them – which means leaving “small stuff” aside. There’s plenty of feature requests that come in for Calamares, and possibly I should write more developer documentation to encourage people to try to write their features themselves.
All-in-all, I wish all users of Calamares (that means around 30 Linux distro’s and their people) a happy new year and lots of new code in 2020.