Canonical Voices

Daniel Holbach

Another UDS, a new world to discover

As part of the Ubuntu community, I’ve been part of many UDSes and a growing number of vUDSes and while it’d be easy to say “Another UDS, more new work items.” and be done with it, I’m very excited about this UDS.

In the last years I’ve mostly been involved with the Ubuntu Developer community, so the people who build Ubuntu itself, which is what other people install, deploy and build on. Last cycle I helped with managing the software store project, which got me involved in many discussions about apps on Ubuntu. This cycle I’m diving much deeper into the waters of Ubuntu App development and I’m looking forward to it.

Beautiful clocksBeautiful clocks

My major task will be to improve the materials we have for app development and generally raise awareness of Ubuntu as a great app platform. For this I will obviously have to learn a bit more about app development, so expect me to ask lots of questions in the next weeks. :-)

If this sounds like something you’re interested in or would like to help out with, here’s what I have noted down on my schedule for UDS, which starts tomorrow, 19th Nov 2013 and goes until 21st Nov 2013:





There will be a number of sessions, like the Community Council meeting, I’m going to attend as well, as I’ll be track lead for Community together with Jono.

Sign up for UDS, check out the complete schedule and find out how to participate.

Looking forward to seeing you there! :-)

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Daniel Holbach

I’m very proud of what quite a number of teams achieved together last week. On Friday we announced the opening of the Ubuntu Touch software store. Just to quickly illustrate who was all responsible for this, here’s a list of the teams/projects involved:

  • Click itself – the format in which we ship apps.
  • Community team – helped with coordination of whole app story and project management.
  • Design team – putting together plans for how the experience should be.
  • *dations teams (Foundations, Phonedations), getting everything in the phone image, helping with the integration of the download service.
  • IS, setting up servers and help with deployment.
  • Online Services (Client) – writing the code for the whole app management experience on the client side.
  • Online Services (Server) – putting together the software store, review capabilities, etc.
  • SDK team – teaching QtCreator about Ubuntu apps and click packages.
  • Security team – defining and putting together our app confinement strategy.
  • Unity teams – integration of the app scope and other bits and pieces.
  • Lots of others (feedback, code review, encouragement, etc).

I’m sure I forgot to mention a team or two, but it’s at least worth trying to point out who all was responsible for this. The security confinement, the SDK and Unity have obviously been under heavy development for a longer time already, some plans existed before, but the vast majority of what you can see now was planned three months ago. So with this in mind, I feel everybody involved in this project deserves a big hug and some words of praise. This is a great achievement.

There are definitely a bunch of things still left to be done, but now we have:

  • a good app development experience,
  • a software store you can easily submit apps to,
  • a mobile OS where you can easily install apps.

Go (virtual) team! :-D

Screenshot stolen from Michael Hall (

This project was my first try at project managing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hundreds of emails, lots of meetings and discussions on IRC made the software store a reality. Everybody worked very hard to bring this to fruition and it was a fantastic feeling to be able to download some new apps on my Nexus 7 today.

As I said above: there is still quite a few things we’ve got to do, so the coming weeks are going to bring us a lot of great stuff: purchases, some automation of the app review, easy app updates, apps with compiled code and much much more. Stay tuned and keep publishing your great apps!

Big hugs to the extended team, you are all heroes and thanks for the great time with you!

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Daniel Holbach

The next Ubuntu Developer Summit is coming up next week (27-29 August 2013) and you can already see a nice set of topics coming together in Launchpad. The schedule will, as always, be available at

Jono Bacon and I are going to be track leads for the Community track, so I wanted to send out an invitation to get topics in, especially for bits concerning the Community track. If you are a team lead and had feedback from your team or you want to bring up a discussion topic where you are interested to help out with, check out our docs on how to submit a session for UDS. Please note: this is not a game of “this is what I think somebody should discuss and do for me”, so if you plan to bring up a session topic, be prepared, have a good idea of what might be on the agenda, reach out to people who might be interested in the topic, so you have a good set of participants and contributors to the project available.

If you just want to attend and listen in and contribute to sessions on the schedule, you can just do that as well, check out which has all the information on how to tune in. Register here. Can’t wait to see you all next week!

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Daniel Holbach

Whether or not Ubuntu Edge will get the green light or not (read Joey’s great 5 Reasons Why You Should Stop What You’re Doing & Pledge to #UbuntuEdge), everybody’s hard at work making Ubuntu Touch, the beautiful mobile OS happen.

The 7

Two weeks ago we had our first Ubuntu Touch Porting Clinic and it went quite well. We found and fixed a number of issues in our tools, our porting guide and many porters turned up to ask their questions and update the images.

There’s also still Michael Hall’s offer to win an OPPO Find 5. If you are interested in winning it, or work on an existing port, create a new one and generally get Ubuntu Touch on devices out there, show up, talk to the Ubuntu Touch engineers, find out what’s happening and how to get involved.

It’s all happening

Or reach us on the ubuntu-phone mailing list.

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Daniel Holbach

Surprising stats

Sébastien Bacher told me I was a bit obsessed with Ubuntu Packaging Guide translations and maybe I am, but I do believe that we’re thus eliminating one blocker on the way of people becoming Ubuntu developers.

Looking at the level of completion of translations of the packaging guide (or Ubuntu Development Guide), you might need to know that

  • with 70% of completion and above we publish the translated versions of the guide online and packaged in the archive
  • translations by newer team members are first reviewed, then accepted

If we just look at approved translations in Launchpad, things look like this:

If we look at what’s in the unreviewed queues of all translations teams, things get a lot more interesting:

Translations stats

If all unreviewed translations should get approved today, this would happen:

  • French would jump from 14% to 83% (soaring past German) and across the magic line of 70%.
  • Traditional Chinese would move up from 28% to 44% (just 26% away from the magic line).
  • Japanese would move from 15% to 25%.
  • And we’d have two more languages over the 5% line: Italian (0% ? 17%), Turkish (2% ? 15%), Greek (0% ? 5%).

Thanks a lot to all the translators who put hard work into this. You all are awesome!

If you’re an experienced team member of your translations team, help out with reviewing all unreviewed strings. From the above you can easily see which impact it’s going to have.

(Earlier this week, my good friend and office buddy Rouven showed me this tumblr, translators might enjoy.)

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Daniel Holbach

In the last weeks I blogged a couple of times about how we want to get Ubuntu out to more and more users in a much much easier way. It would be great if we could have gotten all images built in the data centre, but unfortunately do redistributability issues (some firmwares, blobs and proprietary kernel modules) not allow us to redistribute them easily.
Another issue were some short-comings in our infrastructure, which have to some degree been fixed already.

Anyway… we wanted to make it easier and take sort of a short-cut, so the unstoppable Sergio Schvezov sat down and restructured phablet-tools to let us much more easily support community ports of Ubuntu Touch.

What does this mean?

The four

Up until now, phablet-flash just supported these four devices: Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. That was it.

After some discussions with port maintainers around the globe, we are quite happy to announce that we are now adding the following community ports to the mix: HTC Desire Z, Samsung Galaxy S2, Huawei Ascend P1. Now the family of phablet-flash‘able devices would look like this:

The 7


Once Sergio’s branch has landed, you will be able to just run
phablet-flash community --device u9200

to flash your device. (The above would be what you’d need to type in for a Huawei Ascend P1.) Until then you can just bzr branch lp:~sergiusens/phablet-tools/flash_change and run it from there.

More and more devices are on the way, and the process for telling phablet-flash about your port is actually quite easy.

You can help!

If you have any of the devices listed on our Touch Devices list, and you made a backup of things and you generally know your way around in terms of flashing, etc. Do the following:

  1. Check if your port is registered already. If yes, great.
    If not, please talk to the port maintainers listed on the page linked from our devices list and follow the instructions for registering the port.
  2. bzr branch lp:~sergiusens/phablet-tools/flash_change
    cd flash_change
    ./phablet-flash community --device <vendor> (ie, i9100)
  3. Give feedback on the ubuntu-phone mailing list.

Update: now it’s just
bzr branch lp:phablet-tools; cd phablet-tools
./phablet-flash community --device <vendor>

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Daniel Holbach

We had our first Ubuntu Touch Porting clinic yesterday and we made quite a bit of progress there.

  1. Sergio Schvezov published a branch of phablet-tools, which will allow everyone to flash all kinds of devices (for which we have images) just by running something like phablet-flash community --device i9100
    This should make things a lot lot easier for everyone. The only thing which needs to be done is to follow this process which documents where the images live. (Flipped images are not a requirement for this.)
  2. Lots and lots of questions were answered in order to port Ubuntu Touch images to the new world order of flipped images. Since some weeks the Android bits live on top of Ubuntu, which will make our journey towards convergence over device borders a lot easier. During the process we updated our (work-in-progress) porting guide with everybody’s findings. Thanks a lot everyone for your hard work in debugging, asking and replying to questions!

We want Ubuntu Touch to run on as many devices as possible and we need some help here.

If you have a device on which Ubuntu runs fine (our devices lists is here), you can help out by doing a couple of different things:

  1. Help with the porting effort to flipped images. Check out the new porting guide. Find other folks who are interested in the port on the mailing list or on IRC. Ask questions, make it a team effort.
  2. Document location of the images. Follow this process to document where the images live. Make sure you 1) use a location for the image which can be used by something like wget/curl without user intervention and 2) check if the newest phablet-flash can handle it. 3) PROFIT!
  3. If image information for your device is already up (list here), check out Sergio’s branch and let us know on the mailing list how things work for you!

These are awesome times for Ubuntu and with every new port, we’ll learn and fix more of general Ubuntu to make it work everywhere. Join the team today! :-)

Update: now it’s just
bzr branch lp:phablet-tools; cd phablet-tools
./phablet-flash community --device <vendor>

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Daniel Holbach

These are very exciting times for Ubuntu Touch. Not only is the Ubuntu Edge, an Ubuntu super-phone, being funded right now, but we are also making lots of progress on getting Ubuntu running perfectly on phones and tablets near you.

Ubuntu Touch

I blogged about this a couple of times now, but Ubuntu Touch has been ported to LOTS of devices in the meantime. If we consult our Touch Devices list, there are 45 working ports, with 30 more in progress, and across 21 different brands. This is awesome. Now it’s time to bring all of them into the fold.

There are two things we have to do:

  1. Update some of the ports to the flipped container model. This switch has been happening over the last couple of weeks, but we’re there now. Android bits now run on top of an Ubuntu container. Some of the images still need to be updated to benefit from this.
  2. Enable the ports in phablet-flash. Yes, you read correctly. Since the announce of the Touch preview, we only supported four devices (Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10). We always wanted to make it easier to flash all other devices too, and now we’re almost there: If you as an image maintainer make some information available, phablet-flash will soon be able to pick it up.

Updating your image to the new world order is something we are discussing today, 1st August, in #ubuntu-touch on We are having an Ubuntu Touch Porting Clinic today. So bring your device, your questions and we’ll help you get set up for the new image formats.

If you want your images to be supported by phablet-flash, that can be easily arranged too. Follow this process, to document how the flashing of your image works. Check out the latest branch of phablet-flash (not yet landed in trunk) to try out if your image works: lp:~sergiusens/phablet-tools/flash_change.

As always: if you have any questions, talk to us on #ubuntu-touch on or on the ubuntu-phone mailing list.

Update: now it’s just
bzr branch lp:phablet-tools; cd phablet-tools
./phablet-flash community --device <vendor>

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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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