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Sam Hewitt: Chicken Madras

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 2014-03-01 00:00

Among my favourite dishes are curries and to do them justice takes a little more preparation and a well stocked pantry, but they're always worth it.

  • 1 tablespoon coriandre seeds
  • 1 cumin coriandre seeds
  • 1+ dried red chili peppers
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 three-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1-2 kg chicken legs (or thighs), skinned
  • 2-3 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil*
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 350mL (1 can) coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 table spoons ground turmeric./li>
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • Water

Tamarind is a very sour fruit paste and is essential to making this dish a madras.

*You can substitute regular butter or a vegetable oil if you have neither of these ingredients.

Also if you don't have whole spices (like the coraindre, cumin and fennel) you can use the pre-ground stuff from your favourite store. Having said that, if you're into spice-rich dishes like this one, it's best to stock up on your whole spices.

The chilies are where the heat comes from in this dish. You can use as many as your tolerance allows, or leave them out entirely –like most things in cooking it's up to you really.
  1. In a dry non-stick skillet and in separate batches roast the coriandre, cumin and fennel seeds –this means leaving the spices in the pan on high heat until they start to become fragrant–then remove each and set aside.
  2. Grind the coriandre, red chilies and cumin in a spice grinder.
  3. In a small blender or food processor, make a paste of the garlic, ginger, and just ground cumin & coriandre (add a little water if need be to get it going). Set aside.
  4. Dissolve the tamarind in 1/2 a cup or so of water with the garam masala and honey. Set aside.
  5. Preheat a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the butter (or oil) and brown the chicken on all sides. When finished, remove the chicken and set aside.
  7. Add a little water and the sliced onions to the pot. Scrape all the lovely browned bits off the bottom of the pot while sauteeing the onion. Continue to saute for ~5 minutes
  8. Add your ginger-garlic-spice paste and further saute (while constantly stirring to avoid burning) for another few minutes.
  9. Add the coconut milk and another couple equal parts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low-ish.
  10. Add the cinnamon sticks, fennel, turmeric and cardamom pods. Season with the salt.
  11. Return the chicken and simmer for 60-90 minutes, adding a little water every so often to replace lost liquid.
  12. When the chicken is tender, remove and strain the remaing sauce through a fine-mesh strainer pressing out any liquid from the remnants –if you're into the whole rustic thing, feel free to leave in the whole spices, picking them out as you eat.
  13. Return the sauce to the pot and add the tamarind paste mixture. Return the chicken also. Allow the flavours to blend for another 10-15 minutes.
  14. Serve with rice and/or naan bread. Enjoy.

This version of a madras is done with chicken, but of course if can be done with lamb, beef, or even potato, although with the latter, you'd just add them raw, peeled and whole in the simmering step.

Ubuntu Server blog: The Ubuntu Server team is hiring!

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-02-28 20:58

We are looking for two fabulous Software Engineers to join the Ubuntu Server team. Check out the individual job listings for more details:

Think you’ve got what it takes? Apply!

Ronnie Tucker: Full Circle #82 arrives in your digital piggy bank

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-02-28 20:33

This month:
* Command & Conquer
* How-To : Python, LibreOffice, and Connecting iOS Devices.
* Graphics : Blender and Inkscape.
* Review: NOD32 Anti-virus
NEW! – Security Q&A
NEW! – What Is: CryptoCurrency
plus: Q&A, Linux Labs, Ask The New Guy, Ubuntu Games, and even some competitions!

Get it while it’s hot!

Daniel Pocock: Google Summer of Code opportunities in data science and machine learning with Ganglia

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-02-28 20:19

As mentioned in my blog on Monday, the Ganglia Project is proud to be part of Google Summer of Code in 2014

The Ganglia team are offering various types of projects and different parts of Ganglia would welcome students with different skills, for example:

Component Skills gmond agent C gmond modules C or Python JMXetric Java gmetad and rrdtool for storing time series data C Ganglia web interface JavaScript and jQuery Ganglia integration (e.g. ganglia-nagios-bridge) Python Big data right under your nose

I have had many queries from students about how to get into data science.

Very few students will be lucky enough to get an internship where they can study time-series from the financial markets and experiment making their own trading algorithms.

On the other hand, network performance data is everywhere. It is real-time. It is surprisingly similar in some ways to processing financial data and it provides excellent opportunities for students to practice data science skills and make a meaningful contribution to solving real problems.

Finding public Ganglia data with Google

Many large organizations, including universities, Governments and corporations are using Ganglia to gather metrics from all the hosts in their networks. Some of them even expose this data to the public. Here are two Google searches you can use to find them:

Courtesy of Université Montpellier 2, France

Some sites may even expose their data as an XML feed, you can try and extract it by connecting to the Ganglia server on one of these ports

Port Comments 8649 gmond: sends an XML snapshot to anybody who connects 8651 gmetad: sends an XML snapshot to anybody who connects 8651 gmetad: works a little bit like HTTP, returns a subset of the XML snapshot when you make a GET request

You can discover a Ganglia environment in your campus by looking for a gmond process on your machine and the gmond.conf file, often in /etc/gmond.conf or /etc/ganglia/gmond.conf. That file may contain a clue about the name of the host where Ganglia data is aggregated:

udp_send_channel { host = port = 8649 ttl = 1 }

This tells you that the host is collecting the data - you could try the URL in a web browser or try connecting to one of the TCP ports 8649, 8651 or 8652 on that host. Here is an example with netcat:

$ nc 8649 | grep ^.H

It will return a list of all hosts that Ganglia knows about.

Once you have a data feed, you can then configure a gmetad process on your own system to poll the remote system and generate local RRDs for you to study.

Install your own Ganglia

It is very easy to get your own Ganglia setup.

On a Debian or Ubuntu system, just do:

# apt-get update # apt-get install ganglia-monitor ganglia-webfrontend

On Fedora and RPM-based systems (such as CentOS or RHEL with EPEL) you can do:

# yum install ganglia-gmond ganglia-web

Everything should be autoconfigured. You can then browse to http://localhost/ganglia to see the charts.

If you have several hosts with the gmond agent (just the ganglia-monitor.deb or ganglia-gmond.rpm) on the same LAN, they will automatically find each other using multicast and you will see an aggregated report on the machine with the web server.

The data is real-time

It is important to keep in mind that the data is real-time. This means you can often detect problems in real-time. If this blog appears on slashdot, for example, then that image from Université Montpellier 2 will be hit many times. The image actually shows the network load on the web server producing the image, so you will see the slashdot effect graphically in the image itself.

Processing real-time data is often the most advanced step in any data science exercise. Initially, you may simply log a few days of data to RRD files to start studying a static data set with your tool of choice, whether it is the R project, Weka or Hadoop

Once you have a a hypothesis (for example, an algorithm that understands the normal characteristics of each metric) you may then take each new real-time value from the gmetad XML and test it with the algorithm. The algorithm would then raise an alert if any metric on any host deviates from its normal behavior.

Mixing in other sources of data

Depending upon the computing environment in your campus or organization, you may also be able to get other data sources, such as a list of people logged in to different machines at different times and the processes that each user starts and stops.

This might help to make more accurate predictions about when network or computing resources will be under stress. For example, if users bob, alice and eve all appear on the same host, your algorithm might conclude that the load average will reach an excessive level within 15 minutes and send those three users a suggestion to each try other machines.

Making a successful application for GSoC 2014

Here are some tips

  • For all organizations/projects
  • For Ganglia and the data science project in particular
    • Join the ganglia-general mailing list and send an email to introduce yourself
    • Try Ganglia on your own Linux system. Use the packages, it is really easy. Send an email to the list with any questions.
    • Explore the source code in github - ask us questions about it. For the data science project, you may also need to look at RRDtool source code and documentation about making a plugin for R (using C)
    • You don't have to do it our way: if you prefer to work with another tool instead of R, please tell us your idea
    • Write some skeleton code or make a diagram to explain what you want to do. While you do this, do you think of any new questions or problems? Make a list of them.
    • We want to give every student a small coding task as a test. Please tell us which language you prefer (e.g. C, Java, Python) so we can give you a suitable test. If you are really keen, follow the link to bugs I reported in Debian, look for one that is easy and try to write a small patch for it - helping fix bugs that annoy your mentor is likely to be a good way to get on the short-list for selection.

Colin King: Finding small bugs

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-02-28 20:15
Over the past few months I've been using static code analysis tools such as cppcheck, Coverity Scan and also smatch on various open source projects.   I've generally found that most open source code is fairly well written, however, most suffer a common pattern of bugs on the error handling paths.  Typically, these are not free'ing up memory or freeing up memory incorrectly.  Other frequent bugs are not initialising variables and overly complex code paths that introduce subtle bugs when certain rare conditions are occur.  Most of these bugs are small and very rarely hit; some of these just silently do things wrong while others can potentially trigger segmentation faults.

The --force option in cppcheck to force the checking of every build configuration has been very useful in finding code paths that are rarely built, executed or tested and hence are likely to contain bugs.

I'm coming to the conclusion that whenever I have to look at some new code I should take 5 minutes or so throwing it at various static code analysis tools to see what pops out and being a good citizen and fixing these and sending these upstream. It's not too much effort and helps reduce some of those more obscure bugs that rarely bite but do linger around in code.

Marcin Juszkiewicz: ARM7 != ARMv7

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-02-28 16:18

ARM architecture is fun when it comes to names and numbers. And it is around 30 years old as well. So from time to time I have a discussion where I say something like in title…

There are few sources of mistakes when it comes to ARM. Family names, instruction sets, core names and marketing. Hard to tell which makes biggest mess…

Anything below ARMv7a is history — there is ARMology about it so please read it. But it does not mean that we have clear situation now :D

ARMv7a (and higher) means Cortex-A family. But due to companies like AllWinner and Apple we have it more complicated:

  • A4 is Apple cpu with Cortex-A8 core
  • A5 is low-end Cortex-A5 core but also Apple cpu with Cortex-A9 cores (there was also A5X)
  • A6 is Apple cpu with their own core (also A6X)
  • A7 is Cortex-A7 core but also Apple cpu with 64-bit ARMv8 cores
  • A8 is Cortex-A8 core (the only single core Cortex-A)
  • A9 is Cortex-A9 core
  • A10 is AllWinner cpu with Cortex-A8 core (there was also A10s)
  • A12 is Cortex-A12 core
  • A13 is AllWinner cpu with Cortex-A8 core (stripped down A10)
  • A15 is Cortex-A15 core
  • A17 is Cortex-A17 core
  • A20 is AllWinner cpu with Cortex-A7 cores
  • A23 is AllWinner cpu with Cortex-A7 cores
  • A31 is AllWinner cpu with Cortex-A7 cores (also A31s)
  • A53 is Cortex-A53 core (64-bit ARMv8)
  • A57 is Cortex-A57 core (64-bit ARMv8)
  • A80 is AllWinner cpu with eight cores (4xA7 + 4xA15)

There are also other Cortex cores but their name do not start with “A” :) But the good thing is that all ARMv7a cpus can run same code. ARMv8 ones can run own code — 32-bit support is optional. All all major distros like Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE or Ubuntu work on support for both families.

All rights reserved © Marcin Juszkiewicz
ARM7 != ARMv7 was originally posted on Marcin Juszkiewicz website

Related posts:

  1. Samsung will have big.LITTLE. So what?
  2. What interest me in ARM world
  3. ARMology

Ubuntu LoCo Council: LoCo Teams Update On Air!

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-02-28 06:17

As you read it. From now on, Philip Ballew, Nathan Haines and I (José Antonio Rey) will be hosting a monthly LoCo Teams Update session at Ubuntu on Air!.

For these to be a success, we need your help. The updates will have news from the LoCo Council, and will also highlight what LoCo Teams are doing around the world! That means, if your LoCo Team is having an event or wants to be mentioned on the show for something they are going to do or have already done, you need to tell us so we can feature it.

All LoCo Teams are welcome to send their news to us so they can be featured on the show. Just send an email to, and make sure to start the subject with [LoCo Update]. An example of a subject would be “[LoCo Update] Release party hosted!” (don’t forget to mention which LoCo Team this is coming from!)

You can send text so we can read, but you can also send us your pictures and photos of the event, so we can show them to the world on this show. These sessions are all about you and your LoCo Team, so we are totally welcome to suggestions about what can be done in the future to improve the show. We may even start having some guests from LoCo Teams! Also, we will be using the #ubuntu-on-air channel on (Click here to join from your browser) to host discussion about the session. Anyone is welcome to come!

Our first session is going to be on Saturday, March 22nd, at 19 UTC. From that point on, we will be having sessions on the fourth Saturday each month, at the same time. You will be able to see the sessions at the Ubuntu on Air! calendar.

We hope to see you there, and expect to receive many news to be featured on the show!

The Fridge: Announcing Trusty Tahr Beta 1

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 2014-02-28 00:47

The first Beta of Trusty Tahr (to become 14.04 LTS) has now been released for testers and early adopters.

This beta features images for Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu and the Ubuntu Cloud images.

These are not to be used as stable systems but please do test for bugs to report. Always ensure your system is up to date before reporting bugs.


Edubuntu is the educational flavour of Ubuntu. It’s very similar to stock Ubuntu but integrates a lot of educational software, supports thin clients (LTSP) and offers an optional GNOME Flashback desktop as an alternative to Unity.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on Edubuntu beta 1 is published here:


Kubuntu is the KDE based flavour of Ubuntu. It uses the Plasma desktop and includes a wide selection of tools from the KDE project. In this LTS cycle the Kubuntu team are working on stabalising and bug fixing.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on Kubuntu Beta 1 can be found here:


Lubuntu is a flavor of Ubuntu based on LXDE and focused on providing a very lightweight distribution.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on Lubuntu Beta 1 can be found here:

Ubuntu GNOME

Ubuntu GNOME is a flavour of Ubuntu featuring the GNOME desktop environment.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on Ubuntu GNOME Beta 1 can be found here:


UbuntuKylin is a flavour of Ubuntu that is more suitable for Chinese users.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

More information on UbuntuKylin Beta 1 will be published here:

Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio is a flavor of Ubuntu focused on multimedia content creation.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

The release announcement can be found at:


Xubuntu is the Ubuntu flavour with Xfce, a stable, light and configurable desktop environment.

The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at:

The release announcement can be found at:

The complete release notes are at:

Ubuntu Cloud

Ubuntu Cloud images can be run on Amazon EC2, Openstack, SmartOS and many other clouds.

Regular daily images for Ubuntu (Unity) can be found at:

If you’re interested in following the changes as we further develop Trusty, we suggest that you subscribe to the ubuntu-devel-announce list. This is a low-traffic list (a few posts a week) carrying announcements of approved specifications, policy changes, beta releases and other interesting events.

Stéphane Graber, on behalf of the Ubuntu release team.

Originally posted to the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list on Thu Feb 27 21:01:46 UTC 2014 by Stéphane Graber

Lubuntu Blog: Trusty Tahr β1

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 22:57
It's here, the beta 1 for Lubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) for testing, as well as other flavours (Kubuntu, Xubuntu and UbuntuGnome) and I must (as always) remind you this is not suitable for production environment. Some changes you can find in this release are: New pcmanfm (1.2.0 version), with a lot of new features (folder settings, dual pane view, menu editing) New lxsession-default-apps with a

Kubuntu: Trusty Beta 1 Available for Testing

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 21:15
Trusty Beta 1, based on KDE SC 4.12.2, is available for Testing. The Beta 1 images can be downloaded at: More information on Kubuntu Trusty Beta 1 can be found here

Ubuntu Studio: 14.04 Beta 1 Release

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 21:04
Ubuntu Studio 14.04 Trusty Tahr Beta 1 is released! You may find the images at Reporting Bugs If you find any bugs with this release, please report them, and take your time in making the bug report as well formulated as possible. You’ll need an account at Making a bug report can be […]

Xubuntu: Xubuntu 14.04 Beta 1

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 18:41

The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.04 Beta 1. This is the first beta towards the final LTS release, and with it we have landed a lot of new features and improvements we’ve been preparing since the last LTS release two years ago.

The beta 1 release is available for download by torrents and direct downloads from

Highlights and known issues

The highlights of this release include:

  • Light Locker replaces xscreensaver for screen locking, a setting editing GUI is included
  • The panel layout is updated, and now uses Whiskermenu as the default menu
  • Mugshot is included to allow you to easily edit your personal preferences
  • MenuLibre for menu editing, with full Xfce support, replacing Alacarte
  • A community wallpapers package, which includes work from the five winners of the wallpaper contest
  • GTK Theme Config to customize your desktop theme colors
  • Updated artwork, including numerous enhancements to themes

Some of the known issues include:

  • xfdesktop crashes after logging in to the desktop (1282509)
  • Thunar doesn’t automatically mount removable devices and media (1210898)
  • Network shares aren’t shown on the desktop (1284914)
  • Wallpaper selection dialogue empty (1271713)

To see the complete list of new features, improvements, changes and bugs, read the release notes.

The first beta release also marks the end of the period to land new features in the form of Ubuntu Feature Freeze. This means any new updates to packages should be bug fixes only which the Xubuntu team is committed to fix as many of the bugs as possible before the final release.

Other efforts & thanks

As always, contributors to Xubuntu have worked on various projects not directly visible in the release. While any of these would be worth mentioning, the following are a few we felt may be of interest to the community:

  • QA efforts, including ISO and package testing as well as bug reporting and triaging
  • Marketing projects, including work on a flyer to promote Xubuntu for people still running Windows XP
  • Website updates, including a theme refresh

While many of the improvements in Xubuntu since the last LTS are, indeed, not directly visible. Some of the major improvements have been in design and theming, and as such we hope that you don’t see them – good design should be invisible.

Thanks to everybody contributing to Xubuntu! As always, new contributors are always welcome to join us. There are various different tasks to do, from testing daily ISOs and new package versions to writing and translating documentation to fixing bugs. To learn more about contributing, read the Get Involved section on the Xubuntu website.

Jono Bacon: Bad Voltage Season 1 Episode 10 ‘Midnight Throne Travels’

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 18:22

Stuart Langridge, Jeremy Garcia, Bryan Lunduke, and myself discuss:

  • Tech conferences — which ones are good, which ones are not, and why?
  • Desktop machines versus laptops, and a review of Stuart’s new gorgeous desktop computer from PC Specialist
  • Whistleblowing. In the light of the Snowden and Manning revelations, is whistleblowing a good idea, what’s available to protect whistleblowers from problems, and do we need to protect against those motivated by malice?
  • Miguel de Icaza, head of Xamarin and past founder of the Gnome and Mono projects, talks about why he was singled out as a “traitor”, what he’s doing now, and how to best work in the open source world
  • The winners in the Bad Voltage Selfie Competition! See this forum post for more details and all the entrants
  • A Bad Voltage community update covering growth on our community forum, the formation of our gaming community, the IRC channel, the Bad Voltage app, Bad Voltage at SCALE12x, and interesting post-show discussions.

Go and listen to or download the show here.

Be sure to share your thoughts on the show, the topics in it, ideas for future topics, and just be a part of the awesome and growing community of voltheads at Also, be sure to join in the Bad Voltage Selfie Competition to win some free O’Reilly books!

Canonical Design Team: Latest from the web team — February 2014

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 16:32

Time flies! February is mostly behind us now and hopefully spring won’t take too long to show up in London.

In the last few weeks we’ve worked on:

  • Ubuntu Resources: we’ve released a new iteration of the site this week — have a look and let us know your thoughts!
  • MWC 2014: we’ve created a few homepage takeovers and updated the /phone and /tablet sections of in preparation for this event
  • Cape Town sprint: a few of us have been to the cloud sprint in South Africa earlier this month, where work focused on planning the next iterations of Juju
  • Fenchurch: we’ve been improving the Fenchurch Juju charm

And we’re currently working on:

  • Ubuntu Resources: we’ve already started working on the next iteration of the site, which should be released in just a few weeks — this time we’re focusing on medium screen sizes
  • Ubuntu 14.04 release: we’ve started to go through the long list of updates to make the site ready for the upcoming release, mainly creating and updating image assets and copywriting
  • Responsive we’re now moving full speed ahead, updating our front end framework, which powers and other sites, to be mobile-first and responsive; a lot of the work in the next few weeks will be focused on creating new image assets and lots and lots of testing
  • Fenchurch: we’ll be finalising Fenchurch’s Juju charm auto-updating
  • Videos: we’re putting the final touches and testing the updated version of our web video player
  • Juju: in the last few weeks we’ve released a new design for relationship lines and we’ve added local charm support — you can now import local charms into an environment using the import function or by dragging a YAML file from your computer onto the Juju canvas

Here are a few photos that Luca took of the week in Cape Town, where the sun was shining.

Some moments from Cape Town, earlier this month.

Have you got any questions or suggestions for us? Would you like to hear about any of these projects and tasks in more detail? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Ubuntu GNOME: Ubuntu GNOME Trusty Tahr Beta 1 has been released

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 15:25


Ubuntu GNOME Team is happy to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME Trusty Tahr Beta 1.

Please see the release notes.

We’re preparing Ubuntu GNOME 14.04, the Trusty Tahr, for distribution in April 2014. With this early Beta 1 release, you can see what we are trying out in preparation for our next version. We have some interesting things happening, so read on for highlights and information.

This is a Beta 1 Release. Ubuntu GNOME Beta Releases are NOT recommended for:

  • Regular users who are not aware of pre-release issues
  • Anyone who needs a stable system
  • Anyone uncomfortable running a possibly frequently broken system
  • Anyone in a production environment with data or workflows that need to be reliable

Ubuntu GNOME Beta Releases are recommended for:

  • Regular users who want to help us test by finding, reporting, and/or fixing bugs
  • Ubuntu GNOME developers

To help with testing Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see Testing Ubuntu GNOME Wiki Page.

To contact Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see our full list of contact channels.

Thank you for choosing and testing Ubuntu GNOME!

Canonical Design Team: Ubuntu Resources — beta!

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 13:09

Today we’ve released a new version of Ubuntu Resources with some new functionality and design improvements, and we’ve now moved from alpha to beta!


We asked visitors to the site to give us their feedback based on their visits on their mobile devices, and we received lots of useful comments since we launched the alpha version of the site in November.

Several of the comments focused on the same themes, which became our areas of focus for this release, such as:

1. Understanding which site you are visiting

Because of the way we were using the Circle of Friends roundel without the “ubuntu” wordmark next to the word “resources”, many people didn’t understand that was the name of the site. In this iteration, we went back to using the standard brand extension, reducing the overall size of the logo and making that more clearly the title of the site and homepage link.

Navigation before (left) and after (right).

2. Understanding the variety of content that the site has to offer

Some people thought they had landed on the “Ubuntu Blog”, because of the way the homepage and other topic pages were laid out.

We’ve designed landing pages that are more curated and show the most recent and featured content with the option to see all archived content related to that topic near the bottom of the screen.

3. Learn more about the topics presented (cloud, server, etc.)

A common mistake when designing for brands you’re familiar with is to think other people will have the same understanding of it as you do.

Some people that we showed the site to and that were not too familiar with Ubuntu or Canonical did not understand exactly what we meant by “Server” or “Ubuntu on phones”, for example. Links to learn more about these topics used to be at the bottom of screens, so we moved that content to the top of the topic landing pages for easier access if you’re new to the subject.

New introductions to the topics.

Learnings from

With the launch of the new Canonical website in January, we changed the way some of our small screen patterns work:

  • We’ve updated the font sizes, so they are now slightly larger
  • We’ve updated the background of the pages
  • We’ve change the way content is divided, reducing the number of lines and using different blocks of colour instead

These were fed back into Ubuntu Resources so that we can keep our patterns as consistent as possible across sites.

In terms of the less visible updates, we’ve also:

  • Improved the pre-populated messages when content is shared
  • Tweaked the style of the tags which can be used to navigate the site
  • Fixed some bugs in the rendering of SVG icons
Next steps

In the next iteration of the site, we will be focusing mainly on layout improvements for medium sized screens (think tablets), as at the moment the site is still only displaying the small screen style sheet regardless of screen size.

We’ve already started to improve the search functionality, so that it’s possible to filter search results, but visitors should only be seeing these changes in the next release, in a few weeks.

Once we’ve built the site to scale up to large screen sizes smoothly, and have integrated all the top-priority functionality, the plan is for it to replace the current Insights website.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, head to Ubuntu Resources and feel free to send us your comments via the feedback link in the site’s footer.

Michael Hall: My App Showdown Wishlist

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 09:00

Today we announced the start of the next Ubuntu App Showdown, and I have very high hopes for the kinds of apps we’ll see this time around. Our SDK has grown by leaps and bounds since the last one, and so much more is possible now. So go get yourself started now:

Earlier today Jono posted his Top 5 Dream Ubuntu Apps, and they all sound great.  I don’t have any specific apps I’d like to see, but I would love to get some multi-player games.  Nothing fancy, nothing 3D or FPS.  Think more like Draw Something or Words With Friends, something casual, turn-based, that lets me connect with other Ubuntu device users. A clone of one of those would be fun, but let’s try and come up with something original, something unique to Ubuntu.

What do you say, got any good ideas?  If you do, post them in the App Showdown subreddit or our Google+ App Developers community and let’s make it happen.

Nathan Haines: Showing Ubuntu Pride

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 08:58

I take a lot of pride in the work I've done for Ubuntu. I've met so many wonderful people, made incredible friends, talked to interesting people, been to unique shows, run booths, been featured at conventions, published magazine articles, and even been on the radio.

I've always enjoyed being a public face for Ubuntu; someone you can come up to and ask questions and have discussions about the operating system, its goals, and computing in general. I haven't always enjoyed the lack of design work done for the community after the Ubuntu branding changed in 2010. While Canonical designed sleek and modern-looking branding assets, the design team was never given the resources to make sure that the community had the most basic materials. The brand asset guidelines are spectacular but they are also difficult to apply fully. I've been very vocal about the need for name badges or business cards, and while I was touched by the efforts of certain persons to get new business card templates out to the community, it was eventually for naught. I worked on creating new ones in time for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS but I burned out along the way. I did manage to print cards for SCALE11X in 2013 but they didn't come out right.

There's a funny thing about community, though. It's something you belong to but it's also something that gives back. This year at SCALE12X I worked hard to get the Ubuntu booth in a shape that I was proud of and worked with volunteers from the Ubuntu California LoCo to show off Ubuntu. While some were interested in the Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Lubuntu computers we had on display, the cell phones we had running Ubuntu was even more popular than the year before. Canonical was kind enough to provide two Nexus 4s running Ubuntu, and myself and another volunteer also had phones running Ubuntu. And while the expo floor was busy and exciting, I was really struck by the enthusiasm and generousity of various community members who were at SCALE.

First and foremost, Jono Bacon was around and quite busy, although he definitely made time for me. I have to say that I talked to him more this year than probably in the last seven years combined. He's been speaking and exhibiting for a long time, and I was pleased when he noticed some of the booth and design work I had invested in for SCALE. Jono is a really sincere guy, and if you've ever spent time with him you know how infectious his optimism can be. Jorge Castro was around and happy to see me, and I had the pleasure of meeting Marcos Ceppi for the first time. Everyone stopped by the booth for as long as they could spare and spent time greeting visitors and talking about Ubuntu. José Antonio Rey was also at the booth all weekend. I knew he was a newly-elected member of the Ubuntu Local Community Council but I had never met him or interacted with him before. He really amazed me with his friendliness and energy. He's as good working the booth as I am today, and he never hesitated to pitch in. Robert Wall was immeasureably helpful as always and Elizabeth Krumbach was so busy speaking at SCALE (four times!) that she only dropped by the booth each day to say hi. But I was able to catch up with her briefly. She's another person who is an incredible member of the Ubuntu community. I even got to talk with Amber Graner again, which was a real treat. Not to mention Eric Stolz, Matt Mootz, George Mulak, and others who volunteered at the Ubuntu booth at SCALE.

It's impossible to work with incredible people and not be affected by it. Running a booth is really hard work, and having such skilled and talented people around makes the work so much easier. Without ego or the slightest appearance of effort, everyone worked together to provide an exciting booth for SCALE attendees. And throughout various talks I had with each of them, I remembered what I loved about the Ubuntu community.

It's really important to be able to put your best face forward in all of your projects in life. And I think that it should be easier for Ubuntu members and advocates to proudly identify as part of the Ubuntu community. So I quit being annoyed at the two things that bother me most and, after recovering from SCALE, I've done something about them in time for the next LTS cycle.

Ubuntu name badges

I've taken a simple design reminiscent of the UDS name badges and created two name badges that elegantly identify volunteers who are representing Ubuntu. They are perfect for shows, booths, expos, release parties, installfests, and anywhere else it's important to show your assocation with Ubuntu. There are two designs. The first is a striking orange name badge which is perfect if you hate ink, and there is an elegant white name badge which is perfect for when you need sometimes a little more understated. Both are available at SpreadUbuntu and are available in the public domain. I've also added them to the Ubuntu Advocacy Kit to make them more easily available to LoCo teams and community champions who are focused on bringing Ubuntu to others. These badges are ready to print as-is but also make a quick starting point for custom name badges.

Ubuntu business cards

One of the most prominent perks of Ubuntu membership is the right to print business cards with the Ubuntu logo. For the last 4 years there haven't been good, solid cards that reflect the new branding that the Ubuntu project has enjoyed, although Jacob Peddicord and Murata Nobuto have come just short of perfection in my opinion. Canonical and Ubuntu are partners, and I envisioned that matching business cards would help illustrate the intertwined relationship we share. Thanks to the assistance of Paul Sladen and Marco Ceppi, I had what I needed to produce a sleek, clean business card design that looks stunning and professional all at once. I spent quite some time reviewing the existing design I had, and expanding upon it--providing space for project roles, extra contact information, GPG keys, and more.

With a stunning orange design, Ubuntu members will be able to share their contact information with pride. I've also created a white design that is perfect to use when color matching is a concern. These two designs are fully customizable and are twins of their Canonical business card counterparts. With Ubuntu 14.04 LTS nearing and a bold new roadmap that puts Ubuntu on devices all around us wherever we go, this is the perfect time to for project members to carry around strong Ubuntu business cards.

I'm an Ubuntu community advocate. It's what I love to do and what I do best. I've been fortunate enough to work with incredible people only two months into the year, and it's been revitalizing. I'm looking forward to expanding my efforts in the Ubuntu community this year, and I'm proud to show my Ubuntu pride along the way.

Jono Bacon: My Top 5 Dream Ubuntu Apps

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 01:30

So, today we announced the Ubuntu App Showdown where you can build apps with the Ubuntu SDK and win some awesome prizes such as the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet and the Meizu MX3.

This got me thinking, which apps would a love to see on Ubuntu as part of the competition? Well, this is them, and hopefully they will be food for thought for some developers:

  • Email Client – this would be an email client that looks and functions like Discourse. With it you could connect to an IMAP/Gmail account, see mail as threads, reply to mails, create and send new emails etc. Bonus points for supporting multiple accounts.
  • Social Media Client – I haven’t found a Twitter and other social media client that works well for me. This one would show my timeline of tweets, have mentions on a different tab/screen, and support searches too. It would use the Online Accounts platform service to connect.
  • Google+ Client – I would love to see a G+ client that integrates neatly into Ubuntu. It would need to browse my timeline, show notifications, let me reply to posts and add +1s, and browse communities.
  • Ubuntu LoCo Teams App – an app where I can view the content from such as browsing teams, seeing current and up-coming events, browse the blog, and include the content in the Ubuntu Advocacy Kit. The power in this app would be looking like a beautiful app that any LoCo member can use to find cool events and do interesting things.
  • Riff Recorder – an audio recording app where I can adjust the volume of the mic (for when I am in a room with lots of noise such as a rehearsal) and then record the audio at that level and have the ability to share it somewhere.

If anyone manages to build these apps, you will make me a very happy man.

Jono Bacon: Join the Ubuntu App Showdown and Win Prizes!

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-02-27 00:59

Today we launched our next Ubuntu App Showdown.

The idea is simple: you have six weeks to build an application with the Ubuntu SDK that converges across both phone and tablet (which is simple). We have the following categories, each of which has a prize:

  • QML – a native app written in QML (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).
  • HTML5 – a native app written in HTML5 (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).
  • Ported – an app that has been ported from another platform to Ubuntu and used the Ubuntu SDK (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).

We are also delighted to include an additional category with two prizes sponsored by Meizu:

  • Chinese – an app that is written in either QML or HTML5 that would be of most interest to Chinese users, such as connecting to Chinese sites and services (2 x Meizu MX3s as prizes).

If you would like to get involved in the showdown, you can find out all the details here or for our Chinese friends here.

HTML5 Refinements

In preperation for the showdown we have also landed a number of significant improvements to HTML5 in the Ubuntu SDK. This includes:

  • Our HTML5 technology has been fully revamped and now all works from a single container.
  • A new single default template for creating your HTML5 app.
  • Full access to device sensors via cordova.
  • Full access to platform APIs via Javascript.
  • API documentation.
  • A brand new HTML5 section on complete with new guides, tutorials, API docs, and more.

Remember, we award extra point for blogging about and sharing on social media about your app and how it is developing, so be sure to share your work! Good luck!


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