Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oneiric Update

Well, here we are, getting close to the release of Ubuntu Studio 11.10 aka Oneiric Ocelot and a few topics come to mind for immediate discussion.

Oneiric Development
Sadly, development is crawling forward in between periods of stark inactivity.  Our goal was to transition to XFCE during this development cycle.  Unfortunately, it seemed that almost everyone of those actively involved were busy outside of Ubuntu Studio.  Development stagnated for several months but I think we are building momentum again and making progress.

Therefore it seems that while we may make a transition, it will not be the thorough or complete transition for this release.  It is embarrassing, but it is also true.

So, it would seem that two development cycle will be required to complete the transition to XFCE.

We are currently testing the Beta 1 image.  You can help test as well (please do!) by going to the QA Website and choosing the appropriate architecture to test.  And be sure to report your results!

I tested (and reported) the image last night and I will forewarn you that it currently is not aesthetically pleasing at this point.  Our main concern at this point is to make sure everything works, then we can make it pretty.

Currently the current theme and settings are still the default XFCE settings but Cory is still working on this.  So, "pretty" is still in the plan ;)

We still need help for almost everything.  But this time I want to be slightly more selective in my solicitation.

We certainly need people for almost every aspect but one quality (well, perhaps two actually) I would like to highlight:  self-reliance and initiative.

People who can take a general direction (i.e. "find out how to set the background for the new lightdm greeter"), find answers/solutions with minimal input from the team (i.e. go find other code that has already done it, ask the lightdm developer, or just play with it), and yield a results (i.e. "I figured out how and this is how you do it...") are greatly needed.  We appreciate anyone who wants to help, but if the team spends time to walk someone else through it then other major changes will not occur.  It's a paradox and it sucks but that is where are at.

I knew practically nothing about development and no one directly mentored me.  I asked lots of questions, did a lot of research (all hail the mighty Google), and experimented/tested a lot.  It can be done, even if you don't know much currently, but you need to have tenacity.

Also I want to state that internally we have shifted from using the term "developers" to "contributors" for the team.  This may seem like semantics, but it is more than just that.  There truly isn't that much "developing" going on as we don't write a lot of code within the team...but we do a lot of other things like creating themes, creating packages that adjust settings, testing, artwork, yadda, yadda, yadda.

The fear was that the term didn't accurately reflect what we did and it seemed to hold exclusive connotations.  People shied away from help because they weren't "developers".  But everyone (and I really, really mean that) can contribute :)

Probably the best way to really get into the mix is to visit us on Freenode IRC at #ubuntustudio-devel.  Be sure to stay there for a while and don't leave after three minutes because no one says anything back.  We are all busy and in different time zone so you may need to wait several hours before you receive a coherent reply.

Of course, IRC visits aren't absolutely required to help because there's always monthly QA testing and documentation that needs to be created and maintained.

A confluence of activities yielded an interesting result....the majority of the active team feels that we should define our audience as musicians who are new to Linux.  This is still a continuing process so we might refine or adjust this definition.

But the general feelings was that other multimedia distributions are addressing other areas of the user space spectrum and Ubuntu already has a connotation of being accessible for users new to Linux.

Therefore, Ubuntu Studio could directly support those who are new to Linux.  They might either have used a multimedia OS or may be transitioning from Windows or Mac.

Unsurprisingly, articulating an audience and a goal suddenly gave a clearly defined direction to the project that had been lacking and many of the questions we had simply had answers.  Troy predicted this phenomenon to me over a year ago.

We would certainly appreciate any feedback on this subject.


Anonymous said...

Self-reliance and initiative are great, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to tell use what you need beyond come talk to use on IRC. Is there a work list either in Launchpad or a wiki page somewhere?

Scott Lavender said...

Excellent idea andrewsomething.

I will do this shortly.

Icy EyeG said...

Regarding the move to Xfce, I have a question: Are you going to use Nautilus instead of Thunar and will you enable Compiz windows decoration by default?
These are things that I really miss since I've been using Xubuntu. It's possible to install them, but there are som quirks that need to be addressed on their integration to Xfce.

Native support for nautilus and compiz would also ensure smooth upgrade to Ubuntu Studio users with minimal loss of functionality.

Rick said...

any idea how close is close regarding the new (XFCE ?) UbuntuStudio coming out?, besides the "'ll be ready when it's ready ?"
Does this also mean some possibilities of incorporating things like , let's say, Openbox tools,.., look and feels ?

Rick said...

when the dust all settles, is this still gonna be Ubuntu/Canonical based, or are we heading towards something really different ?
If we're headin' away,then I guess we gotta find a better name instead of UbuntuStudio.
-maybe "XStudio" ?

Rick said...

let's start "backwards".
Think of the most prized mulimedia apps that ppl (not just UbuntuStudio) use, from Video/Audio production to "gaming",...
Then let's build back from there, the best driver's,(and/or supported the most)... with all the needed updates.
XFCE/LXDE/OpenBOX/.... does it really/crucially matter ? ya and no.
Video card wise, its either AMD/ATI and/or Nvidia. ok soooo,....
Sound card-wise it's a mess, and so is Linux-pulseaudio, we gotta live with it.
If we want it as easy to install for a new user coming from windows/Mac, then you know we gotta ask the "RIGHT" questions during installation, to suit many needs.
This is a HUGE freekin' plate to fill, as we all know.
The end does justify the need,... eventually.
I dunno, but we have to build this from the outside -> in.

R. K. Wijayaratne said...


Has your team considered using Linux Mint as the base of your development? I used Ubuntu Studio 11.04 and loved all the multimedia apps that came with it. I am a web developer/programmer who also does UI work, so this distro suited my needs very well.

I found Ubuntu with Unity unfamiliar and cumbersome to use. So I tried Ubuntu Studio 11.10. While the apps were there, the aesthetic sides was not, as covered in this blog post. I then Mint yesterday and was blown away by how good it looks. I have as of now switched to it.

Rather than modifying XCFE for looks, wouldn't it be more straightforward to build Ubuntu Studio on top of all the aesthetic work that the Mint team have done? They even have a dark theme that matches the default Ubuntu Studio dark theme that came with 11.04.

After installing Mint the only thing I missed was the lack of apps that come with Ubuntu Studio. If these two aspects are combined, the apps from Ubuntu Studio and the looks of Mint, I feel it would create an unstoppable distro!

Kind regards,


Anonymous said...

Excellent idea Rashika ! Mint would seem ideal and RT kernal support would be important to the Audio folks as well.

Scott Lavender said...

@ andrewsomething

i started this shortly after your comment but have recently been working on it again and wanted to share.

any feedback would be appreciated