Ubuntu Packaging Guide is progressing nicely

I’m quite happy with the progress the Packaging Guide is making. We managed to fix a bunch of bugs this cycle and most importantly we got it into Ubuntu and made it translatable. We only opened translations a couple of weeks ago, but some language teams have been hard at work:

  1. pt_BR.po (18%)
  2. ja.po (14%)
  3. ru.po (9%)
  4. es.po (5%)
  5. id.po (4%)
    de.po (4%)
  6. nl.po (1%)
  7. sv.po (0%)
    fr.po (0%)
    lv.po (0%)
    zh_TW.po (0%)
    hu.po (0%)
    ca.po (0%)

At UDS we decided that for translations which came to a percentage of completion of >= 70% we would build separate packages for those languages. Up until to that percentage we will only keep the translations in Launchpad.

This means there is still some way to go for all of us, but this is a great great step already. Thanks a lot for your hard work on this!

There are obviously many more bugs to fix and we’d love your help.

Bitesize bugs:

Make it prettier:

One bug we’d love to see some help with is #1043232 Packaging Guide FTBFS – it looks like the build fails due to Japanese translations. Right now all translations are disabled, which serves as a workaround for now.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out with the Packaging Guide. Your help has got many many contributors on their way. Keep up the good work!

You can help: code review

This morning I woke up and found the sponsoring queue at 103 items! I mailed the ubuntu-devel and ubuntu-motu lists and the current count is down to 81. This is great, but I’m sure we can get it down to 0.

Jani Monoses also filed these bugs to discuss how we can improve our sponsoring strategy:

You might want to join the conversation.

What we need most though is that if you can review code and upload changes, you head over to the sponsoring queue and help reviewing. It’s understandable that after UDS everybody is busy doing merges or jumps head-first into work items, but we also need to help newcomers get their changes reviewed. If you need some help, review our sponsorship best-practices.

If you should want to help on a regular basis, ping me or drop me an email and I’ll add you to the patch pilot schedule and you’ll get monthly reminders.

Rock on everybody! We can be happy we have so many new contributors, let’s don’t let them down! πŸ™‚

If only I had known what needs to be done…

I just went over the soon-to-be-released report of the Developer Advisory Team, where we sum up feedback from first-time contributors to Ubuntu Development and many noted that they found developer documentation easily and things generally worked out for them, but they struggled finding stuff to work on.

The Ubuntu Development team has always been good at creating new TODO lists (merges, Debian RC bugs, build failures, heaps of different bug lists and much much more), but you need to know what you are looking for.

Enter Harvest. We created it so it merely aggregates opportunities for Ubuntu developers in a simple web interface. You can select opportunity types and specific sets of packages to narrow down opportunities based on your interests.

If you got some spare time, are interested in Ubuntu development and would like to help, you would do the Ubuntu world a great favour by doing one of the following:

If you are an Ubuntu developer or would like to become one: trying it out and commenting below with your experience. (Bugs can be filed here.)

If you have a great idea on how it could be further simplified, extended or improved, write up your idea and link to it in the comments.

If you are a web developer: please get in touch. Harvest is written using Django and Python and it’s super-easy to extend, improve and fix it – so if you are looking for something to help out with, this might be a great opportunity for you.

Please consider helping out, your contributions will not only help you make better use of Harvest, but many other developers and new contributors as well. πŸ™‚

(If you tried it out and it works perfectly for you, let us know too. :-))

Making sure code gets reviewed in Ubuntu

New contributors who don’t have upload rights to Ubuntu yet get their code reviewed and their packages uploaded by Ubuntu developers. This process is called “sponsoring” and our current process has been in place since pretty much forever. It has even gotten easier over time, so new branches or patches show up on our review queue.

Two years ago when we were struggling with getting code reviewed, we put in place “patch pilots”, a great concept we borrowed from the Bazaar team. We set up a monthly schedule and Canonical provided 4 hours per month per engineer with upload rights to make sure code gets reviewed. This has helped a lot.

Getting closer to the 12.04 release, it looks like we need to put some extra effort in and need some help.

Sponsoring Stats

That’s right we have been hovering around 50 for a while now, dealt with many incoming new requests, but still we don’t get down to 0. If you can review code, please help out.

We all are interested in getting new developers on board. This only works if we review each other’s work, gain each other’s trust and give each other advice.

The Sponsorship queue is where a lot of exchange about this happens and where knowledge is passed on. Help out by reviewing today and help grow our community this way.

This is one of the most valuable contributions to Ubuntu! This matters to all of us.

If you want to see at once glance how we are doing and who’s all helping out, head over to our one glance sponsoring page. (Patches to make it look more Ubuntu-y are very welcome!)

Check the instructions for code review (with lots of tips and tricks) and get your name on the page as well!

Putting the Ubuntu Development process to the test

Many engineering teams in the Ubuntu world have made extensive use of User Testing in the last years. This is an important reality check for everyone defining the experience of users. Do my assumptions still hold true? What do users expect? Are there use-cases we never considered? Which steps confuse our users?

The Ubuntu developers, so everyone who builds Ubuntu, integrates pieces to work nicely with each other, maintains packages and produces the distribution we all love, everyone is interested in this kind of feedback.

User testing of the Ubuntu Development process has, if it happened, always been ad-hoc and isolated. This is the reason why we want to look into this again and figure out which parts of the work-flows need to be improved.

Have you thought about contributing to Ubuntu Development before? Did you like the thought of helping improve the distribution millions of users love? If you did, you might be interested in this User Testing initiative. You will only have to read our documentation and send your feedback to Ubuntu Dev email. We in turn will make sure your feedback is put up for discussion and fixed eventually. Also will we will help you on your way if you should get stuck.

This initiative is not to be confused with mentoring. We are not going to do your homework for you or package your app. πŸ™‚ Instead this will provide a great way for you to get started where you can share your experience with Ubuntu developers, who can help you along, while you provide valuable feedback. Your feedback will be treated confidentially and only published in an anonymised and summarised fashion.

What you need to do? Simple:

This is an experiment we will do until the release of Ubuntu 12.04 (April 26th). This should give us food for thought for the upcoming Ubuntu Developer Summit and depending on the success of the initiative, we will continue it.

Follow @ubuntudev on twitter.com, identi.ca, Google+ or facebook.com to find out more about this initiative and others.

Hanging out

I’ve been using Google+ Hangouts for a while and some of you might have seen that Jono posted some evidence of these. Mostly I just used them for team calls with a fixed agenda or to keep in touch with friends.

Yesterday I did a free-for-all hangout, using the new “named hangout” feature of Google+. It’s basically like a chat room with a fixed URL, where you can discuss whatever is on your mind. The idea was to create an opportunity to ask and answer questions in a more personal way without having the feeling of interrupting “more important” discussions.

This was a great experience! I didn’t count all nationalities, but I picked up we had people from South Africa, India, Taiwan, Bulgaria, USA at the same time. This was simply awesome.

Ubuntu Developer Hangout

Above it looks like I was hanging out with 35 people at the same time. This wasn’t the case. Unfortunately the hard limit is still 10 people at a time. There are “celebrity hangouts”, where you can record the event and have more people listening in, but unfortunately this takes away the opportunity to get involved.

Sometimes I did have to mute people whose microphone was not set up properly (one time I think heard a rooster in the background), but generally I feel we fared very well.

Many of the people in the hangouts were great Ubuntu fans and thanked for the work Ubuntu developers and contributors in general are doing. It was really heart-warming. Some had programmed before, even in Open Source projects and were keen to help out. So with the screen-sharing functionality I was able to demo how to fix a simple bug which was great.

Thanks also to Evan Broder and Andrew Mitchell who jumped in and answered a few questions as well.

I think I will keep these as an institution for now and announce events over the @ubuntudev twitter/identi.ca/facebook/google+ accounts. If you should ever want to do a hangout session, use the ubuntu-dev hangout, do it and let me know in advance, so I can post this more publicly.

If you have any experience with events like this and have some new ideas, please comment below!

Thanks again every one – this is just a great way to be in touch with the world-wide community of Ubuntu lovers!

Today is a good day!

Today is a good day to join Ubuntu development. Here’s your own, personal checklist:

  • You like doing some detective work.
  • Reading some docs or using the terminal does not scare you.
  • You might have tinkered with some source code before.
  • You love Ubuntu and want to help improve it!

Here’s how we are going to help you:

  • We have a bunch of friendly people on #ubuntu-motu on irc.freenode.net who are going to answer all your questions.
  • We have prepared a list of easy tasks for you.
  • We are going to review your changes and help you when you might get stuck.

What you need to do:

It’s a great feeling to fix bugs for millions of users, especially in this release which will be an LTS and used on lots of new devices.

We are looking forward to seeing you there! Just join the channel and say Hi!

 

Ubuntu Development: answering ALL your questions

As part of our Fix-It Fridays we saw many many new faces joining the #ubuntu-motu IRC channel which always has many helpful developers who are there to answer questions and help if you should get stuck. Still it seems like some feel uncomfortable asking questions or getting their feet wet in this forum.

After some discussion we thought it might make sense to have an additional low-key event where you can show up, get to know everyone and ask whatever you have on your mind. With Google+ Hangouts becoming more and more popular, we will offer a couple of hangouts tomorrow where you can get easily involved and in touch with us.

Daniel hanging out

Building up to this week’s Fix-It Friday, we will be there for you tomorrow, 8th March 2012 at:

in the ‘ubuntu-dev’ hangout.

We are looking forward to seeing you there to give you a warm welcome to our Ubuntu development community. To get an idea of how things work, you might want to check out the first few articles of our Ubuntu Development Guide.

Welcoming Monday

Welcoming Monday is a lot easier if you have a great weekend to look back to. 32 LoCo teams in 23 countries definitely had a great time at Ubuntu Global Jam.

The Fix-It Friday activity continued for hours and I thought it’d be a nice idea to go through just a few bits that came in and showcase what exactly was done, so it becomes a bit clearer what all constitutes as a “fix” for Ubuntu 12.04.

Before we dive into discussing fixes, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the event. The atmosphere was great and super-productive. I hope to see you all next Friday again! πŸ™‚

  • Barneedhar had a look at the list of release-critical bugs which were fixed in Debian that haven’t made it to Ubuntu yet. On the list was a motion upload (3.2.12-3.1) which (among other things) fixed Debian bugs 640562 (build failure with libav/0.7.1). This was fixed in Ubuntu as well before, but differently. What Barneedhar did was: review the differences between Debian and Ubuntu and make sure nothing of importance was dropped, then kick off a test-build of the Debian version in current Ubuntu, see if everything still works. The test results were positive, so we could sync the package from Debian and eliminate the delta between Debian and Ubuntu. Excellent work!
  • Leo Iannacone had a look at a bug report about librsvg failing to build. When looking at a bug report, it’s a good idea to first check if you can reproduce it. Leo checked and found that itΒ  still builds on i386 and amd64. Great – the bug could be closed! (Just a tip while we’re at it: If you have an amd64 machine, you can easily build i386 packages, by running ‘pbuilder-dist precise i386 build …’ instead of the regular ‘pbuilder-dist precise build …’.)

A lot of other bug fixes were contributed, patches were reviewed and upload, questions answered, and lots more. Some bug fixes are still being reviewed, some weren’t mtnentioned on the etherpad we used during Fix-It Friday, but lots and lots of new contributors showed up in the last few days (expect an update as part of the weekly “Ubuntu 12.04 Development update”).

Thanks a lot everyone for your great work. You all make Ubuntu as great as it is! πŸ™‚

Great things coming together

A lot of really great things are coming together right now: tomorrow we kick off Ubuntu Global Jam for the 12.04 cycle, additionally we will have Fix-It Friday tomorrow!

The Ubuntu developer community is putting a lot of effort into this event. There will be experienced developers who

  • take the time to answer all the questions you have,
  • help you fix problems,
  • review code for you,
  • use the time to clear up the sponsoring queue.

Here’s something you can do for us: get involved! Seriously, the more people show up, the more fun it will be, so if you are still hesitant, just show up: We are friendly, we’ll help out and we will have a great time.

If you want to prepare yourself a bit, check out these articles first: Introduction to Ubuntu development, Getting Set Up and Fixing a bug in Ubuntu. Please also give us feedback about them. If there’s anything unclear, wrong or confusing, we will fix it. We not only want a precise 12.04 release, but also precise Ubuntu development docs!

I’m looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow! πŸ™‚