Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'ubuntu'

Nicholas Skaggs

Recently we've been on a campaign to help increase the amount of automated tests we have for ubuntu. Specifically the effort is focused around helping out our community developers on the core apps project. The core apps project is building the core applications for ubuntu touch. Excellent stuff, all being done by the community!

The "testing all the things" blog series is currently covering each of these core applications and ends with a call to help the development teams. I've linked to tutorials like this and this on autopilot providing what you need to know. But sometimes seeing is understanding, and a helping hand can go a long way.

With that in mind, I am announcing a series of workshops to help you gather the skills needed to write automated tests. You can help contribute with just your ubuntu pc, writing and running tests without needing phone hardware! We're going to focus on autopilot, and for the moment the ubuntu core apps. I'll try and alternate to host them at timezone friendly times for everyone (granted I do have to sleep at some point too!). Here's the schedule, with links to the event on G+ page.

Tomorrow!, Wednesday July 3rd at 1800 UTC
Friday July 5th at 1300 UTC
Tuesday July 9th at 1800 UTC
Thursday July 11th at 2200 UTC

The workshops will take place in #ubuntu-quality and will all last an hour (but I won't leave you hanging if we need more time!). I'll host g+ hangouts and provide one on one help as needed to anyone writing tests. See you at the workshops!

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Nicholas Skaggs

In honor of the closing of google reader, I thought I would highlight another core application that needs some attention; namely the RSS Reader, with a proper name Shorts. If your already bored and yawning (RSS is dead, long live RSS), have a look at the design's recently shared by the design team as well as the original post with the user stories. Seems like RSS might not be so dead (or look it!)!

Yes, I still use RSS feeds, mainly as a news aggregator. In many ways honestly RSS feeds have long replaced my idea of bookmarking things. Bookmarks are general stale old content that never updates, is never refreshed and is eventually just purged. The ideas shown in the design of Shorts are great and the development team has a wonderful task ahead of them of implementing them.


With the development team focused on getting the code written, it's our opportunity to help out by adding testcases for there work. For instance, simple things like adding, editing, and removing a rss feed all need tested. The testcases are ready and waiting for you to add a test!

Consider helping the shorts developers get everything in shape. Grab the rss reader branchadd a testcase from the list of needsfollow the tutorial for help if needed, and propose a merge. Thanks for helping to ensure quality for ubuntu touch!

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Nicholas Skaggs

Coming off a lovely weekend, it's time we turned our attention to an app on the lighter side. Anyone up for a game of sudoku?


Sudoku is an example of a simple logic game that can be learned easily enough yet has the staying power to intrigue me to continue to play it. Dinko Osmankovic and the rest of the Sudoku Touch developers have created a version for ubuntu touch to fill those critical mundane moments of the day -- waiting for a train or having your morning coffee. Or perhaps if your like me, fighting insomnia (yikes!).

Apparently using the show hints button to play the entire game makes me a cheat.
So, while it seems the game is smart enough to slap me for trying to cheat my way through, it needs some testcases! Looking at the buglist, there are seven tasty bugs with your potential name on them. This is testing at it's finest! It's rare to count playing a game as helping ubuntu -- but in this case, you would be right!
Themes support!
Consider helping the sudoku touch developers as the game and it's features mature.  Grab the sudoku branch, add a testcase from the list of needs, follow the tutorial for help if needed, and propose a merge. Thanks for helping to ensure quality for ubuntu touch!

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Nicholas Skaggs

With the announcement of MIR being the default display server for 13.10, many folks rightly wonder if it will be stable and ready to ship by then. Well, as part of ensuring that will be the case, I'd like to announce that XMir will become part of the bi-weekly cadence testing we as a community team undertake. Week 2 begins this Saturday and will include XMir testing.

The testcases we'll be using at the moment are basic smoke tests to check the overall state of XMir. As the cycle wears on our goal is to perform a full regression test for XMir against the normal Xorg server to make sure everything is super smooth. The goal is for someone running ubuntu saucy to not even realize something has changed with the display server. So ready to help?

Check out this page to learn about how to install Mir. Those same instructions are linked from the testcase itself. Run through the tests listed and report your results. Make sure your logged in or you won't be able to report anything :-)

New to cadence testing or the tracker? Here's some links you might find useful:

Understanding how to use the QATracker
Understanding how to perform a cadence test

There's video versions too!

QATracker
Cadence Testing
 
Thanks for helping test ubuntu! Your willingness to live on the edge and test ensure others of proper functioning software in the stable release.

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Nicholas Skaggs

A good calendar is essential to me. I'm liable to forget almost everything about my day except eating :-) Things like day of the week and month are important details I definitely rely on a calendar for (I can usually get the month right!).

Fortunately for me (and you!), there is a core app that provides a handy Calendar. Michael Hall featured this application a few weeks ago on his blog covering a development rundown of the application. It covers the list of features nicely. In a word, there's a lot of neat stuff to test in there.

Looking at the buglist of needs there are only 2 showing in-progress -- plenty of room for someone to help out by testing each one of the different views. Monthly, daily, weekly; accessed via swiping.

" Swiping left and right on the month will take you back or forward a month at a time.  Swiping left or right on the bottom half will take you back and forward a day at a time.

Pull the event area down and let it go, and the month will collapse down into a single week. Now swiping left and right there will move you back and forward a week at a time.  Pull down and let it go again and it will snap back to showing the full month.
Finally, you have an option in the toolbar (swipe up from the bottom edge) to switch from an event list to a timeline view of your events."

Are you dizzy yet?

These seamless transitions could use some cool testcases! At the moment, the app is seeing it's first merge requests being made by Carla Sella and Kunal Parmar. The team has faced some issues with uncovering some unique requirements for autopilot, which have now been fixed. Excellent work both of you!

Consider helping Carla, Kunal and the ubuntu calendar developers as the application and it's features mature.  Grab the calendar branch, add a testcase from the list of needs, follow the tutorial for help if needed, and propose a merge. Thanks for helping be a part of ubuntu!


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Nicholas Skaggs

I couldn't help but start with one of the core apps I consider essential (to me anyway!) on my phone, a terminal. The terminal app being developed for ubuntu has some wonderful features built with a touch interface in mind. One of the biggest issues with touch is having a terminal ready keyboard with things like page up and down, arrow keys, and not to mention being able to use keyboard shortcuts like ctrl+d, ctrl+z, ctrl+c, etc. This has been handled rather elegantly with a long tap menu as you can see below, in addition to a panel that optionally appears at the top of the application.


Dmitry Zagnoyko has already landed a few tests for some of the features present, as you can see below. Execellent work Dmitry! A basic testcase exists now for each of the panels and the circle menu.



Help Dmitry and the terminal app team make sure all the features work properly for you upon release. Get involved and add a test. The initial setup work has already been done, and there are existing testcases already written. Grab the terminal branch, add a testcase from the list of needs, follow the tutorial for help if needed, and propose a merge.


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Nicholas Skaggs

As a quality community team, we've been continuing to make progress this cycle on automating our testcases, especially the new applications that are being written for ubuntu touch. These 'core apps' are being written by other community members for the next generation of ubuntu.

We're also making progress on our desktop applications and automating the ubiquity installer. With that in mind, I'm going to start a little blog series highlighting a package a day for automating. I'll dub it rather unoriginally "Testing All The Things". My goal is to showcase the wonderful work going on with testing this cycle in ubuntu, but also to encourage you dear reader to get involved in helping us. All areas of ubuntu (flavors too!) can benefit from some robot friends helping test the packages they work on and utilize.

But you don't need to wait to see your favorite app hit the list. Hit up the tutorials below for information to dive in and help us!


Core Apps Test Wiki
Writing an autopilot test for ubuntu sdk applications
QML Autopilot Tutorial with example application

Autopilot Tests Project
Writing an autopilot test for desktop applications 


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Nicholas Skaggs

Given all recent love and excitement for autopilot I wanted to share the QA community's progress on writing autopilot tests for, celebrate our successes and let everyone know where we still need help.

First let's talk about the ubuntu-autopilot-tests project. As part of the hackfests held at the end of May/early June we were able to complete the transition to autopilot 1.3 of the ubuntu desktop autopilot tests. Thanks to all of the contributors and hackers for helping on this! In addition, we now have a production branch, and the canonical platform QA team is working on adding them to the official smoke testing each day, Great work everyone! That said, tests are still needed, and in some cases the testcases are still basic and not covering many of the application features. There is still room for you to be invovled! Of note is the on-going work to automated our image testing via the UI.

Next, let's talk about the core apps. Last Thursday we held a hackfest to help kickstart testcases for all of these projects. So let's take a look at how far we've come in a week. As a reminder, testcase contributions to any of the core apps is very much appreciated -- there is still a need for you to come alongside and help write tests!

Calculator
There are already several testcases merged in with the main branch, but as one of the most feature complete applications, work and help is still needed in this area. There are currently 6 open bugs for tests needed here. This is a great application to contribute to for someone new to autopilot!

Calendar
There are two pending merge requests and the work is underway towards knocking out the rest of the testcases needed.

Clock/Alarm
The clock team has jumped in headfirst to help with testcases.  You can view the status of the remaining tests needed here.

Doc Viewer
I started on a branch for this and the basic infrastructure is in place. Branch the application. Grab a copy of the emulator, pick a bug and write your test. This app needs you!

File Manager
The first merge and test is in review. But there's still more tests to be written. Have a look at the list of needed tests.


RSS Reader
Ready and waiting! Check out the list of bugs and have at it! The basic structure is already in place. Simply grab a copy of the emulator, pick a bug and write your test. This app needs you!

Terminal
The first merge request has just been approved and landed for terminal autopilot tests. But there's more features to be tested in this awesome app. Grab something off the list and go. The setup work is already done.

Music
Ready and waiting! Check out the list of bugs and have at it! The basic structure is already in place. Simply grab a copy of the emulator, pick a bug and write your test. This app needs you!

Weather
Half of the initial testcases have been started and the first merges are being proposed. Rock on Martin!

Remember you can always view the big master list of all the open tests here. We've got a bit of work ahead of us! Be a part of the team. Grab an open bug from the list above or contact me for help and I'll make sure you get invovled!

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Nicholas Skaggs

A couple weeks ago we announced the initiative to drive up our autopilot (that is, automated) tests for our ubuntu touch core apps. The core apps are being made with the ubuntu sdk, and thus share the same language (QML) and toolkit (ubuntusdk).

With this in mind I wanted to provide an emulator, which in autopilot speak, is a utility class for writing autopilot tests that use the ubuntu SDK. The goal is to help accelerate the process for getting the testcases written, as well as standardizing best practices for testing common features. At the moment the emulator contains useful functions like tab switching, selecting from popovers, opening and closing the toolbar and clicking toolbar buttons. Please, take a look and utilize the emulator when you are contributing new tests for the ubuntu touch applications. For the moment, the emulator can be found here:

lp:~nskaggs/+junk/ubuntusdk_autopilot_emulator

The future home is hopefully in the SDK itself, but for now consider that branch your source for emulator goodness. Now, a quick FAQ.

Is it ready for use?
Yes, it's ready and tested on several core apps now including clock, calendar, terminal, and file manager. That said if you find an issue, simply contact me or propose an improvement!

How do I use it?
Inside your autopilot test subfolder, add an emulators folder if it's not already present. Next, branch my source above -- it will add ubuntusdk.py to the folder. Simply incorporate it into your __init__.py or testcase itself and call the utility functions with ubuntusdk.*. For an example check out the ubuntu-terminal-app and the merge request from today. It shows adding autopilot tests to an empty branch. In addition, the emulator (albeit an earlier version) was used in the tutorial on the ubuntu app developer portal.

Will it be updated?
Yes! Expect refinements and tweaks as we go along. Hopefully a true "stable and complete" version will appear in the not too distant feature when the emulator itself has a proper home. In the meantime, use it and as more complex tests are added, expect to update the emulator in the source branch you are working in.

Go forth and write tests!

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Nicholas Skaggs

QATracker Survey + bonus mockup

Hot on the heels of our first cadence week, I wanted to take the opportunity to collect feedback about the tools we as a community utilize. Specifically the QATracker which we heavily rely on for managing our work, testcases and results. From the wiki, "The QATracker is the master repository for all our our testing within ubuntu QA. It holds our testcases, records our results, and helps coordinate our testing events."

This is a link to a brief survey asking a few simple questions about how you've used the tool. All your responses are anonymous, but I will publish the aggregate question information and share it with the community once completed. The goal is to help ensure the tool is meeting our needs and is being utilized.

I'll leave the survey up until June 24th. My hope is to encourage more folks to help test as well as make it more enjoyable for those already taking part. I want to ensure our tools and processes continue to evolve, strengthen and become more robust for everyone as we continue on our mission. Part of that is making sure the tools we use are enjoyable!

Thanks in advance everyone!

As a bonus, Pasi, aka knome, has put together some mockups on how we might be able to switch what the results page looks like. This is perhaps the most utilized page of the site, so without further ado, here's a mockup of some changes proposed to make it more usable:

Old Site
New Site Mockup


What a change eh? The add test results has been moved to the sidebar and simplified, the bugs listing has been written out, and the results have been moved to the top. Finally the links have also been moved to the sidebar and Pasi has updated the icons ;-)

SO, what does everyone think about the changes? Many thanks to Pasi for putting this together! Leave a comment, a message on the mailing list, or reflect your thoughts in the survey.

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Nicholas Skaggs

Join the ubuntu quality community team's effort this week! As a community we test different things about every ~2 weeks in ubuntu, and share the results to flesh out bugs and problem areas.

So what's up for testing this week? The daily images, the default applications in ubuntu and a new version of the sound stack for testing.

Ready to help? Full details are here.

Need some help on how to contribute? Have a look at this page and the walkthroughs listed. Of particular interest is the ISO testing and Cadence Week testing walkthroughs.

Do note that you don't need anything special to participate in cadence week testing! Both an installed version of the development branch of ubuntu (aka saucy) in a VM or on a real box, or even a live session of the latest daily image will work. For more information on how to use a live session to test, check out the Cadence Week testing walkthrough or watch the youtube video of the same.
Happy Testing!

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Nicholas Skaggs

A few months ago the ubuntu touch core apps project was launched. For those of you following along with Michael's regular updates have gotten to see these applications grow up rather quickly.

Autopilot Says: How can I help?
Now it's time to add some more testing around these applications as they have reached a basic functional level of usability. Automated testing via autopilot to the rescue!

To help kickstart this process we've put together a recipe for writing autopilot tests specific to QML applications and added it to developer.ubuntu.com. In addition, we'll be hosting a hackfest next week on June 13th to help add basic autopilot testcases for each of the core apps. Folks will be on-hand ready to field your questions and hack together on the autopilot testcases needed for the applications. Join us and help support the wonderful community of application developers making awesome applications for ubuntu!

So how can you help? 
  1. First, go read through the recipe on writing autopilot tests for QML applications. It's also a good idea to have a look through the official tutorial for autopilot and bookmark the API reference link so it's handy.
  2. Armed with your new knowledge, start hacking on some autopilot tests for the core apps. Here's a list of core applications along with the status of autopilot tests. Choose something that looks interesting to you and add some tests.
  3. Follow the contributing guide to help you get your work contributed into the ubuntu touch core application project you chose.
  4. Finally come out to the hackfest! It's your chance to share your work, ask questions, get your tests sorted and merged and socialize and meet other members of the community.
  5. Don't forget there is a wonderful quality community you can be a part of and get help from if you get stuck! There's a mailing list for ubuntu-touch, and ubuntu-quality as well as IRC channels #ubuntu-touch, #ubuntu-autopilot and #ubuntu-quality. Use these resources to help you!
See you next week and happy testing!

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Nicholas Skaggs

Consider this text your giant disclaimer. Just a reminder these images are not intended for end-users; please don't go flashing your device thinking you'll have a replacement for android. These images are intended for developers, enthusiasts and testers who want to help. If this describes you, please read on!

I'm happy to announce the ubuntu touch images are now available for testing on the isotracker. And further, the images are now raring based! As such, the ubuntu touch team is asking for folks to try out the new images on there devices and ensure they are no regressions or other issues.




There are 4 product listings representing each of the officially supported devices; grouper (nexus 7), maguro (galaxy nexus), mako (nexus 4), and manta (nexus 10). You can help by installing the new images following the installation instructions, and then reporting your results on the isotracker. If your device has never run a developer preview image for ubuntu touch, you might need to read and follow the steps on the touch wiki first.


There are handy links for download and bug information at the top of the testcases to help you out. If you do find a bug, please use the instructions to report it and add it to your result. Never used the tracker before? Take a look at this handy guide or watch the youtube version.

Once all the kinks and potential issues are worked out (your feedback requested!) the raring based images will become the default, and moving forward, the team will continue to provide daily images and participate in testing milestones as part of the 's' cycle.

As always please contact me if you run into issues, or have a question.
Thank you in advance for your help, and happy testing everyone!

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Nicholas Skaggs

Filling the Gaps

I wanted to post briefly about the work that has been going on at the end of the cycle in the ubuntu quality team. Yes, we're testing the final images! Yes, it's been a wild ride that is nearing the finish! Yes, you can help contribute results! (And as we'll see below, you can help write tools too!)

But more than all of that, several team members have stepped out of there comfort zones and went to work on one of the testing tools we as a team utilize. The tool is called "Testdrive" and is written in python. Now, one of the great things I love to espouse on about with QA is the opportunity to work on many different things. There are needs to fit all interests, and if you are willing, the capability to learn.

In this instance, there is an opportunity to learn a little python and to work with a new team to help keep a testing tool alive. I'm happy to see that the same tool that was rendered broken in January by updates is now alive and well, with brand new contributors, fresh patches and even a release! Many thanks to smartboyhw, noskcaj, SergioMeneses, phillw, and the others who have reached out to ensure the tool that ships in raring still works. Thanks as well to the testdrive development team for engaging with us, reviewing merge proposals, and helping to ensure testdrive still works.

I look forward to a bright feature of new and improved testing tools. Specifically to those who contributed patches, with your new coding abilities, I can't wait to see what will happen next cycle! *wink, wink*

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Nicholas Skaggs

The quality team invites you to a testing event for the final beta iso images. We'll be providing real-time help (IRC, or even one on one video hangouts if needed), encouraging you to download the final beta images, install, upgrade and test them out with us. You only need yourself, a machine (virtual or real!) and a bit of willingness to learn. We'll even be broadcasting for part of the event on ubuntuonair. So here's the details you need to know:

Tuesday April 2nd, 2013

  • 1800 UTC - 2200 UTC 
    • Quality team members are dedicated to hanging out in #ubuntu-quality executing testcases and helping answer questions
  •  2000 UTC: 
    • We'll be streaming live on ubuntuonair doing live testing demos and offering help
      • Basic iso test install
      • More exotic examples -- netboot, server, non-english
      • Your requests!


Interested? Great, mark the time and date on your calendar and check out the tutorial here to get a leg up on what you'll be doing during the event.


Can't make the 4 four window? Don't worry! Give testing a whirl anyways, and feel free to ask on #ubuntu-quality, and our mailing list for help.

See you on Tuesday!





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Nicholas Skaggs

As discussed and planned, Smart Scopes have landed! Unity 7 too is landing, with many more features around getting 100 scopes installed, privacy, and dash improvements. For details on what Unity 7 is bringing, check out this post.

In support of the Unity changes, the Unity development team is asking for some extra testing on these specific features. So, we've updated and added a new testcase to our unity suite for these smart scopes. Pay attention to the cases marked mandatory and optional. The testcases relating to the smart scopes have all been marked as mandatory, and are the essential tests to run. That said, it doesn't hurt to run through the optional cases if you have time. We don't like regressions either :-)

So, here's what you need to know!

Never done a call for testing before? Read/Watch this first!; Call for testing walkthrough

Install the new unity from a ppa; Installation Instructions
 
Load the testcases and select one; Unity 7 Testing

Read the testcase, perform the actions listed and record your results.

If you run into any issues, please file a bug

Finally, please note the changelogs and build status found on the tracker, as well as any known bugs while testing. New builds will continue to trickle in over the next few days with new changes coming in. I'd encourage you to test and then re-test later in the week to follow-up on bugs you find, or test the new things that land.

As always please contact me if you run into issues, or have a question.
Thank you in advance for your help, and happy testing everyone!

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Nicholas Skaggs

I wanted to write a post about the excitement of the new platform and the wonderful new challenges we face ahead of us. Now, given that this platform is being written right now from the ground up, those with a nose for quality instantly perk up. We love well tested applications, and developing with tests in mind from the start is much easier than attempting to retrofit. Seeing the first fruits of the developer effort is very exciting -- good work everyone!

So with that in mind, I started looking at some of the excellent work the core apps teams are doing with there applications. They've been working with the design community to turn the nice mockups into reality. I took the liberty of checking out and running some of the first versions of these applications. The calculator is one that stood out to me as already closing in on its specification. So armed with some of the design conversation for the calculator, I started a branch to create a set of manual tests for ubuntu touch applications, starting with the calculator. If you are interested in quality, now is the time to be involved! The applications can all be installed and run on your phone or even a ubuntu desktop.

So what can you do?

If you're a tester;

If you're a developer and have questions on writing tests for your application, feel free to contact me. I would love to see not only nice unit test driven code, but also some end user tests via autopilot, and I want to make sure you as a developer have the resources to do so. In addition, we as a quality community are happy to help test with you and write some manual tests to do so for your application.

I'm helping!


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Nicholas Skaggs

After being away and enjoying some lovely downtime, I've returned to the online world to be met with the rush of a virtual UDS, a rolling release announcement, and a new windowing stack announcement. With the discussion advancing and the UDS sessions completed, it's time to weigh in and speak my thoughts as well.

I'd like to stare down the scarecrow -- that is, let us examine the straw man argument of a rolling release.



On a rolling release
I am definitely in favor of streamlining what we ship and support. The inter-LTS releases in general only make sense to run until the next one arrives. From a quality perspective, I really like what we've done with precise. I think it's an excellent solid base and the point releases we've done keep it relevant and offer a really nice way to get the latest stuff and keep a stable and long-term supported system.

As for a rolling release with LTS's sprinkled in, I have run a rolling release distro in the past (alongside ubuntu). I definitely enjoyed having access to the latest stuff, and having everyone on the same archive all the time (community-wise) kept us tighter and more able to relate and help each other. Overall, I think the pros outweigh the cons on moving towards it, but I have several caveats with the current approach.
  • Monthly snapshots
    • As Colin Watson put it, if we're presumbly releasing and testing a monthly snapshot, we failed in a rolling release sense -- we don't have daily quality.
    • In general, I don't see a target audience for a monthly snapshot. Why can't we create an installer image (do full testing milestone on it), then call it gold for a long period (until new installer changes we want to bring in, which require us making a new image). In other words, I would like to see us only generating new images for an actual release (in this case only LTS's), or for a new installer. (Note that I mean supported images (in any sense), not just an image for testing)
  • Quasi-rolling mentatility
    • It seems like we want to support the idea of users running a snapshot of our archive on a certain date, and then only update at certain days and times
      • This is insane fragmentation and defeats the purpose of being a rolling release. People should strive to run up-to-date systems, and always be current. For us, we need to ensure the archive is always upgradeable so they can do so
  • LTS point-releases
    • Continue and enhance point-releases for LTS to keep regular flows of new, well supported and stable software
      • This was discussed and well noted in discussions and at UDS. As I mentioned, I really like how precise is going, and we can continue and bolster these efforts even more in a rolling world.

On flavors
I will prefix everything I say here with the fact I have never put together and supported a flavor, but I most certainly have enjoyed utilizing them, and working with members of the community who focus there efforts on them.

I was able to catch the end of the UDS session on flavors and had an excellent discussion with some folks from xubuntu and kubuntu. Thanks to those folks who helped provide some flavor feedback on the proposal.

I would like to challenge the flavors to engage in healthy discussions about how there release process works, how to serve the needs of there users, and how to make the best use of there time and resources. I'm sure this type of introspection happens in each flavor on a regular basis, but I'd like to call special attention to how releases work.

Last cycle, ubuntu adopted a cadence for driving quality into the daily images. This work has been on-going since precise really, and rick's idea's for a rolling model continue this line of thinking. If you'll ask the community folks who helped be a part of these cadences, they can tell you it was a challenging change, but we're really hitting our stride now. The constant iterations on how we test and what we do I think had been extremely positive towards helping quality make a bigger impact.

With that in mind, our release processes shouldn't be exempted from this. QA (and development :-) ) efforts are seen as linked to the current release process, resulting in chaos if you are radical enough to unlink them. So what options (in my opinion!) of course exist for a flavor in this new world?
  • LTS only
    • Some flavors have already gone to an LTS only model, and I think it's been extremely helpful for those who've done so, in terms of what they can focus on without worrying about supporting lots of releases.
  • Rolling only
    • You can chose to go full force into a rolling release, and eschew LTS's altogether
  • 2 year "normal" releases
    • You could choose to simply push a new image out every 2 years (like an LTS), but without long term support. Instead, consider supporting until the next (2-years or so) release.
  • Keep things as-is
    • As kubuntu and others have shown this cycle by not adopting a cadence for testing, you can keep the traditional model in place. The buildbots are still there, the testing tools still exist, and the knowledge and experience in releasing on a 6 month cadence is there. Remember, ubuntu itself has synced from upstream debian every 6 months; a flavor could choose to do the same with ubuntu.
Now of all these options, at this point I would personally recommend adopting the LTS only model. Work with and sync your development to your upstream project and land your work in the rolling release. Release an LTS as normal and deliver timely point release updates to the LTS. There is nothing stopping you from even delivering these point releases every 6 months (or a different timetable!), emulating the current process but with a stable ubuntu LTS base and a simplified upgrade process.

On some alternative ideas

6-8? month-stable releases between LTS

Not a bad idea for retaining the flavor of the current system. Indeed, if you really like the idea of monthly snapshots and updating, this is probably the better way to do it. However I don't think it solves any issues for an OEM or for flavors. Namely, the release support timeline is too short for an OEM to base an image on, while for flavors, it would force an even faster cadence and churn upon users. I also don't see a target audience for it. Who would run this, but not run a rolling? Folks who want stability couldn't adopt such a small supported time-frame, and I feel like our efforts to test and release would be wasted as we throw it away as soon as the next stable is out.

Don't change anything!
This idea is just a knee-jerk reaction to change. Unless you feel like our last release was the pinnacle of perfection (I don't), we should be evaluating how we do things, iterate and try and do them better. 

On quality in a rolling release
I want to talk specifically about quality as that's what is dearest to me. How do you ensure quality in a rolling release world?
 
First, I would like to challenge you on what you mean by quality. Is older software better quality than newer software? Age != quality, even though we often traverse down that slippery slope. I wrote about this before, but simply put how we define quality is subjective. For the sake of comparison here, let's talk about quality as having a desktop that just works. That is, your hardware works and the applications and software running on it enables you to accomplish your tasks without issue.

So, with that in mind, how does that work in a rolling release? If you've run the development versions of ubuntu in the past, there have been times where a bad package may have rendered your system unbootable. For any user trying to run this as there daily system, it's obvious that level of 'quality' doesn't work. But at the same time, I've found bugs running the development version of ubuntu that cause actual crashes (see this for example), yet have little impact (if any) on my system working properly to enable me to accomplish my tasks. So how can we define quality metrics (and we should!) for each release? Here's a quick summary of my expectations in extremely simple terms:
  • LTS
    • No issue that hinders or prevents utilizing ubuntu
  • Rolling
    • No issue that would cause a crash for expected usecases and workflows
The key difference to me is usability. If I am forced to use a workaround for a crash in a minor application or task in a rolling release is probably ok. Note that I say probably, because well, we haven't defined these metrics yet as a community. Being forced to do so in an LTS is not an acceptable level of quality. And of course, causing a system to not boot is never acceptable.

On the reaction and the future
I'm excited to see these discussions taking place, and I would encourage people to think critically and take part in these discussions. There are definitely some wonderful ideas and conversation taking place.

Just remember we're a team and all part of ubuntu. Healthy debate is a very important part of continuing to better ourselves as a community and project. 


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Nicholas Skaggs

Ubuntu Global Jam is just a few short weeks away. I trust you've seen the posts announcing and asking you to plan your events. Maybe you are confused about what type of session to plan or how the event could go. I will echo my friend Daniel Holbach in saying just do it! Grab a buddy (even an online one!) and plan to jam together. If your confused about what to jam with, check out the testing page.

It's got everything you need to run a session, and the documentation has all been done for you. Folks can choose what they are interested in testing (packages, images, or hardware), or even do some hacking on testcases. No need to be a programmer, manual tests can be written by anyone! Participants don't need anything besides there laptop and an image of ubuntu on a cd or usb stick (assuming of course they aren't already running ubuntu raring :-) ).

If your curious about wanting to host a testing event, checkout the testing page on the global jam site. Feel free to get in touch with me as well if you wish to share your stories or ask questions. Let's jam, quality style!

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Nicholas Skaggs

A thank you to some quality rockstars

The quality team has completed a series of classroom sessions held over the last two months. None of these would have been possible without the help from these wonderful instructors:

phillw, gema, noskcaj, smartboyhw, primes2h, letozaf, sergiomeneses

Thank you!

Thank you as well to pleia2, JoseeAntonioR and the other classroom team members who helped us schedule and run the sessions.


You all rock!

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