Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'canonical news'

John Pugh

The newest addition to the Ubuntu Software Center is Puzzle Moppet from Garnet Games. The poor little Moppet is lost and all alone in the wilderness. How are you going to help it get out? This interesting game requires you to solve puzzles to help Moppet find it’s way. Puzzle Moppet is a challenging 3D puzzle game featuring a diminutive and apparently mute creature who is lost in a mysterious floating landscape.

With brain melting puzzles you have to guide the Moppet through the vast and eternal void of space, navigating ice blocks, exploding blocks, balloons, elevators and more. Test your brain with over 30 true 3D puzzles ranging from the delightfully docile to the devilishly devious.

The sun blooms as the clouds slowly roll by, a rising sea breeze howls softly as it roams the void. Immerse yourself in the lonely tranquillity of this mysterious other world.

Do you have what it takes to save the Moppet?

Check out the trailer:

Now go buy and install Puzzle Moppet on your Ubuntu desktop!

Save The Moppet!

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John Bernard

Next week, Canonical will present an executive briefing on developments in Ubuntu Desktop, Cloud and Server. Christopher Kenyon, Canonical EVP, will be sharing developments in Ubuntu, including:

  • Introducing Ubuntu 11.04 with critically acclaimed interfaces and developer APIs
  • How phone manufacturers are delivering converged devices like the Motorola Atrix with Ubuntu
  • What Ubuntu Core means for the home, automotive and device industry
  • Ubuntu Cloud – why an open cloud matching Amazon Web Services APIs is changing the industry

The Ubuntu Showcase will take place at Room 201A (2nd Floor), in the Taipei International Convention Center on May 31st, from 3:00 – 4:30.

Agenda :

  • 3:00 – Welcome and demos
  • 3:30 – Executive briefing
  • 4:00 – Demos and refreshments

Key members of the Canonical team will also be on hand to answer questions.

Please contact john.bernard@canonical.com now to secure your place.

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Matt Zimmerman

I joined Canonical in June of 2004 as a member of the founding team, before we even had a name for the company. In June 2011, after just over seven years as Ubuntu CTO, I will be leaving Canonical in search of new challenges.

It has been my privilege to have played a part in creating Ubuntu and Canonical. It has been a pleasure to work with so many talented, dedicated and fun people over the years. I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together: bringing free software to people, places and organizations which have derived so much benefit from it.

The Ubuntu engineering organization, which we call Platform, is a highly capable and motivated team, the best I’ve ever worked with in my career. Building and leading this team has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I have every confidence in their ability to support Canonical’s mission in the years to come, and I’m excited to see how they will surprise me in the future.

Seven years on, the time is right for me to move on from this role, where I enjoy so much support from my colleagues, and take a risk on something new. I will take with me many fond memories, from all-night global hacking sessions driving toward a ship date, to casual singing and playing music at our many face-to-face events. I intend to remain involved in the Ubuntu community, retaining my elected position on the governing Technical Board, and perhaps to make the occasional technical contribution as a volunteer.

I will be spending the next week in Budapest at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, where I look forward to celebrating with friends and colleagues, and beginning the transition to this new role in the project. I wish the best for all of my Canonical friends in the future!

Matt

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Gerry Carr

One of the benefits of the direction that’s been taken with the next release of Ubuntu is that there is no longer a need for a separate netbook edition. The introduction of the new shell for Ubuntu means that we have a user interface that works equally well whatever the form factor of the PC. And the underlying technology works on a range of architectures including those common in netbook, notebooks, desktops or whatever you choose to run it on. Hence the need for a separate version for netbooks is removed.

To be clear, this is the opposite of us withdrawing from the netbook market. In fact looking at the download figures on ubuntu.com interest in netbooks is not only thriving but booming. It’s us recognising that the market has moved on and celebrating that separate images are no longer a requirement as the much anticipated convergence of devices moves closer.

A return to the Ubuntu name

Which actually got us thinking about our naming conventions in totality. ‘Ubuntu Desktop Edition’ arose in 2005 as a response to the launch of Ubuntu Server Edition and our desire to distinguish between the two. But desktops are no longer the pre-eminent client platform. And actually naming the the ‘edition’ after any target technology is going to have us chasing the trend. Also we were tying ourselves to some ungainly product titles – Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition for instance. User feedback also told us that people thought the edition was not for them as they had a laptop and spent time looking for a ‘Laptop Edition’.

So we are going back to our roots. From 11.04 the core product that you run on your PC will be simply, Ubuntu. Therefore the next release will be Ubuntu 11.04 and you can run that, my friend, on anything you like from a netbook to a notebook to a desktop. Ubuntu Server will be maintained as a separate product of course and named simply, Ubuntu Server 11.04.

We think this will make things simpler. When we mean Ubuntu for notebooks we will say just that rather than the more confusing, ‘Ubuntu Desktop Edition for notebooks’. We are retaining the concept of ‘remixes’ for community projects and the naming convention therein. And we would love to hear what you think.

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Nick Barcet

OpenStack today have made a number of announcements about the Bexar release of their cloud stack and we were delighted to be able to confirm its inclusion in the repositories for Ubuntu 11.04 as well as officially joining the community. We have been engaged with the OpenStack community informally for some time. Some Canonical alumni have been key to driving the OpenStack initiative over in Rackspace and there has been a very healthy dialogue between the two projects with strong attendance at UDS and at the OpenStack conferences by engineers in both camps.

In fact it is noteworthy that the OpenStack project has taken a lot of the methodology of the Ubuntu project and applied to how they self-organise and release. They have the same twice-yearly open conference to drive the definition of the project and a similar but three-monthly release cycle. It’s easy to forget that this now ‘standard’, time based, approach to open source development and release was pioneered by Ubuntu and it is gratifying to see it permeate.

But as to OpenStack technology, I know that there are many users very keen to get their hands on a more fully integrated version that Bexar on Ubuntu Server 11.04 will offer. It has always been the goal of Ubuntu with regards to cloud to offer the best integrated experience for open source cloud development and deployment. We did it with Eucalyptus for Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud for the past two years and the next release of this in April will continue on offering a great fully-supported option for businesses looking to bring cloud technology within the firewall. In fact only yesterday saw the official launch of UEC on Dell servers (www.dell.com/canonical) which offers businesses the opportunity to buy hardware from Dell with UEC baked in and fully supported by both companies.

Our aim with OpenStack over time is to make Ubuntu the best OS for clouds built on this stack, both at the infrastructure and guest levels. There is real energy and momentum building around this technology and we congratulate the guys and girls in that project for their success so far. It looks a terrific base for building out open-source based public clouds and its embracing on not just its own APIs but also the EC2 APIs. This offers great options for users and customers to remain flexible as we move towards industry-wide open standards for these types of architectures. In 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), OpenStack 2011.1 (Bexar) will be delivered as a technology preview, and Canonical will not yet be able to provide full support for it. We first want to allow our users to test it and provide us feedback before providing it as a production ready environment. Comments, feedback and reactions are welcome on the Ubuntu-Cloud mailing list, forum and irc channels (http://cloud.ubuntu.com/community/interact/).

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Jane Silber

Matt Asay joined Canonical in February this year and quickly proved instrumental in aligning strategic goals and operational activities. Unfortunately for us, Matt will be leaving Canonical December 17 for the lure of an early-stage start-up. While his time here has been relatively short, we all appreciate the positive impact he has had in many areas and I will personally be very sorry to see him go.

Matt is joining Strobe, an early stage start-up at the nexus of open source and the open web, much like Matt himself. He will be taking a senior business development position, and that opportunity provides an irresistible forum for him to exercise his skills in a customer-facing role at a small start-up.

While we will miss Matt, Canonical operations remain strong. We will recruit to replace Matt, hoping to find someone who carries on his love of Dilbert cartoons and The Smiths! We all wish Matt well in his new adventure.

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Cezzaine Haigh

With only three days until Ubuntu 10.10 (a.k.a Maverick Meerkat) is released and available to the world, it seems quite possible that Ubuntu’s 10.04 LTS (a.k.a Lucid Lynx) distribution will seem like a thing of the past.

If we cast our minds back, to about 6 months ago, we recall that one of the features of the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop Edition was the addition of the Ubuntu One Music store. Music from the world’s largest labels and most popular artists can be bought directly from the Ubuntu One Music Store and stored in Ubuntu One (your ‘personal cloud’).

Around the same time, Canonical announced that they would donate a percentage of sales (for songs) from the Ubuntu One Music Store, as well as from sales of the Lynx plushie toys available on the Ubuntu shop (to a maximum of US$1004) to the SOS Lynx charity in Portugal, to help save the Iberian Lynx. So thanks to your support, we’ve been able to make the contribution on behalf of the Ubuntu community.

The Iberian Lynx

The Iberian Lynx is the most endangered feline species in the world, as few as 220 individuals survive in the wild. The species was once widespread across the Iberian Peninsula but has declined drastically over recent decades, due to habitat loss, reductions in prey and high non-natural mortality from road kills, hunting and predator control.

Canonical got in touch with Dan Ward and Stephen Hugman from SOS Lynx to give them the positive news. They had the following to say:

“We (SOS Lynx) will shortly be releasing a research study on predator control and it’s impact on the Iberian Lynx. We have just prepared material in Portuguese for use in schools, as well as working with conservation groups in Portugal and Spain. We are focusing mainly on educational campaigns and research to raise awareness and support for the Iberian Lynx conservation in Spain, Portugal and across Europe.

Your very kind donation will contribute to funding education work for the Iberian Lynx and other predators with school children in southern Portugal. This work is essential to build long term support for the Iberian lynx and the wider nature conservation in the country. At present many people still have misunderstandings regarding the natural world – and the Iberian Lynx is still a hunted species. We hope education will help to change that.”

So, yay for Ubuntu!

For further information about the SOS Lynx foundation, the work they are doing, or to make a donation, please visit www.soslynx.org

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Gerry Carr

A few months ago we took on the challenge of building a version of Ubuntu for the dual-boot, instant-on market. We wanted to be surfing the web in under 10 seconds, and give people a fantastic web experience. We also wanted it to be possible to upgrade from that limited usage model to a full desktop.

The fruit of that R&D is both a new desktop experience codebase, called Unity, and a range of Light versions of Ubuntu, both netbook and desktop, that are optimised for dual-boot scenarios.

The dual-boot, web-focused use case is sufficiently different from general-purpose desktop usage to warrant a fresh look at the way the desktop is configured. We spent quite a bit of time analyzing screenshots of a couple of hundred different desktop configurations from the current Ubuntu and Kubuntu user base, to see what people used most. We also identified the things that are NOT needed in lightweight dual-boot instant-on offerings. That provided us both with a list of things to focus on and make rich, and a list of things we could leave out.

Instant-on products are generally used in a stateless fashion. These are “get me to the web asap” environments, with no need of heavy local file management. If there is content there, it would be best to think of it as “cloud like” and synchronize it with the local Windows environment, with cloud services and other devices. They are also not environments where people would naturally expect to use a wide range of applications: the web is the key, and there may be a few complementary capabilities like media playback, messaging, games, and the ability to connect to local devices like printers and cameras and pluggable media.

Unity: a lightweight netbook interface

There are several driving forces behind the result.

The desktop screenshots we studied showed that people typically have between 3 and 10 launchers on their panels, for rapid access to key applications. We want to preserve that sense of having a few favorite applications that are instantly accessible. Rather than making it equally easy to access any installed application, we assume that almost everybody will run one of a few apps, and they need to switch between those apps and any others which might be running, very easily.

We focused on maximising screen real estate for content. In particular, we focused on maximising the available vertical pixels for web browsing. Netbooks have screens which are wide, but shallow. Notebooks in general are moving to wide screen formats. So vertical space is more precious than horizontal space.

We also want to embrace touch as a first class input. We want people to be able to launch and switch between applications using touch, so the launcher must be finger friendly.

Those constraints and values lead us to a new shape for the desktop, which we will adopt in Ubuntu’s Netbook Edition for 10.10 and beyond.

First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications. That frees up vertical space for web content, at the cost of horizontal space, which is cheaper in a widescreen world. In Ubuntu today the bottom panel also presents the Trash and Show Desktop options, neither of which is relevant in a stateless instant-on environment.

Second, we’ll expand that left-hand launcher panel so that it is touch-friendly. With relatively few applications required for instant-on environments, we can afford to be more generous with the icon size there. The Unity launcher will show what’s running, and support fast switching and drag-and-drop between applications.

Third, we will make the top panel smarter. We’ve already talked about adopting a single global menu, which would be rendered by the panel in this case. If we can also manage to fit the window title and controls into that panel, we will have achieved very significant space saving for the case where someone is focused on a single application at a time, and especially for a web browser.

We end up with a configuration like this:

Unity Screenshot

Unity Screenshot

The launcher and panel that we developed in response to this challenge are components of Unity. They are now in a state where they can be tested widely, and where we can use that testing to shape their evolution going forward. A development milestone of Unity is available today in a PPA, with development branches on Launchpad, and I’d very much like to get feedback from people trying it out on a netbook, or even a laptop with a wide screen. Unity is aimed at full screen applications and, as I described above, doesn’t really support traditional file management. But it’s worth a spin, and it’s very easy to try out if you have Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installed already.

Ubuntu Light

Instant-on, dual boot installations are a new frontier for us. Over the past two years we have made great leaps forward as a first class option for PC OEM’s, who today ship millions of PC’s around the world with Ubuntu pre-installed. But traditionally, it’s been an “either/or” proposition – either Windows in markets that prefer it, or Ubuntu in markets that don’t. The dual-boot opportunity gives us the chance to put a free software foot forward even in markets where people use Windows as a matter of course.

And it looks beautiful:

Ubuntu Light, showing the Unity launcher and panel

Ubuntu Light Screenshot

In those cases, Ubuntu Netbook Light, or Ubuntu Desktop Light, will give OEM’s the ability to differentiate themselves with fast-booting Linux offerings that are familiar to Ubuntu users and easy to use for new users, safe for web browsing in unprotected environments like airports and hotels, focused on doing that job very well, but upgradeable with a huge list of applications, on demand. The Light versions will also benefit from the huge amount of work done on every Ubuntu release to keep it maintained – instant-on environments need just as much protection as everyday desktops, and Ubuntu has a deep commitment to getting that right.

The Ubuntu Light range is available to OEM’s today. Each image will be hand-crafted to boot fastest on that specific hardware, the application load reduced to the minimum, and it comes with tools for Windows which assist in the management of the dual-boot experience. Initially, the focus is on the Netbook Light version based on Unity, but in future we expect to do a Light version of the desktop, too.

Given the requirement to customise the Light versions for specific hardware, there won’t be a general-purpose downloadable image of Ubuntu Light on ubuntu.com.

Evolving Unity for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10

Unity exists today, and is great for the minimalist, stateless configurations that suit a dual-boot environment. But in order embrace it for our Netbook UI, we’ll need to design some new capabilities, and implement them during this cycle.

Those design conversations are taking place this week at UDS, just outside Brussels in Belgium. If you can’t be there in person, and are interested in the design challenges Unity presents for the netbook form factor, check out the conference schedule and participate in the discussion virtually.

The two primary pieces we need to put in place are:

  • Support for many more applications, and adding / removing applications. Instant-on environments are locked down, while netbook environments should support anybody’s applications, not just those favored in the Launcher.
  • Support for file management, necessary for an environment that will be the primary working space for the user rather than an occasional web-focused stopover.

We have an initial starting point for the design, called the Dash, which presents files and applications as an overlay. The inspiration for the Dash comes from consoles and devices, which use full-screen, media-rich presentation. We want the Dash to feel device-like, and use the capabilities of modern hardware.

The Unity Dash, showing the Applications Place

The Unity Dash, showing the Applications Place

The instant-on requirements and constraints proved very useful in shaping our thinking, but the canvas is still blank for the more general, netbook use case. Unity gives us the chance to do something profoundly new and more useful, taking advantage of ideas that have emerged in computing from the console to the handheld.

Relationship to Gnome Shell

Unity and Gnome Shell are complementary for the Gnome Project. While Gnome Shell presents an expansive view of how people work in complex environments with multiple simultaneous activities, Unity is designed to address the other end of the spectrum, where people are focused on doing one thing at any given time.

Unity does embrace the key technologies of Gnome 3: Mutter, for window management, and Zeitgeist will be an anchor component of our file management approach. The interface itself is built in Clutter.

The design seed of Unity was in place before Gnome Shell, and we decided to build on that for the instant-on work rather than adopt Gnome Shell because most of the devices we expect to ship Ubuntu Light on are netbooks. In any event, Unity represents the next step for the Ubuntu Netbook UI, optimised for small screens.

The Ubuntu Netbook interface is popular with Gnome users and we’re fortunate to be working inside an open ecosystem that encourages that level of diversity. As a result, Gnome has offerings for mobile, netbook and desktop form factors. Gnome is in the lucky position of having multiple vendors participating and solving different challenges independently. That makes Gnome stronger.

Relationship to FreeDesktop and KDE

Unity complies with freedesktop.org standards, and is helping to shape them, too. We would like KDE applications to feel welcome on a Unity-based netbook. We’re using the Ayatana indicators in the panel, so KDE applications which use AppIndicators will Just Work. And to the extent that those applications take advantage of the Messaging Menu, Sound Indicator and Me Menu, they will be fully integrated into the Unity environment. We often get asked by OEM’s how they can integrate KDE applications into their custom builds of Ubuntu, and the common frameworks of freedesktop.org greatly facilitate doing so in a smooth fashion.

Looking forward to the Maverick Meerkat

It will be an intense cycle, if we want to get all of these pieces in line. But we think it’s achievable: the new launcher, the new panel, the new implementation of the global menu and an array of indicators. Things have accelerated greatly during Lucid so if we continue at this pace, it should all come together. Here’s to a great summer of code.

Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical

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Gerry Carr

We are pleased to announce the launch of the brand new Ubuntu single sign on service.  The goal of this service is to provide a single, central login service for all Ubuntu-related sites, thus making it more convenient for Ubuntu users and community members to access information, communicate, and contribute.  This service will replace the existing Launchpad login service that is currently in use for many Ubuntu-related sites, although existing Launchpad accounts will continue to work in the new service.

Over the next few months we will be moving all of the Ubuntu and Canonical related sites that currently use the Launchpad service to Ubuntu single sign on, starting with sites we manage directly and then working with community site owners to move the community-managed sites.

Because of the number of existing Ubuntu users who have created accounts in Launchpad for the purpose of logging into other sites, we have set the Ubuntu and Launchpad services to share account data during the transition.  Launchpad is in the process of enabling users to log in with an Ubuntu account and, once completed, this sharing will be removed.  This does mean that you will be able to log into both services with the same credentials for a while.  We realise this is something internet users have been encouraged to not do but it is a necessary side-effect of the transition.  Doing this ensures you won’t lose access to services you’ve purchased from us in the past or your account histories in the sites you’ve previously visited, as long as you use your existing Launchpad credentials on Ubuntu single sign on.

Ubuntu single sign on is built on OpenID so, once all the sites we know about have moved over, we will also be opening up the OpenID service to enable you to log in to any site which accepts standard OpenIDs.

Some questions we think you may have for us:

Why replace the Launchpad login service?

The Launchpad login service has served us well for several years but Launchpad is not a familiar brand for many Ubuntu users.  As Ubuntu grows, we’ll see more and more users who don’t understand the connection between Launchpad and Ubuntu and the new Ubuntu login service is intended to overcome this problem.  It will also enable us to develop features which are more oriented to Ubuntu users.

How does the new service differ from the old one?

For now, not much apart from the appearance of the site.  We have many plans for great new features, however, and hope to roll these out once the service is established.  If you have ideas for other features you’d like to see in Ubuntu single sign on, we’d love to hear about them.

Is the new service Open Source?

No, it’s not.  It is, however, built and hosted on open source technologies (python, django, apache and postgres amongst others).

I have a problem with the new service.  Where can I get help?

We have an email support channel.  You can submit your support requests using our support form.  If you have found a bug, please take a few minutes to tell us about it on Launchpad.

We’re sure you have more questions.  Please submit them and we’ll do our best to respond to them all.

Stuart Metcalfe, Infrastructure Systems Development, Canonical

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Gerry Carr

We are delighted to welcome Matt Asay to the Canonical fold, taking up the role of Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect. The details can be found in the press release. Matt has also written about the new challenge in his Open Road blog.

So all that remains to say here is how much the whole company is looking forward to working with and learning from Matt in the months and years to come.

Jane Silber

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