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


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! 🙂

Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day

UCADay-64pxThe Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day is a really nice tradition and it’s always to think of somebody I could thank (Thanks Ahmed Shams for setting it up in the first place!). Narrowing down my list of thank-yous to just one or two for a blog post is much harder for me. 🙂

First I’d like to thank Elizabeth Krumbach. Liz has been all over the place in the Ubuntu world for ages and has helped out in many many forms. She does all this on top of a demanding full-time job, speaker engagements, involvement in other communities and much more. I really liked working with her on the Community Council where she stayed calm even when the CC was under pressure. She stayed focused and her main goal was always to get the best out of the situation for everyone. Liz remained committed to helping people, no matter how busy she was and how trivial their request was – she sets a true example. Thanks a lot Liz!

I’d also like to thank Sergio Schvezov. I’ve worked together with him on phone bits and snappy and snapcraft things as well and I’m always amazed by how many balls he keeps in the air, how thoughtful he his, while staying pragmatic and staying cheerful. With him working on snapcraft, I have no doubt that the next generation of software maintainers in Snappy land will have a great time. Thanks a lot Sergio!

There are many more to thank, you all, the Ubuntu Community, make it very easy to still be part of this fantastic group of individuals and look forward to more! Big hugs everyone! 🙂

A snappy UOS summary

Ubuntu Online Summit featured more than 70 sessions this time around and quite a big turnout. You can find the full schedule with links to session videos and session notes in summit.ubuntu.com.

Here’s a quick summary of what happened in Snappy Ubuntu Core land:

  • Testing Snappy: In this Show & Tell session Leo Arias showcased a lot of the QA work which has been done on Ubuntu Core along with many useful techniques to run tests and easily bring up Snappy in a number of different scenario.
  • Creating more Snappy frameworks: Frameworks are an effective way to bring functionality to Ubuntu Core which can then be shared by apps. The session attracted quite a few users of Snappy who wanted to know if their use-case could be addressed by a framework. We discussed some more technical difficulties, possible solutions and learned that bluetooth and connectivity (based on network-manager) frameworks are in the works.
  • Snappy Clinic: bringing ROS apps to Snappy Ubuntu Core: Ted Gould showed off the great work which has been put into the catkin plugin of Snapcraft. Taking a simple ROS app and bringing it to Ubuntu Core is very easy. The interest from members of the ROS community was great to see and their feedback will help us improve the support even further.
  • Snap packages for phone and desktop apps: Alejandro Cura and Kyle Fazzari brought up their analysis of snappy on the phone/desktop and discussed a plan on what would need to land to make snappy apps on the Ubuntu desktop and phone a reality.
  • Your feedback counts: the Snappy onboarding experience: This session brought together a number of different users of Snappy who shared their experience and what they would like to do. The feedback was great and will be factored into our upcoming documentation plans.
  • Snappy Developer Community Resources: In this session Thibaut Rouffineau and I had a chat about our online support options and community resources. We gathered a number of ideas and will look into creating workshop and presentation materials this cycle as well.
  • Porting popular apps/software to Snappy: Many interesting apps and appliances exist for a variety of boards, most notably the Raspberry Pi. We put together a plan on how we could start a community initiative for bringing them over to Snappy Ubuntu Core.

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped to make this such a great UOS!

UOS Session Roundup for Ubuntu Snappy Core

With Ubuntu Online Summit happening 3-5 November, it is really just around the corner. Time to check out the schedule and see what’s planned.

UOS is our online planning and show-and-tell event. We use a mix of Hangouts-on-Air, IRC and Etherpad to organise ourselves. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people, have your say and find out what’s planned the next weeks and months.

Register for the event at http://summit.ubuntu.com/.

This is also where you find the schedule for all the individual tracks and if you click on the sessions themselves, you can register your attendance as well, that will make it easy for you to see “your schedule” on the site and help you plan your days.

Here is a quick roundup of the sessions coming straight from the world of Snappy Ubuntu Core:

  1. 2015-11-03 15:00 UTC Testing Snappy
    Leo and Federico will cover both automated and manual approaches to testing snappy, and the work that goes into making sure each new version of snappy is ready to release. They will also offer advice on how you can help make snappy
  2. 2015-11-03 16:00 UTC Creating more Snappy frameworks
    Frameworks extend the functionality of Snappy Ubuntu Core systems in a vary practical way. Let’s discuss how we can bring more services to Snappy Ubuntu Core.
  3. 2015-11-03 18:00 UTC Snappy Clinic: bringing ROS apps to Snappy Ubuntu Core
    Snapcraft integrates building and packaging software and is what we recommend to bring software to Snappy Ubuntu Core. Snapcraft has recently seen the addition of a catkin plugin. This will make it very easy to bring ROS applications to Snappy Ubuntu Core. Check out this demo by Sergio and Ted and you’ll see just how easy it is.
  4. 2015-11-05 14:00 UTC Your feedback counts: the Snappy onboarding experience
    In this session we want your feedback on your Snappy and Snapcraft onboarding experience:
    – How were you welcomed into the world of Snappy? Was the documentation sufficient? Were you able to find your way around?
    – We are planning some changes to the documentation and would like to present them and get feedback.
    – If you are a device builder, we would specifically like to get your input as well, so we can improve our device builder documentation.
  5. 2015-11-05 15:00 UTC Snappy Developer Community Resources
    In this session we want to figure out how the Snappy developer community can interact and get support, particularly:
    – support of askubuntu/stackoverflow
    – which G+ communities/Twitter/etc to use
    – which presentation and workshop materials we want to create and share
    – how we can support people who want to represent Snappy Ubuntu Core at events/hackathons/workshops
  6. 2015-11-05 16:00 UTC Porting popular apps/software to Snappy
    With hardware becoming cheaper (ie Raspberry Pi, etc.) a number of apps and appliances were built, which are very popular today. It’d be great if it was easy for app developers to bring their apps to Snappy Ubuntu Core as well. Let’s figure out how developers can port them over and we can get feedback about what should be easier.

Please note: there might be last-minute changes to the schedule, so make sure stay up to date. If you have any questions, let me know.