Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'get involved'

Daniel Holbach

For the 13.04 cycle a team of people got together to make sure that the standard Ubuntu Desktop works great on the Nexus 7 device. This is a great opportunity for Ubuntu as we can all refer to one device and one chipset and make sure that Ubuntu is capable of dealing with the device. This will lay the foundations for making Ubuntu ready on many other devices.

The team meets on the 16th November 2012, 16:00 UTC in #ubuntu-meeting.

On the agenda are:

  • general Q&A – the team will answer all your questions,
  • an overview of the current work

We are actively looking for help, we need you to make Ubuntu even better. If you like to test, work with bug reports, measure, debug or fix doesn’t matter, we need you and want you on board.

We put together documentation which should provide pointers to installing Ubuntu on the Nexus 7, how to use it, how to debug and measure certain things like power consumption or memory usage and which bugs we want to fix.

If you have a Nexus 7, plan to get one or are generally excited about the initiative, or just want to find out more, make sure you’re there. Please also let your friends now.

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Daniel Holbach

I’m quite happy with the progress the Packaging Guide is making. We managed to fix a bunch of bugs this cycle and most importantly we got it into Ubuntu and made it translatable. We only opened translations a couple of weeks ago, but some language teams have been hard at work:

  1. pt_BR.po (18%)
  2. ja.po (14%)
  3. ru.po (9%)
  4. es.po (5%)
  5. id.po (4%)
    de.po (4%)
  6. nl.po (1%)
  7. sv.po (0%)
    fr.po (0%)
    lv.po (0%)
    zh_TW.po (0%)
    hu.po (0%)
    ca.po (0%)

At UDS we decided that for translations which came to a percentage of completion of >= 70% we would build separate packages for those languages. Up until to that percentage we will only keep the translations in Launchpad.

This means there is still some way to go for all of us, but this is a great great step already. Thanks a lot for your hard work on this!

There are obviously many more bugs to fix and we’d love your help.

Bitesize bugs:

Make it prettier:

One bug we’d love to see some help with is #1043232 Packaging Guide FTBFS – it looks like the build fails due to Japanese translations. Right now all translations are disabled, which serves as a workaround for now.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out with the Packaging Guide. Your help has got many many contributors on their way. Keep up the good work!

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Daniel Holbach

I talked many times about getting involved with developing Ubuntu and how it can seem daunting and that there’s much to learn. When I talked to contributors who had reached the critical point where they understood what they can do, who they can talk to and how the processes roughly work, most of them said that three things helped them to get to the point:

Code review

Today I want to talk about code reviews. It’s probably the most straight-forward way to learn by osmosis: you easily pick up conventions, distinctions which are made and which processes to follow.

Everybody has to go through code reviews, no matter which team they are in, which company they work for or when they joined the project. Up until a point they get their developer application approved and get upload rights.

This is the reason why code reviews in Ubuntu are so important and why we should constantly strive for timely replies and decisions on review requests.

Sponsoring Queue

The sponsoring queue is reviewed by developers with upload rights. Sometimes it’s very easy to approve a request and upload the package, sometimes it takes a bit longer, especially when you have a comment ping-pong between the reviewer and the patch author.

We came up with a number of points in our documentation which should help keeping the queue manageable:

For Bugs fixing small details, you could do the following:

  1. Ask the contributor to forward the patch upstream.
  2. Open an empty upstream bug task.
  3. Mark the Ubuntu task as ‘Fix Committed’.
  4. Unsubscribe ubuntu-sponsors, or mark the merge proposal status as “Work in Progress”. (Be sure to tell the contributor to reverse the process.)

This will get the review item off the list for the time being and once we can import the code from upstream, it will get fully closed.

We also get requests which are not suitable for the current release period. In this case you could:

  1. Let the contributor know that the patch is not suitable for the current release period.
  2. Unsubscribe ubuntu-sponsors, or mark the merge proposal status as “Work in Progress”. (Be sure to tell the contributor to reverse the process.)
  3. Subscribe yourself to the bug report.
  4. Milestone the bug to ‘later’.
  5. Visit https://bugs.launchpad.net/people/+me/+bugs/?field.milestone%3Alist=196 once the new release opens and upload the fix.

This are just some points which help to keep things on the queue relevant.

Patch Pilots

From the Bazaar team we borrowed the scheme of “patch pilots”. Here’s how they explain how it works: “The word pilot is in the sense of a maritime pilot: we help patches come through congested waters safely in to harbour. The main thing to watch is the bzr active reviews page in Launchpad. When you’re piloting, put some concentrated effort into helping people have a good and satisfying experience contributing to Bazaar. Just how you do that is up to you.

Instead of trying to review each and every bit in the queue – sometimes there are packages you know less about and where you can’t make a decision for example – you try to help nudge the patch along. You help to talk to upstream about it, try to find somebody who can make a decision, etc.

Canonical engineers with upload rights who work on Ubuntu are expected to spend an hour per week on the Ubuntu sponsoring queue, so everybody’s on the hook for having a piloting shift 4h every four weeks. This usually works much better, as you have an extended period of time where you do nothing else. Current patch pilots can be seen in the #ubuntu-devel channel topic.

Up until now I mostly noticed Canonical engineers who did piloted. If you have upload rights and are interested, let me know and I can add you to a preliminary schedule, so you get a reminder mail and you can try it out and see if you like it.

Please all help making this work even better. :-)

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Daniel Holbach

I just went over the soon-to-be-released report of the Developer Advisory Team, where we sum up feedback from first-time contributors to Ubuntu Development and many noted that they found developer documentation easily and things generally worked out for them, but they struggled finding stuff to work on.

The Ubuntu Development team has always been good at creating new TODO lists (merges, Debian RC bugs, build failures, heaps of different bug lists and much much more), but you need to know what you are looking for.

Enter Harvest. We created it so it merely aggregates opportunities for Ubuntu developers in a simple web interface. You can select opportunity types and specific sets of packages to narrow down opportunities based on your interests.

If you got some spare time, are interested in Ubuntu development and would like to help, you would do the Ubuntu world a great favour by doing one of the following:

If you are an Ubuntu developer or would like to become one: trying it out and commenting below with your experience. (Bugs can be filed here.)

If you have a great idea on how it could be further simplified, extended or improved, write up your idea and link to it in the comments.

If you are a web developer: please get in touch. Harvest is written using Django and Python and it’s super-easy to extend, improve and fix it – so if you are looking for something to help out with, this might be a great opportunity for you.

Please consider helping out, your contributions will not only help you make better use of Harvest, but many other developers and new contributors as well. :-)

(If you tried it out and it works perfectly for you, let us know too. :-) )

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Daniel Holbach

Many engineering teams in the Ubuntu world have made extensive use of User Testing in the last years. This is an important reality check for everyone defining the experience of users. Do my assumptions still hold true? What do users expect? Are there use-cases we never considered? Which steps confuse our users?

The Ubuntu developers, so everyone who builds Ubuntu, integrates pieces to work nicely with each other, maintains packages and produces the distribution we all love, everyone is interested in this kind of feedback.

User testing of the Ubuntu Development process has, if it happened, always been ad-hoc and isolated. This is the reason why we want to look into this again and figure out which parts of the work-flows need to be improved.

Have you thought about contributing to Ubuntu Development before? Did you like the thought of helping improve the distribution millions of users love? If you did, you might be interested in this User Testing initiative. You will only have to read our documentation and send your feedback to Ubuntu Dev email. We in turn will make sure your feedback is put up for discussion and fixed eventually. Also will we will help you on your way if you should get stuck.

This initiative is not to be confused with mentoring. We are not going to do your homework for you or package your app. :-) Instead this will provide a great way for you to get started where you can share your experience with Ubuntu developers, who can help you along, while you provide valuable feedback. Your feedback will be treated confidentially and only published in an anonymised and summarised fashion.

What you need to do? Simple:

This is an experiment we will do until the release of Ubuntu 12.04 (April 26th). This should give us food for thought for the upcoming Ubuntu Developer Summit and depending on the success of the initiative, we will continue it.

Follow @ubuntudev on twitter.com, identi.ca, Google+ or facebook.com to find out more about this initiative and others.

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Daniel Holbach

I’ve been using Google+ Hangouts for a while and some of you might have seen that Jono posted some evidence of these. Mostly I just used them for team calls with a fixed agenda or to keep in touch with friends.

Yesterday I did a free-for-all hangout, using the new “named hangout” feature of Google+. It’s basically like a chat room with a fixed URL, where you can discuss whatever is on your mind. The idea was to create an opportunity to ask and answer questions in a more personal way without having the feeling of interrupting “more important” discussions.

This was a great experience! I didn’t count all nationalities, but I picked up we had people from South Africa, India, Taiwan, Bulgaria, USA at the same time. This was simply awesome.

Ubuntu Developer Hangout

Above it looks like I was hanging out with 35 people at the same time. This wasn’t the case. Unfortunately the hard limit is still 10 people at a time. There are “celebrity hangouts”, where you can record the event and have more people listening in, but unfortunately this takes away the opportunity to get involved.

Sometimes I did have to mute people whose microphone was not set up properly (one time I think heard a rooster in the background), but generally I feel we fared very well.

Many of the people in the hangouts were great Ubuntu fans and thanked for the work Ubuntu developers and contributors in general are doing. It was really heart-warming. Some had programmed before, even in Open Source projects and were keen to help out. So with the screen-sharing functionality I was able to demo how to fix a simple bug which was great.

Thanks also to Evan Broder and Andrew Mitchell who jumped in and answered a few questions as well.

I think I will keep these as an institution for now and announce events over the @ubuntudev twitter/identi.ca/facebook/google+ accounts. If you should ever want to do a hangout session, use the ubuntu-dev hangout, do it and let me know in advance, so I can post this more publicly.

If you have any experience with events like this and have some new ideas, please comment below!

Thanks again every one – this is just a great way to be in touch with the world-wide community of Ubuntu lovers!

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Daniel Holbach

Today is a good day to join Ubuntu development. Here’s your own, personal checklist:

  • You like doing some detective work.
  • Reading some docs or using the terminal does not scare you.
  • You might have tinkered with some source code before.
  • You love Ubuntu and want to help improve it!

Here’s how we are going to help you:

  • We have a bunch of friendly people on #ubuntu-motu on irc.freenode.net who are going to answer all your questions.
  • We have prepared a list of easy tasks for you.
  • We are going to review your changes and help you when you might get stuck.

What you need to do:

It’s a great feeling to fix bugs for millions of users, especially in this release which will be an LTS and used on lots of new devices.

We are looking forward to seeing you there! Just join the channel and say Hi!

 

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Daniel Holbach

As part of our Fix-It Fridays we saw many many new faces joining the #ubuntu-motu IRC channel which always has many helpful developers who are there to answer questions and help if you should get stuck. Still it seems like some feel uncomfortable asking questions or getting their feet wet in this forum.

After some discussion we thought it might make sense to have an additional low-key event where you can show up, get to know everyone and ask whatever you have on your mind. With Google+ Hangouts becoming more and more popular, we will offer a couple of hangouts tomorrow where you can get easily involved and in touch with us.

Daniel hanging out

Building up to this week’s Fix-It Friday, we will be there for you tomorrow, 8th March 2012 at:

in the ‘ubuntu-dev’ hangout.

We are looking forward to seeing you there to give you a warm welcome to our Ubuntu development community. To get an idea of how things work, you might want to check out the first few articles of our Ubuntu Development Guide.

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Daniel Holbach

Welcoming Monday is a lot easier if you have a great weekend to look back to. 32 LoCo teams in 23 countries definitely had a great time at Ubuntu Global Jam.

The Fix-It Friday activity continued for hours and I thought it’d be a nice idea to go through just a few bits that came in and showcase what exactly was done, so it becomes a bit clearer what all constitutes as a “fix” for Ubuntu 12.04.

Before we dive into discussing fixes, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the event. The atmosphere was great and super-productive. I hope to see you all next Friday again! :-)

  • Barneedhar had a look at the list of release-critical bugs which were fixed in Debian that haven’t made it to Ubuntu yet. On the list was a motion upload (3.2.12-3.1) which (among other things) fixed Debian bugs 640562 (build failure with libav/0.7.1). This was fixed in Ubuntu as well before, but differently. What Barneedhar did was: review the differences between Debian and Ubuntu and make sure nothing of importance was dropped, then kick off a test-build of the Debian version in current Ubuntu, see if everything still works. The test results were positive, so we could sync the package from Debian and eliminate the delta between Debian and Ubuntu. Excellent work!
  • Leo Iannacone had a look at a bug report about librsvg failing to build. When looking at a bug report, it’s a good idea to first check if you can reproduce it. Leo checked and found that it  still builds on i386 and amd64. Great – the bug could be closed! (Just a tip while we’re at it: If you have an amd64 machine, you can easily build i386 packages, by running ‘pbuilder-dist precise i386 build …’ instead of the regular ‘pbuilder-dist precise build …’.)

A lot of other bug fixes were contributed, patches were reviewed and upload, questions answered, and lots more. Some bug fixes are still being reviewed, some weren’t mtnentioned on the etherpad we used during Fix-It Friday, but lots and lots of new contributors showed up in the last few days (expect an update as part of the weekly “Ubuntu 12.04 Development update”).

Thanks a lot everyone for your great work. You all make Ubuntu as great as it is! :-)

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Daniel Holbach

A lot of really great things are coming together right now: tomorrow we kick off Ubuntu Global Jam for the 12.04 cycle, additionally we will have Fix-It Friday tomorrow!

The Ubuntu developer community is putting a lot of effort into this event. There will be experienced developers who

  • take the time to answer all the questions you have,
  • help you fix problems,
  • review code for you,
  • use the time to clear up the sponsoring queue.

Here’s something you can do for us: get involved! Seriously, the more people show up, the more fun it will be, so if you are still hesitant, just show up: We are friendly, we’ll help out and we will have a great time.

If you want to prepare yourself a bit, check out these articles first: Introduction to Ubuntu development, Getting Set Up and Fixing a bug in Ubuntu. Please also give us feedback about them. If there’s anything unclear, wrong or confusing, we will fix it. We not only want a precise 12.04 release, but also precise Ubuntu development docs!

I’m looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow! :)

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Daniel Holbach

Since I heard it, I always like the idiom “to hit the ground running”. There’s no really good German translation of it, but the thought of arriving somewhere, knowing what to do and how to do it definitely has its charm. In practical terms it’s often hard, especially if there’s complicated rules, tools and processes.

I won’t deny that there’s an interesting learning experience involved if you want to get into Ubuntu development. The experience will involve a couple of round-trips, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution to every single package or piece of software.

The good news is though[1]: it’s a lot easier than you think and we’re there to help you.

On Friday, 2nd March 2012, a lot of Ubuntu developers and contributors are going to be there to actively help you get started with Ubuntu Development. This is a great opportunity to ask all your questions, get to know a bunch of really friendly and helpful people and learn lots and lots about Ubuntu and Open Source development. It will almost be like hitting the ground running.

So you like the idea to help make Ubuntu better for millions of users on servers, desktops, laptops, TVs, phones and elsewhere?

There are two lists of items we want to look into fixing together:

  1. Packages which don’t build anymore.
    If you have worked with compiling source code before, you know that a mistake like a syntax error can get you into a situation where the build is broken and does not succeed. There are lots of other reasons why this might happen, a good idea is usually to review the build log referenced in the link above.
  2. Bugs which have been fixed elsewhere.
    Our bug life cycle works like this: make sure the bug can be reproduced reliably, gather all the information necessary, figure out if it’s an Ubuntu-specific problem or if it happens in the vanilla code of the software authors as well, then forward the bug with all the relevant information upstream. The Launchpad bug tracker is a great tool, which puts us into the situation where we are able to go through bugs which were fixed elsewhere already. Taking these fixes and applying them to Ubuntu is a great target for improvements, especially being eight weeks away from release.

There’s only two things you need to do:

  1. Make yourself familiar with Ubuntu development. Just these three articles will give you a good start: Introduction to Ubuntu development, Getting Set Up and Fixing a bug in Ubuntu. (Feel free to read more if you like. ;-) )
  2. Join us in #ubuntu-motu on irc.freenode.net on Friday, 2nd March 2012 and we will answer all your questions, hang out with you, review code for you and have a good time.

The great thing is: this also coincides with Ubuntu Global Jam, so expect people from all around the globe to hang out and make Ubuntu better.

[1] … and this is where the actual blog post starts. :-)

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Daniel Holbach

WOW. So this was our first Fix-It Friday and there’s still a few to come until release. Here’s what we collectively got through:

What the people above can do, you can do easily! Just make sure you’re there next time. I’m super super happy about Fix-It Friday turned out the first time and as I said above: there will be more… and this one isn’t even over yet! :-)

Thanks everyone and ROCK ON!

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Daniel Holbach

Every Friday
Every Friday…
we hack with you

...we hack together with you...

on Ubuntu

...on Ubuntu.

It's no Rocket Science

It's no Rocket Science...

but rather a lot of fun

...but rather a lot of fun!

Join us

Join us and...

...you'll make lots of friends!

...you'll make lots of friends!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Read the first few articles.
  2. Join us in #ubuntu-motu on irc.freenode.net on Friday.
  3. Have fun and start making Ubuntu better!

More info here.

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Daniel Holbach

Some weeks ago, I asked for feedback in a survey about Ubuntu development. Particularly, how well we reach out and how Ubuntu development is generally perceived were focus points of the survey. The great thing is: we had ~350 people replying and we have lots of great feedback and ideas in the results.

You can download the summary (including all the answers) here.

Let’s use all the feedback to make Ubuntu development even easier.

Thanks everyone for your replies!

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Daniel Holbach

I love planning a new Ubuntu release. It’s a great experience to take a few steps back and look at the biggest challenges and opportunities in your area of interest and try to identify the most promising.

Personally, I want us to get better at involving interested Ubuntu users in the development process. We have gotten better and better over the years, but there’s still things we can do better. The fantastic answers in the survey I announced recently helped a lot to see the issues more clearly. (Expect a report of the survey soon.)

So here’s the list of blueprints I registered and where I expect some movement next cycle (feel free to subscribe to any of these, and follow along, if you’re not at UDS):

  • Celebrating developer contributions
    How can we get better at celebrating contributions to Ubuntu development? There is massive amounts of great work going into Ubuntu, some of this is under the radar because it is less visible. Celebrating this more publicly would be both inspiring for those who did the good work, and others who didn’t know about the great work before.
  • Developer Advisory Team
    As opposed to having fully-fledged 1-on-1 mentoring, we might want to think of a much more light-weight approach and coordinate efforts such as: 1) reach out to new contributors, thank them for their work and get feedback, 2) reach out to people who might be ready to apply for upload rights and help them, 3) reach out to contributors that went inactive and get feedback from them and offer help.This should be easily manageable by a small team and would make the developer world a much more social experience.
  • Development documentation improvements
    It’d be worth to discuss the list of open issues of our developer documentation and review the results of the recent survey.
  • Making Harvest rock
    Harvest hasn’t seen much development recently, but we still need a good place to summarise all the needed work in the distribution.Problems both in representation and data should be discussed.
  • Reaching out to future Ubuntu developers
    There is a huge interest in getting involved in Ubuntu development. We want to better reach out to everybody who is interested. The recent survey data will probably help with the discussion of this.
  • Weekly Ubuntu Development News
    We have weekly development updates already, so these can serve as a good piece of news infrastructure. We need to put the project on broader feet and figure out submissions processes, etc. Also are we going to talk about new interesting news bits we might want to include.

These are just the sessions that I will be leading, there will be loads more I’ll attend and contribute to though. :-)

I’m looking forward to this great UDS!

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