August 01, 2014

This is my monthly summary of my free software related activities. If you’re among the people who made a donation to support my work (548.59 €, thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it’s just an interesting status update on my various projects.

Distro Tracker

Now that tracker.debian.org is live, people reported bugs (on the new tracker.debian.org pseudo-package that I requested) faster than I could fix them. Still I spent many, many hours on this project, reviewing submitted patches (thanks to Christophe Siraut, Joseph Herlant, Dimitri John Ledkov, Vincent Bernat, James McCoy, Andrew Starr-Bochicchio who all submitted some patches!), fixing bugs, making sure the code works with Django 1.7, and started the same with Python 3.

I added a tox.ini so that I can easily run the test suite in all 4 supported environments (created by tox as virtualenv with the combinations of Django 1.6/1.7 and Python 2.7/3.4).

Over the month, the git repository has seen 73 commits, we fixed 16 bugs and other issues that were only reported over IRC in #debian-qa. With the help of Enrico Zini and Martin Zobel, we enabled the possibility to login via sso.debian.org (Debian’s official SSO) so that Debian developers don’t even have to explicitly create their account.

As usual more help is needed and I’ll gladly answer your questions and review your patches.

Misc packaging work

Publican. I pushed a new upstream release of publican and dropped a useless build-dependency that was plagued by a difficult to fix RC bug (#749357 for the curious, I tried to investigate but it needs major work for make 4.x compatibility).

GNOME 3.12. With gnome-shell 3.12 hitting unstable, I had to update gnome-shell-timer (and filed an upstream ticket at the same time), a GNOME Shell extension to start some run-down counters.

Django 1.7. I packaged python-django 1.7 release candidate 1 in experimental (found a small bug, submitted a ticket with a patch that got quickly merged) and filed 85 bugs against all the reverse dependencies to ask their maintainers to test their package with Django 1.7 (that we want to upload before the freeze obviously). We identified a pain point in upgrade for packages using South and tried to discuss it with upstream, but after closer investigation, none of the packages are really affected. But the problem can hit administrators of non-packaged Django applications.

Misc stuff. I filed a few bugs (#754282 against git-import-orig –uscan, #756319 against wnpp to see if someone would be willing to package loomio), reviewed an updated package for django-ratelimit in #755611, made a non-maintainer upload of mairix (without prior notice) to update the package to a new upstream release and bring it to modern packaging norms (Mako failed to make an upload in 4 years so I just went ahead and did what I would have done if it were mine).

Kali work resulting in Debian contributions

Kali wants to switch from being based on stable to being based on testing so I did try to setup britney to manage a new kali-rolling repository and encountered some problems that I reported to debian-release. Niels Thykier has been very helpful and even managed to improve britney thanks to the very specific problem that the kali setup triggered.

Since we use reprepro, I did write some Python wrapper to transform the HeidiResult file in a set of reprepro commands but at the same time I filed #756399 to request proper support of heidi files in reprepro. While analyzing britney’s excuses file, I also noticed that the Kali mirrors contains many source packages that are useless because they only concern architectures that we don’t host (and I filed #756523 filed against reprepro). While trying to build a live image of kali-rolling, I noticed that libdb5.1 and db5.1-util were still marked as priority standard when in fact Debian already switched to db5.3 and thus should only be optional (I filed #756623 against ftp.debian.org).

When doing some upgrade tests from kali (wheezy based) to kali-rolling (jessie based) I noticed some problems that were also affecting Debian Jessie. I filed #756629 against libfile-fcntllock-perl (with a patch), and also #756618 against texlive-base (missing Replaces header). I also pinged Colin Watson on #734946 because I got a spurious base-passwd prompt during upgrade (that was triggered because schroot copied my unstable’s /etc/passwd file in the kali chroot and the package noticed a difference on the shell of all system users).

Thanks

See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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on August 01, 2014 09:13 PM

– The Unicorn looked dreamily at Alice, and said "Talk, child."
– Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began: "Do
you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too? I
never saw one alive before!"
– "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the Unicorn, "If you’ll
believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?"

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

The second alpha of the Utopic Unicorn (to become 14.10) has now been released!

This alpha features images for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, UbuntuKylin and the Ubuntu Cloud images.

Pre-releases of the Utopic Unicorn are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavor developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this release ready.

Alpha 2 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. This is quite an early set of images, so you should expect some bugs.

While these Alpha 2 images have been tested and work, except as noted in the release notes, Ubuntu developers are continuing to improve the Utopic Unicorn. In particular, once newer daily images are available, system installation bugs identified in the Alpha 2 installer should be verified against the current daily image before being reported in Launchpad. Using an obsolete image to re-report bugs that have already been fixed wastes your time and the time of developers who are busy trying to make 14.10 the best Ubuntu release yet. Always ensure your system is up to date before reporting bugs.

Kubuntu

Kubuntu is the KDE based flavour of Ubuntu. It uses the Plasma desktop and includes a wide selection of tools from the KDE project.

Kubuntu development is now focussing on the next generation of KDE Software, Plasma 5. This is not yet stable enough for everyday use, so we are still shipping the Plasma 1 desktop on our image which has been updated to the latest version in the alpha.

The Alpha-2 images can be downloaded at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

More information on Kubuntu Alpha-2 can be found here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UtopicUnicorn/Alpha2/Kubuntu

Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a flavor of Ubuntu based on LXDE and focused on providing a very lightweight distribution.

The Alpha 2 images can be downloaded at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

Ubuntu GNOME

Ubuntu GNOME is a flavor of Ubuntu featuring the GNOME desktop environment.

The Alpha-2 images can be downloaded at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-gnome/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

More information on Ubuntu GNOME Alpha-2 can be found here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UtopicUnicorn/Alpha2/UbuntuGNOME

UbuntuKylin

UbuntuKylin is a flavor of Ubuntu that is more suitable for Chinese users.

The Alpha-2 images can be downloaded at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntukylin/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

More information on UbuntuKylin Alpha-2 can be found here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Ubuntu%20Kylin/1410-alpha-2-ReleaseNote

Ubuntu Cloud

Ubuntu Cloud images will shortly be available. These images can be run on Amazon EC2, Openstack, SmartOS and many other clouds.

http://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

Regular daily images for Ubuntu can be found at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com

If you’re interested in following the changes as we further develop Utopic, we suggest that you subscribe to the ubuntu-devel-announce list. This is a low-traffic list (a few posts a week) carrying announcements of approved specifications, policy changes, alpha releases and other interesting events.

http://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-devel-announce

A big thank you to the developers and testers for their efforts to pull together this Alpha release!

From the steps outside GUADEC in Strasbourg, and on behalf of the Ubuntu release team,

Originally posted to the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list on Fri Aug 1 08:50:23 UTC 2014 by Iain Lane

on August 01, 2014 05:57 PM

Porting to KDE Frameworks 5 is so easy even I can do it.

about driver-manager software-properties usb-creator whoopsie

Almost all Kubuntu software is ported already. Some of the applications even managed to go qt-only because of all the awesome bits that moved from kdelibs into Qt5. It is all really very awesome I have to say.

on August 01, 2014 12:44 PM

Kubuntu Testing and You

Harald Sitter

With the latest Kubuntu 14.04 Beta 1 out the door, the Kubuntu team is hard at work to deliver the highest possible quality for the upcoming LTS release.

As part of this we are introducing basic test cases that every user can run to ensure that core functionality such as instant messaging and playing MP3 files is working as expected. All tests are meant to take no more than 10 minutes and should be doable by just about everyone. They are the perfect way to get some basic testing done without all the hassle testing usually involves.

If you are already testing Beta 1, head on over to our Quality Assurance Headquarters to get the latest test cases.

Feel free to run any test case, at any time.

If you have any questions, drop me a mail at apachelogger@kubuntu.org, or stop by in #kubuntu-devel on irc.freenode.net.

kitten by David Flores

on August 01, 2014 12:44 PM

Hi,

Ubuntu GNOME Team is happy to announce the first point release for Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS.

  • Q: What are point releases for LTS versions of Ubuntu family?
  • A: Please, see the answer.

Get Ubuntu GNOME 14.04.1

  1. First of all, kindly do read the release notes.
  2. Download from here.

To contact Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see our full list of contact channels.

Thank you for choosing and using Ubuntu GNOME!

 

on August 01, 2014 12:41 PM

Utopic Unicorn Alpha2

Ubuntu GNOME

Hi,

Ubuntu GNOME Team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME Utopic Unicorn Alpha 2.

Please do read the release notes.

NOTE:

This is Alpha 2 Release. Ubuntu GNOME Alpha Releases are NOT recommended for:

  • Regular users who are not aware of pre-release issues
  • Anyone who needs a stable system
  • Anyone uncomfortable running a possibly frequently broken system
  • Anyone in a production environment with data or workflows that need to be reliable

Ubuntu GNOME Alpha Releases are recommended for:

  • Regular users who want to help us test by finding, reporting, and/or fixing bugs
  • Ubuntu GNOME developers

To help with testing Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see Testing Ubuntu GNOME Wiki Page.

To contact Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see our full list of contact channels.

Thank you for choosing and testing Ubuntu GNOME!

on August 01, 2014 12:02 PM
Alpha 2 of Utopic is out now for testing. Download it or upgrade to it to test what will become 14.10 in October.
on August 01, 2014 09:21 AM

In our next release of the Openstack Installer we concentrated on some visual improvements. Here are a few screenshots of some of those changes:

We’ve enhanced feedback of what’s happening during the installation phase:

Statusbar updates

Services are now being displayed as deployment occurs rather than waiting until completion:

Mid install

An added help screen to provide more insight into the installer:

Help screen

We decided to keep it more Openstack focused when listing the running services, this is the final view with all components deployed:

Final deploy screen

And if you don’t care about the UI (why wouldn’t you?!?) there is an added option to run the entire deployment in your console:

Console Install

We’ve still got some more polishing to do and a few more enhancements to add, so keep your eye out for a future announcement!

If you are interested in helping us out head over to the installer github page and have a look, the experimental branch is the code used when generating these screenshots. Some of our immediate needs are end to end testing of the single and multi installer, extending the guides, and feedback on the UI itself.

on August 01, 2014 06:34 AM

July 31, 2014

Next November I'll be speaking at JMaghreb conference, i'll be giving a talk about the Ubuntu Touch platform and the Ubuntu development story, together with a live coding session and a Q&A round at the end.

Ubuntu logo

In this session i'll be covering :

  • System architecture
  • Security model
  • QML/HTML5 SDK
  • Platform APIs(udm, push notifications, webview, etc...)
  • Writing & testing apps on the device & the emulator
  • Publishing apps to the store

The exact time & date of the session will be announced soon, so if you're going to be in or near Morocco this November, make sure to attend!

on July 31, 2014 10:05 PM

S07E18 – The One with the Flashback

Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo

We’re back with Season Seven, Episode Eighteen of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope is sill MIA, Mark Johnson is still in quarantine but talking to us using Skype, and Tony Whitmore and Laura Cowen are drinking cold squash (it’s really quite hot out there!) and eating Jamaican Ginger cake in Studio L.

In this week’s show:

We’ll be back next week, so please send your comments and suggestions to: podcast@ubuntu-uk.org
Join us on IRC in #uupc on Freenode
Leave a voicemail via phone: +44 (0) 203 298 1600, sip: podcast@sip.ubuntu-uk.org and skype: ubuntuukpodcast
Follow us on Twitter
Find our Facebook Fan Page
Follow us on Google+

on July 31, 2014 06:30 PM

After years fueled by hobbyist passion, I’ve been really excited to see how work that many of my peers and I have been doing in open source has grown into us having serious technical careers these past few years. Whether you’re a programmer, community manager, systems administrator like me or other type of technologist, familiarity with Open Source technology, culture and projects can be a serious boon to your career.

Last year when I attended Fosscon in Philadelphia, I did a talk about my work as an “Open Source Sysadmin” – meaning all my work for the OpenStack Infrastructure team is done in public code repositories. Following my talk I got a lot of questions about how I’m funded to do this, and a lot of interest in the fact that a company like HP is making such an investment.

So this year I’m returning to Fosscon to talk about these things! In addition to my own experiences with volunteer and paid work in Open Source, I’ll be drawing experience from my colleague at HP, Mark Atwood, who recently wrote 7 skills to land your open source dream job and those of others folks I work with who are also “living the dream” with a job in open source.

I’m delighted to be joined at this conference by keynote speaker and friend Corey Quinn and Charlie Reisinger of Penn Manor School District who I’ve chatted with via email and social media many times about the amazing Ubuntu deployment at his district and whom am looking forward to finally meeting.

In Philadelphia or near by? The conference is coming up on Saturday, August 9th and is being held at the the world-renowned Franklin Institute science museum.

Registration to the conference is free, but you get a t-shirt if you pay the small stipend of $25 to support the conference (I did!): http://fosscon.us/Attend

on July 31, 2014 05:05 PM

News from Ghislain Vaillant:

The recently released Spyder version 2.3 introduced the much awaited Python 3 support. Debian already has a working package in testing/unstable for both Python 2 (spyder) and Python 3 (spyder3). I have proposed a backport of this version of Spyder to the current LTS in the following bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/spyder/+bug/1347487 For those who are interested, please back this proposal up by adding any additional comments up in the bug report or simply marking yourself as affected.

UPDATE: https://bugs.launchpad.net/trusty-backports/+bug/1351131 is where the action is happening now. Please come on in and join in for testing if you’d like this backport to happen soon.


Filed under: News Tagged: spyder
on July 31, 2014 03:26 PM


I hope you'll join me at Rackspace on Tuesday, August 19, 2014, at the Cloud Austin Meetup, at 6pm, where I'll use our spectacular Orange Box to deploy Hadoop, scale it up, run a terasort, destroy it, deploy OpenStack, launch instances, and destroy it too.  I'll talk about the hardware (the Orange Box, Intel NUCs, Managed VLAN switch), as well as the software (Ubuntu, OpenStack, MAAS, Juju, Hadoop) that makes all of this work in 30 minutes or less!

Be sure to RSVP, as space is limited.

http://www.meetup.com/CloudAustin/events/194009002/

Cheers,
Dustin
on July 31, 2014 10:49 AM
Andrew Sorensen live-coding at OSCON 2014
Keynote

Shortly after Andrew Sorensen began the performance segment of his keynote at OSCON 2014, the #oscon Twitter topic began erupting with posts about the live coding session. Comments, retweets, and additional links persisted for that day and the next. In short, Andrew was a hit :-)

My first encounter with Andrew's work was a few years ago when I was getting back into Lisp. I was playing with generative music with Overtone (and then, a bit later, experimenting with SuperCollider, Hy, and Twisted) and came across his piece A Study in Keith. You might want to take a break from reading this port and watch that now ...

When Andrew started up his presentation, I didn't immediately recognize him. In fact, when the code was displayed on the big screens, I assumed it was Clojure until I looked closely and saw he was using (define ...) and not (defun ...).  This seemed very familiar, and then I remembered Impromptu, which ultimately lead to my discovery of Extempore (see more links below) and the realization that this is what Andrew was using to live code.

At the end of the performance a bunch of us jumped up and gave a standing ovation. (In fact, you can hear me yell out "YEAH" at the end of his presentation when he says "And there we go."). It was quite a show. It seemed that OSCON 2014 had been given a theme song. The next step was getting the source code ...


Andrew's gist (Dark Github Theme)
Sharing the Code

Andrew gave a presentation on Extempore in the ballroom right after the keynote. This too was fantastic and resulted in much tweeting.

Afterwards a bunch of us went up front and chatted with him, enthusing about his work, the recent presentation, the keynote, and his previously published pieces.

I had Andrew's ear for a moment, and asked him if he was interested in sharing his keynote source -- there had been several requests for it on Twitter (that also got retweeted and/or favourited). Without hesitation, he gave an enthusiastic "yes" and we were off and running for the lounge where we could sit down to create a gist (and grab a cappuccino!). The availability of the source was announced immediately, to the delight of many.


Setting Up Extempore

Sublime Text 3 connected to Extempore
Later that night in my hotel room, I had time to download and run Extempore ... and discovered that I couldn't actually play the keynote code, since there was some implicit setup I was missing. However, after some digging around on the docs site and the mail list, music was pouring forth from my laptop -- to my great joy :-D

To ensure anyone else who is not familiar with Extempore can also have this pleasure, I've put together the all the prerequisites and setup necessary in a forked gist, in multiple parts. I will go through those in this blog post. Also: all of my testing and live coding was done using Ben Swift's Extempore Sublime Text plugin.

The first step is getting all the dependencies. You'll want to start the downloads right away, since they are large (the sample files are compressed .wavs). While that's going on, you can install Extempore using Homebrew (this worked for me on Mac OS X with no additional tweaking/configuration necessary):

With Extempore running, let's do some setup. We're going to need to:

  • load some libraries (this takes a while for them to compile),
  • define some samples, and then
  • define some musical note aliases for convenience (and visual clarity).
The easiest way to use the files below is to clone the gist repo and load them up in Sublime Text, executing blocks of text by hi-lighting them, and then pressing ^x^x.

Here is the file for the fist two bullets mentioned above:


You will need to edit this file to point to the locations where your samples were downloaded. Also,
at the very end there are some lines of code you can execute to make sure that your samples are working.

Now let's define the note aliases. You can just hi-light the entire contents of this file in Sublime Text and then ^x^x:
At this point, we're ready to play!


Playing the Music

To get started on the music, open up the fourth file from the clone of the gist and ^x^x the root, scale, and left-hand-notes-* constants.

Here is the evolution of the left hand part:
Go ahead and start that first one playing (^x^x the definition as well as the call). Wait for a bit, and then execute the next one, etc. Once you've started playing the final left hand form, you can switch to the wider range of notes defined/updated at the bottom.

Next, you'll want to bring in the right hand ... then bassline ... then the higher fmsynth sparkles for the right hand:

Then you'll increase the energy with the drum section:

Finally, you'll bring it to the climax, and then start the gentle fade out:

A slightly modified code listing for the final keynote form is here:


Variation on a Theme

I have recorded a variation of Andrew's keynote based on the code above, for your listening pleasure :-) You can listen to it in your browser or download it.

This version plays part of the left hand piano an octave lower. There's a tiny bit of clipping in places, and I accidentally jazzed it up (and for too long!) with a hi-hat change in the middle. There are also some awkward transitions and volume oddities. However, these should be inspiration for you to make your own variation of the OSCON 2014 Theme Song :-)

The "script" used for the recording can found here.


Links of Note

Some of these were mentioned above, some haven't been. All relate to Extempore :-)


on July 31, 2014 03:33 AM

Engineering management

Martin Albisetti

I'm a few days away from hitting 6 years at Canonical and I've ended up doing a lot more management than anything else in that time. Before that I did a solid 8 years at my own company, doing anything from developing, project managing, product managing, engineering managing, sales and accounting.
This time of the year is performance review time at Canonical, so it's gotten me thinking a lot about my role and how my view on engineering management has evolved over the years.

A key insights I've had from a former boss, Elliot Murphy, was viewing it as a support role for others to do their job rather than a follow-the-leader approach. I had heard the phrase "As a manager, I work for you" a few times over the years, but it rarely seemed true and felt mostly like a good concept to make people happy but not really applied in practice in any meaningful way.

Of all the approaches I've taken or seen, a role where you're there to unblock developers more than anything else, I believe is the best one. And unless you're a bit power-hungry on some level, it's probably the most enjoyable way of being a manager.

It's not to be applied blindly, though, I think a few conditions have to be met:
1) The team has to be fairly experienced/senior/smart, I think if it isn't it breaks down to often
2) You need to understand very clearly what needs doing and why, and need to invest heavily and frequently in communicated it to the team, both the global context as well as how it applies to them individually
3) You need to build a relationship of trust with each person and need to trust them, because trust is always a 2-way street
4) You need to be enough of an engineer to understand problems in depth when explained, know when to defer to other's judgments (which should be the common case when the team generally smart and experienced) and be capable of tie-breaking in a technical-savvy way
5) Have anyone who's ego doesn't fit in a small, 100ml container, leave it at home

There are many more things to do, but I think if you don't have those five, everything else is hard to hold together. In general, if the team is smart and experienced, understands what needs doing and why, and like their job, almost everything else self-organizes.
If it isn't self-organizing well enough, walk over those 5 points, one or several must be mis-aligned. More often than not, it's 2). Communication is hard, expensive and more of an art than a science. Most of the times things have seemed to stumble a bit, it's been a failure of how I understood what we should be doing as a team, or a failure on how I communicated it to everyone else as it evolved over time.
Second most frequent I think is 1), but that may vary more depending on your team, company and project.

Oh, and actually caring about people and what you do helps a lot, but that helps a lot in life in general, so do that anyway regardless of you role  :)

on July 31, 2014 02:02 AM

July 30, 2014

Today Brian emailed me to share his enthusiasm for the Ubuntu Juju project, developed by Canonical, the company that makes Ubuntu.

Brian is a good friend that has been advising us on all matters TurnKey practically since the project began. His advice and feedback is always well informed and insightful so even when I already have my own opinions on the matter, I still take the time to look into his suggestions carefully. Thanks Brian!

This time, Brian wrote in to share that he's been enjoying his (impressive) Juju experience and sent a few links for us to look at. He also asked:

Have you guys ever thought of creating Juju Charm's for all of the TurnKeyLinux apps?

The first thing I looked at was whether I could use Juju without using Ubuntu. Not really, and that's a major dealbreaker because TurnKey is based on Debian. It used to be based on Ubuntu but a few years after we started TurnKey it became increasingly clear that we made the wrong decision. Debian was superior on so many levels: community, security, stability, packaging quality and most importantly - the fundamental driving values. So we bit the bullet and moved over to Debian in 2012.

I figured a somewhat expanded version of my answer to Brian could start an interesting discussion so I'm posting it to the blog. In a nutshell, I'm trying to explain why I think many in the free software community are not terribly enthusiastic about building on top of Canonical's work and why Ubuntu seems to have lost so much ground as the world's favorite Linux distro.

In 2008, when Alon and I started TurnKey, Ubuntu was at its height. Here are the Google Trends for Ubuntu since:

Ouch. What happened? My response to Brian tells a small part of this story.

Brian, thanks for prompting me to take another look at Juju today. We are evaluating several directions for TurnKey 14, which we will be re-engineering to work as a collection of modular services built on top of Core rather than monolithic system images. We're going to try and avoid reinventing the wheel as much as possible by leveraging the best components.

Juju is an option but to be honest it's probably not the leading horse in the race, and sadly that has more to do with the track record of the company backing it then any technical fault. In the context of the free software community, getting the answers right at the technical level is almost never enough. Collaborating successfully with the broader ecosystem and winning over hearts and minds matters. A lot.

At this point, Juju doesn't seem to support Debian at all. Debian have even removed the Juju client from sid for some reason. Not sure what the story behind that is. Given the growing divergence between Ubuntu and Debian, we can't expect to be able to leverage the Juju Ubuntu charms without some serious forking.

More importantly, we don't want to back the wrong horse. Canonical have a bad case of not-invented-here syndrome and a tendency to not really listen to the community. They're like the Apple of the FLOSS world except that Shuttleworth is no Steve Jobs and I mean that both in a good way (not as much of an asshole) and a bad way (not as good a leader/visionary).

Brian responded by defending Canonical and explaining that from his perspective working with the world's largest service providers Canonical was making impressive in-roads, especially in the enterprise and cloud arena.

Brian is the expert here so I'm in no position to argue, and to be honest rereading the email I sent him it did come off as a bit more anti-Canonical / Ubuntu than I intended. But my main point wasn't that Canonical is a bad company or that Ubuntu sucks, just that what happens in Ubuntu stays in Ubuntu. Maybe that's great for Canonical in the Enterprise space, but it makes building on their work a shaky proposition.

Canonical: boldly going where no one wants to go after

Canonical has a special talent for either backing the wrong horse, or breeding it.  A few examples of Canonical's track record:

  • UEC vs OpenStack
  • Bazaar vs Git
  • Upstart vs systemd
  • Launchpad vs github
  • Unity vs gnome
  • mir vs wayland

Given this track record, a Canonical backed project is an unlikely winner in any race for widespread adoption. You'd think they would win some battles just by chance. What's going on? 

My pet theory is that it has to be a mix of reasons: They don't listen. They don't inspire. They don't make the best stuff. They don't have the best people. They don't have the most money or the best business.

They do good work, and provide nice solutions, but for some reason we never seem to see those solutions adopted outside of Ubuntu by the wider Linux community. If you aren't already in the Ubuntu camp it seems short-sighted to back their projects. 

I don't think that Canonical is bad at what it does. It's just that they're rarely the best and being mediocre (or even second best) isn't good enough when the tournament effect is at work. The winner takes home the pot (e.g., becomes the new standard) and Canonical isn't winning.

I'm not even sure they want to. I mean, does Apple want Firewire to become a standard? But Apple can afford to create its own standards. Can Canonical?

If companies were text editors, Canonical would be Emacs

Canonical is not a company driven by the Unix philosophy of doing one thing and doing it well. If companies were text editors, Canonical would be Emacs.

It's easy to lose count of the many different  directions they seem to be trying to go in at once: Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Phone, Ubuntu Tablet, and Ubuntu TV. Oh my! I'm waiting for them to announce the Ubuntu gaming system and Ubuntu car. 

I'm impressed (and slightly fearful) by the way companies like Google have expanded their business, but Google waited until they were wildly profitable with their core product to do that. I'm no expert but having your fingers in so many pies when your company is still losing money a decade after its creation doesn't seem like sound business strategy.

And then there are the various community antagonizing fiascos that left me wondering how they didn't see it coming:

  • Sending Unity search results to Canonical (they've since fixed that)
  • Inserting Amazon product referrals into the desktop experience (they've since made it opt-in)

Sure they've since come to their senses, but as the old saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

How much does Canonical really care about free software values?

Here's another thing that bugs me. It's unclear how much Shuttleworth/Canonical genuinely cares about the underlying values of free software. From the outside it looks like Canonical is firmly rooted in the "commercial open source" camp as opposed to the "free software" camp (what's the difference?). This is reflected in a tendency towards technical isolation and the design of solutions that encourage dependence on Canonical services.

The focus is on utility and convenience, not values. And to clarify what I mean by that - a value is a principle you would hold onto even if you get penalized for it by the marketplace. If you give lip service to a value but are willing to give it up to make more money that's not a value - that's marketing.

I'm not saying Canonical's focus on convenience and utility are bad. It's just not inspiring. And you need to be inspiring to lead.

Still, they do a lot of good work and have done much to popularize free software. We should congratulate them for that and be thankful that Shuttleworth decided to invest his millions to create the company. There's definitely a useful place for a company like Canonical in the ecosystem. Ubuntu provides a gentler introduction to the sometimes harsh world of free software. It's especially useful to the vast majority of "human beings" who aren't aware that free software has anything else to offer beyond the magic of getting stuff for free. Who knows, some of them may eventually pull back the curtain.

But it takes more then being useful to lead and Canonical's take on free software is just not very inspiring for developers and would-be contributors, many of whom, like myself, do care deeply about values. There's what you do, and there's why you do it.

Free software is more than a better way to develop software, and more than a way to get stuff for free. Free software is about freedom. The more technologically dependent our society becomes, the more free software values matter because technology is a double edged sword. It can be used to strengthen our freedoms, or take them away.

We need utility as a measuring stick, and the right values as our compass. We need both.

Which reminds me of a pearl of wisdom I came across that keeps reverberating in my head:

Develop people, not products.

on July 30, 2014 09:49 PM

OSM GPS dump

We’re very excited to announce an agreement with Nokia HERE to provide A-GPS support on Ubuntu. The new platform service will enable developers to obtain accurate positioning data for their location-based apps in under two minutes, a significantly shorter Time To First Fix (TTFF) than the average for raw GPS technologies.

Faster positioning

While Ubuntu already features GPS-based location, it has always been a key requirement for the OS to provide application developers with rapid and efficient location positioning capabilities.

The new positioning service will be a hybrid solution integrating A-GPS and WiFi positioning, a powerful combo to help obtaining a very fast and accurate TTFF. The system is to be functional by the Release To Manufacturer (RTM) milestone, and available on the regular Ubuntu builds and for retail phones shipping Ubuntu.

Privacy and security

With the user’s explicit consent, anonymous data related to signal strength of local WiFi signals and radio cells can be contributed to crowd-sourcing location services, with the purpose of improving the overall quality of the positioning service for all users.

In line with Ubuntu’s privacy policy, no personal data of any nature is to be collected and released. Users will also be able to opt-out of this service if they do not wish their mobile handset to collect this type of data.

The positioning system will also be run under strict confinement, so that the service and its data cannot be accessed without the user explicitly granting access. With Ubuntu’s trust model, a confined application has to be granted trust by the user to gain access to security- or privacy-relevant system components.

Mapping capabilities

As the new service is to be focused on positioning, it will be decoupled from any mapping solution. Ubuntu Developers, as before, will have a choice of mapping services to use for their applications, including Nokia HERE, OpenStreetMap and others.

Header image based on “openstreetmap gps coverage” by Steven Kay, CC-BY-SA 2.0.

on July 30, 2014 09:09 AM

July 29, 2014

I previously announced the availability of rsyslog+MongoDB+LogAnalyzer in Debian wheezy-backports. This latest rsyslog with MongoDB storage support is also available for Ubuntu and Fedora users in one way or another.

Just one thing was missing: a flexible way to prune the database. LogAnalyzer provides a very basic pruning script that simply purges all records over a certain age. The script hasn't been adapted to work within the package layout. It is written in PHP, which may not be ideal for people who don't actually want LogAnalyzer on their Syslog/MongoDB host.

Now there is a convenient solution: I've just contributed a very trivial Python script for selectively pruning the records.

Thanks to Python syntax and the PyMongo client, it is extremely concise: in fact, here is the full script:

#!/usr/bin/python

import syslog
import datetime
from pymongo import Connection

# It assumes we use the default database name 'logs' and collection 'syslog'
# in the rsyslog configuration.

with Connection() as client:
    db = client.logs
    table = db.syslog
    #print "Initial count: %d" % table.count()
    today = datetime.datetime.today()

    # remove ANY record older than 5 weeks except mail.info
    t = today - datetime.timedelta(weeks=5)
    table.remove({"time":{ "$lt": t }, "syslog_fac": { "$ne" : syslog.LOG_MAIL }})

    # remove any debug record older than 7 days
    t = today - datetime.timedelta(days=7)
    table.remove({"time":{ "$lt": t }, "syslog_sever": syslog.LOG_DEBUG})

    #print "Final count: %d" % table.count()

Just put it in /usr/local/bin and run it daily from cron.

Customization

Just adapt the table.remove statements as required. See the PyMongo tutorial for a very basic introduction to the query syntax and full details in the MongoDB query operator reference for creating more elaborate pruning rules.

Potential improvements

  • Indexing the columns used in the queries
  • Logging progress and stats to Syslog


LogAnalyzer using a database backend such as MongoDB is very easy to set up and much faster than working with text-based log files

on July 29, 2014 06:27 PM

Meeting Actions

None

U Development

The discussion about “U Development” started at 16:00.

  • Feature freeze is August 21. Note Debian Import Freeze is coming up
    • as well.
  • The mysql /var/lib/mysql discussion is proceeding, but it seems
    • unlikely that this will happen by feature freeze now. Nevertheless, we expect to land 5.6 in main in the same manner as 5.5 is currently on schedule.
  • http://status.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-u/group/topic-u-server.html – please

    • remember to keep your blueprints updated with work item progress and re-plan milestones if things slip.

Server & Cloud Bugs (caribou)

The discussion about “Server & Cloud Bugs (caribou)” started at 16:03.

  • No updates

Weekly Updates & Questions for the QA Team (psivaa)

The discussion about “Weekly Updates & Questions for the QA Team (psivaa)” started at 16:05.

  • No updates

Weekly Updates & Questions for the Kernel Team (smb, sforshee)

The discussion about “Weekly Updates & Questions for the Kernel Team (smb, sforshee)” started at 16:05.

  • James Page reports that iscsitarget 12.04 DKMS updates for HWE
    • kernels are ready and uploaded to trusty-proposed awaiting SRU team review (bug 1262712)
  • The KSM on NUMA + KVM bug (1346917) is making great progress, driven
    • by Chris Arges. Brad Figg reports that an upload to trusty-proposed is imminent, and it should land on August 8th (the day after 12.04.5). 12.04.5 (for the HWE kernel) won’t include the update, but one will be available for it the next day.
  • For kernel SRU cadence updates, see

Ubuntu Server Team Events

The discussion about “Ubuntu Server Team Events” started at 16:17.

  • rbasak noted that the Canonical Server Team have been sprinting in
    • #ubuntu-server on Fridays to complete merges, including mentoring and sponsoring, and that all are welcome to join them.

Open Discussion

The discussion about “Open Discussion” started at 16:18.

  • James Page reported that there are plans to SRU docker 1.0.x to
    • 14.04 in bug 1338768. The proposed uploaded is in a PPA and awaiting review from the SRU team. Testers are encouraged to try it out.

Agree on next meeting date and time

Next meeting will be on Tuesday, August 4th at 16:00 UTC in #ubuntu-meeting. Note that this was stated incorrectly in the meeting itself. The chair will be Liam Young.

on July 29, 2014 05:46 PM

Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.

Agenda

20140729 Meeting Agenda


Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:

http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/kt-meeting.txt


Status: Utopic Development Kernel

The Utopic kernel has been rebased to v3.16-rc7 and uploaded to the
archive, ie. linux-3.13.0-6.11. Please test and let us know your
results. I also want to mention 14.04.1 released last Thursday
July 24 and 12.04.5 is scheduled to release next Thurs Aug 7.
—–
Important upcoming dates:
Thurs Aug 07 – 12.04.5 (~1 week away)
Thurs Aug 21 – Utopic Feature Freeze (~3 weeks away)


Status: CVE’s

The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:

http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/cve/pkg/ALL-linux.html


Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Trusty/Saucy/Precise/Lucid

Status for the main kernels, until today (Jul. 22):

  • Lucid – Released
  • Precise – Released
  • Saucy – Released
  • Trusty – Released

    Current opened tracking bugs details:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/kernel-sru-workflow.html

    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/sru-report.html

    Schedule:

    14.04.1 cycle: 29-Jun through 07-Aug
    ====================================================================
    27-Jun Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    29-Jun – 05-Jul Kernel prep week.
    06-Jul – 12-Jul Bug verification & Regression testing.
    13-Jul – 19-Jul Regression testing & Release to -updates.
    20-Jul – 24-Jul Release prep
    24-Jul 14.04.1 Release [1]
    07-Aug 12.04.5 Release [2]

    cycle: 08-Aug through 29-Aug
    ====================================================================
    08-Aug Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    10-Aug – 16-Aug Kernel prep week.
    17-Aug – 23-Aug Bug verification & Regression testing.
    24-Aug – 29-Aug Regression testing & Release to -updates.

    [1] This will be the very last kernels for lts-backport-quantal, lts-backport-raring,
    and lts-backport-saucy.

    [2] This will be the lts-backport-trusty kernel as the default in the precise point
    release iso.


Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No open discussions.

on July 29, 2014 05:18 PM

Kubuntu Ninja Rohan was on today’s ubuntuonair talking about Plasma 5 and what is happening in Kubuntu.  Watch it now to hear the news.

 

on July 29, 2014 04:07 PM

On the behalf of the Ubuntu Leadership team, I’m doing a call for the team leaders of the various teams that make Ubuntu and its flavours possible.  The reason for this call is simple- (as a team) to find what problems in that teams’ leadership and what works.  In turn, these problems can be talked about in order for a solution to be found and that solution can be then shared via the Ubuntu Leadership wiki for other folks to read.

What teams are needed:

  • Ubuntu and the flvours developer, translation, marketing, and the other teams that are key to the success
  • LoCo Leaders/Point of Contacts
  • Ubuntu Women Elected Leaders
  • And other team leaders can of course join in!

How to join:

It’s your choice if you want to join the Ubuntu Leadership team on LaunchPad, it’s the the mailing-list that is important!  What you need to put in for your message is: who you are, what team that you are a leader to, what problems in leadership that you are facing or what is working for you, and what sort of questions/comments do you have about the problem that you are facing.  For the subject, your standard new member introduction or maybe say “Leader from [insert team name here]“.

Extra Links:

Ubuntu Leadership mailing-list idea on this


on July 29, 2014 03:39 PM

Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #376 for the week July 21 – 27, 2014, and the full version is available here.

In this issue we cover:

The issue of The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter is brought to you by:

  • Elizabeth K. Joseph
  • Jose Antonio Rey
  • And many others

If you have a story idea for the Weekly Newsletter, join the Ubuntu News Team mailing list and submit it. Ideas can also be added to the wiki!

Except where otherwise noted, content in this issue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License BY SA Creative Commons License

on July 29, 2014 04:45 AM
Series Links

Survivors' Breakfast

The previous post covered some thoughts on the future-looking programming themes present at OSCON 2014.

Following that wonderful conference, long-time Open Source advocate, Pythonista, and instructor Steve Holden, was kind enough to host his third annual "OSCON Survivors' Breakfast" with tens of esteemed attendees, speakers, and organizers enjoying great company and conversation, relaxing together after the flurry of conference activity, planning a leisurely day in Portland, and -- most immediately -- having some much-needed breakfast.

The view from the 23rd floor was quite an eyeful, and the conversation ranged across equally panoramic topics. Sitting with Alex Martelli, Anna Ravenscroft, and Katie Miller, the conversation inevitably turned to thoughts programmatical. One thread of the discussion was so compelling that it helped crystallize this series of blog posts. That was kicked off with Katie's question:

Why [have some large companies] not embraced functional programming to the extent that other large ones have?

Multiple points of discussion spawned from this, some of which still continue. The rest of this post explores these. 


Large Companies?

What constitutes a large company? We settled on discussing Fortune 500 companies, which, by definition are:
  • U.S. Companies
  • Ranked by gross revenue (after adjustments for excise taxes).

Afterwards, I looked up the 2013 top 25 tech companies in the Fortune 500. I've listed them below; in parentheses is the Fortune 500 ranking. After the dash are the functional programming languages used on various company projects -- these are listed only if I have talked to someone who has worked on a project (or interviewed for a job that used the language), or if I have read an article by an employee who has stated that they use the listed language(s) [1].
  1. Apple (6) - Swift, Clojure, Scala
  2. AT&T (11) - Haskell
  3. HP (15) - F#, Scala
  4. Verizon Communications (16) - Scala
  5. IBM (20) - Scala
  6. Microsoft (35) - F#, F*
  7. Comcast (46) - Scala
  8. Amazon (49) - Haskell, Scala, Erlang
  9. Dell (51) - Erlang, Scala
  10. Intel (54) - Haskell, SML, PLT Scheme
  11. Google (55) - Haskell [2]
  12. Cisco (60) - Scala
  13. Ingram Micro (76) - ?
  14. Oracle (80) - Scala
  15. Avnet (117) - ?
  16. Tech Data (119) - ?
  17. Emerson Electric (123) - ?
  18. Xerox (131) - Scala
  19. EMC (133) - Scala
  20. Arrow Electronics (141) - ?
  21. Century Link (150) - ?
  22. Computer Sciences Corp. (176) - ?
  23. eBay (196) - Scala 
  24. TI (218) - ?
  25. Western Digital (222) - ?

The companies which have committed to projects guessed to be of significant business value written in FP languages include: Apple, HP, and eBay. Possibly also Oracle and Intel. So, a rough estimate of between 3 to 5 of the top 25 U.S. tech companies have made a significant investment in FP.

Why not Google?

The next two sections offer summaries of some views on this.


Ideal Use Case?

Is an FP language suitable for large organisations? Are smaller companies better served by them? During breakfast, It was postulated that dealing with such things as immutable data, handling I/O in pure FP languages, and creating/using higher order functions is easier for small startups due to the shorter amount of time required to hire or train a critical mass of skilled programmers.

It is certainly true that it will take larger organisations longer to train its personnel simply due to sheer numbers and, even with enough trainers, logistics. But this argument can be made for any corporate level of instruction; in my book, this cancels out on both sides and is not an argument unique to hard topics, even less, specifically pertinent to FP adoption.


Brain Fit?

I've heard this one a bit: "Some people just don't think in FP terms." They need loops and iteration, not higher order functions and recursion. Joel Spolsky makes reference to this in his article The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing. In particular, he says that "For some reason most people seem to be born without the part of the brain that understands pointers." This has been applied to topics in FP as well as C.

To be fair, Joel's comment was probably made with a bit of lightness and not meant to be a statement on the nature of mind or a theory of cognition. The context of the article is a very practical one: hiring. When trying to identify whether a programmer would be an asset for your team, you're not living in the space of cognitive theory, rather you inhabit the realm of quick approximations, gut instincts, and fast, economical decisions.

Regardless, I find this perspective -- Type Physicalism [3] -- fairly objectionable. This is because I see it as a kind of intellectual "racism." Early social sciences utilized this form of reasoning to justify all sorts of discriminatory thinking in the name of "science", reinforcing a rigid mentality of "us" vs. "them." In my own experience, I've seen this sort of approach used to shutdown exploration, to enforce elitism, and dismiss ideas that threaten the authority of the status quo.

Rather than seeing the problem of comprehending FP as a physical limitation of the individual, I see instructional failure as the obstacle to overcome. If we start with the proposition that certain brains are deficient, we are essentially abandoning education. It is the responsibility of the instructor to engage creatively with each student's learning style. When adhering to the idea that certain brains are limited, one discards creative engagement; one doesn't even consider working with the students and their learning styles. This is a view that, however implicitly, can be used to shun diversity and dismiss potential.

I believe the essence of what Joel was shooting for can be approached in a much kinder fashion (adapted for an FP discussion):

None of us was born knowing GOTO statements, global state, mutable data, or for loops. There are many programmers alive, though, whose first contact with programming involved one or more of these. That's their "home town", as it were; their programmatic birth place. Having utilized -- as well as taught -- imperative, OOP, and functional styles of programming, I do not feel that one is intrinsically any harder than another. However, they are sometimes so vastly different from each other in style or syntax or semantics that once a student has solidified around the concepts of a particular paradigm, it can be a challenge retraining to work easily in another.


Why the Objections?

If both "ideal use case" and "brain fit" are given as arguments against adopting FP (or any other new paradigm) in large organisations, and neither are considered logically or philosophically valid, what's at the root of the resistance?

It is not uncommon for changes in an industry or field of study to be met with resistance. The bigger or more different the change from the status quo, very often is proportional to the amount of resistance. I suspect that this is really what we're seeing when companies take a stance against FP. There are very often valid business concerns: "we've made an investment in OOP" or "it will cost too much to train/hire/migrate to FP." 

I would remind those company leaders, though, that new sources of revenue, that product innovation and changes in market adoption do not often come from maintaining or enforcing the current state. Instead, that is an identifying characteristic of companies whose relevance is fading.

Even if your company has market dominance or is a monopoly, there is still a good incentive for exploring alternative paradigms. At the very least, one can uncover inefficiencies and apply new knowledge to remove duplication of efforts, increase margins, etc.


Careers

As a manager, I have found that about half of the senior engineers up for promotion have very little to no interest in taking on different (new to them) programmatic paradigms. They consider current burdens sufficient (or too much) and would rather spend what little free time they have available to them in improving existing systems.

Senior engineers who have a more academic or research bent (or are easily bored) are much more likely to embrace this sort of change. Interestingly, senior engineers who have little to no competitive drive will more readily pick up something new if the need arises. This may be due to such things as not perceiving accumulated knowledge as territory to defend, for example.

Younger engineers with less experience (and less of an investment made in a particular school of thought) are much more willing to take on new challenges. I believe there are many reasons for this, one of which may include an interest in becoming more professionally competitive with their peers.

Junior or senior, I have found that programmers who are currently looking to find new employment are nearly invariably not only willing to take on the challenge of learning different paradigms, but are usually going about that proactively and engaging in self-study.

I want to work with programmers who can take on any problem space in any paradigm and find creative solutions, contributing as valued members of a team. This is certainly an ideal set of characteristics, but one that I have seen in the wilds of the workplace on multiple occasions. It has nothing to do with FP or OOP paradigms, but rather with the people themselves.

Even if a company is locked into well-established processes and views on programming, they may find it in their best interests to provide a more open-minded approach with their employees who would enjoy that. Their retention rates could very well increase dramatically.


Do We Need To?

Philosophy and hiring strategies aside, do we -- as programmers, software projects, or organizations that support programming -- need to take on the burden of learning or adopting functional programming? Quite possibly not.

If Google's plans around Go involve building a new operating system (in the spirit of 1970s C and UNIX), the systems programmers may find pure functions too cumbersome to work with. FP may be too burdensome a fit for that type of work.

If one is not tied to a historical analogy with UNIX, as Mozilla is not with Rust, doing something like creating a new browser engine (or running a remote services company) may be a good fit for FP, especially if one has data showing reduced error counts when using type systems.

As we shall see illustrated in the next post, the usual advice continues to apply: the decision of which paradigm to employ for any given project should be dictated by the best fit and not ideological inflexibility. The bearing this has on programming is innovation: it is the early adopters who have the best chance of leading us into the future.

Up next: Retrospective on Programming Paradigms
Previously: Themes at OSCON 2014


Footnotes

[1] If anyone has additional information as to which FP languages are used by these top 25 companies, please let me know, and I will include that information. Bonus points for knowing of business-critical applications.

[2] Google Switzerland are using Haskell.

[3] Type Physicality is a form of reductive materialism, also known as the Mind-Brain Identity Theory that does not allow for mental states to be realized in organisms or computational systems that do not have a brain. See "Criticisms of Type Physicality" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_theory_of_mind#Multiple_realizability.

on July 29, 2014 03:53 AM

July 28, 2014

Lubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

Lubuntu Blog

It's already available Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, the first update on Trusty Tahr, a recommended by-default setup for all flavours including, of course, Lubuntu. This comes with extended support (until 2019). Various bugs that required updates are rolled into this update: A bug for btrfs has been found, this is scheduled to be fixed in 14.04.2 A bug affecting Alt-F2 is still present For PPC the bug
on July 28, 2014 08:24 PM

Until Next Year CLS!

Benjamin Kerensa

Bs7Qxr CMAAYtLa 300x199 Until Next Year CLS!

Community Leadership Summit 2014 Group Photo

This past week marked my second year helping out as a co-organizer of the Community Leadership Summit. This Community Leadership Summit was especially important because not only did we introduce a new Community Leadership Forum but we also introduced CLSx events and continued to introduce some new changes to our overall event format.

Like previous years, the attendance was a great mix of community managers and leaders. I was really excited to have an entire group of Mozillians who attended this year. As usual, my most enjoyable conversations took place at the pre-CLS social and in the hallway track. I was excited to briefly chat with the Community Team from Lego and also some folks from Adobe and learn about how they are building community in their respective settings.

I’m always a big advocate for community building, so for me, CLS is an event I try and make it to each and every year because I think it is great to have an event for community managers and builders that isn’t limited to any specific industry. It is really a great opportunity to share best practices and really learn from one another so that everyone mutually improves their own toolkits and technique.

It was apparent to me that this year there were even more women than in previous years and so it was really awesome to see that considering CLS is often times heavily attended by men in the tech industry.

I really look forward to seeing the CLS community continue to grow and look forward to participating and co-organizing next year’s event and possibly even kick of a CLSxPortland.

A big thanks to the rest of the CLS Team for helping make this free event a wonderful experience for all and to this years sponsors O’Reilly, Citrix, Oracle, Linux Fund, Mozilla and Ubuntu!

on July 28, 2014 12:00 PM

When you contribute something as a member of a community, who are you actually giving it to? The simple answer of course is “the community” or “the project”, but those aren’t very specific.  On the one hand you have a nebulous group of people, most of which you probably don’t even know about, and on the other you’ve got some cold, lifeless code repository or collection of web pages. When you contribute, who is that you really care about, who do you really want to see and use what you’ve made?

In my last post I talked about the importance of recognition, how it’s what contributors get in exchange for their contribution, and how human recognition is the kind that matters most. But which humans do our contributors want to be recognized by? Are you one of them and, if so, are you giving it effectively?

Owners

The owner of a project has a distinct privilege in a community, they are ultimately the source of all recognition in that community.  Early contributions made to a project get recognized directly by the founder. Later contributions may only get recognized by one of those first contributors, but the value of their recognition comes from the recognition they received as the first contributors.  As the project grows, more generations of contributors come in, with recognition coming from the previous generations, though the relative value of it diminishes as you get further from the owner.

Leaders

After the project owner, the next most important source of recognition is a project’s leaders. Leaders are people who gain authority and responsibility in a project, they can affect the direction of a project through decisions in addition to direct contributions. Many of those early contributors naturally become leaders in the project but many will not, and many others who come later will rise to this position as well. In both cases, it’s their ability to affect the direction of a project that gives their recognition added value, not their distance from the owner. Before a community can grown beyond a very small size it must produce leaders, either through a formal or informal process, otherwise the availability of recognition will suffer.

Legends

Leadership isn’t for everybody, and many of the early contributors who don’t become one still remain with the project, and end of making very significant contributions to it and the community over time.  Whenever you make contributions, and get recognition for them, you start to build up a reputation for yourself.  The more and better contributions you make, the more your reputation grows.  Some people have accumulated such a large reputation that even though they are not leaders, their recognition is still sought after more than most. Not all communities will have one of these contributors, and they are more likely in communities where heads-down work is valued more than very public work.

Mentors

When any of us gets started with a community for the first time, we usually end of finding one or two people who help us learn the ropes.  These people help us find the resources we need, teach us what those resources don’t, and are instrumental in helping us make the leap from user to contributor. Very often these people aren’t the project owners or leaders.  Very often they have very little reputation themselves in the overall project. But because they take the time to help the new contributor, and because theirs is very likely to be the first, the recognition they give is disproportionately more valuable to that contributor than it otherwise would be.

Every member of a community can provide recognition, and every one should, but if you find yourself in one of the roles above it is even more important for you to be doing so. These roles are responsible both for setting the example, and keeping a proper flow, or recognition in a community. And without that flow or recognition, you will find that your flow of contributions will also dry up.

on July 28, 2014 12:00 PM
Kubuntu Plasma 5 ISOs have started being built. These are early development builds of what should be a Tech Preview with our 14.10 release in October. Plasma 5 should be the default desktop in a future release.

Bugs in the packaging should be reported to kubuntu-ppa on Launchpad. Bugs in the software to KDE.

on July 28, 2014 10:33 AM

KDE Project:

Your friendly Kubuntu team is hard at work packaging up Plasma 5 and making sure it's ready to take over your desktop sometime in the future. Scarlett has spent many hours packaging it and now Rohan has spent more hours putting it onto some ISO images which you can download to try as a live session or install.

This is the first build of a flavour we hope to call a technical preview at 14.10. Plasma 4 will remain the default in 14.10 proper. As I said earlier it will eat your babies. It has obvious bugs like kdelibs4 theme not working and mouse themes only sometimes working. But also be excited and if you want to make it beautiful we're sitting in #kubuntu-devel having a party for you to join.

I recommend downloading by Torrent or failing that zsync, the server it's on has small pipes.

Default login is blank password, just press return to login.

on July 28, 2014 10:20 AM

Kbuntu Next

The Kubuntu team is proud to announce the immediate availability of the Plasma 5 flavor of the Kubuntu ISO which can be found here (here’s a mirror to the torrent file in case the server is slow). Unlike it’s Neon 5 counterpart , this ISO contains packages made from the stock Plasma 5.0 release . The ISO is meant to be a technical preview of what is to come when Kubuntu switches to Plasma 5 by default in a future release of Kubuntu.

A special note of thanks to the Plasma team for making a rocking release. If you enjoy using KDE as much as we do, please consider donating to Kubuntu and KDE :)

NB: When booting the live ISO up, at the login screen, just hit the login button and you’ll be logged into a Plasma 5 session.


on July 28, 2014 09:39 AM
IMG 20140723 161033 300x225 Mozilla at OReilly Open Source Convention

Mozililla OSCON 2014 Team

This past week marked my fourth year of attending O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON). It was also my second year speaking at the convention. One new thing that happened this year was I co-led Mozilla’s presence during the convention from our booth to the social events and our social media campaign.

Like each previous year, OSCON 2014 didn’t disappoint and it was great to have Mozilla back at the convention after not having a presence for some years. This year our presence was focused on promoting Firefox OS, Firefox Developer Tools and Firefox for Android.

While the metrics are not yet finished being tracked, I think our presence was a great success. We heard from a lot of developers who are already using our Developer tools and from a lot of developers who are not; many of which we were able to educate about new features and why they should use our tools.

IMG 20140721 171609 300x168 Mozilla at OReilly Open Source Convention

Alex shows attendee Firefox Dev Tools

Attendees were very excited about Firefox OS with a majority of those stopping by asking about the different layers of the platform, where they can get a device, and how they can make an app for the platform.

In addition to our booth, we also had members of the team such as Emma Irwin who helped support OSCON’s Children’s Day by hosting a Mozilla Webmaker event which was very popular with the kids and their parents. It really was great to see the future generation tinkering with Open Web technologies.

Finally, we had a social event on Wednesday evening that was very popular so much that the Mozilla Portland office was packed till last call. During the social event, we had a local airbrush artist doing tattoos with several attendees opting for a Firefox Tattoo.

All in all, I think our presence last week was very positive and even the early numbers look positive. I want to give a big thanks to Stormy Peters, Christian Heilmann, Robyn Chau, Shezmeen Prasad, Dave Camp, Dietrich Ayala, Chris Maglione, William Reynolds, Emma Irwin, Majken Connor, Jim Blandy, Alex Lakatos for helping this event be a success.

on July 28, 2014 01:48 AM

July 25, 2014

Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.04.1 Xubuntu 14.04 is an LTS (Long-Term Support) release and will be supported for 3 years. This is the first Point Release of it’s cycle.

The final release images are available as Torrents and direct downloads at http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/xubuntu/releases/trusty/release/

As the main server will be very busy in the first days after the release, we recommend using the Torrents wherever possible.

For support with the release, navigate to Help & Support for a complete list of methods to get help.

Bug fixes for the first point release

  • Black screen after wakeup from suspending by closing the laptop lid. (1303736)
  • Light Locker blanks the screen when playing video. (1309744)
  • Include MenuLibre 2.0.4, which contains many fixes. (1323405)
  • The documentation is now attributed to the Translators.

Highlights, changes and known issues

The highlights of this release include:

  • Light Locker replaces xscreensaver for screen locking, a setting editing GUI is included
  • The panel layout is updated, and now uses Whiskermenu as the default menu
  • Mugshot is included to allow you to easily edit your personal preferences
  • MenuLibre for menu editing, with full Xfce support, replaces Alacarte
  • A community wallpapers package, which includes work from the five winners of the wallpaper contest
  • GTK Theme Config to customize your desktop theme colors
  • Updated artwork, including various enhancements to themes as well as a new default wallpaper

Some of the known issues include:

  • Window manager shortcut keys don’t work after reboot (1292290)
  • Sorting by date or name not working correctly in Ristretto (1270894)
  • Due to the switch from xscreensaver to light-locker, some users might have issues with timing of locking; removing xscreensaver from the system should fix these problems
  • IBus does not support certain keyboard layouts (1284635). Only affects upgrades with certain keyboard layouts. See release notes for a workaround.

To see the complete list of new features, improvements and known and fixed bugs, read the release notes.

on July 25, 2014 06:55 PM


This month:

* Command & Conquer
* How-To : Python, LibreOffice, and GRUB2.
* Graphics : Inkscape.
* Book Review: Puppet
* Security – TrueCrypt Alternatives
* CryptoCurrency: Dualminer and dual-cgminer
* Arduino
plus: Q&A, Linux Labs, Ubuntu Games, and Ubuntu Women.

Get it while it’s hot!
http://fullcirclemagazine.org/issue-87/

on July 25, 2014 04:47 PM

Bringing fluid motion to browsing

Canonical Design Team

In the previous Blog Post, we looked at how we use the Recency principle to redesign the experience around bookmarks, tabs and history.
In this blog post, we look at how the new Ubuntu Browser makes the UI fade to the background in favour of the content. The design focuses on physical impulse familiarity – “muscle memory” – by marrying simple gestures to the two key browser tasks, making the experience feel as fluid and simple as flipping through a magazine.

 

Creating a new tab

For all new browsers, the approach to the URI Top Bar that enables searching as well as manual address entry has made the “new tab” function more central to the experience than ever. In addition, evidence suggests that opening a new tab is the third of the most frequently used action in browser. To facilitate this, we made opening a new tab effortless and even (we think) a bit fun.
By pulling down anywhere on the current page, you activate a sprint loaded “new tab” feature that appears under the address bar of the page. Keep dragging far enough, and you’ll see a new blank page coming into view. If you release at this stage, a new tab will load ready with the address bar and keyboard open as well as an easy way to get to your bookmarks. But, if you change your mind, just drag the current page back up or release early and your current page comes back.

http://youtu.be/zaJkNRvZWgw

 

Get to your open tabs and recently visited sites

Pulling the current page downward can create a new blank tab, and conversely dragging the bottom edge upward shows you already open tabs ordered by recency that echoes the right edge “open apps” view.

If you keep on dragging upward without releasing, you can dig even further into the past with your most recently visited pages grouped by site in a “history” list. By grouping under the site domain name, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for without thumbing through hundreds of individual page URLs. However, if you want all the detail, tap an item in the list to see your complete history.

Blog Post - Browser #2 (1)
It’s not easy to improve upon such a well-worn application as the browser, it’s true. We’re hopeful that by adding new fluidity to creating, opening and switching between tabs, our users will find that this browsing experience is simpler to use, especially with one hand, and feels more seamless and fluid than ever.

 

 

on July 25, 2014 11:42 AM

Edubuntu Long-Term Support

The Edubuntu team is proud to announce Edubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, which is the first Long Term Support (LTS) update as part of the Edubuntu 14.04 5 years support cycle.

This point release includes all the bug fixes and improvements that have been applied via updates to Edubuntu 14.04 LTS since it has been released. It also includes updated hardware support and installer fixes. If you have an Edubuntu 14.04 LTS system and have applied all the available updates, then your system will already be on 14.04.1 LTS and there is no need to re-install. For new installations, installing from the updated media is recommended since it will be installable on more systems than before and will require less updates than installing from the original 14.04 LTS media.

  • Information on where to download the Edubuntu 14.04.1 LTS media is available from the Downloads page.
  • We do not ship free Edubuntu discs at this time, however, there are 3rd party distributors available who ship discs at reasonable prices listed on the Edubuntu Martketplace

To ensure that the Edubuntu 14.04 LTS series will continue to work on the latest hardware as well as keeping quality high right out of the box, further point releases will be made available during its lifecycle. More information will be available on the release schedule page on the Ubuntu wiki.

See also

Thanks for your support and interest in Edubuntu!

on July 25, 2014 04:46 AM

Plasma’s Road to Wayland

Sebastian Kügler

Road to WaylandWith the Plasma 5.0 release out the door, we can lift our heads a bit and look forward, instead of just looking at what’s directly ahead of us, and make that work by fixing bug after bug. One of the important topics which we have (kind of) excluded from Plasma’s recent 5.0 release is support for Wayland. The reason is that much of the work that has gone into renovating our graphics stack was also needed in preparation for Wayland support in Plasma. In order to support Wayland systems properly, we needed to lift the software stack to Qt5, make X11 dependencies in our underlying libraries, Frameworks 5 optional. This part is pretty much done. We now need to ready support for non-X11 systems in our workspace components, the window manager and compositor, and the workspace shell.

Let’s dig a bit deeper and look at at aspects underlying to and resulting from this transition.

Why Wayland?

The short answer to this question, from a Plasma perspective, is:

  • Xorg lacks modern interfaces and protocols, instead it carries a lot of ballast from the past. This makes it complex and hard to work with.
  • Wayland offers much better graphics support than Xorg, especially in terms of rendering correctness. X11′s asynchronous rendering makes it impossible to be sure about correctness and timeliness of graphics that ends up on screen. Instead, Wayland provides the guarantee that every frame is perfect
  • Security considerations. It is almost impossible to shield applications properly from each other. X11 allows applications to wiretap each other’s input and output. This makes it a security nightmare.

I could go deeply into the history of Xorg, and add lots of technicalities to that story, but instead of giving you a huge swath of text, hop over to Youtube and watch Daniel Stone’s presentation “The Real Story Behind Wayland and X” from last year’s LinuxConf.au, which gives you all the information you need, in a much more entertaining way than I could present it. H-Online also has an interesting background story “Wayland — Beyond X”.

While Xorg is a huge beast that does everything, like input, printing, graphics (in many different flavours), Wayland is limited by design to the use-cases we currently need X for, without the ballast.
With all that in mind, we need to respect our elders and acknowledge Xorg for its important role in the history of graphical Linux, but we also need to look beyond it.

What is Wayland support?

KDE Frameworks 5 apps under Weston

KDE Frameworks 5 apps under Weston

Without communicating our goal, we might think of entirely different things when talking about Wayland support. Will Wayland retire X? I don’t think it will in the near future, the point where we can stop caring for X11-based setups is likely still a number of years away, and I would not be surprised if X11 was still a pretty common thing to find in enterprise setups ten years down the road from now. Can we stop caring about X11? Surely not, but what does this mean for Wayland? The answer to this question is that support for Wayland will be added, and that X11 will not be required anymore to run a Plasma desktop, but that it is possible to run Plasma (and apps) under both, X11 and Wayland systems. This, I believe, is the migration process that serves our users best, as the question “When can I run Plasma on Wayland?” can then be answered on an individual basis, and nobody is going to be thrown into the deep (at least not by us, your distro might still decide to not offer support for X11 anymore — that is not in our hands). To me, while a quick migration to Wayland (once ready) is something desirable, realistically, people will be running Plasma on X11 for years to come. Wayland can be offered as an alternative at first, and then promote to primary platform once the whole stack matures further.

Where at we now?

With the release of KDE Frameworks 5, most of the issues in our underlying libraries have been ironed out, that means X11-dependent codepaths have become optional. Today, it’s possible to run most applications built on top of Frameworks 5 under a Wayland compositor, independent from X11. This means that applications can run under both, X11 and Wayland with the same binary. This is already really cool, as without applications, having a workspace (which in a way is the glue between applications would be a pointless endeavour). This chicken-egg situation plays both ways, though: Without a workspace environment, just having apps run under Wayland is not all that useful. This video shows some of our apps under the Weston compositor. (This is not a pure Wayland session “on bare metal”, but one running in an X11 window in my Plasma 5 session for the purpose of the screen-recoding.)

For a full-blown workspace, the porting situation is a bit different, as the workspace interacts much more intimately with the underlying display server than applications do at this point. These interactions are well-hidden behind the Qt platform abstraction. The workspace provides the host for rendering graphics onto the screen (the compositor) and the machinery to start and switch between applications.

We are currently missing a number of important pieces of the full puzzle: Interfaces between the workspace shell, the compositor (KWin) and the display server are not yet well-defined or implemented, some pioneering work is ahead of us. There is also a number of workspace components that need bigger adjustments, global shortcut handling being a good example. Most importantly, KWin needs to take over the role of Wayland compositor. While some support for Wayland has already been added to KWin, the work is not yet complete. Besides KWin, we also need to add support for Wayland to various bits of our workspace. Information about attached screens and their layout has to be made accessible. Global keyboard shortcuts only support X11 right now. The screen locking mechanism needs to be implemented. Information about Windows for the task-manager has to be shared. Dialog positioning and rendering needs to be ported. There are also a few assumptions in startkde and klauncher that currently prevent them from being able to start a session under Wayland, and more bits and pieces which need additional work to offer a full workspace experience under Wayland.

Porting Strategy

The idea is to be able to run the same binaries under both, X11 and Wayland. This means that we (need to decide at runtime how to interact with the windowing system. The following strategy is useful (in descending order of preference):

  • Use abstract Qt and Frameworks (KF5) APIs
  • Use XCB when there are no suitable Qt and KF5 APIs
  • Decide at runtime whether to call X11-specific functions

In case we have to resort to functions specific to a display server, X11 should be optional both at build-time and at run-time:

  • The build of X11-dependent code optional. This can be done through plugins, which are optionally included by the build-system or (less desirably) by #ifdef’ing blocks of code.
  • Even with X11 support built into the binary, calls into X11-specific libraries should be guarded at runtime (QX11Info::isPlatformX11() can be used to check at runtime).

Get your Hands Dirty!

Computer graphics are an exciting thing, and many of us are longing for the day they can remove X11 from their systems. This day will eventually come, but it won’t come by itself. It’s a very exciting time to get involved, and make the migration happen. As you can see, we have a multitude of tasks that need work. An excellent first step is to build the thing on your system and try running, fix issues, and send us patches. Get in touch with us on Freenode’s #plasma IRC channel, or via our mailing list plasma-devel(at)kde.org.

on July 25, 2014 02:28 AM

July 24, 2014

S07E17 – The One with the Chicken Pox

Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo

Tony Whitmore and Laura Cowen are in Studio L, Alan Pope is AWOL, and Mark Johnson Skypes in from his sick bed for Season Seven, Episode Seventeen of the Ubuntu Podcast!

In this week’s show:-

We’ll be back next week, when we’ll be interviewing Graham Binns about the MAAS project project, and we’ll go through your feedback.

Please send your comments and suggestions to: podcast@ubuntu-uk.org
Join us on IRC in #uupc on Freenode
Leave a voicemail via phone: +44 (0) 203 298 1600, sip: podcast@sip.ubuntu-uk.org and skype: ubuntuukpodcast
Follow us on Twitter
Find our Facebook Fan Page
Follow us on Google+

on July 24, 2014 07:30 PM

Currently I am enjoying my summer vacation. Vacation is when you do non-stop activities that make fun, no matter whether this is more relaxing or challenging, and usually in a different place. So I am going to take the opportunity to visit Kazan, and furthermore I am taking the other opportunity and will give an ownCloud talk (btw, did you hear, ownCloud 7 was released?) at the local hackerspace, FOSS Labs. Due to my lack of Russian I will stick to English, however ;)

So, if you are there and interested in ownCloud please save the date:

Monday, July 28th, 18:00
FOSS Labs
Universitetskaya 22, of. 114
420111 Kazan, Russia

Thank you, FOSS Labs and especially Mansur Ziatdinov, for making this possible. I am very much excited to not only to share information with you, but also to learn and get to know local (FOSS) culture!

Picture: Kazan Kremlin, derived from Skyline of Kazan city by TY-214.

on July 24, 2014 07:20 PM

You might already have Ubuntu Desktop installed and you might want to just run one application without stripping it down. This article should give you a decent idea how to convert a stock Desktop/Unity install into a single-application computer.

This follows straight on from today's other article on building a kiosk computer with Ubuntu and Chrome [from scratch]. In my mind that's the perfect setup: low fat and speedy... But we don't always get it right first time. You might have already been battling with a full Ubuntu install and not have the time to strip it down.

This tutorial assumes you're starting with an Ubuntu desktop, all installed with working network and graphics. While we're in graphical-land, you might as well go and install Chrome.

I have tested this in a clean 14.04 install but be careful. Back up any important data before you commit.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install --no-install-recommends openbox

sudo install -b -m 755 /dev/stdin /opt/kiosk.sh <<- EOF
  #!/bin/bash

  xset -dpms
  xset s off
  openbox-session &

  while true; do
    rm -rf ~/.{config,cache}/google-chrome/
    google-chrome --kiosk --no-first-run  'http://thepcspy.com'
  done
EOF

sudo install -b -m 644 /dev/stdin /etc/init/kiosk.conf <<- EOF
  start on (filesystem and stopped udevtrigger)
  stop on runlevel [06]

  emits starting-x
  respawn

  exec sudo -u $USER startx /etc/X11/Xsession /opt/kiosk.sh --
EOF

sudo dpkg-reconfigure x11-common  # select Anybody

echo manual | sudo tee /etc/init/lightdm.override  # disable desktop

sudo reboot

This should boot you into a browser looking at my home page (use sudoedit /opt/kiosk.sh to change that), but broadly speaking, we're done.

If you ever need to get back into the desktop you should be able to run sudo start lightdm. It'll probably appear on VT8 (Control+Alt+F8 to switch).

Why wouldn't I always do it this way?

I'll freely admit that I've done farts longer than it took to run the above. Starting from an Ubuntu Desktop base does do a lot of the work for us, however it is demonstrably flabbier:

  • The Server result was 1.6GB, using 117MB RAM with 38 processes.
  • The Desktop result is 3.7GB, using 294MB RAM with 80 processes!

Yeah, the Desktop is still loading a number of udisks mount helpers, PulseAudio, GVFS, Deja Dup, Bluetooth daemons, volume controls, Ubuntu 1, CUPS the printer server and all the various Network and Modem Manager things a traditional desktop needs.

This is the reason you base your production model off Ubuntu Server (or even Ubuntu Minimal).

And remember that you aren't done yet. There's a big list of boring jobs to do before it's Martini O'Clock

Just remember that everything I said about physical and network security last time applies doubly here. Ubuntu-proper ships a ton of software on its 1GB image and quite a lot more of that will be running, even after we've disabled the desktop. You're going to want to spend time stripping some of that out and putting in place any security you need to stop people getting in.

Just be careful and conscientious about how you deploy software.

on July 24, 2014 04:16 PM

Welcome all to the first of many “Who We Are” posts.  These posts will introduce you to many of our  members of the team.  We will start with Svetlana Belkin, the founder and admin of the team:

I am Svetlana Belkin (A.K.A. belkinsa everywhere in Ubuntu community and
Mechafish on the Ubuntu Forums), and I am getting my BS in biology with
molecular sciences as my focus at University of Cincinnati. I used
Ubuntu since 2009, but the only “scientific” program that I used was
Ugene. But hopefully, I will get to use more in my field.


Filed under: Who We Are Tagged: Svetlana Belkin, Ubuntu Forums, University of Cincinnati
on July 24, 2014 03:48 PM