Canonical Voices

Daniel Holbach

ucaday-64pxIt’s 20th November 2016, so today marks another Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day. The idea for the event was put together by Ahmed Shams in 2011 and it’s simple but brilliant: once a year (at least), take the time to thank some specific people for their work in Ubuntu.

As I’m at UbuCon Europe this weekend, it’s incredibly easy to pick somebody whose work I’m grateful for. Today I’d like to thank all the event organisers in the Ubuntu world. Without people like Sujeevan Vijayakumaran (in the case of UbuCon Europe), we as a community, wouldn’t be able to get together, learn from each other and have fun together. It takes a set of special skills to organise big and small events, plan ahead, talk to various people and companies, organise sponsors and helpers and it’s something we often take too much for granted.

Thank you everyone who organised the Ubuntu events I’ve been to over the years, no matter if it’s the small meetings in a bar or the crazy big events, like UDSes (thanks Claire, Marianna and Michelle!). You are incredible rockstars and I had some of my best times thanks to you!

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu Online SummitEarlier this week the Ubuntu community was busy with the Ubuntu Online Summit. If you head to the schedule page, you can watch all the sessions which happened.

As I’m interested in snaps a lot, I’d like to highlight some of the sessions which happened there, so if you missed them, you can go back and see what happened there:

  • Intro and keynote by Gustavo Niemeyer
    Gustavo (amongst others projects he is involved with) is one of the lead developers of snapd. During his keynote he gives an overview over what the team has been working on in the last time and explains which features all landed in the snap world recently. It quickly gives you an idea of the pace of development and the breadth of new features which landed.
  • Creating your first snap
    This is a session I gave. Unfortunately Didier couldn’t make it as he had lost his voice in the days before. We both worked together on the content for this. Basically, if you’re new to using and creating snaps, watch this. It’s a series of very simple steps you can follow along and gives you enough background to see the bigger picture.
  • Snap roadmap and Q&A
    This was a fun session with Michael Vogt and Zygmunt Krynicki. They are also both lead developers of snapd and they share a lot of their thoughts in their own very fun and very interesting way. After some discussion of the roadmap, they dived right into the almost endless stream of questions. If you want to get an idea of what’s coming up and some of the more general decisions behind snaps, watch this one.
  • Building snaps in Launchpad
    Colin Watson gave this demo of a beautiful new feature in Launchpad. Starting from a github repo (the source could live elsewhere too), the source is pulled into Launchpad, snaps are built for selected releases of Ubuntu and selected architectures and directly pushed to the store. It’s incredibly easy to set up, complements your CI process and makes building on various architectures and publishing the snaps trivial. Thanks a lot for everybody’s work on this!

The other sessions were great too, this is just what I picked up from the world of snaps.

Enjoy watching the videos and share them please!

Thanks a lot to all the session leads as well!

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu Online Summit coming up 15-16 Nov

Ubuntu Online Summit

Ubuntu Online Summit is here again! 15th and 16th November 2016 we are talking about the great stuff which landed in Ubuntu 16.10 and we talk about our plans for 17.04.

Now is the last call for adding sessions, find out how to do that here.

See you all next week!

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Daniel Holbach

Working with a new technology often brings you to see things in a new light and re-think previous habits. Especially when it challenges the status quo and expectations of years of traditional use. Snaps are no exception in this regard. As one example twenty years ago we simply didn’t have today’s confinement technologies.

Luckily is using snapcraft a real joy: you write one declarative file, define your snap’s parts, make use of snapcraft‘s many plugins and if really necessary, you write a quick and simple plugin using Python to run your custom build.

Many of the first issues new snaps ran into were solved by improvements and new features in snapd and snapcraft. If you are still seeing a problem with your snap, we want you to get in touch. We are all interested in seeing more software as snaps, so let’s work together on them!

Enter the Sandpit

I mentioned it in my last announcement of the last Snappy Playpen event already, but as we saw many new snaps being added there in the last days, I wanted to mention it again. We started a new initiative called the Sandpit.

It’s a place where you can easily

  • list a snap you are working on and are looking for some help
  • find out at a glance if your favourite piece of software is already being snapped

It’s a very light-weight process: simply edit a wiki and get in touch with whoever’s working on the snap. The list grew quite quickly, so there’s loads of opportunities to find like-minded snap authors and get snaps online together.

You can find many of the people listed on the Sandpit wiki either in #snappy on Freenode or on Gitter. Just ask around and somebody will help.

Happy snapping everyone!

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Daniel Holbach

For a few weeks we have been running the Snappy Playpen as a pet/research project already. Many great things have happened since then:

  • With the Playpen we now have a repository of great best-practice examples.
  • We brought together a lot of people who are excited about snaps, who worked together, collaborated, wrote plugins together and improved snapcraft and friends.
  • A number of cloud parts were put together by the team as well.
  • We landed quite a few high-quality snaps in the store.
  • We had lots of fun.

Opening the Sandpit

With our next Snappy Playpen event tomorrow, 20th September 2016, we want to extend the scheme. We are opening the Sandpit part of the Playpen!

One thing we realised in the last weeks is that we treated the Playpen more and more like a place where well-working, tested and well-understood snaps go to inspire people who are new to snapping software. What we saw as well was that lots of fellow snappers kept their half-done snaps on their hard-disk instead of sharing them and giving others the chance to finish them or get involved in fixing. Time to change that, time for the Sandpit!

In the Sandpit things can get messy, but you get to explore and play around. It’s fun. Naturally things need to be light-weight, which is why we organise the Sandpit on just a simple wiki page. The way it works is that if you have a half-finished snap, you simply push it to a repo, add your name and the link to the wiki, so others get a chance to take a look and work together with you on it.

Tomorrow, 20th September 2016, we are going to get together again and help each other snapping, clean up old bits, fix things, explain, hang out and have a good time. If you want to join, you’re welcome. We’re on Gitter and on IRC.

  • WHEN: 2016-09-20
  • WHAT: Snappy Playpen event – opening the Sandpit
  • WHERE: Gitter and on IRC

Added bonus

As an added bonus, we are going to invite Michael Vogt, one of the core developers of snapd to the Ubuntu Community Q&A tomorrow. Join us at 15:00 UTC tomorrow on http://ubuntuonair.com and ask all the questions you always had!

See you tomorrow!

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Daniel Holbach

Are you interested in snapping software and need help?

snapcraft-website

There’s a lot of good reasons for snapping software:

  • You get software out to millions of users: Ubuntu (snapd installed by default since Ubuntu 16.04 LTS), snapd available too on Arch, Debian, Gentoo, Fedora, openSUSE, openembedded, yocto and OpenWRT.
  • You get to define the experience: ship the stack the way you tested it. Just one simple test-scenario for you.
  • Building a snap is simple (one piece of YAML controls the build), publishing is instantaneous (one command to run, automatic review).
  • Multiple release channels in the store.

If you’re intrigued but need help to get started, tomorrow is a great time for this, as we’re going to have another Snappy Playpen event.

Tomorrow (13th Sept 2016) we are going to hang out on Gitter and IRC and will be there to answer your questions, work on snaps together and have fun!

In the Snappy Playpen project we are collecting best-practices and work on getting snaps out there together. We’re a friendly bunch and look forward to meeting you!

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Daniel Holbach

I’m looking forward to next week, as

Going-To-Akademy-2016On Wednesday I’m going to give this workshop

So if you are interested in learning how to publish software easily and directly to users, this might be just for you.

Snaps are self-contained, confined apps, which run across a variety of Linux systems. The process of snapping software is very straight-forward and publishing them is very quick as well. The whole process offers many things upstreams and app publishers have been asking for years.

The workshop is interactive, all that’s required is that you either have VirtualBox or qemu installed or run any flavour of Ubuntu 16.04 or later. I’m going to bring USB sticks with images.

The workshop will consist of three very straight-forward parts:

  • Using the snap command to find, install, remove, update and revert software installations.
  • Using snapcraft to build and publish software.
  • Taking a look at KDE/Qt software and see how it’s snapped.

A few words about your host of the session: I’m Daniel Holbach, I have been part of the Ubuntu community since its very early days and work for Canonical on the Community team. Right now I’m working closely with the Snappy team on making publishing software as much fun as it should be.

See you next Wednesday!

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Daniel Holbach

Snapcraft

Over the last few weeks, Tuesday has become the Snappy Playpen day. Although you can find us on IRC and Gitter all the time basically, Tuesday is where many of us have their eyeballs locked on the discussion and are happy to help out.

We’re making no exception tomorrow, 19th July 2016 will be another Snappy Playpen event.

It’s beautiful to see all the recent additions to the Snappy Playpen repository and other contributions. Just check out the snapcraft social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) to get an idea.

We very much want to continue down that road: get more software snapped, help newcomers, get snapcraft.yaml files submitted upstream, fix documentation, answer questions, and grow together as a community.

Tomorrow will have the great advantage, that most of the people working on snapd and snapcraft are sprinting in Heidelberg right now. So they are all in the same place physically, so we are going to try to talk them into helping out and joining us for some Playpen activity.

To get started, have a look at the snapcraft.io page and ask us all your questions tomorrow! We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

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Daniel Holbach

Distributing software has never been easier. snapcraft makes it easy to build any kind of app, snapd and snap-confine bring security and hassle-free updates. Maintaining the app in the store is simple and you get lots of flexibility with different release channels.

If you’re interested or curious, adding your software to the Snappy Playpen, might be a good first step. Tomorrow, Tuesday 12th July 2016, we are working together on getting more snaps landed, getting things improved, updating our docs, helping out the snapd/snapcraft people, and upstreaming snaps.

It’s easy to get in touch, we are both hanging out in

We are looking forward to seeing you there.

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Daniel Holbach

Zygmunt Krynicki wrote about the availability of bite-sized bugs for the snapd project.

I took this as an opportunity to go through the snapcraft bugs as well and tag a few as bitesize myself. snapcraft is written in python, nicely commented documented and comes with a comprehensive test-suite. The people working on it are a lovely bunch and very helpful. So if you are interested in publishing software and have some knowledge in how a certain class of projects is built, you could do a lot of good here.

If you can’t write python or go (for snapd) code, that’s fine – there are lots of other ways to help out:

This is an exciting time for Ubuntu and other distributions – we’re making software much more easily available.

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Daniel Holbach

Next week on Tuesday, 5th July, we want to have our next Snappy Playpen event. As always we are going to work together on snapping software for our repository on github. Whatever app, service or piece of software you bring is welcome.

The focus of last week was ironing out issues and documenting what we currently have. Some outcomes of this were:

We want to continue this work, but add a new side to this: upstreaming our work. It is great that we get snaps working, but it is much better if the upstream project in question can take over the ownership of snaps themselves. Having snapcraft.yaml in their source tree will make this a lot easier. To kick off this work, we started some documentation on how to best do that and track this effort.

You are all welcome to the event and we look forward to work together with you. Coordination is happening on #snappy on Freenode and Gitter. We will make sure all our experts are around to help you if you have questions.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Daniel Holbach

It takes a special kind of people who enjoy being in the first in a new community. It’s a time when there’s a lot of empty canvas, wide landscapes to uncover, lots of dragons still on a map, I guess you already see what I mean. It takes some pioneer spirit to feel comfortable when the rules are not all figured out yet and stuff is still a bit harder than it should be.

The last occurrence where I saw this live was the Snappy Playpen. A project where all the early snap contributors hang out, figure out problems, document best-practices and have fun together.

We use Github and Gitter/IRC to coordinate things, we have been going for a bit more than two weeks now and I’m quite happy with where we’ve got. We had about 60 people in the Gitter channel, had more than 30 snaps contributed and about the same number or more being in the works.

playpen

But it’s not just the number of snaps. It’s also the level of helping each other out and figuring out bigger problems together. Here’s just a (very) few things as an example:

  • David Planella wrote a common launcher for GTK apps and we could move snaps like leafpad, galculator and ristretto off of their own custom launchers today. It’s available as a wiki part, so it’s quite easy to consume today.
  • Simon Quigley and Didier Roche figured out better contribution guidelines and moved the existing snaps to use them instead.
  • With new interfaces landing in snapd, it was nice to see how they were picked up in existing snaps and formerly existing issues resolved. David Callé for example fixed the vlc and scummvm snaps this way.
  • Sometimes it takes perseverance to your snap landed. It took Andy Keech quite a while to get imagemagick (both stable and from git) to build and work properly, but thanks to Andy’s hard work and collaboration with the Snapcraft developers they’re included now.
  • The docs are good, but they don’t cover all use-cases yet and we’re finding new ways to use the tools every day.

As I said earlier: it takes some pioneer spirit to be happy in such circumstances and all the folks above (and many others) have been working together as a team together in the last days. For me, as somebody who’s supporting the project, this was very nice to see. Particularly seeing people from all over the open source spectrum (users of cloud tools, GTK and Qt apps, python scripts, upstream developers, Java tools and many more).

Tomorrow we are going to have our kickoff event for week 3 of Snappy Playpen. As I said in the mail, one area of focus is going to be server apps and electron based apps, but feel free to bring whatever you enjoy working on.

I’d like to thank each and everyone of you who is participating in this initiative (not just the people who committed something). The atmosphere is great, we’re solving problems together and we’re excited to bring a more complete, easier to digest and better to use snap experience to new users.

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Daniel Holbach

We are in the second week of the Snappy Playpen and it’s simply beautiful to see how new folks are coming in and collaborate on getting snaps done, improve existing ones, answer questions and work together. The team spirit is strong and we’re all learning loads.

Keep up the good work everyone! </p>
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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is out of the door, we started work on the Yakkety Yak already, now it’s time for the Ubuntu Online Summit. It’s all happening 3-5 May 14-20 UTC. This is where we discuss upcoming features, get feedback and demo all the good work which happened recently.

If you want to join the event, just head to the registration page and check out the UOS 16.05 schedule afterwards. You can star (☆) sessions and mark them as important to you and thus plan your attendance for the event.

Now let’s take a look on the bits which are in one way or another related to Ubuntu Core at UOS:

  • Snappy Ubuntu 16 – what’s new
    16.04 has landed and with it came big changes in the world of snapd and friends. Some of them are still in the process of landing, so you’re in for more goodness coming down the pipe for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
  • The Snapcraft roadmap
    Publishing software through snaps is super easy and snapcraft is the tool to use for this. Let’s take a look at the roadmap together and see which exciting features are going to come up next.
  • Snappy interfaces
    Interfaces in Ubuntu Core allow snaps to communicate or share resources, so it’s important we figure out how interfaces work, which ones we’d like to implement next and which open questions there are.
  • Playpen – Snapping software together
    Some weeks ago the Community team set up a small branch in which we collaborated on snapping software. It was good fun, we worked on things together, learnt from each other and quickly worked out common issues. We’d like to extend the project and get more people involved. Let’s discuss the project and workflow together.
  • How to snap your software
    If you wanted to start snapping software (yours or somebody else’s) and wanted to see a presentation of snapcraft and a few demos, this is exactly the session you’ve been looking for.
  • Snappy docs – next steps
    Snappy and snapcraft docs are luckily being written by the developers as part of the development process, but we should take a look at the docs together again and see what we’re missing, no matter if it’s updates, more coherence, more examples or whatever else.
  • Demo: Snaps on the desktop
    Here’s the demo on how to get yourself set up as a user or developer of snaps on your regular Ubuntu desktop.

I’m looking forward to see you in all these sessions!

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu 16.04 is out!

Ubuntu 16.04 – yet another LTS?

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, aka the Xenial Xerus, has just been released. It’s incredible that it’s already the 24th Ubuntu release and the 6th LTS release. If you have been around for a while and need a blast from the past, check out this video:

Click here to view it on youtube. It’s available in /usr/share/example-content on a default desktop install as well.

You would think that after such a long time releases get somewhat inflationary and less important and while I’d very likely always say on release day “yes, this one is the best of all so far”, Ubuntu 16.04 is indeed very special to me.

Snappy snappy snappy

Among the many pieces of goodness to come to your way is the snapd package. It’s installed by default on many flavours of Ubuntu including Ubuntu Desktop and is your snappy connection to myApps.

Snappy Ubuntu Core 2.0 landing just in time for the 16.04 LTS release only happened due to the great and very hard work of many teams and individuals. I also see it as the implementation of lots of feedback we have been getting from third party app developers, ISVs and upstream projects over the years. Basically what all of them wanted was in a nutshell: a solid Ubuntu base, flexibility in handling their app and the relevant stack, independence from distro freezes, dead-simple packaging, bullet-proof upgrades and rollbacks, and an app store model established with the rise of the smartphones. Snappy Ubuntu Core is exactly that and more. What it also brings to Ubuntu is a clear isolation between apps and a universal trust model.

As most of you know, I’ve been trying to teach people how to do packaging for Ubuntu for years and it continued to improve and get easier, but all in all, it still is hard to get right. snapcraft makes this so much easier. It’s just beautiful. If you have been doing some packaging in the past, just take a look at some of the examples.

Landing a well-working and stable snapd with clear-cut and stable set of APIs was the most important aspect, especially considering that almost everyone will be basing their work on 16.04 LTS, which is going to be supported for five years. This includes being able to use snapcraft on the LTS.

Today you can build a snap, upload it to the store using snapcraft upload, having it automatically reviewed and published by the store and Desktop users can install it on their system. This brings you in a position where you can easily share your software with millions of users, without having to wait for somebody to upload it to the distro for you, without having your users add yet another PPA, etc.

So, what’s still missing? Quite a few things actually. Because you have to bundle your dependencies, packages are still quite big. This will change as soon as the specifics of OS and library snaps are figured out. Apart from that many new interfaces will need to be added to make Ubuntu Core really useful and versatile. There are also still a few bugs which need figuring out.

If you generally like what you’re reading here, come and talk to us. Introduce yourselves, talk to us and we’ll figure out if anything you need it still missing.

If you’re curious you can also check out some blog posts written by people who worked on this relentlessly in the last weeks:

Thanks a lot everyone – I thoroughly enjoyed working with you on this and I’m looking forward to all the great things we are going to deliver together!

Bring your friends, bring your questions!

The Community team moved the weekly Ubuntu Community Q&A to be tomorrow, Friday 2016-04-22 15:00 UTC on https://ubuntuonair.com as usual. If you have questions, tune in and bring your friends as well!

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Daniel Holbach

It’s been a while since our last Snappy Clinic, so we asked for your input on which topics to cover. Thanks for the feedback so far.

In our next session Sergio Schvezov is going to talk about what’s new in Snapcraft and the changes in the 2.x series. Be there and you are going to be up-to-date on how to publish your software on Snappy Ubuntu Core. There will be time for questions afterwards.

Join us on the 12th February 2016 at 16:00 UTC on http://ubuntuonair.com.

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Daniel Holbach

I can’t wait for UbuCon Summit to start. The list of attendees is growing and with some of the folks it’s been ages since I met them in person the last time. For me that’s the number one reason to be there. Catching up with everyone will be great.

The schedule for UbuCon Summit is looking fantastic as well. We have many many great talks and demos lined up from a really broad spectrum, there’s going to be much to learn about and there’s going to be more surprises coming up in the unconference part of UbuCon.

And there’s more:

Anything I missed you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments. </p>
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Daniel Holbach

ubucon

I’m very excited about UbuCon Summit which will bring many many Ubuntu people from all parts of its community together in January. David Planella did a great job explaining why this event is going to be just fantastic.

I look forward to meeting everyone and particularly look forward to what we’ve got to show in terms of Snappy Ubuntu Core.

Manik Taneja and Sergio Schvezov

We are going to have Manik Taneja and Sergio Schvezov there who are going to give the following talk:

Internet of Things gets ‘snappy’ with Ubuntu Core

Snappy Ubuntu Core is the new rendition of Ubuntu, designed from the ground up to power the next generation of IoT devices. The same Ubuntu and its vast ecosystem, but delivered in a leaner form, with state-of-the art security and reliable update mechanisms to ensure devices and apps are always up-to-date.

This talk will introduce Ubuntu Core, the technologies of its foundations and the developer experience with Snapcraft. We will also discuss how public and branded stores can kickstart a thriving app ecosystem and how Ubuntu meets the needs of connected device manufacturers, entrepreneurs and innovators.

And there’s more! Sergio Schvezov will also give the following workshop:

Hands-on demo: creating Ubuntu snaps with Snapcraft

Overview the snapcraft features and demo how easily a snap can be created using multiple parts from different sources. We will also show how to create a plugin for unhandled source types.

In addition to that we are going to have a few nice things at our booth, so we can show give you a Snappy experience there as well.

If you want to find out more, like check the entire schedule or register for the event, do it at ubucon.org.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there! </p>
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Daniel Holbach

It’s been a while since our last Snappy Clinic (here’s a link to all videos) and since Ubuntu Online Summit a lot of great things happened in Snapcraft:

Among the changes: a nil plugin, support of pip packages, support globs in the copy plugin, a nodejs plugin, add go-packages to the go plugin, countless bugfixes and tests, a more beautiful interface and more documentation.

The above and to get Sergio Schvezov on camera are reasons enough for us to have another Snappy Clinic

See you later! </p>
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Daniel Holbach

UCADay-64pxThe Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day is a really nice tradition and it’s always to think of somebody I could thank (Thanks Ahmed Shams for setting it up in the first place!). Narrowing down my list of thank-yous to just one or two for a blog post is much harder for me. </p>
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