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
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!Read more
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.
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.
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!
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:
What does being an Ubuntu member mean to you? Why did you do it back then?
I became an Ubuntu member about 10 years ago. It was part of the process of becoming member of the MOTU team. Before you could apply for upload rights, you had to be an Ubuntu member though.
That wasn’t all of it though. For me it wasn’t the @ubuntu.com mail address or “fulfilling the requirements for upload rights”. As I had helped out and contributed for months already, I felt part of the tribe and luckily many encouraged me to take the next step and apply for membership. I had grown to like the people I worked with and learned from a lot. It was a bit daunting, but being recognised for my contributions was a great experience. Afterwards I would say I did my fair share of encouraging others to apply as well.
Which brings me to the two calls of action I wanted to get out there.
1) Encourage members of your team who haven’t applied for Ubuntu membership!
There are so many people doing fantastic work on AskUbuntu, the Forums, in Flavour teams, the Docs team, the QA world and all over the place when it comes to phones, desktops, IoT bits, servers, the cloud and more. Many many of them should really be Ubuntu members, but they haven’t heard of it, or don’t know how or are concerned of not “having done enough”.
If you have people like that in a project you are working in, please do encourage them. In an open source project we should aim to do a good job at recognising the great work of others.
2) Join the Ubuntu Membership Boards!
If you are an Ubuntu member, seriously consider joining the Ubuntu Membership Boards. The call for nominations is still open and it’s a great thing to be involved with.
When I joined the Community Council, the CC was still in charge of approving Ubuntu members and I enjoyed the meeting (even if they were quite looooooooooooooooooooong), when we got to talk to many contributors from all parts of the globe and from all parts of the Ubuntu landscape. Welcoming many of them to Ubuntu members team was just beautiful.
Nominate yourself and be quick about it!Read more
In the past weeks Nick, David, a few others and I worked on an app / a website, which could easily collect information which will give users of an Ubuntu device a head-start. All our collective experience and knowledge, easily added and translated.
We achieved quite a bit. We’re now very close to getting a first version of it online (both as an app in the store and as a website). We can quite reliably integrate translations and add new content.
We still have a few TODO items and it would be great if you could help out. If you can write a bit of documentation, translate content or fix some HTML/CSS bits or help out with testability. Any help at all will be appreciated.
Ping me on IRC, or balloons or dpm if you want to get involved. We look forward to working with you and we’ll post more updates soon.Read more
I already blogged about the help app I was working on a bit in the last time. I wanted to go into a bit more detail now that we reached a new milestone.
What’s the idea behind it?
In a conversation in the Community team we noticed that there’s a lot of knowledge we gathered in the course of having used Ubuntu on a phone for a long time and that it might make sense to share tips and tricks, FAQ, suggestions and lots more with new device users in a simple way.
The idea was to share things like “here’s how to use edge swipes to do X” (maybe an animated GIF?) and “if you want to do Y, install the Z app from the store” in an organised and clever fashion. Obviously we would want this to be easily editable (Markdown) and have easy translations (Launchpad), work well on the phone (Ubuntu HTML5 UI toolkit) and work well on the web (Ubuntu Design Web guidelines) too.
What’s the state of things now?
There’s not much content yet and it doesn’t look perfect, but we have all the infrastructure set up. You can now start contributing!screenshot of web edition screenshot of phone app edition
What’s still left to be done?
What you need to do? For translations: you can do it in Launchpad easily. For everything else:
$ bzr branch lp:ubuntu-devices-help
$ cd ubuntu-devices-help
$ less HACKING
We’ve come a long way in the last week and with the easy of Markdown text and easy Launchpad translations, we should quickly be in a state where we can offer this in the Ubuntu software store and publish the content on the web as well.
If you want to write some content, translate, beautify or fix a few bugs, your help is going to be appreciated. Just ping myself, Nick Skaggs or David Planella on #ubuntu-app-devel.Read more
Did you always want to write an app for Ubuntu and thought that HTML5 might be a good choice? Well picked!
We now have training materials up on developer.ubuntu.com which will get you started in all things related to Ubuntu devices. The great thing is that you just write this app once and it’ll work on the phone, the desktop and whichever device Ubuntu is going to run next on.
The example used in the materials is a RSS reader written by my friend, Adnane Belmadiaf. If you go through the steps one by one you’ll notice how easy it is to get stuff done.
This is also a good workshop you could give in your LUG or LoCo or elsewhere. Maybe next weekend at Ubuntu Global Jam too?Read more
In a recent conversation we thought it’d be a good idea to share tips and tricks, suggestions and ideas with users of Ubuntu devices. Because it’d help to have it available immediately on the phone, an app could be a good idea.
I had a quick look at it and after some discussion with Rouven in my office space, it looked like hyde could fit the bill nicely. To edit the content, just write a bit of Markdown, generate the HTML (nice and readable templates – great!) and done.
Unfortunately I’m not a CSS or HTML wizard, so if you could help out making it more Ubuntu-y, that’d be great! Also: if you’re interested in adding content, that’d be great.
Oh, and let’s see that we translate the content as well!Read more
What do Kinshasa, Omsk, Paris, Mexico City, Eugene, Denver, Tempe, Catonsville, Fairfax, Dania Beach, San Francisco and various places on the internet have in common?
What’s great about the event is that there are just two basic aims:
What I also like a lot is that there’s always something new to do. Here are just 3 quick examples of that:
App Development Schools
We have put quite a bit of work into putting training materials together, now, you can take them out to your team and start writing Ubuntu apps easily.
As one tech news article said “Robots embrace Ubuntu as it invades the internet of things“. Ubuntu’s newest foray, making it possible to bring a stable and secure OS to small devices where you can focus on apps and functionality, is attracting a number of folks on the mailing lists (snappy-devel, snappy-app-devel) and elsewhere. Check out the mailing lists and the snappy site to find out more and have a play with it.
Unity8 on Desktop
Convergence is happening and what’s working great on the phone is making its way onto the desktop. You can help making this happen, by installing and testing it. Your feedback will be much appreciated.
<pleia2> elfy notes all contributors in his announcements <dholbach> that's really really nice <pleia2> we do blog posts, emails directly to all the testing members and to -devel list <dholbach> wow <pleia2> this cycle we're giving out stickers to some of our top testers <elfy> if we get that sorted <pleia2> share on social media too
This is just fantastic. I’m very happy with what the Xubuntu folks are doing and I’m glad to be part of such an open and welcoming community as well.
Xubuntu team: keep up the great work!Read more
What’s new now are training materials for developing scopes!
It’s actually not that hard. If you have a look at the workshop, you can prepare yourself quite easily for giving the session at a local event.
As we are working on an updated developer site, right now, for now take a look at the following pages if you’re interested in running such a session yourself:
I would love to get feedback, so please let me know how the materials work out for you!Read more
I’m very happy that folks took notes during and after the meeting to bring up their ideas, thoughts, concerns and plans. It got a bit unwieldy, so Elfy put up a pad which summarises it and is meant to discuss actions and proposals.
Today we are going to have a meeting to discuss what’s on the “actions” pad. That’s why I thought it’d be handy to put together a bit of a summary of what people generally brought up. They’re not my thoughts, I’m just putting them up for further discussion.
It’s fantastic that a we have more discussion about where we want our community to go. We get ideas out of it, people communicate and get a common understanding of issues. Jono’s blog post and the ubuntu-community-team mailing list generated a lot of good stuff already. Last week we had an IRC meeting with the CC and discussed governance and leadership in there.
Looking forward to seeing you there!Read more
The call for an Ubuntu Foundation has come up again. It has been discussed many times before, ever since an announcement was made many years ago which left a number of people confused about the state of things.
The way I understood the initial announcement was that a trust had been set up, so that if aliens ever kidnapped our fearless leader, or if he decided that beekeeping was more interesting than Ubuntu, we could still go on and bring the best flavour of linux to the world.
Ok, now back to the current discussion. An Ubuntu Foundation seems to have quite an appeal to some. The question to me is: which problems would it solve?
Looking at it from a very theoretical point of view, an Ubuntu foundation could be a place where you separate “commercial” from “public” interests, but how would this separation work? Who would work for which of the entities? Would people working for the Ubuntu foundation have to review Canonical’s paperwork before they can close deals? Would there be a board where decisions have to be pre-approved? Which separation would generally happen?
Right now, Ubuntu’s success is closely tied to Canonical’s success. I consider this a good thing. With every business win of Canonical, Ubuntu gets more exposure in the world. Canonical’s great work in the support team, in the OEM sector or when closing deals with governments benefits Ubuntu to a huge degree. It’s like two sides of a coin right now. Also: Canonical pays the bills for Ubuntu’s operations. Data centers, engineers, designers and others have to be paid.
In theory it all sounds fine: “you get to have a say”, “more transparency”, etc. I don’t think many realise though, that this will mean that additional people will have to sift through legal and other documents, that more people will be busy writing reports, summarising discussions, that there will be more need for admin , that customers will have to wait longer, that this will in general have to cost more time and money.
I believe that bringing in a new layer will bring incredible amounts of work and open up endless possibilities for politics and easily bring things to a stand-still.
Will this fix Ubuntu’s problems? I absolutely don’t think so. Could we be more open, more inspiring and more inviting? Sure, but demanding more transparency and more separation is not going to bring that.Read more
Despite being an “old” technology and having its problems, we still use mailing lists… a lot. Some of the lists have been cleaned up by the Community Council some time ago, especially if they were created and then forgotten some time later.
We do have a number of mailing lists though which are still active, but have the problem of not having enough (or enough active) moderators on board. What then happens is this:
… which sucks.
It’s not very nice if you have lots and lots of good discussion not happening just because you had no time to tend to the moderation queue.
Some mailing lists receive quite a bit of spam, others get a lot of mails from folks who are not subscribed yet, but this really shouldn’t be a problem. If you run a popular mailing list and moderation gets too much of a hassle, please consider adding more moderators – if you ask nicely a bunch of folks will be happy to help out.
So my advice:
I’m very happy that the ubuntu-community-team mailing list is seeing lots of discussion right now. It shows how many people deeply care about the direction of Ubuntu’s community and have ideas for how to improve things.
Looking back through the discussion of the last weeks, I can’t help but notice a few issues we are running into – issues all to common on open source project mailing lists. Maybe you all have some ideas on how we could improve the discussion?
All of the above are nothing new, but in a part of our project where discussions tend to be quite general and where we have contributors from many different parts of the community some of the above are even more true.
Personally I feel that all of the above are fine problems to have. We are creative and we have ideas on how to improve things – that’s great. In my mind I always treated the ubuntu-community-team mailing list as a place to kick around ideas, to chat and to hang out and see what others are doing.
As I care a lot about our community and I’d still like to figure out how we can avoid the risk of some of the better ideas falling through the cracks. What do you think would help?
Maybe a meeting, maybe every two weeks to pick up some of the recent discussion and see together as a group if we can convert some of the discussion into something which actually flies?Read more
I read the “We Are Not Loco” post a few days ago. I could understand that Randall wanted to further liberate his team in terms of creativity and everything else, but to me it looks feels the wrong approach.
The post makes a simple promise: do away with bureaucracy, rename the team to use a less ambiguous name, JFDI! and things are going to be a lot better. This sounds compelling. We all like simplicity; in a faster and more complicated world we all would like things to be simpler again.
What I can also agree with is the general sense of empowerment. If you’re member of a team somewhere or want to become part of one: go ahead and do awesome things – your team will appreciate your hard work and your ideas.
So what was it in the post that made me sad? It took me a while to find out what specifically it was. The feeling set in when I realised somebody turned their back on a world-wide community and said “all right, we’re doing our own thing – what we used to do together to us is just old baggage”.
Sure, it’s always easier not having to discuss things in a big team. Especially if you want to agree on something like a name or any other small detail this might take ages. On the other hand: the world-wide LoCo community has achieved a lot of fantastic things together: there are lots of coordinated events around the world, there’s the LoCo team portal, and most importantly, there’s a common understanding of what teams can do and we all draw inspiration from each other’s teams. By making this a global initiative we created numerous avenues where new contributors find like-minded individuals (who all live in different places on the globe, but share the same love for Ubuntu and organising local events and activities). Here we can learn from each other, experiment and find out together what the best practices for local community awesomeness are.
Going away and equating the global LoCo community with bureaucracy to me is desolidarisation – it’s quite the opposite of “I Am Who I Am Because Of Who We All Are”.
Personally I would have preferred a set of targeted discussions which try to fix processes, improve communication channels and inspire a new round leaders of Ubuntu LoCo teams. Not everything you do in a LoCo team has to be approved by the entire set of other teams, actual reality in the LoCo world is quite different from that.
If you have ideas to discuss or suggestions, feel free to join our loco-contacts mailing list and bring it up there! It’s your chance to hang out with a lot of fun people from around the globe.Read more
Today marks another Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day, one of Ubuntu’s beautiful traditions, where you publicly thank people for their work. It’s always hard to pick just one person or a group of people, but you know what – better appreciate somebody’s work than nobody’s work at all.
One person I’d like to thanks for their work is Michael Hall. He is always around, always working on a number of projects, always involved in discussions on social media and never shy to add yet another work item to his TODO list. Even with big projects on his plate, he is still writing apps, blog entries, charms and hacks on a number of websites and is still on top of things like mailing list discussions.
I don’t know how he does it, but I’m astounded how he gets things done and still stays friendly. I’m glad he’s part of our team and tirelessly working on making Ubuntu a better place.
I also like this picture of him.
Mike: keep up the good work!Read more
Yet another Ubuntu Online Summit (UOS) is ahead of us. It’s going to happen from 12-14 November. Participation is open to everyone, so to attend simply:
If you still need to get a session on the schedule to discuss a topic related to your field, create the session soon!
What I love about the Ubuntu Online Summit is that people get together, invite some fresh sets of eyes and brains and figure out together where Ubuntu is going. The sessions are also not too long (1h), so you are forced to come conclusions (and work items!) quickly.
Sessions I’m particularly looking forward to are:
Please note: session times might still be changed, so keep an eye on the schedule. (Also: there’s lots more good stuff!)
Looking forward to seeing you all there!Read more
In the Community Q&A with Alan and Michael yesterday, I talked a bit about the sprint in Washington already, but I thought I’d write up a bit more about it again.
First of all: it was great to see a lot of old friends and new faces at the sprint. Especially with the two events (14.10 release and upcoming phone release) coming together, it was good to lock people up in various rooms and let them figure it out when nobody could run away easily. For me it was a great time to chat with lots of people and figure out if we’re still on track and if our old assumptions still made sense.We were all locked up in a room as well…
What was pretty fantastic was the general vibe there. Everyone was crazy busy, but everybody seemed happy to see that their work of the last months and years is slowly coming together. There are still bugs to be fixed but we are close to getting the first Ubuntu phone ever out the door. Who would have thought that a couple of years ago?
It was great to catch up with people about our App Development story. There were a number of things we looked at during the sprint:
What also liked a lot was being able to debug issues with the phone on the spot. I changed to the proposed channel, set it to read-write and installed debug symbols and voilà, grabbing the developer was never easier. My personal recommendation: make sure the problem happens around 12:00, stand in the hallway with your laptop attached to the phone and wait for the developer in charge to grab lunch. This way I could find out more about a couple of issues which are being fixed now.
It was also great to meet the non-Canonical folks at the sprint who worked on the Core Apps like crazy.
What I liked as well was our Berlin meet-up: we basically invited Berliners, ex-Berliners and honorary Berliners and went to a Mexican place. Wished I met those guys more often.
I also got my Ubuntu Pioneers T-Shirt. Thanks a lot! I’ll make sure to post a selfie (as everyone else :-)) soon.
Thanks a lot for a great sprint, now I’m looking forward to the upcoming Ubuntu Online Summit (12-14 Nov)! Make sure you register and add your sessions to the schedule!Read more
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