I have been particularly discreet for several months. It is not a sign of disinterest in this project, quiet the opposite.
In fact as you imagine, many users are requesting us a tablet version of GCompris and I tried to evaluate the different technical possibilities to bring GCompris to this world. Sadly, Gtk+ the core technology we are based on does not provide any easy way to run on tablet.
The main requirements for me was to be able to have a single code base that would let us target the main desktops and the main tablets.
It is based on an OpenGL scene graph, we can create shader and particles to make graphical effects and do smooth animations.
In order to validate this choice, I did a prototype and this convinced me that it was a pertinent choice for GCompris. Even if this is a new technology, the learning curve is acceptable, with very few code you can create a very good looking activitiy. In my test it takes about half the lines of code to make the same activity in Qt Quick than we used to in Python and we get a better graphical quality.
The bad news is that it is not compatible with the current version of GCompris and it requires a full rewrite. All we can keep is the game logic and tuning, the texts, the translations, the graphics and the sounds.
For those who don't want to compile it, you can look at the little video.
Another important point, since this is not based on Gtk+ this new version cannot be hosted by Gnome as we used to do. Therefore we cannot participate in the Google Summer of Code under the Gnome umbrella. I thus registered GCompris for this year session of GSoC and Frederico Goncalves Guimaraes accepted to be the official co-mentor.
If you are interested in helping GCompris, I encourage you to learn Qt Quick and to help port some activities. This is a good opportunity to learn a new technology while doing something useful. I still have to refine and document the process to create a new activity but it is not very complex.
GCompris on Gtk+ has been around for 14 years. It is true that the migration will take time, probably several years but this is something we have to do if we want to stay relevant in the coming years.
Look at the translation status here.
Our web site was ten years old, a major refresh was more than needed.
This new one is no more based on a CMS engine but is coded in python with the jinja2 template engine and generated statically.
The site is now generated on the fly including the screenshots pages. Very important, the new site translation is managed through po files like the GCompris code base making it easier for translators to localize the web site.
The source of the site can be found on github here
A few month ago a developer team made an iOS port of GCompris. They just made another port, this time for Android. It is available under the name 'yellow duck' on Google Play.
The code is under GPL but you have to ask them to get the source, there is no public repository.
There are a lot of activities, sadly many are not enough polished as we may expect but what this team did is impressive.
I am glad to announce that a small developper team made a clone of some GCompris activities running on iOS (Apple iPhone / iPad). It is named 'Yellow Duck'.
It works like GCompris on Windows, you can dowload it for free and perform an in app purchase to access all the activities.
Of course, as they use the resources in GCompris that are for most under GPL, their software is also released under GPL.
The GCompris development team is happy to propose you a new version of GCompris numbered 12.11. This release includes 13 new activities, probably more than any release of GCompris so far.
GCompris is a popular high quality educational software suite comprising of numerous activities for children aged 2 to 10.
And when we say multi-activities, we really mean a lot. We now have 136 activities in GCompris!
I would like to give a special thanks to Gnome and Google for their support in allowing us to have two students working three months full time on GCompris last summer.
Here is a summary of the new activities sorted by contributors:
Who said GCompris does not run on tablet ?
You don’t imagine the number of people complaining the GCompris does not run on tablet, phone and tv. It is way too much work to port it. I am glad to show the world that choosing the proper hardware, developers don’t have to recode everything.
Look at the video here.
The release 12.05 is mostly a maintenance release, no new activities have been included. Many bug fixes and translation updates.
We have 2 students working on GCompris this summer as part of the Google Summer of Code 2011. This year for the first time I proposed GCompris as a project and myself as a mentor.
Srishti will be working on adding activities to let non blind children discover the blind world by learning the Braille code.
Karthik will let our children discover the music world, an important domain in which GCompris is weak.
As for each release, many translation have been updated
Back from Latinoware in Brazil, it was a great experience for me to go that far and discover how much GCompris is appreciated.
I met the organisation sleducational.org which is focused on free software in education and driven by teachers. They are making a great job in explaining how free software can be used in day to day training. They know pretty well GCompris since Frederico, the team leader, is also the translator of GCompris in Brazilian Portuguese.
To me, it is an excellent news to see an organisation taking our work further and providing a local support to teachers in Brazil looking for educational tools.
Also, I got a lot of feedback and this is mandatory to make sure we continue to be focused on the needs of our users.
And of course it gave me a lot of new ideas for GCompris, just need to find some time to code, hopefully when the release 9.4 will be released.
PS: The mug offered by sleducacional to Bruno.
I will be in Brazil at Latinoware 2010 from the 10th to the 12th of November.
It will be a pleasure to meat you there and discuss about the future of GCompris.
This version is a minor update of the 9.2. The main new feature is that we now distribute a MacOSX version (Intel 10.4 and above).
In short, this release is a bug fix release of the 9.0. It is mandatory for all packager to use this one due to the large number of problems we fixed.
You get the tarball at the usual place on Sourceforge
If you prefer, on the git side, this comes from the ’gcomprixogoo’ branch.
If full, the change log is:
After two years of work, the GCompris development team is happy to share with you the release of the version 9.0.
GCompris is almost 10 years old and it required some deep code restructuring. This release brings many mandatory changes to make it easier to enhance, maintain and distribute.
The first major change has been driven by the Sugar community. On the XO there was a need to distribute the activities individually. Since the early days of GCompris, we had properly separated the core engine and the activities but the laters were shared in a single folder. Now each activity in GCompris have a single directory. This includes its code and its data (menu, icon, images, sounds, data set).
Beside allowing per activity distribution, it is also makes it easier to contribute to GCompris, there is even an activity called pythontemplate that can be used as a starting point to create your own.
The second major change has been to replace the old, unmaintained gnome-canvas toolkit by the more modern, Cairo based toolkit named goocanvas. This makes the rendering of GCompris much better, we now have an alpha channel and the antialiasing.
The third change is our skin format that is now fully SVG based and uses the elements IDs. This way creating a skin can be done by editing a single file instead of 70 files.
The last change is the image ratio (width versus height). In the old version we were using 800x600 (4/3) and could only do fullscreen by changing the screen resolution. Now, to accomodate newer monitors, we are using the 800x520 resolution which is wider. But GCompris playing area is not smaller because we managed to replace the big button bar to something more integrated. The full screen is done by rescaling ourself, you can even rescale GCompris in window mode.
A good side effect is that GCompris can be used on big monitor and on smaller devices.
Beside the major changes, there has been a lot of minor changes all around, it would take too many time to report all of them.
Thanks to all the contributors and supporters of all kinds who provide help to GCompris.
Windows users, please be patient, I will work on it as soon as the 9.0 is stabilized.
I would like first to apologise towards the Portuguese children and teachers who have faced the translation issue.
A special thanks to our Gnome Portuguese translation team, Duarte Loreto and António Lima. They spent the week-end working on a rework of the translation under the pressure of the bad press we have been facing in some Portugal’s news paper.
GCompris supports over 50 languages and its a community based effort. Yes in some case we may ship incomplete or incorrect translations. We have always considered that we need to start somewhere and that an incomplete translation is better than no translation at all. This has worked pretty well so far because once people sees that the translation is not correct they join the project to improve it.
Over the years, the Gnome Translation team gets stronger but for historical reason I kept the bad custom to release po files myself. I now understand how wrong I was. I call again the Gnome translation team to take over the languages I still commit myself. You can find which in the po/ChangeLog file.
So this is pretty unusual for us to be in the headline. I hope this will calm down so we can go back to what we like to do, help the children learning.