Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'ubuntu'

Daniel Holbach

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

First I’d like to thank Elizabeth Krumbach. Liz has been all over the place in the Ubuntu world for ages and has helped out in many many forms. She does all this on top of a demanding full-time job, speaker engagements, involvement in other communities and much more. I really liked working with her on the Community Council where she stayed calm even when the CC was under pressure. She stayed focused and her main goal was always to get the best out of the situation for everyone. Liz remained committed to helping people, no matter how busy she was and how trivial their request was – she sets a true example. Thanks a lot Liz!

I’d also like to thank Sergio Schvezov. I’ve worked together with him on phone bits and snappy and snapcraft things as well and I’m always amazed by how many balls he keeps in the air, how thoughtful he his, while staying pragmatic and staying cheerful. With him working on snapcraft, I have no doubt that the next generation of software maintainers in Snappy land will have a great time. Thanks a lot Sergio!

There are many more to thank, you all, the Ubuntu Community, make it very easy to still be part of this fantastic group of individuals and look forward to more! Big hugs everyone! :-)

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu Online Summit featured more than 70 sessions this time around and quite a big turnout. You can find the full schedule with links to session videos and session notes in

Here’s a quick summary of what happened in Snappy Ubuntu Core land:

  • Testing Snappy: In this Show & Tell session Leo Arias showcased a lot of the QA work which has been done on Ubuntu Core along with many useful techniques to run tests and easily bring up Snappy in a number of different scenario.
  • Creating more Snappy frameworks: Frameworks are an effective way to bring functionality to Ubuntu Core which can then be shared by apps. The session attracted quite a few users of Snappy who wanted to know if their use-case could be addressed by a framework. We discussed some more technical difficulties, possible solutions and learned that bluetooth and connectivity (based on network-manager) frameworks are in the works.
  • Snappy Clinic: bringing ROS apps to Snappy Ubuntu Core: Ted Gould showed off the great work which has been put into the catkin plugin of Snapcraft. Taking a simple ROS app and bringing it to Ubuntu Core is very easy. The interest from members of the ROS community was great to see and their feedback will help us improve the support even further.
  • Snap packages for phone and desktop apps: Alejandro Cura and Kyle Fazzari brought up their analysis of snappy on the phone/desktop and discussed a plan on what would need to land to make snappy apps on the Ubuntu desktop and phone a reality.
  • Your feedback counts: the Snappy onboarding experience: This session brought together a number of different users of Snappy who shared their experience and what they would like to do. The feedback was great and will be factored into our upcoming documentation plans.
  • Snappy Developer Community Resources: In this session Thibaut Rouffineau and I had a chat about our online support options and community resources. We gathered a number of ideas and will look into creating workshop and presentation materials this cycle as well.
  • Porting popular apps/software to Snappy: Many interesting apps and appliances exist for a variety of boards, most notably the Raspberry Pi. We put together a plan on how we could start a community initiative for bringing them over to Snappy Ubuntu Core.

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped to make this such a great UOS!

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Daniel Holbach

With Ubuntu Online Summit happening 3-5 November, it is really just around the corner. Time to check out the schedule and see what’s planned.

UOS is our online planning and show-and-tell event. We use a mix of Hangouts-on-Air, IRC and Etherpad to organise ourselves. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people, have your say and find out what’s planned the next weeks and months.

Register for the event at

This is also where you find the schedule for all the individual tracks and if you click on the sessions themselves, you can register your attendance as well, that will make it easy for you to see “your schedule” on the site and help you plan your days.

Here is a quick roundup of the sessions coming straight from the world of Snappy Ubuntu Core:

  1. 2015-11-03 15:00 UTC Testing Snappy
    Leo and Federico will cover both automated and manual approaches to testing snappy, and the work that goes into making sure each new version of snappy is ready to release. They will also offer advice on how you can help make snappy
  2. 2015-11-03 16:00 UTC Creating more Snappy frameworks
    Frameworks extend the functionality of Snappy Ubuntu Core systems in a vary practical way. Let’s discuss how we can bring more services to Snappy Ubuntu Core.
  3. 2015-11-03 18:00 UTC Snappy Clinic: bringing ROS apps to Snappy Ubuntu Core
    Snapcraft integrates building and packaging software and is what we recommend to bring software to Snappy Ubuntu Core. Snapcraft has recently seen the addition of a catkin plugin. This will make it very easy to bring ROS applications to Snappy Ubuntu Core. Check out this demo by Sergio and Ted and you’ll see just how easy it is.
  4. 2015-11-05 14:00 UTC Your feedback counts: the Snappy onboarding experience
    In this session we want your feedback on your Snappy and Snapcraft onboarding experience:
    – How were you welcomed into the world of Snappy? Was the documentation sufficient? Were you able to find your way around?
    – We are planning some changes to the documentation and would like to present them and get feedback.
    – If you are a device builder, we would specifically like to get your input as well, so we can improve our device builder documentation.
  5. 2015-11-05 15:00 UTC Snappy Developer Community Resources
    In this session we want to figure out how the Snappy developer community can interact and get support, particularly:
    – support of askubuntu/stackoverflow
    – which G+ communities/Twitter/etc to use
    – which presentation and workshop materials we want to create and share
    – how we can support people who want to represent Snappy Ubuntu Core at events/hackathons/workshops
  6. 2015-11-05 16:00 UTC Porting popular apps/software to Snappy
    With hardware becoming cheaper (ie Raspberry Pi, etc.) a number of apps and appliances were built, which are very popular today. It’d be great if it was easy for app developers to bring their apps to Snappy Ubuntu Core as well. Let’s figure out how developers can port them over and we can get feedback about what should be easier.

Please note: there might be last-minute changes to the schedule, so make sure stay up to date. If you have any questions, let me know.

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Daniel Holbach


This morning I chatted with Laura Czajkowski and we quickly figured out that wily is our 23rd Ubuntu release. Crazy in a way – 23 releases, who would’ve thought? But on the other hand, Ubuntu is a constant evolution of great stuff becoming even better. Even after 11 years of Ubuntu I can still easily get excited about what’s new in Ubuntu and what is getting better. If you have read any of my recent blog entries you will know that snappy and snapcraft are a combination too good to be true. Shipping software on Ubuntu has never been that easy and I can’t wait for snappy and snapcraft to reach into further parts of Ubuntu. The 16.04 (‘xenial‘) cycle is going to deliver much more of this. Awesome!

But for now: enjoy the great work wrapped up in our wily 15.10 package. Take it, install it, give it to friends and family and spread great open source software in the world. :-)

When you download it, please consider making a donation. And if you do, please consider donating to “Community projects“. This is what allows us to help LoCos with events, fly people to conferences and do all kinds of other great things. We have docs online which explain who can apply for funding for which purposes and what exactly each penny was spent on previously.

Community donations

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Daniel Holbach

As announced earlier, we had a Ubuntu Snappy Core Clinic yesterday and we had a great time. Sergio Schvezov, Ted Gould and I talked about snapcraft in general, what’s new in the 0.3 release and showed off a couple of examples how to package software for Ubuntu Snappy Core. As you can see in the video, none of the snapcraft.yaml files length exceeded 30 lines (and this file is all that’s required); compared to what packaging on various platforms usually looks like that’s just beautiful.

We are going to have these clinics more regularly now. They will always revolve around the world of Snappy Ubuntu Core and there will always be room for questions, requests, feedback and what your want them to be.

ROS people might be interested in the one: we are very likely going to talk about snapcraft’s catkin plugin.

If you have missed the show yesterday, here it is in full length:

You might be wondering why I’m posting two videos. Unfortunately I accidentally pressed the “stop broadcast” button when I was actually looking for “stop screensharing”. Once I hit the button, we couldn’t find a way to resume the broadcast and we had to start a new one. I’m sorry about that.

If anyone of you knows a browser plugin which shows a “are you sure you want to stop the broadcast” warning, that would be fantastic. I could imagine I’m not the only one who might have confused the two when they were busy doing a demo, getting feedback on IRC and were busy talking. :-)

Update: David Planella showed me the Youtube video editor, so here’s the merged video.

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Daniel Holbach

We promised more Snappy Clinics and Monday, 19th October 2015 16:00 UTC is going to be our next one.

This time we are going to have two of the main Snapcraft developers, Sergio Schvezov and Ted Gould around, who are going to

  • give an introduction to what snapcraft is,
  • talk about what’s new in the 0.3 release,
  • show how we can use a custom plugin from upstream snapcraft for a new project and
  • put together a snap from scratch.

Of course we’ll be there to answer all your questions as well.

Catch us on for the show and let’s chat on IRC afterwards.

If you haven’t heard of snapcraft yet: it’s a beautiful way to get your software out to users on Ubuntu Snappy Core and it’s super easy!


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Daniel Holbach

I guess most of you saw the post on Fridge or the post on the Community team mailing listNominations for the Community Council are still open until Friday, 16th October.

We already received a number of good nominations so far, but I thought it’d be good to try to convince a few more of you to nominate yourself or nominate a friend of yours. If flavours and other important teams would get some more representation on the CC, that’d be great.

What I love about the CC is that you get to hear from many parts of the community first-hand what’s happening, what’s new and that you can often help out by connecting people in various parts of the community. This is one of the many things I always enjoyed the most.

Of course there are also disputes and conflicts to deal with at times. In the past some of them were harder (and took longer) to resolve, but they provided a learning experience for us as a community and everyone individually. So while this is probably nothing you would immediately be looking forward to, it’s an important part of keeping our community working well.

I’m grateful for the time I spent on the CC and everyone who worked together with me here. I look forward to seeing how many nominations we have by Friday. (Read all the details in either of the two posts mentioned at the top.)

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Daniel Holbach

I have some very exciting news, but wanted to share some thoughts I had earlier today.

Since I joined the Ubuntu community I’ve always had to do with people who want to ship their software in Ubuntu and as I’m a generally excitable guy I always thought “finally, it became so much easier – we’re there”! Over the past years we got better documentation, PPAs in Launchpad, the dh command, bzr-builddeb, daily builds in Launchpad, pkgme, the ARB process, translated documentation and lots of other initiatives which always felt like we made the world a better place for ISVs, third party app developers, upstream developers and whoever else wanted their software to be in Ubuntu.

Fast-forward to Ubuntu on the phone and click. Suddenly it became SUPER easy, even easier to ship software. Write a manifest, run “click build“, upload it to the store where it gets auto-reviewed and you’re golden. This was possible because apparmor and friends were so tightly integrated into the phone experience and confinement fully worked, so we could trust apps to be safe and trust our automatic reviews. Finally!


snappy, the evolution of click, has a much broader scope and is finally moving into the center of attention of many and will at some stage also get on the phone and elsewhere. It shares the concept of a central software store with confined apps but brings atomic upgrades, rollbacks and lots of other goodness.

From the point of view of somebody who’s shipping software some things were still missing though. How do you easily do repeatable builds, especially if they involve bundling other software?

Enter snapcraft. A thing of beauty. Finally you can specify all relevant meta-data in one file, define which parts make up your app and snapcraft’s plugins (Go, Java, autotools, etc.) will take care of pulling and building sources and binaries, which files to ship exactly and everything else. It’s magic.

We just shipped 0.2 of snapcraft and the amount of new tests, bug fixes and goodness which landed is staggering. Even more importantly: the syntax of snapcraft.yaml is now very likely going to be stable.

I have more good news:

we are going to have our first of many Ubuntu Snappy Clinics brought to you by Sergio Schvezov, Michael Vogt and myself. The topics of these clinics are going to change, but will always be centered around snappy and the technologies around it and will give enough opportunities to ask your questions and work on things together.

Now is a brilliant time to involved with snapcraft.

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Daniel Holbach

Tomorrow is a special anniversary: 2005-09-05 I joined Canonical – that’s right: It’s going to be a decade.

A lot of what we as Ubuntu Community experienced and went through I wrote up some time ago and it’s well-documented in blog posts, articles, LoCo event reports and pictures from Ubuntu Allhands events, so don’t expect any of that here.

For me personally it’s been a ride I could never have expected like this. A decade in a single company doesn’t seem to happen very often these days and I would also never have dreamed what we are delivering to the world today. I’m happy and proud to have been part of this all.

I still remember the days when I joined. I had just finished my studies and working next to people who could all easily be described as a wunderkind, it made me feel like I had quite a healthy impostor syndrome. It’s easy to underestimate how much I learned here – not just technically or in terms of other abilities, but also as a person. I got to work on things I never imagined I could do and am happy I was involved in so many different projects.

One thing made this whole ride even more special: the people. I made lots of friends along the way – that’s one of the primary reasons I still feel like I work at a very very special place.

Big hugs everyone and thanks for accompanying me this far! :-)

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Daniel Holbach

Thanks to Nathan Haines and José Antonio Rey we have the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase again. It’s Ubuntu’s way of acknowledging that there’s not just “free software”, but a wider movement which wants to make sharing the fruits of our labour an obvious and straight-forward reality.

You still have some time to submit your works for the competition. The winners are going to get their free culture works included in Ubuntu itself. Please share this with all your producer and artist friends who are into free culture.

Submission groups are as follows:

Find all other relevant information here.

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Daniel Holbach

In the flurry of uploads for the C++ ABI transition and other frantic work (Thursday is Feature Freeze day) this gem maybe went unnoticed:

snapcraft (0.1) wily; urgency=low

  * Initial release

What this means? If you’re on wily, you can easily try out snapcraft and get started turning software into snaps. We have some initial docs available on the developer site which should help you find your way around.

This is a 0.1 release, so there are bugs and there might be bigger changes coming your way, but there will also be more docs, more plugins and more good stuff in general. If you’re curious, you might want to sign up for the daily build (just add the ppa:snappy-dev/snapcraft-daily PPA).

Here’s a brilliant example of what snapcraft can do for you: packaging a Java app was never this easy.

If you’re more into client apps, check out Ted’s article on how to create a QML snap.

As you can easily see: the future is on its way and upstreams and app developer will have a much easier time sharing their software.

As I said above: snapcraft is still a 0.1 release. If you want to let us know your feedback and find bugs or propose merges, you can find snapcraft in Launchpad.

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Daniel Holbach

If you haven’t heard of it yet, every Tuesday we have the Ubuntu Community Q&A session at 15:00 UTC. It’s always up on and you can watch old sessions on the youtube channel. For the casual Ubuntu users it’s a great way to get to know people who are working in the inner circles of Ubuntu and can answer questions, clear up misunderstandings or get specialists on the show.

Since Jono went to XPRIZE, our team at Canonical has been running them and I really enjoy these sessions. What I liked even more were the sessions where we had guests and got to talk about some more specific topics. In the past few weeks we had Olli Ries on, quite a few UbuCon organisers, some testing/QA heroes and many more.

If you have anyone you’d like to see interviewed or any specific topics you’d like to see covered, please drop a comment below and we’ll do our best to get them on in the next weeks!

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Daniel Holbach


Snappy is evolving, becoming more robust and is getting loads of new users. This week will see a new stable release of Snappy. For us that’s reason enough to invite you all to our first Snappy Open House today.

Starting from 14:00 UTC today (2015-07-07), we are going to be on Ubuntu-on-Air, introducing team, talking about what’s new and talking about testing Snappy. If you want to get involved or wanted to get to know snappy, this is a great opportunity.

Hope to see you later on!

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Daniel Holbach

Out of nowhere, the Ukrainian translations team came up and translated 70% (the threshold where we call translations ‘complete enough to be official’) of the Ubuntu Packaging Guide into Ukrainian. This all happened within just a couple of days.

All I can say is: amazing work and Дуже дякую (thanks a lot)! Keep it up


We are going to prepare an upload to Debian and Ubuntu in the coming days as well. Again: fantastic work everyone.

Call for help

This post of course can’t go out without a call for help.

Thanks again translations community, you all are heroes. It’s you who makes Ubuntu welcoming to everyone!

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Daniel Holbach

Daniel McGuire is unstoppable. The work I mentioned yesterday was great, here’s some more, showing what would happen when the user selects “Playing Music”.

help app - playing music


More feedback we received so far:

  • Kevin Feyder suggested using a different icon for the app.
  • Michał Prędotka asked if we were planning to add more icons/pictures and the answer is “yes, we’d love to if it doesn’t clutter up the interface too much”. We are going to start a call for help with the content soon.
  • Robin of asked the same thing as Michał and wondered where the translations were. We are going to look into that. He generally like the Ubuntu-like style.

Do you have any more feedback? Anything you’d like to look or work differently? Anything you’d like to help with?

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Daniel Holbach

Some of you might have noticed the Help app in the store, which has been around for a couple of weeks now. We are trying to make it friendlier and easier to use. Maybe you can comment and share your ideas/thoughts.

Apart from actual bugs and adding more and more useful content, we also wanted the app to look friendlier and be more intuitive and useful.

The latest trunk lp:help-app can be seen as version 0.3 in the store or if you run

bzr branch lp:help-app
less help-app/HACKING

you can run and check it out locally.

Here’s the design Daniel McGuire suggested going forward.


What are your thoughts? If you look at the content we currently have, how else would you expect the app to look like or work?

Thanks a lot Daniel for your work on this! :-)

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Daniel Holbach

snappyIt’d be a bit of a stretch to call UOS Snappy Online Summit, but Snappy definitely was talk of the town this time around. It was also picked up by tech news sites, who not always depicted Ubuntu’s plans accurately. :-)

Anyway… if you missed some of the sessions, you can always go back, watch the videos of the sessions and check the notes. Here’s the links to the sessions which already happened:

Which leaves us with today, 7th May 2015! You can still join these sessions today – we’ll be glad to hear your input and ideas! :-)

  • 14:00 UTC: Ubuntu Core Brainstorm – Calling all Snappy pioneers
    Snappy and Ubuntu Core are still hot off the press, but it’s already clear that they’re going to bring a lot of opportunities and will make the lives of developers a lot easier. Let’s get together, brainstorm and find out where Snappy can be used in the future, which communities/tools/frameworks can be joined by it, which software should be ported to it and which crazy nice tutorials/demos can be easily put together. Anything goes, join us, no matter if on IRC or in the hangout!
  • 16:00 UTC: Snappy Q&A
    Everything you always wanted to know about Snappy and Ubuntu Core. Bring your questions here! Bring your friends as well. We’ll make sure to have all the relevant experts here.
  • 18:00 UTC: Replace ifupdown with networkd on snappy / cloud / server for 16.04
    What the title says. Networkers, we’ll need you here. :-)

The above are just my suggestions, obviously there’s loads of other good stuff on the schedule today! See you later!

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Daniel Holbach

Not sure if you saw Marks’ blog post earlier, but I’ll make sure to be watching the keynote at at 14:00 UTC today. :-)

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Daniel Holbach

Next week we are going to have another Ubuntu Online Summit (5-7 May 2015). This is (among many other things) a great time for you to get involved with, learn about and help shape Ubuntu Snappy.

As I said in my last blog post I’m very impressed to see the general level of interest in Ubuntu Snappy given how new it is. It’ll be great to see who is joining the sessions and who is going to get involved.

For those of you who are new to it: Ubuntu Online Summit is an open event, where we’ll plan in hangouts and IRC the next Ubuntu release. You can

  • tune in
  • ask questions
  • bring up ideas
  • get to know the team
  • help out :-)

This is the preliminary schedule. Sessions might still move around a bit, but be sure to register for the event and subscribe to the blueprint/session – that way you are going to be notified of ongoing work and discussion.

Tuesday, 5th May 2015

Wednesday, 6th May 2015

Thursday, 7th May 2015

Please note that we are likely going to add more sessions, so you should definitely keep your eyes open and check the schedule every now and then.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all and seeing us shape what Snappy is going to be! See you next week!

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Daniel Holbach

15.04 is out!


And another Ubuntu release went out the the door. I can’t believe that it’s the 22nd Ubuntu release already.

There’s a lot to be excited about in 15.04. The first phone powered by Ubuntu went out to customers and new devices are in the pipeline. The underpinnings of the various variants of Ubuntu are slowly converging, new Ubuntu flavours saw the light of day (MATE and Desktop next), new features landed, new apps added, more automated tests were added, etc. The future of Ubuntu is looking very bright.

What’s Ubuntu Core?

One thing I’m super happy about is a very very new addition: Ubuntu Core and snappy. What does it offer? It gives you a minimal Ubuntu system, automatic and bulletproof updates with rollback, an app store and very straight-forward enablement and packaging practices.

It has been brilliant to watch the snappy-devel@ and snappy-app-devel@ mailing lists in recent weeks and notice how much interest from enthusiasts, hobbyists, hardware manufacturers, porters and others get interested and get started. If you have a look at Dustin’s blog post, you get a good idea of what’s happening. It also features a video of Mark, who explains how Ubuntu has adapted to the demands of a changing IT world.

One fantastic example of how Ubuntu Snappy is already powering devices you had never thought of is the Erle-Copter. (If you can’t see the video, check out this link.)

It’s simply beautiful how product builders and hobbyists can now focus on what they’re interested in: building a tool, appliance, a robot, something crazy, something people will love or something which might change a small art of the world somewhere. What’s taken out of the equation by Ubuntu is: having to maintain a linux distro.

Maintaining a linux distro

Whenever I got a new device in my home I could SSH into, I was happy and proud. I always felt: “wow, they get it – they’re using open source software, they’re using linux”. This  feeling was replaced at some stage, when I realised how rarely my NAS or my router received system updates. When I checked for changelog entries of the updates I found out how only some of the important CVEs of the last year were mentioned, sometimes only “feature updates” were mentioned.

To me it’s clear that not all product builders or hardware companies collaborate with the NSA and create backdoors on purpose, but it’s hard work to maintain a linux stack and to do it responsibly.

That’s why I feel Ubuntu Core is an offering that “has legs” (as Mark Shuttleworth would say): as somebody who wants to focus on building a great product or solving a specific use case, you can do just that. You can ship your business logic in a snap on top of Ubuntu Core and be done with it. Brilliant!

What’s next?

Next week is Ubuntu Online Summit (5-7 May). There we are going to discuss the plans for the next time and that’s where you can get involved, ask questions, bring up your ideas and get to know the folks who are working on it now.

I’ll write a separate blog post in the coming days explaining what’s happening next week, until then feel free to have a look at:


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