Ubuntu Developer Week kicks off today

Today is a very special day. I’m sure that if you live in the Northern hemisphere you can feel it already: Spring is right around the corner. In addition to that it’s one of the most awesome weeks of the release cycle: It’s Ubuntu Developer Week!

The best thing of it is: you haven’t missed anything of it yet. Today is day 1! Let’s have a look at the schedule together and see what’s cooking today:

  1. 16:00 UTC: Getting Started with Ubuntu Development: It’s my turn to kick off Ubuntu Developer Week and I’ll introduce you to generally Ubuntu Development and get you set up for the rest of the week. Let’s see how much time we have. Maybe we get to toy around with the development tools a little bit as well.
  2. 18:00 UTC: Introduction to Ubuntu Distributed Development: Barry Warsaw is up next and will talk about how next-generation Ubuntu Development works. How to branch source packages, how to work on them and how to share your good work.
  3. 19:00 UTC: Taking a bite out of Unity: Jorge Castro and Jason Smith are going to introduce you to how Unity is developed and how you fit into the team, how you can help out and bring more greatness to the Ubuntu Desktop.
  4. 20:00 UTC: Getting your fixes into Ubuntu, how to make sponsors happy: The last session of the day will bring you in the perfect position to get started, get cracking and help out. Stefano Rivera will explain how to submit your patches and branches and get them included without any hassle.

I don’t know about you, but I’m very excited about this day one and I hope you’ll be there as well.

Joining is trivial. If you use IRC already, make sure you’re connected to irc.freenode.net and join #ubuntu-classroom. If you haven’t set it up yet, the easiest way to connect is to just CLICK HERE.

If you shouldn’t be able to attend the sessions, don’t worry, we’ll keep logs of all of them, so you can enjoy them later on.

Ubuntu Development videocast is back

I took a bit of a break from videocasts because I got busy with other stuff, but from now on I’ll try hard to be more regular with the shows. 🙂

What I’ll talk about today is the upcoming Ubuntu Developer Week, how to best go about fixing bugs in Ubuntu and lots of other bits and pieces that have been happening in the last few weeks.

If you have any other things you want me to talk about, register at ustream.tv and give your comments in the live chat or leave a comment here.

Today I’ll start at 16:00 UTC.

Mixtape: Overjoyed

  1. Soundtrax 036 – Flaco – On A Ride
  2. Tupy 012 – DJ Marky & XRS – Rotation (Stress Level & TC1 Remix)
  3. Sunrize 002 – Nifty – The Latin Connection
  4. Movement 005 – Suv – Suenos Differente (Commix Remix)
  5. Innerground 016 – DJ Patife feat. Cleveland Watkiss – Overjoyed (Makoto Remix)
  6. Innerground 033 – S.P.Y. – Like A Dream
  7. V Records 010 – Savage Rehab – One Shot
  8. Soundtrax 038 – dRamatic & dbAudio – Nation One
  9. RAM 089 – Wilkinson – Scream It
  10. Viper 033 – Camo & Krooked – Shoreless
  11. W10 007 – DJ Wire – Saturday Night Fever
  12. АГМБ – Всё остальное не имеет значения (Drum & Bass RMX)
  13. Grid 038 – Twisted Individual – Gimp Mask (DJ Marky & S.P.Y. Remix)
  14. Hospital 165 – Nu:Tone – Hyper hyper

More feedback from Ubuntu Dev first timers

Here’s another story from the land of new Ubuntu Development contributors. I had a conversation with Nicola Ferralis. Nicola had worked on a number of packages and had this to say:

Dear Daniel,

Thanks very much for your note. If you don’t mind, let me give you my perspective on the Ubuntu development from a user perspective.

I started off as a simple user. It took me some time to figure things out, namely, deb packaging. At the beginning (before ppas) I was building my own modified packages, little modifications that I either needed or used as a learning experience. Most of them were usability issues on the GUI, which is usually what my interest is in.

The process, however, got a lot easier when PPA were made available. PPAs are, to me, the best thing not only in the linux world, but in the computing world in general. With that I pushed my effort to the next level, as I could bring modified software to different archs and have a better way to distribute.

I really like how Nicola with the help of PPAs was able to work on packages and deliver them to users. In the email, Nicola goes on and explains which packages were updated and how to make good use of PPAs.

So all in all, this would have not been possible without the support of the PPA. Launchpad is also an amazing tool for searching through bugs, help triaging (which I do at times), and submit patches. When I was doing something wrong or inaccurate I got great feedback. It’s been great.

Keep in mind that I do this as part of my spare-time, for the enjoyment of it. The packages I contribute to are primarily a need for me, and in the pure spirit of free-software, I hope it will be beneficial to others. Of course, I’d be pretty happy to have some help in supporting these ppas.

In the next paragraph Nicola mentions Ubuntu Backports:

There is one thing, along these lines, that I would like to suggest Ubuntu (and Canonical) to consider. As these PPAs are rather used and appreciated, I wonder if there could be a more official solution to backport packages to a stable release.

When I got the email, I asked around and luckily Scott Kitterman was around and agreed to introduce Nicola to the Ubuntu Backports team.

I’m very happy that people like Nicola are around to work in PPAs, then find out how to get stuff into Ubuntu proper and generally look forward to contribute to Ubuntu and make it even more awesome.

Nicola’s mail closed with:

Thanks for getting in touch, much appreciated and shows how Canonical cares about its community.

More feedback from Ubuntu Dev first timers

Continuing the story from first timers in Ubuntu Development, here is what Weston Miller has to say:

I’d say overall the process was simple and enjoyable. The IRC channels were very welcoming and were where I gleaned the most help for the fix committing procedure and any other snags. The only place that I would say needs improvement is the bug identification process. I was unable to find any simple process to easily identify simple bugs I could resolve except by triaging them myself.

I pointed out that we have Harvest for this reason: it tries to make sense of all the lists we have and aggregate opportunities in Ubuntu Development.

I had not seen Harvest before today. After just a few minutes of reviewing, it appears that this is the resolution to my issue. I was able to quickly find a number of issues that were easy to solve. I don’t see a method to sort by project language here, is this something thats possible?

I appreciate your direct correspondence, this kind of stuff is what sets Ubuntu apart.

Weston’s feedback was super-helpful, so now we have bug 705481 open for Harvest. Also do I agree that we need to advertise Harvest better… if you can help with that, I’d appreciate it!

Thanks again, Weston!

Get ready for Ubuntu Developer Week

Ubuntu Developer WeekGo check your calendar… if you have no concrete plans for the time from Monday 28th February until Friday 4th March yet, make sure you add a note in your calendar. It’s Ubuntu Developer Week again.

If you haven’t been to an Ubuntu Developer Week yet, no problem. This is how it works: it is a week full of one-hour sessions on IRC, where various topics around Ubuntu development are presented, sometimes in the form of talks, sometimes in the form of seminars, where instructions for hands-on training are given over IRC. It all happens in #ubuntu-classroom on irc.freenode.net.

As always we have a great line-up of speakers and sessions, here’s a few examples of what we are going to talk about:

  • Getting Started with Ubuntu Development, how to use Ubuntu Distributed Development, how to get changes into Ubuntu, how to make changes in stable releases, how to collaborate with Debian, getting new apps into Ubuntu, …
  • Rocking with Unity: fixing bitesize bugs in Unity, how to write compiz plugins, rocking out with libunity, …
  • Lots of development goodness: Ubuntu One App Programme, hooking in Ubuntu translations, writing IRC bots, using Zeitgeist, what’s new in ubuntu-dev-tools, project lightning talks, how to use TestDrive …
  • Get up to speed on what’s new in Ubuntu natty: Unity 2D, Q&A with Ubuntu Engineering Director, ARM and OMAP4, …
  • Lots of other good stuff: helping out the LoCo Directory, hacking with Django, how to get better bug reports, boto EC2 Cloud API, using Launchpad’s Daily Builds, …

This is going to be very awesome. If you’re interested in Ubuntu Development, make sure you are there. (If you can’t make it, we’ll publish logs afterwards.)

All the info you need: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuDeveloperWeek

Feedback from Ubuntu Dev first timers

Jono sort of stole my thunder on this one, but here’s a bit more detail about what I’m doing and why it’s really exciting. 🙂

At our last sprint in Dallas, after some discussion Jono gave me the advice to actively start reaching out to new contributors. I set up a list of people who just got their first change uploaded to the Ubuntu archive. I wonder why I didn’t have the idea earlier, but it’s great!

It is a nice way to reach out to new contributors, congratulate them and thank them for their work, show them that you care and make them feel welcome. But in addition to that it is great to find out more about stumbling blocks and problems from a contributor who hasn’t got used yet to “yeah, we all know it’s weird, but this is how we do it“, but still has a fresh impression of every little thing on the way that hurts.

In the next weeks I’m going to publish a few parts of the conversations I had to start preparing bigger discussions we should probably have about making things easier, common stumbling blocks and things we should celebrate!

Here’s the first one, read what Omer Akram has to say:

I have been doing a lot of SRU lately and it seems quite fun. people on #ubuntu-devel are friendly, ubuntu-sponsors are quick to review and then the Patch Pilot program really rocks. a little problem is that when some ubuntu-sponsor reviews and approves a request for package in main, usually you have to go to #ubuntu-devel for some core-dev to do the upload which sometimes slows down thing. other than that its fun.

Thanks a lot Omer!

I responded to Omer saying that the current patch pilot is indicated in the topic of #ubuntu-devel, so that might reduce the waiting time and find somebody who has a bit of time to check the suggested patch.

It makes sense that new contributors are interested in stable release updates. Most new contributors might have less faith in running the latest development release.

Is there anything we can do to make the process of “Getting SRUs into Ubuntu” easier and more enjoyable for new contributors?

Ubuntu Packaging Guide

If you ever were interested in Ubuntu Development, I’m sure you came across the Ubuntu Packaging Guide. It served us well, but it became harder and harder to maintain. Because some parts are used in other wiki articles as well, we are making heavy use of includes, some other parts are slightly confusing as well.

We had a long discussion at UDS and came up with a plan. The idea was to write the articles in a task-based manner. So if you want to patch a package and get it included in Ubuntu, there will be an article for that. If you want to update package to a new upstream version, there’s going to be an article for that as well, and so on.

We kick-started the initiative and will use the ubuntu-packaging-guide project in Launchpad to coordinate our work. The general idea is:

  • Go through the list of articles we want to write.
  • Use merge proposals to review the new articles or updates together as a team.
  • Make use of parts of the old packaging guide and massage them into bite-size articles.
  • Package the result, put up a HTML and PDF guide on a canonical location.
  • Get it translated.

If you want to help out or have feedback, please feel free to help us out. Just

branch lp:ubuntu-packaging-guide

and file a bug report or propose a merge.

This is going to make it a lot easier to get involved. Get involved and stay tuned for more news!