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Riccardo Padovani: One year later…

Mon, 2014-03-17 08:00

Lot of things has changed in last year in my life: I changed university, city, I started (and finished) my first course on Coursera, I started to contribute to Ubuntu and to write code, and I achieved the Ubuntu Membership and others fantastic things.

But what happened exatly one year ago? Well, I posted this image in Ubuntu community on Google+:

Seems like another era! How much work the community (and Canonical guys) have done!
This was the first time I did something for Ubuntu, a screenshot on G+. Since then I started to contribute to Ubuntu for Phones: few days later I did my first patch (nazi grammar patch :-P) and since July I started to contribute on an ongoing basis.
It has been an exciting year, I did more than 250 commits for more than 10,000 lines of code; not bad, whereas I had never programmed before and I do it in my free time. I want to continue on this way for long time :-)

But take a look on where we are. This is a screenshot on Ubuntu 14.04, on a smaller screen:

Awesome! In only one year so much improvements!

The convergence strategy is fantastic, we’re building the future :-)

So, why don’t you start to contribute to Ubuntu?


This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Raphaël Hertzog: Kickstart the Arabic Translation of the Debian Handbook

Mon, 2014-03-17 07:31

I just wanted to highlight that Muhammad Saied, a volunteer translator of the Debian Administrator’s Handbook, is currently running a crowdfunding campaign with Mohamed Amine so that they can complete the Arabic translation that they started.

There’s only 6 days left to collect the last $2500… click here to help spread Debian to the Arabic world.

No comment | Liked this article? Click here. | My blog is Flattr-enabled.

Benjamin Mako Hill: Community Data Science Workshops in Seattle

Sun, 2014-03-16 18:41

Photo from the Boston Python Workshop – a similar workshop run in Boston that has inspired and provided a template for the CDSW.

On three Saturdays in April and May, I will be helping run three day-long project-based workshops at the University of Washington in Seattle. The workshops are for anyone interested in learning how to use programming and data science tools to ask and answer questions about online communities like Wikipedia, Twitter, free  and open source software, and civic media.

The workshops are for people with no previous programming experience and the goal is to bring together researchers as well as participants and leaders in online communities.  The workshops will all be free of charge and open to the public given availability of space.

Our goal is that, after the three workshops, participants will be able to use data to produce numbers, hypothesis tests, tables, and graphical visualizations to answer questions like:

  • Are new contributors to an article in Wikipedia sticking around longer or contributing more than people who joined last year?
  • Who are the most active or influential users of a particular Twitter hashtag?
  • Are people who participated in a Wikipedia outreach event staying involved? How do they compare to people that joined the project outside of the event?

If you are interested in participating, fill out our registration form here. The deadline to register is Wednesday March 26th.  We will let participants know if we have room for them by Saturday March 29th. Space is limited and will depend on how many mentors we can recruit for the sessions.

If you already have experience with Python, please consider helping out at the sessions as a mentor. Being a mentor will involve working with participants and talking them through the challenges they encounter in programming. No special preparation is required.  If you’re interested,  send me an email.

Shane Fagan: Linux games this year that im looking forward to

Sun, 2014-03-16 14:06

I try to do 1 of these a year so here is my list of things im waiting on.

Last year I said I can't wait for "Counter Strike Global Offensive". I love the game and am watching the finals of IEM right now on Twitch. I was in the beta but since I don't have a Windows partition since last year I couldn't play it or some other really good games that I am waiting on. Any time now Valve :-/ (side note as of this post its on sale so if you like FPS games and have a computer made in the past 2 years id suggest picking it up)

"Wasteland2" is something im definitely looking forward to playing. I played Fallout1 and my turn based story itch is getting to me since its definitely not a popular genre of games any more the space is definitely there for a game like this. Its already on steam in early access but not out on Linux yet but since its written in Unity3d it is only a matter of time before its out but ill wait to buy it myself, it seems like it will be on Linux in a few weeks given it was just released on MacOS. Side note they also have another game in development called torment tides of numenera which sounds like it won't be out till next year but it looks like a good game too.

"Planetary Annihilation", its a super strange thing to be excited for a game that I already have in my library but im still waiting to actually play it more since last time I had the chance was late alpha. I recently got an AMD R9270x and the game sadly doesn't work correctly on my machine. The even more frustrating part is I was using haswell graphics before that and they didn't work with it either. So I really hope their support gets better so I can actually play it some more but if you have Nvidia hardware go right ahead and play yourself if you like RTS games. This has a really fresh take on the genre of RTS.

"Prison architect", wow what a game for something so cheap and such a simple idea. Make a prison and keep the prisoners in there. The game is in early access as well like wasteland and planetary annihilation but is very stable and they are adding new things every month. Its really great to play a game that isn't finished and yet you can sink hours into it and make amazing things, then come back the next month and see whats changed. Go out and get it if you want something to relax and have fun and watch the rioting, fires, escapes and general mayhem that happens. I wouldn't say it would be the greatest game for kids or anything but about 15-50 should get a good laugh from it.

And the last game is "Castle Story", its a pretty simple game kind of along the line of minecraft but its like an RTS mixed with tower defense. I really enjoyed the survival mode a lot and its really cool in general.


Lubuntu Blog: Countdown clock

Sun, 2014-03-16 13:13
I'd like to thank our friend and collaborator Corbin Davenport for this. Specially when I used to be a pain in the neck, asking for the new clock day after day, and I must say the result is, as always, really amazing (have a look on your right). You can use it on your own website. Just copy and paste this HTML code: <iframe src="" style="width:170px;

Sam Hewitt: Onion Rings

Sun, 2014-03-16 00:00

I have to get my once-a-month greasy food cravings satiated some way –so I made onion rings a couple days ago.

They're also pretty straightforward to do. One simply dips rings of raw onion into a thin –what could be called pancake– batter, coats that with breadcrumbs and then deep-fries.

  • 1 large onions (preferrably the "sweet" variety), cut into ~1 cm rings
  • 1-2 cups dry breadcrumbs –just blitz up whatever leftover bread you have around
  • 1 quart deep-frying fat, such as peanut oil, lard, etc.
  • seasoned salt (recipe provided below)
  • Batter Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 cups milk
  1. Whisk together the egg and milk, in a bowl.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder.
  3. Dredge the raw onion rings in this flour, salt and baking powder mixture, tap away the excess, and set the rings aside.
  4. Add the eggy-milk to the dry ingredients and bring it together into a thin batter –it should drip fairly quickly off a fork. If it's too thin add more flour and if too thick add some more milk.
  5. Arrange the breadcrumbs in a large shallow dish (e.g. a baking sheet).
  6. Dip and lightly coat each onion ring in the batter and then gently toss in the breadcrumbs.
  7. Next, heat your fat/oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat until (if you have a fat thermometer, it's ~325 F/~160 C) or it begins to be visibly moving (I've deep-fried so many times I can tell by looking). Alternatively: use a deep-fryer.
  8. Fry the onion rings in batches until golden brown (~2-3 minutes).
  9. Season with the seasoned salt, if using, and serve hot. Enjoy. :)
Seasoned Salt

For me (and for onion rings) I like to make and use a seasoned salt with the following.

  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

You can vary the spice proportions to your tastes or use entirely different spices altogether. Really, what you decide to flavour salt with is up to you.

Paul Tagliamonte: Pygments 1.6

Sat, 2014-03-15 23:24

As of Pygments 1.7, there’s support for Hy!

Please report any bugs you find! This is great!

David Murphy: How GitHub communicates

Fri, 2014-03-14 21:23

Zach Holman writes about how GitHub communicates:

here’s a look at most of the communication that happened at GitHub on one random recent day: February 4, 2014

The expected methods are all there: chat (Campfire in their case), email, and – of course - GitHub itself.

One thing that piqued my interest was their internal-only social network “Team” which seems very reminiscent of how Automattic use WordPress & P2. Since I learned how Automattic use P2, I’ve been wondering if we could do something similar at Canonical. Perhaps we could use Google+  for this as we already use it for internal HangoutsUbuntu Developer Summit, and to power Ubuntu On-Air. There are ways to limit Google+ communities to members of your Google Apps domain.

(Side note: I hate having two Google+ accounts!)

I really need to finish coalescing my thoughts and put them into their own post…

The other point I noted was that their use of email was both minimal and individual – Team and GitHub itself are their primary ways of disseminating information.

It always interesting to see how others do achieve similar goals to yourself.

The post How GitHub communicates appeared first on David Murphy.

David Murphy: How GitHub communicates

Fri, 2014-03-14 21:13

Zach Holman writes about how GitHub communicates:

here’s a look at most of the communication that happened at GitHub on one random recent day: February 4, 2014

The expected methods are all there: chat (Campfire in their case), email, and – of course – GitHub itself.

One thing that piqued my interest was their internal-only social network “Team” which seems very reminiscent of how Automattic use WordPress & P2. Since I learned how Automattic use P2, I’ve been wondering if we could do something similar at Canonical. Perhaps we could use Google+  for this as we already use it for internal Hangouts, Ubuntu Developer Summit, and to power Ubuntu On-Air. There are ways to limit Google+ communities to members of your Google Apps domain.

(Side note: I hate having two Google+ accounts!)

I really need to finish coalescing my thoughts and put them into their own post…

The other point I noted was that their use of email was both minimal and individual – Team and GitHub itself are their primary ways of disseminating information.

It always interesting to see how others do achieve similar goals to yourself.

The post How GitHub communicates appeared first on David Murphy.

Nicholas Skaggs: Keeping ubuntu healthy: Core Apps

Fri, 2014-03-14 01:15
Continuing our discussion of testing within ubuntu, today's post will talk about how you can help the community core apps stay healthy.

As you recall the core apps go through a series of QA before being released to the store. However bugs in the application, or in the platform itself can still be exposed. The end result is that the dashboard contains tests failures for that application. To release a new stable image, we need a green dashboard, and more importantly we need to make sure the applications work properly.

Getting plugged in
So to help out, it's important to first plug into the communication stream. After all, we're building these applications and images as a community! First, join the ubuntu phone group on launchpad and sign up for the phone mailing list. The list is active and discussing all issues pertaining to the ubuntu phone. Most importantly, you will see landing team emails that summarize and coordinate issues with the phone images.

From there you can choose a community core app to help improve from a quality perspective. These applications all have development teams and it's helpful to stay in contact with them. Your merge proposal can serve as an introduction!

Finding something to work on
So what needs fixing? A landing team email might point out a failing test. You might notice a test failure on the dashboard yourself. In addition each application keeps a list of bugs reported against it, including bugs that point out failing tests or testing needs. For example here's the list of all new autopilot tests that need to be written for all of the core apps. Pick an app, browse the buglist, for the app, assign a bug to yourself, and fix it.

For example, here's the list of bugs for music app. As of this writing you can see several tests that need written, as well as a bug for a test improvement.

You can also simply enhance the app's existing testsuite by fixing a flaky test, or improving the test to use best practices, etc. As a bonus for those reading this near it's original publication date, we just had a session @ vUDS covering the core apps and the testing needs we have. Watch the session / browse the pad and pick something to work on.

Fixing things
Look into any failures you find and have a look at the tests. Often the tests can use a little improvement (or maybe an additional test), and you can help out here! Sometimes failures won't happen every run -- this is the sign of a weird bug, or more likely a flaky test.  Fix the test(s), improve them, or add to them. Then commit your work and submit a merge proposal. Follow the guide on the wiki if you need help with doing this.

Remember, you can iteratively run the tests on your device as you work. Read my post on click-buddy for help with this. If you are lacking a device, run the tests on your desktop instead and a reviewer can test against a real device before merging.

Getting Help
For realtime help, check out #ubuntu-quality and #ubuntu-autopilot on freenode. You'll find a group of folks like yourself working on tests, hacking on autopilot and sharing advice. If IRC isn't your thing, feel free to contact us through another method instead. Happy hacking!

Ubuntu LoCo Council: 14.04 DVDs/CDs: Pre-Orders now open for verified LoCo Teams!

Thu, 2014-03-13 16:54

Hello, everyone!

As you read it, pre-orders for 14.04 DVDs/CDs are now open for verified LoCo Teams. Only the team contacts should request this DVD/CD pack, which will be sent to the address they specify. These packs contain 150 Desktop DVDs and 25 Server CDs. Packs will start shipping when available, which is estimated to be two (2) weeks after release.

In order to put an order, the team contact needs to go here and place their pre-order.

If you have any questions, please write to us at

Thomas Ward: nginx-core is now in Ubuntu Trusty 14.04 Main!

Thu, 2014-03-13 15:58

Thanks to the efforts of myself and others, we have been able to get NGINX into the Ubuntu Main repositories for Trusty 14.04!

Having said this, none of the already-established flavors of nginx are included in Ubuntu Main (nginx-light, nginx-full, nginx-extras, and nginx-naxsi). The Ubuntu Security Team has said that the third-party modules are wildly different in coding and therefore cannot be supported.

To that end, we created a package called nginx-core which has been included in the Main repository. This package contains only the modules that ship with the stock nginx tarball. We do not include any third-party modules with this package, just the modules that come from NGINX upstream.

Thanks to everyone on the MIR an Security teams for all their help in getting nginx into Main!

Canonical Design Team: MWC 2014 – A strong design coherence in everything we do

Thu, 2014-03-13 12:05

Last month at Mobile World Congress Ubuntu’s presence was stronger than ever. Our third year at MWC and we made some significant design changes to our stand.

In such a large exhibition space, strong branding is key. We designed five large banners – made from fabric and stretched across metal frames – that were suspended above the stand. Each banner was then individually illuminated by a series of spotlights creating maximum impact and high level brand presence, while still maintaining the stands open and welcoming feel.

The back walls and a new hanging aisle banner all featured the folded paper background with large graphics showcasing app and scope designs from the phone and tablet. We also dedicated one wall to the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group (CAG).

Continuing our clean and precise design approach we used the Ubuntu shape (the squircle) to create bespoke pods, reception desk and demo unit – with warm white LED down lighting around the top and base and lightboxes to illuminate the Circle of Friends on the reception desk.

Integrating elements from our phone and tablet design across print and 3D environments builds a strong brand/design coherence in everything we do. We’re very happy with the new stand design and feedback from MWC has been very positive.

Canonical Design Team: New Apps header

Thu, 2014-03-13 12:03

The new apps header features max. 4 slots that can be arranged and combined in order to fulfil user needs in every screen.

Header’s values

We want to provide our users with the right amount of contextual information for them to know:

1- Where they are at (inside the app, in a particular view).

2- Where they can go inside the app in order to find content (navigate across different views).

3- What they can achieve in any given view (compose a message, crop a picture…).

The new header provides clarity by always showing the user where they are at, consistency by providing a way to navigate across main views inside the apps, and priority by surfacing the most important actions in every screen.

Header’s elements

The elements are the building blocks of the header, the controls that can placed inside the slots mentioned above.

There’s different categories of elements and each of them have to be positioned carefully in the header in order to create slick experiences across our apps.



One of the main values behind the new header is Clarity: we want the user to be clear about where they are at any moment.

That’s why the only mandatory element for our header is the title; you can leave some other slots empty, but every header has to have a title.


A Tab is a control that allow users to navigate across views directly from the header.

The main views of your app are the different faces  in how content is organised and visualised.


Our telephone app has two main views: Dialer and Contacts. Placing a tabs on the telephony header, allows users to toggle between this two views quickly.

Tabs placement

Place the tabs right to the title.

According to our interface values “right” means moving forward, and that’s what a tab precisely is, moving forward to the next view represented by the tab icon.


Actions allow users to accomplish a direct goal in every screen (compose a message , edit, crop a picture…) Give priority to the actions that will be used more often and place them in the header.

Example: Our address book app has a clear primary action which is add a new contact to the list.Placing that action straight to the header will make the user accomplish the goal quicker and smoother.

Actions placement

Place the actions right to the title as well.

In case you want to mix tabs and actions on the same header,  keep the tabs as close to the title as possible, creating a natural block to navigate across the views; place the actions after them.


After the main views of your app, subsequent views will use a back button in the header to navigate back to the main views. Back always returns to the previous view of an app, until the user reaches the main view again.

Example: Our gallery app has 3 main views: Photos, events and albums. Once the user gets to a detail view, the header of that view has a back button that returns the user to them main view where he came from.

Back placement

There’s only one place where you can place the back, and that’s the top left slot. According to our interface values, that’s a place where user has to intentionally stretch the finger and make an effort to trigger.


So we’ve already introduced a few elements, but what happens when there’s not enough free slots on the header to place all your tabs and actions? Our solution is the drawer: an overflow where users will find all the controls not available straight on the header.

Example: Our gallery app has 3 main views: Photos, events and albums; and it also has the “take a picture” action on the header. In order to keep the header clear, we’ve decided to place the main views inside a drawer, and surface “take a picture” on the header. In this particular case, the drawer contains the main views of the app.

Inside the drawer

The drawer can contain some of the elements that couldn’t fit in the header’s slots. If  the drawer is placed on the top left slot, then it will contain tabs (main views); if the drawer is placed on the top right slot, then it will contain extra actions.


Drawer placement

The drawer works as a metaphorical extension of the header, so placing it at the first or last slot helps reinforce that idea.




Search is a special action that allows users to rapidly locate a desired piece of content. And since search can be a really important use case in apps, we are providing a special experience for it.Triggering search will refresh the standard header into a search header, displaying the osk at the same time, and removing the focus from the content. (for more information on search read search pattern)

Example: Our notes app presents search as one of the main action in the header. Once the user hits on the search icon the header transitions to the search header.

Search placement

There’s only one place in the header where you can place search: top right slot.



Implication with the drawer:  In the scenario where you need a back button, a drawer and a search; the search will need to be kept in the top left slot in order to reinforce the search pattern across all our system.


Header layout

The four slots on the header can be arranged as follows:

Layout A

1 slot at the left of the title and max. 2 slots on the right

When to use it
  • You need to use a Back button in order to display detail screens for your app content.
  • Your app has a large number of main views and you need the drawer to display all of them.
  • You prefer to use the slots on the right to display actions, then you have to use a drawer to place the main views.
Layout B

max. 3 slots right to the title

 When to use it

  • You don’t need a back button.
  • You want to place tabs at the right for the user to be able to switch views easily.
  • Most of the actions to be performed on the app are contextual (related to the content) and there’s no need to surface those actions on the header.

According to our user interface values, content is always the priority; that’s why the header is just a tool the disappears when users don’t need it. By scrolling down, the header will disappear. By scrolling up  the header will slide in again.


It might be scenarios where users will need the header present at all times (i.e. Header with tabs) in that justified case, it’s possible to set the header fixed on the screen.




Ubuntu Server blog: Checking in from the Ubuntu Developer Summit

Thu, 2014-03-13 05:49

The Server team just finished up the second day of the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) March 2014 (see for the Server track). I may be biased (well, actually, I know I am), but I think its been very interesting – lots of good, thoughtful discussions around where we are and where we’re heading. Check out the videos and let us know what you think.

One video from today’s UDS sessions, I wanted to specifically highlight is the demo Robie Basak gave on uvtool.  Uvtool is, as Robie explains in the video, a very simple tool for setting up kvm guests – he calls it the glue that brings together several existing tools.  Just go watch it – and then go try it.

In December, Serge did a writeup on uvtool, I think that’s worth a read also –

Anyhow, time to prepare for the last day of UDS. Enjoy!

Duncan McGreggor: The Future of LFE

Thu, 2014-03-13 04:29
Erlang Factory

First of all, Erlang Factory this year was just phenomenal: great talks, great energy, and none of the feared/anticipated "acquisition feeding frenzy" -- everyone was genuinely happy for WhatsApp and Cloudant. And with that happiness, they were ready to get on with the conference and dive into the tech :-)

And gosh, there was a bunch of good stuff. Check out the schedule. Also on that page are the speaker pics. For those that have video or slides of their talk, the speaker pic is annotated; clicking on them will take you to the speaker's page with links to slides and/or video.

There's so much good stuff there -- I've definitely got my watching queue set up for the next few weeks ...

LFE Presentation

I gave a presentation on LFE which covered everything from motivational basics for using a Lisp in the 21st century, gave a taste of LFE in small chunks, and then took folks on a tour of creating projects in LFE. There was also some dessert of fun side/research projects that are currently in-progress. The slides for the presentation are here; also the slide source code is available (related demo project), and a shout out to the Hoplon crew for their help in making sure I could create this presentation in a Lisp (Clojure), and not HTML ;-) (It uses a Hoplon-based Reveal.js library.)

The Good Stuff

After the presentation, several of us chatted about Lisp and Erlang for a while. Robert and I later continued along these lines after heading over to the quiet of the ever-cool Marines Memorial 11th-floor library (complete with fireplace). Here we sketched out some of the interesting areas for future development in LFE. I'm not sure if I'm remembering everything (and I've added Sean Chalmers' recent experiments with types; blog and discussion):
  • getting the REPL to the point where full dev can happen (defining functions, macros, and records in the LFE shell)
  • adding macros (maybe just one) for easier use of Mnesia in LFE 
  • discussing the possibility of an LFE stdlib
  • gathering some of the best funcs and macros in the wild for inclusion in an LFE stdlib
  • possibly getting spec and type support in LFE
  • producing an LFE 1.0 release
Additional efforts planned:
  • building out an LFE rebar plugin
  • examining as another possible option
  • starting work on an LFE Cookbook
  • creating demos of LFE on Erjang
  • creating demos of LFE-Clojure interop via JInterface
  • creating more involved YAWS/REST examples with LFE
  • explore the possibility of an SOA tutorial with LFE + YAWS
  • releasing a planner demo
  • finishing the genetic programming examples
  • LFE style guide
  • continued work on the LFE user guide
I'll dump all these into github issues so they'll be easier to track.

If this stuff is exciting to you, feel free to jump into the low-volume discussions we have on the mail list.

More soon!

Zygmunt Krynicki: PlainBox 0.5b1 released

Wed, 2014-03-12 23:47
I've just released the latest version of PlainBox. The 0.5b1 release is available on pypi. A list of changes, and a lot of other documentation, is available on readthedocs. This release was long in the making, bringing a number of important features and bug fixes.

Updated Debian packages should be made available tomorrow. The final release is expected early next week after which I will try to get a Feature Freeze Exception and sync it to Ubuntu 14.04.

About PlainBox: PlainBox is a toolkit consisting of python3 library, development tools, documentation and examples. It is targeted at developers working on testing or certification applications and authors creating tests for such applications.

Lubuntu Blog: Dark panel theme

Wed, 2014-03-12 22:04
Due to popular demand, another variant was added to the Box theme for Lubuntu. Now you can use dark panels and adapted icons aswell. These modifications will be available in the downloads sections very soon. Also, the upcoming release of Lubuntu will include it.  This is how the panel looks with both themes:

Dustin Kirkland: My SxSW Interactive 2014 Recap

Wed, 2014-03-12 18:40
Overview: a Mega ConferenceSxSW is basically 3 enormous, loosely related, overlapping conferences -- Interactive, Film, Music -- drawing 250,000+ people to downtown Austin, Texas, over the course of 2 weeks.  Literally thousands of events, both official and unofficial, run 20 hours per day, from 7am until 3am the next morning.  The event draws the earliest adopting techies, geeks, film buffs, music aficionados, angel investors,
venture capitalists, musicians, recording studios, actors, agents, celebrities, and vendors of every imaginable kind.  With a keen eye, I also spotted one or two hipsters.  And throngs of Glassholes.

The largest keynote venues (plural) hold over several thousand people, and fill to capacity, with both closed circuit and Internet streamed broadcasts on display in multiple overflow ballrooms.  Technical sessions, presentations, and panels are spread across 30 different venues around downtown Austin (e.g. The Austin Convention Center, The Hilton, The Marriott, The Driskill, City Hall, The Chamber of Commerce, Palmer Event Center, the Omni, the Intercontinental etc.).  Tracks are roughly contained in a given venue.  While shuttles are available for moving between venues, the weather in Austin in March is gorgeous and everything is roughly walkable.

While massive corporate "super sponsors" drive the overall event (Miller, Chevrolet, AT&T, Deloitte, American Express), a huge portion of the interactive side of the house is focused on start ups and
smaller businesses.  This was a very familiar crowd, savvy and familiar with free software and open standards.  These are thousands of the hackers that are building the next 40 new apps you're going to
install on your phone or for which you'll soon have to generate a new web login password.

SxSW has been used to launch or spread countless social media platforms, including: Wordpress, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.  Early adopters now flock to SxSW in droves, to learn about new hardware and software gadgets before their Silicon Valley friends do.  Or, depending on your means, perhaps invest in said opportunities.
Expo Floor The tradeshow does require an expo badge, but in my experience, its pretty easy to come by an expo badge freely.  The expo floor includes 300+ booths, wide and varied, covering technology, gadgets, startups, film, music, and more.  Nearly 75,000 unique badges entered the tradeshow floor.

I saw at least 4 different public cloud vendors (Rackspace, SoftLayer, DigitalOcean, and Codero) with sizable displays.  I spent a good bit of time with Codero.  They're a new(ish) public cloud offering, built
on Ubuntu and CloudStack, based in Austin and Kansas City.  I also spoke with a couple of data analytics start ups, and talked a bit about Ubuntu and Juju.

I was surprised to see Ghostery on exhibit (I'm a big fan, actually, use it everywhere!). NASA had a spectacular booth.  I a few booths displaying their wares on Unity desktops (woot).

There were several RaspberryPi demos too.  The most amusing start up was from Japan, called LogLog, "When it comes to #2, we're #1".  Seriously.

I wore an Ubuntu t-shirt each day, and several people stopped to ask me where the Ubuntu booth was.  It's probably worth considering a booth next year.  I can see where both a Juju GUI and a few Ubuntu Touch devices would generate some great traffic and press at SxSW.  This is definitely the crowd of next generation app developers and back end social media developers building the new web.  It would behoove us to help ensure they're doing all of that on Ubuntu!
Session HighlightsI missed Friday and Saturday, but I did attend sessions Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

There was a very strong, pervasive theme throughout much of the conference, across many, many tracks about security, privacy of individual data, openness of critical systems and infrastructure, and
generally speaking, freedom.  I don't suppose I was expecting this. There were numerous mentions of open source, Linux, and even Ubuntu in various capacities as being better options that the status quo, for many of the social and technical issues under discussion.  Perhaps I gravitated toward those sessions (okay, yeah, I did).  Still, it was quite reassuring that there were so many people, unknown to many of
us, touting our beloved free and open standards and software as "the answer".

The other theme I picked up on, is how "connected" our media and entertainment devices and mechanisms are becoming.  Netflix is designing TV series (House of Cards) based on empirical data that they collect, about what people like to watch.  Smart TVs will soon deliver richer experiences about the sports and programming we watch, with real-time, selectable feeds and layers of additional content.  Your handheld devices are becoming part of the entertainment experience.

Here are a few highlights, mostly from names that you might recognize.
Edward Snowden[Note that I am not passing judgement here, just reporting what was said during that session.]

Perhaps the most anticipated (and reported upon) keynote was the remotely delivered panel session with infamous NSA leaker Edward Snowden, via Google Hangout.  The largest part of the conference
center was packed to capacity, and local feeds broadcast the session to much of the rest of the conference.  I suppose some of you saw the coverage on Slashdot.  Snowden's choppy, Google+ hangout picture featured the US Constitution displayed behind him.

He said that the NSA collected so much information that they didn't even know what to do with it, how to process it.  Collecting it proved to be the easy part.  Processing it was orders of magnitude more difficult.  He suggests that developers need to think security and encryption first, and protect user data from the start (and the SxSW tech savvy crowd are the ones to do it).  He said that encryption is not fundamentally broken, and it generally works very well.  That the NSA spent for less time trying to break systems, than to just monitor all of the easy targets.  He said that he felt like he did his job, by blowing the whistle, in that "he took an oath to defend and uphold the constitution, and what he observed was abuse and violation of it on a massive scale."

Adam Savage
Adam Savage (co-host of Mythbusters) delivered the best canned presentation of the entire event (for me).  He discussed Art and Science, how they're fundamentally the same thing, but we as a society, lately, haven't been treating them as such, and they're tending to drift apart.  He talked about code as art, as well.

Shaquille O'NealBelieve it or not, Shaq delivered a hilarious panel session, talking about wearable technology.  He described himself as the "world's biggest geek" -- literally.  He said that he used to be afraid of
technology (in high school), until he was tutored by one of the geekiest kids in school.  He then fell in love with technology (at 17), and has been an early adopter ever since.  He says he has both Android and iPhone devices, talked extensively about the Fitbit (the co-host was from Qualcomm), and other wearable technologies, particularly as they relate to sports, health, and fitness.

George TakeiGeorge Takei is 76 years old, but has the technical aptitude of a 24 year old computer whiz.  He bridges at least 3 generations, and is on a quest to bring technology, and especially social media to older
people.  I've been a subscriber to his feeds on Facebook/Twitter/G+, and he's really sharp witted, funny, and topical.  He discussed his tough life growing up (in an American concentration camp for Japanese Americans during WWII), coming to terms with his sexuality, entering showbiz, Star Trek, his (brief) political career, and now his icon status in social media.  Brilliant, brilliant man.  Entertaining and enlightening session.

Daniel SuarezDaniel Suarez is an author of (now) four cyberpunk technical thrillers.  I reviewed his first book (Daemon) back in 2008 on my blog (and a few more).  His publicist reached out to me, put us in touch, and we've been in communication ever since.  He sat on a panel with Bruce Sterling and Warren Ellis, hosted by Joi Ito (MIT Media lab, early investor in Twitter, Flickr, Kickstarter).  Daniel invited me out for dinner and drinks afterward with he and his wife, and we had a great time.  He's a huge fan of Ubuntu.  He says that he wrote all of his last book (Influx) on an Ubuntu laptop (woot).  In his previous book (Kill Decision), Ubuntu made a brief cameo on the main character's computer (albeit compromised by a zero-day attack).

The Darknet
I did attend a few sessions by lesser known individuals.  Not much remarkable, but there was one "interesting" presentation, introducing people to "the dark net".  The presenter covered a bunch of
technologies that (probably) you and I use every day, but framed it as "the dark net", and explained how anyone from malicious people to Wikileaks use IRC, PGP, tor, proxies, stunnels, bitcoin, wikis, sftp, ssh, and so forth to conduct shady business.  He only had a very small time slot, and had to tear through a lot of material quickly, but I found it sad that so many of these fundamental technologies were conflated and in some people's minds, I'm sure made synonymous with human trafficking, drugs, corporate espionage, and stolen credit card numbers :-(

Aaron Swartz documentary
I did manage to catch one documentary while at SxSW...  The Internet's Own Boy: The Aaron Swartz documentary.  Aaron's story clearly resonates with the aforementioned themes of freedomness and openness on the Internet.  While I didn't know Aaron personally, I was of course very much aware of his work on RSS, Reddit, SOPA/PIPA, etc.  I feel like I've known many, many people like him -- brilliant programmers, freedom fighters -- especially around free software.  His suicide (and this documentary) hits pretty hard.  There are hundreds of clips of him, from 3 years old until his death at 26, showing his aptitude for technology, sheer brilliance and limitless potential.  He did setup a laptop in a closet at MIT and downloaded hundreds of gigabytes of copyrighted JSTOR documents, and was about to stand trial on over a dozen felony counts.  The documentary argues that he was to be "made an example of".  Heartfelt interviews with Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, as well as Aaron's friends and family paint extremely powerful portraits of a brilliant, conflicted genius.  The film was extremely well done.  I had a pit in my stomach the rest of the day.


Svetlana Belkin: vUDS 1403

Wed, 2014-03-12 17:32

Today, I went to two the vUDS tracks since they were the only ones that I was interested in since they covered aspects in the Ubuntu Community.

The “Re-imagining our Online Summit” focused on how to redesign the summit to focus more on the non-developer side of the Community and still, of course, have the developer side.  My thought on this is that it’s a good idea to move away from having the summits being almost 100% for just for developers.  There are other parts of the Community that need spotlight, such as LoCo’s.  One suggestion that was suggested is to use a panel of let’s say five (5) people all from different teams and they talk about what their team is doing at the moment.  This is the only suggestion that I remember on the top of my head, I was fighting to try to get my mic working so I can be in the Hangout.  Nope, and I’m seeking to buy a mic that will work.

The second track that I went to is the, “Growing a new generation of Ubuntu leaders”, and this focused on the problem of getting leaders motivated to lead and to figure out a leader from a manager.  I took a lot of notes for this track and those notes can be found on that page that I linked in the Pad.  In this track, we focused on how to get non-natural leaders started.  Some of the ideas that were suggested are videos by Jono Bacon on how to start something, docs in the Toolkit to help leaders, and some mentoring system that ID’s new leaders and helps them to succeeded.

Even though this was a mid-cycle vUDS, there was still something for me to come and get my ideas across.  And hopefully, I will a working mic for the next one.