More Issues Than You Can Shake a Kernel at

Today I made a video about my System76 laptop (COMPAL CL90) and it’s disastrous functioning with modern Linux kernels and the urgent need to get this bug fixed by the right expert. To help people understand the issues, I’ve created a video. It’s rather cute, check it out.

View Video Online, MPEG4 Video

  • Hardly working Power On
  • No Suspend
  • No Hibernate
  • Error causing virtual terminal
  • Hibernating battery detection

Do you have any ideas?

Ubuntu’s Adoption Curve, Past and Present

We’re about to embark on a new cycle and with that comes the hopes of many that the Perfect LTS can be a really good break through release. I was reading a comment by the ever ready Jeff Spaleta over on Mark Shuttleworth’s Blog. His assertion was that Ubuntu has been loosing people according to the Wikimedia web stats data, so I decided to put this to the test.

A warning to those new to web stats: they can be unreliable and not very scientific, there could be many reasons for the following data, in addition this is a limited data sample using data from people’s browsers who visit wikipedia.

Taking data just for Ubuntu in the months just previous to a new release. So March and September of each year to give lagards 5 months to upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu, I put together the data to compare the past 4 releases and over their in context previous stats: Download PDF Here Spreedsheet Here

Jeff politely says “Ubuntu has been trending downward”, but to me over the cadence of the release it looks worse.

The other interesting comparison and the reason for the graph is the percentage of users upgrading to the next release. You can see 66% upgraded to Karmic while 18% stayed behind on Jaunty. For the LTS release Lucid we get a strong 69% upgrade while 15% stayed put, Maverick was still quite strong even coming after an LTS release with 42% of users upgrading and 41% staying with the LTS as expected. But with Natty we have a huge tumble to 13% of users upgrading and 21% staying with the pre-unity 10.10 release as well as 49% of remaining users sticking to the LTS release.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, what do you think we should talk about at UDS to try and pick up the adoption a bit and get Ubuntu on track for world domination? Are we failing and should we just pack up and install Android? Your thoughts as always below…

Update: Thanks to the comments about the Firefox user string, it does appear as if 11.04 was the start of the great Mozilla bleaching, removing any identifying marks from the browser agent. So all those identified as using Ubuntu 11.04 are actually using Chromium or one of the other browsers. The last data point is impossible to gauge now and it’s probably not that low. Still an estimated 15% of users aren’t using Firefox, not bad.

Ocelots Are Go

My System76 Laptop (Compal CL90) has been stuck on Lucid Lynx for a long time and while I did manage to upgrade to Maverick using some trickery (installing the lucid kernel) and the problem is reported but not going away with the latest release 11.10, I’ve decided to upgrade anyway.

The reason why I’ve upgraded despite not being able to use the proprietary nvidia driver is thrice: a) Unity is much more mature, b) The Nouvau driver is much better now and c) My computer was getting crufty jugglers with great big bushy beards with no kernel updates and needed culling after more than a year of active development on the same desktop.

So far I’m happy with the release, it’s stable, I’ve removed mono, Banshee and Thunderbird and installed Rhythmbox, Evolution, Inkscape and Gimp to get started. Hopefully I won’t need to use the 3D support for anything, although it’s looking surprisingly okish.

What are your thoughts on the new release?

Making Sure Ubuntu Works with Hardware

The Ubuntu Friendly program, much like the old Fedora data gathering and other similar programs, aims to find out what hardware Ubuntu works on and which hardware causes issues. This is a very important part of out ability to assess both regressions and entrant hardware comparability and I commend anyone’s participation in the program as vital to Ubuntu’s future progress.

I do however want to add something to the discussion about hardware testing. I think one of the things we get wrong when gathering data about hardware is that we have no clue how much hardware is actually out there, we indeed can not be sure what it is possible to test with and what we’ve failed to test. And this half-data doesn’t just impact hardware testing…

A classic example from our community is the guttenprint driver and open printing website. The website lists all the printers which other users have added to the database. This means that there are inconsistencies in naming, duplicate entries and lots and lots of missing entries. This doesn’t help developers, they can’t know for sure how good the coverage of the guttenprint driver is looking at the website.

The solution for gutten print and I think for projects like the Ubuntu friendly program is to spend some time researching and documenting the hardware-space; i.e. writing down all possible published hardware. A good solid coverage list can turn the seemingly infinite task of say getting a picture for each hardware into a finite game where you win when all known hardware has a picture.

This is the same as testing, as sure as it is the same with producing printer drivers. We should know for sure what our possible scope is before passing over the torch to user data. Users are not going to be as bothered about testing their computer if the message is: “Come test your computer, it might be possible your data is unique”, but they could be much more motivated if the message is targeted as: “This type of computer has never been tested and you’d be helping Ubuntu out a great deal if you can run the test suite.”

Not just good for targeting, but also good for testing progress. We can see how well our testing programs are going, how much coverage we can produce in time for the release or RC. It would be great to have a competition between LoCos to see which group can dig up new and unique hardware to test.

So with all this in mind, I appeal to all those involved in the Ubuntu Friendly program to consider doing the diligent thing of going out there to OEM websites and documenting everything you can find. It doesn’t have to be in depth, we might not even need to know what the hardware is for sure, but it would be great to be able to use smart tactics.

What are your thoughts dear reader?