GSOC 2021

Yongha Hwang · June 2, 2021

Good news! I have been accepted to GSoC 2021. (Well, actually, it had been 3 weeks since it was announced, so I “was” accepted, to be exact.) I am contributing to XFCE this summer, so I will explain who I am, and what I am going to do.

First stop. So, who am I? My name is Yongha Hwang, and I am an Electronic Engineering sophomore. And that’s enough for personal information to do about contributing, so I’ll explain my experience with Linux, XFCE and C altogether.

I use Linux as my main OS. For developemnt, for surfing web, for entertainment like gaming, and everything else that happens after pressing power button. Although I use it as a main OS, I reinstall linux every 3~6 months. Since I don’t install the same thing everytime, I have used Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Linux Mint (both Cinnamon and MATE), Manjaro, Arch, Gentoo, and et cetra. I have even used Linux from Scratch (with LXQt) as a main OS.

My first experience with XFCE was Xubuntu in 2011. My first linux distribution was Ubuntu, as you have guessed. At that time Ubuntu was packed with Unity DE. It looked very futuristic to me since the only UI experience was with Windows XP and 98. But it did have one big problem to me: it was resource-heavy. The computer I was using at that time was quite slow and Internet Explorer took a whopping 12 seconds to show up. So I had to look for a lighter alternative and Xubuntu was a natural choice. Since then I liked how light DEs look like, so I use light DEs most of the time not because of my low-end PC, but because I like the visual of “nothing fancy but looks fine enough.”

I started programming in C about the time I started using Linux. I have not much to tell about C, though. What I do have to show is a Scheme interpreter, which I made when I was studying SICP (for fun, and I think it’s worth the time.)

So, what do I work on for XFCE? I have set two big goals for this summer.

Fix buggy launch behavior

Some people experience a bug that thunar tries to execute ordinary files like subtitles, and even directories. That happens when these files have execution bit (+x) enabled. I will try to fix this problem by checking MIME type before executing.

Another problem with launch behavior is that someone can slip in an executable file with execution bit on by packing it inside tar archives. This may not be a problem with normal scripts, but .desktop files can change their icon or file name to resemble normal document files. Files (formerly known as Nautilus,the file manager of GNOME) had the same problem before and they introduced safety flags using GVFS metadata as a solution. We can do the same trick because we use GVFS, too.

Improvements to file transmission

Have you ever experienced this: You were copying a lot of files, and somehow it got interrupted. You copy same files again. You skipped everything that was “already copied” to save time, only to find out a year later that the most important file was interrupted during the copy and you are left with the first 10KB of that file. To prevent this issue, you can copy every files again just to be sure, but that is a huge waste of time. If there is an option that leaves a partailly copied file as *.partial and it automatically deletes one, wouldn’t it be a better solution? If I have spare time I also would implement pedantic feature like “verify checksum of every files copied” to use on network drives.

Speaking of network files, Thunar loses metadata when copying files from GVFS. GVFS is a wrapper (naively speaking) for exotic locations like network file shares, smartphones, trash bin, and et cetra. Also, files copied from GDrive are labeled with unreadable names rather than the actual file name. I would also fix this problem.

Well, that’s what as far as I can tell! Congratulations to fellow XFCE GSoC contributors Vishal Sharma and Kefalidis Sergios, and major thanks to my mentor Alexander Schwinn.

Check out my Thunar contributions here:

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