Ubuntu 12.04 Development Update

Development Update

Nine weeks until release and one thing is clear already: 12.04 will be a kick-arse release. Thanks everyone for your hard work on it! Still there’s a few things which still need to get done. Today User Interface Freeze and Beta Freeze will kick in, next week we will do a test rebuild of the whole archive and Beta 1 will get out next week as well.

This week has seen a number of interesting changes: users of SandyBridge systems will have rejoiced to hear that RC6 was enabled by default. Unity 5.4.0 landed with many bug fixes and bringing us the HUD.

Letting Ubuntu developers speak for themselves
Kees Cook found CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures entries) dating back to 1903.

Martin Pitt wrote a script to identify causes for power drain, be sure to check it out.

Calum Pringle updated us on the new Sound theme for 12.04.

Jeremy Bicha updated us on transmission 2.50.

Ricardo Salveti was interviewed about Ubuntu TV running on ARM hardware on Demo Friday at Linaro Connect.


Ubuntu Global Jam
Next week we will celebrate the Ubuntu Global Jam. On the weekend of 2nd-4th March LoCo teams around the globe will come together and make Ubuntu better together. If you and your Ubuntu friends want to join in, check out the the video to find out how to set up an event. Currently we have events in these countries: Myanmar, Australia, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Mexico, Canada, USA and Brazil. Go and add yours today.

FixIt Fridays!
From this week onwards we are going to hold FixIt Fridays every week until release. Check out the spotlight section below for more info.

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:

  • 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 number of folks getting their first uploads into Ubuntu again! Julian Edwards and David Callé both got some new packages into Ubuntu. Glenn Aaldering requested a sync. Keep up the good work everyone!

Natalia Bidart received upload rights for the Ubuntu One packages! Well done!

Spotlight: FixIt Fridays!

Right now it’s quite easy to see that a single fix which gets into Ubuntu benefits millions of users. Also with the next release being an LTS there will be many many more users.

If you always felt like you should give back to Ubuntu one day, if you play around with source code now and then or just liked the idea of getting involved in Ubuntu somehow, now is the perfect time.

First of all: we are slowly approaching Beta 1 of Ubuntu 12.04, so there are still around 9 weeks left until  release. Also is the release getting more and more stable, so upgrading now is not totally reasonable any more.

Secondly: the Ubuntu developers are coming together in #ubuntu-motu on Freenode every Friday to hang out with you, answer all your questions and help you get started with Ubuntu Development.

What you need to do? Easy:

  1. Check out the first few articles of the Ubuntu Packaging Guide.
  2. Join #ubuntu-motu on Freenode. (You can use webchat, if you don’t have an IRC client installed)
  3. Find a few simple bugs, ask your questions and make Ubuntu better!

Don’t be shy, give the docs a try, let us know what you think, ask your questions, join us – we are going to have a great time, every Friday until release!

Spotlight: Ubuntu Kernel Team

We had a chat with the Ubuntu Kernel Release Manager for Canonical, Leann Ogasawara.

What is your team working on this cycle?
With Ubuntu 12.04 being an LTS release, our primary focus has been on stability.  As such, we chose to ship with a v3.2 based kernel and will continue to rebase to the latest v3.2.y stable kernels as they become available.  Along with this we have also been conducting an extensive
kernel config review to ensure options have been enabled/disabled in accordance to our standard policy, any exceptions have been documented, and any changes have been incorporated to bring consistency across all architectures and flavors. We’ve also been looking to provide an improved Power Management story and have dedicated a few resources to investigate, isolate, and implement some power saving strategies.

A portion of the team has also been focused on helping maintain kernels for previous Ubuntu releases.  They have streamlined the SRU process into a 3 week cadence with a strong focus on elimination of regressions through enforcement of a strict QA and bug verification policy and

What is your development process like compared to other teams? I hear your team uses Git?
We do use a different version control system, ie git, when compared to what many other teams use, ie bzr.  However, our overlying processes and procedures are relatively the same compared to other teams.  We openly communicate our plans or raise topics of interest via the mailing lists, discuss and submit patches for features or bug fixes, use launchpad to monitor incoming defects/requests, and perform routine uploads to the archive to provide the latest improvements during the development cycle. I would think most other teams have a very similar process and procedure.

What kind of improvements will we see in 12.04 when it comes to the Kernel?
One big improvement we hope to see is in regards to Power Management. We’re currently prototyping some patches for Sandy Bridge users which could equate an improved power usage of 40%-60%.  We set up a wiki page with more information.

An improved set of jack detection patches from the upstream v3.3 kernel has also been backported.  This lays the foundation for improvements such as successfully having different volumes for headphones and speakers and also having media keys control both headphone volume when headphones are plugged in and speakers when they are not.

Another big change is the consolidation of the generic and server flavors in an effort to help minimize the maintenance burden over the life of this LTS release.  We also saw the emergence of an armhf supported flavor.

The Ubuntu 12.04 kernel also carries the latest overlayfs updates.  Any users which were previous consumers of aufs have been encouraged to migrate over to overlayfs.  We have yet to hear of any complaints of overlayfs not satisfying the requirements/needs which were previously met by aufs.

The above are just a few highlights of the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04 kernel. As always, there are also numerous bug fixes and support for new hardware.

Can community members contribute to the Kernel Team? How do they get started?
Any support or participation from the community is always welcome.  It’s best to first determine where someone would want to help out.  If someone is not even sure where they would like to lend their support, we can always provide suggestions.  Some examples include testing of the
latest -proposed kernels for regressions, triaging bugs, and submitting patches.  Feel free to get in contact with us either on IRC (FreeNode #ubuntu-kernel) or through our Ubuntu kernel-team mailing list. We’ll be happy to help anyone get started.

Has your team had any other notable developments? Changes in roles or new members?
We have had a few Canonical employees hired on to help with the Ubuntu kernel.  For example, Joe Salisbury is our new dedicated Defect Analyst for the kernel.  We also reacquired the very talented Colin King who has been spear heading the investigation into Power Management improvements. We have also been receiving some brilliant triaging work from Julian Wiedmann.  None of us have ever met Julian, but he has been doing some fantastic work with a lot of our kernel bugs.

What is your number one goal this cycle?
I think it goes without saying that because Ubuntu 12.04 will be an LTS release, our number one goal is stability.  If we’re able to deliver some extra improvements such as power savings, that’s an added bonus.

Ubuntu Kernel Team at UDS-M in Brussels

Ubuntu Kernel Team at UDS-M in Brussels

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.

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10 Responses to “Ubuntu 12.04 Development Update”

  1. kas5986 Says:

    great 🙂

  2. Pedro Souza Says:

    Have you guys fixed the Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10 shutdown problem? There’s still an open unresolved bug report for this … during shutdown, ubuntu just freezes at the splash screen … manual shutdown (power button) is required then …

  3. Bharat Says:

    I loved Ubuntu upto 10.04. I have no issues with latest versions of UBUNTU until i am a desktop user.
    But i am a web developer. Its really hard to use IDE’s and browsers with unity. Please understand the developers / programmers heart!!!!

  4. Nityānandi Says:

    Eagerly awaited with prescience and immense gratitude.

  5. Zero Nityānandi Says:

    Huge gratitude. Since Ubuntu 10.04, eagerly awaited with prescience. Mark keeps on coming through inexhaustibly.

  6. Mrs. Zero Nityānandi Says:

    In this meritocracy, you heart and soul developers in blue jeans are royalty.

  7. Pavan Says:

    Waiting for ubuntu 12.04 , I am expecting to see some changes in unity bar like its rotation and grouping of applications in 11.10 is very generic , I expect it to be some more specific.
    Nice work 🙂

  8. Chirag Says:

    Please consider those machine which don’t have any Internet connection to download “mp3” codecs, my only request is to include “mp3” codecs as default in ubuntu 12.04.

    And………. ya All the best.

  9. Marijn Says:

    I just noticed that in linux 3.3, between rc7 and final the following patch was landed:
    – udf: Fix deadlock in udf_release_file()

    The mail announcing it on February 20 was forwarded to the stable distribution list, but it has not yet emerged there (not in 3.2.12 at least).
    Do you plan to add it to the 3.2 kernel in time for the Ubuntu 12.04 release?


  10. Andy Whitcroft Says:

    The fix there appears to be making its way up via stable, so we should expect to see it in 12.04 LTS as soon as that happens. The fix appears to be in a non-default filesystem so that should be safe to release as an SRU as and when it makes it to stable too. We have no specific plans to get it into 12.04 LTS before it hits stable, if the severity of the symptoms are bad then please do file a bug on launchpad against the linux package and we can use that to track it.

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