Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'desktop'

jon-melamut-canonical

Development on Ubuntu 12.10 is wrapping up, with another beta release due on September 27th. Blog posts and reviews of the user-facing features are already hitting the Internet, there has also been a lot of important work done lower in the stack as well. While that lower-level work doesn’t usually make the headlines, support for Secure Boot has (rightfully) been in the spotlight and therefore I felt it was important to give an update on how Ubuntu 12.10 will support Secure Boot. There has been a lot of collaborative discussion around technical and legal implications, between Canonical, OEMs, upstreams, and BIOS manufacturers, and I’m happy with the end result. I’m confident that end users, OEMs, and the free and open source community is getting the best, most secure, and safest solution with Ubuntu’s implementation of Secure Boot.

When we announced our plans to support Secure Boot in Ubuntu 12.10, we originally planned that we would use an EFILinux bootloader. We chose that option over the Grub 2 bootloader because Grub 2 has licensing provisions that, in our view at the time, could have forced disclosure of Canonical keys if an OEM partner had inadvertently shipped a computer which did not allow disabling of Secure Boot.

In subsequent discussion with the Free Software Foundation (FSF), who owns the copyright for Grub 2, the FSF has stated clearly that Grub 2 with Secure Boot does not pose a risk of key disclosure in such circumstances. We have also confirmed that view with our OEM partners, and have introduced variations to the Ubuntu Certification program and QA scripts for pre-installs to ensure that security and user choice are maintained on Ubuntu machines. Therefore, we have decided that Grub 2 is the best choice for a bootloader, and will use only Grub 2 in Ubuntu 12.10 and 12.04.2 by default.

I’d like to thank the many people at Canonical, our OEM partners, the open source community, the UEFI working group and the FSF who have been instrumental in resolving this issue. In particular, John Sullivan, Executive Director of the FSF, has been a source of clarity and commitment in navigating these unchartered waters. John says “We are pleased with Canonical’s decision to stick with Grub 2. We know that the challenges raised when trying to support true user security without harming user freedom — Secure Boot vs. Restricted Boot — are new for everyone distributing free software. This is the situation for which GPLv3 was written, and after helpful conversations with Canonical, we are confident the license does its job well, ensuring users can modify their systems without putting distributors in untenable positions.”

We’re in the homestretch to the Quetzal taking flight; you can always download the latest beta at http://releases.ubuntu.com/12.10. Let us know your feedback!

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David Pitkin


UPDATE: We’ve just added four more amazing titles to the Humble Indie Bundle 6! If you’ve already picked up a bundle, you’ll find BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Gratuitous Space Battles, Jamestown, and Wizorb available now if you beat the average. This brings the bundle to ten games strong!

Humble Indie Bundle 6 is upon us – and every single game makes its Ubuntu debut this time around. Humble Bundle veterans will know the drill by now, but if this is your first time, prepare to be amazed. For the next two weeks, you can pay what you want to for the following incredible new titles on Ubuntu:

- Torchlight, the critically acclaimed action-RPG

- Shatter, the physics-based brick breaker

- Space Pirates & Zombies, the top down space combat sim

- Rochard, the rugged sci-fi action platformer

- Vessel*, the steampunk puzzle platformer

It gets better. If your donation is higher than the average, you’ll be rewarded with a sixth game download: the frantic acrobatic platformer Dustforce! *Please note that the finishing touches for Vessel’s Ubuntu debut are still being completed and should be ready in 24-72 hours.

There’s something extra special about Rochard because it’s the first native game based on the Unity engine to make it into both the Humble Bundle and the Ubuntu Software Center. The team at Unity is dedicated to their mission to democratize gaming, while strengthening their cross-platform gaming platform with the ability to export to Ubuntu.

With the Unity 4.0 release later this year, we can expect a raft of new games on Ubuntu. So it gives us great pleasure to welcome all Unity developers to what is easily the most enthusiastic indie gaming community.

To make life easier for independent game developers, we’ve been working hard to streamline the process of bringing new games to Ubuntu. Canonical has been developing a new service as part of our developer program to automatically package your applications – and that includes Unity games. This means developers can focus on their software, while Canonical takes care of the packaging for Ubuntu.

To learn even more about the games, check out the Humble Bundle site, where you’ll also find information about soundtracks, redemption through both the Ubuntu Software Center and Steam and donations to this bundle’s chosen charities: Child’s Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

You have two weeks from now to get six brand new games for whatever price you think they’re worth. So lets make this bundle even bigger than the last one for Ubuntu – and the coming wave of gaming titles that continue to make Ubuntu great.

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John Pugh

We’ve already written about Unity Technologies, supporting publishing applications to Linux in the next release of their platform, Unity 4.0. Canonical attended Unity’s Unite developer conference in Amsterdam, held 21-24 August, to meet with the nearly 1,200 Unity employees and developers and see first hand what to expect in Unity 4.0.

In Amsterdam, the Unite keynote kicked things off with an overview of the past few years and the evolution of Unity. Famed game designer Peter Molyneux, took to the stage and wowed the crowd with his latest game, the soon-to-be-renamed, Curiosity. The afternoon was filled with sessions geared towards developers who use Unity to create amazing games for all sorts of platforms. Thursday had a great session about how to use networking in Unity to create multiplayer games and how the new features in Unity 4.0 can make games come alive.

We already knew that Unity 4.0 is going to be unbelievable! The games that were showcased and won the Unity Awards really raised the bar for Unity development. You can get the lowdown on what Unity 4.0 has to offer, how to upgrade and what you need to run it from the FAQ. The free version of Unity 4.0 will, when released in a few months, include the new Mecanim engine and everything you need to start making incredible games right away. If you need a bit more power, additional effects, more streaming options and other tools, you’ll want to take a look at the Unity Pro 4.0 version. Either way free or pro, the great news is that publishing to Ubuntu is included.

On Friday, David Pitkin and I presented to a eager crowd about how Ubuntu and Unity’s new publish-to-Linux feature would open up their applications to millions of users who have a keen interest in getting their game on and buying games on Ubuntu machines. During and after the sessions we were bombarded with questions about how to get started with Ubuntu and submission requirements for the Ubuntu Software Center. We can’t wait for so many awesome games to arrive on Ubuntu in the coming months.

We had a great time at Unite, met some wonderful developers, played some excellent games, and got the word out on Ubuntu Software Center and publishing games to millions of Ubuntu users.

Get more information about the Ubuntu Software Center and MyApps. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow @ubuntuappdev on Twitter.

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Rick Spencer

12.04.1

Since its April release, 12.04 LTS has had an enthusiastic reception in organisations that look to the LTS for large scale deployments that will remain in place for many years. For those of you waiting for the first point release, we are delighted to announce Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS. This update to the current long-term support release, available from 23rd August, is the result of four months’ worth of real-life enterprise usage. The resulting fixes and enhancements translate into a rock-solid, thoroughly tested upgrade path for any enterprise running Ubuntu 10.04, the last LTS release.

Users on 10.04 LTS will then receive their first system notifications encouraging them to upgrade to the new LTS release. Consequently, we expect an even bigger shift among enterprise users than we experienced when it was first made available, back in April. Enterprise users can now be completely confident that the upgrade will be fast and free from disruption.

In April, we announced an ARM version of Ubuntu Server. In the 12.04.1 release, we’ve added support for Calxeda SOCs, so businesses can prepare for a datacentre dominated by low-energy, hyperscale servers by testing their workloads on the new hardware now.

The Ubuntu Cloud Archive also makes its debut – essentially an online software repository from which administrators can download the latest versions of OpenStack for use with the latest long-term support (LTS) release of Ubuntu. It means Ubuntu Cloud users keep pace with OpenStack development, without having to migrate away from their chosen LTS release. Users will be able to download Folsom, the forthcoming release of OpenStack, and run it within their existing installation of Ubuntu.  For information on how to enable and use the Ubuntu Cloud Archive, please visit www.ubuntu.com/cloud/technical-resources.

On the desktop, a raft of bug fixes and security updates combine with five years of guaranteed updates and the option of commercial support to make this release an extremely attractive alternative to Windows. With native office apps and support for leading desktop virtualisation solutions, plus Unity, its modern, user-friendly GUI, Ubuntu enables desktop users to work more productively on the latest PCs, laptops and thin clients.

Ubuntu 12.04.1 is certified on 40 desktops, 98 laptops , 8 netbooks and 41 servers, including 12 of the latest HP Proliant Gen8 servers.

Canonical provides commercial support for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS in the form of Ubuntu Advantage, a subscription programme that gives enterprise customers the choice of two levels of support and access to the time-saving systems management tool, Landscape, which includes audit, compliance and ongoing management features for large Ubuntu deployments.

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David Pitkin

Humble Bundle

Starting today, the third Humble Bundle for Android is available, bringing with it three games new to Ubuntu: Spirits, Fieldrunners and BIT.TRIP BEAT. Once again, the Humble Bundle provides for super-easy downloading through the Ubuntu Software Center. The bundle deal is only available for two weeks on a name-your-price basis – just like the Humble Indie Bundle before it – so don’t miss this opportunity. What’s great about this Android bundle is that the games will work on your phone as well as Ubuntu, Mac, Windows and other GNU/Linux desktops and laptops.

All three new games are great fun and will be surefire hits in the Ubuntu Software Center. We know you will like the tower defense game Fieldrunners; Spirits is a solid puzzle game and the pong beats in BIT.TRIP BEAT simply rock. SpaceChem and Uplink are updated for the bundle, so if you were waiting to get either one, now’s your chance. There are DRM-free soundtracks in there, too.

The team behind BIT.TRIP BEAT couldn’t be more excited about the launch of another Ubuntu game. As they explained this week, “releasing our games on Ubuntu takes Gaijin Games one step closer to our ever-present goal of dominating constantly. As our Ubuntu fan base grows and we release more games for the OS, we look forward to dominating constantly TOGETHER.”

In other gaming news, Canonical is sponsoring the Unite Conference next week. If you’re attending – or you’re one of the fourteen thousand developers and users who voted for Ubuntu and Linux support – we listened. Unity developers, get your games ready and we will see you in Amsterdam.

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Steve George

These days, we spend more time online – working with docs, email, music and occasionally even accessing social media. But, our online and desktop experiences have been disjointed. We give applications the full run of our desktops, where they have their own icons and windows, but we trap the whole Internet inside one overworked application, the browser.

That’s why we’ve been working on a way to integrate the two worlds – something to make it just as easy to run a web application as a traditional app. And we’ve been working to give web applications access to the full range of desktop capabilities.

At OSCON today, Mark Shuttleworth revealed Ubuntu Web Apps, a new feature due to land in October’s Ubuntu 12.10 release. It will enable Ubuntu users to run online applications like Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, Ebay and GMail direct from the desktop. Making web applications behave like their desktop counterparts improves the user experience dramatically; it’s faster and it reduces the proliferation of browser tabs and windows that can quickly make a desktop unmanageable.

The apps can even take advantage of Ubuntu’s new HUD system, making it even easier to navigate. So Web properties leap to the forefront of modern UI design, making for amazingly productive, fast and fluid applications on the desktop.

That makes Ubuntu the best platform for the web – secure, fast and lightweight. This new feature is part of our drive to make the web a first class part of Ubuntu. We’ve already turned 40 popular web sites into Ubuntu Web Apps and there are plenty more on the way. It’s easy to integrate your favourite website or interface natively into the desktop, and share the result with all Ubuntu users. No other OS has come close to this level of integration between the web and desktop.

To see it in action check out this video:

 

 

Some examples of what users can do with Ubuntu WebApps:

  • Launch online music site Last.FM directly from the Dash and control the music from Ubuntu’s sound menu
  • Access and launch your social media accounts (Google+, Twitter, Facebook) from the Launcher, and get native desktop notifications
  • Quickly and seamlessly upload photos to Facebook from Shotwell
  • Pause and play the video you are watching on Youtube
  • See how many unread messages you have in your GMail account, in Ubuntu’s messaging indicator

Ubuntu Web Apps will be available as a preview for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS soon and will be available by default in Ubuntu 12.10. I think we’ve made something that’s about to radically change users’ expectations of the web!

 

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David Pitkin

Yesterday, the Valve Linux team publicly announced their ongoing work to bring Steam to Linux. A major part of that announcement is the choice of Ubuntu 12.04.

Valve has been a major force in gaming since 1996. Gabe Newell and the Valve team have created some of the best game series EVER. Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, and most recently Portal are extremely popular, and quite addicting.

The one thing missing early on was a good distribution mechanism. Valve learned early on that retail physical box distribution can only go so far and was expensive. The Steam client came out of hiding in 2003 and has been a driving force ever since. Many game platforms have tried to create what Steam provides from multiplayer communication and community features but none are as strong.

The linux gaming community has been very vocal in trying to get more support in the gaming community. With the growth in numbers of independent developers, the number of indie games supporting Linux growing exponentially, and quite popular game engines such as Unity3D supporting Ubuntu, Valve finally came to the conclusion that even their game engine Source has to come to Ubuntu.

The announcement states there is a 11 person team working on bringing the Steam client to Ubuntu and the first game will be Left 4 Dead 2. This is yet another huge development in the gaming space for Ubuntu users.

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jon-melamut-canonical

In October 2011, Canonical discussed our activities and recommendations related to Secure Boot, including recommendations for OEMs. Since that time, we have continued to consult industry partners, the technical community and users on the topic. Today’s post provides an update on how Ubuntu will implement Secure Boot for 12.10.

The Secure Boot portion of the UEFI spec defines how computers boot. In a nutshell, Secure Boot requires a digital key to boot a computer in order to reduce the possibility of an attack in which malware tries to control the boot process of your computer. Secure Boot will be widespread on new computers bought in the coming year.

As a Contributor Member of the UEFI Forum, Canonical engaged early in the UEFI specification process and invested significantly in ensuring that Secure Boot preserves the ability for enterprise and consumer users to choose their operating system, particularly on machines that come with Windows pre-installed at the factory. We authored and engaged with others to co-publish a whitepaper entitled “Secure Boot impact on Linux”, attended plugfests to advocate for software choice, and worked to ensure that the specification retained sufficient options to preserve the rights of users.

That work continues and we’re committed to ensuring that Ubuntu will work smoothly with Secure Boot enabled hardware. In addition to investigating Microsoft’s recommendation to participate in its WinQual program, Canonical has generated an Ubuntu key, and we are in active discussions with partners to implement simple ways for enterprises and consumers to use this key. These conversations have not concluded, and as a result we cannot detail the plans of our OEM partners yet.

For users who download Ubuntu directly we are working on a revised bootloader for 12.10 to ensure that Ubuntu continues to provide the “it just works” experience that our users expect. If you’re interested in understanding the technical details or would like to contribute to this area then please join the conversation on the development mailing list.

We’re committed to ensuring that Ubuntu provides a secure, world class user experience on all machines.

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John Pugh

Unity Technologies announced Monday that the next version of Unity will support publishing to Ubuntu. This is fantastic news because it will enable developers to deliver their new and existing games to Ubuntu users very easily.

The Unity 4 game engine delivers new features like the Mecanim animation technology and a boost in game fidelity to everyone from the independent developer to a major studio. For game developers the gaming engine provides the majority of the technologies required to deliver a game – including things like sound, graphics and physics. Game studios standardise on using an engine so they can spend their time on the aspects of their game that will be unique. For Ubuntu to be supported by game developers the gaming engines are a critical dependency – without them developers cannot port or target new games.

Unity Technologies made their name with independent developers who often target alternative platforms where they can stand out from the crowd of games created by the major studios. Unity Technologies is well known for their deep technology ability and for targeting alternative platforms such as Android. We have been in discussions with Unity Technologies since last summer as there is a lot of developer demand for a market ripe for awesome games. We are delighted to see Unity commit to publishing to Ubuntu – a significant commitment for a team handling so many platforms.

Following on from EA publishing games to the Software Center in May and the Humble Indie Bundle supporting Ubuntu in June – the past several months have been fantastic for gaming on Ubuntu, and Unity 4 support of Ubuntu promises to make next year even better.

If you would like to get involved developing or porting games to Ubuntu with Unity during the beta you can pre-order Unity 4 Pro. In the meantime there are lots of resources available on The Ubuntu Developer site. This month we are running the Ubuntu App Showdown contest with fantastic prizes for the best apps developed.

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Mark Murphy

Back in October 2011 we launched a joint initiative with Dell in China to sell machines pre-loaded with Ubuntu through their retail stores. The stores featured Ubuntu on a wide range of Dell computers, carried Ubuntu branded marketing collateral in-store, had trained staff positioning the benefits and advantages of Ubuntu to consumers and were supported by a retail team of Ubuntu merchandisers, set up to support those stores.

Ambitiously kicking off with a goal of 220 stores, the response has been phenomenal – and we’re delighted to confirm that we’ll be expanding the number of stores in China to 350 and beyond over the next few months. Also, look out for great new point-of-sale materials locally designed and produced by the Dell China team.

Behind the scenes we’re also working on a number of cool initiatives in China – improving ways of bringing Ubuntu to you.

Today, we announced that we are now extending this exciting programme into, and across India. To help support the growth and demand in India the program will start with a widescale roll out to 850 stores across India. As well as consumers and students, the stores will target and service the growing number of SMB and corporate customers using Ubuntu across India.

Over the next few months we will extend the retail programme further into new markets, with the goal of providing greater choice of devices pre-loaded with the latest versions of Ubuntu and vastly improved quality of advice from staff in resellers.

As always, we’re delighted to hear your feedback and suggestions.

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John Bernard

We’ve been extremely busy at Computex, with over 1,000 people visiting the Ubuntu booth, and over 25 media interviews about Ubuntu for Android, Ubuntu Cloud and Ubuntu TV.

One of the highlights so far was ARM’s Ian Ferguson, director of server systems and our very own Mark Shuttleworth presenting a keynote session at the Computex industry forum about cloud computing. As part of this, they unveiled MiTAC’s new ARM server, based on Ubuntu. This is only the third ARM server made in the world and it’s a significant step forward in a new era of hyperscale computing. Based on ARM processors, these servers have higher densities and lower power to enable more efficient cloud deployments and lower cost.

The MiTAC server can be seen on the Ubuntu stand at M0106, Nangang Exhibition Hall, alongside the latest developments in Desktop and Cloud until the end of the show on June 9th.

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John Bernard

Canonical will be exhibiting at Computex in Taipei, June 5th – 9th, Asia’s largest ICT trade show. We will be at the show alongside some our partners and biggest names in the industry. At the booth (at M0106 in the Nangang exhibition hall) we will be showcasing new products and services, including Ubuntu for Android, Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu Cloud.

Today, Ubuntu for Android will be demoed at a pre-show ARM media gathering and in addition, Mark Shuttleworth will be part of a keynote presentation on Tuesday at the TICC.

We look forward to seeing you at the booth. If you can’t be at Computex, we’ll be updating the blog with pictures and more as it unfolds.

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David Pitkin

Good news for Ubuntu gamers! We’re excited to be partnering with the Humble Indie Bundle for their newest collection of incredible games, which is available now. This means that following the purchase of the games from Humble Bundle, Ubuntu users will be able to install their games on Ubuntu more easily than ever, using the Ubuntu Software Centre.

The Ubuntu Software Centre provides the easiest and safest way to install software on Ubuntu – not just for the games in the Humble Indie Bundle but also for thousands of desktop applications.

Just like previous releases, the Humble Indie Bundle 5 lets customers name their own price, paying only what they think the software is worth. The proceeds are then split between the game developers, charities and the Humble Bundle organizers. For this bundle, the chosen charities are EFF and Child’s Play.

We’ve also committed to contribute $100 to this bundle for every Humble Indie Bundle 5 game page on the Ubuntu App Directory that receives 5,000 Facebook likes. So please help us spread the word and let’s get captivating puzzle-platformer LIMBO to 5,000 first.

Developers who would like to learn more about adding their games to the Ubuntu Software Centre can check out our developer site, follow UbuntuAppDev on Twitter and like our App Developer Facebook Page.

Pay what you want for a great bundle of games that couldn’t be easier to install.

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Jane Silber

The Ubuntu Developer Summit  last week was an incredible event. The energy, excitement and passion around Ubuntu was palpable in the sessions, hallways and the neighbouring streets and restaurants. (The riot police were there for the Occupy protest, not UDS!) Over 650 attendees came from all over the world, the local environs, and we even had a few Ubuntu fans who were simply staying in the same hotel who were thrilled to see the community behind their favourite technology product in action.

I’d like to thank once again the sponsors of the event: HP, Google, Intel, Linaro, Qt, Oracle and Rackspace. Their support is critical to health of Ubuntu and the Ubuntu community, and also demonstrates the importance of Ubuntu to their businesses.

An incredible amount of work gets done at each UDS. To see the breadth and depth of the topics addressed at this one, take a look at the schedule or the list of 272 blueprints registered for UDS. If you just want an overview of some of the outcomes of UDS, here is a video of the track leads summarising the highlights each track. And as usual we will publicly track the development progress throughout the cycle, allowing you to see how key features are progressing or to find areas in which you can contribute to the goals. You can see that Ubuntu 12.10 is starting to take shape already!

Several times throughout the event I was asked what stood out about this UDS. The most striking thing for me in this UDS is the involvement of companies who are building their business and products around Ubuntu. Ubuntu and UDS have long had strong industry support, with OEMs and corporate customers hosting, sponsoring and speaking at previous UDS’s. But in addition to the sponsors mentioned above, at the UDS we saw:

- the worldwide debut of a Calxeda cluster using their EnergyCore ARM-based server chip. Later in the week Calxeda also demonstrated a scaling website deployment on this hardware using Juju and OpenStack
- the first  Ubuntu Cloud Day, with an impressive line up of speakers from HP, Cloudscaling, Rackspace, VMWare, Scality, 10gen, EngineYard, Iron IO, Scalr, enStratus, RedMonk and Canonical. Presentations and discussions focused on the importance of the open cloud and lessons from real cloud deployments, and it was clear how central Ubuntu is to majority of real world cloud use.
- an insightful talk from Thomas Bushnell from Google about their Ubuntu use

This has also inspired a number of other companies to blog about their use – e.g., iAcquire recently blogged about their use of Ubuntu and associated cost-savings. If you have a similar post, leave a link in the comments.

I am also often asked about the history of UDS, how many we’ve had, where they were, etc. So for the history buffs, here’s a list of the events that have now become the Ubuntu Developer Summit (it took a couple years to settle into the current name and rhythm). I feel privileged to have been at all of them, and to have seen how they have matured into a best practice which projects from OpenStack to Linaro now adopt and help improve. I also have treasured memories from each – what do you remember most about each of them?

  • Aug 2004 Oxford, England – aka Warthogs Conference. Working on 4.10 (Warty)
  • Dec 2004 Mataro, Spain – aka The Mataro Sessions. Working on 5.04 (Hoary)
  • Apr 2005 Sydney, Australia – aka Ubuntu Down Under. Planning for 5.10 (Breezy), co-located with an Ubuntu Love Day.
  • Oct 2005 Montreal, Canada – aka Ubuntu Below Zero. Planning for 6.06 LTS (Dapper), co-located with an Ubuntu Love Day.
  • June 2006 Paris, France – first event called Ubuntu Developer Summit. Planning for 6.10 (Edgy)
  • Nov 2006 Mountain View, California. Planning for 7.04 (Feisty)
  • May 2007 Sevilla, Spain. Planning for 7.10 (Gutsy)
  • Nov 2007 Cambridge, Massachusetts. Planning for 8.04 LTS (Hardy)
  • May 2008 Prague, Czech Republic. Planning for 8.10 (Intrepid)
  • Oct 2008 Mountain View, California. Planning for 9.04 (Jaunty), co-located with a FOSSCamp
  • May 2009 Barcelona, Spain. Planning for 9.10 (Karmic)
  • Nov 2009 Dallas, Texas. Planning for 10.04 LTS (Lucid)
  • May 2010 La Hulpe, Belgium. Planning for 10.10 (Maverick)
  • Oct 2010 Orlando, Florida. Planning for 11.04 (Natty). Co-located with LinaroConnect.
  • May 2011 Budapest, Hungary. Planning for 11.10 (Oneiric). Co-located with LinaroConnect.
  • Nov 2011 Orlando, Florida. Planning for 12.04 LTS (Precise). Co-located with LinaroConnect.
  • May 2012 Oakland, California. Planning for 12.10 (Quantal). Co-located with the Ubuntu Cloud Summit
  • And coming up on 29 Oct – 2 Nov 2012 …  mark your calendar now and stay tuned for details about location, sponsorship and participation!

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Gary Ekker

Today, we released the latest version of the Ubuntu Business Desktop Remix, based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Most businesses deploying Ubuntu on corporate desktops perform a similar set of tasks – from removing consumer-focused applications and integrating with existing infrastructure, to installing commercial software for application virtualisation.

Designed for corporate and government organisations evaluating Ubuntu for their desktop infrastructure, the Business Desktop Remix is a simple base image that can be deployed into your corporate environment or used as a starting point for further customisation.

To save time in deployment, we’ve removed games, social networking programs, file sharing apps and technical tools. In their place, you’ll find software more appropriate for a corporate environment, including VMware View, the Adobe Flash Plugin and the OpenJDK 6 Java runtime environment. Ubuntu Business Desktop Remix provides full language support in both 32 and 64-bit builds, just like the standard Ubuntu. Users also benefit from the great new productivity features introduced in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, including built-in support for Microsoft Windows RDP 7.1 and the Microsoft Visio diagram importer in LibreOffice Draw.

Register now to download Ubuntu Business Desktop Remix – and start evaluating what Canonical can do for you today.

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Jane Silber

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS will be released to the world this Thursday and it’s going to be fantastic. We’ve known for quite a while that Ubuntu is not only beautiful, but also usable and robust for individuals and a great platform for app developers. Those traditions continue in 12.04, with the added bonus of long term support (LTS) promise. This release will be our fourth LTS release, a significant milestone by itself, but it will also be the first in which we offer special consideration of hardware refresh cycles on the desktop and fast-moving technology developments in the cloud.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS  is the ideal platform for organisations looking for more cost-effective alternatives to traditional desktop computing. As enterprise moves to cloud-based apps and lighter, more mobile clients, the argument for moving beyond a Windows-only environment has never been stronger. Ubuntu delivers an intuitive, responsive and above all, productive desktop experience at a fraction of the cost of its competitors.

Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS combines the world’s best open source server and cloud technologies with five years of hardware, security and maintenance updates, and of course the option of enterprise-grade commercial support. This combination of proven technologies, time-saving deployment tools and long-term support makes it a cost-effective platform for any workload from print and web serving to big data applications and the cloud.

With support guaranteed for five years, certification on a wide range of hardware and the option of enterprise-grade commercial services, Ubuntu is a proven, cost-effective enterprise platform that can be relied on for the long term for their desktop, server, and cloud needs.

On Thursday we expect to see the reliability, collaboration, freedom and yes, precision, that Ubuntu embodies delivered again, on time, and in style. I can’t wait.

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Gerry Carr

I wanted to know what the reasons were for people choosing Ubuntu. After all there are other better-known choices out there. For the respondents across all three surveys, open source stood out as the key attribute, true whatever the age of the respondents and whenever they adopted Ubuntu. Curiosity was almost equally as important, and clearly the more people we can make curious about our platform the better.

English Language Survey - reasons to choose

Spanish Survey - reasons to choose

 

Portuguese Survey - reasons to choose

 

For what to users use Ubuntu?

There has always been a strong presumption that Ubuntu or Linux in general would be used as a secondary PC, to perform a certain task and largely for less ‘important’ tasks such as web-browing or watching DVDs. So we were interested to find out the degree to which this is true. While there is some regional variation I will just include the English survey in this blog. We clearly see that Ubuntu is strongly figures as the main PC for users with plenty of usage in other categories (users were allowed tick more than one response in the recognition that they likely have more than one computer).

 

As to what it is used for, well as you might expect given the results above it is used for  a mixture of work and leisure. In other words, it is what I use it for what I use a PC for.

Finally, we wanted to check how Ubuntu was shared – whether it was the family PC, whether people used it on their own, or whether it was something they used at work, in the library, in the college lab. Primarily it is a person’s own PC. The exception is the 35-46 where it is likely to be the family PC and shared with the spouse and children.  Overwhelmingly though we are seeing those who choose Ubuntu  being committed to it as the central computing platform they use, something which should inspire and motivate the community and the broader ecosystem around it.

 

How do Ubuntu users like Ubuntu?

We gauged this in three ways. How satisfied they were now, how likely they would recommend Ubuntu and how likely they were to stick with the product. It was nice actually to be able to take a rational view on general satisfaction that seeks to reflect a broader experience beyond the current maelstrom around Unity. The results were strikingly positive in the English survey and stronger in the Spanish and Portuguese surveys. Good and Very Good in the English language survey was at 80% with less than 3% in true negative territory. By any industry measure this is a strong showing. In the other surveys the positives crept over 80% with stronger reports of very good.

As to recommendations, again there was a strongly positive result. Again over 80% either very likely or likely to recommend Ubuntu to others (84 % and 86 % in Portugal and Spain respectively). Wow!

 

And finally I wanted to ascertain ‘loyalty’ to Ubuntu or the likelihood of the user remaining with the product in the longer term. A very positive response to that question and again true in the other markets (83 and 85 %)

One of the really valuable things about doing surveys like this is the insight that it gives into the broader user market. I have already addressed that that we would struggle to get to users who are not self-identifying as Ubuntu users because of the methods we used to reach out. But even with that self-identifying group it is wonderful to hear reflected back that people enjoy the experience of the product, would recommend and are likely to stay with it. The shrillest and most persistent voices are not always the most reflective of the general. Not that this provides an option to rest on any laurels, but it does give some balance to the discussions about the current satisfaction levels in the Ubuntu user base and their likelihood to defect.

 

Conclusion and the links

So thanks again to all those that participated and to all those who have struggled through these blog posts. I hope you found it partially as useful as I have. As promised I am providing full access to the summary results. You can follow the links

English

http://tinyurl.com/c9nmseu

Portuguese

http://tinyurl.com/bnxcae4

Spanish

http://tinyurl.com/bw9xrtu

 

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Gerry Carr

So as promised let’s take a look a the next set of results from the Ubuntu Survey.  I am going to bundle together the broader world of Ubuntu looking at other OSes people use, Ubuntu One usage, whether people are interested in the new products announced and likelihood to purchase Ubuntu pre-installed. As usual where I see significant demographic or geographic differences I will highlight them. Where I don’t I will use the global survey as the data source.  Read the first blog post if you are not clear on what I mean.

Ubuntu One Usage

Simply I wanted to ask what percentage of people used Ubuntu One. The figures are completely consistent across the various regions as you can see in the table.

Ubuntu One? English Spanish Portuguese
Yes 42.3% 42.5% 40%
No 57.3% 57.5% 60%

 

Across ages* there is a skew towards younger people being more likely to use it but not a significant one. We see the same in other geos.

Ubuntu Users by age in the English Language Survey

 

So while Ubuntu One is a freemium service integrated into the product and provides a lot of services for free, I was still pretty impressed by the level of usage in the surveys given the number of perceived and actual competitor for a great many of Ubuntu One’s services.

Interest in Ubuntu’s announced new products

In the last few months Canonical has announced its intention to find partners to release a number of new form factors for Ubuntu with details released on two (Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu for Android) and less detail on the the Ubuntu for tablets and for phones. None are in market so we are asking about intention here with the understanding that they have not yet seen a product on which to form a definitive judgement.

Ubuntu English language respondents intention to use new Ubuntu products

 

There is no significant variance in age or geo. We are seeing strong interest in products especially as these products will by and large need to be purchased – that is I need to buy a TV,  phone or tablet in order to experience Ubuntu on it. Again, we are polling intention and clearly a large amount of weight on the final decision to buy will depend on the quality and cost of the hardware, the software and the data. But let’s couple this with willingness to purchase Ubuntu on any device.

Willingness to purchase Ubuntu on a new device

 

Without specifying the device therefore including PCs, netbooks etc we see the willingness to buy, by region, by age in ascending willingness over the next 3 images

So for once we are seeing significant variance internationally. There is a much higher predisposition to purchase in the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking nations. It is hard to speculate as to the reason for this based on the data we have, but if we take it as a fact it gives even more often incentive to our partners looking to supply those regions. In fact there seems to very much be a global demand that is  currently unmet. Quality machines featuring Ubuntu appear to have a ready market.

A broad church – other technologies our users use.

Finally for this post – just to show we are not monotheistic in our technology but recognise other gods beyond Ubuntu, who thought it would be useful to get a picture of other operating systems that people use. Some OSes are specific to certain types of devices so we see a picture of Ubuntu users preferred mobile devices also.

 

Windows clearly is still in wide usage amongst our user base – whether at work, school or home would need further investigation. This might be somewhat surprising to those who think of Linux communities as ‘fringe’ or ‘zealots’. Clearly there is a lot of living in the real world and whether by choice or not there is a considerable use of other operating systems by the Ubuntu user base.

Android is racing into second place overall and a clear favourite for mobile devices amongst our users. Mac usage is strong but is one OS that drops significantly from English to Spanish to Portuguese users and is probably less prevalent overall than it is in the general population but it is hard to get reliable numbers on that to compare.

Stronger though is other Linux and other Ubuntu. Where Linux Mint is placed between those two categories is unclear – perhaps we will call it out specifically next time. Symbian/Nokia has a surprisingly low reported usage. Probably somewhat ahead of world trends. However it all reinforces the moves that Ubuntu has made through Ubuntu One, Ubuntu for Android, and other initiatives that to succeed in the broader marketplace, the more solutions that embrace other platforms and work well with them the better it serves the Ubuntu user base also.

Conclusion

So the survey is telling us  that there is a strong propensity in the user base to buy an Ubuntu machine and perhaps not a single machine but multiple devices featuring Ubuntu. This propensity only seems to get stronger in Latin America and Iberia. Given the heterogeneity of OS usage it is also important to make sure that we continue to develop a platform that plays nice with others which seems to be correctly prioritised on the product roadmaps.

I should say that it is taking me slight longer to extract these data sets and write the blog posts than I expect so we will have to push the remaining one until tomorrow. Thank you also for the comments so and I will continue to respond to them as I can. Final installment tomorrow

*you might note that the age data tables do not include the over 55′s. This is because a limitation of the Cross tab tool I user only allows me to select 5 categories to cross tab by. As 55 and over had the smallest response rate I decided to sacrifice it. Full results avaialble tomorrow.

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Gerry Carr

Yesterday we looked at the demographics of the respondents to the survey and some observations about the validity of the date. I recommend you read that post first. Today though we are going to dive a little more into how people first discovered Ubuntu and installed it.

How long have you used Ubuntu?
I wanted to establish if there were changing patterns depending on the length of time and/or the age of the respondent. That is, do relative newcomers to the platform or younger users use different tools to acquire the platform.

First of all the length of time that people have used the platform was remarkably consistent across the surveys. Given this level of consistency and for simplicity I will focus on the English language version.

 

Table: Length of time for which people have used Ubuntu

<2 year 2 to 5 years 5 years or more
English Survey 19.6% 42.7% 37.7%
Spanish 20% 43% 36.9%
Portuguese 21.1% 43.2% 35.6%

 

How did people first hear about Ubuntu?
So do people who have come to the platform more recently discover it in different ways to to the those who have been on the platform longer?  Well let’s see:

 

 

Table: How did new versus more more experienced Ubuntu users first hear of Ubuntu

< 2years 2-4 years 5 years or more
Magazines, etc 6.9% 7.9% 9.4%
Work 3.9% 4.8% 4.9%
Friends/Family 27.2% 25.2% 20.5%
School/College 11.7% 11.2% 8.9%
Forums, irc etc 46.2% 48.5% 54.8%
Social Media 4.2% 2.4% 1.5%

 

 

So the shifts are not seismic but we are looking at shifts information sources over a fairly short time period (approx 5-7 years) so I think we are justified in picking out patterns. The traditional tech forums of irc, chat rooms etc are becoming less influential as a first contact for Ubuntu. Social media as you might expect is increasing  as its reach becomes more pervasive. We might also conclude with qualifications, that this indicates a slight shift in the type of user coming in to  one that is less likely to hang out in a tech forum. But these shifts are slight and will be interesting to track over time. If we run it for age of user – do we discover anything there?

 

 

Table: How did different age groups first hear of Ubuntu?

<18 19-24 25-35 36-45 46-54 55+
Magazines etc 8.1% 6.0% 6.9% 10.2% 14.8% 18.7%
Work 0.8% 1.4% 5.5% 8.6% 9.1% 6.9%
Friends/Family 31.9% 28.1% 23.2% 18.1% 13.2% 18.6%
School College 7.2% 18.1% 11.4% 2.6% 1.8% 1.2%
Forums 47.6 44.2% 51% 57.7% 58.9% 53.2%
Social Media 4.4% 2.1% 2.0% 2.8% 2.2% 1.4%

 

 

We certainly see the trends repeated with regard to the remaining great importance of the tech forums but that the diminish at the younger and older end of the spectrum. Social media is still small but much more important for the under 18s – again in line with broader terms. The significant importance of school and college for 18-24 years olds versus the under 18s shows that Ubuntu has so far been more successful at permeating tertiary education than it has at high schools especially in developed markets. India for instance has 16% of under 18 respondents discovering Ubuntu at school showing its greater penetration in high schools there.

How did you acquire the version of Ubuntu that you have?

The result here is consistent across the survey and across age groups so there is no value in breaking this out. It does however put a number on a question that we have wondered for some time – how many users do a fresh install of Ubuntu versus upgrades in place. And now we know that is roughly 2:1 that do a fresh install. The low number of pre-loads is certainly a concern – reflecting the continuing lack of availability in the market. We also probably under-counted this as we asked about the version users are currently running versus how they originally acquired a version. Still the good news from the sales team in Canonical is that 2012 should see a turnaround in this availability issue at least in many markets so again, a figure that is worth tracking over time.

How easy/difficult was the installation process? 

Something our platform engineering team and the web team have always put considerable focus on is the ability to install Ubuntu easily. After all, the work in making a great product is wasted is people cannot install it. The good news is that the people have in general expressed a strong degree of satisfaction with the install process.Again there was no significant difference in either the Portuguese or Spanish response so for those languages at least there appears to be no  translation hurdle.

More to come

On Monday if I can get it all in one blog post I am going to look at the reasons for choosing Ubuntu and we will look at regional and age differences in response to that question. Also interesting in other and upcoming Ubuntu products such as Ubuntu One and the more recent announcements like Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu for Android. And we will look at the all important satisfaction questions, just how happy are existing users with Ubuntu.

Gracias, obrigado and thanks for reading

Gerry

 

 

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Gerry Carr

Ok, we got a lot of response to the user survey poll, so thank you to everybody that took part. I will publish access to all the results through the fantastic Survermonkey site on Monday, but to make it easier to digest, I’ll split the results out over three blog posts. Before I delve into the results we should discuss a little bit of the methodology in order to pre-empt some questions and also to help better understand the data.

Languages.
I decided to run the poll in three languages – Spanish, Portuguese and English. There were a number of reasons for these choices. Firstly to do it in English only would obviously bias the poll to Anglophone responses so the US and UK would stand proxy for the whole world and that would be clearly unsatisfactory. Secondly those language groups (S,P,E let’s call them) tend to be disproportionately monolinguistic for those that have them as a mother tongue so seemed the most relevant to having a poll in their language. Thirdly, Latin America is a very hot location for open source and I wanted to capture usage in those nations as best as possible. Finally, we had to draw the line somewhere. If you add French then why not German, or Chinese, Japanese, or Hindi etc. Anyone interested in translating the poll into their language and promoting it to their language group need only contact me and I am more than happy to accommodate – the story need not end here.

Methodology
I deliberately set out to contact existing users through existing channels for purposes of cost, speed and also because I think we can learn a lot from people who are at least minimally involved in the world of Ubuntu. So we reached out through Facebook, the forums, Planet, our Twitter feeds, UWN and OMGUbuntu. Thank you to all who helped make that happen. The result is that the response is broad but self-selecting. We are undoubtedly missing people who simply use Ubuntu as a ‘tool’ and have no engagement with the user of contributor community. But that’s cool. Even with a self-selected audience we have built up a pretty comprehensive picture.

Let’s see what we discovered
Firstly the number of responses. These numbers in each language groups give us terrific statistical confidence in the results, something we will see borne out by ‘normal’ distribution of responses to each question each survey – i.e. there are no huge or inexplicable variances in response which would lead me to question the validity.

Total responses to each survey:
English (15,653)
Spanish (1,825)
Portuguese (1,751)

How old are you?
If you are the mythical ‘average’ user you are between 25-35. That does not vary if you are Spanish or Portuguese speaking although you are less likely to be under 18 in those language blocks. In fact almost 70% of you are under 35 in each language group. And you are male. Overwhelmingly male. The average number of women responding is <4%. Here I do wonder how much the bias of the sampling methodology has affected the response rate  - i.e. is that for whatever reason the way we reached resulted in fewer women responding than is actually reflective of the user base. We can’t extrapolate from this data, but certainly such a hugely weighted response means we have to look at how we make the product, the community and probably both, more appealing to both genders.

Where do you live?

No great surprise that in the English language survey the US and UK were strongly represented. India appeared strongly too showing the growing user base in that country and we then once past the other anglophone nations of Canada and Australia we get quickly into the long tail of other nations responding. Northern Asia hardly appears at all which is not surprising but perhaps calls out for a survey in Chinese, Japanese and Korean to discover user preferences there.

The Portuguese Survey was 93% Brazilian and only 7% from Portugal. Spanish language is more interesting as I think we get a good picture of relative usage in various countries of that language block for the first time. And here it is.

Interesting to note (and again SURVEY BIAS ALERT) by population size for the top 5 it should read in order of population size (source http://www.spanishseo.org/resources/worldwide-spanish-speaking-population):

 

Mexico (23%)
Colombia (9.9%)
USA (9.80 %)
Argentina (8.99%)
Spain (8.95 %)

Allowing for relative IT infrastructure and broadband availability etc, the placement differences compared to population size are probably understandable with perhaps the exception of the US responding so low compared to its Spanish-speaking population. Use of Ubuntu is not so widespread that it should map 1 to1 with population spreads but again, like the gender bias these do perhaps offer insight into areas where, with some focus, we can help push Ubuntu into new ground.

 

More tomorrow

So that’s your taster for today. Tomorrow i will delve into the meat of the survey and look at the triggers for usage, satisfaction level, social media preferences of Ubuntu users across (as least part of) the world. And full results for everyone on Monday, I promise.

PS – a very special word of thanks to Tiago, David and Ayrton for the translation  and promotion help – gracias y obrigado!

Regards and thoughts welcome,

Gerry

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