Tracker will be in Gutsy and on by default


As mentioned on Digg : Finally Ubuntu will add fast indexed search Tracker to Gutsy

This means Gutsy tribe 4 will ship tracker in main and be on by default :)

This has been our number one goal (as ubuntu is my fav distro) and its real great for tracker to get the recognition it deserves. It should also mean that tracker will be thoroughly integrated into ubuntu with nautilus and deskbar support out of the box (in the future we will add Rhythmbox and Epiphany support too so they can benefit from tracker - just need XESAM to be implemented first)

Its also not just about search as tracker has one big advantage over nearly all other indexers - its a metadata store that can deliver a semantic desktop with tagging, shared metadata, big performance improvements and a host of features that will help deliver a next generation desktop (see my guadec slides for more info here)

I just can't wait to integrate it more...

Tracker 0.6 released


Just released a new version of tracker which is bursting with tons of cool new functionality




As you can see from the above screenshot, we have used a sidebar to separate service categories (we flirted with tabs before but they were not HIG compliant). You also asked for a better GUI and more services indexed and we have delivered big time on this. All major services are now indexed (files, emails, chat logs). We are also leading the way to a semantic desktop with tagging everywhere.

New features:

* Evolution Emails (mbox/pop/imap) now indexed
* Gaim/Pidgin chat logs now indexed
* Applications now indexed
* New files indexed - all spreadsheets, csv files (these require gnumeric) and oo draw
* Vastly improved and new search UI using a sidebar for categories and a new metadata tile
* Tagging support in the UI
* New tracker-preferences UI for easy setting of prefs
* Tons of bug fixes - all major bugs squished!
* libtracker-gtk widget toolkit
* Now uses XDG directories
* Optimised triple store
* Handles multiple triple stores (files, emails and user data are all separate dbs for speed and safety)
* User defined and indexed data are stored separately
* New IDF based ranking algorithm
* XMP metadata support added
* Made use of async calls in UI to prevent UI freezing
* Added 60 second delay before indexing
* Added support for crawling directories without watching overhead
(very useful for indexing source code without causing slowdowns when
compiling - an often requested feature from devs who find tracker slows down their compiling when watching)

Its been a while coming but we wanted to fix all the major bugs and the new services (emails especially) introduced more bugs which took a fair bit of time to nail.

Apologies to the bugsquad who have been waiting a few months for some fixes to stop dupes coming through. I guess we will need to release far more frequently in future rather than take months to fix too much in one go.

Big thank you to the many and awesome contributors to tracker who have made this release really rock - Im confident its all been worth the wait!

PS Also dont forget our new config UI :



Patents - the last refuge of a scoundrel


Groklaw has some interesting comments on Microsoft's new patent extortion scheme and its well worth a read.

Its great to know all this with GPL3 just around the corner because it gives us a chance to thwart their plans.

And if there is one big change I would love to see in GPL3 it would be to finally bury the patent fiasco for good. By that I dont just mean overturning or preventing the Novell/MS patent deal but actually provide full indemnification via OIN for *all* users and distributors of GPL3 software.

OIN would need a substantial cash injection from the big boys as well as a patent war chest to provide the necessary indemnification and then all thats needed is a clause in GPL3 to automatically confer this protection.

Micorsoft's game has always been to frighten off the competition and now we have a chance to prevent them cynically leaching and extorting unearned revenue from OSS end users. So please lets stop them while we still have the time to modify GPL3.

Tracker will have a nice API...


It will be called XESAM

In response to the plea of Emmanuele (and a big thank you for sorting out the gtk filechooser search stuff), the existing APIs of tracker, beagle, strigi and other indexing engines will become less relevant as XESAM takes shape and provides a common dbus interface for search and metadata. And you can bet there will be a nice gobject client lib for XESAM which should suffice for languages which dont have nifty dbus bindings.

I dont want to waste time developing new APIs for something thats going to become deprecated in the near future (Id rather spend the time implementing XESAM support in tracker and beagle has a SoC for doing likewise)

Of course if there is anything not covered by XESAM in tracker then we can look at creating nicer gobject based APIs for those too.

We also really need to encourage devs to use XESAM as soon as its finished and available as it will save a lot of duplication of code and needless squabbles over the "one true indexing system".

Dell to preinstall Ubuntu?


Seems the rumour that Dell will choose Ubuntu (which has been going around ever since the CEO had it on his laptop) now appears to have some truth in it,

Anyway if its true then let me be the first to congratulate Canonical/Ubuntu. Fesity is simply the best there is especially as it excels on lesser hardware and is a breeze to install more powerful stuff like beryl for those with suitable machines. Its fast, slick and most things "just work".

Im sure this will go a long way to fixing the famous bug #1

Vote Tory for more Open Source usage in Government


At long last a political party has finally seen the light and the massive savings to made from going the open source route.

On another note, with both Blair and Brown close friends of Bill Gates I am a bit cynical you will ever see the labour party embrace this so the Tories look like being onto a winner.

I was going to vote Tory anyhow as its much more likely there will be a full inquiry into the Iraq war if they are elected (and hopefully amass enough evidence to put the scandalous Blair in prison on war crimes charges)

Document Browser for Gnome


There seems to be no limit to the number of great ideas that tracker could provide.

Heres one from Marko for a GNOME Document Browser.

I like the idea a lot and it could fit in nicely with the referencer project that was blogged on pgo recently here.

The powerful combinaton of extensible metadata database and indexer in tracker should make all this real easy to implement.

It would rock if we could have a whole lot of these : a MediaTracker, a DocumentTracker, a PhotoTracker etc. Im thinking of adding widgets to our new libtracker-gtk widget library to facilitate development of these kinds of apps (like a general purpose search result grid or tree that has basic file management stuff built-in which could easily be combined with our existing tagging widgets so no need to reinvent the wheel each time).

All that glitters is not gold


The BBC has a nice article about the pain of installing Vista - incredibly it sounds a lot like Linux on the desktop a few years ago (IE having to dig deep into the system to get things working). Its also rife with incompatibility and most machines will need a lot of upgrading to get those pretty windows.

In short - its going to cost you a lot of time and money.

Ironically modern distributions like Fedora, Ubuntu and Suse are a lot more ready for the desktop than that pile of junk and do the business with a lot less.

Now if only we could turn this into our advantage...

Tracker at your service



Tracker now has a much nicer and improved UI to go hand in hand with new services being indexed like Evolution emails



The tab view provides a nice breakdown by service type of the search results complete with a hit count in each tab (services without hits are not shown)

Also any searched email can be double clicked and the email will be opened in evolution and shown in its own window.

Expect a release some time this week as I iron out the few remaining bugs/issues.

I'm sure a few distro's will start considering shipping tracker by default in the coming months now that the all important email indexing is just about done and especially as we tackle more and more services which will come thick and fast now.