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
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?
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.
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.
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.
This week, as well as being a centrefold model in a tabloid rag, another of my life ambitions came true when I had the glory of being the release dude. Plasma 2014.6 is the first version of Plasma using KDE Frameworks 5 and the developers are hard at work coding on it. The release schedule required an Alpha so I was tasked with working out how to release some tars.
This is a very exciting release because it's the start of the next evolution of KDE Software. No major feature overhauls just a solid codebase to work from using nice technologies like QtQuick.
This is also a very boring release because it's made up of kde-workspace and kde-runtime both of which are about to disappear as the archive gets modularised. kde-runtime also overlaps with much of the kde-runtime from KDE SC 4 land so you can't install it alongside your normal KDE install. We'll fix that.
I also included a release of Oxygen Fonts which is the new feature font for Plasma. The developer of this has renamed it due to trademark issues to Comme Font but there's some alignment issues in Comme Font, plus it needs a copy of Font Forge from git to generate the .ttf files which nobody seems to be able to compile. Please tell me how if you can.
Packages are in the Kubuntu Experimental PPA for anyone who wants to try but we're still working out all the dependencies etc. And it'll remove your existing KDE install, so you take your chances :)
It's the start of something amazing...
The big news for this version is that we included a new “apt” binary that combines the most commonly used commands from apt-get and apt-cache. The commands are the same as their apt-get/apt-cache counterparts but with slightly different configuration options.
Currently the apt binary supports the following commands:
- list: which is similar to dpkg list and can be used with flags like
--installed or --upgradable.
- search: works just like apt-cache search but sorted alphabetically.
- show: works like apt-cache show but hide some details that people are less likely to care about (like the hashes). The full record is still available via apt-cache show of course.
- update: just like the regular apt-get update with color output enabled.
- install,remove: adds progress output during the dpkg run.
- upgrade: the same as apt-get dist-upgrade –with-new-pkgs.
- full-upgrade: a more meaningful name for dist-upgrade.
- edit-sources: edit sources.list using $EDITOR.
You can enable/disable the install progress via:# echo 'Dpkg::Progress-Fancy "1"' > /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99progressbar
If you have further suggestions or bugreport about APT, get in touch and most importantly, have fun!
In this week’s show:-
- We also take a look at what’s been happening in the news:
- DRM-free Gaming outfit GOG.com are bringing “at least 100” games to Linux this year…
- Microsoft are going to release the source code for MS-DOS and Microsoft Word…
- Blender 2.7 is out…
- You can now *legally* rip your own CDs in the UK…
- Amazon has announced Fire TV…
- And there have been endless NSA and/or GCHQ revelations; they’re even spying on Angry Birds…or something…
- We catch up with what’s been happening in the Ubuntu community:
We’ll be back next week, when we’ll be getting insights from Mark Shuttleworth and going through your Winter feedback.
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A couple days ago I did a post about going to school, and it in-between the lines it had the words “I’m deatached from my ZNC it has got push notifications on” hidden. One person did notice, and asked about how this feature worked and mentioned some tedious points in the process. But let’s get to it!
If you use ZNC, you should already know that ZNC supports the use of modules. Some of them are already built-in with the packaged system, but some others can be compiled manually. If you host your own ZNC, this may be of your interest.
The module for this is called ‘push’ (a bit obvious, huh?) and is hosted on Github, right here. In order to be able to compile and grab the module, first execute:
sudo apt-get install git znc-dev
Then, pull the git code, make the module and install it:
git clone https://github.com/jreese/znc-push.git
And, finally, load the module on your ZNC by executing the following on your ZNC:
/msg *status loadmod push
In general, there are two services I have checked are good and work: Pushbullet (for Android) and Airgram (for iOS). Each service has some specific configuration options. In the case of Pushbullet, which I use, you need to execute the following on your ZNC:
/msg *push set service pushbullet
/msg *push set secret [secretgoeshere]
/msg *push set target [targetgoeshere]
To find this values, register on Pushbullet and login to your account. Once the device is added, click on your email address and then on ‘Account Settings’. It should explicitly give you the secret. Then, go back to your inbox and click on the device you want to send the notifications to, even if it’s already selected. Now, from the address bar, copy the ‘device_iden’ value – that should be the target. And you’re good to go!
There are many other configuration options, which can be found here. I hope this is useful for many of you who want to stick with ZNC 24/7 :)
OpenStack Icehouse RC1 packages for Cinder, Glance, Keystone, Neutron, Heat, Ceilometer, Horizon and Nova are now available in the current Ubuntu development release and the Ubuntu Cloud Archive for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
To enable the Ubuntu Cloud Archive for Icehouse on Ubuntu 12.04:
sudo add-apt-repository cloud-archive:icehouse
sudo apt-get update
Users of the Ubuntu development release (trusty) can install OpenStack Icehouse without any further steps required.
Other packages which have been updated for this Ubuntu release and are pertinent for OpenStack users include:
- Open vSwitch 2.0.1 (+ selected patches)
- QEMU 1.7 (upgrade to 2.0 planned prior to final release)
- libvirt 1.2.2
- Ceph 0.78 (firefly stable release planned as a stable release update)
Note that the 3.13 kernel that will be released with Ubuntu 14.04 supports GRE and VXLAN tunnelling via the in-tree Open vSwitch module – so no need to use dkms packages any longer! You can read more about using Open vSwitch with Ubuntu in my previous post.
Ubuntu 12.04 users should also note that Icehouse is the last OpenStack release that will be backported to 12.04 – however it will receive support for the remainder of the 12.04 LTS support lifecycle (3 years).
Remember that you can always report bugs on packages in the Ubuntu Cloud Archive and Ubuntu 14.04 using the ubuntu-bug tool – for example:
I just wanted to let you folks know that I am recruiting for a community manager to join my team at Canonical.
I am looking for someone with strong technical knowledge of building Ubuntu (knowledge of how we release, how we build packages, bug management, governance etc), great community management skills, and someone who is willing to be challenged and grow in their skills and capabilities.
My goal with everyone who joins my team is not just to help them be successful in their work, but to help them be the very best at what they do in our industry. As such I am looking for someone with a passion to be successful and grow.
I think it is a great opportunity and to be part of a great team. Details of the job are available here – please apply if you are interested!?
We’ve recently rolled out some changes to the submission process for Click Applications that should make it easier for you to submit new applications, and allow them to be approved more quickly.
Previously when submitting an application you would have to enter all the information about that application on the website, even when some of that information was already included in the package itself. This was firstly an irritation, but sometimes developers would make a mistake when re-entering this information, meaning that the app was rejected from review and they would have to go back and correct the mistake.
With the new changes, when you submit an application you will wait a few seconds while the package is examined by the system, and you will then be redirected to the same process as before. However this time some of the fields will be pre-filled with information from the package. You won’t have to type in the application name, as it will already be there. This will speed up the process, and should reduce the number of mistakes that happen at that stage.
We’ve also been working on a command-line interface for submitting applications. It’s not polished yet, but if you are intrepid you can try out click-toolbelt.
LogAnalyzer is a powerful but simple log file analysis tool. The upstream web site gives an online demo.
It is developed in PHP, runs in Apache and has no other dependencies such as databases - it can read directly from the log files.
For efficiency, however, it is now trivial to make it work with MongoDB on Debian.
Using a database (including MongoDB and SQL backends) also means that severity codes (debug/info/notice/warn/error/...) are retained. These are not available from many log files. The UI can only colour-code and filter the messages by severity if it has a database backend.Package status
The packages just entered Debian recently. It has now been migrated to wheezy-backports so anybody on wheezy can use it.Quick start with MongoDB
The version of rsyslog in Debian wheezy does not support MongoDB output. It is necessary to grab 7.4.8 from backports.
Some versions, up to 7.4.4 in backports, had bugs with MongoDB support - if you tried those, please try again now.
The backported rsyslog is a drop-in replacement for the standard rsyslog package and for users with a default configuration it is unlikely you will notice any difference. For users who customized the configuration, as always, make a backup before trying the new version.
- Install all the necessary packages: apt-get install rsyslog-mongodb php5-mongo mongodb-server
- Add the following to /etc/rsyslog.conf:
*.* action(type="ommongodb" server="127.0.0.1")
- Look for the MongoDB settings in /etc/loganalyzer/config.php and uncomment them. Comment out the stuff for disk log access.
- Restart rsyslog and then browse your logs at http://localhost/loganalyzer
The app showdown is still in full swing and we have seen lots and lots of activity already. The competition is going to end on Wednesday, April 9th 2014 (23:59 UTC). So what do you need to do to enter and submit the app?
It’s actually quite easy. It takes three 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.
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.
We have just received news from Canonical that all verified LoCo Teams contacts who have pre-ordered a 14.04 DVD pack will receive it from the first shipment. This will only apply for those who register until April 8th, 2014. So, if you are the contact for a verified team and have not pre-ordered your DVDs for 14.04, make sure you do it as soon as possible!
If you are not a verified team, please l apply for the process in order to get a pack for the cycle.
Remember, only team contacts from verified teams can request them!
Make sure to get your orders in before the 8th!
Since its inception, the LibreOffice project has been pursuing the objective of freeing office computing from vendor lock-in. Now, some fellow Document Foundation members and LibreOffice developers have announced an umbrella project for all the file parsing libraries that are being developed to achieve this objective.
The new project is called Document Liberation, and will house the wide range of libraries that are already allowing LibreOffice users to have control on their own files. We want everyone to, for example, take their old files written in proprietary formats and have a way to recover the information, convert it over to a standard-compliant, modern format, and ensure the long-term preservation of the information they own – because you should own your data, not a specific version of a program.
Are you interested on this? Let’s make it happen! Head over the new Document Liberation website and read all about this effort.
A good friend just yesterday sent me a link to a one and a half hour lasting live concert of 2CELLOS. And wow, I was deeply impressed. Terrific! Even Sir Elton John approves. Have to share them with you, too. :)
- Highway To Hell featuring Steve Vai: Bloody hell yeah!
- Smooth Criminal: Forbidden good.
- With Or Without You: What can I say, I'm a sucker when it comes to ballads.
P.S.: I sooo love them also for their pun in their second album title, In2ition. :D
“No, unfortunately it’s not an April Fools joke.”
Said Jane Silber from Canonical.
Sad but true. Canonical is shutting down Ubuntu One file services.
“Today we are announcing plans to shut down the Ubuntu One file services. This is a tough decision, particularly when our users rely so heavily on the functionality that Ubuntu One provides. However, like any company, we want to focus our efforts on our most important strategic initiatives and ensure we are not spread too thin.”
“As of today, it will no longer be possible to purchase storage or music from the Ubuntu One store. The Ubuntu One file services will not be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release, and the Ubuntu One apps in older versions of Ubuntu and in the Ubuntu, Google, and Apple stores will be updated appropriately. The current services will be unavailable from 1 June 2014; user content will remain available for download until 31 July, at which time it will be deleted.”
This decision, as per Canonical, will not affect:
“The shutdown will not affect the Ubuntu One single sign on service, the Ubuntu One payment service, or the backend U1DB database service.”
For Full Details, please refer to this post.
At the last Ubuntu Developer Summit we discussed the idea of making our regular online summit serve more than just developers. We are interested in showcasing not just the developer-orientated discussion sessions that we currently have, but also including content such as presentations, demos, tutorials, and other topics.
I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that the first Ubuntu Online Summit will happen from 10th – 12th June 2014. The website is not yet updated (we are going to keep everything on summit.ubuntu.com and uds.ubuntu.com can point there, and Michael is making the changes to bring over the static content).
We are really keen to get ideas for how the event can run so I am scheduling a hangout on Thurs 10th April at 5pm UTC on Ubuntu On Air where I would welcome ideas and input. I hope to see you there!
Nothing new to report this week
Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs
Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:
Milestone Targeted Work Items
4 work items
2 work items
1 work item
1 work item
2 work items
3 work items
Status: Trusty Development Kernel
The 3.13.0-21.43 Trusty kernel has been uploaded to the archive. With
kernel freeze about to go into effect this Thurs Apr 3, I do not
anticipate another upload between now and then. After kernel freeze,
all patches are subject to our Ubuntu SRU policy and only critical bug
fixes will warrant an upload before release.
Important upcoming dates:
Thurs Apr 03 – Kernel Freeze (~2 days away)
Thurs Apr 17 – Ubuntu 14.04 Final Release (~2 weeks away)
The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:
Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates -
Status for the main kernels, until today (Mar. 25):
- Lucid – Prep week
- Precise – Prep week
- Quantal – Prep week
Saucy – Prep week
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 discussions.