CGP Grey has a video linked above that you should go watch. It explains the future of education and the direction that it’s already moving.
What I’m interested in is how Free Software and especially Ubuntu can be a part of that educational story. Currently the Ubuntu desktop is targeted towards desktop use, office productivity and social networking. While it’s true Edubuntu takes care of much of the thin client school deployment strategy; that’s not what the above video is pointing to.
Is being a college student or adult learner better on Ubuntu? The wikipedia lens would seem to suggest that we do have better integration at least of online services. But do we have better software? There’s nothing smart, yet, about the desktop that allows it to focus educational material or read-more type links towards individuals. We even struggle delivering help and guidance about the software itself directly to users, instead requiring a web browser to do these things.
But perhaps I’m getting way ahead of myself. Ubuntu could just be a simple job of delivering a web browser, with smarter and smarter servers. But somehow, a lot of this software is going to have to be on the desktop. And at this point we get to decide if that means turning the browser into a desktop and depreciating all our existing desktop APIs or building enough web enabled desktop extensions to our APIs. I just don’t know.
For now, I’m going to consider if any of the projects I’m involved with will play a part in this grander human project and how best the designs can align with that great story.
What are your thoughts?
Not much to report that won’t be in other reports today. Community round Table, LEGO presentation are ommited.
Connectivity Checking [pad]
We want to be able to report to applications the status of any network connection. Specifically if you are online, behind a connective portal or just connected to a local area network. The discussion centered around these issues:
- Privacy – Making sure that ip-addresses aren’t stored or catalogued
- Scaling- Can Canonical servers cope with millions of connections
- Sharing – Can we share connection checking servers with other distros, is there an RFC
- Resistance – Making sure that applications don’t stop working when they get an offline status. But use it instead to let users over-ride in case ubuntu.com and backups are down
My jobs are to ask the design team if there is any design work to do to integrate the information. And to provide the developer documentation with the best practices when using network manager online checking.
The future for this kind of functionality looks towards added programs which can assist connectivity through captive portals, as well as security profiles for limiting service expression on certain networks.
Online API documentation website [pad]
This is a new website for API documentation which is documented on the wiki. It’s a django based website which will be constructed in a generic fashion so any project should be able to set up their own api documentation.
As the wiki explains, the website will deal with api differences between versions of ubuntu and not the differences between versions of specific libraries. So for instance the api for Gtk in 12.04 will be set at whatever the released version was and will be categorised as the “12.04″ version.
There is also an idea of including ask ubuntu questions and many other resources from different places. Code snippets, screenshots and commentary are all interesting additions to bare bone api documentation.
Integrating Ubuntu Online Accounts [pad]
This discussion was mostly about feedback from app developers about how to use the new api and what requirements different apps have. There is new documentation being developed which will help developers get integrated and make use of people’s online accounts without having to write their own authorisation management code.
Concerns with the API were as follows:
- Being able to support both Gnome and Ubuntu Online Accounts; would require a wrapper to negotiate between them.
- Support for permissions/capabilities of each account can provide each app with only the permissions it needs.
- Allow app keys to be used so targeting a permission or token to a specific app and not just the desktop as a whole.
- How does this relate to the Freedesktop secrets API ? GnomeKeyring etc.
- There was a need for more plugin documentation to help developers get to grips with it all.
Ubuntu Development Videos [pad]
This session was very frenetic with many people interested in making scripts and performances to update the developer video guides.
My job this cycle will be to put together some basic media and branding for use in developer videos as well as performing in one video when the scripts are written. Tasks have been divided into the steps: 1) script, 2) performance, 3) editing, 4) publishing. There is a task which will hopefully provide the documentation on how to do each part for everyone who hasn’t done these videos before.
Others not involved in the session will be needed, we need as many different people as possible to complete the documentation refresh.
Integrate a Paper Cuts toolbelt
This session fell into a hole, no one turned up and the room didn’t do anything.
Today we heard about design community, valve’s commitment to Ubuntu (read more on OMG) and the importance of app developers and how we’re giving them a good time.
Error handling design guidelines [pad]
We were given a presentation about some of the problems that we have on the desktop presenting information when things go wrong. [link]
When cryptic errors occur, users are left baffled, powerless and sometimes even insulted. The guidelines are there to show developers how best to communicate to users and guide users out of any problems through suggestion and allowing recovery where possible.
Tone plays an important part of a message’s ability to convay useful information. An error should be both clean enough for the user and contain enough identifiable information for any tech support. this is a serious conflict and is the reason error messages need a lot of thought and attention. Nobody expects their app to have errors, but when they happen we want users to be congenial if not happy.
Ubuntu SDK Assessment Criteria [pad]
This session was filled with caution and the consensus was generally that because we don’t control the Ubuntu stack, we can not make guarantees about the APIs that might be involved in nailing down an SDK.
Thus we want to create an Ubuntu Kit for Software Development which does not commit Ubuntu to supporting applications developed using it beyond the version it was developed on.
There are lots of parts to development which should be documentation and in cases codified i.e. made into automated tools and scripts to reduce workload. No decisions on an SDK have been made and this session is mostly about investigations into making that decision.
I’ve used the weekend to turn my time-table around for UDS. Going to bed at 6pm and up at 2am to attend sessions over in CET. I’m planning on pots and pots of tea and maybe I’ll buy in lots of finger foods to emulate that break time feeling you always get at UDS.
I’m going to be focusing on developer environments for Ubuntu because while we have a super buetiful desktop, we have a super unsophisticated developer environment which is crying out for design. And my attention will be on the design community where it comes up for discussion. How people can get involved and how we can all get along.
See you there in the IRC channels, and don’t forget attendees to involve everyone who is remote!
What are you looking forward to attending? Comment below.
I decided to update my netboot image, make it a lot more awesome looking when it comes on. So I decided to use an existing awesome background (no credit found) and add the required parts.
First this is the default netboot splash for 12.10, it hasn’t changed in a long time:
Next, this was the original netboot image I made three years ago:
Finally, this is my updated image:
This is a great process work showing how MyPaint and Gimp are used to created great artwork.
Artwork by vonholdt on deviantArt:
I’ve been looking around for a concise list of 12.10 features. So far this is the list:
- Web Apps
- Unity Previews
- Web Search (Shopping)
- App Install Bypass
- Online Accounts
- Full disk Encryption
- Remote Login
- Exit apps from spread
- More unity tweaking
I’m particularly interested in any improvements to the default applications; Which often don’t make these lists. Any core or server work which will improve Ubuntu desktop use somehow or pave the way for future functionality.
Please post below.