February 6, 2013

482 words 3 mins read

Going mobile

Many asked me in the last time what became of the Ubuntu on Nexus7 project. I’m happy to say that it’s going really well. Some weeks ago it was already very easy to install Ubuntu on a Nexus7, since then things got better and better. Many bugs were ironed out, but the piece most folks have been concentrating on recently was the desktop-r-reduced-power-ram blueprint.

The spec says:

In the past few cycles, we saw that our desktop took more and more RAM to run the full session. Also, more daemons mean more interruptions on the CPU, and less battery file. We will get services to not run when not needed and work on improving the code of those components to consume less resources

Why is this so relevant in a mobile setting? Simple. Most mobile devices are less well-equipped than the common Desktop or Laptop, and every interruption, every bit of CPU usage, every disk access costs precious battery life. Fixing this kind of bugs will have a great and positive impact for all devices running Ubuntu.

Here’s a quick summary of the work which has been done:

  • Robert Ancell: look at why lightdm is using 30MB (it’s due to the memory locking - without locking it drops to 3.7M)
  • Michael Terry: Make lightdm selectively lock memory instead of using mlockall
  • Sébastien Bacher: look if gnome-keyring needs to be running all the time (needs to, restarting would mean having to unlock it again, e.g ask user for password every time)
  • Sébastien Bacher: look at what is making goa run for some users (it’s e-d-s)
  • Sébastien Bacher: set up follow-up meetings about the topics we didn’t cover during the session
  • Ken vanDine: check with online team if signond needs to be running all the time
  • Ken vanDine: investigate long running telepathy-indicator/mission-control
  • Iain Lane: drop g-c-c recommends on goa so it’s not installed by default
  • Oliver Grawert: seed zram-conf
  • Brian Murray: look at what update-notifier is used for nowadays, identify if those functionalities could be replaced/moved to upstart jobs [http://wiki.ubuntu.com/UpdateNotifier]
  • Colin Watson: fix upower memory leaks
  • Colin Watson: reduce update-notifier memory use

Update: Sébastien also mailed the ubuntu-devel@ list with a nice summary of the work.

We need your help

If you have a look at the desktop-r-reduced-power-ram blueprint you can see that there is still quite a bit of work which need to be done. There are assignees for some of the work items, but all of them will be happy to hear you offer help. The effort is coordinated on #ubuntu-desktop, so you best head there and start chatting with the team.

More information - live hangout

Tomorrow, 7 Feb 2013, at 9 UTC I am going to talk with my friend Sébastien Bacher on http://ubuntuonair.com about this initiative, so if you want to find out more, be sure to tune in or watch the recording in the ubuntuonair youtube channel afterwards.

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