Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'canonical'

Kyle Nitzsche

Running X Apps on Ubuntu Devices You can install, launch, and use traditional debian-packaged X apps on Ubuntu devices. This may be unexpected given that Ubuntu devices do not seem to support user-installed debian packages, nor do they run the X Display Server. But it does work, courtesy of Mir/XMir and Libertine.

So here’s a bit of background to get started.

But first, please note that at this time, display and use of X apps on an external monitor is only available on the Pro5/M10 and on future devices. (BQ 4.5/E5 and Meizu MX4 do not support this feature.)

Hello Mir (Goodbye X)

Traditionally, and still on the Ubuntu Classic desktop with Unity 7, Ubuntu runs an X Display Server. Apps are debian packaged. And, they are written for X:

Due in part to X’s inherent security shortcomings, the Mir display server is now used on Ubuntu Devices under Unity 8 (although not yet by default on the desktop). XMir bridges traditional X apps to Mir. That is, apps written for X can run fine in a Mir/XMir environment:

Packages and the root file system

Ubuntu Classic has a root file system (rootfs) that is populated through installation of a carefully curated set of debian packages. At run time, users can install debian packages to add apps or modify their system.

This approach raises security concerns because debian packages execute installation scripts with root level privileges and because debian packages can alter what the rootfs provides by modifying or replacing core system components.

Ubuntu devices are designed for security and reliability. Ubuntu devices have a read-only rootfs that is small and tight, providing just what is needed and simplifying system updates. The rootfs is not modifiable by the user. Indeed it is mounted as a read-only partition. Users install apps through click packages that do not modify the rootfs.

Given all of this: how do users install debian packaged apps that use X on Ubuntu Devices? The answer is LIbertine with XMir.

Hello Libertine

Libertine is a system to manage app containers. It is specifically designed to support the many traditional X apps that are debian packaged. Each container is a separate Ubuntu rootfs populated through debian package installations. (Currently these containers are chroots: later, LXD contains will be supported. Also, currently the containers must be of the same Ubuntu series as the device: Vivid.)

So, you can install or create a libertine container, install debian packaged X apps into it, and launch them using the XApps scope. The apps access to the user’s key directories: Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos. So data files created and saved by an app in one container are available to apps in any other container, and indeed outside of the containers.

Let’s take a quick look at the XApps scope.

XApps Scope

This scope simply lists the containers and, for each container, it displays its apps. Here’s a look at a device with two containers. This system has two containers (Puritine and My Container). And each has a few apps:

  • Tap an app to launch it.
  • long press an app to hide it.
  • If you have any hidden apps, see them from the search icon (magnifying glass) and tap Hidden X Apps. Long press a hidden app to unhide it.
  • Note that a container with no apps does not display in the scope.
So how does one create and delete containers, and add or remove apps from them?

Libertine Container Manager

libertine-container-manager is a command line tool you use on the device to create and manage containers. This includes installing debian packaged apps into them. (These containers are created in the phablet user’s home directory and are not a part of the read-only rootfs.)

Note: libertine-container-manager currently cannot be run in the Terminal App. Instead please connect to your device from an Ubuntu system using phablet-shell.
Listing Containers
phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ libertine-container-manager list
puritine
my-container

The “puritine” container is pre-installed on many devices through the com.ubuntu.puritine click package (“Desktop Applications”):

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ click list | grep puritine
com.ubuntu.puritine 0.11

The second container (“my-container”) was created on the device with libertine-container-manager.

Note: It is possible to pre-install customized containers through bespoke channels.
Creating a Libertine Container
You can create a new container on a device. The container needs a unique ID and (optionally) a name.

Note: The container must be the same Ubuntu series as the device, currently: vivid.

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ libertine-container-manager create --id my-container --name "My Container" --distro vivid --type chroot

I: Retrieving Release
I: Retrieving Release.gpg
I: Checking Release signature
I: Valid Release signature (key id 790BC7277767219C42C86F933B4FE6ACC0B21F32)
I: Retrieving Packages
I: Validating Packages
I: Resolving dependencies of required packages...
[...]
Listing Apps in a Container
It’s easy to list the apps in a container. You just use the container’s id, as follows:

Note: We add the optional --json argument here and show only lines with “name” for display convenience.

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ libertine-container-manager list-apps --id my-container --json | grep "\"name\""
"name": "Panel Manager",
"name": "Python (v3.4)",
"name": "Python (v2.7)",
"name": "gedit",
"name": "Help",
"name": "Notification Daemon",
"name": "Terminal",
Also note that all apps that install a .desktop file are listed by this command, although many of them are not displayed in the XApps scope since they are not appropriate.
Installing an app in a container
To install a debian package in a container, you just use install-package with the container id and the debian binary package name, as follows:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ libertine-container-manager install-package --id my-container --package terminator

The package and all of its dependencies are installed in the container. After this, assuming the package installs a .desktop file, it displays in the XApps scope and is launchable with a tap as expected.
Installing an app from a specific Launchpad PPA
By default, available debian packages are installed from the standard Ubuntu archive the chroot’s apt configuration points to. You can add a launchpad PPA, as follows:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ libertine-container-manager configure --id my-container --archive ppa:USER/PPA-NAME

(Currently, private PPAs are scheduled for an upcoming release.)

After this, you can install packages into the container as usual, including from the PPA.
Removing apps from a container
Remove a debian package from a container with:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ libertine-container-manager remove-package --id my-container --package PACKAGE_NAME
Libertine-container-manager help
Use the --help for top level help.

You can see details on each subcommand, for example remove-package, as follows:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~$ libertine-container-manager remove-package --help
usage: libertine-container-manager remove-package [-h] -p PACKAGE [-i ID] [-r]


optional arguments:
-h, --help show this help message and exit
-p PACKAGE, --package PACKAGE
Name of package to remove. Required. -i ID, --id ID Container identifier. Default container is used if
omitted.
-r, --readline Readline mode. Use text-based frontend during debconf
Interactions.
Updating a container
Want the debian packages in a container updated? Easy:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~/.cache/libertine-container/my-container$ libertine-container-manager update --id my-container
Executing a Command in a Container
phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~/.cache/libertine-container/my-container$ libertine-container-manager exec --command "apt-get update" --id my-container
Atteint http://ppa.launchpad.net vivid InRelease
Atteint http://ports.ubuntu.com vivid InRelease
Atteint http://ports.ubuntu.com vivid-updates InRelease
Atteint http://ppa.launchpad.net vivid/main armhf Packages
Atteint http://ppa.launchpad.net vivid/main Translation-en
Atteint http://ports.ubuntu.com vivid/main armhf Packages [...]

Note: Running the apt-get update command in a container may be useful to update the container’s knowledge of newly available packages without installing/updating them all. You can then see whether a package is available, with:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~/.cache/libertine-container/my-container$ libertine-container-manager exec --command "apt-cache policy firefox" --id my-container
firefox:
Installé : (aucun)
Candidat : 44.0+build3-0ubuntu0.15.04.1
Table de version :
44.0+build3-0ubuntu0.15.04.1 0
500 http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports/ vivid-updates/main armhf Packages
37.0+build2-0ubuntu1 0
500 http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports/ vivid/main armhf Packages

More about the Libertine Containers

As noted, the container is a directory containing an Ubuntu rootfs. Container directories are here:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~/.cache/libertine-container$ pwd
/home/phablet/.cache/libertine-container
phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~/.cache/libertine-container$ ls
my-container puritine
phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~/.cache/libertine-container$ cd my-container/
phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~/.cache/libertine-container/my-container$ ls
rootfs

You can get a bash shell into the container as follows:

phablet@ubuntu-phablet:~/.cache/libertine-container/my-container$ libertine-container-manager exec --command "/bin/bash" --id my-container
groups: cannot find name for group ID 1001
[...]
root@ubuntu-phablet:/#

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Michael Hall

I’ve had a Nexus 4 since 2013, and I’ve been using it to test out desktop convergence (where you run a desktop environment from the phone) ever since that feature landed just over a year ago. Usually that meant plugging it into my TV via HDMI to make sure it automatically switched to the larger screen, and playing a bit with the traditional windowed-mode of Unity 8, or checking on adaptive layouts in some of the apps. I’ve also run it for hours on end as a demo at conferences such as SCaLE, FOSSETCON, OSCON and SELF. But through all that, I’ve never used it as an actual replacement for my laptop. Until now.

Thanks Frontier

A bit of back-story first. I had been a Verizon FiOS customer for years, and recently they sold all of their FiOS business to Frontier. The transition has been…..less than ideal. A couple of weeks ago I lost all services (phone, TV and internet) and was eventually told that nobody would be out to fix it until the following day. I still had my laptop, but without internet access I couldn’t really do my job on it. And while Ubuntu on phones can offer up a Hotspot, that particular feature doesn’t work on the Nexus 4 (something something, driver, something). Which meant that the only device that I had which could get online was my phone.

No Minecraft for you

13528720_10154238389913419_2608531900571217522_nFortunately, the fact that I’ve been demoing convergence at conferences meant I had all of the equipment I needed to turn my phone into a desktop and keep right on working. I have a bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and a Slimport adapter that let’s me plug it into a bigger screen. But while a TV works for testing, it’s not really great for long-term work. Don’t get me wrong, working from the couch is nice, but the screen is just too far away for reading and writing. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for my children, their computer is at a desk and is plugged into a monitor with HDMI ports. So I took it over for the day. They didn’t have internet either that day, so they didn’t miss out on much right?

A day of observations

Throughout the day I posted a series of comments on Google+ about my experience. You could go through my post history looking for them, but I’m not going to make you do that. So here’s a quick summary of what I learned:

  • 3G is not nearly fast enough for my daily work. It’s good when using my phone as a phone, doing one thing at a time. But it falls short of broadband when I’ve got a lot of things using it. Still, on that day it was better than my fiber optic service, so there’s that.
  • I had more apps installed on my phone than I thought I did. I was actually taken aback when I opened the Dash in desktop mode and I saw so many icons. It’s far more than I had on Android, though not quite as many as on my laptop.
  • Having a fully-functional Terminal is a lifesaver. I do a lot of my work from the terminal, including IRC, and having one with tabs and keyboard shortcuts for them is a must for me to work.
  • I missed having physical buttons on my keyboard for home/end and page up/down. Thankfully a couple of people came to my rescue in the comments and taught me other combinations to get those.
  • Unity 8 is Unity. Almost all of the keyboard shortcuts that have become second nature to me (an there are a lot of them) were there. There was no learning curve, I didn’t have to change how I did anything or teach myself something new.
  • The phone is still a phone. I got a call (from Frontier, reminding me about an appointment that never happened) while using the device as a desktop. It was a bit disorienting at first, I had forgotten that I was running the desktop the Nexus 4, so when a notification of an incoming call popped up on the screen I didn’t know what was happening. That only lasted a second though, and after clicking answer and picking up the device, I just used it as a phone. Pretty cool

screenshot20160701_151104996

Must go faster

While I was able to do pretty much all of my work that day thanks to my phone, it wasn’t always easy or fun, and I’m not ready to give up my laptop just yet. The Nexus 4 is simply not powerful enough for the kind of workload I was putting on it. But then again, it’s a nearly 4 year old phone, and wasn’t considered a powerhouse even when it was released. The newest Ubuntu phone on the market, the Meizu Pro 5, packs a whole lot more power, and I think it would be able to give a really nice desktop experience.

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Dustin Kirkland



I had the honor and privilege a couple of weeks ago, to participate in a recording of The Changelog, a podcast dedicated to Open Source technology.

You can listen to it here.

These guys -- Jerod and Adam -- produce a fantastic show, and we covered a lot of ground!

Give it a listen, and follow the links at the bottom of their page (their site is hosted on Ubuntu, of course!) to learn more.

Cheers!
Dustin

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Carla Berkers

OpenStack is the leading open cloud platform, and Ubuntu is the world’s most popular operating system for OpenStack. Over the past two years we have created a tool that allows users to build an Ubuntu OpenStack cloud on their own hardware in a few simple steps: Autopilot.

This post covers the design process we followed on our journey from alpha to beta to release.

Alpha release: getting the basics right

We started by mapping out a basic Autopilot journey based on stakeholder requirements and designed a first cut of all the necessary steps to build a cloud:

  1. Choose the cloud configuration from a range of OpenStack optionsChoose cloud configuration
  1. Select the hardware the cloud should be built on
    Select the hardware
  1. View deployment status while the cloud is being built
    View deployment status
  1. Monitor the status and usage of the cloud
    Monitor Cloud

After the initial design phase Autopilot was developed and released as an alpha and a beta. This means that for over a year, there was a product to play around with, test and improve before it was made generally available.

Beta release: feedback and improvements

Providing a better overview: increased clarity in the dashboard

Almost immediately after the engineering team started building our new designs, we discovered that we needed to display an additional set of data on the storage graphs. On top of that, some guerilla testing sessions with Canonical engineers brought to light that the CPU and the storage graphs were easily misinterpreted.

dashboard-sketches

After some more competitive research and exploratory sketching, we decided to merge the graphs for each section by putting the utilisation on a vertical axis and the time on the horizontal axis. This seemed to improve the experience for our engineers, but we also wanted to validate with users in usability testing, so we tested the designs with eight participants that were potential Autopilot users. From this testing we learned to include more information on the axes and to include detailed information on hover.

The current graphs are quite an evolution compared to what we started with:
Improved dashboard graphs

Setting users up for success: information and help before the process begins

Before a user gets to the Autopilot wizard, they have to configure their hardware, install an application called MAAS to register machines and install Landscape to get access to Autopilot. A third tool called Juju is installed to help Autopilot behind the scenes.

All these bits of software work together to allow users to build their clouds; however, they are all developed as stand-alone products by different teams. This means that during the initial design phase, it was a challenge to map out the entire journey and get a good idea of how the different components work together.

Only when the Autopilot beta was released, was it finally possible for us to find some hardware and go through the entire journey ourselves, step by step. This really helped us to identify common roadblocks and points in the journey where more documentation or in-app explanation was required.

Increasing transparency of the process: helping users anticipate what they need and when configuration is complete

Following our walk-through, we identified a number of points in the Autopilot journey where contextual help was required. In collaboration with the engineering team we gathered definitions of technical concepts, technical requirement, and system restrictions.

Autopilot walk-through

Based on this info, we made adjustments to the UI. We designed a landing page  with a checklist and introduction copy, and we added headings, help text, and tooltips to the installation and dashboard page. We also included a summary panel on the configuration page, to guide users through the journey and provide instant feedback.

BR_step-by-step

GA release: getting Autopilot ready for the general public

Perhaps the most rewarding type of feedback we gathered from the beta release — our early customers liked Autopilot but wanted more features. From the first designs Autopilot has aimed to help users quickly set up a test cloud. But to use Autopilot to build a production cloud, additional features were required.

Testing without the hardware: try Autopilot on VMware

One of the biggest improvements for GA release was making it easy to try Autopilot, even for people that don’t have enough spare hardware to build a cloud. Our solution: try Autopilot using VMware!

Supporting customisation:  user-defined roles for selected hardware

In the alpha version a user could already select nodes, but in most enterprises users want more flexibility. Often there are different types of hardware for different roles in the cloud, so users don’t always want to automatically distribute all the OpenStack services over all the machines. We designed the ability to choose specific roles like storage or compute for machines, to allow users to make the most of their hardware.

Machine roles

Allowing users more control: a scalable cloud on monitored hardware

The first feature we added was the ability to add hardware to the cloud. This makes it possible to grow a small test cloud into a production sized solution. We also added the ability to integrate the cloud with Nagios, a common monitoring tool. This means if something happens on any of the cloud hardware, users would receive a notification through their existing monitoring system.

BR-Nagios

The benefits of early release

This month we are celebrating another  release of OpenStack Autopilot. In the two years since we started designing Autopilot, we have been able to add many improvements and it has been a great experience for us as designers to contribute to a maturing product.

We will continue to iterate and refine the features that are launched and we’re currently mapping the roadmap for the months ahead. Our goal remains for Autopilot to be a tool for users to maintain and upgrade an enterprise grade cloud that can be at the core of their operations.

 

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Dustin Kirkland

A few years ago, I wrote and released a fun little script that would carve up an Ubuntu Byobu terminal into a bunch of splits, running various random command line status utilities.

100% complete technical mumbo jumbo.  The goal was to turn your terminal into something that belongs in a Hollywood hacker film.

I am proud to see it included in this NBCNews piece about "Ransomware".  All of the screenshots, demonstrating what a "hacker" is doing with a system are straight from Ubuntu, Byobu, and Hollywood!







Here are a few screenshots, and the video is embedded below...



Enjoy!
:-Dustin

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Michael Hall

screenshot20160506_103257823During the Ubuntu Online Summit last week, my colleague Daniel Holbach came up with what he called a “10 day challenge” to some of the engineering manager directing the convergence work in Ubuntu. The idea is simple, try and use only the Unity 8 desktop for 10 working days (two weeks). I thought this was a great way to really identify how close it is to being usable by most Ubuntu users, as well as finding the bugs that cause the most pain in making the switch. So on Friday of last week, with UOS over, I took up the challenge.

Below I will discuss all of the steps that I went through to get it working to my needs. They are not the “official” way of doing it (there isn’t an official way to do all this yet) and they won’t cover every usage scenario, just the ones I faced. If you want to try this challenge yourself they will help you get started. If at any time you get stuck, you can find help in the #ubuntu-unity channel on Freenode, where the developers behind all of these components are very friendly and helpful.

Getting Unity 8

To get started you first need to be on the latest release of Ubuntu. I am using Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), which is the best release for testing Unity 8. You will also need the stable-phone-overlay PPA. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not just for phones, but it is where you will find the very latest packages for Mir, Unity 8, Libertine and other components you will need. You can install is with this command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ci-train-ppa-service/stable-phone-overlay

Then you will need to install the Unity 8 session package, so that you can select it from the login screen:

sudo apt install unity8-desktop-session

Note: The package above used to be unity8-desktop-session-mir but was renamed to just unity-desktop-session.

When I did this there was a bug in the libhybris package that was causing Mir to try and use some Android stuff, which clearly isn’t available on my laptop. The fix wasn’t yet in the PPA, so I had to take the additional step of installing a fix from our continuous integration system (Note: originally the command below used silo 53, but I’ve been told it is now in silo 31). If you get a black screen when trying to start your Unity 8 session, you probably need this too.

sudo apt-get install phablet-tools phablet-tools-citrain
citrain host-upgrade 031

Note: None of the above paragraph is necessary anymore.

This was enough to get Unity 8 to load for me, but all my apps would crash within a half second of being launched. It turned out to be a problem with the cgroups manager, specifically the cgmanager service was disabled for me (I suspect this was leftover configurations from previous attempts at using Unity 8). After re-enabling it, I was able to log back into Unity 8 and start using apps!

sudo systemctl enable cgmanager

Essential Core Apps

The first thing you’ll notice is that you don’t have many apps available in Unity 8. I had probably more than most, having installed some Ubuntu SDK apps natively on my laptop already. If you haven’t installed the webbrowser-app already, you should. It’s in the Xenial archive and the PPA you added above, so just

sudo apt install webbrowser-app

But that will only get you so far. What you really need are a terminal and file manager. Fortunately those have been created as part of the Core Apps project, you just need to install them. Because the Ubuntu Store wasn’t working for me (see bottom of this post) I had to manually download and install them:

sudo click install --user mhall com.ubuntu.filemanager_0.4.525_multi.click
sudo click install --user mhall com.ubuntu.terminal_0.7.170_multi.click

If you want to use these apps in Unity 7 as well, you have to modify their .desktop files located in ~/.local/share/applications/ and add the -x flag after aa-exec-click, this is because by default it prevents running these apps under X11 where they won’t have the safety of confinement that they get under Mir.

The file manager needed a bit of extra effort to get working. It contains many Samba libraries that allow it to access windows network shares, but for some reason the app was looking for them in the wrong place. As a quick and dirty hack, I ended up copying whatever libraries it needed from /opt/click.ubuntu.com/com.ubuntu.filemanager/current/lib/i386-linux-gnu/ to /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/samba/. It’s worth the effort, though, because you need the file manager if you want do things like upload files through the webbrowser.

Using SSH

IRC is a vital communication tool for my job, we all use it every day. In fact, I find it so important that I have a remote client that stays connected 24/7, which I connect to via ssh. Thanks to the Terminal core app, I have quick and easy access to that. But when I first tried to connect to my server, which uses public-key authentication (as they all should), my connection was refused. That is because the Unity 8 session doesn’t run the ssh-agent service on startup. You can start it manually from the terminal:

ssh-agent

This will output some shell commands to setup environment variables, copy those and paste them right back into your terminal to set them. Then you should be able to ssh like normal, and if your key needs a passphrase you will be prompted for it in the terminal rather than in a dialog like you get in Unity 7.

Getting traditional apps

Now that you’ve got some apps running natively on Mir, you probably want to try out support for all of your traditional desktop apps, as you’ve heard advertised. This is done by a project called Libertine, which creates an LXC container and XMir to keep those unconfined apps safely away from your new properly confined setup. The first thing you will need to do is install the libertine packages:

apt-get install libertine libertine-scope

screenshot20160506_105035760Once you have those, you will see a Libertine app in your Apps scope. This is the app that lets you manage your Libertine containers (yes, you can have more than one), and install apps into them. Creating a new container is simply a matter of pressing the “Install” button. You can give it a name of leave it blank to get the default “Xenial”.

screenshot20160506_105618896Once your container is setup, you can install as many apps into it as you want, again using the Libertine container manager. You can even use it to search the archives if you don’t know the exact package name. It will also install any dependencies that package needs into your Libertine container.

screenshot20160506_105942480Now that you have your container setup and apps installed into it, you are ready to start trying them out. For now you have to access them from a separate scope, since the default Apps scope doesn’t look into Libertine containers. That is why you had to install the libertine-scope package above. You can find this scope by clicking on the Dash’s bottom edge indicator to open the Scopes manger, and selecting the Legacy Applications Scope. There you will see launchers for the apps you have installed.

Libertine uses a special container manager to launch apps. If it isn’t running, as was the case for me, your legacy app windows will remain black. To fix that, open up the terminal and manually start the manager:

initctl --session start libertine-lxc-manager

Theming traditional apps

screenshot20160506_122713187By default the legacy apps don’t look very nice. They default to the most basic of themes that look like you’ve time-traveled back to the mid-1990s, and nobody wants to do that. The reason for this is because these apps (or rather, the toolkit they use) expect certain system settings to tell them what theme to use, but those settings aren’t actually a dependency of the application’s package. They are part of a default desktop install, but not part of the default Libertine image.

screenshot20160506_112259969I found a way to fix this, at least for some apps, by installing the light-themes and ubuntu-settings packages into the Libertine container. Specifically it should work for any Gtk3 based application, such as GEdit. It does not, however, work for apps that still use the Gtk2 toolkit, such as Geany. I have not dug deeper to try and figure out how to fix Gtk2 themes, if anybody has a suggestion please leave it in the comments.

What works

It has been a couple of months since I last tried the Unity 8 session, back before I upgraded to Xenial, and at that time there wasn’t much working. I went into this challenge expecting it to be better, but not by much. I honestly didn’t expect to spend even a full day using it. So I was really quite surprised to find that, once I found the workarounds above, I was not only able to spend the full day in it, but I was able to do so quite easily.

screenshot20160509_121832656Whenever you have a new DE (which Unity 8 effectively is) and the latest UI toolkit (Qt 5) you have to be concerned about performance and resource use, and given the bleeding-edge nature of Unity 8 on the desktop, I was expecting to sacrifice some CPU cycles, battery life and RAM. If anything, the opposite was the case. I get at least as many hours on my battery as I do with Unity 7, and I was using less than half the RAM I typically do.

screenshot20160509_103139434Moreover, things that I was expecting to cause me problems surprisingly didn’t. I was able to use Google Hangouts for my video conferences, which I knew had just been enabled in the browser. But I fully expected suspend/resume to have trouble with Mir, given the years I spent fighting it in X11 in the past, but it worked nearly flawlessly (see below). The network indicator had all of my VPN configurations waiting to be used, and they worked perfectly. Even pulse audio was working as well as it did in Unity 7, though this did introduce some problems (again, see below). It even has settings to adjust the mouse speed and disable the trackpad when I’m typing. Most imporantly, nearly all of the keyboard shortcuts that have become subconcious to me in Unity 7 are working in Unity 8.

Most importantly, I was able to write this blog post from Unity 8. That includes taking all of the screenshots and uploading them to WordPress. Switching back and forth between my browser and my notes document to see what I had done over the last few days, or going to the terminal to verify the commands I mentioned above.

What doesn’t

Of course, it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows, Unity 8 is still very bleeding edge as a desktop shell, and if you want to use it you need to be prepared for some pain. None of it has so far been bad enough to stop me, but your mileage may vary.

One of the first minor pain-points is the fact that middle-click doesn’t paste the active text highlight. I hadn’t realized how much I have become dependent on that until I didn’t have it. You also can’t copy/paste between a Mir and an XMir window, which makes legacy apps somewhat less useful, but that’s on the roadmap to be fixed.

Speaking of windows, Unity 8 is still limited to one per app. This is going to change, but it is the current state of things. This doesn’t matter so much for native apps, which were build under this restriciton, and the terminal app having tabs was a saving grace here. But for legacy apps it presents a bigger issue, especially apps like GTG (Getting Things Gnome) where multi-window is a requirement.

Some power-management is missing too, such as dimming the screen after some amount of inactivity, or turning it off altogether. The session also will not lock when you suspend it, so don’t depend on this in a security-critical way (but really, if you’re running bleeding-edge desktops in security-critical environments, you have bigger problems).

I also had a minor problem with my USB headset. It’s actually a problem I have in Unity 7 too, since upgrading to Xenial the volume and mute controls don’t automatically switch to the headset, even though the audio output and input do. I had a workaround for that in Unity 7, I could open the sound settings and manually change it to the headset, at which point the controls work on it. But in Unity 8’s sound settings there is no such option, so my workaround isn’t available.

The biggest hurdle, from my perspective, was not being able to install apps from the store. This is due to something in the store scope, online accounts, or Ubuntu One, I haven’t figured out which yet. So to install anything, I had to get the .click package and do it manually. But asking around I seem to be the only one having this problem, so those of you who want to try this yourself may not have to worry about that.

The end?

No, not for me. I’m on day 3 of this 10 day challenge, and so far things are going well enough for me to continue. I have been posting regular small updates on Google+, and will keep doing so. If I have enough for a new blog post, I may write another one here, but for the most part keep an eye on my G+ feed. Add your own experiences there, and again join #ubuntu-unity if you get stuck or need help.

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Dustin Kirkland


Below you can find the audio/video recording of my OpenStack Austin presentation, where I demonstrated Ubuntu OpenStack Mitaka, running on top of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, entirely within LXD machine containers.  You can also download the PDF of the slides here.  And there are a number of other excellent talks here!



Cheers,
Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland

I'm delighted to share the slides from our joint IBM and Canonical webinar about Ubuntu on IBM POWER8 and LinuxOne servers.  You can download the PDF here, watch the recording here, or tab through the slides or watch the video embedded below.  Enjoy!




Cheers,
:-Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland


I'm thrilled to introduce Docker 1.10.3, available on every Ubuntu architecture, for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and announce the General Availability of Ubuntu Fan Networking!

That's Ubuntu Docker binaries and Ubuntu Docker images for:
  • armhf (rpi2, et al. IoT devices)
  • arm64 (Cavium, et al. servers)
  • i686 (does anyone seriously still run 32-bit intel servers?)
  • amd64 (most servers and clouds under the sun)
  • ppc64el (OpenPower and IBM POWER8 machine learning super servers)
  • s390x (IBM System Z LinuxOne super uptime mainframes)
That's Docker-Docker-Docker-Docker-Docker-Docker, from the smallest Raspberry Pi's to the biggest IBM mainframes in the world today!  Never more than one 'sudo apt install docker.io' command away.

Moreover, we now have Docker running inside of LXD!  Containers all the way down.  Application containers (e.g. Docker), inside of Machine containers (e.g. LXD), inside of Virtual Machines (e.g. KVM), inside of a public or private cloud (e.g. Azure, OpenStack), running on bare metal (take your pick).

Let's have a look at launching a Docker application container inside of a LXD machine container:

kirkland@x250:~⟫ lxc launch ubuntu-daily:x -p default -p docker
Creating magical-damion
Starting magical-damion
kirkland@x250:~⟫ lxc list | grep RUNNING
| magical-damion | RUNNING | 10.16.4.52 (eth0) | | PERSISTENT | 0 |
kirkland@x250:~⟫ lxc exec magical-damion bash
root@magical-damion:~# apt update >/dev/null 2>&1 ; apt install -y docker.io >/dev/null 2>&1
root@magical-damion:~# docker run -it ubuntu bash
Unable to find image 'ubuntu:latest' locally
latest: Pulling from library/ubuntu
759d6771041e: Pull complete
8836b825667b: Pull complete
c2f5e51744e6: Pull complete
a3ed95caeb02: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:b4dbab2d8029edddfe494f42183de20b7e2e871a424ff16ffe7b15a31f102536
Status: Downloaded newer image for ubuntu:latest
root@0577bd7d5db1:/# ifconfig eth0
eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 02:42:ac:11:00:02
inet addr:172.17.0.2 Bcast:0.0.0.0 Mask:255.255.0.0
inet6 addr: fe80::42:acff:fe11:2/64 Scope:Link
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:16 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:8 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
RX bytes:1296 (1.2 KB) TX bytes:648 (648.0 B)


Oh, and let's talk about networking...  We're also pleased to announce the general availability of Ubuntu Fan networking -- specially designed to connect all of your Docker containers spread across your network.  Ubuntu's Fan networking feature is an easy way to make every Docker container on your local network easily addressable by every other Docker host and container on the same network.  It's high performance, super simple, utterly deterministic, and we've tested it on every major public cloud as well as OpenStack and our private networks.

Simply installing Ubuntu's Docker package will also install the ubuntu-fan package, which provides an interactive setup script, fanatic, should you choose to join the Fan.  Simply run 'sudo fanatic' and answer the questions.  You can trivially revert your Fan networking setup easily with 'sudo fanatic deconfigure'.

kirkland@x250:~$ sudo fanatic 
Welcome to the fanatic fan networking wizard. This will help you set
up an example fan network and optionally configure docker and/or LXD to
use this network. See fanatic(1) for more details.
Configure fan underlay (hit return to accept, or specify alternative) [10.0.0.0/16]:
Configure fan overlay (hit return to accept, or specify alternative) [250.0.0.0/8]:
Create LXD networking for underlay:10.0.0.0/16 overlay:250.0.0.0/8 [Yn]: n
Create docker networking for underlay:10.0.0.0/16 overlay:250.0.0.0/8 [Yn]: Y
Test docker networking for underlay:10.0.0.45/16 overlay:250.0.0.0/8
(NOTE: potentially triggers large image downloads) [Yn]: Y
local docker test: creating test container ...
34710d2c9a856f4cd7d8aa10011d4d2b3d893d1c3551a870bdb9258b8f583246
test master: ping test (250.0.45.0) ...
test slave: ping test (250.0.45.1) ...
test master: ping test ... PASS
test master: short data test (250.0.45.1 -> 250.0.45.0) ...
test slave: ping test ... PASS
test slave: short data test (250.0.45.0 -> 250.0.45.1) ...
test master: short data ... PASS
test slave: short data ... PASS
test slave: long data test (250.0.45.0 -> 250.0.45.1) ...
test master: long data test (250.0.45.1 -> 250.0.45.0) ...
test master: long data ... PASS
test slave: long data ... PASS
local docker test: destroying test container ...
fanatic-test
fanatic-test
local docker test: test complete PASS (master=0 slave=0)
This host IP address: 10.0.0.45

I've run 'sudo fanatic' here on a couple of machines on my network -- x250 (10.0.0.45) and masterbr (10.0.0.8), and now I'm going to launch a Docker container on each of those two machines, obtain each IP address on the Fan (250.x.y.z), install iperf, and test the connectivity and bandwidth between each of them (on my gigabit home network).  You'll see that we'll get 900mbps+ of throughput:

kirkland@x250:~⟫ sudo docker run -it ubuntu bash
root@c22cf0d8e1f7:/# apt update >/dev/null 2>&1 ; apt install -y iperf >/dev/null 2>&1
root@c22cf0d8e1f7:/# ifconfig eth0
eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 02:42:fa:00:2d:00
inet addr:250.0.45.0 Bcast:0.0.0.0 Mask:255.0.0.0
inet6 addr: fe80::42:faff:fe00:2d00/64 Scope:Link
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1450 Metric:1
RX packets:6423 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:4120 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
RX bytes:22065202 (22.0 MB) TX bytes:227225 (227.2 KB)

root@c22cf0d8e1f7:/# iperf -c 250.0.8.0
multicast ttl failed: Invalid argument
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 250.0.8.0, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 45.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[ 3] local 250.0.45.0 port 54274 connected with 250.0.8.0 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 3] 0.0-10.0 sec 1.05 GBytes 902 Mbits/sec

And the second machine:
kirkland@masterbr:~⟫ sudo docker run -it ubuntu bash
root@effc8fe2513d:/# apt update >/dev/null 2>&1 ; apt install -y iperf >/dev/null 2>&1
root@effc8fe2513d:/# ifconfig eth0
eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 02:42:fa:00:08:00
inet addr:250.0.8.0 Bcast:0.0.0.0 Mask:255.0.0.0
inet6 addr: fe80::42:faff:fe00:800/64 Scope:Link
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1450 Metric:1
RX packets:7659 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:3433 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
RX bytes:22131852 (22.1 MB) TX bytes:189875 (189.8 KB)

root@effc8fe2513d:/# iperf -s
------------------------------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.3 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[ 4] local 250.0.8.0 port 5001 connected with 250.0.45.0 port 54274
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 1.05 GBytes 899 Mbits/sec


Finally, let's have another long hard look at the image from the top of this post.  Download it in full resolution to study very carefully what's happening here, because it's pretty [redacted] amazing!


Here, we have a Byobu session, split into 6 panes (Shift-F2 5x Times, Shift-F8 6x times).  In each pane, we have an SSH session to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS servers spread across 6 different architectures -- armhf, arm64, i686, amd64, ppc64el, and s390x.  I used the Shift-F9 key to simultaneously run the same commands in each and every window.  Here are the commands I ran:

clear
lxc launch ubuntu-daily:x -p default -p docker
lxc list | grep RUNNING
uname -a
dpkg -l docker.io | grep docker.io
sudo docker images | grep -m1 ubuntu
sudo docker run -it ubuntu bash
apt update >/dev/null 2>&1 ; apt install -y net-tools >/dev/null 2>&1
ifconfig eth0
exit

That's right.  We just launched Ubuntu LXD containers, as well as Docker containers against every Ubuntu 16.04 LTS architecture.  How's that for Ubuntu everywhere!?!

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will be one hell of a release!

:-Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland


I happen to have a full mirror of the entire Ubuntu Xenial archive here on a local SSD, and I took the opportunity to run a few numbers...
  • 6: This is our 6th Ubuntu LTS
    • 6.06, 8.04, 10.04, 12.04, 14.04, 16.04
  • 7: With Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, we're supporting 7 CPU architectures
    • armhf, arm64, i386, amd64, powerpc, ppc64el, s390x
  • 25,671: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is comprised of 25,671 source packages
    • main, universe, restricted, multiverse
  • 150,562+: Over 150,562 (and counting!) cloud instances of Xenial have launched to date
    • and we haven't even officially released yet!
  • 216,475: A complete archive of all binary .deb packages in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS consists of 216,475 debs.
    • 24,803 arch independent
    • 27,159 armhf
    • 26,845 arm64
    • 28,730 i386
    • 28,902 amd64
    • 27,061 powerpc
    • 26,837 ppc64el
    • 26,138 s390x
  • 1,426,792,926: A total line count of all source packages in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS using cloc yields 1,426,792,926 total lines of source code
  • 250,478,341,568: A complete archive all debs, all architectures in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS requires 250GB of disk space
Yes, that's 1.4 billion lines of source code comprising the entire Ubuntu 16.04 LTS archive.  What an amazing achievement of open source development!

Perhaps my fellow nerds here might be interested in a breakdown of all 1.4 billion lines across 25K source packages, and throughout 176 different programming languages, as measured by Al Danial's cloc utility.  Interesting data!


You can see the full list here.  What further insight can you glean?

:-Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland


On July 7, 2010, I received the above email.  In hindsight, this note effectively changed the landscape of cloud computing forever.  I was one of 3 Canonical employees in attendance (Nick Barcet, Neil Levine) and among a number former colleagues (Theirry Carrez, Soren Hansen, Rick Clark) at the first OpenStack Design Summit at the Omni hotel in Austin, Texas, in July of 2010.

These are the only pictures I snapped with my phone (metadata says it was an HTC Hero) of the event, which, almost unbelievably fit entirely within a single conference room :-)


The "fishbowl" round table discussion format was modeled after Ubuntu Developer Summits.


It was so much fun to see so many unfamiliar, non-Ubuntu people using the fishbowl discussion format.


Also borrowed from Ubuntu Developer Summits was the collaborative, community-sourced note taking in Etherpad-Lite.



Breakfast, in the beautiful Omni lobby.


Lots of natural light, but thankfully, air conditioned.  By the way, does anyone have pictures from the 120oF Whole Foods roof top event?


My, my, my, how far we've come in 6 short years!

This month's OpenStack Summit returns to Austin, Texas, and fills the entire Austin Convention Center, and overflows into at least two nearby hotels, with 5,000+ OpenStack developers, users, and enthusiasts!


In fact, if you're reading this post on insights.ubuntu.com, you're being served by Wordpress and MySQL hosted on a production Ubuntu OpenStack at Canonical.

Welcome back home, OpenStack!

:-Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland

As announced last week, Microsoft and Canonical have worked together to bring Ubuntu's userspace natively into Windows 10.

As of today, Windows 10 Insiders can now take Ubuntu on Windows for a test drive!  Here's how...

1) You need to have a system running today's 64-bit build of Windows 10 (Build 14316).


2) To do so, you may need to enroll into the Windows Insider program here, insider.windows.com.


3) You need to notify your Windows desktop that you're a Windows Insider, under "System Settings --> Advanced Windows Update options"


4) You need to set your update ambition to the far right, also known as "the fast ring".


5) You need to enable "developer mode", as this new feature is very pointedly directed specifically at developers.


6) You need to check for updates, apply all updates, and restart.


7) You need to turn on the new Windows feature, "Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta)".  Note (again) that you need a 64-bit version of Windows!  Without that, you won't see the new option.


8) You need to reboot again.  (Windows sure has a fetish for rebooting!)


9) You press the start button and type "bash".


10) The first time you run "bash.exe", you'll accept the terms of service, download Ubuntu, and then you're off and running!



If you screw something up, and you want to start over, simply open a Windows command shell, and run: lxrun /uninstall /full and then just run bash again.

For bonus points, you might also like to enable the Ubuntu monospace font in your console.  Here's how!

a) Download the Ubuntu monospace font, from font.ubuntu.com.


b) Install the Ubuntu monospace font, by opening the zip file you downloaded, finding UbuntuMono-R.ttf, double clicking on it, and then clicking Install.


c) Enable the Ubuntu monospace font for the command console in the Windows registry.  Open regedit and find this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Console\TrueTypeFont and add a new string value name "000" with value data "Ubuntu Mono"




d) Edit your command console preferences to enable the Ubuntu monospace font.

Cheers!
Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland


This makes me so incredibly happy!

Here's how...

First, start with a fully up-to-date Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop.

sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade -y

Then, install dconf-editor.

sudo apt install -y dconf-editor

Launch dconf-editor and find the "launcher" key and change it to "bottom".

dconf-editor


For good measure, I triggered a reboot, to make sure my changes stuck.  And voila!  Beauty!

:-Dustin

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Michael Hall

Somehow I missed the fact that I never wrote Community Donations report for Q3 2015. I only realized it because it’s time for me to start working on Q4. Sorry for the oversight, but that report is now published.

The next report should be out soon, in the mean time you can look at all of the past reports so see the great things we’ve been able to do with and for the Ubuntu community through this program. Everybody who has recieved these funds have used them to contribute to the project in one way or another, and we appreciate all of their work.

As you may notice, we’ve been regularly paying out more than we’ve been getting in donations. While we’ve had a carry-over balance ever since we started this program, that balance is running down. If you like the things we’ve been able to support with this program, please consider sending it a contribution and helping us spread the word about it.

 

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Dustin Kirkland

Update: Here's how to get started using Ubuntu on Windows

See also Scott Hanselman's blog here
I'm in San Francisco this week, attending Microsoft's Build developer conference, as a sponsored guest of Microsoft.



That's perhaps a bit odd for me, as I hadn't used Windows in nearly 16 years.  But that changed a few months ago, as I embarked on a super secret (and totally mind boggling!) project between Microsoft and Canonical, as unveiled today in a demo during Kevin Gallo's opening keynote of the Build conference....



An Ubuntu user space and bash shell, running natively in a Windows 10 cmd.exe console!


Did you get that?!?  Don't worry, it took me a few laps around that track, before I fully comprehended it when I first heard such crazy talk a few months ago :-)

Here's let's break it down slowly...
  1. Windows 10 users
  2. Can open the Windows Start menu
  3. And type "bash" [enter]
  4. Which opens a cmd.exe console
  5. Running Ubuntu's /bin/bash
  6. With full access to all of Ubuntu user space
  7. Yes, that means apt, ssh, rsync, find, grep, awk, sed, sortxargs, md5sum, gpg, curl, wget, apache, mysql, python, perl, ruby, php, gcc, tar, vim, emacs, diff, patch...
  8. And most of the tens of thousands binary packages available in the Ubuntu archives!
"Right, so just Ubuntu running in a virtual machine?"  Nope!  This isn't a virtual machine at all.  There's no Linux kernel booting in a VM under a hypervisor.  It's just the Ubuntu user space.

"Ah, okay, so this is Ubuntu in a container then?"  Nope!  This isn't a container either.  It's native Ubuntu binaries running directly in Windows.

"Hum, well it's like cygwin perhaps?"  Nope!  Cygwin includes open source utilities are recompiled from source to run natively in Windows.  Here, we're talking about bit-for-bit, checksum-for-checksum Ubuntu ELF binaries running directly in Windows.

[long pause]

"So maybe something like a Linux emulator?"  Now you're getting warmer!  A team of sharp developers at Microsoft has been hard at work adapting some Microsoft research technology to basically perform real time translation of Linux syscalls into Windows OS syscalls.  Linux geeks can think of it sort of the inverse of "wine" -- Ubuntu binaries running natively in Windows.  Microsoft calls it their "Windows Subsystem for Linux".  (No, it's not open source at this time.)

Oh, and it's totally shit hot!  The sysbench utility is showing nearly equivalent cpu, memory, and io performance.

So as part of the engineering work, I needed to wrap the stock Ubuntu root filesystem into a Windows application package (.appx) file for suitable upload to the Windows Store.  That required me to use Microsoft Visual Studio to clone a sample application, edit a few dozen XML files, create a bunch of icon .png's of various sizes, and so on.

Not being Windows developer, I struggled and fought with Visual Studio on this Windows desktop for a few hours, until I was about ready to smash my coffee mug through the damn screen!

Instead, I pressed the Windows key, typed "bash", hit enter.  Then I found the sample application directory in /mnt/c/Users/Kirkland/Downloads, and copied it using "cp -a".  I used find | xargs | rename to update a bunch of filenames.  And a quick grep | xargs | sed to comprehensively search and replace s/SampleApp/UbuntuOnWindows/. And Ubuntu's convert utility quickly resized a bunch of icons.   Then I let Visual Studio do its thing, compiling the package and uploading to the Windows Store.  Voila!

Did you catch that bit about /mnt/c...  That's pretty cool...  All of your Windows drives, like C: are mounted read/write directly under /mnt.  And, vice versa, you can see all of your Ubuntu filesystem from Windows Explorer in C:\Users\Kirkland\AppData\Local\Lxss\rootfs\


Meanwhile, I also needed to ssh over to some of my other Ubuntu systems to get some work done.  No need for Putty!  Just ssh directly from within the Ubuntu shell.



Of course apt install and upgrade as expected.



Is everything working exactly as expected?  No, not quite.  Not yet, at least.  The vast majority of the LTP passes and works well.  But there are some imperfections still, especially around tty's an the vt100.  My beloved byobu, screen, and tmux don't quite work yet, but they're getting close!

And while the current image is Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, we're expecting to see Ubuntu 16.04 LTS replacing Ubuntu 14.04 in the Windows Store very, very soon.

Finally, I imagine some of you -- long time Windows and Ubuntu users alike -- are still wondering, perhaps, "Why?!?"  Having dedicated most of the past two decades of my career to free and open source software, this is an almost surreal endorsement by Microsoft on the importance of open source to developers.  Indeed, what a fantastic opportunity to bridge the world of free and open source technology directly into any Windows 10 desktop on the planet.  And what a wonderful vector into learning and using more Ubuntu and Linux in public clouds like Azure.  From Microsoft's perspective, a variety of surveys and user studies have pointed to bash and Linux tools -- very specifically, Ubuntu -- be available in Windows, and without resource-heavy full virtualization.

So if you're a Windows Insider and have access to the early beta of this technology, we certainly hope you'll try it out!  Let us know what you think!

If you want to hear more, hopefully you'll tune into the Channel 9 Panel discussion at 16:30 PDT on March 30, 2016.

Cheers,
Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland

Still have questions about Ubuntu on Windows?
Watch this Channel 9 session, recorded live at Build this week, hosted by Scott Hanselman, with questions answered by Windows kernel developers Russ Alexander, Ben Hillis, and myself representing Canonical and Ubuntu!

For fun, watch the crowd develop in the background over the 30 minute session!

And here's another recorded session with a demo by Rich Turner and Russ Alexander.  The real light bulb goes off at about 8:01.


Cheers,
:-Dustin

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Michael Hall

As most you you know by now, Ubuntu 16.04 will be dropping the old Ubuntu Software Center in favor of the newer Gnome Software as the graphical front-end to both the Ubuntu archives and 3rd party application store.

Gnome Software

Gnome Software provides a lot of the same enhancements over simple package managers that USC did, and it does this using a new metadata format standard called AppStream. While much of the needed AppStream data can be extracted from the existing packages in the archives, sometimes that’s not sufficient, and that’s when we need people to help fill the gaps.

It turns out that the bulk of the missing or incorrect data is caused by the application icons being used by app packages. While most apps already have an icon, it was never strictly enforced before, and the size and format allowed by the desktop specs was more lenient than what’s needed now.  These lower resolution icons might have been fine for a menu item, but they don’t work very well for a nice, beautiful App Store interface like Gnome Software. And that’s where you can help!

Don’t worry, contributing icons isn’t hard, and it doesn’t require any knowledge of programming or packing to do. Best of all, you’ll not only be helping Ubuntu, but you’ll also be contributing to any other distro that uses the AppStream standard too! In the steps below I will walk you through the process of finding an app in need, getting the correct icon for it, and contributing it to the upstream project and Ubuntu.

1) Pick an App

Because the AppStream data is being automatically extracted from the contents of existing packages, we are able to tell which apps are in need of new icons, and we’ve generated a list of them, sorted by popularity (based on PopCon stats) so you can prioritize your contributions to where they will help the most users. To start working on one, first click the “Create” link to file a new bug report against the package in Ubuntu. Then replace that link in the wiki with a link to your new bug, and put your name in the “Claimed” column so that others know you’ve already started work on it.

Apps with Icon ErrorsNote that a package can contain multiple .desktop files, each of which has it’s own icon, and your bug report will be specific to just that one metadata file. You will also need to be a member of the ~ubuntu-etherpad team (or sub-team like ~ubuntumembers) in order to edit the wiki, you will be asked to verify that membership as part of the login process with Ubuntu SSO.

2) Verify that an AppStream icon is needed

While the extraction process is capable of identifying what packages have a missing or unsupported image in them, it’s not always smart enough to know which packages should have this AppStream data in the first place. So before you get started working on icons, it’s best to first make sure that the metadata file you picked should be part of the AppStream index in the first place.

Because AppStream was designed to be application-centric, the metadata extraction process only looks at those with Type=Application in their .desktop file. It will also ignore any .desktop files with NoDisplay=True in them. If you find a file in the list that shouldn’t be indexed by AppStream, chances are one or both of these values are set incorrectly. In that case you should change your bug description to state that, rather than attaching an icon to it.

3) Contact Upstream

Since there is nothing Ubuntu-specific about AppStream data or icons, you really should be sending your contribution upstream to the originating project. Not only is this best for Ubuntu (carrying patches wastes resources), but it’s just the right thing to do in the open source community. So the after you’ve chosen an app to work on and verfied that it does in fact need a new icon for AppStream, the very next thing you should do is start talking to the upstream project developers.

Start by letting them know that you want to contribute to their project so that it integrates better with AppStream enabled stores (you can reference these Guidelines if they’re not familiar with it), and opening a similar bug report in their bug tracker if they don’t have one already. Finally, be sure to include a link to that upstream bug report in the Ubuntu bug you opened previously so that the Ubuntu developers know the work is also going into upstream to (your contribute might be rejected otherwise).

4) Find or Create an Icon

Chances are the upstream developers already have an icon that meets the AppStream requirements, so ask them about it before trying to find one on your own. If not, look for existing artwork assets that can be used as a logo, and remember that it needs to be at least 64×64 pixels (this is where SVGs are ideal, as they can be exported to any size). Whatever you use, make sure that it matches the application’s current branding, we’re not out to create a new logo for them after all. If you do create a new image file, you will need to make it available under the CC-BY-SA license.

While AppStream only requires a 64×64 pixel image, many desktops (including Unity) will benefit from having even higher resolution icons, and it’s always easier to scale them down than up. So if you have the option, try to provide a 256×256 icon image (or again, just an SVG).

5) Submit your icon

Now that you’ve found (or created) an appropriate icon, it’s time to get it into both the upstream project and Ubuntu. Because each upstream will be different in how they want you to do that, you will need to ask them for guidance (and possibly assistance) in order to do that. Just make sure that you update the upstream bug report with your work, so that the Ubuntu developers can see that it’s been done.

Ubuntu 16.04 has already synced with Debian, so it’s too late for these changes in the upstream project to make their way into this release. In order to get them into 16.04, the Ubuntu packages will have to carry a patch until the changes that land in upstream have the time to make their way into the Ubuntu archives. That’s why it’s so important to get your contribution accepted into the upstream project first, the Ubuntu developers want to know that the patches to their packages will eventually be replaced by the same change from upstream.

attach_file_to_bugTo submit your image to Ubuntu, all you need to do is attach the image file to the bug report you created way back in step #1.

launchpad-subscribeThen, subscribe the “ubuntu-sponsors” team to the bug, these are the Ubuntu developers who will review and apply your icon to the target package, and get it into the Ubuntu archives.

6) Talk about it!

Congratulations, you’ve just made a contribution that is likely to affect millions of people and benefit the entire open source community! That’s something to celebrate, so take to Twitter, Google+, Facebook or your own blog and talk about it. Not only is it good to see people doing these kinds of contributions, it’s also highly motivating to others who might not otherwise get involved. So share your experience, help others who want to do the same, and if you enjoyed it feel free to grab another app from the list and do it again.

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Dustin Kirkland


We at Canonical have conducted a legal review, including discussion with the industry's leading software freedom legal counsel, of the licenses that apply to the Linux kernel and to ZFS.

And in doing so, we have concluded that we are acting within the rights granted and in compliance with their terms of both of those licenses.  Others have independently achieved the same conclusion.  Differing opinions exist, but please bear in mind that these are opinions.

While the CDDL and GPLv2 are both "copyleft" licenses, they have different scope.  The CDDL applies to all files under the CDDL, while the GPLv2 applies to derivative works.

The CDDL cannot apply to the Linux kernel because zfs.ko is a self-contained file system module -- the kernel itself is quite obviously not a derivative work of this new file system.

And zfs.ko, as a self-contained file system module, is clearly not a derivative work of the Linux kernel but rather quite obviously a derivative work of OpenZFS and OpenSolaris.  Equivalent exceptions have existed for many years, for various other stand alone, self-contained, non-GPL kernel modules.

Our conclusion is good for Ubuntu users, good for Linux, and good for all of free and open source software.

As we have already reached the conclusion, we are not interested in debating license compatibility, but of course welcome the opportunity to discuss the technology.

Cheers,
Dustin

EDIT: This post was updated to link to the supportive position paper from Eben Moglen of the SFLC, an amicus brief from James Bottomley, as well as the contrarian position from Bradley Kuhn and the SFC.

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Dustin Kirkland



I had the opportunity to speak at Container World 2016 in Santa Clara yesterday.  Thanks in part to the Netflix guys who preceded me, the room was absolutely packed!

You can download a PDF of my slides here, or flip through them embedded below.

I'd really encourage you to try the demo instructions of LXD toward the end!


:-Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland


Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial) is only a few short weeks away, and with it comes one of the most exciting new features Linux has seen in a very long time...

ZFS -- baked directly into Ubuntu -- supported by Canonical.

What is ZFS?

ZFS is a combination of a volume manager (like LVM) and a filesystem (like ext4, xfs, or btrfs).

ZFS one of the most beloved features of Solaris, universally coveted by every Linux sysadmin with a Solaris background.  To our delight, we're happy to make to OpenZFS available on every Ubuntu system.  Ubuntu's reference guide for ZFS can be found here, and these are a few of the killer features:
  • snapshots
  • copy-on-write cloning
  • continuous integrity checking against data corruption
  • automatic repair
  • efficient data compression.
These features truly make ZFS the perfect filesystem for containers.

What does "support" mean?

  • You'll find zfs.ko automatically built and installed on your Ubuntu systems.  No more DKMS-built modules!
$ locate zfs.ko
/lib/modules/4.4.0-4-generic/kernel/zfs/zfs/zfs.ko
  • You'll see the module loaded automatically if you use it.

$ lsmod | grep zfs
zfs 2801664 11
zunicode 331776 1 zfs
zcommon 57344 1 zfs
znvpair 90112 2 zfs,zcommon
spl 102400 3 zfs,zcommon,znvpair
zavl 16384 1 zfs

  • The user space zfsutils-linux package will be included in Ubuntu Main, with security updates provided by Canonical (as soon as this MIR is completed).
  • As always, industry leading, enterprise class technical support is available from Canonical with Ubuntu Advantage services.

How do I get started?

It's really quite simple!  Here's a few commands to get you up and running with ZFS and LXD in 60 seconds or less.

First, make sure you're running Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial).

$ head -n1 /etc/issue
Ubuntu Xenial Xerus (development branch) \n \l

Now, let's install lxd and zfsutils-linux, if you haven't already:

$ sudo apt install lxd zfsutils-linux

Next, let's use the interactive lxd init command to setup LXD and ZFS.  In the example below, I'm simply using a sparse, loopback file for the ZFS pool.  For best results (and what I use on my laptop and production servers), it's best to use a raw SSD partition or device.

$ sudo lxd init
Name of the storage backend to use (dir or zfs): zfs
Create a new ZFS pool (yes/no)? yes
Name of the new ZFS pool: lxd
Would you like to use an existing block device (yes/no)? no
Size in GB of the new loop device (1GB minimum): 2
Would you like LXD to be available over the network (yes/no)? no
LXD has been successfully configured.

We can check our ZFS pool now:

$ sudo zpool list
NAME SIZE ALLOC FREE EXPANDSZ FRAG CAP DEDUP HEALTH ALTROOT
lxd 1.98G 450K 1.98G - 0% 0% 1.00x ONLINE -

$ sudo zpool status
pool: lxd
state: ONLINE
scan: none requested
config:

NAME STATE READ WRITE CKSUM
lxd ONLINE 0 0 0
/var/lib/lxd/zfs.img ONLINE 0 0 0
errors: No known data errors

$ lxc config get storage.zfs_pool_name
storage.zfs_pool_name: lxd

Finally, let's import the Ubuntu LXD image, and launch a few containers.  Note how fast containers launch, which is enabled by the ZFS cloning and copy-on-write features:

$ newgrp lxd
$ lxd-images import ubuntu --alias ubuntu
Downloading the GPG key for http://cloud-images.ubuntu.com
Progress: 48 %
Validating the GPG signature of /tmp/tmpa71cw5wl/download.json.asc
Downloading the image.
Image manifest: http://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/server/releases/trusty/release-20160201/ubuntu-14.04-server-cloudimg-amd64.manifest
Image imported as: 54c8caac1f61901ed86c68f24af5f5d3672bdc62c71d04f06df3a59e95684473
Setup alias: ubuntu

$ for i in $(seq 1 5); do lxc launch ubuntu; done
...
$ lxc list
+-------------------------+---------+-------------------+------+-----------+-----------+
| NAME | STATE | IPV4 | IPV6 | EPHEMERAL | SNAPSHOTS |
+-------------------------+---------+-------------------+------+-----------+-----------+
| discordant-loria | RUNNING | 10.0.3.130 (eth0) | | NO | 0 |
+-------------------------+---------+-------------------+------+-----------+-----------+
| fictive-noble | RUNNING | 10.0.3.91 (eth0) | | NO | 0 |
+-------------------------+---------+-------------------+------+-----------+-----------+
| interprotoplasmic-essie | RUNNING | 10.0.3.242 (eth0) | | NO | 0 |
+-------------------------+---------+-------------------+------+-----------+-----------+
| nondamaging-cain | RUNNING | 10.0.3.9 (eth0) | | NO | 0 |
+-------------------------+---------+-------------------+------+-----------+-----------+
| untreasurable-efrain | RUNNING | 10.0.3.89 (eth0) | | NO | 0 |
+-------------------------+---------+-------------------+------+-----------+-----------+

Super easy, right?

Cheers,
:-Dustin

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