Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Day the Kilt Stood Still

I just realized...

There was no kilt.  Why was there no kilt?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

UDS-Q Day Three

After some delay, I am continuing the posting on the third day of the Ubuntu Develop Summit for Quantal Qeutzal in Oakland, California.

Getting Home

In order to maximize my weekend before returning to work, my flight leaves at 06:00 on Saturday.  Apparently I naively expected to take the BART but I have learned that the first BART is at 06:30.

Turns out the answer is a local shuttle service (thanks Elizabeth and Charles) who will pick me up at 03:30.  I might not even go to sleep Friday night :/


I learned about some remarkable things today related to available QA tools which hopefully will reduce the work load on our small team.

During a ubuntu-qa-tools session, I learned about automated ways to download and start a new image in KVM from a single command.  Rock on!

Turns out there are many other tools that will lower the threshold for new testers to easily join and help with testing..  I will certainly be  exploring these tools more. Also, during this session Gema mentioned her Plenary presentation for QA.  I look forward to learning more :)

Improving the testing tools used by Ubuntu Studio is another important aspect for our future.  By automating the basic ISO test we should be able to devote more time to deeper testing.

Learning of the available QA tools, along with the available backports tools, should really have significant impact to Ubuntu Studio starting with this cycle :)


Last UDS I only took two pictures, this year I intend to do much, much better.  Hopefully tomorrow I start taking them.

There are a huge number of extremely cool and incredible people at UDS and I really hope to document some of this experience with a Picasa photo album.


As happened last year, midweek seemed to slip out of high gear as I didn't find as many interesting sessions. But I am sure I am an outlier at UDS.

Oh, I know of one interesting session coming up on Friday; it is the a session that I will be leading for the 'Desktop Juju (see JuJu Studio section)' blueprint that was approved and scheduled.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

UDS-Q Day Two

Catching up on the blogging for the second day of the Ubuntu Develop Summit for Quantal Qeutzal in Oakland, California.


My first session on Tuesday was the Backports BoF (Bird of a Feather) session for which I was very interested so that we can better support Ubuntu Studio 12.04 LTS. Backports are an important way to get versions of software with new features released to users for released versions of Ubuntu.  This is in contrast to regular updates which will only handle bug fixes and security.

I believe the Long Term Release (LTS) is an important part of Ubuntu Studio for our users and I want to demonstrate this with developing an active and robust backports program.

Therefore I was very impressed and encouraged to learn about many new tools (available commands at page bottom) and the updated wiki and help pages.  Great work by Evan Broder and others.

I am very excited about this.

Ubuntu Studio Plenary Presentation

I enjoyed the chance to talk about Ubuntu Studio in a "Ubuntu Derivative" [0] UDS Plenary and I chose some very specific goals for my presentation.

The first goal was about public awareness and sharing the vision of Ubuntu Studio.  I find it a little disheartening that even within the Ubuntu ecosystem that many people are unaware that Ubuntu Studio exists.  But also that even when people are aware of it, they don't know what it really is.  So, hopefully I made progress in making people aware that Ubuntu Studio exists as a platform for content creation.

My second goal was to display the activity, both recent and planned, within Ubuntu Studio.  I feel very proud about the improvements in Ubuntu Studio 12.04 LTS and excited about the vision for the future.  Hopefully, I conveyed both emotions.

Hopefully, it accomplished all that I wanted and more, but to be honest, the entire presentation was a bit of a blur and I remember very, very little of it.  Several members of the audience have given me compliments on my presentation but I still fear that I was a bit derpy.  I believe it was all recorded and I wonder if any video is available.  I might watch it to see what I looked like...but then I might not :P

And if anyone was confused how I greeted Allison, hopefully this G+ post will explain the circumstance. I should mention that I'm not really that nervous or shy ;)

Desktop JuJu

While I was originally not attracted to the Ubuntu HUD, I am beginning to find a new appreciation for it while using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which is installed currently on my non-production laptop.

As I previously mentioned (see JuJu Studio section), I think it would an awesome and powerful accomplishment to make work flows more directly accessible to users without the need for manually starting many applications, changing settings, and making any audio connections.

In a follow up conversation on another topic, Ben Howard strongly suggested I make a blueprint, get it approved, and on the schedule as he felt this had incredible potential for helping with common desktop usage, problem solving, and improving the user experience.  So I did.

I think it would provide an amazingly helpful tool if users were able to open the HUD, ask a question (e.g. why isn't my wireless working?), and have solutions presented with a heuristically determined most probable solution suggested first.

It is possible that this could be extended to include starting and running many complex processes and then managing them in a similar fashion as JuJu and Charms with web deployment.

I concede the fact that JuJu and Charms are not developed for desktop deployment. But could a similar framework be adapted or developed for the desktop?

If so, this could provide a potentially powerful tool for Ubuntu Studio to help users quickly access their work flows and minimize distractions when they have inspiration. I have found that starting five applications, loading template, and making connections is NOT conducive to the creative process when I find a new riff and want to record and develop it. In many cases that inspirational spark can be either neutered or completely lost.

Google Party

This night ended up with a weird party hosted by Google. Some said they enjoyed it, others said it was weird and strange but stayed.

I left shortly after I arrived and chose to eat a nice chicken Caesar salad in the hotel restaurant away from the strangeness.  I learned later that I was not alone in my choice.

I believe a majority of people did not attend the Google party because there were involved in Canonical-centric meetings (with dinner and drinks presumably) at this time.


The evening winded down for me with a call with the family, some reading, and other busy work.

And thus ended day two.

[0] I believe the proper term is flavor rather than derivatives.  I view Linux Mint as a derivative while Kubuntu, Xubuntu, et al are flavors of Ubuntu as were officially recognized within Ubuntu.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

UDS-Q Day 1

I'm starting this series of posting a little late, but it's time for  the Ubuntu Develop Summit for Quantal Qeutzal in Oakland, California!  :)


I'm excited about attending my second UDS, not the least of which is because I was going to give a presentation Ubuntu Studio during the Plenaries in front of several hundred people.

However, in contrast to UDS-P, I didn't have a particular goal giving the event an overarching direction.  I went to UDS-P in Orlando, Florida with a major goal of building support to get the -lowlatency kernel into the repositories (which happened).  This time I was going with the flow.

Incidentally, an unusual outgrowth of last year's UDS is that I spent quite a bit of time re-introducing myself.  Last UDS I had a beard while this year I reverted back to my normal appearance.


It all started off with Mark's keynote speech.  Some of what he spoke about was the HUD, Ubuntu for Android, Ubuntu TV, and the theme for this release.

It was all quite inspirational and it is clearly a very exciting and creative time to be using and working on Ubuntu.  I see that amazing and pervasive things are happening and Ubuntu 12.04 was just the start of it.

What followed next was the blur of many sessions and even more people.  Luckily a few serendipitous meetings stand out for me and Ubuntu Studio.

-lowlatency Kernel

One such meeting resulted in the suggestion that I should attempt to get the Ubuntu Kernel Team to maintain the -lowlatency kernel instead of the Ubuntu Studio team.

The main reason is that the patch to make the changes to the configuration files is very small (a purported "2 lines") and could easy be made into a build option which all could be completely automated.  Every security patch would happen concurrently as the main kernels are updated and without any additional effort.

In contrast, the Ubuntu Studio team needs to manually update the -lowlatency kernel, which is not an inappreciable amount of work, for each security update.  And these sometimes lag a bit due to scheduling.

Although further discussion about the archive reorganization might effect this issue, it seems that obvious blockers do not exists.

This would be a major improvement to remove a significant responsibility and time commitment from our small team.

JuJu Studio

I view things differently than others, quite often seeing things in abstract ways.  I want to disintermediate (oh crap, I realize I've been using this term wrong :P ) the desktop from between the user and their applications.  I want our creative users to have transparent and direct access to their tools to avoid hindering the creative process.

After learning about JuJu and Charms, and seeing how excited Jorge Castro was about them, I wondered if they might help Ubuntu Studio users.

My poor explanation is that JuJu is a framework to deploy and manage web infrastructures and Charms are the recipes defining which actions are necessary.  Think of this as packaging a formula for a string of applications and settings in order to accomplish a specific goal.  Brilliant!

That's what I want to do with work flows and Ubuntu Studio.

For example, let's say that a user wants to record his band.  A typical example might be to open qjackctl, start jackd with certain settings, open Ardour, start with a particular template, open particular effects, set typical settings on said effects, and finally make the typical audio connections.

Could a user employ Studio JuJu to run a "record my band" charm to accomplish the same, repetitive, deterministic steps each time?

I hope so.  I'll be talking to Jorge or someone on his team.

Automated Studio Testing

Often I cannot find session that I immediately know relates to Ubuntu Studio and I pick a session that interests me.  Many times it turns out that it does.

One such session made me aware that the Ubuntu Studio team would probably benefit from some of the tools used by the QA team to perform automated testing on ISO images.

Automating the standard ISO testing of the Ubuntu Studio presents a chance to dramatically reduce the work load on the team, which would afford us more time to do further, deeper testing.  This should result in greater overall quality for our users.

I hope to discuss this with Gema Gomez during the week.


So, a call to my wife and kids (love and miss you all), followed by almost three hours of residual (non-Canonical/Ubuntu) work that I was unable to complete before coming here, and I wrap the day up and look forward to the next.