Ubuntu 12.04 Development update

Ubuntu Development Update

It is always an exciting time when a new release opens. As a developer you get to finally merge the feature you would have liked to see in the last release already and you can merge changes you submitted to Upstream. We have a 27 weeks until the new release gets out, so lots of time to get everything into a tip-top LTS-release worthy state.

As mentioned in the last update, Matthias Klose and Colin Watson have been coordinating the opening of the ‘precise’ series, here’s a few key changes that have already landed: an updated toolchain and a 3.1 linux pre-release, among 570+ other uploads to ‘precise’. It’s a great to see this well-oiled machinery getting to work at the start of every cycle and everybody working hard to reduce the delta between Ubuntu and Upstream (including Debian).

If you want to get involved with Ubuntu development, now is a great time. You still have 27 weeks left to get your great work out to millions of happy LTS users.


Ubuntu Open Week
This week Ubuntu Open Week happened (in fact, today is the last day), with heaps of great sessions about all kinds of Ubuntu topics. Daniel ‘dholbach’ Holbach gave a double session about “Getting started with Ubuntu Development” and got loads of great questions from the audience.

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: Ubuntu Friendly

While we were working together in Berlin, I had a chat with Ara Pulido, who has been leading the Ubuntu Friendly effort.

Hello Ara, you are one of the heads behind “Ubuntu Friendly”? For those of us who don’t know about it yet, can you explain what it is?

Ubuntu Friendly is a programme that tries to collect hardware test results from the Ubuntu community and present the list of systems in a way that is useful for other Ubuntu users. The website shows a rated list of systems based on those test results. For those who are already wondering, the rating is calculated automatically based on the results, there is no room for subjection here. We divide the components of a system in “core” and “additional” components. If a system fails one of the core components, it gets only 1 star, and if it passes all the core components it gets 3 stars (good enough!). The remaining two stars are given by additional components. A submission can also get small rating penalties if the user skipped a core test because they didn’t have the peripherals needed to do the testing (like an external monitor, or a USB stick).

What is the state of things in Ubuntu Friendly now? Does it already have everything you and your team want?

During the 11.10 cycle we have developed the backend and we have polished the System Testing test suite, so it tests only hardware stuff. Right now we just released the beta of the programme and we want the programme to be stable once 12.04 LTS gets released. In order to achieve that we need to get as much data and feedback as possible in the next months, so we learn which are the pain points and fix the site and client accordingly.

How many people did you have contributing already?

We are very pleased with the results we are getting in the first week of Ubuntu Friendly. We released the beta a week ago and we already got more than 500 submissions!, 135 of them with more than 3 stars and it increases every day!

Is there anything people can do to help out?

Yes! The simplest way to help is obviously testing and submitting your system. It is very easy to do and it won’t take more than 15 minutes to complete. We have some nice instructions and a screencast to help you getting started at: http://friendly.ubuntu.com/participate/. If you are very excited with the project and want to do more, you can join us in the Ubuntu Friendly Squad and help us shaping up the tools and tests for the next cycle!

What are your plans for 12.04?

As said, in the 11.10 cycle we have focused in setting the needed infrastructure to make Friendly happen, but there is still a lot to be polished until we can remove our A-Team font BETA message from the site We will be focusing in improving the test suite and rating calculation based on the results and feedback that we get. The other big change for 12.04 LTS will be the System Testing UI. We know it does not look fancy enough and that’s why we have decided to just completely rewrite the UI, so we can make it look nicer and more integrated in the Ubuntu experience.

Thanks a bunch for the interview! You rock!

Thanks to you!

Get Involved

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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4 Responses to “Ubuntu 12.04 Development update”

  1. John Belton Says:

    I would like to help but I’m not much of a current generation engineer having retired 10 years ago and only over the past 3 years got back into things. I would like to do more than just testing but need some training so if anyone can guide me to suitable training courses.

  2. dholbach Says:

    Hello John,

    thanks a lot for your interest. Check out http://developer.ubuntu.com/packaging/html/ and let us know what you think.

    Have a great day,

  3. Enspade Says:

    Will 12.04 get systemd integration??

  4. dholbach Says:

    This is the only blueprint for 12.04 I could find: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/desktop-p-systemd-packagekit

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