Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'open source'

Gerry Carr

Yesterday we looked at the demographics of the respondents to the survey and some observations about the validity of the date. I recommend you read that post first. Today though we are going to dive a little more into how people first discovered Ubuntu and installed it.

How long have you used Ubuntu?
I wanted to establish if there were changing patterns depending on the length of time and/or the age of the respondent. That is, do relative newcomers to the platform or younger users use different tools to acquire the platform.

First of all the length of time that people have used the platform was remarkably consistent across the surveys. Given this level of consistency and for simplicity I will focus on the English language version.

 

Table: Length of time for which people have used Ubuntu

<2 year 2 to 5 years 5 years or more
English Survey 19.6% 42.7% 37.7%
Spanish 20% 43% 36.9%
Portuguese 21.1% 43.2% 35.6%

 

How did people first hear about Ubuntu?
So do people who have come to the platform more recently discover it in different ways to to the those who have been on the platform longer?  Well let’s see:

 

 

Table: How did new versus more more experienced Ubuntu users first hear of Ubuntu

< 2years 2-4 years 5 years or more
Magazines, etc 6.9% 7.9% 9.4%
Work 3.9% 4.8% 4.9%
Friends/Family 27.2% 25.2% 20.5%
School/College 11.7% 11.2% 8.9%
Forums, irc etc 46.2% 48.5% 54.8%
Social Media 4.2% 2.4% 1.5%

 

 

So the shifts are not seismic but we are looking at shifts information sources over a fairly short time period (approx 5-7 years) so I think we are justified in picking out patterns. The traditional tech forums of irc, chat rooms etc are becoming less influential as a first contact for Ubuntu. Social media as you might expect is increasing  as its reach becomes more pervasive. We might also conclude with qualifications, that this indicates a slight shift in the type of user coming in to  one that is less likely to hang out in a tech forum. But these shifts are slight and will be interesting to track over time. If we run it for age of user – do we discover anything there?

 

 

Table: How did different age groups first hear of Ubuntu?

<18 19-24 25-35 36-45 46-54 55+
Magazines etc 8.1% 6.0% 6.9% 10.2% 14.8% 18.7%
Work 0.8% 1.4% 5.5% 8.6% 9.1% 6.9%
Friends/Family 31.9% 28.1% 23.2% 18.1% 13.2% 18.6%
School College 7.2% 18.1% 11.4% 2.6% 1.8% 1.2%
Forums 47.6 44.2% 51% 57.7% 58.9% 53.2%
Social Media 4.4% 2.1% 2.0% 2.8% 2.2% 1.4%

 

 

We certainly see the trends repeated with regard to the remaining great importance of the tech forums but that the diminish at the younger and older end of the spectrum. Social media is still small but much more important for the under 18s – again in line with broader terms. The significant importance of school and college for 18-24 years olds versus the under 18s shows that Ubuntu has so far been more successful at permeating tertiary education than it has at high schools especially in developed markets. India for instance has 16% of under 18 respondents discovering Ubuntu at school showing its greater penetration in high schools there.

How did you acquire the version of Ubuntu that you have?

The result here is consistent across the survey and across age groups so there is no value in breaking this out. It does however put a number on a question that we have wondered for some time – how many users do a fresh install of Ubuntu versus upgrades in place. And now we know that is roughly 2:1 that do a fresh install. The low number of pre-loads is certainly a concern – reflecting the continuing lack of availability in the market. We also probably under-counted this as we asked about the version users are currently running versus how they originally acquired a version. Still the good news from the sales team in Canonical is that 2012 should see a turnaround in this availability issue at least in many markets so again, a figure that is worth tracking over time.

How easy/difficult was the installation process? 

Something our platform engineering team and the web team have always put considerable focus on is the ability to install Ubuntu easily. After all, the work in making a great product is wasted is people cannot install it. The good news is that the people have in general expressed a strong degree of satisfaction with the install process.Again there was no significant difference in either the Portuguese or Spanish response so for those languages at least there appears to be no  translation hurdle.

More to come

On Monday if I can get it all in one blog post I am going to look at the reasons for choosing Ubuntu and we will look at regional and age differences in response to that question. Also interesting in other and upcoming Ubuntu products such as Ubuntu One and the more recent announcements like Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu for Android. And we will look at the all important satisfaction questions, just how happy are existing users with Ubuntu.

Gracias, obrigado and thanks for reading

Gerry

 

 

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Gerry Carr

Ok, we got a lot of response to the user survey poll, so thank you to everybody that took part. I will publish access to all the results through the fantastic Survermonkey site on Monday, but to make it easier to digest, I’ll split the results out over three blog posts. Before I delve into the results we should discuss a little bit of the methodology in order to pre-empt some questions and also to help better understand the data.

Languages.
I decided to run the poll in three languages – Spanish, Portuguese and English. There were a number of reasons for these choices. Firstly to do it in English only would obviously bias the poll to Anglophone responses so the US and UK would stand proxy for the whole world and that would be clearly unsatisfactory. Secondly those language groups (S,P,E let’s call them) tend to be disproportionately monolinguistic for those that have them as a mother tongue so seemed the most relevant to having a poll in their language. Thirdly, Latin America is a very hot location for open source and I wanted to capture usage in those nations as best as possible. Finally, we had to draw the line somewhere. If you add French then why not German, or Chinese, Japanese, or Hindi etc. Anyone interested in translating the poll into their language and promoting it to their language group need only contact me and I am more than happy to accommodate – the story need not end here.

Methodology
I deliberately set out to contact existing users through existing channels for purposes of cost, speed and also because I think we can learn a lot from people who are at least minimally involved in the world of Ubuntu. So we reached out through Facebook, the forums, Planet, our Twitter feeds, UWN and OMGUbuntu. Thank you to all who helped make that happen. The result is that the response is broad but self-selecting. We are undoubtedly missing people who simply use Ubuntu as a ‘tool’ and have no engagement with the user of contributor community. But that’s cool. Even with a self-selected audience we have built up a pretty comprehensive picture.

Let’s see what we discovered
Firstly the number of responses. These numbers in each language groups give us terrific statistical confidence in the results, something we will see borne out by ‘normal’ distribution of responses to each question each survey – i.e. there are no huge or inexplicable variances in response which would lead me to question the validity.

Total responses to each survey:
English (15,653)
Spanish (1,825)
Portuguese (1,751)

How old are you?
If you are the mythical ‘average’ user you are between 25-35. That does not vary if you are Spanish or Portuguese speaking although you are less likely to be under 18 in those language blocks. In fact almost 70% of you are under 35 in each language group. And you are male. Overwhelmingly male. The average number of women responding is <4%. Here I do wonder how much the bias of the sampling methodology has affected the response rate  - i.e. is that for whatever reason the way we reached resulted in fewer women responding than is actually reflective of the user base. We can’t extrapolate from this data, but certainly such a hugely weighted response means we have to look at how we make the product, the community and probably both, more appealing to both genders.

Where do you live?

No great surprise that in the English language survey the US and UK were strongly represented. India appeared strongly too showing the growing user base in that country and we then once past the other anglophone nations of Canada and Australia we get quickly into the long tail of other nations responding. Northern Asia hardly appears at all which is not surprising but perhaps calls out for a survey in Chinese, Japanese and Korean to discover user preferences there.

The Portuguese Survey was 93% Brazilian and only 7% from Portugal. Spanish language is more interesting as I think we get a good picture of relative usage in various countries of that language block for the first time. And here it is.

Interesting to note (and again SURVEY BIAS ALERT) by population size for the top 5 it should read in order of population size (source http://www.spanishseo.org/resources/worldwide-spanish-speaking-population):

 

Mexico (23%)
Colombia (9.9%)
USA (9.80 %)
Argentina (8.99%)
Spain (8.95 %)

Allowing for relative IT infrastructure and broadband availability etc, the placement differences compared to population size are probably understandable with perhaps the exception of the US responding so low compared to its Spanish-speaking population. Use of Ubuntu is not so widespread that it should map 1 to1 with population spreads but again, like the gender bias these do perhaps offer insight into areas where, with some focus, we can help push Ubuntu into new ground.

 

More tomorrow

So that’s your taster for today. Tomorrow i will delve into the meat of the survey and look at the triggers for usage, satisfaction level, social media preferences of Ubuntu users across (as least part of) the world. And full results for everyone on Monday, I promise.

PS – a very special word of thanks to Tiago, David and Ayrton for the translation  and promotion help – gracias y obrigado!

Regards and thoughts welcome,

Gerry

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Martin Stadtler

At World Hosting Day in Germany today, Dell announced its partnering with Canonical to deliver and support Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution with Ubuntu in the UK, Germany and China. This is a great opportunity for enterprise customers who want to deploy their own private clouds with the same features and capabilities as public clouds. So whether you are considering, actively planning or in the process of deploying an internal open cloud, you can count on Canonical and Dell for support in your work.

 

We know that when you’re building private clouds, you want access to a full feature set and the confidence that vendor support provides. With Dell’s OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution, users of Ubuntu Server 12.04 Long Term Support (LTS) will be able to take advantage of the cost savings and flexibility of the open-source cloud, without the risk.

Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS is being built with the latest Linux and OpenStack technologies. Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS is undergoing rigorous integration and quality assurance testing with OpenStack. So a Dell OpenStack Cloud customer can deploy the best open source technologies with confidence.

At Canonical, we have extensive consulting and deployment expertise on our global engagement teams. We have more than two years’ experience of bringing up, deploying and supporting mission critical private clouds. In fact, most major public Openstack clouds are built on Ubuntu – for the simple reason that Ubuntu and OpenStack were built to work together.

Dell OpenStack Cloud users can rely on enterprise grade support of their private clouds with the Canonical Ubuntu Advantage support offering. Ubuntu Advantage provides users with global support, 24/7 coverage for their production cloud environments.

With Ubuntu Advantage, you can now have your cake and eat it too, with the latest Dell Data Center Solutions, Ubuntu and OpenStack technologies, deployment expertise and enterprise support options.

You can find more information about Ubuntu Advantage for Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution on the Canonical and Dell websites. Important announcements about Ubuntu Advantage for Cloud are made on the low traffic Ubuntu Cloud announce mailing list as well as on Twitter @UbuntuCloud, #WHD_global and #Dell

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Gerry Carr

The Ubuntu Server Survey is finally ready to be published it makes for a fascinating read. It is the third survey of its kind and again it has been an overwhelming response with over 6,000 completed surveys throughout 2011 and a heartfelt thanks to all who took the time to complete the comprehensive survey.

The overwhelming impression is the widespread use of Ubuntu both geographically as you might expect with respondents from across the globe. but also in the broad range of workloads in which Ubuntu Server finds itself used. Every category from web and data servers to cloud shows up strongly albeit with a strong bias towards traditional workloads.

As we approach an LTS, again we see evidence of the popularity of the extended support releases. Given we have run this survey three times now over the past three years now we begin to see strong evidence of the switching from one LTS to the next, particularly as the deployment platform, so our user base is certainly staying with us as as we introduce new features and support them in the long term.

Virtualization and cloud are now key elements of Ubuntu use, and for the first time we see KVM overtake Xen as the preferred virtualization technology for Ubuntu users, significant as the platform was the first to make the switch to supporting KVM as the native technology. With that though, VMWare remains the most cited virtualization technology showing a healthy mixture of open source and other technologies at use in the Ubuntu user base.

The respondents consideration of cloud makes for interesting reading too. There is significant interest but the use of Ubuntu Server on bare metal remains the primary use case for most users today. There is strong recognition though of the emergence of this powerful technology and with the plans for ease of installation and orchestration in 12.04 LTS it will be interesting to see how this moves the dial in regards to uptake in the Ubuntu base. A deeper analysis  shows a bias towards larger companies (i.e. respondents with more servers) using cloud technologies which is to be expected and overwhelmingly there is recognition of the suitability of Ubuntu Cloud as a basis for those efforts.

Enjoy the full report, it would be very interesting to hear your comments.

 

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John Bernard

The ‘VMware View Client Tech’ Preview for Linux is now available through the Ubuntu Software Centre. This reinforces the great work done by ecosystem partners in making their latest and greatest technology available on Ubuntu.

New devices are proliferating across all industries, with the Education sector being particularly strong. Ubuntu is the natural choice within Education for virtualization products like VMware View. PC Repurposing, getting prolonged use from existing PCs, is an obvious use case for virtual desktop technology and Ubuntu is the perfect platform.

VMware View Client Tech is available now for all Ubuntu versions from Ubuntu 10.04 LTS through Ubuntu 11.10 and works with VMware View 4.6 and 5. It incorporates VMware’s latest View Client technology with PCoIP which provides end users with top performance regardless of network conditions. Download the VMware View Client Tech Preview now at the Ubuntu Software Centre.

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Sonia Ouarti

Juju is Devops Distilled

Cloud deployment is different. It involves tighter devops handovers, the ability to scale services both up and down, and hybrid cloud computing: moving services between your private cloud and multiple public cloud providers.

Accelerated provisioning through IAAS has put the spotlight on friction in the deployment, configuration and management of services. This friction can only be overcome via a change in emphasis, from configuring machines to connecting services that can then be scaled independently. In other words, service orchestration.


With Juju, services can be deployed, connected, upgraded and re-used by defining them as Juju charms. Encapsulating service intelligence in charms enables you to separate deep service-specific skills from broad operations management skills.

This webinar, jointly presented by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth and Clint Byrum, a devops expert, will cover cloud deployment and devops with Juju.

 

Register Now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gerry Carr

One of the benefits of the direction that’s been taken with the next release of Ubuntu is that there is no longer a need for a separate netbook edition. The introduction of the new shell for Ubuntu means that we have a user interface that works equally well whatever the form factor of the PC. And the underlying technology works on a range of architectures including those common in netbook, notebooks, desktops or whatever you choose to run it on. Hence the need for a separate version for netbooks is removed.

To be clear, this is the opposite of us withdrawing from the netbook market. In fact looking at the download figures on ubuntu.com interest in netbooks is not only thriving but booming. It’s us recognising that the market has moved on and celebrating that separate images are no longer a requirement as the much anticipated convergence of devices moves closer.

A return to the Ubuntu name

Which actually got us thinking about our naming conventions in totality. ‘Ubuntu Desktop Edition’ arose in 2005 as a response to the launch of Ubuntu Server Edition and our desire to distinguish between the two. But desktops are no longer the pre-eminent client platform. And actually naming the the ‘edition’ after any target technology is going to have us chasing the trend. Also we were tying ourselves to some ungainly product titles – Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition for instance. User feedback also told us that people thought the edition was not for them as they had a laptop and spent time looking for a ‘Laptop Edition’.

So we are going back to our roots. From 11.04 the core product that you run on your PC will be simply, Ubuntu. Therefore the next release will be Ubuntu 11.04 and you can run that, my friend, on anything you like from a netbook to a notebook to a desktop. Ubuntu Server will be maintained as a separate product of course and named simply, Ubuntu Server 11.04.

We think this will make things simpler. When we mean Ubuntu for notebooks we will say just that rather than the more confusing, ‘Ubuntu Desktop Edition for notebooks’. We are retaining the concept of ‘remixes’ for community projects and the naming convention therein. And we would love to hear what you think.

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Neil Levine

We made a small flurry of announcements last week, all of which were related to cloud computing. I think it is worthwhile to put some context around Ubuntu and the cloud and explain a little more about where we are with this critical strategic strand for our beloved OS.

First of all, the announcements. We announced the release of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud on Dell servers. This is a hugely significant advance in the realm of internal cloud provision. It’s essentially formalising a lot of the bespoke work that Dell has done in huge data centres (based on a variety of OSes) and making similar technology available for smaller deployments. We attended the Dell sales summit in Las Vegas and we were very encouraged to meet with many of the Dell salespeople whose job it will be to deliver this to their customers. This is a big company, backing a leading technology and encouraging businesses to start their investigations of cloud computing in a very real way.

More or less simultaneously, we announced our formal support for the OpenStack project and the inclusion of their Bexar release in our next version of Ubuntu, 11.04. This will be in addition to Eucalyptus, it is worth stating. Eucalyptus is the technology at the core of UEC – and will be in Ubuntu 11.04 – as it has been since 9.04. Including two stacks has caused some raised eyebrows but it is not an unusual position for Ubuntu. While we look to pick one technology for integration into the platform in order to deliver the best user experience possible, we also want to make sure that users have access to the best and most up to date free and open-source software. The increasing speed of innovation that cloud computing is driving has meant that Ubuntu, with its 6 month release cadence, is able to deliver the tools and programs that developers and admins want before any other operating system.

Users will ultimately decide what deployment scenarios each stack best suits. Eucalyptus certainly has the advantage of maturity right now, especially for internal cloud deployments. OpenStack, meanwhile, continue to focus on rapid feature development and, given its heritage, has appeal to service providers looking to stand up their own public clouds. Wherever the technology is deployed, be it in the enterprise or for public clouds, we want Ubuntu to be the underlying infrastructure for all the scenarios and will continue to direct our platform team to deliver the most tightly integrated solution possible.

Finally we saw our partner Autonomic Resources announce UEC is now available for purchase by Federal US government buyers. This is the first step on a long road the federal deployment, as anyone familiar with the governmental buying cycles will realise. But it is a good example of the built-to-purpose cloud environments that we will see more of – with the common denominator of Ubuntu at the core of it.

Which actually raises an interesting question – why is it that Ubuntu is at the heart of cloud computing? Perhaps we ought to look at more evidence before the theory. In addition to being the OS at the heart of new cloud infrastructures, we are seeing enormous usage of Ubuntu as the guest OS on the big public clouds, such as AWS and Rackspace, for instance. It is probably the most popular OS on those environments and others – contact your vendor to confirm :-)

So why is this OS that most incumbent vendors would dismiss as fringe, seeing such popularity in this new(ish) wave of computing? Well there are a host of technical reasons to do with modularity, footprint, image maintenance etc. But they are better expressed by others.

I think the reason for Ubuntu’s prominence is because it is innovation made easy. Getting on and doing things on Ubuntu is a friction-free experience. We meet more and more tech entrepreneurs who tell us how they have built more than one business on Ubuntu on the cloud. Removing licence costs and restrictions allows people to get to the market quickly.

But beyond speed, it is also about reducing risk. With open-source now firmly established in the IT industry, and with the term open used so promiscuously, it is easy to forget that the economic benefits of truly free, open-source software. The combination of cloud computing, where scale matters, and open source is a natural one and this is why Ubuntu is the answer for those who need the reassurance that they can both scale quickly but also avoid vendor lock-in in the long-term.

More specifically, and this brings us back to the announcements, there are now clear scenarios where users can reach a point where even the economics of a licence-free software on a public cloud start to break down. At a certain stage it is simply cheaper to make the hardware investment to run your own cloud infrastructure. Or there might be regulatory, cultural or a host of other reasons for wanting cloud-like efficiencies built on internal servers.

The work we have done with OpenStack and with Eucalyptus means Ubuntu is an ideal infrastructure on which to build a cloud. This will typically be for the internal provision of a cloud environment but equally could be the basis or a new public cloud. It is entirely open as to the type of guest OS and in all cases continues to support the dominant API of Amazon EC2, ensuring portability for those writing applications.

And as we have seen, Ubuntu is the ultimate OS to deploy in a cloud and with which to build a cloud. No-one provides more up-to-date images on the most popular public cloud platforms. Our work to ensure compatibility to the most popular standards means that those guests will run just as well on a UEC cloud however that is deployed – either internally or for cloud provision externally.

So technology moves markets. Economics does too, only more so. Ubuntu has come at the right point in our short IT history to ride both waves. The scale is there, the standards are emerging and the ability to provide an answer to the choice between running a cloud or running on a cloud is more fully realised on Ubuntu than on any other OS – open source or not.

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Nick Barcet

OpenStack today have made a number of announcements about the Bexar release of their cloud stack and we were delighted to be able to confirm its inclusion in the repositories for Ubuntu 11.04 as well as officially joining the community. We have been engaged with the OpenStack community informally for some time. Some Canonical alumni have been key to driving the OpenStack initiative over in Rackspace and there has been a very healthy dialogue between the two projects with strong attendance at UDS and at the OpenStack conferences by engineers in both camps.

In fact it is noteworthy that the OpenStack project has taken a lot of the methodology of the Ubuntu project and applied to how they self-organise and release. They have the same twice-yearly open conference to drive the definition of the project and a similar but three-monthly release cycle. It’s easy to forget that this now ‘standard’, time based, approach to open source development and release was pioneered by Ubuntu and it is gratifying to see it permeate.

But as to OpenStack technology, I know that there are many users very keen to get their hands on a more fully integrated version that Bexar on Ubuntu Server 11.04 will offer. It has always been the goal of Ubuntu with regards to cloud to offer the best integrated experience for open source cloud development and deployment. We did it with Eucalyptus for Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud for the past two years and the next release of this in April will continue on offering a great fully-supported option for businesses looking to bring cloud technology within the firewall. In fact only yesterday saw the official launch of UEC on Dell servers (www.dell.com/canonical) which offers businesses the opportunity to buy hardware from Dell with UEC baked in and fully supported by both companies.

Our aim with OpenStack over time is to make Ubuntu the best OS for clouds built on this stack, both at the infrastructure and guest levels. There is real energy and momentum building around this technology and we congratulate the guys and girls in that project for their success so far. It looks a terrific base for building out open-source based public clouds and its embracing on not just its own APIs but also the EC2 APIs. This offers great options for users and customers to remain flexible as we move towards industry-wide open standards for these types of architectures. In 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), OpenStack 2011.1 (Bexar) will be delivered as a technology preview, and Canonical will not yet be able to provide full support for it. We first want to allow our users to test it and provide us feedback before providing it as a production ready environment. Comments, feedback and reactions are welcome on the Ubuntu-Cloud mailing list, forum and irc channels (http://cloud.ubuntu.com/community/interact/).

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Gerry Carr

One of the most exciting things about the Ubuntu 10.10 release has been the delivery of the Unity ‘shell’ in Ubuntu Netbook Edition. For the uninitiated,  this delivers a very different user experience to that in the main desktop edition. For a start the icons of the most popular applications are permanently featured on the left-hand side of the screen. This borrows more from the smartphone interfaces but is adapted for use on, in this case, netbooks. So there remains a workspace where users still have sufficient room to watch video, edit photos, create documents, play games, read the web, write emails – all of the usual tasks we use a computer for, day to day.

Everything is optimised however for the more limited screen space. It is sub-optimal for instance to simply port an interface from the full-screen world, shrink it and expect it to be a great experience. Unity does away with the bottom bar for example that Windows, Ubuntu and Mac users will be used to. This is actually a radical step, but in my experience at least, it takes no time at all to forget that there ever was a bottom bar. The result is considerably more ‘vertical space’ for to use  – again maximising the useful area on limited screen sizes.

One of the coolest things though is one that will be experienced by the fewest people at this point – touch. Unity is fully touch-enabled – those big icons are screaming out to have a digit poked at them. But as ever, the boys in the lab, or in this case Duncan McGregor‘s  multi-touch team have gone a step further and created a multi-touch ‘gesture’ library. This allows finger combinations to do groovy things like expand and reduce windows, pull up multiple windows in one workspace, and call up the ‘dash’ automatically. These are in 10.10. In 11.04 we will see a lot more.

Because there are a very limited number of touch-enabled devices out there at present, we thought we would create a video to show some of the features. You can see it below. It has turned out rather nicely even with the clumsy paws.

Gerry Carr, Platform Marketing, Canonical

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Cezzaine Haigh

With only three days until Ubuntu 10.10 (a.k.a Maverick Meerkat) is released and available to the world, it seems quite possible that Ubuntu’s 10.04 LTS (a.k.a Lucid Lynx) distribution will seem like a thing of the past.

If we cast our minds back, to about 6 months ago, we recall that one of the features of the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop Edition was the addition of the Ubuntu One Music store. Music from the world’s largest labels and most popular artists can be bought directly from the Ubuntu One Music Store and stored in Ubuntu One (your ‘personal cloud’).

Around the same time, Canonical announced that they would donate a percentage of sales (for songs) from the Ubuntu One Music Store, as well as from sales of the Lynx plushie toys available on the Ubuntu shop (to a maximum of US$1004) to the SOS Lynx charity in Portugal, to help save the Iberian Lynx. So thanks to your support, we’ve been able to make the contribution on behalf of the Ubuntu community.

The Iberian Lynx

The Iberian Lynx is the most endangered feline species in the world, as few as 220 individuals survive in the wild. The species was once widespread across the Iberian Peninsula but has declined drastically over recent decades, due to habitat loss, reductions in prey and high non-natural mortality from road kills, hunting and predator control.

Canonical got in touch with Dan Ward and Stephen Hugman from SOS Lynx to give them the positive news. They had the following to say:

“We (SOS Lynx) will shortly be releasing a research study on predator control and it’s impact on the Iberian Lynx. We have just prepared material in Portuguese for use in schools, as well as working with conservation groups in Portugal and Spain. We are focusing mainly on educational campaigns and research to raise awareness and support for the Iberian Lynx conservation in Spain, Portugal and across Europe.

Your very kind donation will contribute to funding education work for the Iberian Lynx and other predators with school children in southern Portugal. This work is essential to build long term support for the Iberian lynx and the wider nature conservation in the country. At present many people still have misunderstandings regarding the natural world – and the Iberian Lynx is still a hunted species. We hope education will help to change that.”

So, yay for Ubuntu!

For further information about the SOS Lynx foundation, the work they are doing, or to make a donation, please visit www.soslynx.org

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Duncan McGreggor

Canonical is pleased to announce the release of uTouch 1.0, Ubuntu’s multi-touch and gesture stack. With Ubuntu 10.10 (the Maverick Meerkat), users and developers will have an end-to-end touch-screen framework — from the kernel all the way through to applications. Our multi-touch team has worked closely with the Linux kernel and X.org communities to improve drivers, add support for missing features, and participate in the touch advances being made in open source world. To complete the stack, we’ve created an open source gesture recognition engine and defined a gesture API that provides a means for applications to obtain and use gesture events from the uTouch gesture engine.

Our multi-touch work began in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, when we worked to get additional touch hardware supported in the Linux kernel, particularly the Dell XT2, HP tx2 tablets and the Lenovo T410s laptops. With that in place, and active development in X well under way, we reviewed our options for gesture recognition in Linux. The Maverick cycle has seen us produce several prototypes for gesture recognition software and the Ubuntu archives now include the results of that effort.

The world’s expectations of software experience are being raised by advances in mobile computing. We are bringing that revolution to the Linux desktop: for window management and applications. Though our work at the application level has only just started, we are certain that multi-touch and gestures will be central to the way we use Linux applications in future.

The success of touch in applications depends on several key factors:

  • toolkit integration of gesture APIs
  • touch support for legacy applications
  • designing new applications for finger-based interactions

Work has begun on all three fronts in Ubuntu, and we expect it to remain an area of active interest over the next few releases up to 12.04 LTS.

Ubuntu is the fruit of collaboration across the huge Ubuntu community, and also the amazing work of many other communities that form around individual projects and initiatives like Debian. The uTouch framework enables work to begin across many of those communities to make touch a first-class interaction model in open source desktop and mobile software.

Existing contributions in other projects have provided fertile ground for uTouch. To name just a few:

  • Stéphane Chatty at ENAC has lead much multi-touch hardware support in the kernel
  • Peter Hutterer at Red Hat defined multi-pointer X and proposed a multi-touch protocol for a future version of X
  • Carlos Garnacho of the GNOME community has done multi-touch work in X and GTK

We’re look forward to continued collaboration, ensuring that Linux remains the preferred platform for people building cutting-edge devices and software.

Canonical is working with manufacturers of touch-enabled products and those of their underlying technology in order to bring innovations in user experience to a broader audience. Our aim is to bring the natural, tactile experience of the world to the desktop, window manager, and applications you value — all the software that you depend upon to get things done and have fun. Touch will be part of the Ubuntu Netbook, Desktop and Light products from 10.10 and beyond.

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Gerry Carr

A few months ago we took on the challenge of building a version of Ubuntu for the dual-boot, instant-on market. We wanted to be surfing the web in under 10 seconds, and give people a fantastic web experience. We also wanted it to be possible to upgrade from that limited usage model to a full desktop.

The fruit of that R&D is both a new desktop experience codebase, called Unity, and a range of Light versions of Ubuntu, both netbook and desktop, that are optimised for dual-boot scenarios.

The dual-boot, web-focused use case is sufficiently different from general-purpose desktop usage to warrant a fresh look at the way the desktop is configured. We spent quite a bit of time analyzing screenshots of a couple of hundred different desktop configurations from the current Ubuntu and Kubuntu user base, to see what people used most. We also identified the things that are NOT needed in lightweight dual-boot instant-on offerings. That provided us both with a list of things to focus on and make rich, and a list of things we could leave out.

Instant-on products are generally used in a stateless fashion. These are “get me to the web asap” environments, with no need of heavy local file management. If there is content there, it would be best to think of it as “cloud like” and synchronize it with the local Windows environment, with cloud services and other devices. They are also not environments where people would naturally expect to use a wide range of applications: the web is the key, and there may be a few complementary capabilities like media playback, messaging, games, and the ability to connect to local devices like printers and cameras and pluggable media.

Unity: a lightweight netbook interface

There are several driving forces behind the result.

The desktop screenshots we studied showed that people typically have between 3 and 10 launchers on their panels, for rapid access to key applications. We want to preserve that sense of having a few favorite applications that are instantly accessible. Rather than making it equally easy to access any installed application, we assume that almost everybody will run one of a few apps, and they need to switch between those apps and any others which might be running, very easily.

We focused on maximising screen real estate for content. In particular, we focused on maximising the available vertical pixels for web browsing. Netbooks have screens which are wide, but shallow. Notebooks in general are moving to wide screen formats. So vertical space is more precious than horizontal space.

We also want to embrace touch as a first class input. We want people to be able to launch and switch between applications using touch, so the launcher must be finger friendly.

Those constraints and values lead us to a new shape for the desktop, which we will adopt in Ubuntu’s Netbook Edition for 10.10 and beyond.

First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications. That frees up vertical space for web content, at the cost of horizontal space, which is cheaper in a widescreen world. In Ubuntu today the bottom panel also presents the Trash and Show Desktop options, neither of which is relevant in a stateless instant-on environment.

Second, we’ll expand that left-hand launcher panel so that it is touch-friendly. With relatively few applications required for instant-on environments, we can afford to be more generous with the icon size there. The Unity launcher will show what’s running, and support fast switching and drag-and-drop between applications.

Third, we will make the top panel smarter. We’ve already talked about adopting a single global menu, which would be rendered by the panel in this case. If we can also manage to fit the window title and controls into that panel, we will have achieved very significant space saving for the case where someone is focused on a single application at a time, and especially for a web browser.

We end up with a configuration like this:

Unity Screenshot

Unity Screenshot

The launcher and panel that we developed in response to this challenge are components of Unity. They are now in a state where they can be tested widely, and where we can use that testing to shape their evolution going forward. A development milestone of Unity is available today in a PPA, with development branches on Launchpad, and I’d very much like to get feedback from people trying it out on a netbook, or even a laptop with a wide screen. Unity is aimed at full screen applications and, as I described above, doesn’t really support traditional file management. But it’s worth a spin, and it’s very easy to try out if you have Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installed already.

Ubuntu Light

Instant-on, dual boot installations are a new frontier for us. Over the past two years we have made great leaps forward as a first class option for PC OEM’s, who today ship millions of PC’s around the world with Ubuntu pre-installed. But traditionally, it’s been an “either/or” proposition – either Windows in markets that prefer it, or Ubuntu in markets that don’t. The dual-boot opportunity gives us the chance to put a free software foot forward even in markets where people use Windows as a matter of course.

And it looks beautiful:

Ubuntu Light, showing the Unity launcher and panel

Ubuntu Light Screenshot

In those cases, Ubuntu Netbook Light, or Ubuntu Desktop Light, will give OEM’s the ability to differentiate themselves with fast-booting Linux offerings that are familiar to Ubuntu users and easy to use for new users, safe for web browsing in unprotected environments like airports and hotels, focused on doing that job very well, but upgradeable with a huge list of applications, on demand. The Light versions will also benefit from the huge amount of work done on every Ubuntu release to keep it maintained – instant-on environments need just as much protection as everyday desktops, and Ubuntu has a deep commitment to getting that right.

The Ubuntu Light range is available to OEM’s today. Each image will be hand-crafted to boot fastest on that specific hardware, the application load reduced to the minimum, and it comes with tools for Windows which assist in the management of the dual-boot experience. Initially, the focus is on the Netbook Light version based on Unity, but in future we expect to do a Light version of the desktop, too.

Given the requirement to customise the Light versions for specific hardware, there won’t be a general-purpose downloadable image of Ubuntu Light on ubuntu.com.

Evolving Unity for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10

Unity exists today, and is great for the minimalist, stateless configurations that suit a dual-boot environment. But in order embrace it for our Netbook UI, we’ll need to design some new capabilities, and implement them during this cycle.

Those design conversations are taking place this week at UDS, just outside Brussels in Belgium. If you can’t be there in person, and are interested in the design challenges Unity presents for the netbook form factor, check out the conference schedule and participate in the discussion virtually.

The two primary pieces we need to put in place are:

  • Support for many more applications, and adding / removing applications. Instant-on environments are locked down, while netbook environments should support anybody’s applications, not just those favored in the Launcher.
  • Support for file management, necessary for an environment that will be the primary working space for the user rather than an occasional web-focused stopover.

We have an initial starting point for the design, called the Dash, which presents files and applications as an overlay. The inspiration for the Dash comes from consoles and devices, which use full-screen, media-rich presentation. We want the Dash to feel device-like, and use the capabilities of modern hardware.

The Unity Dash, showing the Applications Place

The Unity Dash, showing the Applications Place

The instant-on requirements and constraints proved very useful in shaping our thinking, but the canvas is still blank for the more general, netbook use case. Unity gives us the chance to do something profoundly new and more useful, taking advantage of ideas that have emerged in computing from the console to the handheld.

Relationship to Gnome Shell

Unity and Gnome Shell are complementary for the Gnome Project. While Gnome Shell presents an expansive view of how people work in complex environments with multiple simultaneous activities, Unity is designed to address the other end of the spectrum, where people are focused on doing one thing at any given time.

Unity does embrace the key technologies of Gnome 3: Mutter, for window management, and Zeitgeist will be an anchor component of our file management approach. The interface itself is built in Clutter.

The design seed of Unity was in place before Gnome Shell, and we decided to build on that for the instant-on work rather than adopt Gnome Shell because most of the devices we expect to ship Ubuntu Light on are netbooks. In any event, Unity represents the next step for the Ubuntu Netbook UI, optimised for small screens.

The Ubuntu Netbook interface is popular with Gnome users and we’re fortunate to be working inside an open ecosystem that encourages that level of diversity. As a result, Gnome has offerings for mobile, netbook and desktop form factors. Gnome is in the lucky position of having multiple vendors participating and solving different challenges independently. That makes Gnome stronger.

Relationship to FreeDesktop and KDE

Unity complies with freedesktop.org standards, and is helping to shape them, too. We would like KDE applications to feel welcome on a Unity-based netbook. We’re using the Ayatana indicators in the panel, so KDE applications which use AppIndicators will Just Work. And to the extent that those applications take advantage of the Messaging Menu, Sound Indicator and Me Menu, they will be fully integrated into the Unity environment. We often get asked by OEM’s how they can integrate KDE applications into their custom builds of Ubuntu, and the common frameworks of freedesktop.org greatly facilitate doing so in a smooth fashion.

Looking forward to the Maverick Meerkat

It will be an intense cycle, if we want to get all of these pieces in line. But we think it’s achievable: the new launcher, the new panel, the new implementation of the global menu and an array of indicators. Things have accelerated greatly during Lucid so if we continue at this pace, it should all come together. Here’s to a great summer of code.

Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical

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Canonical

Earlier this year, MuleSoft approached us with the desire to partner and offer to work with Canonical to improve our default java container, Tomcat, for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server. The idea was to make Tomcat on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS easier to download, install, and configure on Ubuntu than JBOSS is on RHEL. The Ubuntu Server engineering team worked with Mulesoft engineering to update Tomcat upstream and those updates were pulled into Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. We are now pleased to announce that the Apache Tomcat package for Ubuntu has been updated and refreshed to the latest Apache release (6.0.26). The team over at MuleSoft has also taken on the task of cleaning up a lot of the utilities, as well as bug fixes that improve the configuration process for starting Tomcat. To see the technical details, you can read Jason Brittain’s blog.

Mulesoft is a great example of our ISV community stepping up with key community contributions. With Ubuntu being community driven, Mulesoft worked closely with Ubuntu Server engineering to bring the Tomcat packages up to the latest release and pushed those changes upstream. Contributions from the community are key to the success of Ubuntu. MuleSoft also provides enterprise class support for running Apache Tomcat on Ubuntu Server in mission-critical deployments.

If you use Tomcat and have servers running in test or production, check out MuleSoft’s add-on product for Tomcat, called Tcat Server . Mulesoft’s Tcat server adds remote diagnostics, version controlled deployments, Tomcat clustering, and clustered restarts to Apache Tomcat deployments. In addition, the management server has a REST API for extending via scripting, or hooking it into your overall systems management interfaces. Tcat Server is free to use in development and is available at no incremental cost to MuleSoft’s Tomcat support service offering.

Tcat Server is available from Mulesoft

John Pugh, ISV Channel Manager

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Gerry Carr

We are delighted to welcome Matt Asay to the Canonical fold, taking up the role of Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect. The details can be found in the press release. Matt has also written about the new challenge in his Open Road blog.

So all that remains to say here is how much the whole company is looking forward to working with and learning from Matt in the months and years to come.

Jane Silber

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Gerry Carr

This week were very pleased to see three companies behind three great technologies announce their support for Ubuntu. In the run up to the LTS in late April we are keen that our users are aware of the growing number of application options that they can have on their preferred operating system. These will be a mix of open source solutions, the ‘enterprise’ version of open source solutions or  proprietary applications. A healthy and growing ecosystem is an obvious prerequisite for any successful OS.

PGP has extended its enterprise-focused data protection solutions to include Ubuntu in addition to Windows and Mac. For companies running a mixed environment (an increasingly common scenario as Ubuntu begins to find a place in businesses as a replacement technology) security and administrative concerns are reduced as the same tool can used whatever the choice of OS.

GroundWorks Open Source announced its support for Ubuntu Server. GWOS’ excellent systems monitoring and management tools will give users a great, low-cost option for their Ubuntu deployments, something that is very important as Ubuntu Server is pushed into larger and more critical use environments.

Finally LikeWise and the Ubuntu development team were able to confirm the latest version Likewise Open 5.4 has made the alpha of Ubuntu 10.04 where it will undergo rigorous testing for stability before confirmation in the release. Users from 9.10 and 8.04LTS will have a direct upgrade path at release and a version supported for five years when they do.

I hope you take time to consider these options as part of your Ubuntu deployment. Expect to see more of these types of announcements as we broaden support for the 10.04 release. We will also be able to give details soon of some programs for the ISVs themselves to more easily come on board with the LTS release and understand why it is a great addition to their portfolios. We’re looking well set for a great release.

Steve George, Corporate Services at Canonical

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Gerry Carr

The Ubuntu Server Team wants to know how you use Ubuntu Server Edition in day-to-day operations to help the team prioritize the support and development of the product.  This is the second edition of this initiative which was first introduced in 2008.

In an effort to better understand, support and further the Ubuntu Server Edition we would like to ask you to take this survey which should take between 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The information provided will help us determine where we can improve support, where to add additional resources and to generate a better understanding of the community which we work within.

Please note that this survey is being conducted by the Ubuntu Server Team community together with the Canonical Product Management. Information about the team is available at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ServerTeam/

To take the survey, please go to http://survey.ubuntu.com/

Thanks

Nick Barcet, Ubuntu Server Edition product manager

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