Planet Ubuntu postings

Lightning Talks!

This blog post is the thirteenth in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

I was at the ever-popular UDS Lightning Talks this afternoon. At Lightning Talks, volunteer presenters take the stage for 5 minutes and share their best Ubuntu-related ideas. Interesting stuff is usually found at this session.


A program that allows you to run proprietary applications (that don't run on Ubuntu) on Ubuntu. Could be useful in a corporate setting.

Alan Pope has created a system to provide and receive help remotely without port forwarding or proxy madness. (It's a beta.)

"Ask Ubuntu"
Marco Ceppi presented a site for asking Ubuntu questions, or editing, or answering them.

Stuart Langridge presented a way to sync data across all U1 platforms. A document-oriented database.

Ask Jorge
Chris Johnston talked about the newest way to ask questions and get better Community-Canonical communication.

How One Ubuntu Member got to UDS by boat
A member of the Ubuntu design team from the UK shared his story about how he came here by bike and boat. Oh, and a new book about the Ubuntu font family is out.

Ubuntu Image On Panda Board
One member has Ubuntu running on a Panda Board, running a Qt application. (Thanks to Linaro for the Panda.)

There have been some exciting developments in byobu and we were given a great demo by the developer Dustin Kirkland. A PPA is available. Sorry, no screenshots.

Where Has Launchpad's Downtime Gone
Evidently, downtime is a thing of the past on lp. Haw Loeung described the system architecture that made that possible.

Instrumented Flight Rules
Steve Langasek presented ways to save power on long flights etc. Powertop 1.13 was used for the demo. This tool shows you where the power is being consumed on your system so you can make some informed choices about which hardware components (e.g. wifi) should be enabled and which applications should be allowed to run based on their interrupt level (Hint: use the kill command.)

Multitouch on Ubuntu
Chase Douglas, of multi-touch team fame, demo'd some magical touch stuff using Qt QML. He showed free-form image rotation and pinch-to-zoom using touch. Caution: If you use the rotate too much, you'll get Rick Astley videos.

Jason DeRose (he's amazing) and his all-star team demo'd Novacut. It works! Real-time collaborative workflows here we come :)

Editing Workitems in Launchpad
Michael Hudson Doyle wrote a GreaseMonkey script to make editing Launchpad workitems super easy.

If you were one of the speakers and want to provide further info, please leave a note in the comments.

Towards a Precise Ubuntu Community Lexicon. Or, Please Use Adjectives!

This blog post is the twelfth in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

Interesting ideas get generated when we meet and share our stories. That's the magic of UDS!

Over lunch (at UDS) today, I had the pleasure of sitting between Alison Randall and Charles Profitt. Inevitably a passionate and pleasant discussion about community ensued. I'm passionate about creating new on-ramps and processes that are optimized to on-board and grow community as fast as possible. You might be thinking, "Wait a minute. Haven't we already done that?"

We were talking about Alison's amazing "Community Participation in User Experience" session earlier this morning. One of the things that was said at that session was that "Design teams don't often understand how to engage and to work with the community" (and I would add vice-versa to that statement).

At that sentence something hit me. Which community?

When we say the word community, why do we forget the adjectives? Admittedly, I'm no grammar enthusiast, but this is beginning to hobble us. We can't have an effective discussion about community engagement, or other aspects of community until we know and state explicitly which community we are talking about.

Here are some potential adjectives to consider putting in front of the word community when we speak about it:

  • World Community
  • "People-who-will-never-use-Ubuntu" Community
  • "People-who-have-never-heard-of-Ubuntu" Community
  • Potential Ubuntu User Community
  • Casual Ubuntu User Community
  • Ubuntu Enthusiast Community
  • Ubuntu Online Community
  • Ubuntu Advocacy Community
  • Ubuntu Power-User Community
  • Non-Technical Ubuntu Community
  • Ubuntu Contributor Community
  • Ubuntu Member Community
  • Ubuntu LoCo Leader Community
  • Ubuntu Developer Community
  • Ubuntu "Canonical-Developer" Community
  • Ubuntu Bug-triage Community
  • Ubuntu Design Community
  • Ubuntu Quality Assurance Community
  • Ubuntu Testing Community
  • Ubuntu Founder Community
  • Ubuntu Translation Community
  • Ubuntu Local Community
  • Ubuntu Local-as-in-your-town Community

Here is my request: When we speak about community, lets use adjectives. Let's use more than one adjective if one isn't enough. Let's use precise language to help frame the problems we are trying to solve in the Precise cycle.


image (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Choconancy1

The Making of the UDS-P Group Shot

One of the highlights of UDS is the group shot. Those that make the fantasic product, platform, project that is Ubuntu gather to show the world that Ubuntu is also a community of people.

Here we are getting ready. Can you spot some Ubuntu people that you know? I think I see Amber Graner. Hmm... there's that Ubuntuman again. Be careful!

Sean Sosik-Hamor was kind enough to be our director and photographer. Thanks Sean for having the patience to herd us into something that resembles an organized group while risking your life on the ladder!

I'm sure the official shot will be available soon. Stay tuned...

Images (CC BY-SA 2.0) rrnwexec.

This blog post was the eleventh in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

Making Community Very Obvious on the Desktop

This blog post is the tenth in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

I'll be hosting a UDS session this morning and I encourage everyone who is interested in community growth to attend and tune in.

Executive Summary:
The main idea is to make discovery of Ubuntu community automatic, and not an accident. Community is meant in the whole and general sense of "anyone who uses or contributes to Ubuntu."

Problem Statement:
"Houston we have a problem." Most people who have discovered Ubuntu community have done so accidentally. Most people (who are on the other side of the chasm) have no idea that community is central to the growth and development of Ubuntu. Most people have no idea whether others in their town/city are using Ubuntu. We need to make community obvious and make community formation easy.

One possible solution is to create a "Community Lens" , a "We Menu" or (similarly obvious desktop element). Make it prominent. Connect it to one's local community, beginning with those who use and enjoy Ubuntu in our town/city. Over time, expand it to include additional nearby non-Ubuntu social connections: family, friends, neighbourhood, city...

The blueprint is here:
An audio stream will be available here during the meeting:
You can join the meeting remotely here:

What are your thoughts? Join us at 10am Eastern time!

Missed the session? That's okay. Add your thoughts in the comments.

Ubuntuman Sighting!!

I was hanging out with several hundred of my Ubuntu friends this afternoon and look what I saw...

Friend or foe? Human or not? Hmm. This creature seems friendly. If you spot him in your town or city, please give him a giant Ubuntu hug.

Images (CC BY-SA 2.0) rrnwexec.

This blog post was the ninth in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

UDS Day 2 Roundup

This blog post is the seventh in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

One thing I've realized is that it's very difficult to capture the firehose of discussions, sessions, and otherwise interesting content from UDS into one coherent daily blog article. So rather than documenting a play-by-play, I'll likely jump around and pull highlights from areas that I'm focused on into shorter summaries.

Day 2 of the Ubuntu Developer Summit was even more jam-packed than the first.

Meet The Ubuntu Desktop Designers

I think this was one of the most interesting and professional sessions sessions of the day. The awesome Alison Randall facilitated a discussion between the remarkable design team (Otto, Christian, mpt, Mika, Stuart, John) and community folks to talk about ways to engage with the community. A lot of the design process is indeed done in close physical proximity. As a result the design team can appear opaque. They aren't generally online and in IRC. As a result, this frustrates some Ubuntu contributors and there's a pent up demand for information about how design decisions are made and the process. We see some of this frustration from our vantage point as disparaging comments about Unity, which I've blogged about before.

There will be some follow-up communications from the team I'm sure. They seem committed to communicating more frequently and with greater transparency.

In the meantime I encourage everyone reading this to check out their blog:


Hmm.. on second thought, please subscribe to it.


What are your thoughts? What can the design team do to help you understand both the process and the outcomes?

UDS Day 1 Roundup

This blog post is the sixth in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

Day 1 of the Ubuntu Developer Summit was, in a word, *amazing*. Here are some of my highlights:

The Keynote

We learned (from Mark) that Ubuntu is destined to run on all form factors by 14.04: phones will dock to tablets which will dock to or become even larger screens, and they will even dock into you car or your television. Exciting stuff! Others have blogged about it and the keynote is all over the web by now, so I'll move on.

One thing that caught my ear is that this cycle (12.04) will include a renewed focus on the "Power User" experience. I think this is a brilliant move. We need to embrace the power user community while we continue to take Ubuntu to the mainstream. "Power Users" are our base. They contribute to Ubuntu a lot. So, it makes sense to create a compelling product that makes their job (of developing great software) easier.

Community Roundtable

Jono hosted the kick-off session where a bunch of us community folks tabled agenda items for the rest of the week. The big focus will be on discussing and addressing concerns brought to light by the Member Survey. We'll also be conducting a mini-summit within UDS to explore leadership issues.

Recognizing Community Contributions

The key take-away from this session was that we continually need to strengthen the "culture of thanks" that exists in the Ubuntu project.

Lots of ideas were tabled for discussion such as:
- A "Thank You" button in the Ubuntu Software Centre that anyone can click to send thanks to those who created or contributed to the software.
- Writing more stories about individuals in the project that have done something nice for us.
- Adding some language to our values/mission to encourage recognition
- Leading by example. Have leaders in LoCo's and other parts of the project make a concerted effort to recognize others.
- Interviewing more Ubuntu contributors to get the message out about all the great things they are doing to help the project.
- Re-using the Ubuntu Community Week collector card idea to highlight people in the community that are doing great things. (This was something I proposed, and I'll be releasing the source files and some instructions shortly. Please watch for an update on this blog.)

Gwibber Plugin for Google+

The awesome Ken VanDine hosted this session to get the discussion going on how Gwibber can interact with some of the unique features of Google's social platform. (e.g. Circles)

I think this is a good first step, but I'd like to see us extend this thinking to services like DIASPORA* and put our attention there as that seems to be where the newest coolest (and free-est) social features appear first. If we're there, we're ahead. Ken seemed receptive to the idea, and I think that if a few more people out there could start looking at it, we'd have a shot. Two things we need:
2. More developers who *get* Gwibber and DIASPORA*

Regardless of whether we implement Google first, or DIASPORA* first, or at the same time, I think we should always be aware that we need to build in a way that makes it easy to adapt new services. With Ken at the helm, we're in good hands.

An aside: A while ago, Ubuntu Vancouver created the first ever guide to Gwibber. We (Ken and I) need people who can bring this guide up to next release: 12.04 so that we'll have a well-documented Gwibber for LTS and years to come! I know I can count on some of the team in Ubuntu Vancouver for help, but what would be really cool is if some of you reading this could pitch in too. Thanks in advance.

... to be continued.

UDS Begins Today

This blog post is the fifth in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit.



I'm at UDS-P, in a few minutes Mark Shuttleworth will be delivering his much anticipated keynote. (Hint: The game is about to be raised.)

While we're waiting for that, there's plenty of mingling going on and lots of introductions. It's amazing how the people we've only ever met online seem so familiar. What's even more amazing to me is the number of friends that are here from all over the world. It's great to see you all again.

Here I am posing with fellow crew-member Charles Profitt (of New York State LoCo fame). If you see us, come and say hi. We don't bite, generally speaking.

Orlando and UDS-P, Here I Come!

This blog post is the fourth in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit. It is inspired by "Is This The World We Created" by Queen.


A short hop from Vancouver to Seattle while the west coast slept, and here I am sitting in the "beautiful" Sea-Tac Airport. In a few minutes I'll be on the jet headed for Orlando.

Seattle (my home for 5 years before moving to Vancouver) brings back a lot of memories for me, many happy, some sad. So it's always a trip down memory lane to be here. And. even though it's just a short layover, I'm reminded of all the times and trips I took from this airport and the people I took them with. (I must say, I miss them all.)

Okay. Enough reminiscing. We have free software to build and to bring to the masses. And, we don't have much time to do it.

"Is this the world we created?" Someday we'll be able to ask that question and smile with the response.

See you in Orlando tonight! If you want to find me, just look for the guy in the Vancouver t-shirt, generating maximum buzz.

Raging About Things in Non-Constructive Ways

This blog post is the third in a series of many that I will be posting about UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit. It is inspired by "Is This The World We Created" by Queen.


Today's theme is rage.

Exhibit A: "Why Ubuntu 11.10 fills me with rage" (or "Mr. Shuttleworth, Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.")

Exhibit B:"Disunited" or "Please stop wrecking Ubuntu."

What is driving the apparent rage that rhymes with "{Some aspect of} Ubuntu sucks and I'm unhappy and I am so outta here. How dare they"?

I think the answer is nearly self-evident:
We (by we, I mean the majority) are immersed in a culture where "software is done TO us by those we don't know" and we are used to that paradigm. There are few counter-examples in the technology industry to draw from. People are struggling as the proprietary technology world clamps more tightly every day.

There is a new paradigm taking root in the world, and many people reading this blog are a part of it. This paradigm is one where "software is done FOR us BY us."

To all the ragers, in Ubuntu there is no THEY. There is only US. Unity is not only software but is also a concept. Ubuntu is not only software but is also an ethos.

Now, let's come together as one and make great software.

UDS is the place to do it. I hope you'll join your community and focus your energy in constructive places like UDS.

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