Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'ubuntu friendly'


During the Precise cycle we have been working in building a new UI for System Testing, the desktop application to test your hardware with Ubuntu and report results to Launchpad and Ubuntu Friendly.

If you are running Precise, you can test the new UI searching the Dash for “System Testing”. The new UI is now feature complete and you can start using it to test your hardware and submit your results to Friendly.

Here you can find the differences between the old UI and the new one:

Old UI


New UI

I think it looks much better, doesn’t it? The most important thing is that it builds the grounds to be able to keep making improvements to the UI, which were blocked in many cases by the old one.

Now we need to a lot of testing to make sure it is fully working when 12.04 LTS gets released. So, if you are running Precise, I encourage you to give it a try and report as many bugs as possible.

To file bugs, run the following command in a terminal:

ubuntu-bug checkbox

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As weeks go by, we are getting closer and closer to Ubuntu 11.10 release and, therefore, to Ubuntu Friendly beta release.

First of all, the website is taking shape nicely and you can already see (and use!) an alpha version of the final site.

As you can see from the screenshot, right now all systems have only 1 star. This is the minimum rate a system can get (we give 1 start because, at least, it was able to install Ubuntu on it and submit results). The reason for all the submissions so far to have only 1 star is that a bug in Checkbox was preventing for one test considered to be “core” to run properly.

Call for Testing

The mentioned bug in Checkbox is fixed in our PPA and it is now ready to be used in Oneiric. If you run Oneiric it will be really helpful if you could install Checkbox from our PPA and run the full Ubuntu Friendly suite (this is the suite that runs by default).

  • Add our PPA to your software sources
  • Install the latest version of checkbox
  • Run “System Testing” on your system and submit to Launchpad

This will help us on two sides:

  • First, you will run the latest code in trunk. We are planning to release version 0.12.8 to Oneiric in a week, so this is the last time to fix critical issues. Should you find any issues during your testing, please, file a bug against Checkbox project.
  • On the server side of things, having a lot of data will help us testing the website to make sure it works fine when 11.10 gets released. Should you find any issues on the website, please, file a bug against the Ubuntu Friendly project.

Thanks for the help and I hope you are as excited as I am about the project!

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Now we have a proper “How-to participate in Ubuntu Friendly” including a screencast on how to submit your system. We are just waiting to have a nice domain and Ubuntu 11.10 released to launch officially Ubuntu Friendly Beta!

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Wednesday came and went! I will summarize our progresses as usual.

Ubuntu Friendly website

The website is coming together very nicely. Marc, who is working on the backend, worked closely with Mike, who is working on the frontend and they were able to communicate both, send a submission and show that information on the website. The website frontend still needs some polishing, but the basics are already there and working. One of the goals of the sprint was to have a full working solution, although not feature complete. I think we are going to make it.

Apart from this real progress we also worked a bit on new wireframes. Yesterday we got a comment on a previous post about having a mobile version of the site, as people will use their phones while shopping for a new system, to check how well they are reported to work with Ubuntu. We thought that it was a very good point, so we worked on some wireframes for the mobile version of the site:

Of course, we will focus on the desktop version first. But we will try to develop a mobile version based on these mock ups after that.


On the checkbox side we are almost done for what we expect to land in Oneiric. There is just one thing left: we are about to measure how long it takes to run the full suite for Ubuntu Friendly and we will remove the less useful tests to try to cut the running time to around 15 minutes.

Once we finish with that we will upload the new version to the archive.

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Yesterday was a great day in the UF sprint and we got a lot of stuff done. I will summarize the interesting bits.

Ubuntu Friendly Website

As I said on the previous post, we still needed a way to visualize what components are working and which are not (to a certain level). To achieve that we have created a new “details” page, once you click on “more” on the configuration page.

That page will give you two pieces of information. First, it will show the complete list of components that were reported for that configuration:

On that list you will see the core components on the top (the ones we use to distinguish a configuration from another one) and a list of the rest of components found in all the units that were reported.

The second piece of information are the results that were reported per component:

On this view you will see the number of people that reported that a particular component was working and a percentage. We will have some colour code for the percentage, to have a quick visual view of it.

The “Related Bugs” tab is just a way of saying that this view could be extended in the future, but currently this is out of the scope for this release.


On the client side we also made some important progress. We finished mapping tests to components, so we can know which components are failing and which ones are passing.

We just merged our changes into checkbox trunk and we hope to have it uploaded to Oneiric early next week.

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This week, myself and other 4 members of the Ubuntu Friendly Squad are working together, face to face, to try to have a working prototype of the Ubuntu Friendly programme as a whole. I will be blogging about it during the week to share the progress with the rest of the team.

Ubuntu Friendly Website

The main focus for Monday was to get an idea of how the Ubuntu Friendly site would look like. We think that the most difficult thing to solve is having right the idea of different configurations. As a lot of people pointed out while we were presenting the programme, a model name can contain many different hardware, and work much better or worse depending on those components.

We want to find a compromise between having a UI that’s easy to understand, and having it as complete as possible. For the Ubuntu homepage this is what we came up with:

Every different configuration will be in a different line, with some details of the components that are part of it. If the user wants to know more details about a particular component, hovering over it will do the trick.

You will be able to filter by release, rating or number of results to get you to the results that you are looking for. Once one of these systems is clicked on, the details page will appear that will look like this:

For that particular configuration we will be showing the full details of the hardware, the number of results and their rating it got in the different releases. Also, a box will show similar systems. For this cycle the similar systems will be other configurations of the same model.

There is still one thing that we need to work on for the details page. We need a way to say if a particular component is working or not. But hey! we still have the rest of the week to figure it out.


Another focus for today was to have a complete whitelist that include all the components that we have agreed as part of the UF scope. We added tests for components that were on the list, and removed unrelevant tests.

We are putting our progress in a public branch at Launchpad ( We are hoping to merge to trunk and to have a new version in Oneiric by Thursday, but in the mean time you can check the new whitelist using directly that branch.

While working on the whitelist we discovered a very nasty bug in Checkbox. If you deselect some tests when starting running checkbox, start testing, then close checkbox, and start it again, the whitelist won’t be used anymore, your previous selection will be used instead. This bug affects the Ubuntu Friendly experience, so we will have it fixed before release.

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There seems to be a little bit of confusion about what the Ubuntu Friendly programme is and what it is not. People tend to think that Ubuntu Friendly is a certification programme and, because of this, they obviously don’t understand the idea behind core and extra components.

Let’s try to clarify things a bit with a small FAQ:

Is Ubuntu Friendly a certification programme?

No. Ubuntu Friendly is not a certification programme. UF is a community driven hardware validation programme. Its goal is to have a list of systems that people have tested with a particular release of Ubuntu and an associated rating, based on the results of their testing.

Let’s say is the next generation HardwareSupport wiki pages (, but with a better structure, as the tests will be written upfront, and the process to get a rating for a system will be the same for every system.

What does it mean that a system is Ubuntu Friendly?

Nothing, as there is not such concept. Ubuntu Friendly is just the name of the programme and yes, it was chosen because of the concept of a system being Ubuntu friendly (working fine with Ubuntu), but there won’t be a classification of systems that gained the Ubuntu Friendly status or not.

Instead of that, any system tested with the testing tools that we provide will make it to the Ubuntu Friendly list, with a rating associated with it. The rating will be between 0 and 5, that will give the user of the Ubuntu Friendly list an overview of how well a system works with Ubuntu and how many people have tested it.

Will this substitute the Ubuntu Certification Programme?

No. Ubuntu Friendly is not a certification programme and it won’t substitute the current Ubuntu Certification Programme. The UCP is a commercial certification programme, run by Canonical, and it will be still available for commercial partners. Opposite to the Ubuntu Friendly programme, the UCP is a go/no-go decision. A system is certified with Ubuntu or it is not, there are no ratings. To be certified with Ubuntu the system must pass all the tests specified in the UCP coverage list.

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Yesterday we had our first meeting to start nailing down the Ubuntu Friendly programme. It was a great meeting, with lots of participation from both Canonical and non Canonical people.

Meeting logs and summary are available at the wiki.

One of the things that was agreed was the final separation of core and extra components.  The final list looks like (the tick represents a core component):

This list is the final list for Ubuntu 11.10 and was mainly based on a survey we conducted within the Ubuntu Friendly community.

We will improve coverage and might modify core components for future releases based on the feedback we get in the first Ubuntu Friendly release.

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Picture by madame_furie

One of the decisions that we took when defining the Ubuntu Friendly process was that we would distinguish between a core component and an extra component. A submission received with a failing core component would get a rating of zero (who wants to buy a bike with broken pedals?), and a submission with all its core components working would get a rating of 3 out of 5. The extra 2 points will be gained with working extra components.

But the question is, which components of a system should be considered core components?

This is a tricky question, as it will depend a lot of the uses a person gives to a system. But, in the end, we all have to take decisions, so we can make things happen. Obviously, core components in desktops won’t be the same ones as in laptops/netbooks, as their uses are completely different.

We have also to take into account that a system with all its core components will only get a 3 out of 5 from those core components, so it is totally OK to leave outside of the core components an important one, as it will only mean that if it fails, the system won’t get a 5 out of 5. For example, for a laptop I would consider wireless a core component. I just can’t imagine using a laptop (if it comes with a wireless card) if the wireless network is not working. But I can imagine using  a laptop where the wired ethernet card is not working. I would consider the wired network an extra component for a laptop. Obviously, the perfect laptop will have both working, that’s why we would need both working to be able to reach a rating of 5 out of 5.

So, what are your ideas? What components are vital for your laptop/netbook? What components in your desktop you couldn’t live without? Comments welcome!

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Picture by stefanvds

Last week, current members of the Ubuntu Friendly Control gather together and we took the opportunity to discuss some of the Ubuntu Friendly processes. One of the biggest questions that we wanted to answer was what it meant for a system to be Ubuntu Friendly. How and where should we draw the line between an Ubuntu Friendly system and the rest of systems. After a very good discussion and brainstorming we came up with a different solution: we wouldn’t draw that line.

The basic idea from where we will define the way a system is tested and have an Ubuntu Friendly rating is the division between core components and extra components. What is a core component or an extra component we care about will be decided later in the process.


Ubuntu Friendly tests will be grouped by the component that they test. In order for a submission to be consider valid and accepted in our rating system, all the tests that cover the core components should have been tested (either pass or fail, but tested).

If a submission does not contain results for ALL tests that cover, the system will reject that submission and it won’t count for Ubuntu Friendly status.

Once that the core components have been covered, the submission will be accepted.


Rating per submission

The rating for a particular accepted submission (at least all tests for core components) will be determined by the number of components that passed or failed. The rating will be between 0 and 5.

If any of the tests that cover the core components failed, the submission will get a value of 0. Even if any of the extra components worked.

If the all the tests that cover the core components passed, the submission gets a rating of 3.

The two remaining points to get to a rating of 5 are covered by the extra components with a simple rule of three. If a system does not have any extra components, and, again, all tests covering core components passed, the submission will receive a rating of 5.


We have a list of 10 core components (UFC) and 7 extra components (UFE) that we care about. Any other component we will list it as additional component (AC).

System Components Pass Results Rating
Laptop1 6UFC, 3UFE, 0AC 5/6 UFC, 3/3 UFE 0
Laptop2 10UFC, 4UFE, 3AC 10/10 UFC, 1/4 UFE 3.5
Desktop1 7UFC, 5UFE, 1AC 7/7 UFC, 5/5 UFE 5
Netbook1 4UFC, 1UFE, 0AC 4/4 UFC, 0/1 UFE 3

Global rating per system

The global rating for a particular system will be the average of all the submission for that particular system.

Ubuntu Friendly Website

Each release of Ubuntu will get its own list. By default, the list shown will be for the latest release of Ubuntu.

Systems will be ordered by global rating first, and number of submission after.

Systems with very bad rating will also appear in the list. There will be no boarder line to call a system Friendly or not, it will be just a rating systems


Ubuntu 11.04 Friendly

Latitude 2120             4.3   (30 submissions)
Vostro                    4.3   (13 submissions)
Acer EeePC                3.2   (40 submissions)
Mac Book Pro              2.9   (3  submissions)
WinPro Laptop             0.3   (50 submissions)


The representation of the ratings will be graphical (stars, bars, etc). Clicking on any of the results will give us the details of each of the submissions.

People will be able to filter by model, type of system, minimum rating, etc.

Giving Feedback on Results

Any user will be able to give feedback and comments for a particular system without needing to run the tests. The feedback will be things like “bluetooth is supposed to be working, but it is not working for me”. These comments will be showed on the details of a particular system, but they won’t affect the actual rating of the system.

Waiting on your comments!

As in previous processes and thoughts about Ubuntu Friendly, we are looking to get as much feedback as possible, and this part of Ubuntu Friendly is no different. Please, join us in the Ubuntu Friendly Squad and have your say!

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Picture by Javier Mcallan

One of the things that we will need to discuss and decide to run the Ubuntu Friendly programme is what makes a particular system Ubuntu Friendly. Obviously, one of the ways to do this is to make the Ubuntu Friendly Control review the submissions that are considered complete and correct and determine whether those results are enough to consider the system Ubuntu Friendly.

This, obviously, scale badly if the number of submissions grow to a number that make the revisions of submissions the bottleneck of the programme.

The other option, that I think we should explore is create a way to auto regulate results, partly manually and partly automatically. Think On that site, people asking questions can accept or reject answers from people, answers can be voted up or down, etc. The same way, I foresee an Ubuntu Friendly site where people from the Ubuntu Friendly Squad could:

  • Reject results that are incomplete or invalid
  • Vote up results that are complete
  • Ask for more information to the tester, if some discrepancies are found
  • etc.

With this information, an algorithm could then decide whether a particular system is Ubuntu Friendly or not. The details of that decision would always be public. For example:

Thinkpad 420s is Ubuntu Friendly.
Details: 5 positive results (3 voted up), 1 negative result (1 voted down, 1 incomplete).

Of course, at any point, members of the Ubuntu Friendly Control could override the algorithm decision, and remove a system from the list of Ubuntu Friendly if necessary.

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Some weeks ago we announced the Ubuntu Friendly programme, a new community driven HW validation programme. We had at UDS a couple of sessions about it and we were very happy to see that a lot of people were interested in participating.

I am happy to announce today that we have created the Ubuntu Friendly Squad team to start participating in the programme.  This programme is on its very early stages and almost everything needs to be implemented and organized. People joining the team at this stage are people willing to work in shaping the idea behind the programme, its tools, its governance, etc. If you prefer to wait until the programme is more organized, that’s totally fine: Ubuntu Friendly Squad will always be open to join, we just decided to create the team a bit earlier, as there were many people at UDS willing to participate. The team has a mailing list to start discussing what needs to be done to kick it off, so make sure to subscribe and start the discussions. I have also created a project in Launchpad, to be able to use it to organize our tasks and tools.

One of our first tasks will be discussing how people in the Ubuntu Friendly Squad can be part of Ubuntu Friendly Control, the administrator of the programme, and propose that to the Community Council.



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Discontinuing Ubuntu Ready

If a user goes to the Ubuntu certification site, what he or she will find, apart from a list of certified systems, two different types of certification Ubuntu Certified and Ubuntu Ready.

Having two commercial hardware validation programs confuses the customer, as it is quite difficult to understand the differences between the two. For this, an other problems with the programme, we have decided to discontinue the Ubuntu Ready programme in 11.10.

Presenting Ubuntu Friendy

Instead of just removing Ubuntu Ready, we would like to start a non-commercial new hardware validation programme, created by Canonical, and with co-ordination with the rest of the community. This new programme is called Ubuntu Friendly (although the name might change).

The great thing about this new Ubuntu programme is that it will be completely community driven. There won’t be any commercial requirements for systems to be Ubuntu Friendly.

Although all the specifics of the programme will be discussed at UDS Oneiric, the basic ideas of the programme are:

  • Anyone will be able to test their systems and provide test results.
  • Anyone will be able to review and provide feedback on the results (something like triaging bugs in the Bugsquad). All the test results will be public (except those made it private by the certifiers)
  • Only a small subset of people (certifiers) will be able issue the Ubuntu Friendly certificate, based on results (in the same way Bug Control is a subset of the Bugsquad that have more permissions to work with Ubuntu bugs). There will be a formal and specified way to apply to be a certifier.
  • Many positive results (and not just one) for a given model and hardware configuration will be needed to mark the system as Ubuntu Friendly.
  • All the client tools to test Ubuntu, and the tests themselves, will be open source.

UDS Oneiric

Most of the specifics of the programme will be discussed during UDS Oneiric, during two sessions, on Wednesday:

This blueprint will contain the work needed to be done in terms of the programme itself: description of the programme, governance, etc.

This blueprint will contain the work needed to be done in terms of the technical infrastructure that is required to make the programme possible: testing tools, backend infrastructure, etc.

If you are interested in hardware validation and would like to share your ideas and make this project possible, feel free to subscribe to the blueprint and attend the sessions at UDS. And remember that remote participation is also possible!

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