Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'motu'

Daniel Holbach

Teaching Ubuntu App Development

Tablet and phone, running Ubuntu

At the vUDS in November we talked about having events where local communities could learn more about app development for Ubuntu for the first time. Since then we have come a long way:

  • We have some really nice materials set up.
  • The first events were held in a number of places around the world.
  • We got feedback and improved our docs.
  • Before the Ubuntu Global Jam and the release parties for 14.04 LTS we will have two Q&A sessions where you can ask all organisational and technical questions you might have.

You don’t have to do everything yourself!

When we started the initiative, we first talked to members of the Ubuntu community who knew a bit of app development already. Many of them liked the idea, but didn’t quite know how to set up an event or how to organise everything. We tried to address this by bringing them in touch with some of the LoCo teams which helped in a bunch of cases where events have already happened or are going to happen quite soon. We want more of this to happen.

It’s only understandable that you can’t do everything yourself, or that one person’s skills lie in a more organisational field and somebody else has some more experience with app development. Bringing the two together, we are going to have more interesting events, more people introduced to writing apps for Ubuntu, which will be great for everyone involved.

Getting started

Sounds good so far? Here’s what you can do to get more folks exposed to how sweet and easy it is to write apps for Ubuntu.

As somebody who can organise events, but might need to find a speaker: Ask in #ubuntu-app-devel on Freenode or on the ubuntu-app-devel@ mailing list, to see if anyone is in your area to give a talk. Ask on your LoCo’s or LUG’s mailing list as well. Even if somebody who’s into programming hasn’t developed using Ubuntu’s SDK yet, they should be able to familiarise themselves with the technologies quite easily.

As somebody who has written code before and didn’t find the Ubuntu app development materials too challenging, but might need to find some help with organising the event: Ask on the loco-contacts@ mailing list. There are LoCos all around the world and most of them will be happy to see somebody give a talk at an event.

Whichever camp you’re in:

Let’s make this happen together. Writing apps for Ubuntu and publishing them has never been easier, and they’ll make Ubuntu on phones/tablets much more interesting, and will run on the desktop as well.

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Daniel Holbach

packaging.ubuntu.com

I’m please to announce the following changes have landed in the Ubuntu Packaging Guide:

  • The Packaging Guide is now fully translated into French! Bravo, équipe français! Thanks a lot everyone who helped out here!
  • We moved from developer.ubuntu.com/packaging to our new home http://packaging.ubuntu.com – don’t despair, redirects are in place!This was done, because developer.ubuntu.com more and more moved into the direction of delivering tutorials for people who want to create content (apps, scopes, charms, etc.) on top of Ubuntu.
    This also gives us the benefit that we don’t have to integrate the guide into a wordpress installation somehow, but maintain it all on our own.
    Thanks a lot Tom Haddon for helping set this up and Andrew Starr-Bochicchio for beautifying the landing page. Great work everyone!
  • We are finally going to get rid of the old wiki guide. Andrew had announce the move many months ago and we should now be safe to remove the content.

Our journey is far from over. If you want to help out, please do!

  • We have bugs filed against the packaging guide and need help. Some are tagged as ‘bitesize‘ already.
  • Please also help translating the guide. Many teams have already put some work into this. You can help out by either translating or reviewing translated strings.

Keep up the good work everyone. This is great! :-)

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Daniel Holbach

The German translations team have done it! They brought the German translation of the Ubuntu Packaging Guide above 70%, which is the magic threshold for us to enable the translation in the package. Since earlier today you will find this in the Packaging Guide Daily Build PPA (soon going to land in Debian and then in Ubuntu too):

daniel@daydream:~$ apt-cache search german packaging guide ubuntu
ubuntu-packaging-guide-html-de - Ubuntu Packaging Guide - HTML guide - German version
ubuntu-packaging-guide-pdf-de - Ubuntu Packaging Guide - PDF guide - German version
ubuntu-packaging-guide-epub-de - Ubuntu Packaging Guide - EPUB guide - German version
daniel@daydream:~$

You can also check out the HTML version, single page HTML, PDF version and EPUB version on the web.

This is great news for everyone who wants to get started with Ubuntu development as it will make the first steps easier. Let’s get the translations up to 100% now! :)

Current translations stats are looking like this now:

  • Spanish (96%).
  • Brazilian Portuguese, Russian (83%).
  • German (72%).
  • Traditional Chinese (28%).
  • Japanese (14%).
  • French (10%).
  • Dutch, Indonesian (5%).
  • Chinese Hong Kong (1%).
  • Italian, Greek, Telugu, Australian English, Vietnamese, Kannada, Macedonian, Swedish, Turkish, Simplified Chinese. Latvian, Slovenian, Croatian, Hungarian, Catalan (0%).

Please help out making the guide available in your language as well. Start here.

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Matt Fischer

Being a MOTU

Back in October, I wrote a post about my process of becoming a MOTU. I’ve been pretty busy since October. First of all, I had this 9 month build finally finish:

Successfully signed dsc and changes files

Successfully signed dsc and changes files

Once things sort of settled down from that, I jumped back in to updating and syncing packages. This time I was mainly focusing on desktop packages, because that’s the group my mentor worked on. However, I wanted to get some different experiences, so I also worked on some new debian packages (one of which landed).

So after all this, I talked to a few people and it was suggested that I apply for MOTU. So I cleaned up my wikipage and applied for it. The DMB had a lot of questions in the meeting, but I guess I was persuasive enough because I was approved on June 6!

So what’s next? Personally, I want to keep doing updates, complete a SRU, land my other debian package, sponsor some packages, and help other people achieve their goal of being a MOTU also.

I feel that mentoring is probably one of the most important parts of being a MOTU, so even though I’m new, I’d love to help where I can. I can help by answering questions or helping with ideas of things to work on. Finding the work can sometimes be the hardest part, and the only path forward to becoming a MOTU is doing updates and syncs, so it’s critical to keep up the momentum. So if you’re working on this goal, find me on #ubuntu-motu as mfisch and we can chat.

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Daniel Holbach

Parabéns e muito obrigado!

I’m particularly happy to announce that the Brazilian team managed to get their translation of the Ubuntu Packaging Guide up to more than 70% of completion, which is the magic threshold to get it accepted and posted on developer.ubuntu.com. This means that our current list of available languages is:

  • English
  • Spanish (99%)
  • Russian (85%)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (74%)

You can view the individual forms of the Packaging Guide in Brazilian Portuguese here:

Right at the start I said that I was “particularly happy” about this translation. That’s because I recently picked up a little bit of Portuguese. Mostly useful sentences like “Meu irmão gosta de cerveja” or “O leão escreve cartas”. Thanks Duolingo!

A big big big “obrigado” to the tireless Brazilian Portuguese translators. You all are heroes! This is great news for everyone who wants to get involved in Ubuntu development, as it smoothes the first steps considerably.

You can help out with translations. Just head to the Packaging Guide’s translation page in Launchpad, pick your language and get started. Current runners-up to the translations mentioned earlier are:

  • German (32%)
  • Japanese (15%)
  • French (7%)
  • Indonesian (5%)
  • Dutch (4%)

The available translations are not entirely complete yet either, so please do get involved.

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Matt Fischer

EDIT: As several people have pointed out, there is a script to already to this, pull-lp-source. Perfect! I’ve asked numerous people over the last year about whether there was a tool that could do this and nobody mentioned this one (even asked on AskUbuntu last week). So out of all this I end up with a link to a great new tool and got to write some python yesterday. pull-lp-source looks like it will meet all my needs.

During my work on bug triage and trying to become MOTU, I’ve found myself wanting to be able to pull source packages for a specified release, for example, download source for lxc on precise, even if I’m using raring. Although you can do this if you setup apt with all the releases and then use pinning, or doing a setup like this, I wanted an easier way. So I decided to glue together rmadison and dpkg-source and create a tool called “get_source”. This is how it works.

get_source.py -r <release> -p <package>

Pulling the source for bc on oneiric:

get_source.py -r oneiric -p bc

Grabbing lxc on precise:

get_source.py -r precise -p lxc

Seems pretty simple and it is!

The tool relies on outside helpers to do the hard work, namely rmadison and dpkg-source, so you’ll need those installed to use it. Please give it a try and send in feedback and fixes. If you’re a developer you’ll note that I even have unit-ish tests, please add more if you make some fixes for corner-cases.

bzr branch lp:~mfisch/+junk/get_source

How It Works

  1. Run rmadison and build a list of packages + versions per release
  2. Find the release we care about. We now know the package name, version, and release name.
  3. Using some hueristics, download the dsc file.
  4. Read and parse the dsc file to find the filenames for the orig file and diff and/or debdiff
  5. Download the orig and diff/debdiff files
  6. Use dpkg-source -x to extract it

Alternatives and Issues

When I started this, I figured it would be simple, but I was mistaken. There is lots of variation on filenames and locations in the archives, for example:

  1. I had originally planned to just go grab http://url/pool/main/<package first letter>/package/package_version.<extension>, but it’s not quite that simple. First, not all packages use standard names, some have a diff.gz, some a debian.tar.gz. Then some packages use xz and some use gz.  Native packages won’t have a diff at all (I think), and right now I know my code won’t support that.
  2. There’s also the question of package directory. alsa-base for example comes from the directory “alsa-driver”. I plan on grabbing this information from apt-cache show, but even that will not solve the issue if I’m on raring and the package was elsewhere in precise. This is also not yet supported in this version.
  3. Packages like angband have a version of 1:3.0.9-1, and the “1:” portion is not included in the filename. The code now supports this.

I found these cases by making this app work for a package and then randomly trying more and more packages to find and hopefully fix new cases. The worry I have is that there are hundreds more corner-cases that I don’t handle. Given all these issues, I’m still releasing this code for other people to test, but perhaps someone has simpler solutions to the problems above? Even better, maybe someone has already written a better tool, which I’ll gladly use!

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Daniel Holbach

We have achieved a huge milestone in the development community. For years we wanted translatable packaging and development documentation. It’s there. If you head to http://developer.ubuntu.com/packaging/ you can see the following:


The Ubuntu Packaging Guide (Spanish) – would you like to learn how to package or become an Ubuntu Developer? Here’s a comprehensive, topic-base guide that explores and describes the main concepts of packaging. It is available as


This is absolutely awesome. From now on we will be able to add languages and have up-to-date Packaging and Development docs available whenever they are complete enough.

This work was brought to you by many people who worked very hard to get all the bits right, both on the packaging, integration, beautification and translations sides. You all know who you are. Be proud of your work. This will ease the steps of many people into helping out with Ubuntu!

As always this is ongoing work and the great thing is, you can help out:

This makes me a very happy man and it’s great we finally got there. Now let’s get all the other translations up to scratch! :-D

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Daniel Holbach

Packaging Guide: Hablamos español.

One group in Ubuntu which never gets the credit they deserve are the translators. These fine people spend hours smoothing the road for Ubuntu into all the parts of the world. One project where this recently became clear to me again was the Packaging Guide.

Weighing in at 759 strings or 196K of text, and at times very technical text, it’s probably not the easiest document to translate. Still we have a very nice success story to share.

The Spanish team got their translations up to 95% completion. Incredible work! Muchas gracias! The other teams were busy as well, so we have:  Brazilian Portuguese (22%), Japanese (17%), Russian (9%), German (9%), Dutch (3%), along with other teams which are just getting started: Vietnamese, Macedonian, Swedish, Turkish, Indonesian, French, Latvian, Chinese (Traditional), Slovenian, Hungarian and Catalan.

This means that Spanish is the first language which made it past out magic threshold and will soon ship separate packages for the guide in Spanish. Fantástico!

I said “soon” because we are still working out a couple of kinks to do this in the easiest fashion. Thanks to help of many we figured out the following problems:

But we are still struggling with the following ones:

So if you are knowledgeable in this area, please consider helping out.

Thanks everyone for your stellar work on this. You make the lives of new contributors a lot lot easier!

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Matt Fischer

Becoming a MOTU

Ubuntu relies on “Masters of the Universe” or MOTUs to keep the universe and multiverse components of Ubuntu in good working order. Unlike main, which is officially supported by Canonical, universe and multiverse are community supported. So MOTUs are community members who spend their time adding, maintaining, and supporting these repos.

Even though I work for Canonical, I don’t have any special powers. If I want to upload a package to universe or multiverse, I need to talk to a MOTU or become one. In order to become one, I need to do the work and gain the experience required, just like anyone else in the community would. Since I came into this job without having done much of this tyoe of work before, I’ve started the process of becoming a MOTU by working with a mentor, Robert Ancell. Robert has helped me with the process, pointed out mistakes, and suggested packages to work on and has been a big help along the way.

Note: You must also be a Debian developer to get the battle cat. Also, Robert Ancell does not have blond hair.

So why do I want to become a MOTU? Personally, my motivation has several aspects:

  • I want to give back to the community
  • I want to learn more about Ubuntu and about the processes being used
  • It will make my job easier to have upload rights, more community contacts, and more experience with MOTU processes

I started this process last week by doing some gnome 3.6.0 updates, these were fairly simple, but helped me learn the process and tools. Since then, I’ve done five gnome 3.6.0 updates and three other non-gnome updates (two of which will be waiting until post-quantal to be uploaded).

As I progress in this goal, I’ll make updates on my blog and given an overview of some of the tools and processes being used.

If you want to start along the MOTU track there is no better place to start than the MOTU wiki and no better time than when R opens for development in November. While you wait for R to open, I’d recommend you read up on the policies and procedures and maybe make a dry-run through a package that can be updated in R. If you need help #ubuntu-motu on freenode is the place to ask! If you’ve already started, ping me on IRC (mfisch) or leave a comment here, I’d love to have another MOTU candidate to discuss things with and would be happy to assist you as well.

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Daniel Holbach

I talked many times about getting involved with developing Ubuntu and how it can seem daunting and that there’s much to learn. When I talked to contributors who had reached the critical point where they understood what they can do, who they can talk to and how the processes roughly work, most of them said that three things helped them to get to the point:

Code review

Today I want to talk about code reviews. It’s probably the most straight-forward way to learn by osmosis: you easily pick up conventions, distinctions which are made and which processes to follow.

Everybody has to go through code reviews, no matter which team they are in, which company they work for or when they joined the project. Up until a point they get their developer application approved and get upload rights.

This is the reason why code reviews in Ubuntu are so important and why we should constantly strive for timely replies and decisions on review requests.

Sponsoring Queue

The sponsoring queue is reviewed by developers with upload rights. Sometimes it’s very easy to approve a request and upload the package, sometimes it takes a bit longer, especially when you have a comment ping-pong between the reviewer and the patch author.

We came up with a number of points in our documentation which should help keeping the queue manageable:

For Bugs fixing small details, you could do the following:

  1. Ask the contributor to forward the patch upstream.
  2. Open an empty upstream bug task.
  3. Mark the Ubuntu task as ‘Fix Committed’.
  4. Unsubscribe ubuntu-sponsors, or mark the merge proposal status as “Work in Progress”. (Be sure to tell the contributor to reverse the process.)

This will get the review item off the list for the time being and once we can import the code from upstream, it will get fully closed.

We also get requests which are not suitable for the current release period. In this case you could:

  1. Let the contributor know that the patch is not suitable for the current release period.
  2. Unsubscribe ubuntu-sponsors, or mark the merge proposal status as “Work in Progress”. (Be sure to tell the contributor to reverse the process.)
  3. Subscribe yourself to the bug report.
  4. Milestone the bug to ‘later’.
  5. Visit https://bugs.launchpad.net/people/+me/+bugs/?field.milestone%3Alist=196 once the new release opens and upload the fix.

This are just some points which help to keep things on the queue relevant.

Patch Pilots

From the Bazaar team we borrowed the scheme of “patch pilots”. Here’s how they explain how it works: “The word pilot is in the sense of a maritime pilot: we help patches come through congested waters safely in to harbour. The main thing to watch is the bzr active reviews page in Launchpad. When you’re piloting, put some concentrated effort into helping people have a good and satisfying experience contributing to Bazaar. Just how you do that is up to you.

Instead of trying to review each and every bit in the queue – sometimes there are packages you know less about and where you can’t make a decision for example – you try to help nudge the patch along. You help to talk to upstream about it, try to find somebody who can make a decision, etc.

Canonical engineers with upload rights who work on Ubuntu are expected to spend an hour per week on the Ubuntu sponsoring queue, so everybody’s on the hook for having a piloting shift 4h every four weeks. This usually works much better, as you have an extended period of time where you do nothing else. Current patch pilots can be seen in the #ubuntu-devel channel topic.

Up until now I mostly noticed Canonical engineers who did piloted. If you have upload rights and are interested, let me know and I can add you to a preliminary schedule, so you get a reminder mail and you can try it out and see if you like it.

Please all help making this work even better. :-)

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Daniel Holbach

Users of Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) now can easily install the Ubuntu Packaging Guide:
daniel@daydream:~$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-packaging-guide
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
ubuntu-packaging-guide-html
The following NEW packages will be installed:
ubuntu-packaging-guide ubuntu-packaging-guide-html
0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/488 kB of archives.
After this operation, 1244 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]?
Selecting previously unselected package ubuntu-packaging-guide-html.
(Reading database ... 238890 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking ubuntu-packaging-guide-html (from .../ubuntu-packaging-guide-html_0.2.2_all.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package ubuntu-packaging-guide.
Unpacking ubuntu-packaging-guide (from .../ubuntu-packaging-guide_0.2.2_all.deb) ...
Processing triggers for doc-base ...
Processing 1 added doc-base file...
Registering documents with scrollkeeper...
Setting up ubuntu-packaging-guide-html (0.2.2) ...
Setting up ubuntu-packaging-guide (0.2.2) ...
daniel@daydream:~$

Of course you can always browse it online here but for all offline use it is now in Ubuntu in PDF, HTML and EPUB formats.

This was only possible through the help of many contributors. Some of them I was able to get together from the bzr log:

  • Alexander Fougner
  • Andrew Starr-Bochicchio
  • Barry Warsaw
  • Benjamin Drung
  • Brian Murray
  • Daniel Holbach
  • Dmitry Shachnev
  • Iain Lane
  • Jamie Strandboge
  • Jelmer Vernooij
  • Jeremy Bicha
  • Jim Campbell
  • Jonathan Jesse
  • Jonathan Riddell
  • Joseph Mills
  • Leo Iannacone
  • Martin Owens
  • Raoul Snyman
  • Ryein
  • Stefano Rivera

Thanks so much for your great work in the Ubuntu Packaging Guide project – you are all heroes!

There is still lots of work to be done. If you want to get involved, because it’s a really nice project, have a look at a list of bugs and please help to get it translated!

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Daniel Holbach

This morning I woke up and found the sponsoring queue at 103 items! I mailed the ubuntu-devel and ubuntu-motu lists and the current count is down to 81. This is great, but I’m sure we can get it down to 0.

Jani Monoses also filed these bugs to discuss how we can improve our sponsoring strategy:

You might want to join the conversation.

What we need most though is that if you can review code and upload changes, you head over to the sponsoring queue and help reviewing. It’s understandable that after UDS everybody is busy doing merges or jumps head-first into work items, but we also need to help newcomers get their changes reviewed. If you need some help, review our sponsorship best-practices.

If you should want to help on a regular basis, ping me or drop me an email and I’ll add you to the patch pilot schedule and you’ll get monthly reminders.

Rock on everybody! We can be happy we have so many new contributors, let’s don’t let them down! :-)

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Daniel Holbach

… for planning things, but also for getting things done.

In-between sessions I had discussions with many many folks and I’m happy to say there was renewed and much interest in the Packaging Guide.

Heroes like Andrew Starr-Bochicchio, Leo Iannacone, Joseph Mills and others have contributed suggestions, code, ideas and text bits to improve the packaging guide, and that’s on top of what was discussed in the session we had.

During the session we identified a number of areas of focus. In no particular order, there’s:

  • Include the Packaging Guide in Ubuntu
  • Translate it in as many languages as possible
  • Merge the Wiki documentation into the guide
  • Do user-testing of the guide
  • Do an editorial review of all the content

Also in many other sessions, the Packaging Guide was usually deemed the best place to educate new contributors about how things work, which is great.

What happened this week (outside of sessions) already was:

This level of activity is fascinating and bodes well for a great 12.10 cycle.

What I love most about the guide is that everybody can help us if you have just a little bit of interest in Ubuntu Development. Let’s have a quick look at some bugs you could help out with, if you’re interested.

Here’s some ‘bitesize’ bugs, I hope we can you interest in:

Obviously, there’s more bugs and there’s a blueprint to subscribe to. Feel free to grab a bug and help out, or catch us on IRC and find out how you can get involved.

Update: I forgot to mention John Kim, who has contributed a bunch of bug reports with his experience. Great work, John!

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Daniel Holbach

One class of new contributors has always been successful: self-starters who knew what they wanted to do, where to get involved, with possibly some already existing experience or knowledge. For others it’s been a tougher ride.

To remedy some of this, we set up the Developer Advisory Team. We figured that (among other things) reaching out to new contributors who just got their first fix into Ubuntu to thank them, encourage them and ask for their feedback would help us a lot in terms of bringing them into the fold and finding out what current stumbling blocks are.

The team consists of Andrea Colangelo, Andrew Starr-Bochcchio, Bhavani Shankar, Christophe Sauthier, Evan Broder and myself. We’ve been working together for a few weeks now and been reaching out to many contributors to Ubuntu development.

We collected the feedback and put together a report which summarises the experience of new contributors. If you’re in the thick of process definitions, documentations, backlog of review queues and the like it’s very easy to only concentrate on things which are broken or could be improved.

I’d like to take the time to quote a few of the super positive responses we received:

  • “Developers always respond very friendly.”
  • “I’m also very much impressed by the smoothness of online collaboration through launchpad and bzr (wow, would not have thought I’d be praising bzr at some point ). Branching a project to fix a bug and getting that visible to the project’s developers is effortless and lets me concentrate on the actual work.”
  • “Had heard about reviews taking a long time, but didn’t find it to be the case.”
  • “I really enjoyed getting to see my contributions go through the whole cycle from inclusion to available update. Seeing the process was interesting, as I had not known the different stages previously, and it was exciting to realize that a bug fix (simple, but there nonetheless) could go from a proposed fix to being available for installation in just over 24 hrs.”
  • “Much easier than I had expected. I had always assumed that one had to be an official packager to apply a patch to a package and submit it. Overall, it was a surprisingly painless process.”
  • “I think the most positive part of the experience to date has been the realization that the Ubuntu community cares enough to engage in this kind of feedback solicitation. That is simply unparalleled in other projects, and a testament to the many solid reasons so many prefer Ubuntu.”
  • “Overall, the entire was quite enriching and engaging. To be frank, I was desperately waiting for an opportunity to fix an easy bug for quite some time. And, so when I eventually found one, I was overly joyed. Given another opportunity, I will surely contribute again to Ubuntu development.”
  • “The people. Good response from other people, great impression about the whole community.”
  • “Contributing to free and open source projects makes me excited. It is great that I can paticipate and improve Ubuntu. I feel awesome when my work is released. Also I was glad when people found out their problem doesn’t exist in new release.”

Everybody who helps make this happen on a daily basis: give yourself a pat on the back. I’m proud of what we achieve together, and so should you! :-)

Check out the full report if you want to get into the details of the feedback.

If you have comments yourself or suggestions for improvements, leave your comment below.

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Daniel Holbach

I just went over the soon-to-be-released report of the Developer Advisory Team, where we sum up feedback from first-time contributors to Ubuntu Development and many noted that they found developer documentation easily and things generally worked out for them, but they struggled finding stuff to work on.

The Ubuntu Development team has always been good at creating new TODO lists (merges, Debian RC bugs, build failures, heaps of different bug lists and much much more), but you need to know what you are looking for.

Enter Harvest. We created it so it merely aggregates opportunities for Ubuntu developers in a simple web interface. You can select opportunity types and specific sets of packages to narrow down opportunities based on your interests.

If you got some spare time, are interested in Ubuntu development and would like to help, you would do the Ubuntu world a great favour by doing one of the following:

If you are an Ubuntu developer or would like to become one: trying it out and commenting below with your experience. (Bugs can be filed here.)

If you have a great idea on how it could be further simplified, extended or improved, write up your idea and link to it in the comments.

If you are a web developer: please get in touch. Harvest is written using Django and Python and it’s super-easy to extend, improve and fix it – so if you are looking for something to help out with, this might be a great opportunity for you.

Please consider helping out, your contributions will not only help you make better use of Harvest, but many other developers and new contributors as well. :-)

(If you tried it out and it works perfectly for you, let us know too. :-) )

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Daniel Holbach

New contributors who don’t have upload rights to Ubuntu yet get their code reviewed and their packages uploaded by Ubuntu developers. This process is called “sponsoring” and our current process has been in place since pretty much forever. It has even gotten easier over time, so new branches or patches show up on our review queue.

Two years ago when we were struggling with getting code reviewed, we put in place “patch pilots”, a great concept we borrowed from the Bazaar team. We set up a monthly schedule and Canonical provided 4 hours per month per engineer with upload rights to make sure code gets reviewed. This has helped a lot.

Getting closer to the 12.04 release, it looks like we need to put some extra effort in and need some help.

Sponsoring Stats

That’s right we have been hovering around 50 for a while now, dealt with many incoming new requests, but still we don’t get down to 0. If you can review code, please help out.

We all are interested in getting new developers on board. This only works if we review each other’s work, gain each other’s trust and give each other advice.

The Sponsorship queue is where a lot of exchange about this happens and where knowledge is passed on. Help out by reviewing today and help grow our community this way.

This is one of the most valuable contributions to Ubuntu! This matters to all of us.

If you want to see at once glance how we are doing and who’s all helping out, head over to our one glance sponsoring page. (Patches to make it look more Ubuntu-y are very welcome!)

Check the instructions for code review (with lots of tips and tricks) and get your name on the page as well!

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Daniel Holbach

Many engineering teams in the Ubuntu world have made extensive use of User Testing in the last years. This is an important reality check for everyone defining the experience of users. Do my assumptions still hold true? What do users expect? Are there use-cases we never considered? Which steps confuse our users?

The Ubuntu developers, so everyone who builds Ubuntu, integrates pieces to work nicely with each other, maintains packages and produces the distribution we all love, everyone is interested in this kind of feedback.

User testing of the Ubuntu Development process has, if it happened, always been ad-hoc and isolated. This is the reason why we want to look into this again and figure out which parts of the work-flows need to be improved.

Have you thought about contributing to Ubuntu Development before? Did you like the thought of helping improve the distribution millions of users love? If you did, you might be interested in this User Testing initiative. You will only have to read our documentation and send your feedback to Ubuntu Dev email. We in turn will make sure your feedback is put up for discussion and fixed eventually. Also will we will help you on your way if you should get stuck.

This initiative is not to be confused with mentoring. We are not going to do your homework for you or package your app. :-) Instead this will provide a great way for you to get started where you can share your experience with Ubuntu developers, who can help you along, while you provide valuable feedback. Your feedback will be treated confidentially and only published in an anonymised and summarised fashion.

What you need to do? Simple:

This is an experiment we will do until the release of Ubuntu 12.04 (April 26th). This should give us food for thought for the upcoming Ubuntu Developer Summit and depending on the success of the initiative, we will continue it.

Follow @ubuntudev on twitter.com, identi.ca, Google+ or facebook.com to find out more about this initiative and others.

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu Dev Hangouts this week

We had some excellent Google+ Hangouts last week, where everyone who was interested in getting involved in Ubuntu Development could join in and we had a nice chat in a very relaxed atmosphere. This week we are going to do some more. Here’s the times:

If you haven’t dived into Ubuntu Development yet, but you’re interested, please check out our Ubuntu Development guide! Hang out with us here.

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Daniel Holbach

I’ve been using Google+ Hangouts for a while and some of you might have seen that Jono posted some evidence of these. Mostly I just used them for team calls with a fixed agenda or to keep in touch with friends.

Yesterday I did a free-for-all hangout, using the new “named hangout” feature of Google+. It’s basically like a chat room with a fixed URL, where you can discuss whatever is on your mind. The idea was to create an opportunity to ask and answer questions in a more personal way without having the feeling of interrupting “more important” discussions.

This was a great experience! I didn’t count all nationalities, but I picked up we had people from South Africa, India, Taiwan, Bulgaria, USA at the same time. This was simply awesome.

Ubuntu Developer Hangout

Above it looks like I was hanging out with 35 people at the same time. This wasn’t the case. Unfortunately the hard limit is still 10 people at a time. There are “celebrity hangouts”, where you can record the event and have more people listening in, but unfortunately this takes away the opportunity to get involved.

Sometimes I did have to mute people whose microphone was not set up properly (one time I think heard a rooster in the background), but generally I feel we fared very well.

Many of the people in the hangouts were great Ubuntu fans and thanked for the work Ubuntu developers and contributors in general are doing. It was really heart-warming. Some had programmed before, even in Open Source projects and were keen to help out. So with the screen-sharing functionality I was able to demo how to fix a simple bug which was great.

Thanks also to Evan Broder and Andrew Mitchell who jumped in and answered a few questions as well.

I think I will keep these as an institution for now and announce events over the @ubuntudev twitter/identi.ca/facebook/google+ accounts. If you should ever want to do a hangout session, use the ubuntu-dev hangout, do it and let me know in advance, so I can post this more publicly.

If you have any experience with events like this and have some new ideas, please comment below!

Thanks again every one – this is just a great way to be in touch with the world-wide community of Ubuntu lovers!

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Daniel Holbach

Today is a good day to join Ubuntu development. Here’s your own, personal checklist:

  • You like doing some detective work.
  • Reading some docs or using the terminal does not scare you.
  • You might have tinkered with some source code before.
  • You love Ubuntu and want to help improve it!

Here’s how we are going to help you:

  • We have a bunch of friendly people on #ubuntu-motu on irc.freenode.net who are going to answer all your questions.
  • We have prepared a list of easy tasks for you.
  • We are going to review your changes and help you when you might get stuck.

What you need to do:

It’s a great feeling to fix bugs for millions of users, especially in this release which will be an LTS and used on lots of new devices.

We are looking forward to seeing you there! Just join the channel and say Hi!

 

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