Snappy Playpen event next Tuesday

Next week on Tuesday, 5th July, we want to have our next Snappy Playpen event. As always we are going to work together on snapping software for our repository on github. Whatever app, service or piece of software you bring is welcome.

The focus of last week was ironing out issues and documenting what we currently have. Some outcomes of this were:

We want to continue this work, but add a new side to this: upstreaming our work. It is great that we get snaps working, but it is much better if the upstream project in question can take over the ownership of snaps themselves. Having snapcraft.yaml in their source tree will make this a lot easier. To kick off this work, we started some documentation on how to best do that and track this effort.

You are all welcome to the event and we look forward to work together with you. Coordination is happening on #snappy on Freenode and Gitter. We will make sure all our experts are around to help you if you have questions.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Being among the first in a new community

It takes a special kind of people who enjoy being in the first in a new community. It’s a time when there’s a lot of empty canvas, wide landscapes to uncover, lots of dragons still on a map, I guess you already see what I mean. It takes some pioneer spirit to feel comfortable when the rules are not all figured out yet and stuff is still a bit harder than it should be.

The last occurrence where I saw this live was the Snappy Playpen. A project where all the early snap contributors hang out, figure out problems, document best-practices and have fun together.

We use Github and Gitter/IRC to coordinate things, we have been going for a bit more than two weeks now and I’m quite happy with where we’ve got. We had about 60 people in the Gitter channel, had more than 30 snaps contributed and about the same number or more being in the works.

playpen

But it’s not just the number of snaps. It’s also the level of helping each other out and figuring out bigger problems together. Here’s just a (very) few things as an example:

  • David Planella wrote a common launcher for GTK apps and we could move snaps like leafpad, galculator and ristretto off of their own custom launchers today. It’s available as a wiki part, so it’s quite easy to consume today.
  • Simon Quigley and Didier Roche figured out better contribution guidelines and moved the existing snaps to use them instead.
  • With new interfaces landing in snapd, it was nice to see how they were picked up in existing snaps and formerly existing issues resolved. David Callé for example fixed the vlc and scummvm snaps this way.
  • Sometimes it takes perseverance to your snap landed. It took Andy Keech quite a while to get imagemagick (both stable and from git) to build and work properly, but thanks to Andy’s hard work and collaboration with the Snapcraft developers they’re included now.
  • The docs are good, but they don’t cover all use-cases yet and we’re finding new ways to use the tools every day.

As I said earlier: it takes some pioneer spirit to be happy in such circumstances and all the folks above (and many others) have been working together as a team together in the last days. For me, as somebody who’s supporting the project, this was very nice to see. Particularly seeing people from all over the open source spectrum (users of cloud tools, GTK and Qt apps, python scripts, upstream developers, Java tools and many more).

Tomorrow we are going to have our kickoff event for week 3 of Snappy Playpen. As I said in the mail, one area of focus is going to be server apps and electron based apps, but feel free to bring whatever you enjoy working on.

I’d like to thank each and everyone of you who is participating in this initiative (not just the people who committed something). The atmosphere is great, we’re solving problems together and we’re excited to bring a more complete, easier to digest and better to use snap experience to new users.

Second week of Snappy Playpen

We are in the second week of the Snappy Playpen and it’s simply beautiful to see how new folks are coming in and collaborate on getting snaps done, improve existing ones, answer questions and work together. The team spirit is strong and we’re all learning loads.

Keep up the good work everyone! 🙂

It’s only Thursday, but let’s have a quick look at the highlights of this week.

New snaps

  • Added Tyrant Unleashed Optimizer, by Christian Ehrhardt
  • Added mpv git build, by Alan Pope
  • Added imagemagick6-stable, by Andy Keech
  • Added keepassx, by Leo Arias
  • Added consul, by Leo Arias
  • dcos-cli snap, by Leo Arias
  • deis workflow snap, by Leo Arias

Work in progress snaps

Some of these snaps still need help, so take a look at the list of our open PRs and dive in.

Fritzing snap

  • Initial working version of Fritzing, by Will Cooke
  • Continued work on GIMP git, by Andy Keech
  • Proposed Imagemagick 7 from Git, by Andy Keech
  • Initial working version of Sylpheed, by Simon Quigley
  • Pidgin snap from git, by Simon Quigley
  • TeXworks snap, by Galileo Sartor
  • MATE Desktop snap, by Martin Wimpress

Updated snaps

  • Moved Ristretto to use a common GTK part (David Planella)
  • Moved Leafpad to use a common GTK part (David Planella)
  • Moved Galculator to use a common GTK part (Simon Quigley)
  • Cleaned and fixed snaps

General updates

  • Didier Roche fixed the Travis CI
  • Created a reusable wiki part for GTK apps

Get involved

If you want to get involved, it’s easy:

Ubuntu Core at UOS 16.05

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is out of the door, we started work on the Yakkety Yak already, now it’s time for the Ubuntu Online Summit. It’s all happening 3-5 May 14-20 UTC. This is where we discuss upcoming features, get feedback and demo all the good work which happened recently.

If you want to join the event, just head to the registration page and check out the UOS 16.05 schedule afterwards. You can star (☆) sessions and mark them as important to you and thus plan your attendance for the event.

Now let’s take a look on the bits which are in one way or another related to Ubuntu Core at UOS:

  • Snappy Ubuntu 16 – what’s new
    16.04 has landed and with it came big changes in the world of snapd and friends. Some of them are still in the process of landing, so you’re in for more goodness coming down the pipe for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
  • The Snapcraft roadmap
    Publishing software through snaps is super easy and snapcraft is the tool to use for this. Let’s take a look at the roadmap together and see which exciting features are going to come up next.
  • Snappy interfaces
    Interfaces in Ubuntu Core allow snaps to communicate or share resources, so it’s important we figure out how interfaces work, which ones we’d like to implement next and which open questions there are.
  • Playpen – Snapping software together
    Some weeks ago the Community team set up a small branch in which we collaborated on snapping software. It was good fun, we worked on things together, learnt from each other and quickly worked out common issues. We’d like to extend the project and get more people involved. Let’s discuss the project and workflow together.
  • How to snap your software
    If you wanted to start snapping software (yours or somebody else’s) and wanted to see a presentation of snapcraft and a few demos, this is exactly the session you’ve been looking for.
  • Snappy docs – next steps
    Snappy and snapcraft docs are luckily being written by the developers as part of the development process, but we should take a look at the docs together again and see what we’re missing, no matter if it’s updates, more coherence, more examples or whatever else.
  • Demo: Snaps on the desktop
    Here’s the demo on how to get yourself set up as a user or developer of snaps on your regular Ubuntu desktop.

I’m looking forward to see you in all these sessions!

Ubuntu 16.04 has landed

Ubuntu 16.04 is out!

Ubuntu 16.04 – yet another LTS?

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, aka the Xenial Xerus, has just been released. It’s incredible that it’s already the 24th Ubuntu release and the 6th LTS release. If you have been around for a while and need a blast from the past, check out this video:

Click here to view it on youtube. It’s available in /usr/share/example-content on a default desktop install as well.

You would think that after such a long time releases get somewhat inflationary and less important and while I’d very likely always say on release day “yes, this one is the best of all so far”, Ubuntu 16.04 is indeed very special to me.

Snappy snappy snappy

Among the many pieces of goodness to come to your way is the snapd package. It’s installed by default on many flavours of Ubuntu including Ubuntu Desktop and is your snappy connection to myApps.

Snappy Ubuntu Core 2.0 landing just in time for the 16.04 LTS release only happened due to the great and very hard work of many teams and individuals. I also see it as the implementation of lots of feedback we have been getting from third party app developers, ISVs and upstream projects over the years. Basically what all of them wanted was in a nutshell: a solid Ubuntu base, flexibility in handling their app and the relevant stack, independence from distro freezes, dead-simple packaging, bullet-proof upgrades and rollbacks, and an app store model established with the rise of the smartphones. Snappy Ubuntu Core is exactly that and more. What it also brings to Ubuntu is a clear isolation between apps and a universal trust model.

As most of you know, I’ve been trying to teach people how to do packaging for Ubuntu for years and it continued to improve and get easier, but all in all, it still is hard to get right. snapcraft makes this so much easier. It’s just beautiful. If you have been doing some packaging in the past, just take a look at some of the examples.

Landing a well-working and stable snapd with clear-cut and stable set of APIs was the most important aspect, especially considering that almost everyone will be basing their work on 16.04 LTS, which is going to be supported for five years. This includes being able to use snapcraft on the LTS.

Today you can build a snap, upload it to the store using snapcraft upload, having it automatically reviewed and published by the store and Desktop users can install it on their system. This brings you in a position where you can easily share your software with millions of users, without having to wait for somebody to upload it to the distro for you, without having your users add yet another PPA, etc.

So, what’s still missing? Quite a few things actually. Because you have to bundle your dependencies, packages are still quite big. This will change as soon as the specifics of OS and library snaps are figured out. Apart from that many new interfaces will need to be added to make Ubuntu Core really useful and versatile. There are also still a few bugs which need figuring out.

If you generally like what you’re reading here, come and talk to us. Introduce yourselves, talk to us and we’ll figure out if anything you need it still missing.

If you’re curious you can also check out some blog posts written by people who worked on this relentlessly in the last weeks:

Thanks a lot everyone – I thoroughly enjoyed working with you on this and I’m looking forward to all the great things we are going to deliver together!

Bring your friends, bring your questions!

The Community team moved the weekly Ubuntu Community Q&A to be tomorrow, Friday 2016-04-22 15:00 UTC on https://ubuntuonair.com as usual. If you have questions, tune in and bring your friends as well!

Trip report: UbuCon Summit + SCaLE14x

(This trip report was brought to you by the Canonical Community team, i.e. Alan Pope, Daniel Holbach, David Callé, David Planella, Michael Hall and Nicholas Skaggs. Some individual posts might still pop up in the next days… :-))

For a few years, the Californian LoCo team has been involved in SCaLE and held an UbuCon at the event or an Ubuntu-themed day and always an Ubuntu booth. Because of the immense popularity of SCaLE and the level of planning which went into this year’s UbuCon, the Community team decided to get involved and make this the first ever UbuCon Summit. For a few weeks we had regular meetings, brought on sponsors, got many speakers involved, flew many contributors and Canonical employees to the event and made a lot of noise about it in general.

Picture taken after interview with Swapnil Bhartiya.
Picture taken after interview with Swapnil Bhartiya.

SCaLE 14x happened from 21-24 January and on the first two days (Thu+Fri) we held our UbuCon Summit. There was Mark’s keynote, a few plenaries, a number of interesting talks and an unconference in the second half of Friday.

We registered about 200 Ubuntu enthusiasts (very likely much more drive-by audience) at the event and between sessions everyone had a lot of hallway conversations. The single-most heard sentence during the entire event was “It’s great to see you.” – UbuCon Summit brought together many community members who hadn’t seen each other for quite a while or who had never met. Many used the opportunity to catch up, to fix bugs together, bring each other up to speed on things and talk to people in the audience. For example the local Snappy team (Sergio, Oliver, Daniel, Didier) look at some small bugs together, help the Mycroft people with some snappy questions and answer questions of interested users – one particular success story was that it took two minutes to turn the project of a developer who talked to us into a snap.

Mark’s keynote was well-received and helped many of the audience to understand Ubuntu’s and Canonical’s vision. Many were excited about the new possibilities with snappy and snapcraft. In general there was a lot of interest in convergence and snappy – to many it wasn’t quite clear what the timeline is, what this would mean for the Ubuntu they were using right now and how far we’ve already come.

The unconference saw quite a few concurrent sessions and we got a number of work-items out of them:

  • “Getting more developers”:
    • Developers for other platforms are relying more and more on cross-platform frameworks (eg. xamarin)
    • We lack code snippets and examples. We should re-use and highlight code from what we are actually shipping.
  • “Scopes Q&A”
    • Low attendance but excellent interaction, presentation of what’s coming for scopes to new developers.
  • “Everybody loves team reports”
    • Drafted plan to create a modern team reports website and move away from the wiki to make the process more straight-forward, more inviting and to make it easier to find information. The goal is to give more visibility to what’s happening every month in the Ubuntu world.
  • “Summer of Code”
    • Created plan and work items to ensure Ubuntu applies for Google Summer of Code for 2016.

There were many events in the evenings: the Pre-UbuCon Meet and Greet, the UbuCon Thursday Night Party, Bad Voltage Live and more. It was a great opportunity to meet all friends of Ubuntu in one place, catch up with previous Canonical employees and others.

Other keynotes and notable talks:

  • Mark Shuttleworth – Open Source in the World of App Stores (Video available) – Similar to the keynote at the UbuCon but with a larger audience. Very popular.
  • Cory Doctorow – No Matter Who’s Winning the War on General Purpose Computing – You’re Losing (Video available) – Very popular as well.
Picture taken from Sujeevan Vijayakumaran’s blog entry
Picture taken from Sujeevan Vijayakumaran’s blog entry

The Ubuntu booth was incredibly popular and we were glad both the LoCo team and Canonical employees were there all the time. Many seemed to like that we showed off a bigger variety of systems running Ubuntu: the Erle Spider, the convergence features of the phone (on a Nexus 4), the orange box, a gaming box and all the other devices we showcased.

One downer was that for quite a while the proxy cache for archive.ubuntu.com was broken, so some demos or workshops had to work around that. We took a few notes and will discuss ideas with the organisers, so we can make future UbuCons and UbuCon Summits even better.

In general the feedback about our presence at SCaLe14x and the UbuCon Summit there was overly positive and there were attempts to talk us into committing to the same next year already. 🙂

Other trip reports:

Long time no Snappy Clinic

It’s been a while since our last Snappy Clinic, so we asked for your input on which topics to cover. Thanks for the feedback so far.

In our next session Sergio Schvezov is going to talk about what’s new in Snapcraft and the changes in the 2.x series. Be there and you are going to be up-to-date on how to publish your software on Snappy Ubuntu Core. There will be time for questions afterwards.

Join us on the 12th February 2016 at 16:00 UTC on http://ubuntuonair.com.

What’s happening at UbuCon Summit

I can’t wait for UbuCon Summit to start. The list of attendees is growing and with some of the folks it’s been ages since I met them in person the last time. For me that’s the number one reason to be there. Catching up with everyone will be great.

The schedule for UbuCon Summit is looking fantastic as well. We have many many great talks and demos lined up from a really broad spectrum, there’s going to be much to learn about and there’s going to be more surprises coming up in the unconference part of UbuCon.

And there’s more:

Anything I missed you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

The world of Snappy at UbuCon Summit

ubucon

I’m very excited about UbuCon Summit which will bring many many Ubuntu people from all parts of its community together in January. David Planella did a great job explaining why this event is going to be just fantastic.

I look forward to meeting everyone and particularly look forward to what we’ve got to show in terms of Snappy Ubuntu Core.

Manik Taneja and Sergio Schvezov

We are going to have Manik Taneja and Sergio Schvezov there who are going to give the following talk:

Internet of Things gets ‘snappy’ with Ubuntu Core

Snappy Ubuntu Core is the new rendition of Ubuntu, designed from the ground up to power the next generation of IoT devices. The same Ubuntu and its vast ecosystem, but delivered in a leaner form, with state-of-the art security and reliable update mechanisms to ensure devices and apps are always up-to-date.

This talk will introduce Ubuntu Core, the technologies of its foundations and the developer experience with Snapcraft. We will also discuss how public and branded stores can kickstart a thriving app ecosystem and how Ubuntu meets the needs of connected device manufacturers, entrepreneurs and innovators.

And there’s more! Sergio Schvezov will also give the following workshop:

Hands-on demo: creating Ubuntu snaps with Snapcraft

Overview the snapcraft features and demo how easily a snap can be created using multiple parts from different sources. We will also show how to create a plugin for unhandled source types.

In addition to that we are going to have a few nice things at our booth, so we can show give you a Snappy experience there as well.

If you want to find out more, like check the entire schedule or register for the event, do it at ubucon.org.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there! 😀

Snappy Clinic: News from Snapcraft

It’s been a while since our last Snappy Clinic (here’s a link to all videos) and since Ubuntu Online Summit a lot of great things happened in Snapcraft:

Among the changes: a nil plugin, support of pip packages, support globs in the copy plugin, a nodejs plugin, add go-packages to the go plugin, countless bugfixes and tests, a more beautiful interface and more documentation.

The above and to get Sergio Schvezov on camera are reasons enough for us to have another Snappy Clinic

See you later! 🙂