In the Ubuntu 13.04 cycle the development team have been working on making a series of improvements to the dash to improve search quality as well as the breadth of areas, software, and services that the dash can search. This will result in a significantly greater number of scopes (potentially 100) shipped by default and a better search experience that is smarter in the way scopes are searched for terms, thus delivering better results and higher performance.
Some of the planning that went into this work happened after UDS, and unfortunately missed the opportunity to discuss this at the event. To get as close as possible to the normal UDS experience, a full specification for the feature] as well as the blueprint] are online and a retroactive UDS-style session happened today on a Google+ hangout that included Canonical engineers (Stuart Langridge, Roberto Alsina), community team members (Jono Bacon, Michael Hall), and community members who have taken an interest in the dash (Alan Bell, David Calle, and Christophe Sauthier who was invited, but didn’t join the hangout).
The hangout is below:
Can’t see the video? See it here
This feature should land in the Ubuntu 13.04 development branch in the next few weeks and then we will see the usual polish and refinement until we release Ubuntu 13.04 in April.
The Community Team will also be launching a project over the coming few weeks to grow the range of scopes ready for 13.04 and ease the development process. Stay tuned!
Written by Jono Bacon
This year no one blocked me from going to FOSDEM ;D
What are plans? There will be some AArch64 related talks which I want to attend:
- Bootstrapping Fedora for AArch64
- Bootstrapping Debian/Ubuntu for AArch64
- Porting software for AArch64
- Porting OpenJDK for AArch64
- What the hell is AArch64
Few ARM ones:
- Freedreno update
- Open ARM GPU drivers
- ARM status in Linux kernel
Few for entertainment:
- Buildroot contra Debian
- Baserock introduction
Some for curiosity:
- Why there is no such thing as FOSS phone?
Original titles may differ. There are over 450 events during FOSDEM, several keynotes etc. There will be also few thousand people so I would rather not find a time to attend even half of sessions listed above… But for me this is how this conference work :D
Normally I do not take hardware with my (other than phone). This time I packed two boards, two tablets and hope to get rid of most of them ;)
A new feature of Ubuntu was discussed today (which is like an announcement but without overhyping it), it is called Smart Scopes and is documented here https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SmartScopes1304Spec go read that first and then I have a video for you to watch.
Now go back and read the spec that I told you to read earlier, but all the way to the end this time.
In the video from left to right is Alan Bell (me), David Callé, Jono Bacon, Michael Hall, Roberto Alsina and Stuart Langridge, all discussing this new framework for searching. It is coming soon, to the Ubuntu Raring desktop and then to phone and TV and tablet etc. The objective is to make searching really really effective and helpful to the user, but as with the previous efforts in this direction there will be some concerns around how it is implemented.
In short, Canonical will be running a server much like the existing products.ubuntu.com server which will accept queries and return a bunch of results as json. The current implementation searches Amazon and the Ubuntu One music store and a few other places. The new one will do the same, plus more server-side searches, plus a new feature altogether which is a list of good scope names for the client to search. Your client will now send a list of all locally installed scopes to the server (actually a list of scopes you have added and a list of scopes you have removed or turned off from the standard set) along with your query. The server then returns results it found and wants to put in your dash, plus a subset of the local scopes you sent it, in order, that the server thinks would be good places to hunt for your search term. This means that your client might have 100 or more locally installed search scopes, but the server will advise it which are likely to give good results. Now for the scary bit, once you have looked at the results and perhaps clicked on something then your client pings the server again to tell it which scope produced the most relevant result. This means that the server can learn from this feedback about which scopes produce high quality results for that keyword, and perhaps rank that one a bit higher in future recommendations lists.
- Lenses are now called master scopes
- You control each individual scope that you want to search in or not search in, not the master scopes so you will have 100 or so things to turn on or off.
- You can still have locally installed scopes that search authenticated data sources
- You could in principal run your own search server if you write one to implement the API and patch the home master scope to look at your own server
- The server isn’t open source
- You can’t opt out of the feedback process (without turning off the smart scope altogether – which you can do)
- If you install a local scope then your client will tell the server the name of that scope
- Every query to the server is going to include a list of locally installed scope names (100 or so perhaps?)
- You can focus a search at a particular scope by using a keyword, for example “omlet: chicken house” to only search the Omlet scope and not the chicken stuff master scope.
- The rather poorly thought out remote-content-search checkbox to disable local scopes from doing online searches remains in place – however you don’t need it as you have per-scope controls.
- There may be some code quality checks introduced to stop scopes that don’t pay attention to the remote-content-search setting from getting into the Ubuntu distribution. – but you don’t need it.
- This probably won’t put more adverts on your desktop while you are trying to do work.
- This is probably a more private way of searching for stuff than googling for it.
- This won’t be opt-in, all the good stuff in Ubuntu is turned on by default.
- Your IP address gets logged on the web server logs, but not in the database of the smart scopes application running on the server. The developers working on the smart scopes don’t have access to the web server logs.
- It would be relatively trivial (I could do it in a day or so if I felt like it) to write a gnome-shell client for this smart scopes server to display the remote results, however doing something with the scope recommendations list would be a bit of a struggle.
- The home master scope (dash) search box will contain the help text “search your computer and online sources” to make it clear that it isn’t just a local search.
Now to the big question. How much are people going to freak out about this? Well if they read the spec all the way to the end they will see all the stuff that is being collected, how it is aggregated, how much or how little privacy this is costing them and why it is being done for the greater good of having decent search results. The feedback data collection process is likely to be slightly freakout causing. I can see why the developers want this turned on and I can see why it is antisocial to turn it off, like leeching on bittorrent while downloading an Ubuntu iso or whatever. I think they would be wise to have a checkbox in the privacy settings dialogue so that antisocial people can turn this off. I imagine the developers will stick with the current policy that if you want to use smart scopes you have to participate in the feedback process to make it better.
I think we need to do some education around the lack of an applications launcher though. Currently people think that Super + name of application is a replacement for the Gnome 2 applications menu. It isn’t. Super+a + name of application is how to start applications. This is going to focus the search on just applications and will work a lot faster than doing an omniglobaleverywhere search which is what the superkey does by itself.
For me this is a good development overall. The privacy debacle will be solved to my satisfaction when you can locally and personally blacklist scopes. This will mean that I can write a scope without it being co-dependent on all the other online scopes and I don’t have to worry about whether intranet access constitutes internet access. All scopes can simply stop if remote-content-search is set, but nobody needs to set it, the flag will basically just break all searching and be a bit pointless.
Back in June 2009, we interviewed Laura Czajkowski about her work in Ubuntu and FOSS. We followed up with her to see how she’s doing and her current involvement in Ubuntu.First of all, how’s life? In 2009, you were hosting various community activities to promote FOSS- are you still participating in the same meetings or new ones?
It’s pretty good thanks, I’m now living in England and working for Canonical as the Launchpad Support Specialist for the last year which I love. I get to work with great people and work on an open source project, help users every day and I’m still involved in Ubuntu at the same time!
When I was living in Ireland I ran my own unconference OSSBarcamp. It’s been harder to keep that going since I moved to the UK, but I still help coordinate other conferences there and I’m still involved in the Irish LoCo Team. Since moving to the UK, I’ve been helping other groups with their conferences, from education conferences, ODF events, OGGCamp and now my latest unconference I’ve decided to run, HacknTalk. I’ve also been speaking at more conferences and also at schools to talk to students about women in technology, jobs that are out there and the different career paths people can take to get there.Can you tell me about your current projects within Ubuntu and the teams you’re part of?
So since the last interview I’ve gotten more involved with Ubuntu. I’m now on the LoCo Council and also the Community Council. On any given week I work with loco teams and their queries, whether it be a hosting issue, or how they can request DVDs to conference packs or in some cases- stepping in and helping them work with one another. I love hearing the stories from the different communities and it’s this that makes me want to stay involved and help people promote Ubuntu.
Within the community council it’s different. It’s really given me an opportunity to see how other areas of the Ubuntu community are run and how people are involved in it. I had no idea about the Technical Board or what pitfalls it may encounter. I’ve learned about the Edubuntu project from talking to their council and how they are very much hands on and how they get work done. It’s great because it gives me ideas on how I can tweak my projects based on hearing about others experiences. The joys of an open source community is that we share our knowledge.
I’m involved in both the Ireland and UK LoCo teams, from participating in events to running global jams and getting to know the members of the community I talk to every day! I love to meet people their passion for Ubuntu is contagious and it really helps to influence others to get involved!How will you be involved with Ubuntu moving forward? Do you have any specific projects/goals planned?
Interesting, I’d hope to always be involved in Ubuntu because it is for me one of the most welcoming and open communities out there and for that I am very grateful. It’s provided opportunities for me to learn and also I’ve been rather fortunate to gain employment at Canonical from it. I’ve always tried to lead a balance life work, advocacy, and my own hobbies. If I can keep this up I’ll always be involved. As for planned projects/goals, I’d like to continue my speaking to school kids and possibly do more of this. It was very rewarding seeing 16-18 year-olds get involved in small translations after learning how easy it was to use Launchpad and they could contribute to an Open Source project, even if they couldn’t code Yet! Hopefully my hackntalk unconference will take off and I’ll be running more of these in my spare time
The original Full Circle Magazine Interview with Laura can be found at http://fullcirclemagazine.org/issue-26/
Ubuntu Developer Week kicked off yesterday. If you couldn’t make it, don’t despair: here are the logs and a quick run-through:
- Introduction to Ubuntu development — dholbach: This session has become an institution at Ubuntu Developer Weeks and is always packed with people who want to get started. Check out the log for an overview over Ubuntu Development and lots and lots of answered questions.
- Getting set up for Ubuntu development — dholbach: Similar to the session before, this one is a regular at our events. This time Daniel chose to only show the most important things to get set up and also walk everybody through a very simple bug fix to give an idea of how things work.
- Introduction to patch systems — coolbhavi: Patch systems regularly confuse people. How do I “patch a package” and why are there multiple ways to do it. Go through Bhavani’s session log and find out how and why to get the most out of patch systems.
- Working with upstreams — tumbleweed: Stefano Rivera has long been working in both the Debian and Ubuntu camp, so it’s no surprise this topic is important to him. It was great to see that many asked their questions in the session. The foundations of more healthy relations between Upstreams and Downstreams have hopefully been laid in the session.
- Introduction to One Hundred Paper Cuts — notgary: The One Hundred Paper Cuts team has been fixing small, annoying UI bugs for quite a while and everybody’s happy that Chris Wilson brought some new energy back to the team. Watch this video to find out how you can get involved and how the project works. If you care about UI stuff, this is a great first step.
- Ubuntu App Developer tools — mhall119: Building apps for Ubuntu has never been easier and Michael Hall knows how you can most easily get started. Read the log, it’s good fun and start working on your first app today.
Yesterday sounds like it was a great day, but wait for what we’ve lined up for today:
- 15:00 UTC: How to write apps for Ubuntu — dpm
- 16:00 UTC: Ubuntu App review process explained — coolbhavi
- 17:00 UTC: Finding memory leaks — achiang (Hangout!)
- 18:00 UTC: Testing with autopilot — balloons
- 19:00 UTC: Unity integration — mhall119
Some time passed since last Chromebook post so I want to give small update on Ubuntu status.
Dylan Reid from Chromium team fixed ALSA driver so frying speakers is now past. This change will go into next stable Chromium update probably. I got it merged into Ubuntu kernel and released as “3.4.0-4″ version in PPA.
In meantime Vladimir Smirnov took a look at “release-R25″ branch of kernel and got it booted. He shared configuration so I went with it, synced with Ubuntu one and got it running on my Chromebook. So expect new kernel release after FOSDEM.
There are Mali OpenGLES drivers available for download. I was unable to use them with R23 kernel (current Ubuntu one) but they do work with R25 branch so another thing to take care. This time I have to make new packaging as I need to add click thought license support. After that we can drop Chromium OS from our devices ;)
VBoot utilities are also in PPA. So signing of kernels and manipulating partition tables do not need files from Chromium anymore.
But there is one thing. Or rather lack of it… I do not have time to check do my packages work under older versions of Ubuntu (12.04, 12.10). Due to that I will not release any new updates for them — will support only ‘raring’ (13.04). Everything will be available in PPA so anyone can test.
The user interface is done in QML, it uses Plasma’s QML Components, transitions and subtle animations. The application also nicely presents statistics about your performance and progress, it guides, but doesn’t restrict the user. Well done. :)
The new version of KTouch will be available with the KDE Applications 4.10, to be released on February 6th.
Changes:dput-ng (1.4) unstable; urgency=low [ Arno Töll ] * Really fix #696659 by making sure the command line tool uses the most recent version of the library. * Mark several fields to be required in profiles (incoming, method) * Fix broken tests. * Do not run the check-debs hook in our mentors.d.n profile * Fix "[dcut] dm bombed out" by using the profile key only when defined (Closes: #698232) * Parse the gecos field to obtain the user name / email address from the local system when DEBFULLNAME and DEBEMAIL are not set. * Fix "dcut reschedule sends "None-day" to ftp-master if the delay is not specified" by forcing the corresponding parameter (Closes: #698719) . [ Luca Falavigna ] * Implement default_keyid option. This is particularly useful with multiple GPG keys, so dcut is aware of which one to use. * Make scp uploader aware of "port" configuration option. . [ Paul Tagliamonte ] * Hack around Launchpad's SFTP implementation. We musn't stat *anything*. "Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits" (Closes: #696558). * Rewrote the test suite to actually test the majority of the codepaths we take during an upload. Back up to 60%. * Added a README for the twitter hook, Thanks to Sandro Tosi for the bug, and Gergely Nagy for poking me about it. (Closes: #697768). * Added a doc for helping folks install hooks into dput-ng (Closes: #697862). * Properly remove DEFAULT from loadable config blocks. (Closes: #698157). * Allow upload of more then one file. Thanks to Iain Lane for the suggestion. (Closes: #698855). . [ Bernhard R. Link ] * allow empty incoming dir to upload directly to the home directory . [ Sandro Tosi ] * Install example hooks (Closes: #697767).
Thanks to all the contributors!
For anyone who doesn’t know, you should check out the docs.
Sometimes I wonder, given all the things that have ever lived, what would scare me the most?
In today’s world we have Orcas and white sharks in the water, lions and tigers on land. And though not really scary, you probably don’t want to mess with a Cape Buffalo. There are definately extinct species that can really scare you, any kind of Tyrannosaurus or Spinosaurs are scary. If you don’t want to be eaten by one large dinosaur then being mauled by a bunch of large pack hunting chickens doesn’t sound like a particularly fun way to go either.
But there’s one thing that just frightens the hell out of me, Dunkleosteus. A large bony fish from the Devonian (~370mill years ago), this guy is the honey badger of extinct fish; first off, look at this skull:
This thing is just a swimming nightmare, I mean, come on, ya gotta be kidding …
I even found this (uncredited) pic, not my idea of a good time:
So basically you take an Alien’s head from Alien and attach it to a fish. It doesn’t even have teeth. Those “teeth” you see are actually extensions of it’s skull; it’s basically skull teeth.
@sil happy birthday! Also, no blog post this year?
Rob “@dealmeida” De Almeida
And people are already being nice to me on Twitter, even though it’s after midnight and you should all be in bed before you turn back into pumpkins.
It’s my birthday. This year I am thirty-seven. This seems, all of a sudden, to be old. Thirty-six… well, that’s a nice mathematical number, the square of six, the number of possible dice throws, the number of gallons in a barrel of beer. All this makes it seem closer to thirty. Thirty-seven…that’s basically forty, isn’t it?
Forty. Dammit. At some point I wasn’t paying attention, and while I wasn’t paying attention I got all old and responsible and stuff.
On the other hand, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of the things I dreamed of when I started writing on this site have come to pass. Or, as someone famous didn’t quite put it, this isn’t victory, but you can see it from here. I have a fabulous daughter, I have a present from my girlfriend sitting in the kitchen waiting for me to open it (which I am itching to touch but I promised her I wouldn’t), my job is great, the entire world’s knowledge is at my fingertips, the internet is available to me even when standing in a field. I’ve learned that the 2003 me was mostly a moron but had the kernel of some good ideas. I’m even learning to cook. Tickets at the Arsenal cost sixty-two quid and we’re once again fighting about DRM (this time in HTML5) and weathering the storm of uneducated commentary, but in the last thirty days we’ve seen the first 3D-printed building planned, facial recognition software defeated, and the Ubuntu phone released. It’s an exciting time to be alive, even if you’re nearly forty.
Happy birthday to me.
The Ohio Local Community Team helds its inaugural educational session on Monday, 28 January 2013, in #ubuntu-us-oh on FreeNode IRC. The topic covered was "The Joy of BeagleBoard" and after the main presentation a lively discussion ensued. The transcript of the session has been posted with PNG graphic exports of the slides interleaved to https://wiki.ubuntu.com/OhioTeam/IRC20130128.
There is not a known plan for what may be in store for February 2013 yet.