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Ubuntu Server blog: 2014-04-08 Meeting Minutes

Tue, 2014-04-08 17:12

A few last pieces are being worked in the last couple of days to final

  • James Page is struggling to find a release team member to review the feature freeze exception request (bug 1295093).
  • The juju-quickstart MIR is deferred; Robie will upload some final bugfixes soon.
  • Louis is working on some last minute fixes to sosreport.
  • Parameswaran reports that all smoke tests are passing.
  • Stefan is polishing some last pieces in Xen and libvirt.

Full minutes:

Ubuntu Kernel Team: Kernel Team Meeting Minutes – April 08, 2014

Tue, 2014-04-08 17:11
Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.


20140408 Meeting Agenda

ARM Status

T/master-next: LP1303657 (“Cannot boot trusty kernel on qemu-system-arm”) – we
were missing the correct dtb (wasn’t necessary in S) and qemu was waiting for a
console over jtag (HVC_DCC) that would never show up – waiting for a
confirmation from the reporter before sending the patches.

Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:

Milestone Targeted Work Items    apw    core-1311-kernel    4 work items          core-1311-cross-compilation    2 work items          core-1311-hwe-plans    1 work item       ogasawara    core-1403-hwe-stack-eol-notifications    2 work items       smb    servercloud-1311-openstack-virt    3 work items   

Status: Trusty Development Kernel

We entered into Kernel Freeze for Trusty last Thurs and have uploaded
what we intend to be the final kernel for Trusty, 3.13.0-23.45. All
patches from here on out are subject to our Ubuntu SRU policy and only
critical bug fixes will warrant an upload before release next week.
Important upcoming dates:
Thurs Apr 17 – Ubuntu 14.04 Final Release (~1 week away)

Status: CVE’s

The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:

Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Saucy/Raring/Quantal/Precise/Lucid

Status for the main kernels, until today (Mar. 25):

  • Lucid – Verification and Testing
  • Precise – Verification and Testing
  • Quantal – Verification and Testing
  • Saucy – Verification and Testing

    Current opened tracking bugs details:


    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:



    cycle: 30-Mar through 26-Apr
    28-Mar Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    30-Mar – 05-Apr Kernel prep week.
    06-Apr – 12-Apr Bug verification & Regression testing.
    17-Apr 14.04 Released
    13-Apr – 26-Apr Regression testing & Release to -updates.

Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No open discussion.

Daniel Pocock: reConServer for easy SIP conferencing

Tue, 2014-04-08 16:24

In the lead up to the release of Debian wheezy, there was quite some debate about the Mumble conferencing software which uses the deprecated and unsupported CELT codec. Although Mumble has very recently added Opus support, it is still limited by the fact that it is a standalone solution without any support for distributed protocols like SIP or XMPP.

Making SIP conferencing easy

Of course, people could always set up SIP conferences by installing Asterisk but for many use cases that may be overkill and may simply introduce alternative security and administration overheads.

Enter reConServer

The popular reSIProcate SIP stack includes a high-level programming API, the Conversation Manager, dubbed librecon. It was developed and contributed to the open source project by Scott Godin of SIP Spectrum. In very simple terms, a Conversation object with two Participants is a phone call. A Conversation object with more than two Participants is a conference.

The original librecon includes a fully functional demo app, testUA that allows you to control conferences from the command line.

As part of Google Summer of Code 2013, Catalin Constantin Usurelu took the testUA.cxx code and converted it into a proper daemon process. It is now available as a ready-to-run SIP conferencing server package in Debian and Ubuntu.

The quick and easy way to try it

Normally, a SIP conferencing server will be linked to a SIP proxy and other infrastructure.

For trying it out quickly, however, no SIP proxy is necessary.

Simply install the package with the default settings and then configure a client to talk to the reConServer directly by dialing the IP address of the server.

For example, set the following options in /etc/reConServer/reConServer.config:

UDPPort = 5062 EnableAutoAnswer = true

and it will happily accept all SIP calls sent to the IP address where it is running.

Now configure Jitsi to talk to it directly in serverless SIP configuration:

Notice here that we simply put a username without any domain part, this tells Jitsi to create an account that can operate without a SIP proxy or registration server:

Calling in to the conference

Notice in the screenshot below we simply dial the IP address and port number of the reConServer process, sip: When the first call comes in, reConServer will answer and place the caller on hold. When the next caller arrives, the hold should automatically finish and audio will be heard.

Next steps

To make it run as part of a proper SIP deployment, set the necessary configuration options (username, password, proxy) to make reConServer register to the SIP proxy. Users can then call the conference through the proxy.

To discuss any problems or questions, please come and join the recon-users mailing list or the Jitsi users list

Consider using Wireshark to observe the SIP packets and learn more about the protocol.

Laura Czajkowski: School is in session

Tue, 2014-04-08 14:59

I’ve had a lot of travel lately and I’ve had some time to think, when you take a step back and look at technology you realise it’s always changing always developing updating and adding new features.  It got me thinking, I should also keep updating my knowledge bank. It’s all well and good to talk about technology to people daily which I do but I also needed to understand more of it in greater depth.

Last week I started my first class M101P – MongoDB 101 Python, online course for 7 weeks and given my travel lately having something online is ideal for me. I’ve chosen python as I’ve wanted to learn python for a while now so killing two birds with one stone, there is also java which I did at college and never really loved! and node.js which I don’t have any experience but perhaps the next time I’ll try that course.

As I’m running Ubuntu (currently trusty) it’s simple to get started, either via the software centre or by following the instructions in the docs.

Install MongoDB via Ubuntu Software Centre


If you follow the tutorial which I’m currently doing it starts off with what is MongoDB? Some easy definitions but you do feel you are learning things as after each short video from Andrew ( the teacher) you have a short quiz. Makes the learning a bit more fun and also not as boring.

What is in store for M101P


After following through the sections it’s easy to plan out the 2 hours I need to do the class, and then 2 hours I need for homework, I’m not doing it for the cert which you can get, I just want to expand my knowledge. So many applications like Ubuntu use MongoDB, if you’re using JuJu you can use the MongoDB Charm.  I love the way our tools overlap with one another but that means I need to understand more. Hopefully this class will help me with this and it should be a fun few weeks taking part. It’s free online course which could be useful and it’s always good to learn about new open source projects out there,

Ubuntu App Developer Blog: Reminder: Ubuntu App Showdown – don’t be late

Tue, 2014-04-08 13:36

Here’s the final reminder. The App Showdown is almost over and you can win some beautiful devices if you get your app in tomorrow, Wednesday, April 9th 2014 (23:59 UTC).

Getting your app in is very easy: just follow these two steps.

Submit your app

This is obviously the most important bit and needs to happen first. Don’t leave this to the last minute. Your app might have to go through a couple of reviews before it’s accepted in the store. So plan in some time for that. Once it’s accepted and published in the store, you can always, much more quickly, publish an update.

Submit your app.

Register your participation

Once your app is in the store, you need to register your participation in the App Showdown. To make sure your application is registered for the contest and judges review it, you’ll need to fill in the participation form. You can start filling it in already and until the submission deadline, it should only take you 2 minutes to complete.

Fill out the submission form.


If you have questions or need help, reach out (also rather sooner than later) to our great community of Ubuntu App Developers.

Good luck everyone, we’re looking forward to lots and lots of great apps!

Leo Iannacone: Fluxbox Light Themes

Tue, 2014-04-08 07:49

Fluxbox Light Themes is a porting of Ubuntu Themes for Fluxbox.


You can choose to use this ppa or take directly the deb package.
Alternatively you can download the archive and install themes manually by copying Ambiance and Radiance into your local Fluxbox styles folder:

cp -r Ambiance ~/.fluxbox/styles cp -r Radiance ~/.fluxbox/styles Tips

Remember to update these settings in your ~/.fluxbox/init:

session.*.titlebar.left: Close Minimize Maximize session.*.titlebar.right: Preview

Benjamin Kerensa: North America Mozilla Reps Meetup

Tue, 2014-04-08 01:14

Our group photo

This weekend, North America Mozilla Reps gathered in the not-so-sunny Portland, Oregon. We worked from the Portland Office during the weekend, where we collaborated on plans for North America for the next six month period. We also tackled a number of topics from websites and refined our priority cities which will help us be more successful in moving forward in our mission to grow contributors in North America.

We were very fortunate to have some new people participate this time round including Lukas Blakk, Janet Swisher, Larissa Shapiro, Joanna Mazgaj, Robby Sayles, Prashish Rajbhandari, Tanner Filip, Dan Gherman and Christie Koehler. It was excellent to have a larger group because this brought ideas from people who see things through different lenses.

Voodoo Donuts delivered Firefox Donuts 2.0

All in all, I feel we tackled a lot more work this time than our previous meetup last year in San Francisco and we decided to have our next meetup in Portland again. One of my favorite activities during the meetup was a diversity activity that Lukas led us in that many of us hope to do with our own communities.

We closed off the meetup with a trip to the Ground Kontrol Arcade and Bar where there were many games of Pac Man and Dance Dance Revolution.

The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 362

Mon, 2014-04-07 21:42

Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #362 for the week March 31 – April 6, 2014, and the full version is available here.

In this issue we cover:

The issue of The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter is brought to you by:

  • Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph
  • Paul White
  • David Morfin
  • Emily Gonyer
  • And many others

If you have a story idea for the Weekly Newsletter, join the Ubuntu News Team mailing list and submit it. Ideas can also be added to the wiki!

Except where otherwise noted, content in this issue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License BY SA Creative Commons License

Michael Zanetti: WhereTheIssAt redone

Mon, 2014-04-07 16:51

A couple of weeks back, I did a talk about how extend your QML application with a Qt/C++ plugin for the Ubuntu App Developer Week. The focus of this talk was really on how to write the QML and C++ code to make it work and I didn’t really get into the build system. As that was a live example I took – what I thought was – the shortest path to get something that compiles the plugin and I just created a new project with the UbuntuSDK picking one of the old style templates. That created a qmake project, and I just hooked that up to the Ubuntu QML app template somehow.

Today however, our master of the SDK (namely Zoltan) told me that there is a much easier way already which also provides seamless integration with the rest of the Ubuntu tools like click packaging and directly running it on the phone. Apparently that would have been available already back then, but I missed it. So in order to avoid other people missing out on this too I’ve updated the WhereTheIssAt example to use that template.

Here’s a quick walk through:

With the latest SDK, create a new project and select “Ubuntu -> QML Extension Library + Tabbed UI”

Once you’ve got that ready, you can jump straight into adding the Qt/C++ code. What I did is to drop the “mytype.cpp” and readd the “iss.cpp” from the previous project. Obviously that involves a small change in the backend.cpp, replacing “MyType” with “Iss”, but that’s it. A quick copy/paste of the wheretheissat.qml file replacing the generated TabbedUi sample code later, the project was again ready to run:

The biggest advantage (besides you not having to fiddle with multiple project files) is that it gives you click packaging for free. This is another big step for the SDK and makes it much easier to extent your QML app with Qt/C++ code.

I’ve pushed the code again here

Happy hacking!

Costales: Entrevista: Migración de un colegio desde Windows XP a Ubuntu

Mon, 2014-04-07 14:23

El fin del soporte de Windows XP pone en una auténtica encrucijada a cientos de instituciones educativas y sus sistemas informáticos. Ubuntu es el cambio que la educación de vanguardia necesita.

Fernando Lanero, para quienes no lo conozcáis, es profesor y responsable TIC del colegio de los Agustinos en León (España). Un activista de software libre enredado en la migración de un colegio con 1200 alumnos al sistema operativo Ubuntu.

Fernando & Costales este fin de semana
 Voy a charlar con él en persona y que nos cuente de primera mano cómo está siendo esta eXPeriencia tan interesante por entrar en juego muchos factores.

Costales: Hola Fernando, ¿Qué tal? ¿Nos cuentas cómo comenzaste en el mundillo de la informática y cuándo nace tu concienciación por el software libre y más particularmente por Ubuntu?

Fernando: ¡Hola! Buenos días. Pues verás, en el apasionante mundo de la informática empecé con un ordenador 8086 que me compraron mis padres en 8º de EGB por haber aprobado todas las asignaturas. Era un Olivetti que debía tener 16KB de RAM, un disco duro de 20MB, pantalla de fósforo verde y venía con MS-DOS que al mes me lo cargué sin querer (del *.* en el directorio raíz. Ya sabes). De aquella tenía amigos con ordenadores y de ahí me vino la afición, así que imagínate con qué empecé a echar horas y horas.
Y en el software libre empecé en 1997 o 1998. Años en los que hubo un boom de Linux, con una gran cantidad de revistas que incluían un CD con distribuciones. Ahí ya tenía un Pentium a 120Mhz. La experiencia de las instalaciones fue un desastre total, yo todavía estaba en el instituto, no había Internet y lo que podías hacer era leer y releer la revista e intentar sacar algo en claro de todo aquello. Introduciendo comandos y aunque yo venía de MS-DOS, fue un desastre absoluto. Al final sí que conseguí instalar alguna, que ya no te sabría decir ni cuál fué. Probablemente Slackware o Fedora.
Luego lo abandoné y volví al lado oscuro de Microsoft y su Windows 98. 10 años después, en torno al 2007, volví a Linux a través de Ubuntu, gracias a las buenas experiencias que me comentaba Ricardo Chao, profesor y compañero del colegio y gran amigo.

Costales: ¿Ya comenzásteis la migración?

Fernando: Aún no, vamos a esperar a la versión final de Ubuntu 14.04. Estamos haciendo pruebas, con las versiones alfas al principio y con las betas ahora.

Costales: ¿Qué sistema operativo estáis utilizando actualmente y por qué habéis decidido cambiarlo?

Fernando: En el colegio todos los ordenadores tienen ahora mismo Windows, el 90% está con Windows XP y los más nuevos con Windows 7. Con Windows 8, el del Director porque es el último que se compró. El motivo de utilizar este software no es otro que es el que venía preinstalado.

Costales: ¿De cuántos ordenadores estamos hablando y qué características tienen?

Fernando: Hay 2 ordenadores, que son los de la Secretaría, que no se van a migrar por motivos administrativos y sí que se migrarán los 98 ordenadores restantes. Realmente y bajo mi punto de vista, es un volumen muy considerable de máquinas tratándose de un entorno como la provincia de León, una capital pequeña sin grandes empresas de tecnología.

Costales: ¿En qué tareas se usan esos 98 ordenadores?

Fernando: Se usan para tareas docentes en aulas, para uso del profesorado en proyecciones de videos, uso de pizarras digitales, dibujo técnico, etc. Y luego hay 60 ordenadores repartidos entre el aula de informática e idiomas.

Costales: ¿Qué programas usáis ahora con los alumnos? ¿Tienes una idea estimada del coste que le supone al centro el uso de esos programas?

Fernando: El programa estrella es Microsoft Office, sin duda. Y de este software tenemos que renovar las licencias todos los años, como un arrendamiento. El coste anual de renovación de las Office ronda los 3.000€ - 4.000€ para todos los ordenadores.

Costales: ¿Crees que los alumnos pueden utilizar esos programas en sus casas pagando las licencias de los mismos?

Fernando: Ése es el problema. Ésa es la trampa del software privativo. En tus clases enseñas con el software que necesites para tu actividad docente. ¿Pero qué ocurre? Si enseñas al alumno a trabajar con un programa privativo, al chaval le estas enseñando a manejar ese programa, lo que estás haciendo es crear un usuario de ese programa para esa empresa (cliente potencial). La otra parte natural del proceso es que fomentas a piratear ese programa y por lo tanto, a saltarse la ley cuándo ésta no conviene (delincuente potencial). No hay alternativa posible a estas dos opciones con el software privativo.
Estás formando consumistas de una multinacional o piratas informáticos, enseñando a los alumnos a que se pueden saltar las leyes cuando éstas no convienen. Este es el mayor peligro. La gente se queja en España de la cultura de trampear o robar de nuestra sociedad. Y es lo que se hace en muchas escuelas, enseñar a trampear de manera indirecta a través del software privativo. Si por ejemplo, tú estás enseñando Photoshop, el centro tiene una licencia comprada, perfecto. Pero, ¿va el alumno a comprar ese programa para hacer sus deberes en casa? ¡Imposible! ¿Y qué ocurre entonces?, o se lo pasas bajo cuerda o animas a que lo descargue de una página con un crack. Ya estás creando delincuentes, porque estás incitándo a saltarse la ley.

Costales: ¿Has comprobado si existe software libre que pueda suplir el uso de los programas privativos que utilizais actualmente?

Fernando: Al 100%. Con Photoshop o MS Office cambias a Gimp o LibreOffice sin problema. También nos hemos empezado a poner en contacto con las editoriales. Ahora todos los libros de texto vienen con software de apoyo para las aulas digitales. Así trabajas con los alumnos en el aula de forma interactiva, sobre todo con los libros de idiomas, historia, en las enseñanzas de Infantil y Primaria. ¿Qué ocurre? Todas tienen software para Windows, pero ninguno para Linux. Al hablar con ellos, les comento que vamos a migrar a Linux y que si su software no funciona en Linux cambiaremos esos libros de texto por otros que nos lo pongan más sencillo o simplemente tengan software multiplataforma. O se ponen las pilas para que funcionen con Linux o vamos a buscar alternativas.

En clase

Costales: ¿Has detectado algún otro problema con el uso de Windows XP aparte del coste de las licencias?

Fernando: Sí, el mayor problema de la migración es la Administración de Castilla León. ¿Qué ocurre? La Junta firmó en el 2011 un acuerdo con Microsoft para usar su software durante 5 años (obviamente sin programa concursal de ningún tipo). Salió la noticia en los medios, vino la directora de Microsoft Iberia, hubo reunión con Bill Gates…
El problema del acuerdo es que todas las aplicaciones web que se desarrollen tienen que funcionar con software de Microsoft y son sólo accesibles con Internet Explorer. Lo cual es un grandísimo problema; es nuestro mayor inconveniente y el motivo por el que no migramos los 2 ordenadores de la Secretaría, porque es la única manera de comunicarnos con la Junta: a través de Internet Explorer el cual obviamente sólo funciona sobre sistemas Windows.

Costales: Cuando te planteaste la migración por quedarse obsoleto el Windows XP, supongo que barajaste la posibilidad de pasar al sistema operativo Windows 8. ¿Tuviste algún tipo de presión por parte del colegio o de la Junta para que, entre las diferentes alternativas posibles, te decantaras por Windows 8? ¿Valdría Windows 7?

Fernando: El proceso de migración se planteó a raíz de la publicación de la noticia de que Windows XP quedaba obsoleto y no recibiría más actualizaciones por parte de Microsoft. En el colegio el mayor problema a nivel de seguridad reside en el malware que se transmite a través de dispositivos de almacenamiento extraíble, porque la gente funciona básicamente con lápices USB para la transmisión de documentos, siendo un auténtico invernadero de virus. Hace unos años tuvimos un problema grave con un malware que se transmitía entre las memorias USB y se le coló al programa antivirus de nuestro colegio; fue una locura hasta que erradiqué todo aquello.
Presión no tuve, tuve mucha libertad y al preguntarme la dirección qué hacer ante el problema que se nos presentaba, les dije que con el XP no podíamos seguir. Mi primera opción fue cambiar a Windows 7 que funciona bien, dieron el visto bueno y pedimos presupuesto. La sorpresa fué que Windows 7 ya está descatalogado y Microsoft no provee ya licencias de ese software...

Costales: ¿Ya no lo puedes comprar?

Fernando: No lo puedes comprar, Windows 7 ya no se vende. Y obviamente pirata no lo puedes instalar por todo lo que he explicado anteriormente, además de las cuestiones legales.
Entonces preguntamos al proveedor por un presupuesto para el cambio a Windows 8, que se iba de madre completamente: Unos 12.000€ por cambiar todas las licencias, que supone la mitad del presupuesto del colegio para todo el curso. Eso es inasumible para un centro educativo. Y ese precio es una vez aplicado ya el descuento del 50% para educación.
Tampoco es adecuado para un entorno de enseñanza la interfaz de mosaicos que tiene Windows 8 con Metro. Interfaz con la que tú estás trabajando y te pone el tiempo en León, el horóscopo y las últimas noticias. Eso no tiene sentido dentro de un aula. Ví completamente inviable Windows 8 para la educación. No me parece útil.
Además los ordenadores no tienen la capacidad de correr fluidamente esa versión y sumando la actualización del hardware necesaria para migrar con éxito a nuevas versiones de Windows 8, el presupuesto podía subir tranquilamente a 25.000€. El colegio estaba dispuesto a pagarlo si no quedaba más remedio (nos encontrábamos en un callejón sin salida) y fue cuando les propuse cambiar a software libre.

Costales: ¿Cuánto cuesta una sola licencia de Windows 8 para un colegio? ¿Hay descuento?

Fernando: 120€ con el descuento del 50% para educación. Increíble.

Costales: Muchas administraciones en España apoyan y promocionan el software libre, ¿Conoces la posición de la Junta de Castilla León al respecto?

Fernando: La Junta apoya al software libre en un porcentaje del 0%. No quiere saber nada de este tema. Somos David contra dos Goliat: la Junta de Castilla y León y Microsoft.

Costales: ¿Qué otras alternativas te planteaste para la migración?

Fernando: Teniendo en cuenta el hardware, barajé Xubuntu y Lubuntu. Al publicar Canonical la primera alfa de Ubuntu 14.04, la probé en el ordenador más antiguo, Unity iba totalmente fluido y me decanté por instalar Ubuntu 14.04 en el resto.

Costales: ¿Cual es la mayor ventaja de usar Ubuntu en el colegio? ¿Por qué Ubuntu y no otras distros?

Fernando: La mayor ventaja es que en el colegio toda la comunidad asocia ya software libre a Ubuntu, todos conocen y oyeron hablar de Ubuntu en algún momento en éstos últimos años.
Otra gran ventaja es el soporte de drivers que provee Ubuntu. He probado muchas distribuciones y ninguna da un soporte tan amplio. En una centena de ordenadores con distinto hardware no puedes estar con problemas de si no funciona la tarjeta gráfica, la del audio, la conexión de red... Necesitamos una distribución que funcione al 100%. y a la primera en todos los ordenadores.

Fernando Lanero Barbero

Costales: ¿Algún problema concreto por escoger Ubuntu?

Fernando: Sí, la gente. La gente tiene reticencia a cambiar a Linux. Tiene reticencia a cualquier tipo de cambio. “¿Y esto que me va a suponer?”. Yo les respondo que no les supondrá nada, que van hacer todas sus tareas exactamente igual e incluso de forma más eficiente. La suite de ofimática LibreOffice sí puede dar algún problema porque todo el mundo funciona con Microsoft Office y al importar documentos de las últimas versiones se descolocan cosas y eso les vuelve locos. Pero tampoco me preocupa en exceso, ¡tienen buen soporte en el colegio!

Costales: ¿Cual será el coste económico de migrar a Ubuntu? ¿Tenéis pensado pagar soporte oficial de Canonical? ¿Por qué?

Fernando: Por ahora no pensamos pagar el soporte oficial, aunque puede ser una buena opción. El coste real es 0€, ya que lo vamos a instalar nosotros mismos.

Costales: 100 Ordenadores son muchos equipos. ¿Tendrán todos la misma configuración? ¿Cómo lo haréis?

Fernando: Vamos hacer una ISO específica para el colegio unificando ciertas cosas. Los que estén en la misma red los instalaremos por red y los que no, tendremos que ir uno por uno.

Costales: ¿Cuánto tiempo llevará la migración?

Fernando: Unos 2 meses aproximadamente.

Costales: ¿Tenéis problemas de controladores con las pizarras digitales?

Fernando: Sí, tenemos problemas, pero Hitachi nos da el código fuente y es mucho más sencillo. Hay un grupo de otro colegio en Barcelona con Francisco Javier Teruelo al frente que nos están ayudando mucho con este tema y con la idea final de crear un paquete de instalación para automatizarlo todo.

Costales: Además del ahorro económico, ¿qué ganará el profesorado, alumnos y padres con Ubuntu? ¿Tiene alguna ventaja frente al uso de Windows 8?

Fernando: Lo que van a ganar es tranquilidad al 100%, sobre todo por quitar todo el malware de en medio, que en el colegio llega a ser una paranoia. La típica conversación en el colegio es:
    - Están todos los ordenadores llenos de virus.
    - No perdón, tú ordenador en casa ¿cuánto hace que no le actualizas el antivirus?
    - No sé. Yo compré el ordenador y venía el antivirus y nunca más lo volví a tocar.
    - ¿Y cuantos años tiene?
    - Seis.
    - Vale, pues de donde están saliendo los virus del colegio es de tu ordenador.
En el colegio tenemos el antivirus totalmente actualizado y aún así tuvimos el problema que te comentaba de contagio por USB.
¿Más ventajas? La velocidad de la red. Tras la reciente migración a fibra óptica y la configuración Gigabit de la red va a ser todo muchísimo más rápido aún con Linux. Porque sinceramente, no sé qué hace Windows, pero vuelve cualquier red entre un 10% o un 15% más lenta en comparación con una red funcionando con Linux. O igual es la NSA que nos está espiando.

Costales: Nos comentabas que los profesores estaban un poco reacios al cambio ¿Y los alumnos?

Fernando: A los alumnos les llama la atención. Los chicos son curiosos por naturaleza. Entre ellos hay una cultura muy pro-Linux. A lo largo de estos años he conseguido crear la idea de que Linux mola, que lo usa la gente que realmente tiene interés por aprender y conocer el funcionamiento real de las cosas y a los chavales eso les llama mucho la atención. No son para nada reacios al cambio. Buscan la novedad y el cambio.

Costales: Parece que la iniciativa ciudadana le lleva años luz a la administración, sobre todo leyendo noticias como que la Administración migrará a Windows 8 sin concurso. ¿Qué les dirías a todos aquellos que dicen que una migración a Ubuntu es complicada, igual de cara que a Windows, no viable o mil cuentos más?

Fernando: Cuentos, tú lo has dicho. La frase exacta son “cuentos vendidos por la propaganda de las grandes multinacionales”. Esas circunstancias que acabas de comentar es lo que te vende Microsoft, que ha hecho una publicidad subliminal impresionante para hacerte ver que lo que es bueno es Windows. Windows me dio mil problemas durante años en los ordenadores del colegio con su falta de soporte para tarjetas ATI antiguas. Con Linux tienes mucha más compatibilidad con el hardware antiguo. Es todo mucho más sencillo.
Respecto al coste, que nos lo digan a nosotros. Hemos pasado de 12.000€ a 0€. Vale que estamos nosotros para migrarlo y si no estuviéramos se tendría que contratar a una empresa para instalarlo, pero no te va a cobrar 12.000€ ni de lejos por la instalación.

Costales: Si hubiera que contratar a una empresa también se fomentaría el empleo local.

Fernando: Claro. Muchísimo mejor. Tendrías a gente de tu entorno trabajando y no cobrando subsidios por falta de puestos de trabajo.

Costales: ¿Sirvió este fin de soporte para plantearse mucho más las próximas tecnologías que se usarán con el objeto de que sean más abiertas y menos dependientes de una empresa concreta?

Fernando: Seguro. Todo esto ha dado pie a pensar en otras alternativas tecnológicas.  Un artículo en el Diario de León sobre esta migración ha llamado muchísimo la atención en nuestro entorno. Ver que existen otras alternativas. Muy superiores y con una filosofía abierta de compartir entre iguales. Linux ha comenzado a asociarse a avance, a vanguardia... por el trabajo de toda la comunidad. Android también ha hecho mucho bien a Linux. Aunque no sea una alternativa 100% libre, a la gente ya le va sonando eso de Linux. ¡Su teléfono funciona muy bien y eso es bueno!

Costales: Cuando era pequeño había un ordenador por hogar y eso con suerte. Sentía auténtica pasión por películas como Juegos de Guerra, Internet no existía y leía con fervor las pocas revistas que narraban cómo auténticos hackers se sorteaban el tiempo para programar los mainframes en sus universidades…
Ahora tenemos un par de ordenadores por persona, muchísima documentación, un acceso mucho más fácil a la tecnología... los auténticos nativos digitales son los actuales alumnos... ¿Tienen ese interés que teníamos antaño en la informática? ¿Les creas pasión por Ubuntu? ¿Lo usan en sus casas?

Fernando: Sí. Es verdad que ahora un volumen mucho más grande de gente usa la informática y es mucho más accesible, pero el nivel de uso es más superficial. Nosotros de pequeños llegabamos mucho más adentro, recuerdo que yo tenía un manual de MS-DOS de 300 páginas con los comandos y me los estudiaba porque me encantaba aquello. Eso ahora es impensable. La mayoría de los chicos se dedican sobre todo a las redes sociales, no es el interés por la informática en sí que teníamos nosotros. Es un interés enfocado a aplicaciones. Yo con el 8086 es verdad que jugaba al Monkey Island, pero si tenías un problema con el sonido tenías que buscarte la vida para encontrar qué pasaba. Ahora, si algo no les funciona, cambian.

Costales: Digamos que los que estaban antes, estaban porque querían y los que están ahora por obligación...

Fernando: Ahora es porque lo tienen y como lo tienen, lo usan. Se ha perdido un poco la esencia de “pioneros” que vivimos nosotros.

Costales: Aunque comprobé in situ con el Linux&Tapas de León que vinieron muchos de tus alumnos y que tienen auténtica pasión por el software libre...

Fernando: Sí, es verdad que tanto a ellos como a tantos otros siempre les intenté mostrar las bondades de usar sistemas abiertos. Ver que el camino es compartir con los demás, ayudarnos entre nosotros. El sentimiento Ubuntu dentro un sistema educativo es fundamental. Al final del curso, siempre lo instalan unos 10 alumnos por su cuenta; eso que yo me entere.

Costales: Muchísimas gracias Fernando por compartir esta experiencia con nosotros y toda la suerte del mundo con la migración.

Entrevista bajo licencia Creative Commons CC BY-SA.

Jonathan Riddell: Stirling Chat

Mon, 2014-04-07 12:28
KDE Project:

Lydia brought a load of friends over from Germany to visit the sights of Stirling. Paul threw a party for her friends. I canoed up the Firth of Forth to visit and drank lashings of ginger beer.

Paul Tagliamonte: Photo

Mon, 2014-04-07 02:33

Marcin Juszkiewicz: USB Sucks Badly

Sun, 2014-04-06 08:57

I bought new hub to use on my desk: 7 port USB 3.0 one with switchable ports. Connected to USB 3.0 port and problems started…

Base of my desktop is P67X-UD3-B3 mainboard from Gigabyte which I have chosen due to amount of USB ports on back (alternative was one of Z68 based mainboard which would give me HDMI/VGA/DVI ports for integrated graphics). But now it looks like it was not good choice.

I have those devices connected:

  • Microsoft Optical Mouse with Tilt Wheel
  • Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
  • Future Technology Devices International, Ltd FT232 USB-Serial
  • Logitech Webcam Pro 9000
  • NEC HighSpeed Hub integrated in my second monitor
  • Genesys Logic based 7-port USB 3.0 hub on my desk
  • Samsung ML-2160 Laser printer

But when I plug any of those USB 1.1 devices all I have is “Not enough bandwidth for new device state.” message from kernel. Faster devices are fine so I can connect pen drives, hard drives, phones or tablets. But forget about USB-Serial dongles or Yubikeys or BlueTooth…

Why’s that? Take a look at “lsusb -t” output:

/: Bus 06.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci_hcd/2p, 5000M /: Bus 05.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci_hcd/2p, 480M /: Bus 04.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci_hcd/2p, 5000M |__ Port 1: Dev 6, If 0, Class=Hub, Driver=hub/4p, 5000M |__ Port 1: Dev 7, If 0, Class=Hub, Driver=hub/4p, 5000M /: Bus 03.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci_hcd/2p, 480M |__ Port 1: Dev 28, If 0, Class=Hub, Driver=hub/4p, 480M |__ Port 1: Dev 29, If 0, Class=Hub, Driver=hub/4p, 480M |__ Port 3: Dev 62, If 0, Class=Mass Storage, Driver=usb-storage, 480M |__ Port 2: Dev 54, If 0, Class=Printer, Driver=usblp, 480M /: Bus 02.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=ehci-pci/2p, 480M |__ Port 1: Dev 2, If 0, Class=Hub, Driver=hub/8p, 480M /: Bus 01.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=ehci-pci/2p, 480M |__ Port 1: Dev 2, If 0, Class=Hub, Driver=hub/6p, 480M |__ Port 3: Dev 10, If 0, Class=Hub, Driver=hub/4p, 480M |__ Port 2: Dev 11, If 0, Class=Video, Driver=uvcvideo, 480M |__ Port 2: Dev 11, If 1, Class=Video, Driver=uvcvideo, 480M |__ Port 2: Dev 11, If 2, Class=Audio, Driver=snd-usb-audio, 480M |__ Port 2: Dev 11, If 3, Class=Audio, Driver=snd-usb-audio, 480M |__ Port 3: Dev 12, If 0, Class=Vendor Specific Class, Driver=ftdi_sio, 12M |__ Port 5: Dev 5, If 0, Class=Human Interface Device, Driver=usbhid, 1.5M |__ Port 5: Dev 5, If 1, Class=Human Interface Device, Driver=usbhid, 1.5M |__ Port 6: Dev 6, If 0, Class=Human Interface Device, Driver=usbhid, 1.5M

How many EHCI buses do you see? You may say two (as there are two ehci-pci entries) or you may say four (as there are four 480M buses). I would say that “not enough” is best answer.

I played with cables to move devices from 2nd bus to 1st one, moved printer from 3rd bus to 5th (which is two USB 3.0 connectors on top of computer’s case) and still not enough bandwidth for Yubikey or other USB 1.1 device. Note that all devices plugged into on-desk USB 3.0 hub lands on 3rd (1.1/2.0) or 4th (3.0) bus.

During next few days I will plug extra USB 2.0 controller to check will it improve situation after keyboard, mouse, monitor, webcam, ftdi move there.

All rights reserved © Marcin Juszkiewicz
USB Sucks Badly was originally posted on Marcin Juszkiewicz website

Related posts:

  1. Feel the power of USB
  2. Death to Raspberry/Pi — Beaglebone Black is on a market
  3. ODROID-X developer board

Ronnie Tucker: Full Circle Podcast Episode 40, The Man That Slept

Sat, 2014-04-05 09:59

Full Circle Podcast Episode 40, The Man That Slept

Our Sincerest Apologies for the massive delay in getting this Episode released, we’ve all been very busy on various solo projects in the early part of this year, which will become clearer when the next show comes out.  We will be making a massive effort to get back into a regular recording schedule (I know we say this every time but this time we have made some substantial changes to the way the show will be recorded in the future which we will explain on the next show).  Until then enjoy our end of the year show were we reflect on 2013 and look ahead to what we can expect in 2014.

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Show Notes

01:28 | WELCOME and INTRO:

02:19 | Since Last Time

  • Les - Has been very busy as he is now a freelance author/writer and trainer, he has been teaching teachers how to programme using Python and how to use the Raspberry Pi and Arduino microcontrollor boards (stuff as Tech Geeks we all take for granted, but with the change in curriculum from ICT to teaching computing in the UK which is to be implemented this year and next year teachers are really struggling to get to grips with how to teach in effect a new subject to them which quite alot don’t have any prior experience or knowledge in.)  Les has also finished writing a new book Google Coder for The Raspberry Pi  which is currently going through the proof reading process.  He has also been working with a couple of schools in the North West on “secret” Raspberry Pi projects for a competition run by PA Consulting .  Les has also received quite alot of Tech to review aswell.
  • Tony - Has reinstalled his desktop PC to Linux Mint Debian edition, he got the 3.10-2 kernel and while not the latest version Libreoffice 4.0.3 is a solid piece of software and it seems to get the Firefox update within a reasonable time following release. He’s happy LMDE user until I realized there are sound issues which have made the podcast recording problematic. He also attended the Manchester Raspberry Jam in November and took loads of photos which you can see on my flickr account On a personal note Tony is now a pensioner having taken early retirement from the NHS, so he’s got a bit more time to do geeky stuff like writing articles for the FCM (hint, hint to you listening out there) And yes he’s put my money where my gob is and you should see my penned article sometime in the coming months assuming it is editorially worthy.
  • Olly - Finally had the majority of the fraudulent entries in his credit history removed, the searches are still recorded but his credit history has gone back up to fair.  He has also found that he can password protect his credit file which the creditor will have to contact him to continue with any credit application.  He has also installed Linux Mint 16 on both his ultrabook and main box and is very pleased with the advances with both the OS and Cinnamon Desktop Environment,  Also attempted to join the Hacker Public Radio New Year Broadcast, did a whopping 20 minutes before his main box died, further investigation that evening revealed that there appeared to be a fault with the south bridge chipset on the motherboard so unfortunately terminal, this has accelerated the Core i7 build to replace it!!  Also purchased one of the last Nexus 4’s from Google to replace his aging Samsung Galaxy S2.  Has also acquired a VPS initially from Bytemark using the Oggcamp promotion they were doing just for the event but the cost without the offer the cost was too pre-clusive so he moved to Digital Ocean after a good tip from Les.

16:33 | NEWS

  • They’re at it again, Jono Bacon and Stuart Langridge are back podcasting, this time they are joined by Bryan Lunduke (some of you may remember him from Linux Action Show and he’s been in the news for some other things which were less positive!!) and Jeremy Garcia the man behind Linux Answers.  The new podcast is called Bad Voltage and is a tech/general interest show rather than focusing on Open Source Software as messrs Langridge and Bacon have done with their previous endeavors, LUGRadio and A Shot of JAQ.  If you were a LUGRadio listener than you’ll have a reasonable idea of what to expect.
  • Another new pod cast is Linux Luddites Tony has listened to a couple of these and Joe and Paddy are a couple of Linux/Open Source users who tend to stick with the philosophy that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
  • Well we called it on Episode 37, we thought there maybe a new Nexus phone in the pipeline with the reduction of the price of the Nexus 4 and we weren’t wrong, Google launched the Nexus 5 on the 6th November it comes with Android 4.4 codenamed KitKat (which has now been confirmed by the way)  features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 with 2.26GHz Quad-Core Krait CPU, 2Gb of RAM and comes with either 16 or 32Gb internal storage.
  • CentOS & Red Hat have formed an alliance to develop a new distribution which will be aimed at the existing and new Enterprise customer base and will allow both companies to accelerate development of their enterprise technologies.

28:25 | REVIEW of 2013 (It’s Now Tradition for the First Show of The Year, if You Can Call Doing it Once Traditional!!)

  • Raspberry Jamboree 2013 - the first even Raspberry Jamboree held at the Manchester Central Conference Centre on 9th March 2013, which in essence was a Raspberry “Super” Jam, 365 people attended the event and an average of 65 people watched the live stream.  The event included the CPC shop which was sselling as yet unreleased hardware and accessories for the Raspberry Pi, a “Class Room of The Future” which include Pis, screens, keyboards and mice and workbooks for the children, adults and teachers, some of the workshops were led by Raspberry Pi Foundation Trustee Pete Lomas Raspberry Jamboree 2013 Programme
  • Manchester Girl Geeks Bracamp 2013 – the first Barcamp that was specifically organised to support women, a role reversal with the demographic comprised of 75% Women with all tickets sold out and a fairly large waiting list. There were over 70 attendees in total crammed into the small space at Madlab, diverse subject matter for talks ranging from Google Analytics to Q&A of a Hacker through to e-textiles
  • Ucubed 2013 – Formally an event that Les and his merry men used to organised but the year the mantle was passed on to Jack Wearden and Chris Wilson, Ucubed which is the Ubuntu and Upstream Unconference, an event for users of the Ubuntu and Debian Operating Systems. The ticketing was a pay what you want strategy.
  • OpenTech 2013 – A Geek and Tech conference held in the University of London’s Student Union, just £5 to gain entry with “headline speaker” such as Deputy Director of Government Digital Services Tom LoosemoreRuss Garrett the co-organiser of EMF Camp. Lot’s of discussions and talks aimed at hacking the National Health Service to help improve the service and solve of the unique problems the NHS have to face in the digital age.
  • Barcamp Blackpool 2013 – Once again organised by Les and Lalita D’Cruze there were roughly 250 attendees, once again the even was held at the Norbreck Castle on the sea front at Bispham, but the rooms were set up and utilised  differently this year. 
  • Oggcamp 13 – held at the John Lennon Art & Design Acadmey, Liverpool John Moore’s University, 19-20th October 2013. There was a Open Hardware Summit including Cefn Holye’s, Fabric Printing and a Block Moving apparatus which you were able to build whatever you liked in a Minecraft style. FreakyClown, Alison Chaiken, Javier Ruiz (Open Rights Group) among others speakers. We also were there and recorded our first ever podcast in front of a live audience, there was also a raffle once again this year with lots of eclectic prizes. oh and did we mention The Pizza:

Image Courtesy of Linux Outlaws and Sixgun Productions

  • New Nexus 7 2013 - 7.02″ 1920×1200 HD display, 1.2MP front facing, fixed focus and 5MP rear facing, auto focus cameras. 114 x 200 x 8.65 mm, up to 9 hours active use, wireless charging built-in (Qi compatible), CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5GHz, GPU: Adreno 320, 400MHz, Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n, NFC (Android Beam),16GB or 32GB internal storage and 2 GB RAM
  • Edward Snowden – His “WikiLeaks” style revelations regarding the NSA’s Five Eye global surveillance strategies and of course PRISM
  • Syrian Electronic Army’s – have come to the for this year joining Anonymous in  electronic activism of the year, most notably cracking Microsoft’s Skype protocol.
  • Manchester Raspberry Jam November 2013  - This was Ben Nuttall‘s last Manchester Raspberry Jam as organiser as he headed off down to Cambridge to join the Raspberry Pi Foundation, it was a packed schedule, Olly, Les and fellow broadcaster and friend of the show Dan Lynch were responsible for the Audio and Video solution to record the event while Tony became the roving Photographer.  There were 14 talks scheduled for the day including a forum Q&A session with Eben and Liz Upton and Clive Beale of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

1.08:47 | REVIEW Motorola Moto G

  • “A Great Phone at a Great Price” the phone could be classed as an entry level Nexus phone the Spec is that good and also running vanilla Android.
  • HSDPA capable (Not 4G though), Boot Loader is unlocked as standard!!
  • 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.5 inches (~326 ppi pixel density), internal only 8 or 16 GB, 1 GB RAM, Qualcomm MSM8226 Snapdragon 400 processor which is a Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7, has a Adreno 305 GPU, 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash Rear Facing Camera and 1.3 MP Front Facing Camera.
  • It comes running 4.3 Jelly Bean but once you connect to WiFi and register 4.4.2 KitKat is available as an over-the-air update.

1.13:35 | DISCUSSION The Future of Oggcamp

  • Originally Oggcamp was originally about the Linux Outlaws  and the Ubuntu UK Podcast getting together to organise a replacement event for LugRadio Live and both group of listeners from those podcasts attending
  • Now it has become an Event in it’s own right evolving from a Linux and Open Source Event into a Geek and creative event attracting it’s own unique audience.
  • As the years have passed more members of the community have become involved in the organisation of the event
  • We want the event to continue with more people from the community getting involved in the organisation, many people commented at the event that it should have been held somewhere in Southern England this year, OK help find a venue?
  • Want to see something different, introduce an activity you want to see there, get involved
  •  The Crew are pivotal to the event without them the it wouldn’t be the success it has been, special thanks got out to Emma for manning the Merch Desk at last years event
  • If after listening to this segment you want to volunteer to help the event get in touch with us using the various feedback details below and we’ll put you in touch with the people you need to speak to, also if you want to be a member of the crew use the get in touch and Les will put you on the Crew Mailing List.

1.23:24 | FEEDBACK

Also it was perfectly understandable for me, so thank you for enhancement and reacting to feedback. As a small additional feedback to this episode I want to give you a link to where Germany’s world famous hacker group “Chaos Computer Club” hacked Apples iPhone fingerprint reader   

I still want you to implement +Flattr for the podcast, so I could subscribe to it and donate monthly to you guys as a small contribution to your efforts…just think about and give it a try ;) 

Thanks for the great show and of course for calling+The Dick Turpin Road Show your sister podcast :)”

  • Some more feedback via Google + this time from Keith Milner “Just listening to Episode 37, interesting Freakyclown’s observation on Blackberrys being popular with kids because of being hand-me-downs.  My wife (who is a teacher) has a different perspective: they like them (especially the older models) because they have keyboards that they can use one-handed and (with practice) without looking at it.  This is useful for messaging each other in the classroom without the teacher spotting you and confiscating your phone.

             …and this came out too late for the sausage rolls.“

  • Thomas Heine also commented on Episode 38 via Google + again “Listened to the latest episode of the +Full Circle Magazine Podcast with +Tony Hughes and +Oliver Clark. Informative as usual and I think I like the idea of producing shorter shows and I am looking forward to see how it will be going in the future. Loved the live discussion section

Still no +Flattr mates ;)”

  • Dave Megis Nicholas affectionately known as “Mega Slippers” on twitter asked “I’d be interested to hear your views on ElementaryOS, what do you think of it’s design? Do you think linux on the desktop needs clearer/cleaner design?” 

1.34:19 | OUTRO AND WRAP

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Creative Commons Music Tracks

Opening: ‘Achilles’ by Kevin Macleod

Main Theme: ‘Revolve’ by His Boy Elroy

Catch Up to News: ‘Dance Zone’ by Unknown

News to Review of 2013: On the Run 1 By Unknown

Costales: How do I completely remove One Ubuntu?

Sat, 2014-04-05 08:02
I'll miss Ubuntu One. It was my unique cloud client. But it's time to move forward and if you have the Ubuntu One client installed you can remove with these commands (source):

sudo killall ubuntuone-login ubuntuone-preferences ubuntuone-syncdaemon
mv ~/Ubuntu\ One/ ~/UbuntuOld
rm -rf ~/.local/share/ubuntuone/
rm -rf ~/.cache/ubuntuone/
rm -rf ~/.config/ubuntu/
rm -rf ~/.config/ubuntuone/
sudo apt-get purge ubuntuone-* python-ubuntuone-storage* -y

RIP u1! FYI some alternatives with Ubuntu clients: Dropbox, Copy, Wuala, Bitcasa, Hubic or your Owncloud.

Diego Turcios: My BeagleBone Black has arrived!

Fri, 2014-04-04 23:19
Whoa! I have just unpacked my new BeagleBone Black.
Right now I am want to test it. During this days, I will try to run Ubuntu on it. :)

A special thanks to Jason Kridner for this board!

Daniel Pocock: Best real-time communication (RTC / VoIP) softphone on the Linux desktop?

Fri, 2014-04-04 18:24

The Debian community has recently started discussing the way to choose the real-time communications (RTC/VoIP) desktop client for Debian 8 (jessie) users.

Debian 7 (wheezy), like Fedora, ships GNOME as the default desktop and the GNOME Empathy client is installed by default with it. Simon McVittie, Empathy package maintainer has provided a comprehensive response to the main discussion points indicating that the Empathy project comes from an Instant Messaging (IM) background (it is extremely easy to setup and use for XMPP chat) but is not a strong candidate for voice and video.

Just how to choose an RTC/VoIP client then?

One question that is not answered definitively is just who should choose the default RTC client. Some people have strongly argued that the maintainers of individual desktop meta-packages should choose as they see fit.

Personally, I don't agree with this viewpoint and it is easy to explain why.

Just imagine the maintainers of GNOME choose one RTC application and the maintainers of XFCE choose an alternative and these two RTC applications don't talk to each other. If a GNOME user wants to call an XFCE user, do they have to go to extra effort to get an extra package installed? Do they even have to change their desktop? For power users these questions seem trivial but for many of our friends and family who we would like to contact with free software, it is not amusing.

When the goal of the user is to communicate freely and if they are to remain free to choose any of the desktops then a higher-level choice of RTC client (or at least a set of protocols that all default clients must support) becomes essential.

Snail mail to the rescue?

There are several friends and family I want to be able to call with free software. The only way I could make it accessible to them was to burn self-booting Debian Live desktop DVDs with an RTC client pre-configured.

Once again, as a power-user maybe I have the capability to do this - but is this an efficient way to overcome those nasty proprietary RTC clients, burning one DVD at a time and waiting for it to be delivered by snail mail?

A billion browsers can't be wrong

WebRTC has been in the most recent stable releases of Firefox/Iceweasel and Chrome/Chromium for over a year now. Many users already have these browsers thanks to automatic updates. It is even working well on the mobile versions of these browsers.

In principle, WebRTC relies on existing technologies such as the use of RTP as a transport for media streams. For reasons of security and call quality, the WebRTC standard mandates the use of several more recent standards and existing RTC clients simply do not interoperate with WebRTC browsers.

It really is time for proponents of free software to decide if they want to sink or swim in this world of changing communications technology. Browsers will not dumb-down to support VoIP softphones that were never really finished in the first place.

Comparing Empathy and Jitsi

There are several compelling RTC clients to choose from and several of them are now being compared on the Debian wiki. Only Jitsi stands out offering the features needed for a world with a billion WebRTC browser users.

Feature Empathy WebRTC requirement? Comments Internet Connectivity Establishment (ICE) and TURN (relay) Only for gmail XMPP accounts, and maybe not for much longer For all XMPP users with any standards-based TURN server, soon for SIP too Mandatory Enables effective discovery of NAT/firewall issues and refusal to place a call when there is a risk of one-way-audio. Some legacy softphones support STUN, which is only a subset of ICE/TURN. AVPF X Mandatory Enables more rapid feedback about degrading network conditions, packet loss, etc to help variable bit rate codecs adapt and maximise call quality. Most legacy VoIP softphones support AVP rather than AVPF. DTLS-SRTP X Mandatory for Firefox, soon for Chrome too DTLS-based peer-to-peer encryption of the media streams. Most legacy softphones support no encryption at all, some support the original SRTP mechanism based on SDES keys exchanged in the signalling path. Opus audio codec X Strongly recommended. G.711 can also be used but does not perform well on low bandwidth/unreliable connections Opus is a variable bit rate codec the supercedes codecs like Speex, SILK, iLBC, GSM and CELT. It is the only advanced codec browsers are expected or likely to implement. Most of the legacy softphones support the earlier codec versions (such as GSM) and some are coded in such a way that they can't support any variable bit-rate codec at all.

Retrofitting legacy softphones with all of these features is no walk in the park. Some of them may be able to achieve compliance more easily by simply throwing away their existing media code and rebuilding on top of the WebRTC media stack used by the browsers

However, the Jitsi community have already proven that their code can handle all of these requirements by using their media processing libraries to power their JitMeet WebRTC video conferencing server

Dreams are great, results are better

Several people have spoken out to say they want an RTC client that has good desktop integration (just like Empathy) but I'm yet to see any of them contribute any code to such an effort.

Will this type of idealism really kill any hope of getting the optimum communications tool into the hands of users?

As for solving all the other problems facing free communications software, the Jitsi community have been at it for more than 10 years. Just have a look at their scorecard on Github to see what I mean. Jitsi lead developer Emil Ivov has a PhD in multimedia and is a regular participant in the IETF, taking on some of the toughest questions, like how to make a world with two protocols (SIP and XMPP) friendly for real users.

A serious issue for all Linux distributions

Communications technology is one of the most pervasive applications and also one of the least forgiving.

Users have limited patience with phones that don't work, as the Australian Russell Crowe demonstrated in his infamous phone-throwing incident.

Maximizing the number of possible users is the key factor that makes networks fail or succeed. It is a knife that cuts both ways: as the free software community struggles with this issue, it undermines our credibility on other issues and makes it harder to bring free desktops to our friends, families and workplaces. Do we really want to see the rest of our work in these areas undermined, especially when there is at least one extremely viable option knocking at the door?

Zygmunt Krynicki: Checkbox Project Update

Fri, 2014-04-04 17:54
The Checkbox project is undergoing more changes. We had to solve the problem of bug management and feature tracking for releasing each of the many components that now make up the project. We have discussed a number of ideas, including using tags, milestones, series and lastly, to use multiple projects. Using multiple projects ended up the most direct and effective option.

We had to add a twist to that idea though, apart from the existing checkbox project, all of the new projects would have no source. Just bugs, blueprints and releases (series, milestones and tarballs). Why? Because we lead a double life and need to take that into account and splitting the project into multiple code repositories is a separate transition that we have decided not to do (at this time, though I think that's healthy for us).

So the double-life aspect. As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, Chcekbox has two kinds of releases. The one life is about our upstream role. We release tarballs, package them for Debian, get them sponsored, synchronize them to Ubuntu into the hands of everyone using the platform. The other life is organized around our PPAs, internal customers and project schedules. There Ubuntu deadlines don't matter but it also means that important bugs have two releases they are a part of. They are a part of one (or more) of the upstream components. This is important so that we can properly document what goes into each release. They are also a part of a timestamped delivery for our internal customers. They also care about tracking fixes to the issues blocking their work.

So with that we now have checkbox-project (a launchpad project group) that aggregates our entire stack. You can now see all of the bugs and milestones throughout the project. You can also see how particular bugs or features translate to upcoming, scheduled releases of particular components. We hope that this new arrangement will be more valuable for everyone who tracks our work, despite the added set of project.

Kubuntu Wire: KDE Visual Design Team’s Favourite Distro

Fri, 2014-04-04 16:49

After many years of the lovely Nuno working on artwork without much success in creating a community the all new KDE Visual Design Group has got something exiting going with people working on a new widget theme, new Plasma theme, new font, new wallpaper, new icons and new cursor theme.  Exciting.  Best of all in chatting with designer Jens today it turns out most of the designers use Kubuntu – the first choice for classy artists.

Martin Albisetti: On open sourcing Ubuntu One filesync

Fri, 2014-04-04 15:49

This week has been bitter-sweet. On the one hand, we announced that a project many of us had poured our hearts and minds into was going to be shut down. It’s made many of us sad and some of us haven’t even figured out what to do with their files yet    :)

On the other hand, we’ve been laser-focused on making Ubuntu on phones and tablets a success, our attention has moved to making sure we have a rock-solid, scalable, secure and pleasant to use for developers and users alike. We just didn’t have the time to continue racing against other companies whose only focus is on file syncing, which was very frustrating as we saw a project we were proud of be left behind. It was hard to keep feeling proud of the service, so shutting it down felt like the right thing to do.

I am, however, very excited about open sourcing the server-side of the file syncing infrastructure. It’s a huge beast that contains many services and has scaled well into the millions of users.

We are proud of the code that is being released and in many ways we feel that the code itself was successful despite the business side of things not turning out the way we hoped for.

This will be a great opportunity to those of you who’ve been itching to have an open source service for personal cloud syncing at scale, the code comes battle-tested and with a wide array of features.

As usual, some people have taken this generous gesture “as an attempt to gain interest in a failing codebase”, which couldn’t be more wrong. The agenda here is to make Ubuntu for phones a runaway success, and in order to do that we need to double down on our efforts and focus on what matters right now.

Instead of storing away those tens of thousands of expensive man-hours of work in an internal repository somewhere, we’ve decided to share that work with the world, allow others to build on top of that work, benefit from it.

It’s hard sometimes to see some people trying to make a career out of trying to make everything that Canonical does as inherently evil, although at the end of the day what matters is making open source available to the masses. That’s what we’ve been doing for a long time and that’s the only thing that will count in the end.


So in the coming months we’re going to be cleaning things up a bit, trying to release the code in the best shape possible and work out the details on how to best release it to make it useful for others.

All of us who worked on this project for so many years are looking forward to sharing it and look forward to seeing many open source personal cloud syncing services blossoming from it.