As can be read from Jono's blog, Brainstorm has basically effectively been discontinued. It strikes odd, that this decision was made seemingly so rapidly, and it seems without a lot of community input, despite it was a community tool.
Of particular interest seems to be the reasons given for retiring this tool.
Time does fly, and we’re alread on the last day of the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Lots of content covered and still lots of interesting discussions to be had. We’re thrilled to bring you the summary on what’s on today on the App Development track.
Here’s the list of app development sessions for today at UDS:
- At 14:00 UTC: App Development Roundtable
- At 14:00 UTC: SDK UI Toolkit Responsive Layouting
- At 15:05 UTC: Core Apps plans for 13.10
- At 15:05 UTC: Contact Service for Ubuntu Touch
- At 16:05 UTC: LoCo Team Coding Challenge
- At 16:05 UTC: Refocus the Ubuntu App Developer site to go mobile
- At 18:05 UTC: Building a set tutorials for App Developers
- At 19:00 UTC: Closing Plenary and Track Summaries
Hope to see you there!
If you did keep an eye on Planet Ubuntu, you would absolutely notice the series of “People behind Ubuntu Quality” series, where QA community members like me, Sergio, Jackson, Javier and Carla were interviewed by Nicholas Skaggs. If you never read it before, you will find it in Nicholas’ Orange Notebook.
Anyways, I myself started another series of interviews. I will be interviewing Canonical QA people from all over the world, who spends everyday making sure Ubuntu is of high quality. These interviews are to pay tribute to them, and thank them for making Ubuntu a nice product. As to echo Nicholas’ series, I shall conspciously name it “People behind Canonical Quality”.
Expect to see the first interview coming up by tomorrow or Saturday!
A while back I started a project called the Ubuntu Advocacy Kit. The goal is simple: create a single downloadable kit that provides all the information and materials you need to go out and help advocate Ubuntu and our flavors to others. The project lives here on Launchpad and is available in this daily PPA. If you want to see the kit in action just run:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:uak-admins/uak sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install uak-en
Now open the dash and search for “advocacy”. Click the icon to see the kit load in your browser.
We discussed the UAK this week at UDS and I want to get the kit to 1.0 level of completeness. This doesn’t require a huge amount of work, just getting a core set of content written up in a concise, simple, but detailed fashion. I want to complete this work and then get the kit up on loco.ubuntu.com as something people can download to get started advocating Ubuntu and our flavors.
I have created a blueprint to track this work and I am stubbing out a bunch of pages in the kit for pages that I think we will need as part of a 1.0 release.And why are you telling me this?
Well, I am looking for help.
If you enjoy writing and have a knowledge of good quality advocacy, I would like to invite you to write some content. If you can just reply to this post in the comments (or anywhere else I tend to look, such as email or IRC), we coordinate who works on what and I will update the blueprint where appropriate.
Thanks for reading!
The Ubuntu Community Council is happy to announce the availability of discounts from Gandi to Ubuntu Members! Members will be granted E rates for domains and partner rates for cloud hosting (-50% from public price).
To redeem this benefit, members should send an email to email@example.com from their @ubuntu.com email address that includes:
- A Gandi handle (see here to create a new one if requred)
- The currency they use (Euro, USD or GBP are available)
Huge thanks to the kind folks at Gandi for offering this benefit to our members, and also thanks to community member Benjamin Kerensa for reaching out to them to request it.
Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph, on behalf of the Ubuntu Community Council
Recently the Technical Board made a decision to sunset Brainstorm, the site we have been using for some time to capture a list of what folks would like to see fixed and improved in Ubuntu. Although the site has been in operation for quite some time, it had fallen into something of a state of disrepair. Not only was it looking rather decrepit and old, but the ideas highlighted there were not curated and rendered into the Ubuntu development process. Some time ago the Technical Board took a work item to try to solve this problem by regularly curating the most popular items in brainstorm with a commentary around technical feasibility, but the members of the TB unfortunately didn’t have time to fulfill this. As such, brainstorm turned into a big list of random ideas, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, and largely ignored by the Ubuntu development process.
Now, some folks have mused on the decision to sunset brainstorm and wondered if this is somehow a reflection on our community and our openness to ideas. I don’t think this is the case. While it is always important to build an environment where ideas are openly discussed and debated, ideas are free and relatively simply to come by, and the real challenge is converting that awesome vision in your head into something we can see and touch and deliver to others; this is not quite so free and simple. While Brainstorm provided a great place to capture the ideas, and we had no shortage of them, the challenge was connecting brainstorm to the people who were happy and willing to perform the work, and it didn’t really serve this purpose very well.
There were two problems with this. Firstly, picking up other people’s popular ideas is not how Open Source traditionally works. Open Source is built on a philosophy of scratching your own itch, traditionally fueled by programmers fixing their annoyances and building features and applications they want. Now, this is not to say a non-programmer can’t rally the community around their idea and build momentum around an implementation, but doing this requires significantly more effort than a fire and forget submission into brainstorm. In other words, just because an idea is popular doesn’t necessarily mean it is interesting enough for a developer to want to implement it. Secondly, brainstorm started to garner an unrealistic social expectation that popular ideas would be automatically added to the TODO list of prominent Ubuntu developers, which was never the case.
Today at UDS we had a discussion about these deficiencies in brainstorm in traversing the chasm between idea and implementation and Randall Ross had an interesting idea. With brainstorm retired we should re-focus the brainstorm URL and provide some guidance for tips and tricks for how to take an idea and rally support around it to develop an implementation. As an example, over the years I have discovered that taking an idea and building a well formed spec with detailed UI mock-ups and architectural diagrams, a detailed blueprint, regular meetings, and burndown charts, all significantly help to taking ideas from fiction to fandom. Equipping our community with the skills and tools to bring these ideas to fruition is a better use of our time.
So, the TL;DR of all of this is…brainstorm was a great idea at the time, but it didn’t effectively drive the most popular ideas in our community to fruition and delivery in Ubuntu. We want to help provide guidance and best practice to help our community be more successful in converting their ideas into development plans and getting people interested in participating.
Earlier this week the techboard asked what we should do with Brainstorm. Having been involved with Brainstorm since almost the beginning, I felt it appropriate to handle how we would deal with it since no one wants to be unpopular, except for me of course. The TLDR is that Dell launched IdeaStorm and of course people thought this would be a great idea for OSS.
The very first thing I noticed when the idea of shutting it down was a fundamental misunderstanding of what Brainstorm is and is not. So let me be clear here:
Brainstorm was never about user-driven voting for what goes into Ubuntu.
Brainstorm was about communicating ideas that the user base were interested to Ubuntu, and at THAT it did a pretty decent job. Every cycle the tech board was taking in the top ideas and responding to them. Most of these ideas were pretty obvious. Ubuntu developers don’t need anyone to remind me that Ubuntu needs to do a better job at hardware support. We know and deal with these issues every day.
Brainstorm was about engaging developers with users, and here’s why that doesn’t work anymore:
- Just go to UDS. It’s virtual, anyone can join without caring about travel expenses, just talk to developers directly.
- Be involved in projects you care about; there’s mailing lists and tons of feedback options for developers.
- It takes a reasonably intelligent person about 10 seconds to come up with 10,000 years of development work that will never be accomplished with the resources we have.
- Go do stuff, the more you do, the more you get a say.
- At the end of the day I’m swimming in great ideas. I don’t need great ideas, I need people willing to make great ideas a reality.
It seems that a great number of people think that Brainstorm is all about “wish-driven development” - the idea that you will come up with an awesome idea and then a team of developers will go do that for you and deliver what you want. Unfortunately that is not how it works. The only way you will ever get things done is if you do the work alongside other people. The currency of Open Source is the amount of work you’re willing to put into it. And while some people are saying that they’ll move to other distros or give up on Ubuntu because “no one listens to me” are in for a rude awakening when they realize that no open source project is driven by webpoll results.
Some people have equated the “age of Unity” as the reason as to why Brainstorm is failing, but I don’t think so, the site was flailing long before then. I might be seemingly overly negative, and that’s not my intent. In fact the barrier to get involved with Ubuntu is lower than ever.
The ironic bit so far is that the amount of complaints about Brainstorm shutting down far outnumber the amount of volunteers who have laid aside a ton of their own personal time to do the work to make the site succeed. That tells me a few things. First of all, the amount of people who will complain that things don’t work like they want them to is high. The amount of people willing to work on Ubuntu to fix these problems is relatively low.
So is Brainstorm a failure? Probably. I think we learned a bunch of things. No other OS has tried this before. Sure, they say Windows 7 was my idea, but you know that’s made up. I like that we tried, shrug.
I like that we now do design and user-feedback based improvements into Unity. Some people don’t like that. Some people don’t like that we do test driven development either. To each their own. Anyway Brainstorm was never my idea, it was a community idea that seemed to make sense at the time and whose course has run. Let’s torpedo the unrealistic idea that webpolls run an operating system and just people wired into making an operating system. Want to make a difference? Here’s the schedule for the last day of UDS if you want to get involved.
So it’s no coincidence that a number of my favorite MIT Mystery Hunt puzzles are map based. Trying to connect the two worlds, I sent Jacobs a write-up of the hunt and of a particularly strange sound-based map puzzle called White Noise that I worked with Don Armstrong to solve in the 2006 hunt. While I wasn’t paying attention, Jacobs did a very nice writeup of my writeup of the puzzle for Strange Maps!
There has been much teeth gnashing about the removal of the ‘Community’ link from the top of the ubuntu.com site. As a member of the Ubuntu Community Council I have tried to gather my thoughts before blogging about this. Recently, I read an article that got me rather upset.
The Community Link:
First I want to layout my thoughts on the primary issue of the ‘Community’ link being moved to the footer. It is my opinion that the importance of the change is elevated by the recent mis-communications between Canonical and the community. Some have pointed out that promises have been made, but not kept. I can categorically state that I, as a member of the Community Council, have seen an improved effort from Canonical to inform the Community Council. As an example we were informed prior to the public discussion of the suggestion ‘click packages’. From my perspective ‘click packages’ are much more likely to have an impact on Ubuntu than the placement of the ‘Community’ link.
There is a UDS session scheduled to discuss this and if you are interested I would suggest you attend. In that blueprint I made a suggestion that some data on page views should be looked at. Peter has posted the following:
AFTER Apr 15, 2013-May 9, 2013 compare to BEFORE Mar 21, 2013-Apr 14, 2013
90,700 vs 134,740
76,853 vs 112,261
Avg. Time on Page
00:01:24 vs 00:01:03
52,548 vs 51,174
Bounce Rate %
60.54% vs 61.17%
it appears to be a 1/3 drop-off in page views, with a 1/3 equal increase in time on page.
With this data it would appear that there is a drop off and the traffic to the page has decreased. There is a session at UDS to discuss this and if it is important to you I would attend the session and subscribe to the blueprint.
The Community Response:
I want to clearly indicate that this IS NOT aimed at the broad community, but those that historically over-react in a dramatic negative fashion. There have been multiple instances of community members invoking the Hitler meme in regards to Mark Shuttleworth and the Nazi party in regards to Canonical. I can not fathom any rational person invoking this imagery in regards to Mark or Canonical. In all my dealings with Mark he has been respectful, thoughtful and compassionate. When I analyze what Mark values it is the success of Ubuntu. He understands that difficult decisions will need to be made for that to happen. When the Code of Conduct was revised it was to help ensure that the pitfalls other open source projects have been derailed by can be avoided by the Ubuntu project. I will echo that I have yet to work with a Canonical employee who has not been willing to listen to feedback or been disrespectful.
As a community member I find such attacks a violation of the Code of Conduct and as a person I find the comparison to be completely unacceptable. It is one thing to disagree respectfully, but making comparison’s to Hitler or the Nazi party is not acceptable.
Yesterday in the Ubuntu Community Roundtable session and idea was put forth by Jono Bacon to remove the term ‘approved’ from the loco team lexicon. It was further suggested to remove the boundary restrictions currently in place. These ideas have been floating around in the community since, my first UDS, UDS-N in Orlando Florida.
For me one of the first things that I notice is that there are already exceptions to the ‘rules’. For example, there are city teams (Chicago and Dallas), but new city based teams are not allowed. I am in New York State so I might be a bit biased, but I would personally think having an Ubuntu New York City team would be good thing. New York City is the 8th largest city (population) in the world. It is also 342 mile from where I live so there is little chance that people from my area would travel there or vice-versa. In my city we actually have two Linux user groups; one at a prestigious technical university and one for the general community. The technical university focuses more on development, and the general community group on specific implementations of applications and general use. Two different groups with two different needs. Both groups exist and thrive separately as well as cooperate when interests overlap.
I want to be clear; I do not think this should be forced, nor do I think it should be something that requires approval.
It is my personal opinion that the challenges that face teams are each unique; they will vary based on culture, language, geographic distance, population density and other variables. Ubuntu users should be able to choose how to organize themselves without artificial organizational boundaries placed on them.
From my understanding the original structure was put in place to control the flow of resources like CDs, conference packs, etc. There will still be a need for some control in regards to resources, and this is an issue that must be discussed and worked out. I feel strongly that this need should not inhibit the freedom of Ubuntu users to organize and grow in a way that best suits the needs of their area or group.
In case you haven't heard about it, Colibri is an alternative to KDE Plasma notifications.
Colibri notifications are completely passive: when you move the mouse over them, they fade out and let you click the content behind them. They also have the handy ability to concatenate multiple notifications if they come from the same application (think about your friend who likes to press Enter every five words on IM...)
It has been a long time (2 years!) since I last touched Colibri code: mainly because it was working for me, so I spent my time on other projects. With the release of KDE SC 4.10, I noticed a problem though: there was no shadow behind the notification bubbles anymore.
This is fixed in 0.3.0. The nice thing about this fix is I was able to drop code I duplicated from Plasma internals by refactoring Colibri to use Plasma::Dialog. Less duplicated code should result in a more robust implementation, hopefully Colibri should be usable without patching for 2 more years :)
Another change I made was moving the project from Gitorious to git.kde.org, this brings you more translations.
After a very productive kick off, we’re back with the second day of the Ubuntu Developer Summit on the App Development track and the summary of sessions for today. Thank you everyone who participated in the sessions yesterday, either in hangouts or in IRC.
Here’s the list of app development sessions for today:
- At 14:00 UTC: App Development Roundtable
- At 15:05 UTC: SDK Tools and Qt Creator
- At 16:05 UTC: The Next Ubuntu App Showdown
- At 18:05 UTC: New API Documentation Website
- At 18:05 UTC: QML Friends API and UI Components
- At 19:05 UTC: Core Apps in Ubuntu Touch Preview Images
- At 19:05 UTC: Calendar Application and Backend for Ubuntu Touch
See you there!
I think that Firefox should stay as the default browser in Ubuntu for the following reasons:
- Mozilla has a vibrant open source community and many of our contributors are active in both Ubuntu and Mozilla.
- Mozilla’s mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity and Firefox encompasses all of those goals.
- Chromium as a package has fell behind in the past while Firefox has team of contributors in the Ubuntu Community who keep it up-to date every cycle.
- Firefox is perhaps one of the most popular open source browsers.
- And most importantly in my opinion Mozilla by default respects user privacy and choice.
Why fix something if it’s not broken? If others prefer Chromium well then “sudo apt-get install chromium-browser” and I guess that’s just my two-cents on the topic.
So I recently created the bug regarding the Canonical Design Team removing the community link and also blogged about it. I created a thread on forums and whenever I discuss a topic as important as this I try to reflect on whether my intentions will have the appropriate results and also try to keep my emotions in check. Indeed, I am so passionate about open source communities I’m involved in that I feel the need to advocate for the community in the face of all challenges.
But admittedly, I think my individual response to the removal of the community link has fired some people up to think that Canonical is anti-community which it is not. I do think that Canonical is a business and that businesses do sometimes make decisions that suit them best and may not take into regard how it impacts the people surrounding that business. Perhaps that’s what I thought was going on here, but it has become evident that this was not Canonical’s intention.
So, going forward, I will more deeply reflect on blog posts and discussions and try to take into account that sometimes there are benign factors at play that might seem like fire and brimstone at first. I am also conscious of the fact that I need to set a good standard in our community and reaction over this incident was somewhat reactionary, which in turn generates other reactionary responses, not helping to solve the problem, but more get in the way. I want to additionally apologize for this bit which I take full responsibility for: I would like to note that the video did not specifically refer to Canonical. The same day it was posted, I immediately deleted the video because it was not appropriate for public and I should not have created it.
I am part of a team without state. Please don't feel sad for me though. I am part of an amazing community filled with friendly and diverse people. We meet in person and we have developed deep friendships.
Here's a thought experiment:
What if we (the Ubuntu leadership community at large) were to enable and actively encourage Ubuntu teams (groups really) at any geographical level? What if we called them "teams" rather than "sub" teams. What if we "allowed" them to operate autonomously. What if we banished the term "allowed" from our dictionary?
I advocate the removal of geographical team limitations outright. We can and should have teams at the block, neighbourhood, village, town, city, province/state, region, country, super-country (continent), or even planetary level. We already have teams that operate super-country, and others that want to but are actively discouraged from doing so. (Yes, actively.) I can also envision teams smaller than city teams that could flourish if encouraged.
We (briefly) discussed moving toward the "at any geographical level" team structure today at UDS during the Community Roundtable session. I tabled the idea of moving to this model on a *trial* basis to see what (if any) chaos ensues. For an initial trial period, we could try it, say for a single UDS cycle and then measure the result.
My guess is that we (the collective we) are being too fearful of an outcome that would likely never manifest itself. The best way to overcome that fear is with a controlled experiment that results in data. Generally speaking, I propose that we eliminate any artificial barriers to team creation that are not based on data. Any person in a place that has no existing team would be able to form one, or to join another team. Any person not satisfied with a team in their geography would be free, empowered, and encouraged to set up another team, even if the geography overlaps with the existing team. One team in one geography might not be the best thing for Ubuntu, especially if/when that team is out of alignment with Ubuntu.
Ubuntu has no country or boundaries. Why impose them? Are we not all stateless after all? Are we Ubuntu?
I say, "Let a thousand flowers bloom!"
Yesterday, it has been suggested to sunset Ubuntu brainstorm. While the arguments on the surface make a lot of sense, a bigger problem seem to be not as much in the focus of the discussion as they maybe should be.
Ubuntu is in a tremendous danger of losing what is understood to be a "community" distribution. Well, community in the sense of a wider community that is substantially larger than Canonical (it can always be claimed Canonical as being a community :-))
Just a friendly reminder, but Mir is open! Here are some useful links.Documentation
We’ve put effort into sharing as much as possible and lowering the knowledge-barrier to entry for the project. We want you to understand how your pixels will be painted under Mir. Here’s some good links:
Mir documention: http://unity.ubuntu.com/mir/
This is all generated right from the trunk code (lp:mir’s doc/ folder)
We also generate api documentation on same site: http://unity.ubuntu.com/mir/annotated.html
The code is all available on launchpad: lp:mir
The reviews are all done on out in the open: active reviews
Our continuous integration is on jenkins like the rest of the Ubuntu projects: https://jenkins.qa.ubuntu.com/job/mir-ci/
Lastly there are no secret branches or anything like that anymore. We’re operating fully in the open!
We do all of our coordination surrounding the code on freenode’s #ubuntu-mir channel. Since this is an Ubuntu channel, its logged. Here’s an example: #ubuntu-mir log You’ll see in the logs that we really do our updates, coordination and planning all on this channel.
We have our blueprints out in the open too. You can see our upcoming plans and the upcoming work items that are slated.
We’ve got a mailing list on launchpad too! Join up and stay abreast of all the latest email chains.
Hot on the heels of my last post showing Unity 8 running on Mir on a Macbook Pro Retina, there were some folks who were curious about how well Unity and Mir work on a phone.
Well, thanks to your friend and mine, Kevin Gunn, you can see a video of Unity 8 on Mir running on a Galaxy Nexus (which is by no means a super-powerful smartphone these days):
Can’t see the video? See it here!
Again, just to emphasize, this has not been through a round of performance optimizations, so you can expect additional performance improvements in the future, but I think this demonstrates that we are heading in the right direction.
Recently the Mir and Unity Next teams got Unity 8 up and running on Mir. Now, this work is still very early in development and neither Mir nor Unity Next are finished yet, but I reached out to Michael Zanetti, who is on the team, and asked him to put together a short video demo to show the progress of this work.
Here is is:
Can’t see the video? Click here!
As you can see, impressive progress is being made; this demo is running on a MacBook Pro Retina utilizing the full resolution of 2880×1800 pixels and using Intel HD 4400 graphics. The performance is already looking great, and the team haven’t done a deep dive into performance optimization yet.
UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit, is here again, starting in just a few hours. A week packed with content that will define the plans for the new Ubuntu development cycle, and as usual, a with a full track dedicated to application development.
So for all of you interested in helping and being part of the effort of making Ubuntu a platform of choice for application developers, here’s a quick list with an overview of the sessions we’ve got in store for today.
The links in the list below will take you to the each session, ready to participate on the live hangout or on IRC. You can also check out the full UDS schedule.
So, without further ado, here’s the list of app development sessions for today:
- At 15:05 UTC: App Development Roundtable
- At 16:05 UTC SDK UI Toolkit Theming
- At 16:05 UTC SDK Feedback from App Developers
- At 18:05 UTC SDK Roadmap
- At 19:05 UTC Growing the Ubuntu SDK Apps Collection
Looking forward to seeing you there!