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Ubuntu 12.04 Development Update 4

(This is a guest post from Ubuntu developer and Canonical employee Daniel Holbach, which was originally posted here.)

Ubuntu Development Update

We are five weeks into the release cycle towards and 12.04 and the general level of activity is high. Everybody’s super-charged after the Ubuntu Developer Summit and full of ideas for 12.04. To get a good high-level idea of what was agreed on across the board, check out the proceedings of UDS. It contains the key take-aways from all of the different tracks at UDS: Desktop, Server and Cloud, Foundations, Hardware, Community, Design, ARM and others.

Some major updates like Perl 5.14 and Linux 3.1 (3.2 is expected in the final 12.04 release) have landed and a huge chunk of packages have been merged from Debian already. You can still get involved there. :-)

Until next week all blueprints have to be done and specifications been written, on 24th November we will have Feature Definition Freeze. The week afterwards (1st December), we hope to get Alpha 1 out the door.

Desktop-y bits in progress

Less visible, but still extremely important: autopkgtest is going to be used for testing packages in the future, apport and upower have been converted to do so already, more will follow. udev 175 got uploaded, which mostly consists of bugfixes. Work is going into installing languages as part of the “system settings” and there was some discussion about a Google cloud printing feature.

Heaps of things are happening in the DX team, who deliver great stuff such as indicators, Unity and the underlying technologies. There is work underway to getting a test harness and an ‘auto landing’ infrastructure up and running. Lots of good fixes have gone into the -proposed and -updates pockets and development for 12.04 is going on in high-speed fashion as well. The list of changes for ‘precise’ (trunk) looks fantastic. Revision 1726 will make your editor very happy.

Software Center is seeing a lot of activity as well. Having multiple screenshot per package and videos too will be brought to an Ubuntu near you in the not-too-distant future.

Events

Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day
I hope you will all be with me on 20th November! I mentioned it before, but because it’s important to me, I’ll mention it again: This year we are going to have the first ever Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day. It’s there to remind us all that Ubuntu is not just ‘fabricated somewhere’, but put together by a lot of human beings, who put hours and hours of work in making this the best platform. Participating is easy: take the time to thank somebody who put a lot of effort into Ubuntu to make it shine. Blog it, tweet/dent/facebook/g+ it and tell your friends!

Spotlight: Ubuntu Weekly Development Updates

We had 20 Ubuntu Weekly Development Updates already and we discussed a number of different things: first and foremost there were updates about what’s happening in Ubuntu development: updates from teams, from specific people, specific projects. Of course we always mentioned upcoming events and where exactly in the release cycle we are. We had spotlights on a variety of subjects and always tried to show the personal and human side of Ubuntu, which is why we placed high importance on showing contributors (no matter if they were first-time contributors or long-standing contributors) and see what they had to say. Another focus was obviously to make it clear where you can get involved.

The updates are here to stay, but since it was mostly one guy working on them, we discussed at UDS how to make them even better. The solution will involve setting up a small team who collate information that will come through a submission process that developers and others can use to tell their stories.

In addition to that a number of suggestions were brought up to highlight new topics. Here we go, straight from our notes from UDS:

  • provide examples
  • provide screenshots
  • provide FAQ (well, answers) of common errors / recurring issues new developers may encounter
  • tips about tools
  • list specific bitesize bugs
  • encourage brand-new ubuntu developers to tackle typos
  • encourage LoCo’s to drive ubuntu development sessions for peer-to-peer teaching of the basic tools/workflow
  • broaden scope: broader sense of development
  • focus on Debian relations / working with Debian

So here is where you come in: please leave your feedback below. It’s important to us make this service even better. Every suggestion is appreciated!

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.

  • Be interactive and reach us most immediately: talk to us in #ubuntu-motu on irc.freenode.net.
  • Follow mailing lists and get involved in the discussions: ubuntu-devel-announce (announce only, low traffic), ubuntu-devel (high-level discussions), ubuntu-devel-discuss (fairly general developer discussions).
  • Stay up to date and follow the ubuntudev account on Facebook, Identi.ca or Twitter.