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MAAS 2.3.0 (alpha3)

New Features & Improvements

Hardware Testing (backend only)

MAAS has now introduced an improved hardware testing framework. This new framework allows MAAS to test individual components of a single machine, as well as providing better feedback to the user for each of those tests. This feature has introduced:

  • Ability to define a custom testing script with a YAML definition – Each custom test can be defined with YAML that will provide information about the test. This information includes the script name, description, required packages, and other metadata about what information the script will gather. This information can then be displayed in the UI.

  • Ability to pass parameters – Adds the ability to pass specific parameters to the scripts. For example, in upcoming beta releases, users would be able to select which disks they want to test if they don’t want to test all disks.

  • Running test individually – Improves the way how hardware tests are run per component. This allows MAAS to run tests against any individual component (such a single disk).

  • Adding additional performance tests

    • Added a CPU performance test with 7z.

    • Added a storage performance test with fio.

Please note that individual results for each of the components is currently only available over the API. Upcoming beta release will include various UI improvements that will allow the user to better surface and interface with these new features.

Rack Controller Deployment in Whitebox Switches

MAAS has now the ability to install and configure a MAAS rack controller once a machine has been deployed. As of today, this feature is only available when MAAS detects the machine is a whitebox switch. As such, all MAAS certified whitebox switches will be deployed with a MAAS rack controller. Currently certified switches include the Wedge 100 and the Wedge 40.

Please note that this features makes use of the MAAS snap to configure the rack controller on the deployed machine. Since snap store mirrors are not yet available, this will require the machine to have access to the internet to be able to install the MAAS snap.

Improved DNS Reloading

This new release introduces various improvements to the DNS reload mechanism. This allows MAAS to be smarter about when to reload DNS after changes have been automatically detected or made.

UI – Controller Versions & Notifications

MAAS now surfaces the version of each running controller, and notifies the users of any version mismatch between the region and rack controllers. This helps administrators identify mismatches when upgrading their MAAS on a multi-node MAAS cluster, such as a HA setup.

Issues fixed in this release

  • #1702703    Cannot run maas-regiond without /bin/maas-rack
  • #1711414    [2.3, snap] Cannot delete a rack controller running from the snap
  • #1712450    [2.3] 500 error when uploading a new commissioning script
  • #1714273    [2.3, snap] Rack Controller from the snap fails to power manage on IPMI
  • #1715634    ‘tags machines’ takes 30+ seconds to respond with list of 9 nodes
  • #1676992    [2.2] Zesty ISO install fails on region controller due to postgresql not running
  • #1703035    MAAS should warn on version skew between controllers
  • #1708512    [2.3, UI] DNS and Description Labels misaligned on subnet details page
  • #1711700    [2.x] MAAS should avoid updating DNS if nothing changed
  • #1712422    [2.3] MAAS does not report form errors on script upload
  • #1712423    [2.3] 500 error when clicking the ‘Upload’ button with no script selected.
  • #1684094    [2.2.0rc2, UI, Subnets] Make the contextual menu language consistent across MAAS
  • #1688066    [2.2] VNC/SPICE graphical console for debugging purpose on libvirt pod created VMs
  • #1707850    [2.2] MAAS doesn’t report cloud-init failures post-deployment
  • #1711714    [2.3] cloud-init reporting not configured for deployed ubuntu core systems
  • #1681801    [2.2, UI] Device discovery – Tooltip misspelled
  • #1686246    [CLI help] set-storage-layout says Allocated when it should say Ready
  • #1621175    BMC acc setup during auto-enlistment fails on Huawei model RH1288 V3

For full details please visit:

https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.3.0alpha3

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admin

Hello MAASters! This is the development summary for the past couple of weeks:

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

  • Hardware Testing Phase 2
    • Added parameters form for script parameters validation.
    • Accept and validate results from nodes.
    • Added hardware testing 7zip CPU benchmarking builtin script.
    • WIP – ability to send parameters to test scripts and process results of individual components. (e.g. will provide the ability for users to select which disk they want to test, and capture results accordingly)
    • WIP – disk benchmark test via Fio.
  • Network beaconing & better network discovery
    • MAAS controllers now send out beacon advertisements every 30 seconds, regardless of whether or not any solicitations were received.
  • Switch Support
    • Backend changes to automatically detect switches (during commissioning) and make use of the new switch model.
    • Introduce base infrastructure for NOS drivers, similar to the power management one.
    • Install the Rack Controller when deploying a supported Switch (Wedge 40, Wedge 100)
    • UI – Add a switch listing tab behind a feature flag.
  • Minor UI improvements
    • The version of MAAS installed on each controller is now reported on the controller details page.
  • python-libmaas
    • Added ability to power on, power off, and query the power state of a machine.
    • Added PowerState enum to make it easy to check the current power state of a machine.
    • Added ability to reference the children and parent interfaces of an interface.
    • Added ability to reference the owner of node.
    • Added base level `Node` object that `Machine`, `Device`, `RackController`, and `RegionController` extend from.
    • Added `as_machine`, `as_device`, `as_rack_controller`, and `as_region_controller` to the Node object. Allowing the ability to convert a `Node` into the type you need to perform an action on.
  • Bug fixes:
    • LP: #1676992 – force Postgresql restart on maas-region-controller installation.
    • LP: #1708512 – Fix DNS & Description misalignment
    • LP: #1711714 – Add cloud-init reporting for deployed Ubuntu Core systems
    • LP: #1684094 – Make context menu language consistent for IP ranges.
    • LP: #1686246 – Fix docstring for set-storage-layout operation
    • LP: #1681801 – Device discovery – Tooltip misspelled
    • LP: #1688066 – Add Spice graphical console to pod created VM’s
    • LP: #1711700 – Improve DNS reloading so its happens only when required.
    • LP: #1712423, #1712450, #1712422 – Properly handle a ScriptForm being sent an empty file.
    • LP: #1621175 – Generate password for BMC’s with non-spec compliant password policy
    • LP: #1711414 – Fix deleting a rack when it is installed via the snap
    • LP: #1702703 – Can’t run region controller without a rack controller installed.

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admin

Hello MAASters!

I’m happy to annouce that MAAS 2.3.0 Alpha 2 has now been released and it is currently available in Ubuntu Artful, PPA for Xenial and as a snap.
PPA Availability
For those running Ubuntu Xenial and would like to use Alpha 1, please use the following PPA:
Snap Availability
For those running from the snap, or would like to test the snap, please use the Beta channel on the default track:
sudo snap install maas –devmode –beta

MAAS 2.3.0 (alpha2)

Important announcements

Advanced Network for CentOS & Windows

The MAAS team is happy to announce that MAAS 2.3 now supports the ability to perform network configuration for CentOS and Windows. The network configuration is performed via cloud-init. MAAS CentOS images now use the latest available version of cloud-init that includes these features.

New Features & Improvements

CentOS Networking support

MAAS can now perform machine network configuration for CentOS, giving CentOS networking feature parity with Ubuntu. The following can now be configured for MAAS deployed CentOS images:

  • Static network configuration.

  • Bonds, VLAN and bridge interfaces.

Thanks for the cloud-init team for improving the network configuration support for CentOS.

Windows Networking support

MAAS can now configure NIC teaming (bonding) and VLAN interfaces for Windows deployments. This uses the native NetLBFO in Windows 2008+. Contact us for more information (https://maas.io/contact-us).

Network Discovery & Beaconing

MAAS now sends out encrypted beacons to facilitate network discovery and monitoring. Beacons are sent using IPv4 and IPv6 multicast (and unicast) to UDP port 5240. When registering a new controller, MAAS uses the information gathered from the beaconing protocol to ensure that newly registered interfaces on each controller are associated with existing known networks in MAAS.

UI improvements

Minor UI improvements have been made

  • Renamed “Device Discovery” to “Network Discovery”.

  • Discovered devices where MAAS cannot determine the hostname now show the hostname as “unknown” and greyed out instead of using the MAC address manufacturer as the hostname.

Issues fixed in this release

Issues fixed in this release are detailed at:

https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.3.0alpha1

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admin

Hello MAASters! This is the development summary for the past couple of weeks:

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

The team is preparing and testing the next official release, MAAS 2.3 alpha2. It is currently undergoing a heavy round of testing and will be announced separately the beginning of the upcoming week. In the past three weeks, the team has:

  • Support for CentOS Network configuration
    We have completed the work to support CentOS Advanced Networking, which provides the ability for users to configure VLAN, bond and bridge interfaces, bringing it feature parity with Ubuntu. This will be available in MAAS 2.3 alpha 2.
  • Support for Windows Network configuration
    MAAS can now configure NIC teaming (bonding) and VLAN interfaces for Windows deployments. This uses the native NetLBFO in Windows 2008+. Contact us for more information [1].
  • Hardware Testing Phase 2

    • Testing scripts now define a type field that informs MAAS for which component will be tested and where the resulting metrics will apply. This may be node, cpu, memory, or storage, defaults to node.
    • Completed work to support the definition and parsing of a YAML based description for custom test scripts. This allows the user to defined the test’s title, description, and the metrics the test will output, which allows MAAS to parse and eventually display over the UI/API.
  • Network beaconing & better network discovery

    • Beaconing is now fully functional for controller registration and interface updates!
    • When registering or updating a new controller (either the first standalone controller, or a secondary/HA controller), new interfaces that have been determined to be on an existing VLAN will not cause a new fabric to be created in MAAS.
  • Switch modeling
    • The basic database model for the new switching model has been implemented.
    • On-going progress of presenting switches in the node listing is under way.
    • Work is in-progress to allow MAAS to deploy a rack controller which will be utilized when deploying a new switch with MAAS.
  • Minor UI improvements
    • Renamed “Device Discovery” to “Network Discovery”.
    • Discovered devices where MAAS cannot determine the hostname now just show the hostname as “unknown” and grayed out instead of using the MAC address manufacturer as the hostname.
  • Bug fixes:
    • LP: #1704444 – MAAS API returns 500 internal server error instead of raising actual error.
    • LP: #1705501 – django warning on install
    • LP: #1707971 – MAAS becomes unstable after rack controller restarts
    • LP: #1708052 – Quick erase doesn’t remove md superblock
    • LP: #1710681 – Cannot delete an Ubuntu image, “Update Selection” is disabled

MAAS 2.2.2 Released in the Ubuntu Archive!

MAAS 2.2.2 has now also been released in the Ubuntu Archive. For more details on MAAS 2.2.2, please see [2].

 

[1]: https://maas.io/contact-us

[2]: https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/maas-devel/2017-August/002663.html

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admin

Hello MAASters! The MAAS development summaries are back!

The past three weeks the team has been made good progress on three main areas, the development of 2.3, maintenance for 2.2, and out new and improved python library (libmaas).

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

The first official MAAS 2.3 release has been prepared. It is currently undergoing a heavy round of testing and will be announced separately once completed. In the past three weeks, the team has:

  • Completed Upstream Proxy UI
    • Improve the UI to better configure the different proxy modes.
    • Added the ability to configure an upstream proxy.
  • Network beaconing & better network discovery
  • Started Hardware Testing Phase 2
      • UX team has completed the initial wireframes and gathered feedback.
      • Started changes to collect and gather better test results.
  • Started Switch modeling
      • Started changes to support switch and switch port modeling.
  • Bug fixes
    • LP: #1703403 – regiond workers can use too many postgres connections
    • LP: #1651165 – Unable to change disk name using maas gui
    • LP: #1702690 – [2.2] Commissioning a machine prefers minimum kernel over commissioning global
    • LP: #1700802 – [2.x] maas cli allocate interfaces=<label>:ip=<ADDRESS> errors with Unknown interfaces constraint Edit
    • LP: #1703713 – [2.3] Devices don’t have a link from the DNS page
    • LP: #1702976 – Cavium ThunderX lacks power settings after enlistment apparently due to missing kernel
    • LP: #1664822 – Enable IPMI over LAN if disabled
    • LP: #1703713 – Fix missing link on domain details page
    • LP: #1702669 – Add index on family(ip) for each StaticIPAddress to improve execution time of the maasserver_routable_pairs view.
    • LP: #1703845 – Set the re-check interval for rack to region RPC connections to the lowest value when a RPC connection is closed or lost.

MAAS 2.2 (current stable release)

  • Last week, MAAS 2.2 was SRU’d into the Ubuntu Archives and to our latest LTS release, Ubuntu Xenial, replacing the MAAS 2.1 series.
  • This week, a new MAAS 2.2 point release has also been prepared. It is currently undergoing heavy testing. Once testing is completed, it will be released in a separate announcement.

Libmaas

Last week, the team has worked on increasing the level

  • Added ability to create machines.
  • Added ability to commission machines.
  • Added ability to manage MAAS networking definitions. Including Subnet, Fabrics, Spaces, vlans, IP Ranges, Static Routes and DHCP.

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admin

Hello MAASters!

The purpose of this update is to keep our community engaged and informed about the work the team is doing. We’ll cover important announcements, work-in-progress for the next release of MAAS and bugs fixes in release MAAS versions.

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

  • Completed Django 1.11 transition
      • MAAS 2.3 snap will use Django 1.11 by default.
      • Ubuntu package will use Django 1.11 in Artful+
  • Network beaconing & better network discovery
      • MAAS now listens for [unicast and multicast] beacons on UDP port 5240. Beacons are encrypted and authenticated using a key derived from the MAAS shared secret. Upon receiving certain types of beacons, MAAS will reply, confirming the sender that existing MAAS on the network has the same shared key. In addition, records are kept about which interface each beacon was received on, and what VLAN tag (if any) was in use on that interface. This allows MAAS to determine which interfaces observed the same beacon (and thus must be on the same fabric). This information can also determine if [what would previously have been assumed to be] a separate fabric is actually an alternate VLAN in an existing fabric.
      • The maas-rack send-beacons command is now available to test the beacon protocol. (This command is intended for testing and support, not general use.) The MAAS shared secret must be installed before the command can be used. By default, it will send multicast beacons out all possible interfaces, but it can also be used in unicast mode.
      • Note that while IPv6 support is planned, support for receiving IPv6 beacons in MAAS is not yet available. The maas-rack send-beacons command, however, is already capable of sending IPv6 beacons. (Full IPv6 support is expected to make beacons more flexible, since IPv6 multicast can be sent out on interfaces without a specific IP address assignment, and without resorting to raw sockets.)
      • Improvements to rack registration are now under development, so that users will see a more accurate representation of fabrics upon initial installation or registration of a MAAS rack controller.
  • Bug fixes
    • LP: #1701056: Show correct information for a device details page as a normal user
    • LP: #1701052: Do not show the controllers tab as a normal user
    • LP: #1683765: Fix format when devices/controllers are selected to match those of machines
    • LP: #1684216 – Update button label from ‘Save selection’ to ‘Update selection’
    • LP: #1682489 – Fix Cancel button on add user dialog, which caused the user to be added anyway
    • LP: #1682387 – Unassigned should be (Unassigned)

MAAS 2.2.1

The past week the team was also focused on preparing and QA’ing the new MAAS 2.2.1 point release, which was released on Friday June the 30th. For more information about the bug fixes please visit the following https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.2.1 .

MAAS 2.2.1 is available in:

  • ppa:maas/stable

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admin

Announcements

  • Transition to Git in Launchpad
    The MAAS team is happy to announce that we have moved our code repositories away from Bazaar. We are now using Git in Launchpad.[1]

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

This week, the team has worked on the following features and improvements:

  • Codebase transition from bzr to git – This week the team has focused efforts on updating all processes to the upcoming transition to Git. The progress involved:
    • Updated Jenkins job configuration to run CI tests from Git instead of bzr.
    • Created new Jenkins jobs to test older releases via Git instead of bzr.
    • Update Jenkins job triggering mechanism from using Tarmac to using the Jenkins Git plugin.
    • Replaced the maas code lander (based on tarmac) with a Jenkins job to automatically land approved branches.
      • This also includes a mechanism to automatically set milestones and close Launchpad bugs.
    • Updated Snap building recipe to build from Git. 
  • Removal of ‘tgt’ as a dependency behind a feature flag – This week we have landed the ability to load ephemeral images via HTTP from the initrd, instead of doing it via iSCSI (served by ‘tgt’). While the use of ‘tgt’ is still default, the ability to not use it is hidden behind a feature flag (http_boot). This is only available in trunk. 
  • Django 1.11 transition – We are down to the latest items of the transition, and we are targeting it to be completed by the upcoming week. 
  • Network Beaconing & better network discovery – The team is continuing to make progress on beacons. Following a thorough review, the beaconing packet format has been optimized; beacon packets are now simpler and more compact. We are targeting rack registration improvements for next week, so that newly-registered rack controllers do not create new fabrics if an interface can be determined to be on an existing fabric.

Bug Fixes

The following issues have been fixed and backported to MAAS 2.2 branch. This will be available in the next point release of MAAS 2.2 (2.2.1). The MAAS team is currently targeting a new 2.2.1 release for the upcoming week.

  • LP #1687305 – Fix virsh pods reporting wrong storage
  • LP #1699479 – A couple of unstable tests failing when using IPv6 in LXC containers

[1]: https://git.launchpad.net/maas

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admin

The purpose of this update is to keep our community engaged and informed about the work the team is doing. We’ll cover important announcements, work-in-progress for the next release of MAAS and bugs fixes in release MAAS versions.

MAAS Sprint

The Canonical MAAS team sprinted at Canonical’s London offices this week. The purpose was to review the previous development cycle & release (MAAS 2.2), as well as discuss and finalize the plans and goals for the next development release cycle (MAAS 2.3).

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

The team has been working on the following features and improvements:

  • New Feature – support for ‘upstream’ proxy (API only)Support for upstream proxies has landed in trunk. This iteration contains API only support. The team continues to work on the matching UI support for this feature.
  • Codebase transition from bzr to git – This week the team has focused efforts on updating all processes to the upcoming transition to Git. The progress so far is:
    • Prepared the MAAS CI infrastructure to fully support Git once the transition is complete.
    • Started working on creating new processes for PR’s auto-testing and landing.
  • Django 1.11 transition – The team continues to work through the Django 1.11 transition; we’re down to 130 unittest failures!
  • Network Beaconing & better network discovery – Prototype beacons have now been sent and received! The next steps will be to work on the full protocol implementation, followed by making use of beaconing to enhance rack registration. This will provide a better out-of-the-box experience for MAAS; interfaces which share network connectivity will no longer be assumed to be on separate fabrics.
  • Started the removal of ‘tgt’ as a dependency – We have started the removal of ‘tgt’ as a dependency. This simplies the boot process by not loading ephemeral images from tgt, but rather, having the initrd download and load the ephemeral environment.
  • UI Improvements
    • Performance Improvements – Improved the loading of elements in the Device Discovery, Node listing and Events page, which greatly improve UI performance.
    • LP #1695312 – The button to edit dynamic range says ‘Edit’ while it should say ‘Edit reserved range’
    • Remove auto-save on blur for the Fabric details summary row. Applied static content when not in edit mode.

Bug Fixes

The following issues have been fixed and backported to MAAS 2.2 branch. This will be available in the next point release of MAAS 2.2 (2.2.1) in the coming weeks:

  • LP: #1678339 – allow physical (and bond) interfaces to be placed on VLANs with a known 802.1q tag.
  • LP: #1652298 – Improve loading of elements in the device discovery page

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admin

Thursday June 8th, 2017

The MAAS team is happy to announce the introduction of development summaries. We hope this helps to keep our community engaged and informed about the work the team is doing. We’ll cover important announcements, work-in-progress for the next release of MAAS, and bugs fixed in released MAAS versions.

Announcements

With the MAAS 2.2 release out of the door, we are happy to announce that:

  • MAAS 2.3 is now opened for development.
  • MAAS is moving to GIT in Launchpad – In the coming weeks, MAAS source will now be hosted under a GIT repository in Launchpad, once we complete the work of updating all our internal processes (e.g. CI, Landers, etc).

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

With the team now focusing efforts on the new development release, MAAS 2.3, the team has been working on the following features and improvements:

  • Started adding support for Django 1.11 – MAAS will continue to be backward compatible with Django 1.8.
  • Adding support for ‘upstream’ proxy – MAAS deployed machines will continue to use MAAS’ internal proxy, while allowing MAAS ‘ proxy to communicate with an upstream proxy.
  • Started adding network beaconing – New feature to support better network (subnet’s, vlans) discovery and allow fabric deduplication.
    • Officially registered IPv4 and IPv6 multicast groups for MAAS beaconing (224.0.0.118 and ff02::15a, respectively).
    • Implemented a mechanism to provide authenticated encryption using the MAAS shared secret.
    • Prototyped initial beaconing multicast join mechanism and receive path.

Libmaas (python-libmaas)

With the continuous improvement of the new MAAS Python Library (python-libmaas), we have focused our efforts on the following improvements the past week:

  • Add support to be able to provide nested objects and object sets.
  • Add support to be able to update any object accessible via the library.
  • Add ability to read interfaces (nested) under Machines, Devices, Rack Controllers and Region Controllers.
  • Add ability to read VLAN’s (nested) under Fabrics.

Bug Fixes

The following issues have been fixed and backported to MAAS 2.2 branch. This will be available in the next point release of MAAS 2.2 (2.2.1) in the coming weeks:

  • Bug #1694767: RSD composition not setting local disk tags
  • Bug #1694759: RSD Pod refresh shows ComposedNodeState is “Failed”
  • Bug #1695083: Improve NTP IP address selection for MAAS DHCP clients.

Questions?

IRC – Find as on #maas @ freenode.

ML – https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/maas-devel

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admin

I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.2.0 (final) has now been released, and it introduces quite a few exciting features:

  • MAAS Pods – Ability to dynamically create a machine on demand. This is reflected in MAAS’ support for Intel Rack Scale Design.
  • Hardware Testing
  • DHCP Relay Support
  • Unmanaged Subnets
  • Switch discovery and deployment on Facebook’s Wedge 40 & 100.
  • Various improvements and minor features.
  • MAAS Client Library
  • Intel Rack Scale Design support.

For more information, please read the release notes are available here.

Availability
MAAS 2.2.0 is currently available in the following MAAS team PPA.
ppa:maas/next
Please note that MAAS 2.2 will replace the MAAS 2.1 series, which will go out of support. We are holding MAAS 2.2 in the above PPA for a week, to provide enough notice to users that it will replace 2.1 series. In the following weeks, MAAS 2.2 will be backported into Ubuntu Xenial.

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Michael Hall

With all of the new documentation coming to support the development of Unity Scopes, it’s time for us to have another development shodown! Contestants will have five (5) weeks to develop a project, from scratch, and submit it to the Ubuntu Store. But this time all of the entries must be Scopes.

Be sure to update to the latest SDK packages to ensure that you have the correct template and tools. You should also create a new Click chroot to get the latest build and runtime packages.

Prizes

prizesWe’ve got some great prizes lined up for the winners of this competition.

  • 1st place will win a new Dell XPS 13 Laptop, Developer Edition (preloaded with Ubuntu)
  • Runners up will receive one of:
    • Logitech UE Boom Bluetooth speakers
    • Nexus 7 running Ubuntu
    • An Ubuntu bundle, featuring:
      • Ubuntu messenger bag
      • Ubuntu Touch Infographic T-shirt
      • Ubuntu Neoprene Laptop Sleeve
    • An Ubuntu bundle, featuring:
      • Ubuntu backpack
      • Ubuntu Circle of Friends Dot Design T-shirt
      • Ubuntu Neoprene Laptop Sleeve

Judging

Scope entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges from a variety of backgrounds and specialties, all of whom will evaluate the scope based on the following criteria:

  • General Interest – Scopes that are of more interest to general phone users will be scored higher. We recommend identifying what kind of content phone users want to have fast, easy access to and then finding an online source where you can query for it
  • Creativity – Scopes are a unique way of bringing content and information to a user, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what they can do. Thinking outside the box and providing something new and exciting will lead to a higher score for your Scope
  • Features – There’s more to scopes than basic searching, take advantage of the departments, categories and settings APIs to enhance the functionality of your Scope
  • Design – Scopes offer a variety of ways to customize the way content is displayed, from different layouts to visual styling. Take full advantage of what’s possible to provide a beautiful presentation of your results.
  • Awareness / Promotion – we will award extra points to those of you who blog, tweet, facebook, Google+, reddit, and otherwise share updates and information about your scope as it progresses.

The judges for this contest are:

  • Chris Wayne developer behind a number of current pre-installed Scopes
  • Joey-Elijah Sneddon Author and editor of Omg!Ubuntu!
  • Victor Thompson Ubuntu Core Apps developer
  • Jouni Helminen Designer at Canonical
  • Alan Pope from the Ubuntu Community Team at Canonical

Learn how to write Ubuntu Scopes

To get things started we’ve recently introduced a new Unity Scope project template into the Ubuntu SDK, you can use this to get a working foundation for your code right away. Then you can follow along with our new SoundCloud scope tutorial to learn how to tailor your code to a remote data source and give your scope a unique look and feel that highlights both the content and the source. To help you out along the way, we’ll be scheduling a series of online Workshops that will cover how to use the Ubuntu SDK and the Scope APIs. In the last weeks of the contest we will also be hosting a hackathon on our IRC channel (#ubuntu-app-devel on Freenode) to answer any last questions and help you get your c If you cannot join those, you can still find everything you need to know in our scope developer documentation.

How to participate

If you are not a programmer and want to share some ideas for cool scopes, be sure to add and vote for scopes on our reddit page. The contest is free to enter and open to everyone. The five week period starts on the Thursday 30th October and runs until Wednesday 3rd December 2014! Enter the Ubuntu Scope Showdown >

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Michael Hall

It was less than a month that we announced crossing the 10,000 users milestone for Ubuntu phones and tablets, and we’ve already reached another: 100,000 app downloads!

Downloads

10k_downloads_by_countryThe new Ubuntu store used by phones, tablets, and soon the desktop as well, provides app developers with some useful statistics about how many times their app was downloaded, which version was downloaded, and what country the download originated from. This is very useful as it it lets the developer gauge how many users they currently have for their app, and how quickly they are updating to new versions.  One side-effect of these statistics is that we can see how many total downloads there have been across all of the apps in the store, and this week we reached (and quickly passed) the 100,000th download.

Users

app_storeWe’re getting close to having Ubuntu phones go on sale from our partners at Bq and Meizu, but there are still no devices on the market that came with Ubuntu.  This means that we’ve reached this milestone solely from developers and enthusiasts who have installed Ubuntu on one of their own devices (probably a Nexus device) or the device emulator.  

The continued growth in the download number validates the earlier milestone of 10,000 users, a large number of them are clearly still using Ubuntu on their device (or emulator) and keeping their apps up to date (the number represents new app installs and updates). This means that not only are people trying Ubuntu already, many of them are sticking with it too.  Yet another datapoint in support of this is the 600 new unique users who have been using the store since the last milestone announcement.

Pioneers

pioneers_shirtTo supply all of these users with the apps they want, we’re continuing to build our community of app developers around Ubuntu. The first of these have already received their limited edition t-shirts, and are listed on the Ubuntu Pioneers page of the developer portal.

There is still time to get your app published, and claim your place on that page and your t-shirt, but they’re filling up fast so don’t delay. Go to our Developer Portal and get started today, you could be only a few hours away from publishing your first app in the store!

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Michael Hall

ubuntu-phone-three-1As we enter the final months before the first Ubuntu phones ship from our partners Meizu and Bq, the numbers of apps, users and downloads continues to grow at a steady pace. Today I’m excited to announce that we have more than ten thousand unique users of Ubuntu on phones or tablets!

Users

Ubuntu phone (and tablet) users sign into their Ubuntu One account on their device in order to download or update the applications on their phone. This allows us to provide many useful features that users expect coming from Android or iOS, such as being able to re-install their collection of apps on a new phone or after resetting their current one, or browsing the store’s website (coming soon) and having the option to install an app directly to their device from there. As a side effect, it means we know how many unique Ubuntu One accounts have connected to the store to in order to download an app, and that number has this week passed the 10,000 mark.

Excitement

Meizu-MX3Not only is this a milestone, but it’s down right amazing when you consider that there are currently no phones available to purchase with Ubuntu on them. The first phones from OEMs will be shipping later this year, but for now there isn’t a phone or tablet that comes with the new Ubuntu device OS on it. That means that each of these 10,000 people have purchased (or already had) either a supported Nexus device, or are using one of the community ports, and either wiped Android off them in favor of Ubuntu, or are dual booting. If this many people are willing to install the beta release of Ubuntu phone on their device, just imagine how many more will want to purchase a phone with Ubuntu pre-installed and with full support from the manufacturer.

Pioneers

In addition to users of Ubuntu phone, we’ve also seen a steady growth in the number of applications and application developers targeting Ubuntu phone and using the Ubuntu SDK. To celebrate them, we created Ubuntu App Pioneers page, and the first batch of Pioneers t-shirts are being sent out to those intrepid developers who, again, are so excited about a platform that isn’t even available to consumers yet that they’ve dedicated their time and energy into making it better for everyone.

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James Westby

We’ve recently rolled out some changes to the submission process for Click Applications that should make it easier for you to submit new applications, and allow them to be approved more quickly.

Previously when submitting an application you would have to enter all the information about that application on the website, even when some of that information was already included in the package itself. This was firstly an irritation, but sometimes developers would make a mistake when re-entering this information, meaning that the app was rejected from review and they would have to go back and correct the mistake.

With the new changes, when you submit an application you will wait a few seconds while the package is examined by the system, and you will then be redirected to the same process as before. However this time some of the fields will be pre-filled with information from the package. You won’t have to type in the application name, as it will already be there. This will speed up the process, and should reduce the number of mistakes that happen at that stage.

We’ve also been working on a command-line interface for submitting applications. It’s not polished yet, but if you are intrepid you can try out click-toolbelt.

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Jono Bacon

So, we have announced the Ubuntu App Showdown where you can build some awesome Ubuntu apps and win prizes such as the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet and the Meizu MX3, we have provided an update on lots of great updates going on such as refined HTML5 support and a raft of developer.ubuntu.com updates, we have revised and improved how the dash and scopes work (more developer docs on this coming soon!), we have simplified how apps are uploaded to the store, and of course, Ubuntu handsets are hitting the market later this year so our app devs will have plenty of new users to consume their apps. But, why stop there?

We are not here to build a good app developer community, we are here to build the most empowering, rewarding, and fun app developer community there is, all powered by openness and collaboration.

As such, I am delighted to announce that next week Ubuntu App Developer Week beginning on Monday 3rd March at 2pm UTC and running all week

This is a week with a range of tutorial sessions for how to build apps for Ubuntu across QML, HTML5 and more. All of these sessions take place online in a series of Google Hangouts, complete with embedded chat channels where you can interact with the speaker and ask questions.

This includes sessions such as the following for QML apps:

  • Game Development with QML and Box2D
  • Internationalize your apps
  • Extending QML with a C++ Plugin
  • Ubuntu UI Toolkit tips and tricks for beginners
  • Responsive Layouts
  • Testing with qmltestrunner
  • Making the perfect user acceptance test
  • Integrating U1DB in your app
  • Content Exchange in a confined world
  • Add download capabilities to your apps

and the following for HTML5 apps:

  • Building HTML5 apps with Ubuntu
  • Cordova in HTML5 Apps
  • Platform APIs for HTML5 Apps
  • HTML5 UbuntuUI Components
  • Debugging HTML5 apps

We also have a few other sessions such as a feedback session on the software store and how to get compiled code into click packages.

How Do I Join?

Ubuntu App Developer Week is available freely to anyone who chooses to join. You don’t have to be an expert, and you don’t have to know how to write apps with the Ubuntu SDK yet. Beginners are very welcome!

All of the sessions, their times, and how to join them are available on the Ubuntu App Developer Week schedule. Just show up at the right time, click a session, and you are ready to go!

We still have some slots free if you want to volunteer to run a session. If you would like to, please email Michael Hall.

The fun starts next week on Monday 3rd March at 2pm UTC and runs all week. We hope to see you there!

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Jono Bacon

The focus on content is a core principle that drives how we build Ubuntu. This not only includes getting the clutter out of the way and maximizing your view on your content (such as integrated window borders and overlay scroll-bars), but it also includes searching for, browsing, and consuming content as easily as possible.

At the core of this latter approach to content is the Ubuntu dash and the scopes that power it. For those unfamiliar with this technology, when you tap or click the Ubuntu button on your Ubuntu computer, smart-phone, or tablet you currently see a number of different views such as Home, Apps, Music, and Videos.

Within these views we have a series of “scopes” that deliver both online and offline content. As an example, in our music scope we show music on your computer/device as well as music available to download or purchase online too.

All of this integrates search right into the heart of Ubuntu; no longer do you need to open up a software store, music app, or video app to access content you either own or would like to aquire…it is all integrated into the core of Ubuntu.

Ever since we released this technology we have been evaluating the feedback from our users, through formalized user testing, as well as input from content providers who are keen to deliver content via these services. We have reviewed all of this feedback and made a set of changes that improve and refine how the dash and scopes work, and we want to share some of those updates here.

This post does not summarize all improvements we are making; we have other refinements in store, and we will provide those updates closer to the time.

All screenshots in this post are of working code on the phone and tablet, much of which you can see at MWC this week. This technology will also be coming to the desktop at a later date.

The Core of the Dash

One of the constraining aspects about our previous dash was some of the limitations in terms of how scope results are presented to the user. Ubuntu users will be very familiar with a search resulting in the same visual structure of how results appear, which you can then click a result to see a preview view with more details.

We have refined and improved this by building a “dash toolkit” that can be used to customize how results are displayed now.

As an example, here are some screenshots of the dash displaying different types of results:

The Scopes Store

In our previous dash the notion of scopes were something that the Ubuntu development team were primarily involved in – we would ship a number of scopes switched on by default and the user could enable/disable those scopes where appropriate.

In our new dash we are treating scopes almost like in-dash apps; that is, a scope is something a provider can ship to users and the user can enable or disable the scopes that are of most interest to them. This makes the dash infinitely pluggable, more tuned to the user’s needs, and combined with the customization of how results are displayed, it makes the dash far more compelling for both users and content providers.

This range of scopes is delivered by the Scopes store which provides a range of categories and available scopes.

As an example, if you are a Grooveshark fan you can head into the Scopes store and add the Grooveshark scope and now your search will return Grooveshark content.
In action

Let’s take this new technology for a spin to demonstrate how it works.

In the screenshot below we can see the familiar apps scope. Here we can see apps that are installed, apps available to download, and we can search for apps too:

Let’s now see a more customized scope in the form of a guide to Barcelona:

Here you can see a combination of recommended places to visit, transport information, weather and more:

This scope is pulling together a variety of online components in a customized view and can be shipped as a scope that you can install on your computer or device.

Let’s look at another example. Here we have a scope for World Cup information:

Finally, let’s take a look at how we browse and install scopes. This is the scopes store:

Here we can select a scope easily and install it by tapping it.

When will I get this?

This technology is going to be arriving for Ubuntu for smart-phones and tablets in the next few weeks. Those of you using Ubuntu for devices can expect to find it as part of a norma system update.

For the desktop this technology will arrive at a later date when converge our Unity 8 platform on the desktop. We expect this to be around the time of Ubuntu 14.10 – Ubuntu 15.04.

The Developer Story

This new technology opens up a wealth of opportunities for developers. Over the coming weeks we will be providing a full tutorial, API documentation, quick-start guides, and more on developer.ubuntu.com to help you get stared building and deliver scopes to users.

We will announce when this content has been released on this blog.

FAQ

Why did you change the dash and scopes?

Based on feedback from our users, through formalized user testing, and input from content providers, we wanted to make a series of improvements to refine how the dash and scopes work.

When can we expect this technology to arrive?

We expect these improvements to be landing in the Ubuntu for phones and tablets images in the next few weeks.

How can I enable/disable scopes?

You determine which scopes are searched by adding them to (or removing them from) your favourites list. Even if a scope is not in your favourites list, you can explicitly navigate to that scope and start a search, without adding that scope to your favourites list. So, you are in complete control at all times of which scopes are searched.

What security/privacy measures are you putting in place with this technology?

While we will ship with a set of default scopes, the user can switch of any scopes if they choose to do so.

Each scope runs as a separate process in its own sandbox, secure via AppArmor. The sandbox is enforced at the kernel level, so it is impossible for a scope implementation to break out of the sandbox (for example, by making system calls directly).

Scopes that are installed in the device have exactly one of two possible AppArmor profiles: network access or file system access. If a scope can access the network (for example, to retrieve email headers from a remote imap account), that scope cannot access the file system. Conversely, if a scope can access the file system (for example, to search for locally-installed media files), it cannot access the network. This prevents a scope from retrieving sensitive information from the file system and then shipping it out via the network to some remote server.

Scopes are also prevented from accessing each others’ network endpoints. This means that a scope installed on the device cannot send queries to other scopes on the device in an attempt to collect private information.

What languages can I write these scopes in?

C++, Javascript, and Go.

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albertomilone@gmail.com

In this Ubuntu release cycle I worked, among other things, on improving user experience with hybrid systems and proprietary graphics drivers. The aim was to make it easier to enable the discrete card when in need of better performance i.e. when the integrated card wouldn’t be enough.

In 13.10 I focused mainly on enablement, making sure that by installing one extra package together with the driver, users would end up with a fully working system with no additional configuration required on their end.

As for 12.04.3, I backported my work from 13.10 and I also made sure that Jockey (the restricted drivers manager in Precise) detects systems with hybrid graphics, recommends the correct driver – hiding any drivers which may support the card but not in a hybrid graphics context – and installs the extra package when users decide to enable the discrete card. The installation process is very straightforward, however, if you’re still using the old kernel/X stack, Jockey won’t show any drivers. The backported stack from Raring (which comes by default with 12.04.3) is required.

There are some known issues, which will be fixed in a near future.

If you would like to try this work on your system, you can find the instructions here.

 

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roaksoax

Filming Fast & Furious 7…

Note: The car is what we call a Combi in Peru, which is a form of public transportation. While I didn’t create the FF7 original pic, it is mock to peruvian combi drivers because those are one of the most reckless drivers in the world.

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roaksoax

For a while, I have been wanting to write about MAAS and how it can easily deploy workloads (specially OpenStack) with Juju, and the time has finally come. This will be the first of a series of posts where I’ll provide an Overview of how to quickly get started with MAAS and Juju.

What is MAAS?

I think that MAAS does not require introduction, but if people really need to know, this awesome video will provide a far better explanation than the one I can give in this blog post.

http://youtu.be/J1XH0SQARgo

 

Components and Architecture

MAAS have been designed in such a way that it can be deployed in different architectures and network environments. MAAS can be deployed as both, a Single-Node or Multi-Node Architecture. This allows MAAS to be a scalable deployment system to meet your needs. It has two basic components, the MAAS Region Controller and the MAAS Cluster Controller.

MAAS Architectures

Region Controller

The MAAS Region Controller is the component the users interface with, and is the one that controls the Cluster Controllers. It is the place of the WebUI and API. The Region Controller is also the place for the MAAS meta-data server for cloud-init, as well as the place where the DNS server runs. The region controller also configures a rsyslogd server to log the installation process, as well as a proxy (squid-deb-proxy) that is used to cache the debian packages. The preseeds used for the different stages of the process are also being stored here.

Cluster Controller

The MAAS Cluster Controller only interfaces with the Region controller and is the one in charge of provisioning in general. The Cluster Controller is the place the TFTP and DHCP server(s) are located. This is the place where both the PXE files and ephemeral images are being stored. It is also the Cluster Controller’s job to power on/off the managed nodes (if configured).

The Architecture

As you can see in the image above, MAAS can be deployed in both a single node or multi-node. The way MAAS has being designed makes MAAS highly scalable allowing to add more Cluster Controllers that will manage a different pool of machines. A single-node scenario can become in a multi-node scenario by simply adding more Cluster Controllers. Each Cluster Controller has to register with the Region Controller, and each can be configured to manage a different Network. The way has this is intended to work is that each Cluster Controller will manage a different pool of machines in different networks (for provisioning), allowing MAAS to manage hundreds of machines. This is completely transparent to users because MAAS makes the machines available to them as a single pool of machines, which can all be used for deploying/orchestrating your services with juju.

How Does It Work?

MAAS has 3 basic stages. These are Enlistment, Commissioning and Deployment which are explained below:

MAAS Process

Enlistment

The enlistment process is the process on which a new machine is registered to MAAS. When a new machine is started, it will obtain an IP address and PXE boot from the MAAS Cluster Controller. The PXE boot process will instruct the machine to load an ephemeral image that will run and perform an initial discovery process (via a preseed fed to cloud-init). This discovery process will obtain basic information such as network interfaces, MAC addresses and the machine’s architecture. Once this information is gathered, a request to register the machine is made to the MAAS Region Controller. Once this happens, the machine will appear in MAAS with a Declared state.

Commissioning

The commissioning process is the process where MAAS collects hardware information, such as the number of CPU cores, RAM memory, disk size, etc, which can be later used as constraints. Once the machine has been enlisted (Declared State), the machine must be accepted into the MAAS in order for the commissioning processes to begin and for it to be ready for deployment. For example, in the WebUI, an “Accept & Commission” button will be present. Once the machine gets accepted into MAAS, the machine will PXE boot from the MAAS Cluster Controller and will be instructed to run the same ephemeral image (again). This time, however, the commissioning process will be instructed to gather more information about the machine, which will be sent back to the MAAS region controller (via cloud-init from MAAS meta-data server). Once this process has finished, the machine information will be updated it will change to Ready state. This status means that the machine is ready for deployment.

Deployment

Once the machines are in Ready state, they can be used for deployment. Deployment can happen with both juju or the maas-cli (or even the WebUI). The maas-cli will only allow you to install Ubuntu on the machine, while juju will not only allow you to deploy Ubuntu on them, but will allow you to orchestrate services. When a machine has been deployed, its state will change to Allocated to <user>. This state means that the machine is in use by the user who requested its deployment.

Releasing Machines

Once a user doesn’t need the machine anymore, it can be released and its status will change from Allocated to <user> back to Ready. This means that the machine will be turned off and will be made available for later use.

But… How do Machines Turn On/Off?

Now, you might be wondering how are the machines being turned on/off or who is the one in charge of that. MAAS can manage power devices, such as IPMI/iLO, Sentry Switch CDU’s, or even virsh. By default, we expect that all the machines being controlled by MAAS have IPMI/iLO cards. So if your machines do, MAAS will attempt to auto-detect and auto-configure your IPMI/iLO cards during the Enlistment and Commissioning processes. Once the machines are Accepted into MAAS (after enlistment) they will be turned on automatically and they will be Commissioned (that is if IPMI was discovered and configured correctly).. This also means that every time a machine is being deployed, they will be turned on automatically.

Note that MAAS not only handles physical machines, it can also handle Virtual Machines, hence the virsh power management type. However, you will have to manually configure the details in order for MAAS to manage these virtual machines and turn them on/off automatically.

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roaksoax

I just wanted to share a few pics I was sent of the Volcano & my hometown… enjoy!

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