Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'community'

Nicholas Skaggs

Google Code In: Week One Summary

As we are now one week in, I thought I would give a little update on what's been happening inside Ubuntu for Google Code In (GCI). This is Ubuntu's first time as a GCI mentoring organization, and so far it's been a wonderful experience! I want to thank all the mentors and students who have already completed tasks for the greater Ubuntu community.

In the numbers
How about some raw numbers from the first week:

- More than 200 active students worked on tasks for ubuntu
- More than 30 mentors are lending there expertise and help on tasks
- 182 tasks were completed by students

That last number makes us the organization with the most tasks completed thus far. Amazing. It was a very busy week for everyone and the numbers help verify that. I've personally been blow away at some of the work the students have been able to accomplish already.

Details, please!
To name just a few cool tasks that have already landed, we have a wonderful new Bacon2D tutorial, HTML5 theming has gotten some love, and we've gotten some new inspired designs and bug fixes for the core apps. On the quality side of things, we've gotten new manual test runs for images and packages, the QATracker has seen a slew of long-standing bugs get fixed, and lest you think the desktop got left out, even Unity7 is receiving attention and getting bugs like this one fixed! That's on top of all the introductions in the the community, new installs, and socializing that has happened during the week.

If you are a high school student, I encourage you to check out GCI and consider participating with any of the great organizations available to mentor you in a variety of tasks. For those already a part of GCI, I invite you to check out what we have to offer within the ubuntu community. I look forward to meeting and working with you on some fun tasks.

And finally for who are ubuntu community members, it's not too late to become a mentor and be a part of this event. We are still welcoming new mentors and new tasks. Get in touch with myselfpopey, or José who can get you started.

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Nicholas Skaggs

Google Code In 2015

As you may have heard, ubuntu has been selected as a mentoring organization for Google Code In (GCI). GCI is a opportunity for high school students to learn about and participate in open source communities. As a mentoring organization, we'll create tasks and review the students work. Google recruits the students and provides rewards for those who do the best work. The 2015 contest runs from December 7, 2015 to January 25, 2016.



Are you excited?
On December 7th, we'll be gaining a whole slew of potential contributors. Interested students will select from the tasks we as a community have put forth and start working them. That means we need your help to both create those tasks, and mentor incoming students.

Mentoring!?
I know, I know, it sounds like work. And it is a bit of work, but not as much as you think. Mentors need to provide a task description and be available for questions if needed. Once the task is complete, check the work and mark the task complete. You can be a mentor for as little as a single task. The full details and FAQ can be found on the wiki. Volunteering to be a mentor means you get to create tasks to be worked, and you agree to review them as well. You aren't expected to teach someone how to code, write documentation, translate, do QA, etc, in a few weeks. Breathe easy.

You can help!
I know there is plenty of potential tasks lying in wait for someone to come along and help out. This is a great opportunity for us as a community to both gain a potential contributor, and get work done. I trust you will consider being a part of the process.

I'm still not sure
Please, do have a look at the FAQ, as well as the mentor guide. If that's not enough to convince you of the merits of the program, I'd invite you to read one student's feedback about his experience participating last year. Being a mentor is a great way to give back to ubuntu, get invovled and potentially gain new members.

I'm in, what should I do?
Contact myself, popey, or José who can add you as a mentor for the organization. This will allow you to add tasks and participate in the process. Here's to a great GCI!

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Nicholas Skaggs

I wanted to share a unique opportunity to get invovled with ubuntu and testing. Last cycle, as part of a datacenter shuffle, the automated installer testing that was occurring for ubuntu flavors stopped running. The images were being test automatically via a series of autopilot tests, written originally by the community (Thanks Dan et la!). These tests are vital in helping reduce the burden of manual testing required for images by running through the base manual test cases for each image automatically each day.

When it was noticed the tests didn't run this cycle, wxl from Lubuntu accordingly filed an RT to discover what happened. Unfortunately, it seems the CI team within Canonical can no longer run these tests. The good news however is that we as a community can run them ourselves instead.

To start exploring the idea of self-hosting and running the tests, I initially asked Daniel Chapman to take a look. Given the impending landing of dekko in the default ubuntu image, Daniel certainly has his hands full. As such Daniel Kessel has offered to help out and begun some initial investigations into the tests and server needs. A big thanks to Daniel and Daniel!

But they need your help! The autopilot tests for ubiquity have a few bugs that need solving. And a server and jenkins need to be setup, installed, and maintained. Finally, we need to think about reporting these results to places like the isotracker. For more information, you can read more about how to run the tests locally to give you a better idea of how they work.

The needed skillsets are diverse. Are you interested in helping make flavors better? Do you have some technical skills in writing tests, the web, python, or running a jenkins server? Or perhaps you are willing to learn? If so, please get in touch!


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Nicholas Skaggs

On Community Governance

Recently the Community Council formally requested Jonathan Riddell to step away from his leadership role in the Kubuntu community. For many people this came as a shock. Who are the community council? Why would they have authority over Kubuntu and Jonathan? And what did he do to deserve this?

These are all valid questions! To be clear, despite being a part of the community team at Canonical, I was not a part of this decision. Nor were my fellow team members apart from Daniel and Michael who serve on the CC. It's important to remember this decision came from the Community Council.

For my part, I'd like to talk a little about the governance structure of ubuntu as I think it's important. Regardless of what you think about the decision, Johnathan, Kubuntu, or Canonical, I think it's a good idea we answer the questions of just who is the Community Council and what authority they have within the project. I've tried to present the facts about governance as clearly as possible here to the best of my ability, but I am happily corrected.

Who are the community council?
The are a group of volunteers who were elected by all of us who are community members. Mark sits as a permanent member and acts as SABDFL. He does vet out candidates, but anyone can be nominated. The elections are open and the most recent had several candidates to choose from. At the moment, two of the seven elected members (with Mark being the permanent 8th member) are Canonical employees.

What does the community council do?
One of the biggest responsibilities of the council are to act as a mediator and arbitrator for conflict between folks within the community. In addition, they help oversee the other councils, delegate responsibilities and ensure the community upholds the Code of Conduct.

Why do we need a community council?
The community council exists to help ensure the community has a way of dealing with conflicts, resolving disputes and making hard decisions when there is otherwise no clear majority or easy answer. They also are one of the primary ways the Code of Conduct is enforced.

Should the community council have authority in this matter?
In a nutshell, yes. As the ultimate upholders in Code of Conduct violations, the community council should have authority for any such violation.

Should I blindly trust the community council?
Of course not! They are a like any other elected official and abuse of power is something we have to deal with as humans. Respect the position and authority of leaders, but never grant them a free pass. And make sure you vote!

So what about this decision?
The decision made by the CC in this case is not an easy one. That said, while I don't agree with how this decision was communicated, I do respect the authority and position of the council to weigh in on these matters. This is important! These folks deserve our respect as volunteers who freely give their time to help ubuntu!

I empathize greatly with the Kubuntu Council and community as such a decision seemingly has a large perceived effect. Perhaps the actual ramifications aren't as great as they appear? Perhaps not. I hope and trust Johnathan will continue working on KDE and kubuntu. My hope for Kubuntu is they emerge as a stronger community and continue to produce an awesome distro.

And as for my opinion on if the CC should have made this decision? Remember being a sideline observer in matters like this that you intrinsically don't have all the facts. It's easy to point fingers and assume things. Hindsight also makes it easy to say you would have made a different decision or went about it a different way. I don't envy the position of anyone in the community council. As I've not personally had the pleasure of working with Johnathan anywhere near the extent these folks have I can honestly say I don't know. But the reality is my opinion doesn't matter here. Keep in mind ubuntu is a meritocracy, and while all opinions are welcomed, not all cast equal weight.

So please respect the authority of our community governance structure. Respect those who serve on both councils. Not satisfied? We vote again on Community Council members this year! Think we should tweak/enhance/change our governance structure? I welcome the discussion! I enjoyed learning more about ubuntu governance and I challenge you to do the same before you let your emotions run with your decisions.

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Nicholas Skaggs

Sprinting in DC: Friday

This week, my team and I are sprinting with many of the core app developers and other folks inside of Ubuntu Engineering. Each day I'm attempting to give you a glimpse of what's happening.

Friday brings an end to an exciting week, and the faces of myself and those around me reflect the discussions, excitement, fun and lack of sleep this week has entailed.

Bubbles!
The first session of the day involved hanging out with the QA team while they heard feedback from various teams on issues with quality and process within there project. Always fun to hear about what causes different teams the most issues when it comes to testing.

Next I spent some time interviewing a couple folks for publishing later. In my case I interviewed Thomi from the QA team and Zoltan from the SDK team about the work going on within there teams and how the last cycle went. The team as a whole has been conducting interviews all week. Look for these interviews to appear on youtube in the coming weeks.

Thursday night while having a look through a book store, I came across an ad for ubuntu in Linux Voice magazine. It made me smile. The dream of running ubuntu on all my devices is becoming closer every day.


I'd like to thank all the community core app developers who joined us this week. Thanks for hanging out with us, providing feedback, and most of all for the creating the wonderful apps we have for the ubuntu phone. Your work has helped shaped the device and turn it into what it is today.

Looking back over the schedule there were sessions I wish I had been able to attend, and it was wonderful catching up with everyone. Sadly my flight home prevented me from attending the closing session and presumably getting a summary of some of these sessions. I can say I was delighted to talk and interact with the unity8 team on the next steps for unity8 on the desktop. I trust next cycle we as a community can do more around testing there work.

As I head to the airport for home, it's time to celebrate the release of utopic unicorn!

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Nicholas Skaggs

Sprinting in DC: Thursday

This week, my team and I are sprinting with many of the core app developers and other folks inside of Ubuntu Engineering. Each day I'm attempting to give you a glimpse of what's happening.

Today started with some UOS planning which is happening in a couple short weeks. If you haven't yet put it on your calendar, please do so! And plan to not only attend, but consider submitting a session as well. The users track might be just the place for your session. Session topics can be about anything ubuntu related you might want to share or discuss with others.

As the week has progressed I've enjoyed getting to know the core apps developers better. Today we met with all of them to hear feedback on how the projects have been going. Lots of good discussion was had discussing how things like meetings and reviews work, individual project needs and actions that could be taken to improve all of the projects. It's wonderful to have everyone in the same place and able to talk.


After lunch the QA team discussed manual testing and proposed utilizing moztrap for some of the manual testing they are undertaking as part of the CI process for ubuntu touch images. While it is too early to say what implications this will have on manual testing from a community perspective, I'm happy to see the conversation has begun around the current issues facing manual tests. I'm also happy someone else is willing to be a guinea pig for changes like this! For image testing, the qatracker has served us well and will continue to do so, but I hope in the future we can improve the experience. In fact, we have done work in this area recently, and would love to hear from anyone who wants to help improve the qatracker experience. So, whether or not a migration to moztrap occurs at some point, the future looks bright.

The core app developers also got a chance to both get and receive feedback from the SDK and design teams. The deep dives into applications like calendar were very much appreciated and I expect those suggestions will filter into the applications in the near future. As usual the core apps developers came prepared with suggestions and grievances for the SDK team, as well as praises for things done well.

Finally to end the day, we discussed developer mode on the device. Rather than talk about the history of how it was implemented, let me share with you the future. Rather than locking adb access via a password, we'll utilize certificates. The password based solution already will ensure your locked device isn't vulnerable to nefarious humans who might want to connect and steal your data or reflash your phone. However, things like passwordless sudo will be possible with using certificates. In addition if security is the bane of your existence, you will be able to enable developer mode without setting a password at all.

Whew, today was very full!

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Nicholas Skaggs

Sprinting in DC: Wednesday

This week, my team and I are sprinting with many of the core app developers and other folks inside of Ubuntu Engineering. Each day I'm attempting to give you a glimpse of what's happening.

To kick off the day, I led a session on something that has been wreaking havoc for application test writers within the core apps -- environment setup. In theory, setting up the environment to run your test should be easy. In practice, I've found it increasingly difficult. The music, calendar, clock, reminders, file manager and other teams have all been quite affected by this and the canonical QA team and myself have all pitched in to help, but struggled as well. In short, a test should be easy to launch, be well behaved and not delete any user data, and be easy to setup and feed test data into for the test process. I'm happy to report that the idea of a permanent solution has been reached. Now we must implement it of course, but the result should be drastically easier and more reliable test setup for you the test author.

I also had the chance to list some grievances for application developers with the QA team. We spoke about wanting to expand the documentation on testing and specifically targeted the need to create better templates in the ubuntu sdk for new projects. When you start a new project you should have well functioning tests, and we should teach you about how to run them too!



Just before lunch the community core app developers were able to discuss post-RTM plans and features. A review of the apps was undertaken and some desire for new designs or features were discussed. Terminal is being rebuilt to be more aligned with upstream. Music is currently undergoing a re-design which is coming along great. Calculator is anxious to get some design love. Reminders potential for offline notetaking as well as potential name changes were all discussed. Overall, an amazing accomplishment by all the developers!

After lunch, I spent time confirming the fix for a longstanding bug within autopilot. The merge proposal for fixing this bug has been simmering all summer and it's time to get it fixed. The current test suites for calendar and clock have been impacted by this and have already had regressions occur that could have been caught had tests been able to be written for this area. Having myself, the autopilot team, and the calendar developers in one place made fixing this possible.

To end the day, I spent some time attending sessions for changes to CI and learning more about the coming changes to CI within ubuntu. In summary the news is wonderful. CI will test using autopkgtest, and all of ubuntu will come under this umbrella -- phone, desktop, everything. If it's a package and it has tests, we will do all of the autopkgtest goodness currently being done for the distro.

The evening closed with a bit of fun provided by a game making hackathon using bacon2d and the hilariously horrible "Turkish Star Wars". We could always use more games in the ubuntu app store, and I hear there might even still be a pioneers t-shirt or two left if you get it in early!

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Nicholas Skaggs

Sprinting in DC: Tuesday

This week, my team and I are sprinting with many of the core app developers and other folks inside of Ubuntu Engineering. Each day I'm attempting to give you a glimpse of what's happening.

On Tuesday I was finally able to sit down with the team and plan our week. In addition I was able to plan some of the work I had in mind with the community folks working on the core apps. Being obsessed with testing, my primary goals this week are centered around quality. Namely I want to make it easier for developers to write tests. Asking them to write tests is much easier when it's easy to do so. Fortunately, I think (hope?) all of the community core apps developers recognize the benefits to tests and thus are motivated to drive maturity into the testing story.

I'm also keen to work on the manual testing story. The community is imperative in helping test images for not only ubuntu, but also all of it's flavors. Seriously, you should say thank you to those folks helping make sure your install of ubuntu works well. They are busy this week helping make sure utopic is as good as it can be. Rock on image testers! But the tools and process used weigh on my mind, and I'm keen to chat later in the week with the canonical QA team and get there feedback.

During the day I attended sessions regarding changes and tweaks to the CI process. For core apps developers, errors in jenkins should be easier to replicate after these changes. CI will be moving to utilizing adt-run (autopkgtest) for there test execution (and you should too!). They will also provide the exact commands used to run the test. That means you can easily duplicate the results on the dashboard locally and fix the issues found. No more works on my box excuses!

I also met the team responsible for the application store and gave them feedback on the application submission process. Submitting apps is already so simple, but even more cool things are happening on this front.

The end of the evening found us shuffling into cab's for a team dinner. We had a long table of folks eating Italian food and getting to know each other better.


After dinner, I pressured a few folks into having some dessert and ordered a sorbet for myself. After receiving no less than 4 fruit sorbets due to a misunderstanding, I began carving the fruits and sending plates of sorbet down the table. My testcase failed however when the plates all came back :-(



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Nicholas Skaggs

Sprinting in DC: Monday

This week, my team and I are sprinting in Washington DC with many of the core app developers and other folks inside of Ubuntu Engineering. Sprints are always busy, but the work tends to be a mix of social and technical. I get to assign names (IRC nicknames mostly) to faces as well as get to know my co-workers and other community members better.

I thought it might be useful to give writeups each day of what's going on, at least from my perspective during the sprint. I won't yammer on too much about quality and instead bring you pictures of what you really want. And some of this too. Whoops, here's one.

Pictures of people taking pictures . . .
Monday was the first day of the sprint, and also the day of my arrival! Personally I'm busy at home during this week, so it's tough to get away. That said, I can't imagine being anywhere else for the week. The sprints are a wonderful source of respite for everyone.

Monday itself consisted of making sure everything is ready for the week, planning events, and icebreakers. In typical fashion, an opening plenary set the bar for the week with notes about the progress being made on the phone as well as the future of the desktop. Lots of meetings and a few blurry jet lagged hours later, everyone was ready to sit for a bit and have some non-technical conversation!

Fortunately for us there was an event planned to meet both our social and hunger needs. After being split randomly into teams of bugs (love the play on quality), we played a bit of trivia. After each round teams were scored not only on the correct response, but also how quickly they responded. The questions varied from the obscure to fun bits about ubuntu. The final round centered around Canonical itself which was fun trip down memory lane to remember.

As I crawled into bed I still had the wonderfully cheesy announcer playing trivia questions in my head.


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