Canonical Voices

Daniel Holbach

The unstoppable Sergio Schvezov is working on bug 1201811 right now. Once it’s fixed this should put is into a position where users of devices for which we have Ubuntu Touch images (and not just the four devices we supported right from the start) can just use phablet-flash. This doesn’t mean that they are “officially supported” or that they’re built daily in the Canonical data centre, but that you can make use of the images much more easily.

Over time we still want to build more images in the data centre in a regular fashion. One of the big blockers there has been information about the redistributability of firwmare, blobs and closed kernel modules. If you have information about the licenses any of these, it’d be great if you could help with updating the Touch device pages.

On Thursday, 1st August we are going to hold a Ubuntu Touch Porting Clinic in #ubuntu-touch on where you will be able to ask all the questions you have and our local experts can help you with updating your image(s) to the new world order. We hope to see you there!

Ubuntu Touch

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Daniel Holbach

Some weeks ago I wrote a blog post and shared a personal view on Ubuntu’s history as a project. In there I explained (among other things) my view that Ubuntu as a project has quite often taken hard decisions to bring something new and exciting to people. The goal always was the same: bring open source in a beautiful form to as many people as possible. If I look around me today, it’s just beautiful to see what we’ve achieved. In conversations it’s easy for me to explain what I work on, almost everybody has heard of Ubuntu or Linux or Open Source. Lots of people, even folks outside the tech scene, try out Ubuntu every day, and are quite happy with what we brought to the table.

In recent months we drastically increased the pace though. It’s amazing to see how many teams work on the phone, on porting, on our app story and on making one Ubuntu happen across all kinds of devices. My gut feeling was that with every new video showing off another new working part, the buzz and excitement grew. “We actually can pull this off” seems to be the message everyone is getting. It makes me proud being part of this and happy to see that this is coming to fruition.

Starting the Ubuntu Edge project was another bold move in this regard. Not only working with carriers and hardware manufacturers on bringing out a device running Ubuntu, which is already fantastic on its own terms, but getting out a high-end device which showcases our vision for a converged device, seems to have excited many people around the globe. Press coverage, comments on blog posts and the incredible amounts of backers in such short time all seem to say “CAN’T WAIT!”.

If you are excited about “one Ubuntu on all kinds of devices”, want to help make this a reality, consider pledging as well. If you are looking for a new phone anyway, one which you can use as your PC as well, consider pledging a bit more. This is totally going to be worth it. :-)

(Can’t see the video, click here.)

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Daniel Holbach

The German translations team have done it! They brought the German translation of the Ubuntu Packaging Guide above 70%, which is the magic threshold for us to enable the translation in the package. Since earlier today you will find this in the Packaging Guide Daily Build PPA (soon going to land in Debian and then in Ubuntu too):

daniel@daydream:~$ apt-cache search german packaging guide ubuntu
ubuntu-packaging-guide-html-de - Ubuntu Packaging Guide - HTML guide - German version
ubuntu-packaging-guide-pdf-de - Ubuntu Packaging Guide - PDF guide - German version
ubuntu-packaging-guide-epub-de - Ubuntu Packaging Guide - EPUB guide - German version

You can also check out the HTML version, single page HTML, PDF version and EPUB version on the web.

This is great news for everyone who wants to get started with Ubuntu development as it will make the first steps easier. Let’s get the translations up to 100% now! :)

Current translations stats are looking like this now:

  • Spanish (96%).
  • Brazilian Portuguese, Russian (83%).
  • German (72%).
  • Traditional Chinese (28%).
  • Japanese (14%).
  • French (10%).
  • Dutch, Indonesian (5%).
  • Chinese Hong Kong (1%).
  • Italian, Greek, Telugu, Australian English, Vietnamese, Kannada, Macedonian, Swedish, Turkish, Simplified Chinese. Latvian, Slovenian, Croatian, Hungarian, Catalan (0%).

Please help out making the guide available in your language as well. Start here.

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Daniel Holbach

In many Ubuntu conversation I’ve been part of many of the participants agreed  that we need “more transparency”. It’s very easy to agree on as transparency is a good thing, it feels good and it makes things better. Achieving it in a meaningful way is a hard problem to solve though. Meaningful to me means not just “all information is available”, but also “relevant information is easy to find”. In Ubuntu development where hundreds of people put of lots of hard work into Ubuntu, we depend on thousands of other open source projects, where there’s discussions on IRC, on mailing lists, hangouts, in specifications and elsewhere, it’s incredibly easy to lose track of what’s important or relevant.

A lot of teams forming the core of Ubuntu send out weekly summaries of their work, which is great. Among them the Mir and Unity 8 team, the kernel team, Unity APIs team, the Ubuntu Touch team and there’s bits of information everywhere. While this is a great start in being able to get a more complete picture, it also takes some time to read, digest, understand and probably talk to people. To help with this we came up with an idea we already discussed at UDS.

The plan is to read and digest the news and have regular hangouts to which invite engineers to talk about what they’ve been doing, show what’s new and answer questions from the audience. To make this even a bit more interesting, we’d like to invite people from tech blogs and tech news sites. The idea being that they know what their readers would like to hear about and what’s interesting. This would bring together the best of many worlds: what’s new in Ubuntu, the new devices, apps, great stuff from the tech press and live interviews with engineers.

What I’d need now is a bit of help with organising this and setting this up. Please leave a comment or drop me a mail, if you think this is a great idea too and would like to help. :-D

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Daniel Holbach

Our Community Website

I blogged about the progress on our community website a while ago and we’re getting closer. A few community members helped on getting the content for the site ready. Here I’d like to take the time and thank all of them – they are all not the kind of person who end up in long arguments, but those who see that a task is important, ask what needs to get done and get right to it. A big kudos to all of you!

The first stage of the work is largely done. Michael Hall set up a wordpress test instance here where we put all the updated content, which is a great achievement already. It’s not only up to date, but also much more welcoming and friendly. The Canonical Web team should help us update the style to match the new site.

What we need now is to get a few eyes over the test instance, so we can make sure all the content is accurate and makes sense. Any help is appreciated. Please just leave a comment on the blog post and we’ll take care of it.

Once we’re happy with the content, we will ask for the site to be put up in a more official place and then ask for redirects and links to be placed into all the right spots.

Thanks everyone. Let’s make the new community website happen together! :)

(There’s also a session at the next UDS about this. Make sure you attend if you want to get involved.)

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu Development – live!

These are very exciting times for Ubuntu. In so many parts of our community so many awesome things are happening every day and it’s great that many talk about it so you can get a sense of what’s happening.

We’ve been doing Ubuntu Development hangouts for a while now, but in last few weeks the pace increased even more. If you have missed some of the hangouts, have a look at the Ubuntu On Air youtube channel (better yet subscribe to it) to get an idea of what happened recently, what’s planned and where you can get involved. Here’s some recent examples:

Of course there’s many many more.

Today (2013-04-18) we are going to have some more special people talking to us, so make sure you’re going to be there, at!

  • At 13:30 UTC we are going to have Loïc Minier, Seth Forshee, Thomas Voß, Michael Frey, Ricardo Salveti, Alex Chiang, Martin Pitt, Tony Espy and Matthew Fischer on the channel, who will discuss some of the main choices around how and where power management will happen (kernel driver model; supporting Android and mainline kernels, indicators and service daemons vs. power manager daemon)
  • At 16:00 UTC Robert Park and Ken vanDine will talk us through the friends-app and its API.

I’m very much looking forward to both!

You can help!

I’m looking for a co-presenter, who knows a bit about Ubuntu Development, who can help hosting some of the sessions. Bonus points if you live in a different timezone (I’m in CET right now), so we can more easily cover different times.

Thanks a lot to José Antonio Rey who helps a lot with keeping Ubuntu On Air in shape!

If you have something you’d like to talk about (roughly in the area of Ubuntu Development), please let me know as well!

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Daniel Holbach

Community on

The Design team recently updated the look of and I think it looks great.

Navigation bar

In the announcement of the redesign they actually explained what led to the changes and it’s a nice read.

Some noticed that the link to the Community page is missing in the navigation bar, and Inayaili León responded to it:

We understand your concerns. The Community link is present in the footer section of the site.

We know that work is on its way to create a more vibrant and useful community site, and the web and design teams are also helping out with that.

One of the things mentioned in the post is that we’re still working on improvements to the navigation not just within but across the entire ubuntu web universe, of which Community is surely an important part. Hopefully this will bring higher visibility to other sites when someone visits

We need, however, to divide work in smaller chunks, as I’m sure you understand, keeping the bigger goals in mind, so we should see this as a first step, which we can iterate on and evolve and be positive about the process.

So at last UDS we had a discussion about how we want to make this work and you can see the planning and stand of things over here. Since some of the members of the team got busy with other things, it’d be GREAT if anyone of you could help out with this. It’s very likely just going to be a set of small tasks, so any help would be much appreciated.

Let’s make the new Community page fantastic and invite many many new people!

If you’re interested, please leave a comment or contact me as usual.

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu Development Hangouts planned

We have a number of super interesting hangouts lined up and some others are planned for the next time. For now I’d like to announce we’ll have these two coming up this week:

  • 2013-04-02 14:00 UTC – Thomas Voß and Keving Gunn will talk about Mir and the next iteration of Unity. What’s happening and how to get involved.
  • 2013-04-04 15:00 UTC – Didier Roche will talk about auto-landing and auto-testing Unity, Ubuntu Touch Core apps and other Desktop bits.

Both hangouts are going to happen on – simply go to the page, use the chat window below the video to connect and ask questions and enjoy the show. Make sure you bring your friends and questions.

Want to talk about your project/team? Demo something?

We are always looking for Ubuntu developers who want to show something, talk about their project or team or anything else. No matter if you’re a new developer and want to tell us how you got involved or if you want to show something new and interesting you found out, please let us know and we’ll make time for you.

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Daniel Holbach

The Ubuntu Developer Advisory Team has been in place for two or three release cycles already and it’s been a fun journey so far. We’ve got in touch with many many new contributors and old contributors as well. If you don’t know what this team does, here’s what our wiki page has to say:


  • Reach out to new contributors, thank them for their work and get feedback.
  • Reach out to people who might be ready to apply for upload rights and help them.
  • Reach out to contributors that went inactive and get feedback from them and offer help.

I personally found this very rewarding as I got to talk to many new contributors and see how they feel about Ubuntu Development.

You can help!

If the above sounds interesting to you and you enjoy engaging socially, if you have made a few experiences in Ubuntu Development and want to help out, please talk to me or comment below. It’d be great to have you on board!

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Daniel Holbach

Parabéns e muito obrigado!

I’m particularly happy to announce that the Brazilian team managed to get their translation of the Ubuntu Packaging Guide up to more than 70% of completion, which is the magic threshold to get it accepted and posted on This means that our current list of available languages is:

  • English
  • Spanish (99%)
  • Russian (85%)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (74%)

You can view the individual forms of the Packaging Guide in Brazilian Portuguese here:

Right at the start I said that I was “particularly happy” about this translation. That’s because I recently picked up a little bit of Portuguese. Mostly useful sentences like “Meu irmão gosta de cerveja” or “O leão escreve cartas”. Thanks Duolingo!

A big big big “obrigado” to the tireless Brazilian Portuguese translators. You all are heroes! This is great news for everyone who wants to get involved in Ubuntu development, as it smoothes the first steps considerably.

You can help out with translations. Just head to the Packaging Guide’s translation page in Launchpad, pick your language and get started. Current runners-up to the translations mentioned earlier are:

  • German (32%)
  • Japanese (15%)
  • French (7%)
  • Indonesian (5%)
  • Dutch (4%)

The available translations are not entirely complete yet either, so please do get involved.

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu Touch summary (week 11)

I’m posting this on behalf of the Ubuntu Touch team. (Originally posted here.)

The interest in Ubuntu Touch is still going strong, many work on apps, many helped with porting, some started fixing bugs in Ubuntu Touch, so here’s a few highlights of Ubuntu Touch development of the last week:

  • Jim Hodapp worked on enabling Qt multithreaded rendering in the camera app.
  • The media app received a number of updates. Jim also enabled Qt multithreaded rendering here and greatly simplified the UI orientation/rotation support. It’s based on Screen.orientation instead of directly using QtSensors now. Renato Filho added some autopilot tests.
  • qtubuntu-media-signals (a library that coordinates qtvideo-node, qtubuntu-camera and qtubuntu-media across thread contexts) was added by Jim and Francis Ginther.
  • Gustavo Boiko put quite a bit of work into the telephony app, which was optimised to load data from telepathy-logger by reading it just once and dispatching the events to the correct model. Also some unit tests were added, the autopilot tests now pass as well. HUD actions were added and the app now uses the toolbar from the SDK.
  • Guenter Schwann worked on the gallery app, which had its event view updated to use Listview. Also “Add album” and opening the photos view from the album view were reenabled.
  • The Platform API was updated by Jim and Ricardo Mendoza to read the resolution and getting the updated rates of sensors. The accelerometer support was refactored so that it supports calling more than one observer listener per Sensor instance. Sessions can now be tracked in a different namespace than the app manager. Various tests were fixed.
  • ubuntu-session had support added for SMDK4210 (Samsung GT-I9100) by Oliver Grawert.

Many other fixes have gone into the lower levels of the stack which were not considered for this update.

The ports team was busy as well and many Ubuntu Touch ports received updates. Some of them regularly and daily (just like the normal images on cdimage.u.c). Newly added ports are:

  • working: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 (GT-P6800)
  • work in progress: HTC Sensation XL, SGS III (Qualcomm AT&T), Toshiba AC100

Thanks to everyone involved for your fantastic work!


Ubuntu Touch runs on tablets, phones and other devices. We are open to suggestions, fixes and new crazy ideas. If you want go get involved, please get in touch:

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu: you’ve changed

I can’t precisely date back when I got involved in Ubuntu, all I do know is that Michael Vogt helped me out with some Debian CDs in university and some months later told me: “you might like this, you can upgrade to it”. I tried it and was hooked immediately.

Ubuntu 4.10 (CC BY-SA 2.0 -

Ubuntu 4.10

When some time later the Ubuntu preview was announced and I learned more about the project goals and values, I felt totally inspired and knew I would totally love this. I had a hard time focusing on my thesis, I ignored it for a while and got involved in Ubuntu. Many folks encouraged me and I started to do some packaging. I packaged some software outside of Ubuntu first (coaster for example, it seems not to exist any more), but quickly got dragged into Ubuntu itself. (pyzor was the first upload I could find.)

Life in 2004 was exciting:

  • Plugging in a USB key and having it show up on your desktop finally worked.
  • We used GNOME 2.8, Firefox 0.9, XFree86 4.3, Evolution 2.0 and 1.1.2.
  • Some months later we had Live CDs!

This was a very special time, it inspired many to do all kinds of crazy things.

April Fool's login (lifted from

April Fool’s login

Admittedly, I looked funny too.

myself at Ubuntu Down Under (picture taken by Tollef Fog Heen)

myself at Ubuntu Down Under

Ubuntu was very different. Its focus on making things work and favouring simplicity won many hearts over. Also its friendly community with high social standards inspired many and made it a pleasure to be involved and try something new. Ubuntu introduced LoCo teams, which brought Ubuntu into many parts of the world, which helped many finding new friends and which brought many new opportunities to everyone.

Ubuntu always was full of change. We pioneered and forged ahead in many many places. We were the first to ship a 2.6 kernel, we modularised X, derooted many services, made it easier to upgrade and install packages, wrote upstart, made booting fast and very often were the first to think new, shake up the standards and improve things for everyone.

Each of these changes was hard work, sometimes brought some problems with it, had its opponents, but also inspired many others, often new folks to jump in and help.

Some of these disagreements were very loud, sometimes they were inside the Ubuntu community, sometimes included Canonical people, sometimes they were on the sidelines of the Ubuntu world. And they were almost accompanied by calls that Ubuntu/Canonical should do more, do less, do it earlier or do it later. Some of the decisions which were made were reverted as a result of testing and feedback, but many stuck around and proved themselves as wise choices.

We were quick to embrace and count on new technologies. Many casual Ubuntu users might not be aware of the great work and innovation which made Ubuntu quickly became a favourite in the Cloud space, which is moving fast as well. This is a significant achievement and the fast pace and amount of change might have been just unnoticed by some because they’re don’t actively use the cloud or don’t watch the space.

Being and staying relevant in the software world is tough, it requires lots of hard work, sometimes a surprise element – quite often it requires change. This is hard, especially in a large community like ours, with many subcommunities, teams, different goals and directions.

Another possible source of disagreements is the symbiosis between Canonical and Ubuntu. The ideals of Open Source communities and business decisions sometimes go against each other and trust me, I’m not always 100% convinced or 100% happy with every decision. Then again all these  decisions are very hard to make. Partners, long-term plans, the press, big investments and lots more have to be considered carefully, which is not always on the radar of people who comment first.

Canonical’s and Ubuntu’s success are very tightly intertwined and it’s worth keeping these mutual benefits and what we achieved together in perspective.

Ubuntu devices

Who would’ve thought this is possible 8 years ago?

Looking at the client side, I still can’t believe where this wild ride took us. We went from “working USB keys” to “favourite product” at MWC, which according to Wikipedia is the “world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry”, an industry known for moving fast and being unforgiving. This is a major achievement for us as a community. People trust us to actually pull this off.

There are many open questions right now, many uncertainties, some problems, but one thing is clear: if we want this to happen and Ubuntu on devices everywhere, this is the opportunity. This is the time and we’ve got to work together.

Perfect teamwork (lifted from

Perfect teamwork

We have the world’s attention, we’re off to a great start, but we have lots of work to do. This year will be the year in which we make it happen.

In the last weeks I’ve been working alongside the Ubuntu Touch team and have been able to witness how hard they work and how quickly the team gained new members from everywhere, how inspired everybody was to contribute and work on core apps, port Ubuntu to new devices, write patches and kick off discussions to lead us into new places. In some ways this is not unsimilar to what Ubuntu felt like in the early days. A lot of people thought we were crazy, there were established projects and players, still we managed to bring something new to the table together.

This is exactly the pioneer spirit we need, the inspiration we need. If you want Ubuntu to succeed, ask yourself what the best place is in which you contribute. There are many, but obvious picks I can see are QA (both manual and automated testing), work on core apps, porting and fixing bugs in Ubuntu in general.

I realise that the increased pace and a set of new priorities in the project are painful for some of us and they are disruptive. There are problems which need to be resolved and as some pointed out elsewhere before, communication and compromises are hard. What I feel is most important in our current discussions is: We all care a lot, and we all agree on much more than we actually disagree on. Let’s resolve the issues and figure out what we all can do make this a success.

Ubuntu, you’ve changed, yes, but we were never closer to our goal of bringing free software to all of the world! Let’s work together to make this happen!

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Daniel Holbach

The Port-a-thon is in full swing


I can’t believe it hasn’t even been a week since we announced the availability of the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview images. We also put instructions out to contribute to the effort and specifically how to port Ubuntu Touch to new devices.

In the recent Ubuntu Development Hangout with some members of the Ubuntu Touch team I mentioned it already: these people are heroes. They’ve worked day and night and it was a pleasure to put the porting guide and Port-a-thon event together with them.

After that it has been very satisfying to be subscribed to the Ubuntu Touch devices list. We started with four devices, on which Ubuntu ran right from the start. The reference devices so to speak. Fast-forward 5-6 days and we have images and instructions for 15 other devices. FIFTEEN!

On this list currently are: Asus Transformer Infinity, Asus Transformer Pad TF300T, Galaxy Nexus (toro + toroplus), Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Wifi, HTC Desire, HTC DNA, Huawei Ascend G300, Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy S (GT-I9000), Sony Xperia S, Sony Xperia T, VZ SGSIII.

If your device is on the list and you’re curious, head to the devices list and find out how to get the new Ubuntu Touch hotness straight to your device.

Another 22 ports are work-in-progress with developers or teams of developers working on them.

Update 2013-02-27 17:56 UTC: it’s 23 work-in-progress ports. :-)

Update 2013-02-28 09:38 UTC: On the list of completed ports we now also have: LG Nitro/Optimus HD, Kindle Fire 1st Gen, Kindle Fire 2nd Gen, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and 2 more work-in-progress ports. Awesome! :-D

Thanks a lot to everyone who helped make this happen. If you’re curious what’s happening, make sure you join the ubuntu-phone mailing list and ubuntu-touch IRC channel. More info on the Contribute page.


Ubuntu Global Jam is coming up this weekend (1-3 March) and if you have a look at the list of events, you can see that from Tempe to Tehran we have events lined up where people get together to make Ubuntu better. With all the excitement around Ubuntu Touch, we added instructions to the Ubuntu Global Jam page on how to help by either testing, porting or writing apps.

If you don’t have an event nearby or your team is too spread out over the state or country, you could at least still get together on IRC or over Hangouts. We have docs on how to run an event.

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Daniel Holbach

It takes two

At the last UDS we talked quite a bit about LoCo teams in during the Leadership Mini Summit. One interesting point was that many seemed to have the impression that events have to be big, everything has to follow an established protocol or a rigid process. That’s not the case.

I’m sure my friend Jorge Castro would agree with me if I told you to JFDI. The result of not doing things is that things will not get done. Setting up an event is sometimes just a matter of sending a mail to the team and asking everyone to come to a certain place at a certain date and time. Another point discussed was the number of people. Seriously, if it’s just two of you who hang out and make Ubuntu better or just have a good time together, that’s so much better than not meeting at all. :)

The reason I write all of this is that we’re getting closer to Ubuntu Global Jam again and some of you might be considering setting up an event and adding it to the LoCo Team Portal and you might still be a bit unsure. There’s really no need to.

It’s very very likely you don’t need a huge venue with lots of bells and whistles, maybe just meeting in a coffee shop will be good enough? A room in your local university? Or invite people to your place? Just somewhere with internet might be good enough. You might get to know some new local team members and it’s all about having a good time.

We have instructions up how to set up a jam, a video, and you can always ask for advice. Join the Ubuntu Global Jam today!

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Daniel Holbach

Going mobile

Many asked me in the last time what became of the Ubuntu on Nexus7 project. I’m happy to say that it’s going really well. Some weeks ago it was already very easy to install Ubuntu on a Nexus7, since then things got better and better. Many bugs were ironed out, but the piece most folks have been concentrating on recently was the desktop-r-reduced-power-ram blueprint.

The spec says:

In the past few cycles, we saw that our desktop took more and more RAM to run the full session. Also, more daemons mean more interruptions on the CPU, and less battery file. We will get services to not run when not needed and work on improving the code of those components to consume less resources

Why is this so relevant in a mobile setting? Simple. Most mobile devices are less well-equipped than the common Desktop or Laptop, and every interruption, every bit of CPU usage, every disk access costs precious battery life. Fixing this kind of bugs will have a great and positive impact for all devices running Ubuntu.

Here’s a quick summary of the work which has been done:

  • Robert Ancell: look at why lightdm is using 30MB (it’s due to the memory locking – without locking it drops to 3.7M)
  • Michael Terry: Make lightdm selectively lock memory instead of using mlockall
  • Sébastien Bacher: look if gnome-keyring needs to be running all the time (needs to, restarting would mean having to unlock it again, e.g ask user for password every time)
  • Sébastien Bacher: look at what is making goa run for some users (it’s e-d-s)
  • Sébastien Bacher: set up follow-up meetings about the topics we didn’t cover during the session
  • Ken vanDine: check with online team if signond needs to be running all the time
  • Ken vanDine: investigate long running telepathy-indicator/mission-control
  • Iain Lane: drop g-c-c recommends on goa so it’s not installed by default
  • Oliver Grawert: seed zram-conf
  • Brian Murray: look at what update-notifier is used for nowadays, identify if those functionalities could be replaced/moved to upstart jobs []
  • Colin Watson: fix upower memory leaks
  • Colin Watson: reduce update-notifier memory use

Update: Sébastien also mailed the ubuntu-devel@ list with a nice summary of the work.

We need your help

If you have a look at the desktop-r-reduced-power-ram blueprint you can see that there is still quite a bit of work which need to be done. There are assignees for some of the work items, but all of them will be happy to hear you offer help. The effort is coordinated on #ubuntu-desktop, so you best head there and start chatting with the team.

More information – live hangout

Tomorrow, 7 Feb 2013, at 9 UTC I am going to talk with my friend Sébastien Bacher on about this initiative, so if you want to find out more, be sure to tune in or watch the recording in the ubuntuonair youtube channel afterwards.

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Daniel Holbach

We all want more quality. We all wasted too many hours trying to fix broken software and we all know that new users struggle the most when facing crashes or other unexpected results. We probably all also agree that testing is a good idea and if it’s automated, then that’s even better.

Automatically exercising large parts of some software’s functionality helps a lot in guaranteeing that things still work, even if the code or some underlying foundations change. The idea is to write the test-case once and have it do its work whenever bits change and let us know if things break unexpectedly – especially before users run into bugs.

Tomorrow, 1st February 2013, we are going to hang out in #ubuntu-quality on to have a Hackfest about Automated Testing.

So what’s going to happen there?

  • We are going to have seasoned Ubuntu developers who will introduce you to autopilot (for UI testing) and autopkgtest (for integrating tests with the package in a more general sense).
  • We have a list of tests we want to work on together (but you can work on your own tests if you like as well).
  • We are going to have lots of fun and make Ubuntu a better place.

If you are interested, that’s great, because this is one of the coolest contributions to Ubuntu you can make. For autopkgtest it might be good to have at least a bit experience with scripting or programming, for autopilot less so. Be curious, be there, make Ubuntu better!

Check out our docs here and see you tomorrow!


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Daniel Holbach

I mentioned the upcoming Ubuntu Developer Week in my last blog post already, but I thought I’d mention a couple more great sessions we are going to have during the event.

If you haven’t read the original post yet, here’s the quick details: running from 29th to 31st January 2013 we are going to have sessions, mostly on IRC, some on Hangouts-on-Air, where you get a introduction to all kinds of topics surrounding Ubuntu Development. After attending the sessions you will have a good idea how things roughly fit together, how to get started, who to talk to and what’s going on. It’s the perfect opportunity.

Here’s a few quotes from session leaders:

Benjamin Drung

Benjamin Drung

Benjamin Drung and Michael Bienia (of whom the internet does not seem to have any pictures whatsoever) are going to lead the Developers Roundtable and have this to say:

Do you have questions about Ubuntu development? Here you have the best opportunity to ask everything you want to know, because we will have a number of developers there who can answer your questions for you.


David Planella

David Planella

David Planella, who will talk about “Writing apps for Ubuntu”, says:

Learn how to use the best open source tools and technologies to write your apps on Ubuntu, both on the desktop and on the phone. You’ll be able to get your first app running in a matter of minutes!



Michael Hall

Michael Hall

Michael Hall never gets enough, so he’s giving two sessions at UDW this time around. Here’s what he has to say about Ubuntu App Developer tools: “Ubuntu provides a variety of tools to help you write and manage your applications. This session will cover everything from bootstrapping a new project, to making the final packages installable through the Software Center and everything in between.”

He will also talk about Unity integration: “The Unity desktop provides many opportunities for your application to integrate with the full user experience. Learn how to add your Application to the Unity messaging or sound indicators, add your own indicator, extend the Unity Launcher and much more.

Oliver Grawert

Oliver Grawert

We’re excited to have Oliver Grawert here, who will talk about Creating Ubuntu images and the Nexus7 images in particular. He will talk about “[t]he Ubuntu image build infrastructure at a glance, what tools do we use, how do they interact and how is the hardware set up for building the official Ubuntu images” and “[h]ow are the nexus7 images different from “normal” Ubuntu images, what can be hacked to make small modifications, how can they be re-packed or supplied with a different root file system“.


Alex Chiang

Alex Chiang

Alex Chiang will introduce us to the world of memory leaks and says:

As we polish and prep Ubuntu for mobile devices, a key activity will be hunting down and squashing memory leaks. This session will discuss the basic theory of leaks, introduce valgrind and our brand new apport-valgrind wrapper, and how to analyze a valgrind log file. A C/C++ background will be helpful to get the most out of this session, but is not strictly required.

Nicholas Skaggs

Nicholas Skaggs

QA mastermind Nicholas “balloons” Skaggs will talk us through “Automated Testing with autopilot” and says:

Learn about how autopilot is utilized by the unity team and quality team to test the ubuntu desktop. We’ll also provide an overview of what autopilot can do, show and run some example testcases, and give you the knowledge needed to get started writing your own autopilot testcases.


We are super happy to have brought this line-up of speakers to Ubuntu Developer Week this time around. Head to to review the full schedule, how to join in and find out more.

Share the news with your friends and bring your questions! :-)

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Daniel Holbach

The times for Ubuntu have never been more exciting. Cloud, server, desktop, laptop, TV, tablet, phone – everything runs Ubuntu or is soon going to. This makes developing Ubuntu very special, because fixes which go into Ubuntu in one place will benefit all form factors and all circumstances where it’s used. By improving Ubuntu you make millions of people around the globe happy.

During every 6 month release cycle we run Ubuntu Developer Week. It’s back and we’re going to have it from 29th January to 31st January. During the event we will have online sessions where seasoned Ubuntu developers introduce you to their respective area of expertise or to Ubuntu Development in general.

We will have many great sessions, from hands-on introduction to packaging and Ubuntu development to talks about how to quickly get involved in certain teams and interact with other projects. We will talk about tools and infrastructure, fixing bugs, finding memleaks, working with apps, create Ubuntu images and much much much more. This is the best opportunity to get a feel for how Ubuntu development works, get to know people and ask all the questions you might have.

I talked to a few session hosts, read below what they had to say.

Martin Pitt

Martin Pitt

Martin Pitt, who will talk about Automated Testing, says: “We have been, and are changing the Ubuntu development process to employ automated testing and avoid introducing regressions, and to improve confidence, focus, and development speed. In the first talk I will give an overview about the various kinds of tests that we do, so that you know where to watch out for failures and get debugging information. The second talk focuses on how to write tests, i.e. which technologies are available for e.g. hardware and GUI related behaviour or system-wide integration checks.”


Stefano Rivera

Stefano Rivera

Stefano Rivera, who will talk about Upstreams and Debian in particular, said: “So, working effectively in Ubuntu means also working with the teams and people upstream who wrote the software we distribute. I’ll talk about why this is important, when it’s necessary, and how to go about it. In particular, our most important upstream is Debian. Debian has a rather unusual (though powerful) bug-tracker. We’ll cover finding, submitting, and modifying bugs on it.

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson, project leader of the Hundred Papercuts Team, says: “Unity may be the shiny new thing that everyone loves, but style without substance is only so much fluff, and the substance of Ubuntu is still its GTK-based apps. Once Hundred Paper Cuts focuses it’s attention on that substance, rubbing out the little annoyances that get under our skin every day we’re using Ubuntu. This session will introduce you to the project, how it works, and how to get involved. If you want to contribute to Ubuntu in a way that has the biggest impact on the quality of experience for the end user, then don’t miss this.


Bhavani Shankar

Bhavani Shankar

Bhavani Shankar, said about his talk about patch systems: “Many a time we wonder how to integrate a particular fix a particular part of the code in a program and upload into repositories without having to change code each time by hand and making it clumsy. In this session I’m going to show how to use different patch management systems that are in practice now.

About his talk about the app review process in Ubuntu he says: “In this session I’m going to explain the present workflow of reviewing apps and give an introduction into the new app dev upload process to automate reviews.

The forum we use for this is IRC, as it makes it easy to interact for many people without losing track, you can easily copy/paste and we can save the logs as searchable docs afterwards. You join in by simply connecting to #ubuntu-classroom on

Check out the schedule and find more info on the Ubuntu wiki. We hope to see you all there, please let you friends know too. :-)

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Daniel Holbach


Many have asked me what’s been going on with the work on Ubuntu on the Nexus 7 recently. A lot of people put work into getting the raring images ready for public consumption. 12.10 worked great on the Nexus, but there were a few blockers on getting 13.04 to work as well. On this road among other things these issues were fixed:

  • A new onboard pre-release made it into 13.04 which fixes many bugs already and makes our on-screen keyboard a lot easier to use. Thanks a lot to the onboard team.
  • The new Unity stack got into raring, which is now automatically tested after commits and auto-released into 13.04. This is a huge milestone from the Unity team. Among the issues fixed was a nux problem, which constituted a blocker.
  • The new raring images use oem-config to present us with an installer window, where you can specify a user name, the wireless network you want to use and other bits.
  • Many many other issues were fixed as well.
Ubuntu on the Nexus 7

Ubuntu on the Nexus 7

So what does this mean for you now? You can now very easily put Ubuntu 13.04 on your Nexus 7. It won’t need any additional PPA, it’s stock raring, you won’t have to reflash, but can just do your regular updates and enjoy the latest and greatest improvements day by day.

This is a huge achievement and will allow us to do better and more immediate testing and hacking on the device.



One thing we want to improve on the Nexus 7 (and in Ubuntu in general) is memory consumption. Alex Chiang has put together some great blog posts on how to help with finding memory issues and debugging them. They are absolutely worth a read and an effort worth getting involved with. Here are the links:

If you want to make Ubuntu better and have a bit of a development background, be sure to check them out.


Meeting the team

Everybody who has been working on Ubuntu on the Nexus 7 has documented things on the wiki pages, so if you are excited about this, be sure head there first. Also does the team hang out in 24/7 in #ubuntu-arm on, so feel free to drop by, say Hi and get to know the others.

These are exciting times for Ubuntu and you can be part of it. :-)

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Daniel Holbach

A great way to contribute to Ubuntu is to ensure its functionality always works. What’s even better is that our infrastructure allows us to write tests once and continuously test if the tests still all pass, so whenever a package is updated or changed, we run the tests and can see if the functionality we rely on is still there and working perfectly.

This puts us into a situation where we all can contribute tests once and can basically monitor forever if the code still works. Personally I believe this to be one of the most efficient contributions you can make to Ubuntu (and to Open Source in general).

We want more people to use Open Source software and we all want more quality. We don’t want regressions, we don’t want subtle bugs which nobody ever got around to test. We don’t want anyone (least of all less technical people) to be surprised by bugs.

I hope you are excited about these possibilities as much as I am. If you are, I’d like to invite you to our Automated Testing Hackfest on Thursday, 13th December 2012. Many experts around Automated Testing are going to be hanging out in #ubuntu-quality, there are going to be demos, a lot of talk about automated testing infrastructure and tools and of course a lot of live-hacking!

Jean-Baptiste LallementMartin Pitt

There will be many more, but Jean-Baptiste and Martin already confirmed they’ll be around to help out and get us started! Be sure to join us in #ubuntu-quality on and check out the Automated Testing Hackfest page for some more info!

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