Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'ubuntu'

jono

I just wanted to let you folks know that I am recruiting for a community manager to join my team at Canonical.

I am looking for someone with strong technical knowledge of building Ubuntu (knowledge of how we release, how we build packages, bug management, governance etc), great community management skills, and someone who is willing to be challenged and grow in their skills and capabilities.

My goal with everyone who joins my team is not just to help them be successful in their work, but to help them be the very best at what they do in our industry. As such I am looking for someone with a passion to be successful and grow.

I think it is a great opportunity and to be part of a great team. Details of the job are available here – please apply if you are interested!?

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jono

At the last Ubuntu Developer Summit we discussed the idea of making our regular online summit serve more than just developers. We are interested in showcasing not just the developer-orientated discussion sessions that we currently have, but also including content such as presentations, demos, tutorials, and other topics.

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that the first Ubuntu Online Summit will happen from 10th – 12th June 2014. The website is not yet updated (we are going to keep everything on summit.ubuntu.com and uds.ubuntu.com can point there, and Michael is making the changes to bring over the static content).

We are really keen to get ideas for how the event can run so I am scheduling a hangout on Thurs 10th April at 5pm UTC on Ubuntu On Air where I would welcome ideas and input. I hope to see you there!

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jono

Next week we have our Ubuntu Developer Summit, taking place online from Tues 11th March 2014 – Thurs 13th March 2014. Go and see the schedule – we still have lots of schedule space if you want to run a session. For details of how to propose a session, see this guide.

I just want to highlight a session I would like to really invite input on in particular.

Today the online Ubuntu Developer Summit is largely based on the formula from our physical UDSs that we used to have, and that formula goes back to 2004. While these have traditionally served the project well, I am cognizant that our community is much bigger and more diverse than it used to be, and our current Ubuntu Developer Summit doesn’t serve our wider community as well as it could; there is more to Ubuntu to rigorous software engineering.

UDS is great if you are a developer focused on building software and ensuring you have a plan to do so, but for our translators, advocates, marketeers, app developers, and more…the format doesn’t suit those communities as well.

As such, I would like to discuss this and explore opportunities where UDS could serve our wider community better. The session is here and is on Wed 12th March at 15.00UTC. I hope you can join me!

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jono

So, today we announced the Ubuntu App Showdown where you can build apps with the Ubuntu SDK and win some awesome prizes such as the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet and the Meizu MX3.

This got me thinking, which apps would a love to see on Ubuntu as part of the competition? Well, this is them, and hopefully they will be food for thought for some developers:

  • Email Client – this would be an email client that looks and functions like Discourse. With it you could connect to an IMAP/Gmail account, see mail as threads, reply to mails, create and send new emails etc. Bonus points for supporting multiple accounts.
  • Social Media Client – I haven’t found a Twitter and other social media client that works well for me. This one would show my timeline of tweets, have mentions on a different tab/screen, and support searches too. It would use the Online Accounts platform service to connect.
  • Google+ Client – I would love to see a G+ client that integrates neatly into Ubuntu. It would need to browse my timeline, show notifications, let me reply to posts and add +1s, and browse communities.
  • Ubuntu LoCo Teams App – an app where I can view the content from loco.ubuntu.com such as browsing teams, seeing current and up-coming events, browse the blog, and include the content in the Ubuntu Advocacy Kit. The power in this app would be looking like a beautiful app that any LoCo member can use to find cool events and do interesting things.
  • Riff Recorder – an audio recording app where I can adjust the volume of the mic (for when I am in a room with lots of noise such as a rehearsal) and then record the audio at that level and have the ability to share it somewhere.

If anyone manages to build these apps, you will make me a very happy man. :-)

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jono

Today we launched our next Ubuntu App Showdown.

The idea is simple: you have six weeks to build an application with the Ubuntu SDK that converges across both phone and tablet (which is simple). We have the following categories, each of which has a prize:

  • QML – a native app written in QML (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).
  • HTML5 – a native app written in HTML5 (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).
  • Ported – an app that has been ported from another platform to Ubuntu and used the Ubuntu SDK (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).

We are also delighted to include an additional category with two prizes sponsored by Meizu:

  • Chinese – an app that is written in either QML or HTML5 that would be of most interest to Chinese users, such as connecting to Chinese sites and services (2 x Meizu MX3s as prizes).

If you would like to get involved in the showdown, you can find out all the details here or for our Chinese friends here.

HTML5 Refinements

In preperation for the showdown we have also landed a number of significant improvements to HTML5 in the Ubuntu SDK. This includes:

  • Our HTML5 technology has been fully revamped and now all works from a single container.
  • A new single default template for creating your HTML5 app.
  • Full access to device sensors via cordova.
  • Full access to platform APIs via Javascript.
  • API documentation.
  • A brand new HTML5 section on developer.ubuntu.com complete with new guides, tutorials, API docs, and more.

Remember, we award extra point for blogging about and sharing on social media about your app and how it is developing, so be sure to share your work! Good luck!

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jono

This last weekend I was in LA at SCALE12x and gave a presentation providing a detailed update of much of the work going on as we build a convergent Ubuntu. As I have mentioned before, there is lots of other foundational pieces being built as part of this work (app insulation, SDK, click packages, developer.ubuntu.com, platform services etc), and this presentation covered where we stand today in this work.

Obviously a lot more of you couldn’t be at SCALE than couldn’t, so I have recorded the presentation to share online. You can see it below or click here to watch it. Enjoy!

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jono

I am sure that you have all seen the exciting news about the first partners to ship Ubuntu smart-phones. For those who haven’t seen it:

19th February 2014, London: Canonical today announces it has signed agreements with mobile device manufacturers bq (www.bqreaders.com) (Spain) and Meizu (China) to bring Ubuntu smartphones to consumers globally. Canonical is working with these partners to ship the first Ubuntu devices on the latest hardware in 2014. Ubuntu has also received significant support from the world’s biggest carriers, some of which intend to work with OEM partners to bring phones to market this year.

Development programmes have begun with the partners to provide smartphones with a superior user experience on mid to high end hardware for consumers around the world. Devices will be available to buy online through bq, Meizu and at Ubuntu.com.

Today was a hectic day, starting with our Ubuntu town hall hangout and spent in a wealth of meetings. As such I haven’t had a chance to write a blog post about this announcement yet, but I wanted to throw something out on my blog before I go to bed.

Naturally this is tremendously exciting news. As I posted about before, 2013 was an intense year as we not only started building our convergent platform, but also the many inter-connecting pieces too such as our SDK, image based updates, Mir, app developer platform, platform services, app insulation, developer portal, and more. As a result of this work, since May 2013 I have been running Ubuntu full-time on my phone and we are in great shape.

In the last year my team has been heavily focused on building a new community; our Ubuntu app developer community. I have directed many resources in my team here for a number of reasons that I believe are of strategic importance to the future health, growth, and opportunity of Ubuntu and our community.

Firstly, we want Ubuntu to instill a level of simplicity, elegance, and power that is not just present in the default platform, dash, scopes, and services, but also emphasized across the apps that users want to use. This means kickstarting a new generation of apps inspired by the design and development principles that are driving our convergence vision and using a simple and powerful app developer platform so devs can go from idea to app store as quickly and easily as possible.

Secondly, I personally believe that apps are key to our success. I suspect that OEMs and carriers will be even more motivated by a platform with great apps and a powerful developer platform, I believe that users will be attracted to a platform with great apps, and I believe that developers will want to build apps for a platform that is both fun to use and develop for.

Thirdly, I believe there is a huge opportunity to refine and innovate in so many areas of our app developer platform and community. Everything from the tooling to knowledge and support to publishing can be optimized and refined to build the very best developer platform.

As such, in my peanut-sized brain the apps are where much of my team’s strategy should be focused.

I am delighted by the progress we are making here. As I wrote about a few days ago, there is lots of wonderful work going on and fresh features and improvements landing soon. Our Ubuntu app developer platform is growing in leaps and bounds and I am really proud of the efforts of so many people.

Now, while I am proud of where we are today, I am not going to compromise until we have the best developer platform in the world.

So, how does this all relate to the bq and Meizu news?

Well, this news starts the ball rolling on the first set of devices that are going to be hitting the market. This in-turn will result in a general consumer audience starting to use Ubuntu on smart-phones. While today we have thousands of developers flashing their phones with Ubuntu and eagerly writing apps and using other people’s apps, the injection of general consumers will build even more motivation and momentum for our app developers to create apps they are truly proud of and that will be of interest to a new generaton of Ubuntu smart-phone users. As a musician I can tell you that having an audience makes everything that much more worthwhile, and I think it is the same our developers who are about to get a new audience growing around them.

These are tremendously exciting times. Our vision is ambitious but every day the momentum grows and I delighted you are all joining the journey with us. Let’s do this, friends!

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jono

Last week I was in Orlando sprinting with my team as well as the platform, SDK, and security teams and some desktop and design folks. As usual after a sprint, I have been slammed catching up with email, but I wanted to provide a summary of some work going that you can expect to see soon in the Ubuntu app developer platform.

HTML5

In the last few months we have been working to refine our HTML5 support in the Ubuntu SDK.

Today we have full HTML5 support in the SDK but we are working to make HTML5 apps more integrated than ever. This work will land in the next week and will include the following improvements:

  • Consolidating everything into a single template and container. This means that when you create a new app in the SDK you have a single template to get started with that runs in a single container.
  • Updating our Cordova support to access all the devices and sensors on the device (e.g. camera, accelerometer).
  • Adding full Ubuntu platform API access via Javascript. With this you will be able to access Online Accounts, the Content Hub, the App Lifecycle support etc and more.
  • Adding a series of refinements to the look and feel of the HTML5 Ubuntu components. Before the components looked a little different to the QML ones and we are closing the loop.
  • Full API documentation for the Cordova and Platform APIs as well as a number of tutorials for getting started with HTML5.
  • On a side note, there has been some tremendous speed improvements in Oxide which will benefit all HTML5 apps. Thanks to Chris Coulson for his efforts here.

With these refinements you will be able use the Ubuntu SDK to create a new HTML5 app from a single template, follow a tutorial to make a truly native look and feel HTML5 app utilizing the Cordova and Platform APIs, then click one button to generate a click package and fill in a simple form and get your app in the store.

I want to offer many thanks to David Barth’s team for being so responsive when I asked them to refine our HTML5 support ready for MWC. They have worked tirelessly, and thanks also to Daniel Holbach for coordinating the many moving pieces here.

SDK

Our SDK is the jewel in the crown of our app development story. Our goal is that the SDK gets you on your Ubuntu app development adventure and provides all the tools you need to be creative and productive.

Fortunately there are a number of improvements coming here too. This includes:

  • We will be including a full emulator. This makes it easy for those of you without a device to test that your app will work well within the context of Ubuntu for smartphones or tablets. This is just a click away in the SDK.
  • We are also making a series of user interface refinements to simplify how the SDK works overall. This will include uncluttering some parts of the UI as well as tidying up some of the Ubuntu-specific pieces.
  • Device support has been enhanced. This makes it easier than ever to run your app on your Ubuntu phone or tablet with just a click.
  • We have looked at some of the common issues people have experienced when publishing their apps to the store and included automatic checks in the SDK to notify the developer before they submit them to the store. This will speed up the submissions process.
  • Support for “fat” packages is being added. This means you can ship cross-compiled pieces with your app (e.g. a C++ plugin).
  • Last but certainly not least, we are going to be adding preliminary support for Go and QML to the Ubuntu SDK in the next month. We want our app developers to be able to harness Go and with the excellent Go/QML work Gustavo has done, we will be landing this soon.

As ever, you can download the latest Ubuntu SDK by following the instructions on developer.ubuntu.com. Thanks to Zoltan and his team for his efforts

developer.ubuntu.com

An awesome SDK and a fantastic platform is only as good as the people who know how to use it. With this in mind we are continuing to expand and improve developer.ubuntu.com to be a world-class developer portal.

With this we have many pieces coming:

  • A refinement of the navigational structure of the site to make it easier to get around for new users.
  • Our refined HTML5 support will also get full Cordova and Platform API documentation on the site. Michael Hall did a tremendous job integrating Ubuntu and upstream API docs in the same site with a single search engine.
  • A library of primers that explain how key parts of our platform work (e.g. Online Accounts, Content Hub, App Lifecycle, App Insulation etc). This will help developers understand how to utilize those parts of the platform.
  • Refining our overview pages to explain how the platform works, what is in the SDK etc.
  • A refreshed set of cookbook questions, all sourced from our standard support resource, Ask Ubuntu.
  • We will also be announcing Ubuntu Pioneers soon. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so more on this later. :-)

Thanks to David, Michael, and Kyle on my team for all of their wonderful efforts here.

Desktop Integration

In the Ubuntu 14.04 cycle we are also making some enhancements to how Ubuntu SDK apps can run on the desktop.

As many of you will know we are planning on shipping a preview session of Unity8 running on Mir. This means that you can open Unity8 from the normal Ubuntu login screen so you can play with it and test it. This will not look like the desktop; that work is on-going to converge Unity 8 into the desktop form-factor and will come later. It will however provide a base in which developers can try the new codebase and hack on it to converge it to the desktop more quickly. We are refreshing our Unity8 developer docs to make this on-ramp easier.

We are also going to make some changes to make running Ubuntu SDK apps on Unity 7 more comfortable. This will include things such as displaying scrollbars, right-click menus etc. More on this will be confirmed as we get closer to release.

All in all, lots of exciting work going on. We are at the beginning of a new revolution in Ubuntu where beautifully designed, integrated, and powerful apps can drive a new generation of Ubuntu, all build on the principles of Open Source, collaboration, and community.

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jono

The Ubuntu Developer Summit is the primary place where we discuss, debate, and plan the future of Ubuntu. The entire event takes place online, is open and accessible to all, and every session is recorded so everyone can see how decisions are made. It is a useful, fun, and rewarding event to join.

My apologies for the delay in announcing the next event. The last few months have been somewhat hectic and we wanted to wait for some confirmed conference/sprint dates across Ubuntu Engineering and cross-check those with our release schedule before committing to final dates so we can ensure as many people are there as possible.

I can now confirm that our next Ubuntu Developer Summit will take place from Tues 11th March 2014 – Thurs 13th March 2014. I wanted to let you all know ASAP so you can get it in your calendars. summit.ubuntu.com is updated and ready to start having sessions added or proposed.

This next UDS will look and feel much like the last one; the same tracks and format. The feedback we have received from the last UDS suggests that the changes we made were well received. As ever, your feedback is always welcome.

If you want to have a session at UDS, please see this guide for how to propose it. As usual, feel free to ask for help from myself or Michael Hall, David Planella, or Daniel Holbach,

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jono

Recently Randall did some research into what people want to see on Planet Ubuntu. This has been followed up by Stuart with a set of concerns.

I agree with both of them.

I think the gist of Randall’s view is that he would like to encourage more fun, interesting, and diverse Ubuntu-related content. I think Randall wants to see fun stories of LoCo events, interesting Ubuntu work going on, cool Ubuntu apps, details of new features, and more. I agree with Randall here, and would love to see the same.

I think the gist of Stuart’s view is that the personal stories on Planet Ubuntu is a wonderful part of being in a community. Ubuntu is not just about Ubuntu, it is about the stories and the lives of the people who contribute to our community. I agree with Stuart here too.

I think we need a mix. Ideally we want to see interesting posts about people’s contributions to Ubuntu, but also about their non-Ubuntu lives too.

I would like to see Planet Ubuntu stick to its core goal: to be a place where you can look into the lives of Ubuntu members and explore their Ubuntu work as well as their non-Ubuntu thoughts and views.

The problem here is really with Ubuntu membership. Some people are still Ubuntu members who haven’t contributed to Ubuntu for a long time and thus we see lots of non-Ubuntu content, but rarely hear about their contributions. I would recommend we deactivate membership for those who are not actively contributing (active being significant and sustained contributions, as per our charter); this will then tighten up which feeds appear on planet and we will get a nice mix of both Ubuntu and person content.

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jono

Like many of you, I am tremendously excited about Ubuntu’s future. We are building a powerful convergence platform across multiple devices with a comprehensive developer platform at the heart of it. This could have a profound impact on users and developers alike.

Now, you have all heard me and my team rattling on about this for a while, but we also have a wonderful advocacy community in Ubuntu in the form of our LoCo Teams who are spreading the word. I want to explore ways to help support and grow the events and advocacy that our LoCo Teams are doing.

I had a conversation with Jose on the LoCo Council about this today, and I think we have a fun plan to move forward with. We are going to need help though, so please let me know in the comments if you can participate.

Step 1: Ubuntu Advocacy Kit

The Ubuntu Advocacy Kit is designed to provide a one-stop shop of information, materials (e.g. logos, brochures, presentations), and more for doing any kind of Ubuntu advocacy. Right now it needs a bit of a spring clean, which I am currently working on.

I think we need to get as many members of our community to utilize the kit. With this in mind we are going to do a few things:

  • Get the kit cleaned up and up to date.
  • Get it linked on loco.ubuntu.com and encourage our community to use it.
  • Encourage our community to contribute to the kit and add additional content.
  • Grow the team that maintains the kit.

Help needed: great writers and editors.

Step 2: Advocacy App

The Ubuntu Advocacy Kit works offline. This was a conscious decision with a few benefits:

  1. It makes it easier to know you have all relevant content without having to go to a website and download all the assets. When you have the kit, you have all the materials.
  2. The kit can be used offline.
  3. The kit can be more easily shared.
  4. When people contribute to the kit it feels like you are making something, as opposed to adding docs to a website. This increases the sense of ownership.

With the kit being contained in an offline HTML state (and the source material in reStructured Text) it means that it wouldn’t be that much work to make a click package of the kit that we can ship on the phone, tablet, and desktop.

Just imagine that: you can use the click store to install the Ubuntu Advocacy Kit and have all the information and materials you need, right from the palm of your hand on your phone, tablet, or desktop.

The current stylesheet for the kit doesn’t render well on a mobile device, so it would be handy if we could map the top-level nav (Documentation, Materials etc) to tabs in an app.

We could also potentially include links to other LoCo resources (e.g. a RSS feed view of news from loco.ubuntu.com) and a list of teams.

If you would be interested in working on this, let me know.

Help needed: Ubuntu SDK programmers and artists.

Step 3: Hangout Workshops

I am going to schedule some hangout workshops to go through some tips of how to organize and run LoCo events and advocacy campaigns, and use the advocacy kit as the source material for the workshop. I hope this will result in more events being coordinated.

Help needed: LoCo members who want to grow their skills.

Step 4: LoCo Portal

We also want to encourage wider use of loco.ubuntu.com so our community can get a great idea of the pule of advocacy, events, and more going on.

Help needed: volunteers to run events.

Feedback and volunteers are most welcome!

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jono

On Monday 13th Jan starting at 6pm UTC (10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern) I will be doing an AMA on Reddit. For those unfamiliar with this – this is where you can ask me anything on Reddit, and the most popular questions and responses are up/down voted.

The post will go live about 30mins before that time so you can start adding questions.

I welcome questions about absolutely anything to do with Ubuntu, Canonical, community management, working in the Open Source industry, writing books, podcasting, free culture, heavy metal, moving from England to America, or anything else. Let’s have some fun!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my work, I work at Canonical as the Ubuntu Community Manager, I am the author of The Art of Community by O’Reilly, founder of the annual Community Leadership Summit, and have spoken around the world about community leadership and encouraging people to get together to create awesome things.

Outside of my work, I co-founded the Bad Voltage, Lugradio, and Shot Of Jaq podcasts, founded the Creative Commons metal band Severed Fifth, wrote an archive of Creative Commons music, built the BBQ website BBQpad, write for various magazines (Linux Format / Ubuntu User), and have contributed to various Open Source projects.

I will follow up on Twitter/Google+ with a link to the thread when it is published.

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jono

2014 is going to be a great year for Ubuntu App Developers. We laid down some fantastic foundations in 2013, but this year we want to extend and grow our community in multiple directions…building a solid, empowered on-ramp for creating awesome apps for Ubuntu.

…but we can’t do this alone, we need your help!

One effort here is to work with our fantastic LoCo Team Community to run a series of Ubuntu App Developer schools across the world. We have one of the greatest advocacy communities anywhere, so this seems like a perfect match.

Fortunately, David Planella has already created some awesome slides and a good tutorial that these schools can work from (he did this for a previous event), and we are here to help provide help and guidance about how to run an event.

As such, we are looking for volunteers to run a local Ubuntu App Dev school in your area. Doing this is as simple as:

  • Find a place to run an event and pick a date when to run it.
  • Find some other folks in your LoCo who would be interested in helping.
  • Get the material and tune it for your event if needed.
  • Promote the event locally and encourage people to join.
  • Practice the material a few times before the big day, then show up, run the class and have fun.
  • Take lots of pictures!

The last step is really important as we would like to create a montage of the events. :-)

So, if you are interested in participating, send me an email to jono@ubuntu.com and mention which LoCo team you are part of and where you would run the event, and lets make the magic happen!

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jono

Happy new year, friends!

2013 was a phenomenal year for Ubuntu. It is difficult to believe that it was just a year ago today that we announced Ubuntu for phones. Since then we have built and released the first version of Ubuntu for phones complete with core apps, delivered Mir in production on the phone, built a vastly simplified and more powerful new app delivery platform complete with full security sand-boxing, created a powerful smart scopes service to bring the power of native search and online content to devices, delivered a new SDK with support for QML, HTML5, and Scopes, built an entirely new developer.ubuntu.com, created extensive CI and testing infrastructure to ensure quality as we evolve our platform, shipped two desktop releases, extended the charm store, delivered Juju Gui, spun up multiple clouds with Juju, and much more.

In terms of Ubuntu for devices, I mentally picture 2013 as the year when we put much of the core foundational pieces in place. Everything I just mentioned were all huge but significant pieces of delivering a world-class Free Software convergence platform. Building this platform is not as simple as building a sexy GUI; there is lots of complex foundational work that needs doing, and I am incredibly proud of everyone who participated in getting us to where we are today…it is a true testament of collaborative development involving many communities and contributors from around the world.

So, 2013 was an intense year with lots of work, some tough decisions, and lots of late (and sometimes stressful) nights, but it laid down the core pillars of what our future holds. But what about 2014?

This time next year we will have a single platform code-base for phone, tablet, and desktop that adapts to harness the form-factor and power of each device it runs on. This is not just the aesthetics of convergence, it is real convergence at the code level. This will be complemented by an Ubuntu SDK in which you can write an app once and deliver it to any of these devices, and an eco-system in which you can freely publish or sell apps, content, and more with a powerful set of payment tools.

These pieces will appear one phase at a time throughout 2014. We are focusing on finishing the convergent pieces on phone first, then bringing them to tablet, and then finally bringing our desktop over to the new convergent platform. Every piece of new technology that we built in 2013 will be consumed across all of these form-factors in 2014; every line of code is an investment in our future.

Even more importantly though, 2014 will be the year when we see this new era of Ubuntu convergence shipping to consumers. This will open up Ubuntu to millions of additional users, provide an opportunity for app developers to get in on the ground floor in delivering powerful apps, and build more opportunity for our community than ever before.

I wish I could tell you that 2014 is going to be more relaxing than 2013. It isn’t. It is going to be a roller-coaster. There are going to be some late nights, some stressful times, some shit-storms, and some unnecessary politics, but my goal is to help keep us working together as a community, keep us focused on the bigger picture, keep our discourse constructive, and to keep the fun in Ubuntu.

Let’s do this.

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jono

Recently the Ubuntu newswires have been buzzing with the news that we have won our first smartphone partner.

Now, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way – I am not telling you who it is. It is not my place here to share confidential details about business-to-business relationships such as this. Rest assured though, I know the folks working on these relationships and there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for Ubuntu in these discussions; OEMs, carriers, ISVs and more are very interested in exploring Ubuntu for future products.

This is…spoiler alert…fantastic news.

But what does this news really mean for Ubuntu, and to what extent do our community play a part? Let’s dig into this a little bit.

I joined Ubuntu because I want to help an effort to bring technological elegance and freedom to people. Both of these are essential; elegant proprietary software and complex Free Software are both limited in the opportunities they bring to people and who can harness them. A good balance of both is what we strive to achieve in Ubuntu.

For many years Ubuntu has been available to download and install on your computer. Today you can download Ubuntu for your desktop computer, phone, tablet, and you can deploy it to your public or private cloud.


Soon.

While this provides a reliable distribution point for those in the know, it remains an unknown service for those not in the know. Put simply: most normal people don’t do this. People like you and me, who read nerdy blogs like mine, often do this.

Now, we often talk about how we have around 20million Ubuntu users. To be fair, this will always be something of an informed estimation (made up from sales, downloads etc). As an example, if one person downloads Ubuntu they may install it on one computer. Alternatively, they could do the kind of work that Project Community Computers and Partimus do and use that download to install Ubuntu on hundreds of computers that potentially thousands of people will use. Again, put simply, it is difficult to get a firm idea of current numbers of users.

Irrespective though, whatever figure we have…such as 20million…this number is fundamentally defined by our available distribution mechanisms. The formula here is simple: if we increase the opportunity for Ubuntu to be distributed, we get more users…

…and this is where the chain reaction begins.


Wrong chain reaction.

If we have more users, we get more ISVs such as Adobe, Autodesk, Zynga, Rovio and others who want to use Ubuntu as a channel. If we get more apps from ISVs we get more interest from OEMs, carriers, and others. If we get more OEMs and carriers, we get more enterprise, creative-industry, and educational deployments. If we get more deployments we see more businesses selling support, services, training, people writing books, seminars, and other areas of focus. This effectively creates an eco-system around Ubuntu which in turn lowers the bar enough that any consumer can use and try it…thus putting Free Software in the hands of the masses.

Put simply once more: if we make Ubuntu commercially successful, it will put Free Software in the hands of more people.

Now, on the desktop side of things we have Ubuntu pre-installed on four of the largest OEMs on the planet, and while industry-wide annual PC shipments are dropping more and more each year, fortunately, we have positioned ourselves in a sweet spot. We can continue to fulfill our position as the third most popular Operating System for desktop/laptop computers, while providing a simple on-ramp to bring Ubuntu to these other devices as part of our wider convergence story.

As such, our first commercial smartphone partner is where we light the touch-paper that starts that chain reaction. This is good for Ubuntu, consumers, app developers, small businesses selling services, and for other OEMs/carriers who are exploring Ubuntu. All of this is good for Free Software.

So where does the community fit into this? Surely all of this work is going to be the domain of paid Canonical engineers delivering whatever the secret smartphone partner wants?


Recent Canonical sprint at the Marriott City Center, Oakland

Not at all.

Delivering a shippable device has many different technology components: hardware enablement, display server (Mir), shell (Unity 8), developer platform and SDK, core applications that ship with the device, quality assurance, language packs, third-party scopes and services, and more.

This is just what sits on the device. Outside of it we also need effective governance, event planning, local user group advocacy and campaigns, app developer growth and support, general documentation and support, web and communications services, accessibility, and more.

Every one of these areas (with the probable exception of specifically working with customers around enabling their specific device) welcomes and needs our community to help. Some of these areas are better set up collaboratively with our community than others…but not working collaboratively with our community is a bug, not a feature.

Believe me when I say there is no shortage of things for us to do. We have a long but exciting road ahead of us, and I am looking at my team to help support our community in finding something fun, rewarding, and productive to work on. There are few things in life more satisfying than putting your brick in the wall as part of a global effort to bring technological change to people. I hope you are joining us for the ride.

If you want to help and get stuck, email me at jono@ubuntu.com. I am happy to help get you started.

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jono

In every release cycle we have a number of events organized that brings our community together to create things, share ideas and knowledge, and more. I just wanted to share the latest raft of planned events:

  • Ubuntu App Development Sprint – 12th Dec – an online sprint where we will continue where we left off at UDS to discuss pieces we need to deliver as part of the Ubuntu App Developer platform.
  • Ubuntu App Developer Week – 20th – 25th Jan – a week of tutorials for getting started with the Ubuntu SDK. Perfect for developers new to the Ubuntu SDK!
  • Ubuntu Developer Week – 3rd – 7th March – a week of sessions designed for Ubuntu developers who want to fix bugs, deliver new packages, and other Operating System-level tasks.
  • Ubuntu Global Jam – 4th – 6th April – the primary event where our LoCo teams get together to collaborate, share ideas, and share knowledge. Be sure to organize an event near you!
  • Ubuntu Open Week – 21 – 25th April – a week of tutorials the week after a new release for new users how to get started.

If you are interesting in helping with these events, be sure to let me know in the comments!

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jono

Just a quick note that the Ubuntu Developer Summit schedule is pretty much ready for next week. Be sure to check it out and plan your time to join the sessions you are interested in. Thanks!

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jono

Free Software is not just software or a philosophical attitude to freely available software. Free Software is a catalyst for change in a constantly evolving world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology. Unfortunately while many of us are getting faster and faster computers on our desktops and in our pockets, for many the digital divide is ever wide as it has always been.

I have always had a soft spot for those organizations who selflessly bring Free Software to those for whom technology is a missing link in their lives. I spent two years doing this with OpenAdvantage before I joined Canonical, bringing technology to a region where many manual labourers were out of work and needing access to technology and training to upskill and get new jobs to support their families. Likewise groups like A2RT, FreeGeek, Partimus and more doing similar great work.

When I was speaking at Ohio Linux Fest earlier this year I met the Project Community Computers. Emma from System76 told me they wanted to talk to me about their project (they use Ubuntu extensively across their projects) so I had a meeting with them. The project essentially takes Ubuntu and puts it on recycled computers and they have set up over 20 educational labs around the world.

All out of their own pocket. All on their own time.

I was blown away by their accomplishments.

The guys are smart, selfless, motivated, and harnessing the truest power of Free Software…to break down the digital divide. They are not just talking a big game…they are playing a big game with so many accomplishments so far. It is projects like this why I got involved in Free Software and Ubuntu in the first place.

The team were looking for opportunities for funding their continued work and I suggested they crowd-fund it, an idea that they had already thought about, so I am delighted to see they have kicked their campaign off at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/project-community-computers.

See their campaign video below:

Project: Community Computers Indiegogo Campaign Launch Video from Project: Community Computers on Vimeo.

Can’t see it? See it here!

Please go and invest in this tremendous team and project; I have no doubt that every penny will be put to good use.

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jono

Many of you will have heard about Ubuntu’s convergence goals on the client side — running a single, consistent code-base and experience that adapts to phones, desktops, tablets, and TVs…but are you aware of our convergence on the cloud?

Ubuntu and our cloud orchestration service, Juju, provides a platform and the tools to be able to deploy your service (from a simple blog to a full enterprise and production deployment) across a range of clouds…be it a public cloud, private cloud, or bare metal. Prototyping, staging, deploying to production, and scaling up are simple.

At the heart of Juju are the charms…the range of components that form a service (e.g. WordPress, Hadoop, Mongo, Drupal etc). Inside each charm is an encapsulation of best practice from domain experts for each component that automates how charms relate together in your service. Best practice connected to best practice in a service that easily scales is the backbone of Juju.

In much the same way we are building a consistent experience and set of features that run across phones, desktop, tablets, and TVs, we are also building a consistent experience and set of tools for delivering services across different clouds, bare metal, or local containers. Ubuntu for clouds is not merely bound to a single cloud…the point is that what matters is your service and you can easily migrate your service between public and private clouds and bare metal. Again, a converged experience across multiple services.

On the client side this convergence means a more consistent user experience with no fragmentation, consistent platform for deploying content across devices that is cheaper to deploy, and makes multiple product lines available to vendors and builds institutional knowledge across different product lines.

On the cloud side this convergence means that you are in control of your service. When you or your staff know how to use Ubuntu and the cloud orchestration tools we provide (such as Juju), you are in control of your service and you can prototype and deploy it where you want easily, whether a private or public cloud or bare metal, scale out when required, and build consistent institutional knowledge.

What makes Ubuntu on the cloud even more interesting is that Juju GUI also crosses the chasm between service topology on the office whiteboard and a running service – you can literally draw your service and everything spins up effortlessly.

Ubuntu is all about convergence and bringing simplicity and power to our devices, to our clouds, and all powered by Open Source.

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jono

Ubuntu 13.10 is out, get it here!

This release packs some significant punch – we have the first version of Ubuntu for phones, Mir is shipping on the phone images, a new Ubuntu SDK, an entirely new app developer upload experience, new version of Juju, Juju GUI, smart scopes integrated into the desktop and phone, and more.

The build-up to 13.10 has been intense. Although our core values have remained unchanged, Ubuntu has evolved over the years as we have worked to solve the larger scale challenges facing a consumer and cloud Linux operating system. Interestingly, it feels like we have also changed in the intensity and ambition of how we build Ubuntu. Maybe this is hindsight lying to me, but release cycles seem more intense, more focused, and more ambitious than they have ever felt before. When I compare 13.10 with 11.10 it feels like two different beasts in terms of the goals, opportunities, and challenges we are looking to solve. I feel we are more ambitious in approaching the real challenges we need to focus on.

From a personal perspective, release day is always a mix of emotions. We all put our heart and souls into what we do. For most of us Ubuntu is not just a job or a hobby…it is a passion and a lifestyle; we are not just building software here, but building technological change. My passion for Ubuntu has always been connected to making Open Source available to all; Free Software code is interesting and important, but a lot less valuable if regular people can’t use it to enrich and improve their lives. Accessible, easy to use, safe, and secure Free Software helps people to learn, be creative, be productive, and live better lives. At the heart of this opportunity are communities with a shared sense of identity, mission, and belonging. Communities bring out the best in human beings…they teach us to share, to inspire, and to create together.

More than anything, communities make having a passion fun. Working together with others who share your passion is inspiring and motivating, and the Ubuntu community is a wonderful source of inspiration. I feel blessed to work with so many wonderful people every day, all over the world. Thank-you.

As such, release day always feels to me like the world is peeking into our fishbowl to judge how colorful our fins are. I have a pretty thick skin, but I can’t help feeling a little exposed when it comes to feedback about a new release. I care what people think about Ubuntu…I care that people feel as connected and inspired by it as I do. Conversely, given that a global community of volunteers feed into making Ubuntu, I feel somewhat accountable that those looking into our fishbowl appreciate the efforts of everyone who has contributed.

We should never forget that Ubuntu and Open Source is a gift culture. People take time away from their families, friends, and Grand Theft Auto V to help bring their passion to our community via the gift of their contributions. I always want release day to be a celebration of our wider set of efforts. This is one of the things I love about Ubuntu: it is fueled by fundamentally good people. We don’t always agree…but we all share the same gene that makes us want to make the world a better place with Free Software. The only difference is where we draw the lines in the sand about how we do that.

In Ubuntu 13.10 we have delivered the first major milestone in our convergence story of the future…that milestone is Ubuntu for phones. I am hugely proud of the team for what they achieved here. This was a ballsy and ambitious goal and everyone hit it with aplomb. We have work to do, but the core foundation is stable, secure, and very usable as a daily phone. I have been using my Ubuntu phone since May and I love it.

Some have felt that the desktop release of Ubuntu 13.10 feels a little thin on the ground in terms of features apart from smart scopes and a revised set of versions of the software we ship. This is a fair assertion, but remember that everything that went into the phone will ultimate hit the desktop: Unity 8, Mir, image-based updates, the developer platform, SDK, developer portal and more. This was a significant amount of engineering, all of which is laying the groundwork for a single, converged Free Software platform that runs across the phone, desktop, tablet, and TV. As such, while you might not see the technology applied to the desktop yet, we moved the needle significantly forward in achieving this.

On the server and cloud side we have seen significant improvements with Ubuntu 13.10 too. Ubuntu continues to be the most popular guest OS on the cloud and Juju has become more powerful and efficient than ever before. Our charm store has grown significantly in terms of the available charms as well as the capabilities of existing charms, and Juju makes it simple and easy to spin up a complex deployment and scale up and out where needed. This has been eased by Juju GUI which makes transitioning from the service topology on the office white-board to an active running service devilishly simple.

Our community has been at the core of all of these efforts. Just as one example, we had over 140 community members contribute to building the core apps for the phone (Calculator, Calendar, Clock etc). We have also had significant numbers of contributions of auto-pilot tests, countless Juju charms, hundreds of translations, documentation brought up to date, and many events organized to help our community grow and prosper.

Some people have wondered why I have focused members of my team so much on app developers and growing our charmers community. The reason is simple: for Ubuntu to be successful we need awesome content. We need great apps, services, music, videos, search results and more. People don’t use devices, systems and clouds because the shell looks nice, they use these systems to consume, create, and share things. Ubuntu is all about a focus on content, and apps and charms are a key part of this. Every app and charm enriches Ubuntu that little bit more, and as such we need to build a new community of developers who are passionate about Ubuntu being able to deliver their creative ideas and visions.

This work has not just been building buzz on Google+. My team architected much of the new app upload process, we ran the Ubuntu App Showdown to hammer the details out of the developer platform, we built developer.ubuntu.com and our support resources, , ran the core apps programme, have been running the Juju charm contest, coordinating charm schools, and working with upstreams and developers to deliver their content. Our goal has been to make the developer experience on Ubuntu world class. We still have work to do, but I am so proud of the efforts of the team so far.

Where this counts strategically is that all of this work will ultimately feed into LoCo teams and elsewhere that may not currently feel we are spending too much time on (although rest assured in 14.04 we will focus on LoCos some more). By building an awesome content community it will give our LoCos a better, more fulfilling platform to share, advocate, and promote. In a world of limited resources, this is how I feel I can best use my team’s time.

Well, today is Thursday 17th October 2013 and we just shipped Ubuntu 13.10 for phones, servers, desktops, and clouds.

Tomorrow is Friday 18th October 2013 and we start work on Ubuntu 14.04. This is going to be our biggest LTS yet. You can join us to help us shape Ubuntu 14.04 at our next Ubuntu Developer Summit on 19-21 November 2013 from 2pm-8pm UTC. Everyone is welcome, our summit is open to all and takes place online.

We have tremendous opportunity on the road ahead of us. We are laying down the foundations for a new future of convergence and cloud service orchestration. Today was an important check-point on our journey. Together as a community we have the opportunity to bring more and more technological change to people than ever before. So, go out tonight, celebrate, and tomorrow, let’s get the Ubuntu 14.04 train on the track and make it roar.

Thank-you everyone for all of your contributions.

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