What is Glacier and where are we headed.

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I see people asking what is Glacier on IRC so I thought I’d write up a short piece about it.

Nemo is a mobile Linux distribution. It is based on mer core and provides a UI for it.

Historical note: Until recently Nemo also provided the middleware, which is pending to be folded into Mer simplifying things.

UI can be divided into three subcategories

  1. The controls: buttons, sliders, menus, tabs etc etc
  2. The home screen: the interface you see when you light up your device, think of it as the Desktop Environment on your desktop Linux distribution, e.g. Gnome Shell
  3. The core apps (phone, calculator, browser etc)

Nemomobile supports themes. The default theme (think Adwaita) is Glacier. Just like Android 3.0+ has Holo as it’s main theme. We plan adding an alternative theme, Breeze, when and if there is enough interest.

Most of the controls are already completed. Some of them need polish but they are mostly usable.

Most of the nemo applications still use the old Harmattan-ish look, and some are outright missing, with the biggest absence being a modern browser. The applications need a lot of work in order to be Glacierified and some of them still need to be coded from scratch. Due to limited time and contributors this will take some time.

We are very eager however to get our work to real users as soon as possible. Doing that will also help get more contributors. Scratching an itch is the cornerstone of the OSS world and we want to give developers an itch to scratch. Since we share a lot of common code with Sailfish, the Nemo homescreen can run unmodified on top of Sailfish. Thus, our short term goal is to make Glacier Home a viable alternative to Jolla home, just like the countless android launchers that are available on Google Play.

This means you get to experience the Nemo homescreen, any Nemo apps you want, plus all your Sailfish and Android applications. Things like the missing browser are no more a showstopper for using Nemo as your day to day phone OS as you can substitute the sailfish browser or your favorite Android browser. Of course consistency takes a big hit, but it’s a fair price to pay.

The next step is to provide a compatibility layer for Sailfish applications to look native on Nemo/Glacier, and finally finishing the applications that we need to have a workable and visually consistent open source OS

For the record, I’m currently using the heavily WIP (by locusf) Glacier Home on my SbJ and here are my notes about what works and what doesn’t. We are almost there so any brave soul that wants to dive in and gain an itch to scratch, follow this guide to try out the latest nightly http://locusf.blogspot.gr/2014/03/glacier-ui-homescreen-on-jolla.html

homescreen folders

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homescreen-folder

The folder should slide down when it’s icon is tapped, pushing everything below, just like the sailfish context menu does. We might consider flying the icons from the folder icon to their positions when the folder opens, but I don’t really know if this is too much animation.

The folder icon consists of the first four folder icons, at 90% of their normal size, overlayed and semi-transparent (0.6 opacity). Their follow the pattern below

folder-icon-arrangement

If icon 1 is at coordinates 0,0 icon 2 has coordinates 6u,-6u icon 3 has -6u,6u and icon 4 6u,6u