Jamming in Massachusetts

I want to give a big thank you to all the people who came to our Massachusetts Bug Jam today. That’s mterry, |lizzie, doctormo, Wesley, Felicia, Dave Hunt, Michael, Al and Tim. You all did great work reporting bugs, experiencing crashes and having fun with the new release.

A big thank you goes to Canonical for letting us use their Lexington office to hold the event and mterry again for being Canonical office chaperone.

Special mention for Al and Dave who are both seeing impaired; we all got to hear some of the issues with accessibility with Ubuntu. I hope our bug reports can help fix some of those issues; for example, did you know that there is no good screen reader accessible IRC client for Linux? That really hurts participation in chat channels when blind people can’t join IRC. Interestingly I think Dave mentioned he thought Unity might be better for accessibility than classic gnome overall, which was interesting to hear.

My issues focused around the nvidia drivers, the experimental drivers turned Ubuntu ‘classic’ from gnome-theme-less grey into something with a theme and the proprietary driver turned it into a black screen of death, basically a horrible user experience. So possibly issues with nvidia there, certainly unlikely I’ll be enjoying Unity any time soon on my machine.

Tim and Liz reported issues with the installer and the LiveCD desktop, firefox crashes, missing network icon, problems with boot loader installation. Wesley and Michael had some interesting issues with the alternate installer, but we figured that was a faulty usb stick, installed on an EeePC and some other fancy geekery. Finally Felicia brought cupcakes, gingerbread and did some bug hunting and also helped getting in pizza and soda.

Once again, big shout out to you all for being amazing.

Picture to come tomorrow hopefully.

Ubuntu Global Jam in Lexinton, Massachusetts

The Ubuntu Massachusetts Local Community team will be hosting a global jam event at the Canonical Lexington office on the 3rd April 2011. We have some car-pooling from Watertown and Alewife for those who are restricted to public transport and lament the cancellation of the Lexington bus on Sundays.

If the weather is good enough, I will cycle up to Lexington along the nice cycle path. You’re also welcome to join me and you should email me directly for details: doctormo@gmail.com; For everyone else, check out the loco page:

UDS Narwhal – Friday

Free Culture Showcase

We’re organising the free culture showcase for narwhal with the view to increase participation. There is talk of using celebrities as judges. We’ll need leaders of various communities like YouTube, Blip, deviantArt, Flickr etc. Each for each of the different media sections.

Do you want to be involved?

UDS Narwhal – Wednesday

Community Canonical Relations

The community wanted to make sure Canonical is doing the right thing and communicating with everyone in best place places and the best ways. So we had a heavy discussion about all the issues surrounding this relationship and how we can make it better.

Improving UDS Sponsorship

We really need to improve the UDS sponsorship process, there was many people who it was desirable to sponsor or who were nearer (and cheaper to sponsor) to the event and then there were plenty of people who just needed a little help to cover the costs instead of paying for everything. We didn’t manage to make any tasks for this item but I need to follow up on it.

Ubuntu Themed Websites

We have a set of code on launchpad for the designs behind the wiki, php, django and other websites to make sure ubuntu sites have lovely branding and we aren’t duplicating this branding work with each website. This session was about how we can make this better, easier to use etc.

Ubuntu Developers Manual

There is a manual which we need to make to teach programmers how to quickly get involved with Ubuntu development. Part of this session was dedicated to finding the right people to write chapters, look after translations and other issues. Hopefully a manual for the Natty release will give us a basis to teach as much as learn about how the Ubuntu development process works.

Ubuntu Light – Plannary

Ubuntu light is a system in co-development with Dell (I believe) and this system is quick, small and dedicated to launching web applications. The system will be installed dual-boot with windows machines and hopefully will help in fixing Bug #1.

Where you there?

UDS Narwhal – Tuesday

Date/Time and Calendar for App-Indicators

One of the barriers to getting Unity as the default interface for the Ubuntu desktop is the deficient clock applet. In order to fix the issues there will be a made a ui for changing the existing settings which are currently only available from gconf, plus changes to allow calendar entries to be taken from multiple sources with a default plugin for data from evolution. There will also be geo-location information used for changing the time zone automatically if possible.

Developer Outreach and Education

We need better documents for explaining how the development process works in Ubuntu and how new developers and existing programmers can get involved. Part of this will involve writing new documents, some new diagrams to give good overviews. There was talk of improving the mentoring system and improving the social relationship between experienced and new developers.

“Donations” through the Software Center

An exciting discussion about using the software center to accept payment/donations/flaters so that users can put money into the projects they love. This proposal is more of a donation system than a payment system so free Free Software would be able to register their donation method. Normally a commercial FOSS package should be added to a different part of the Software Center system. Participation will be initially limited to google summer of code projects since google have done a lot of the hard leg work for identifying project authorities for accepting payments.

The Ubuntu Artwork Team

The artwork team is getting a boost. We’ll be working on researching and designing a website for supporting artwork and design processes. This web presence will be our main goal for this cycle.

UDS Narwhal – Monday


Mark Shuttleworth kicked off this week’s UDS with a couple of interesting messages.

First was the focus on quality now that we’ve got a fair way through both the cadence and design pushes which Mark has been keenly interested in. We’re told to be super attentive to little issues and to demonstrate this Mark got together all of the best Canonical people involved in the Maverick release and gave them ice cream as a special treat. He then revealed that one of the bowels of ice cream had a fly in it. “This sweet ice cream doesn’t look so sweet now” he said. We need to pay attention to all the little flies like flickering screens and slow shell use because no matter how sweet we make Ubuntu, it won’t be attractive if there is even one fly in there. “we can do much much more, and be much much better”

The Unity interface will be coming to the default desktop. Thanks to demand and feedback the unity interface will be enabled for all users who have the hardware support and it’s being promoted as an easy to use interface. I agree with this, I’ve had the netbook launcher on my mum’s desktop for years now.

There was a note about Ubuntu’s relationship with the Gnome project. Part of this was the emphasise that Unity is a shell on Gtk/Gnome just as much as gnome shell will be, everything is the same Gnome in all other regards. The second part was a short clip of Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the Judians People’s Front is raving about how their not any of the other groups. This is trying to show us that groups that are trying to change the world too often focus on the very small differences between themselves instead of the main goals. The main message is: “We’re here to fight the Romans”

I was personally very happy with the mention of Ubuntu economics. Mark affirmed that the Ubuntu Software Center will support Free and Open Source software sponsorship where anyone can push money into projects and programs in order to move development forward. Improving the position of Free Software projects in the software center and allowing non contributing members to still contribute to projects. I know this is a bit of a dirty subject to a lot of people, but economics is _really_ important for Free Software and we ignore it at our peril.

Content Media Library

A really interesting project to create a multimedia sharing and collaboration platform which involves sharing and streaming your content around. It’s early days but it’s looking like Shotwell, Ubuntu One and PiTiVi are all excited about the possibilities presented here.

Development Learning Events

We’re discussing the organisation of further events to teach people development skills and introduce them to key technologies in the FOSS ecosystem. Brought up was linking up more of the existing documentation, making screencasts and having the information available on the project pages. Having development sessions which focus on how to get involved with projects rather than the basics on some technology was also brought up.

Stand Back! We’re going to Solve a Mystery with Science!

I went to six flags, on the way in they were checking t-shirts. I assume for fun. The lady said my t-shirt was good and that I should see out Scooby-doo as he’d be into that sort of thing.

So as well as going on a whole bunch of rides in this mini-american-but-almost-the-same Alton Towers. I got my picture as promised.

Taken by my wife for free and well it was interesting to be in line with 4 year-olds. But great all the same to do something social instead of thrill seeking.

I also gave them a hug. I mean if a 4 year-old can, I can’t see why I can’t! 😀