You must already heard about this from everybody. Google Summer of Code 2011 is nearby and openSUSE wants to participate. Currently we are collecting ideas and mentors and we are going to apply. I also came up with few projects and volunteered to mentor them. I saw Thomas Thym introducing his GSoC ideas and I think it’s great to write a blog posts that introduce projects. So I’ll join and here comes the first project that many of you were waiting for – SaX 3.
I guess I don’t have to explain what was SaX 2 good for. It is one of the most voted features in openFATE – bring SaX back to live. SaX 2 was the tool to configure X server. Whenever your X didn’t behave correctly, whenever you needed to tweak any settings, SaX 2 was there for you. Unfortunately it worked only with xorg.conf file. Nowadays X are much better. We’ve got auto detection of everything which works most of the time. Some little tweaks can be added to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d directory and every tweak can be in separate file. It’s much better than before, easier to take care of, easier to understand and maintain. But as already mentioned, SaX2 can’t handle current situation. That is why I propose creating SaX 3 as a part of GSoC.
Main feature is that it should be able to configure X. That means to force them to use different mode that your monitor claims to support, force it to use different graphic card driver or change default resolution. Also some little tweaks like per mouse drivers with specific settings (I have pretty different settings for my trackpoint than for my external mouse) or default keyboard layout. I guess we all expect this basic functionality from SaX.
From coding point of view, we need to keep it as small as possible. As it will be one of the basic administration tool, we don’t want it to pull in several frameworks just to configure X. And if I can’t get X working I still want to use this tool. So that makes it obvious that ncurses UI is a must. On the other hand, once I have X running, I don’t want to see any ugly ncurses anymore, but nice Qt/GTK. So it should also support at least some toolkit for nice and shiny X window UI. But as this might pull in some dependencies and pulling Qt to your minimalistic PekWM desktop might sound terrifying, it should be optional and SaX should be able to detect whether it is installed and X are running so it can use it or not.
One feature that is also a little bit important is to make it distribution independent to make it easy for other distributions to use it, improve it and contribute back, so we will make a world better place for all of us 😉
I wrote it on the wiki and yesterday I already received an e-mail from interested student, who is considering it! So if openSUSE and SaX3 get selected, there is a pretty good chance that we will have it!