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!

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. 🙂

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! 🙂

Another great Ubuntu release to be proud of!


This morning I chatted with Laura Czajkowski and we quickly figured out that wily is our 23rd Ubuntu release. Crazy in a way – 23 releases, who would’ve thought? But on the other hand, Ubuntu is a constant evolution of great stuff becoming even better. Even after 11 years of Ubuntu I can still easily get excited about what’s new in Ubuntu and what is getting better. If you have read any of my recent blog entries you will know that snappy and snapcraft are a combination too good to be true. Shipping software on Ubuntu has never been that easy and I can’t wait for snappy and snapcraft to reach into further parts of Ubuntu. The 16.04 (‘xenial‘) cycle is going to deliver much more of this. Awesome!

But for now: enjoy the great work wrapped up in our wily 15.10 package. Take it, install it, give it to friends and family and spread great open source software in the world. 🙂

When you download it, please consider making a donation. And if you do, please consider donating to “Community projects“. This is what allows us to help LoCos with events, fly people to conferences and do all kinds of other great things. We have docs online which explain who can apply for funding for which purposes and what exactly each penny was spent on previously.

Community donations

Nominations for CC election are still open

I guess most of you saw the post on Fridge or the post on the Community team mailing list: Nominations for the Community Council are still open until Friday, 16th October.

We already received a number of good nominations so far, but I thought it’d be good to try to convince a few more of you to nominate yourself or nominate a friend of yours. If flavours and other important teams would get some more representation on the CC, that’d be great.

What I love about the CC is that you get to hear from many parts of the community first-hand what’s happening, what’s new and that you can often help out by connecting people in various parts of the community. This is one of the many things I always enjoyed the most.

Of course there are also disputes and conflicts to deal with at times. In the past some of them were harder (and took longer) to resolve, but they provided a learning experience for us as a community and everyone individually. So while this is probably nothing you would immediately be looking forward to, it’s an important part of keeping our community working well.

I’m grateful for the time I spent on the CC and everyone who worked together with me here. I look forward to seeing how many nominations we have by Friday. (Read all the details in either of the two posts mentioned at the top.)

The future of shipping software is coming together

I have some very exciting news, but wanted to share some thoughts I had earlier today.

Since I joined the Ubuntu community I’ve always had to do with people who want to ship their software in Ubuntu and as I’m a generally excitable guy I always thought “finally, it became so much easier – we’re there”! Over the past years we got better documentation, PPAs in Launchpad, the dh command, bzr-builddeb, daily builds in Launchpad, pkgme, the ARB process, translated documentation and lots of other initiatives which always felt like we made the world a better place for ISVs, third party app developers, upstream developers and whoever else wanted their software to be in Ubuntu.

Fast-forward to Ubuntu on the phone and click. Suddenly it became SUPER easy, even easier to ship software. Write a manifest, run “click build“, upload it to the store where it gets auto-reviewed and you’re golden. This was possible because apparmor and friends were so tightly integrated into the phone experience and confinement fully worked, so we could trust apps to be safe and trust our automatic reviews. Finally!


snappy, the evolution of click, has a much broader scope and is finally moving into the center of attention of many and will at some stage also get on the phone and elsewhere. It shares the concept of a central software store with confined apps but brings atomic upgrades, rollbacks and lots of other goodness.

From the point of view of somebody who’s shipping software some things were still missing though. How do you easily do repeatable builds, especially if they involve bundling other software?

Enter snapcraft. A thing of beauty. Finally you can specify all relevant meta-data in one file, define which parts make up your app and snapcraft’s plugins (Go, Java, autotools, etc.) will take care of pulling and building sources and binaries, which files to ship exactly and everything else. It’s magic.

We just shipped 0.2 of snapcraft and the amount of new tests, bug fixes and goodness which landed is staggering. Even more importantly: the syntax of snapcraft.yaml is now very likely going to be stable.

I have more good news:

we are going to have our first of many Ubuntu Snappy Clinics brought to you by Sergio Schvezov, Michael Vogt and myself. The topics of these clinics are going to change, but will always be centered around snappy and the technologies around it and will give enough opportunities to ask your questions and work on things together.

Now is a brilliant time to involved with snapcraft.

Free Culture and Ubuntu

Thanks to Nathan Haines and JosĂ© Antonio Rey we have the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase again. It’s Ubuntu’s way of acknowledging that there’s not just “free software”, but a wider movement which wants to make sharing the fruits of our labour an obvious and straight-forward reality.

You still have some time to submit your works for the competition. The winners are going to get their free culture works included in Ubuntu itself. Please share this with all your producer and artist friends who are into free culture.

Submission groups are as follows:

Find all other relevant information here.

Snapcraft has landed in the archive

In the flurry of uploads for the C++ ABI transition and other frantic work (Thursday is Feature Freeze day) this gem maybe went unnoticed:

snapcraft (0.1) wily; urgency=low

  * Initial release

What this means? If you’re on wily, you can easily try out snapcraft and get started turning software into snaps. We have some initial docs available on the developer site which should help you find your way around.

This is a 0.1 release, so there are bugs and there might be bigger changes coming your way, but there will also be more docs, more plugins and more good stuff in general. If you’re curious, you might want to sign up for the daily build (just add the ppa:snappy-dev/snapcraft-daily PPA).

Here’s a brilliant example of what snapcraft can do for you: packaging a Java app was never this easy.

If you’re more into client apps, check out Ted’s article on how to create a QML snap.

As you can easily see: the future is on its way and upstreams and app developer will have a much easier time sharing their software.

As I said above: snapcraft is still a 0.1 release. If you want to let us know your feedback and find bugs or propose merges, you can find snapcraft in Launchpad.

Ubuntu Community Q&A

If you haven’t heard of it yet, every Tuesday we have the Ubuntu Community Q&A session at 15:00 UTC. It’s always up on http://ubuntuonair.com and you can watch old sessions on the youtube channel. For the casual Ubuntu users it’s a great way to get to know people who are working in the inner circles of Ubuntu and can answer questions, clear up misunderstandings or get specialists on the show.

Since Jono went to XPRIZE, our team at Canonical has been running them and I really enjoy these sessions. What I liked even more were the sessions where we had guests and got to talk about some more specific topics. In the past few weeks we had Olli Ries on, quite a few UbuCon organisers, some testing/QA heroes and many more.

If you have anyone you’d like to see interviewed or any specific topics you’d like to see covered, please drop a comment below and we’ll do our best to get them on in the next weeks!

Join the first Snappy Open House!


Snappy is evolving, becoming more robust and is getting loads of new users. This week will see a new stable release of Snappy. For us that’s reason enough to invite you all to our first Snappy Open House today.

Starting from 14:00 UTC today (2015-07-07), we are going to be on Ubuntu-on-Air, introducing team, talking about what’s new and talking about testing Snappy. If you want to get involved or wanted to get to know snappy, this is a great opportunity.

Hope to see you later on!