Ubuntu Development Update
Wow, one week into the release cycle and already and by the time of writing, we had 921 uploads to precise coming in already. This is very exciting, because a bunch of things are happening at the same time:
- new features and bug fixes are brought in from Upstream (including Debian)
- the delta between Ubuntu and Debian is reduced
- many of the fixes in precise will result in stable release updates (SRUs) for oneiric
81 people already got their contributions into Ubuntu (in form of uploads) and there are going to be many many more.
So what’s exactly happening right now?
Ubuntu Developers are currently going through a long list of packages that received updates and changes during the last cycle and check which new releases were put out, both in Debian and other Upstream projects. Luckily for Debian, we have a tool called merge-o-matic, which spits out a list of differences between Ubuntu and Debian, which make it easier to spot, if changes in Ubuntu can simply be discarded (this is what we want – the closer to Debian and Upstream, the better), and where we might have to merge changes. This is also a great opportunity to make sure that those changes are forwarded to Debian and Upstream, so they can get included there. Some of these merges can be quite hairy, others are easier. The packaging guide has an article about merging, in case you are interested and have played around with Ubuntu development tools already.
The other thing that is happening is obviously the planning of the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Next week a lot of people are going to be in sessions at UDS to discuss all kinds of feature work in and around Ubuntu. Make sure you participate remotely, if you are interested, not at UDS and have time.
A few people have blogged about their plans and ideas for the next cycle already. Colin Watson, who is in charge of big parts of the foundations of Ubuntu, particularly the installer, mentions work in the image building pipeline and the general maintenance of the development release. Daniel Holbach (your friendly editor of this post) blogged about his ideas about opportunities for new developers to join the project.
You can also check the time-line of new blueprints for UDS being registered, and subscribe to them to be notified of changes.
Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day
This year we are going to have the first ever Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day. The goal of this is obvious: take the time to thank somebody who put a lot of effort into Ubuntu to make it shine. Tell your friends and participate!
Ubuntu Developer Summit
UDS is kicking off on 31st October in sunny Florida. This is where all the plans for 12.04 are going to be discussed and long lists of work items are written. Check out Stefano Rivera’s list of specification blueprints that were last registered to get an idea what’s going to get discussed.
Spotlight: The Ubuntu Security Team
Yesterday I had a brief chat with Jamie Strandboge about the security team and their plans for precise. During the release of 11.10 the team put a lot of measures in place to help contributors to Ubuntu’s security world more effectively.
A good question is obviously: What does the team do to make Ubuntu more secure?
The work of the team falls into different categories. Of course a lot of the default choices have a great impact already (no open ports, etc.), also a lot of work went into making sure that all Ubuntu packages are built with the best security capabilities of our toolchain, other feature work like AppArmor and the Uncomplicated Firewall also help.
Then there is this massive amount of work reacting to published security fixes. For all of Ubuntu’s releases we have to make sure that the security fixes are integrated as quickly as possible, without the risk of regressions. (And this is an area you can easily get involved yourself, more on that in a bit.)
To cope with this Jamie’s team rotates roles in the team on a weekly basis, so somebody is always there to work on getting security fixes published, somebody else to help with reviewing changes and so on.
In the last cycle the documentation and tools were improved, so if you want to get involved, everything’s ready for you already. The security team updates this list of highlighted packages every week. You can also join the weekly meeting to get up to speed on what’s happening and get to introduce yourself.
If you think about it for a minute: is there a better way to contribute to Ubuntu than improving security for millions of users out there?
Get to know Jamie and his team: they are a very friendly bunch!
- Read the Introduction to Ubuntu Development. It’s a short article which will help you understand how Ubuntu is put together, how the infrastructure is used and how we interact with other projects.
- Follow the instructions in the Getting Set Up article. A few simple commands, a registration at Launchpad and you should have all the tools you need, and you’re ready to go.
- Check out our instructions for how to fix a bug in Ubuntu, they come with small examples that make it easier to visualise what exactly you need to do.
Find something to work on
Pick a bitesize bug. These are the bugs we think should be easy to fix. Another option is to help out in one of our initiatives.
In addition to that there are loads more opportunities over at Harvest.
Getting in touch
There are many different ways to contact Ubuntu developers and get your questions answered.
- Be interactive and reach us most immediately: talk to us in #ubuntu-motu on irc.freenode.net.
- Follow mailing lists and get involved in the discussions: ubuntu-devel-announce (announce only, low traffic), ubuntu-devel (high-level discussions), ubuntu-devel-discuss (fairly general developer discussions).
- Stay up to date and follow the ubuntudev account on Facebook, Identi.ca or Twitter.