Monthly Archives: March 2024

xdg-desktop-portal-gnome strikes again!

I haven’t used Fedora for a few years but wanted to try it again (Fedora 39).

I was immediately hit by a problem, which is not due to Fedora itself, I seem to understand.

I’ll use this example project (taken from my TDD book): https://github.com/LorenzoBettini/demo-attsw. It is a simple Java Swing application where UI tests are written with AssertJ Swing. I run “mvn verify,” and most of the UI tests fail (when the AssertJ Swing bot tries to interact with the application window, it mostly gets the position wrong). Most of all, and this is the cause of the failure, I get this dialog popping up from Gnome “Allow remote interaction”:

Despite I click allow and share, the tests are still failing with the same behavior.

The problem of this dialog popping up, not related to UI tests, is already reported on the Fedora forum: https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/t/f39-opens-a-window-with-remote-desktop-allow-remote-interaction/100228. And the forum points in the right direction: the problem is related to xdg-desktop-portal-gnome! (https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/xdg-desktop-portal-gnome/-/issues/114) This portal has already created several problems in the past, slowing down several applications. I hadn’t realized this was installed automatically in Fedora. By the way, xdg-desktop-portal-gtk is also installed, so I tried to remove the gnome version:

By the way, removing the package using “dnf” does not work because it complains that this is a requirement of “gnome-shell” (“Problem: The operation would result in removing the following protected packages: gnome-shell”).

After the removal, the dialog no longer popped up, and my UI tests are back to green! πŸ™‚

Another solution to the problem, if you don’t want to remove the gnome portal package, is to log in to the X11 session instead of Wayland. But I prefer the more radical solution. πŸ˜‰

Nerd Fonts in KDE Plasma 6

As I have written, I’m using “Oh-My-Zsh” with Nerd icons and fonts. It has always worked perfectly in KDE.

A few days ago, KDE Plasma 6 landed in Arch (and thus, EndeavourOS), and after upgrading, the Nerd fonts were not displayed in Konsole and Kate (and, I guess, in other KDE applications).

For example, before upgrading, Konsole looked like that:

After upgrading all the nice Nerd fonts were gone:

I reported that on the EndeavourOS forum and linked the corresponding KDE bug. It looks like it is due to an intentional change in Qt6. The Qt6 issue is https://bugreports.qt.io/browse/QTBUG-110502. The issue was fixed here: https://code.qt.io/cgit/qt/qtbase.git/commit/?id=a44b6950268214d802bc7ce7df09975261263e31, leading to this new behavior, which breaks the old behavior.

Long story short, before, when a font did not provide support for a “glyph”, that missing glyph was looked up in other fonts. After that change, that does not happen anymore.

The default monospace font in KDE is “Hack”. I have installed other Nerd fonts, but not the “Hack Nerd” version, so what worked before the upgrade no longer works.

To fix the problem, I Installed the nerd font, e.g., for Hack (the default KDE font):

Then, open “System Settings” -> “Fonts”, and change the “Fixed width” font from the default “Hack 10pt” to the corresponding Nerd font:

Restart Konsole and the Nerd fonts are back:

Note that this works if your Konsole profile does not have a custom font set; if you use another font, you’ll have to use the Nerd font corresponding to that font.

For example, I used JetBrains fonts in another Konsole profile, but I hadn’t installed the Nerd version:

I installed the Nerd version and changed the font from simply “JetBrains” to the Nerd version, and also, this profile was fixed:

The same holds for other KDE applications like Kate. If you haven’t set a custom font, then the Nerd version of Hack will be automatically used. Otherwise, you have to use the Nerd version of the specified font.

Note that other non-Qt applications will not be affected by this change. For example, for Alacritty, I have this section in its configuration:

So, I simply specify JetBrains, not its Nerd version. Still, when icons and other glyphs are to be rendered, they are automatically taken from any Nerd font providing those glyphs:

Good-looking Nerd fonts are back! πŸ™‚

KDE Plasma 6 Desktop Cube in Arch Linux

At last, KDE Plasma 6 has landed in Arch Linux (and in EndeavourOS, of course), and you’re eager to try the return of the desktop effect “Desktop Cube”! πŸ™‚

You try to enable that in the System Settings “Desktop Effects.” You try the default shortcut “Meta + C”, and… it doesn’t work πŸ™

Oh, they say you need at least 4 virtual desktops! So you make sure you have 4 virtual desktops, you try again, and… it still doesn’t work πŸ™

Actually, 3 virtual desktops are enough. What you really need is this package, so make sure you install that and reboot:

Now, the Desktop Cube will finally work! πŸ˜€

Here’s that in action with 3 virtual desktops:

Here with 5 virtual desktops:

Useless but good looking! πŸ˜‰

A quick look at Quickemu

I have already blogged in the past about kvm/qemu.

Using the “Virtual Machine Manager” might not be straightforward initially. I’ve heard about Quickemu, which has this goal:

Quickly create and run optimised Windows, macOS and Linux desktop virtual machines.

In this blog post, I’m describing my experience with quickemu in Arch. The package is available from AUR:

And you also need the package for Qemu desktop mechanisms:

Then, you use the program “quickget” to get the ISO of one of the many distributions handled by quickemu. Let’s run it without arguments:

Let’s try Zorin:

We also need to specify its version:

Now, it starts downloading into the current directory, creating a subdirectory. For example, I’m running that from a mounted drive. Here’s some output and some commands to show the layout of the directories and the created configuration file to start the virtual machine with the mounted ISO:

Let’s start it:

Note the layout after starting the machine:

Thus, it should be easy to put it on an external drive

Here’s the machine starting with the live ISO:

I pressed Ctrl+C to cancel md5sum checks.

Here’s Zorin starting (audio is working):

The screen had resized automatically and became bigger.

I started the installation, mainly choosing default options (e.g., erase the entire disk). And here’s the login screen after the installation finished and the machine rebooted:

The impressive thing is that animations are really fluid and smooth in the virtual machine: you almost don’t realize you’re using a virtual machine:

Here’s the disk layout and memory (on this computer, I have 16 GB, and quickemu automatically selected half the memory for the virtual machine):

Then, I tried Garuda:

I tried the “Garuda KDE Dr460nized”:

I edited the conf file to increase the disk size:

Let’s start it:

Even in this case, the desktop automatically resizes if I resize the Qemu window.

The installation went smoothly and fast in this case. The login screen is full of nice blurry effects:

On the first login, you’re welcomed by the Garuda assistant to perform some initial tasks.

Here’s the information about the installed system:

Animations and effects are smooth, e.g., the “Overview”:

To summarize, with quickemu, creating a new Qemu virtual machine is easy, starting from one of the many managed Linux distributions. It also works for macOS and Windows distributions, though I haven’t tried them.

Moreover, the performance of the virtual machine is fantastic. The virtual machine seems as smooth as the currently running system.

The only drawback I’ve experienced is that, with the default configuration, the shared clipboard does not work: you must start the virtual machine with the spice display (” –display spice”). For example,

Remember to install the spice agent in the virtual machine. In the two above examples I’ve tried, the installed virtual machine already has the agent installed automatically during the installation.

First, at least in my experiments, the shared clipboard does not work anyway when the host is running on a Wayland session. Moreover, using the “spice” display, the virtual machine’s performance decreases significantly (see my reported issue: https://github.com/quickemu-project/quickemu/issues/933). Probably, to easily communicate and paste commands in the virtual machine, it is better to install the SSH server in the virtual machine and connect to the virtual machine via SSH.

In any case, this quick look at Quickemu impressed me a lot. πŸ™‚