August 4th, 2009

Summer UI Refresh

I commited last week an interesting design update for La Distribution.

While, it was not on the roadmap for the next version, it’s part of a background effort, aiming to always have a simpler, easier & nicer user interface.

So, how does-it looks? (On the left, earlier version, on right, updated).


Hmm, what changed? Well:

  • The Super Bar (on the bottom) start to looks a little bit like a dock, far better.
  • The Top Bar is much simpler, with a small logo on the left, and user/session informations on the right.
  • In the admin application, bread crumbs are now in an expected place, just bellow the Top Bar.
  • The application list is completely refreshed, more colorful, looks fresher.
  • The application settings panels now feature tabs to navigate between different sections
  • Generally, the default width is now simply 1000px instead of the old weird value calculated in ems.

It’s of course not a final version. For example, we’ll likely add a bit of color before next release. Also, maybe we’ll rely more on ajax/javascript to offer a more responsive feeling, and accelerate some user scenarios.

You can already test the updated version, you just have to use the SVN or Edge flavor. As always, we’re waiting for you feedback!

July 20th, 2009

The 3 flavors of La Distribution

Depending on your profile and your needs, you might be interested in different flavors of La Distribution. The purpose of this article is to clarify the differences between these flavors to help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

Current Stable Release: Barbès

The stable release is the one you get when you’re installing La Distribution with the default Web Installer. In this flavor, La Distribution is updated time to time (like your OS) and you should enjoy the most stable experience. When updates are available, you’re notified in the dashboard and encouraged to upgrade.

To install this flavor, just grab the web installer script, upload it as installer.php where you want to perform the installation, adjust directory permissions and run it through your web browser. That’s all.

This release is made of two package repositories: ‘main’ & ‘contrib’. The first contains the core application and packages that pass our quality requirements. The second is optional and contains more but less advanced packages.

The two URIs for the Barbès release repositories are: (optional)

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July 6th, 2009

La Distribution release

On thursday, I organized an apéritif to celebrate new identity and to launch the first public release of La Distribution. Friends gathered around drinks and this was a very cool summer evening. Thanks all for coming!


The presentation (in french) about La Distribution went well and was very nicely received, generating lot of questions from the audience. As I remember:

What kind of applications are you thinking/dreaming about?

Coming from Netvibes, i can already answer that a widget dashboard application would be a great addition :-)

Also, for me, a killer application would be a personal/social mp3 jukebox where you can put all your music and exchange with your friends. This doesn’t seems very legal at first, but this is a great example of the kind of things you can do when you are 100% in control :-)

What about La Distribution in the enterprise ?

It depends the current needs of the company. For internal communication, blogging and wikis are already great, and generally we’ll do our best to add productivity applications in the catalog. But as of today, if you think about word processor or spreadsheets, i don’t know yet a decent alternative to Google or Zoho.

What do you think of Opera Unite ?

Opera Unite is very interesting, especially their proxy feature. But imho, it would have been better with a traditional server side programming/hosting environment, say PHP. Also, what happen when the laptop running Opera unite is off power or off the network?

Is it possible to apply a theme on all applications?

Not yet, but the ongoing Minimal Themes series is a step in this direction.

How to build a package? Is it difficult?

Building a package is fairly easy, but building a great package is more difficult. Detailed instructions are coming but if you’re a hacker, you can already have a look at the existing ones.

That’s all for the questions I remember. But you, dear reader, maybe do you have other questions about La Distribution?

This is the first post on this blog, hello!