Ubuntu 12.04 Development update

Development Update

And again we are in the most interesting time of the release cycle. Today we will hit Feature Freeze at around 21:00 UTC. The time where we stop introducing new features, packages, and APIs, and concentrate on fixing bugs in the development release. Today marks the end of a couple of very busy weeks for the various Ubuntu Development Teams as they rushed to meet the deadline for the Import Freeze. From now on testing, fixing and solidifying is in the cards.

Next week is User Interface Freeze, the week after we will hit Beta Freeze, so yet a week later we can release Beta 1. Exciting times indeed.

Letting developers speak for themselves

With this being feature freeze week teams have been hard at work trying to finish off as many new things as possible. Jonathan Riddell gives an update on Kubuntu’s last minute work on features they hope to ship in 12.04.

Jeremy Bicha, Desktop hacker extraordinaire, highlighted some of the work which went into gnome-control-center recently. This kind of gives you an idea how much work, by lots of people, goes into Ubuntu every day.

Now is a great time to have a look at pastebinit again. It is a great tool to quickly share public data from the command line. Stéphane Graber just got out pastebinit 1.3, with heaps of new features and supported sites.

Many people have heard of Linaro already, but don’t really know what they are doing. Its website says “Linaro is a not-for-profit software engineering company investing in core Linux software and tools for ARM SoCs.” and that they “deliver software consolidation and optimization to our members, and provide ARM tools, Linux kernels and builds of key Linux distributions including Android and Ubuntu on member SoCs.” This admittedly makes it a bit hard to get excited about what these fine people are working on. To get really excited, watch this video in which Kiko Reis is talking at Linaro Connect.

In previous development updates we always talked about how this release is getting more and more testing and how 12.04 is going to be an exciting and super-stable release. If you want to be part of these efforts, Nicholas Skaggs has posted a number of blog posts, where you can easily get involved with testing. Here are the posts for Unity 5.4, clickpad devices and compiz Testing and giving feedback is easy, just make sure you read the instructions carefully.

In the testing world there is always manual testing and automated testing. Check out this blog post on the OpenStack blog detailing how the test lab is put together. Especially for everyone interested in Ubuntu Server, this is a really interesting article explaining how a big team of people put all their excellence into this effort.

When “making hardware work”, a lot of what is happening behind the scenes is in bits called firmware. Read this excellent blog post explaining how the fwts package (Firmware test suite) can test your firmware by running a huge number of tests on it and even tell you how you can fix things if necessary.


On the weekend of 2nd-4th March 2012 it is time for the Ubuntu Global Jam. Local Community teams around the globe meet to make Ubuntu better. For example we have these lined up right now: Australia working on localisation, the wiki, Ubuntu materials, and translations. In Europe there are jams in the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia and Spain. In the Americas there are jams in Mexico and the USA. In addition to that there is a “virtual jam” planned to work on the Ubuntu websites together. This is a great time to meet new friends, talk Ubuntu, learn something new and make Ubuntu better. If there is no jam near you, set one up, it is not hard.

Things which need to get done

If you want to get involved in packaging and bug fixing, there’s still a lot of bugs that need to get fixed:

  • There are Merges which need to be done (main, restricted, universe, multiverse).
  • Also the Ubuntu Mozilla team is looking for help, so if you’re excited about Mozilla and what’s happening there, join IRC, talk to the guys on #ubuntu-mozillateam on irc.freenode.net.
  • And then there are Security bugs you can take a look at, the team is a friendly bunch and they’re incredibly helpful in getting your patch reviewed.
  • There are bitesize bugs.
  • Also did John Lea from the Ubuntu Design team talk to us and mentioned that there are bugs up for grabs, where the design has been decided on and the implementation might need YOUR help. If you want to help improve Ubuntu’s UI, have a look at these!


First timers!

We had a lots of new contributors last week who got their first direct contribution into Ubuntu. Thanks a lot to Bas van den Dikkenberg, Fabio Pedretti, Lars Uebernickel, Atul Jha, Adam Stokes, Hans Joachim Desserud, Alexandre Rossi, David Weber, Pojar George and Paul Belanger. Awesome!

Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre has been contributing to Ubuntu for a long time and has done a great job with packages like network-manager. He joined the ranks of the Ubuntu Core developers this week, this means access to all parts of Ubuntu. Good work Mathieu, keep it up!

New contributor: Roth Robert

Benjamin Kerensa talked to Roth Robert, here’s what he has to say:

Robert RothHow did you get involved?
I have first started with some translations, switched over to bug triaging (marking duplicates mostly) after some time (one month or so), and while triaging bugs, reading bug reports I have found bug reports which seemed easy to fix, so I have started fixing them. First string-fixes, bite-size bugs, until I have found the package set which I loved working on and started to better understand (package management tools like update manager, software center and software-properties) and fixed more and more bugs. My main reason for working on these tools was that the source for these is handled in launchpad entirely, thus proposing a merge with a help of a reviewer with commit rights will help to get the fix in both the upstream and the downstream(Ubuntu) release, and I did not have to do any packaging. I have only learned some basic packaging tasks recently, when I wanted to update GNOME System Monitor in Ubuntu to the latest upstream version, and this fortunately also involved updating librsvg, so I had both reasons and possibilities to exercise.

What was your experience like?
My experience was a quite pleasant one, most of the times it was quite easy to find helpful people to patiently review my fixes and point out my mistakes to avoid them next time (special thanks to Michael Vogt – mvo for his patience, reviews, advices and help).

What did you like most about it?
I like the most that there are endless possibilities to contribute, and anyone can find the area to contribute to which challenges him/her the most but which is not beyond his/her power, so that he/she can continuously progress. I have learned a lot this way since I have started contributing, and I still have a lot to learn. I have learned some new programming languages, found a new favorite programming language, I have managed to get to an Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS-O) where I have met/talked to a lot of interesting and inspiring people, lots of “day-dreamers”, who are even more helpful in real life than they are on IRC 🙂

Is there anything that should have been easier? What do you recommend to other contributors who think about starting to get involved?
Packaging seemed quite hard for me actually, as I wanted to learn debian packaging a long time ago, but got scared from the amount of documentation related to it, and I have not found any short guides on how to do it. For example the Ubuntu Packaging Guide was and still is a good resource, however beginners like me might get scared from the amount of documentation required to read to do a simple fix.
The good news is that the community is actively working on making things easier, so for the other contributors who think about starting to get involved, the http://www.ubuntu.com/community/get-involved is a nice place to start at. However, if you are a developer, I’d better suggest developer.ubuntu.com, and don’t be afraid to ask people on IRC 🙂

What do you do in your other spare time?
In my other spare time I play the guitar, I spend time with my wife and read about Linux game development and experiment with game ideas, as I have always been interested in game development and I would like to help Linux gaming somehow, only I haven’t found the best way … yet.

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.ia
  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.

(Brought to you by the Ubuntu Development News team.)

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