GSOC – Halftime!

What is this About?

This post will cover what is done for my GSOC project until now. For more information about my original goals take a look at my initial post [0]. This post also summarizes all blogposts since then.

Express Installation


The debian express installation works well on my system. Here are some more details:


The needed patches for the debian installation script arrived in the libosinfo mailing list and are currently in the review process [1]. These patches cover:

  • addition of a need-internet-connection flag for libosinfo.
  • bugfixing and improved input handling for the JEOS script.
  • a DESKTOP installation script.


All needed patches for debian express installation are also in the queue [2]. This includes:

  • a home-grown libarchive wrapper (that was the main part of this work).
  • many supplementary changes.

They are the groundwork needed for the express installation of every debian based distribution.


In order to get the libarchive wrapper working I had to update the libarchive.vapi to version: 3.

This is already in the vala repositories [3].


Ubuntu is a quite problematic topic: express installation works well on my local system with Ubuntu Alternate ISOs. This makes sense anyway since Boxes in its current state does not support express installation for live media in general.

The conclusion is easy and makes sense anyway: Boxes’ express installation needs support for live ISOs in general.

I am currently stuck with this but I am in contact with my mentor and confident that we can resolve this issue.

ISO Downloading

An initial implementation of the ISO downloading feature for Boxes is finished and in the review process [4]. Boxes can handle http:// and https:// URLs now and download it by itself. So: no need to open the browser for downloading ISOs from next release!

Hardening Sprint

When planning my project I hoped I could do way more in this area. With my limited time available for this I try to fix small bugs “on the go” [5], testing out a few things (and file bugs about them) and help to a degree to get the bugs triaged, reviewed, discussed and finally resolved.

Since yesterday I got additional permissions in bugzilla so that I can do this way more efficiently.

What Else?


I have spent a lot of thoughts about a11y recently. After trying to operate Boxes with keyboard only I filed many bugs [6] and want to start some discussions about keyboard navigation in Gnome in general. If you are interested in those things feel free to stop by and join the discussion here [7].

I am also often lurking on #a11y on gimpnet as sils. (Usual day times in UTC)

In addition to these efforts I tried using gnome blindly using Orca and keyboard navigation. I think it is suffice to say that there is space for improvement at least concerning intuitivity there but we mainly need more applications tested for blind user operability.


Altough I hoped I could get a few things more done it is very statisfying that the major things I have completed are already in the review process for some time now.

The most important experience for me was the exposure to non-ideal real-life software and working together with other developers. I luckily was able to attend to the hackfest in Berlin to meet some of these great guys in person [8]. I see forward to meeting more people in GUADEC, Strasbourg!













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