One of the cooler software projects for Linux I’ve seen come down the pipe in a while is called Mayanna. Not sure what that means, but in practice, it’s the name of a new menu bar applet for Gnome Linux that takes the place of your menu system, along with a lot of other goodies.
For starters, if you look at the screen shots of this (and are familiar with Linux), and think, “hey, that Mayanna looks an awful lot like Gimmie,” then you’re right. Gimmie is a project I’ve watched for a while, a project that pretty much does the same thing, and looks the same, and it’s for a reason. Gimmie’s developer has really slowed down, almost to a stop, and has given the developer of Mayanna permission to continue and extend the idea with Mayanna.
And wow, am I ever glad this is happening. Back in October of 2007, I wrote a review of Gimmie, and was generally positive about it. Seif Lotfy, one of the Gimmie developers (and now the lead developer of Mayanna) wrote a reply to my review and mentioned that Gimmie was about to go through a couple new versions and that this would be happening in the next month. I’m still waiting. In the meantime, development stalled, and the rest of the Gimmie team decided to fork the project, which is how Mayanna was born.
And like I said, I’m really glad to see it. Because Mayanna (like Gimmie before it), offers more than just a quick view of your system preferences, administrative tools and applications. If I wanted that, I’d just use the Gnome system menu. No, Mayanna offers more than that.
Taken from the project’s page are the following features:
Applications from the system menu
Recently used documents, applications, printers, network shares, etc
People you’ve recently chatted with
People currently logged in for IM
Your Pidgin buddy list’s group organization
All devices, printers, mapped network shares, and system settings
Show open conversations, opened documents, and running applications (both new and legacy) in the MAYANNA Bar
Bookmark apps, documents, and people in the MAYANNA Bar for quick access
Allow log out, shutdown, or switching to another user
Shows the current time, a desktop switcher, and a trashcan
Search for items with instantly displayed results
Zoom in and out on recently used items, from today, to this month and beyond
Read Only access (later write access) on Flickr, GoogleDocs, Picasa, Youtube and Google Contacts
In other words, Mayanna aims to be a central hub for your computer. Want to start an email? Head to Mayanna, find the contact and double click. Want to chat with someone? Head to Mayanna and see if they’re online. Want to open a document in Google Docs, or upload pictures to Flickr or Picasa? Head to Mayanna. Hardware can be accessed through Mayanna, as well as your documents and places, such as your home folder and other drives. Some of these features, by the way, are only days old, and judging by the activity on the new Mayanna Google Groups page, there seems to be a lot of excitement surrounding Mayanna, and that can only lead to new ideas, new features, and new users, which will further develop new ideas, new features and new users, which… you get the idea.
It’s really pretty impressive, and pretty exciting. Kind of like getting in on the ground floor of an up-and-coming business, or being the first real “fan” of a band that is destined to strike it big.
As I mentioned, Mayanna as a project is quite new (it was only officially announced to the Gimmie Google Group on April 9, as far as I can tell). As such, there isn’t a lot of variation on the surface from what Gimmie was providing in development releases. But it sure looks like a lot of “stuff” is in the works, so if you’re interested in the new-and-improved-and-renamed Gimmie, then definitely check out Mayanna. At the moment, you’ll need to build Mayanna from source, but there are clear instructions listed a couple different places, and to be honest, if I can do it, anyone can do it! So check it out, and soon you’ll be interacting with your computer, your documents and your friends in a whole new way.