October 17, 2015

Hello all,
we are proud to announce a new update for Falldown game for Ubuntu :-)

But first, thanks for all your support, 630 users have downloaded the app so far! And we are happy to announce we won the UbuContest so mivoligo and I will be in Berlin for the UbuCon. If you are here, ping me to drink a coffee together ;-)

I wrote too much, let me introduce the big news for this release…


The news

Themes support! Yay!

Now you can choose your theme, and you can create your own and include in the app! To do so, please download this package and follow the instructions that are written in the README document inside it.

There are also some changes in the code, and this should improve the performances (but there is still a lot of work to do, if you’re a developer take a look to our code and help us).

Last but not least, we discussed between us and we choose that the game will be free (as in beer) forever.

We thought about premium version with more theme or something like this, but then we choose to have only one version, with all the updates we’re going to do.

If you like our work, please support us with a donation. Please specify it’s for this game, we will use money to create other games ;-)


If you want to have Falldown in your language, feel free to help us translating it here.

What’s next?

So, this was one of the two big features we plan to develop, but then we had other ideas, so there is already a 0.4 and a 0.5 version in development.

Meanwhile, while you’re waiting for new features, we’ll release also new themes (I hope also some community themes), new soundtracks and some other small improvements.

Great times ahead of us!

Sailfish version

Thanks to the magic of opensource, and mainly thanks to Marko Wallin now there is a porting of Falldown for Sailfish OS. So if you have a Jolla phone, you can enjoy this funny game :-)

New record

Oh, btw, do you know we spend a lot of time playing Falldown? I’m not very good at it (my record is only 679) but Tyrel and Michał set the new records every day: Michał is currently at 1138, and Tyrel at 1202!


Congrats Tyrel!

And what about you guys? What’s your record?

If you find any bug, feel free to contact us.

We’re sure you will enjoy this update ;-)


on October 17, 2015 09:15 AM

October 10, 2015

Aaron Honeycutt, Ovidiu-Florin BOGDAN, and Rick Timmis debunk the myths surrounding the future of Kubuntu and interview Eike Hein (KDE Developer).

on October 10, 2015 11:29 AM


KDE Frameworks 5.15 have landed in Kubuntu Wily (to become 15.10).

on October 10, 2015 11:17 AM

October 08, 2015

It’s Episode Thirty-one of Season Eight of the Ubuntu Podcast! With Mark Johnson, Laura Cowen, Martin Wimpress, and Alan Pope!

In this week’s show:

We look at what’s been going on in the news:

We also take a look at what’s been going on in the community:

There are even events:

That’s all for this week, please send your comments and suggestions to: show@ubuntupodcast.org
Join us on IRC in #ubuntu-podcast on Freenode
Follow us on Twitter
Find our Facebook Fan Page
Follow us on Google+

on October 08, 2015 08:42 PM

Today at AWS re:Invent, Amazon has announced the ability to schedule AWS Lambda function invocations using cron syntax. Yay!

I’m happy to announce that the The Unreliable Town Clock is now using this functionality behind the scenes to send the chime messages to the public SNS topic every quarter hour, in both us-east-1 and us-west-1.

No significant changes should be perceived by the hundreds of subscribers to the Unreliable Town Clock public SNS topic.

If you are already using the Unreliable Town Clock, what should you do?

The Unreliable Town Clock is a community published service that was intended as a stop-gap measure to fill some common types of AWS Lambda scheduling needs, while we waited for Amazon to produce the official, reliable Lambda cron scheduling.

The Unreliable Town Clock was originally built using simple, mostly-but-not-entirely reliable AWS services, and is monitored and supported by one individual (me).

The Unreliable Town Clock should be much less unreliable now that it is using AWS Lambda Scheduled Functins. However, there is still the matter of one individual managing the AWS account and the code between Lambda scheduling and the SNS topic.

I encourage everybody to start using the AWS Lambda Scheduled Functions directly. It’s easy to set up and has Amazon’s reliability and support behind it.

I intend to keep the Unreliable Town Clock running indefinitely since folks are already using it and depending on it, but I would again encourage you to move from the Unreliable Town Clock to direct AWS functionality at your convenience.

Original article and comments: https://alestic.com/2015/10/townclock-aws-lambda-scheduled-functions-cron/

on October 08, 2015 04:45 PM

HOUSTON, SoftNAS®, the #1 best-selling software-based NAS in the cloud Relevant Products/Services, today announced SoftNAS has completed certification on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, to offer global enterprises access to SoftNAS Cloud for Red Hat Enterprise Linux on the AWS Relevant Products/Services Marketplace. SoftNAS Cloud, which continues to gain popularity on AWS Marketplace, now offers customers reliability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, and the cost-effectiveness scalability and flexibility of Amazon EC2.

SoftNAS will demonstrate SoftNAS Cloud for Red Hat Enterprise Linux at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, Nevada, starting Oct. 6, 2015, in booth 334. Learn more about the demo at Red Hat booth 409.

Source: http://www.cio-today.com/article/index.php?story_id=01300086VRWG
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

on October 08, 2015 03:55 AM

Being powered by Ubuntu’s Linux kernel 3.16.0-50 and 3.19.0-30 packages, the first and last Release Candidate (RC) build of Black Lab Linux 7, due for release later this year, comes today with the latest software versions, including Mozilla Firefox 41.0, LibreOffice, Mozilla Thunderbird 38.2.0, and Audacious 3.6.2.

There are also many other changes in the distribution, such as the removal of the GMTP software, the implementation of a new icon theme called NewCurve, the addition of various new themes for the Xfce desktop environment, as well as the implementation of windows buttons that indicate the open state of apps.

Moreover, there’s Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) support in the filesystem and the default file manager app, and numerous bugs that have been reported by users since the Beta build have been squashed, including issues with Nvidia graphics cards, a NetworkManager crash, YouTube black screens in Firefox, and more.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/ubuntu-based-black-lab-linux-7-operating-system-gets-an-rc-build-with-firefox-41-493879.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

on October 08, 2015 03:52 AM

October 07, 2015

Last weekend I went to my first Pycon, my second conference in a fortnight.

The conference runs from Friday to Monday, with 3 days of talks followed by one day of “sprints”, which is basically a hack day.

PyCon has a code of conduct to discourage any form of othering:

Happily, PyCon UK is a diverse community who maintain a reputation as a friendly, welcoming and dynamic group.

We trust that attendees will treat each other in a way that reflects the widely held view that diversity and friendliness are strengths of our community to be celebrated and fostered.

And for me, the conference lived up to this, with a very friendly feel, and a lot of diversity in its attendants. The friendly and informal atmosphere was impressive for such a large event with more than 450 people.

Unfortunately, the Monday sprint day was cut short by the discovery of an unexploded bomb.

Many keynotes, without much Python

There were a lot of “keynote” talks, with 2 on Friday, and one each on Saturday and Sunday. And interestingly none of them were really about Python, instead covering future technology, space travel and the psychology of power and impostor syndrome.

But of course there were plenty of Python talks throughout the rest of the day – you can read about them on my other post. And I think it was a good decision to have more abstract keynotes. It shows that the Python community really is more of a general community than just a special interest group.

Van Lindberg on data economics, Marx and the Internet of Things

In the opening keynote on Friday morning, the PSF chairman showed that total computing power is almost doubling every year, and that by 2020, the total processing power in portable devices will exceed that in PCs and servers.

He then used the fact that data can’t travel faster than 11.8 inches per nanosecond to argue that we will see a fundamental shift in the economics of data processing.

The big-data models of today’s tech giants will be challenged as it starts to be quicker and make more economic sense to process data at source, rather than transfer it to distant servers to be processed. Centralised servers will be relegated to mere aggregators of pre-processed data.

He likened this to Marx seizing the means of production in a movement which will empower users, as our portable Things start to hold the real information, and choose who to share it with.

I really hope he’s right, and that the centralised data companies are doomed to fail to be replaced by the Internet of Autonomous Things, because the world of centralised data is not an equal world.

Does Python have a future on small processors? Isn’t it too inefficient?

In a world where all the interesting software is running on light-weight portable devices, processing efficiency becomes important once again. Van used this to argue that efforts to run Python effectively on low-powered devices, like MicroPython, will be essential for Python as a language to survive.

Daniele Procida: All I really want is power

The second keynote was just after lunch on Friday, Daniele Procida, organiser of DjangoCon Europe openly admitted that what he really wanted out of life was power. He put forward the somewhat controversial idea that power and usefulness are the same thing, and that ideas without power are useless.

He made the very good point that power only comes to those who ask for it, or fight for it. And that if we want power not to be abused, we really need to talk about it a whole lot more, even though it makes people uncomfortable (try asking someone their salary). We should acknowledge who has the power, and what power we have, and watch where the power goes.

He suggested that, while in politics or industry, power is very much a rivalled good, in open source it is entirely an unrivalled good. The way you grab power in the open source community is by doing good for the community, by helping out. And so by weilding power you are actually increasing power for those around you.

I don’t agree with him on this final point. I think power can be and is hoarded and abused in the open source community as well. A lot of people use their power in the community to edge out others, or make others feel small, or to soak up influence through talks and presentations and then exert their will over the will of others. I am certainly somewhat guilty of this. Which is why we should definitely watch the power, especially our own power, to see what effect it’s having.

The takeaway maxim from this for me is that we should always make every effort to share power, as opposed to jealously guarding it. It’s not that sharing power in the open source community is inevitable or necessarily comes naturally, but at least in the open source community sharing power genuinely can help you gain respect, where I fear the same isn’t so true of politics or industry.

Dr Simon Sheridan: Landing on a comet: From planning to reality

Simon Sheridan was an incredibly most humble and unassuming man, given his towering achievements. He is a world-class space scientist who was part of the European Space Agency team who helped to land Rosetta on comet 67P.

Most of what he mentioned was basically covered in the news, but it was wonderful to hear it from his perspective.

Naomi Ceder: Confessions of a True Impostor

When, a short way into her Sunday morning keynote, Naomi Ceder asked the room:

How many of you would say that you have in some way or another suffered from imposter syndrome along with me?

Almost everybody put their hands up. This is why I think this was such an important talk.

She didn’t talk about this per se, but contributing to the open source community is hard. No-one talks about it much, but I certainly feel there’s a lot of pressure. Because of its very nature, your contributions will be open, to be seen by anyone, to be criticised by anyone. And let’s face it, your contributions are never going to be perfect. And the rules of the game aren’t written down anywhere, so the chance of being ridiculed seem pretty high. Open source may be a benevolent idea, but it’s damned scary to take part in.

I believe this is why less than 2% of open source contributors are female, compared with more like 25-30% women in software development in general. And, as with impostor syndrome, the same trend is true of other marginalised groups. It’s not surprising to me that people who are used to being criticised and discriminated against wouldn’t subject themselves to that willingly.

And, as Naomi’s question showed, it is not just marginalised people who feel this pressure, it’s all of us. And it’s a problem. As we know, confidence is no indicator of actual ability, meaning that many many talented people may be too scared to contribute to open source.

As Naomi pointed out, impostor syndrome is a socially created condition – when people are expected to do badly, they do badly. In fact I completely agree with her suggestion that the existing Wikipedia definition of impostor syndrome (at the time of writing) could be more sensitively phrased to define it as a “social condition” rather than a “psychological phenomenon”, as well as avoiding singling out women.

While Naomi chose to focus in her talk on how we personally can try to mitigate feelings of being an impostor, I think the really important message here is one for the community. It’s not our fault that open source is scary, that’s just the nature of openness. But we have to make it more welcoming. The success of the open source movement really does depend on it being diverse and accepting.

What I think is really interesting is that stereotype threat can be mitigated by reminding people of their values, of what’s important to them. And this is what I hope will save open source. The more we express our principles and passion for open source, the more we express our values, the easier it is to counter negative feelings, to be welcoming, to stop feeling like impostors.

A great conference

Overall, the conference was exhausting, but I’m very grateful that I got to attend. It was inspiring and informative, and a great example of how to maintain a great community.

If you want you can now go and read about the other talks.

(Also published on robinwinslow.co.uk)

on October 07, 2015 05:25 PM

Python learnings from PyCon

Canonical Design Team

The weekend before last, I went to PyCon UK 2015.

I already wrote about the keynotes, which were more abstract. Here I’m going to talk about the other talks I saw, which were generally more technical or at least had more to do with Python.


The talks I saw covered a whole range of topics – from testing through documentation and ways to achieve simplicity to leadership. Here are some key take-aways:

The talks

Following are slightly more in-depth summaries of the talks I thought were interesting.


Leadership of Technical Teams – Owen Campbell

There were two key points I took away from this talk. The first was Owen’s suggestion that leaders should take every opportunity to practice leading. Find opportunities in your personal life to lead teams of all sorts.

The second point was more complex. He suggested that all leaders exist on two spectra:

  • Amount of control: hand-off to dictatorial
  • Knowledge of the field: novice to expert

The less you know about a field the more hands-off you should be. And conversely, if you’re the only one who knows what you’re talking about, you should probably be more of a dictator.

Although he cautioned that people tend to mis-estimate their ability, and particularly when it comes to process (e.g. agile), people think they know more than they do. No-one is really an expert on process.

He suggested that leading technical teams is particularly challenging because you slide up and down the knowledge scale on a minute-to-minute basis sometimes, so you have to learn to be authoritative one moment and then permissive the next, as appropriate.

Document all the things – Kristian Glass

Kristian spoke about the importance, and difficulty, of good documentation.
Here are some particular points he made:

  • Document why a step is necessary, as well as what it is
  • Remember that error messages are documentation
  • Try pair documentation – novice sitting with expert
  • Checklists are great
  • Stop answering questions face-to-face. Always write it down instead.
  • Github pages are better than wikis (PRs, better tracking)

One of Kristian’s main points was that it goes against the grain to write documentation, ‘cos the person with the knowledge can’t see why it’s important, and the novice can’t write the documentation.

He suggested pair documentation as a solution, which sounds like a good idea, but I was also wondering if a StackOverflow model might work, where users submit questions, and the team treat them like bugs – need to stay on top of answering them. This answer base would then become the documentation.


Asking About Gender – the Whats, Whys and Hows – Claire Gowler

Claire spoke about how so many online forms expect people to be either simply “male” or “female”, when the truth can be much more complicated.

My main takeaway from this was the basic point that forms very often ask for much more information than they need, and make too many assumptions about their users. When it comes to asking someone’s name, try radically reducing the complexity by just having one text field called “name”. Or better yet, don’t even ask their name if you don’t need it.

I think this feeds into the whole field of simplicity very nicely. A very many apps try to do much more than they need to, and ask for much more information than they need. Thinking about how little you know about your user can help you realise what you actually don’t need to know about your user.

Finding more bugs with less work – David R. MacIver

David MacIver is the author of the Hypothesis testing library.

Hypothesis is a Python library for creating unit tests which are simpler to write and more powerful when run, finding edge cases in your code you wouldn’t have thought to look for. It is stable, powerful and easy to add to any existing test suite.

When we write tests normally, we choose the input cases, and we normally do this and we often end up being really kind to our tests. E.g.:

What Hypothesis does it help us test with a much wider and more challenging range of values. E.g.:

There are many cases where Hypothesis won’t be much use, but it’s certainly good to have in your toolkit.


Simplicity Is A Feature – Cory Benfield

Cory presented simplicity as the opposite of complexity – that is, the fewer options something gives you, the more simple and straightforward it is.

“Simplicity is about defaults”

To present as simple an interface as possible, the important thing is to have many sensible defaults as possible, so the user has to make hardly any choices.

Cory was heavily involved in the Python Requests library, and presented it as an example of how to achieve apparent simplicity in a complex tool.

“Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible”

He suggested thinking of an “onion model”, where your application has layers, so everything is customisable at one of the layers, but the outermost layer is as simple as possible. He suggested that 3 layers is a good number:

  • Layer 1: Low-level – everything is customisable, even things that are just for weird edge-cases.
  • Layer 2: Features – a nicer, but still customisable interface for all the core features.
  • Layer 3: Simplicity – hardly any mandatory options, sensible defaults
    • People should always find this first
    • Support 80% of users 80% of the time
    • In the face of ambiguity do the right thing

He also mentioned that he likes README driven development, which seems like is an interesting approach.

How (not) to argue – a recipe for more productive tech conversations – Harry Percival

I think this one could be particularly useful for me.

Harry spoke about how many people (including him) have a very strong need to be right. Especially men. Especially those who went to boarding school. And software development tends to be full of these people.

Collaboration is particularly important in open source, and strongly disagreeing with people rarely leads to consensus, in fact it’s more likely to achieve the opposite. So it’s important that we learn how to get along.

He suggests various strategies to try out, for getting along with people better:

  • Try simply giving in, do it someone else’s way once in a while (hard to do graciously)
  • Socratic dialogue: Ask someone to explain their solution to you in simple terms
  • Dogfooding – try out your idea before arguing for its strength
  • Bide your time: Wait for the moment to see how it goes
  • Expose yourself to other social situations, where arguments are less acceptable

All of this comes down to stepping back, waiting and exercising humility. All of which are easier said than done, but all of which are very valuable if I could only manage it.

FIDO – The dog ate my password – Alex Willmer

After covering fairly common ground of how and why passwords suck, Alex introduced the FIDO alliance.

The FIDO alliance’s goal is to standardise authentication methods and hopefully replace passwords. They have created two standards for device-based authentication to try to replace passwords:

  • UAF: First-factor passwordless biometric authentication
  • U2F: Second-factor device authentication

Browsers are just starting to support U2F, whereas support for UAF is farther off. Keep an eye out.

Data Visualisation with Python and Javascript – crafting a data-visualisation for the web – Kyran Dale

Kyran spoke about visualising data, and demoed using Scrapy and Pandas to retrieve the Nobel laureatte data from Wikipedia, using Flask to serve it as a RESTful API, and then using D3 to create an interactive browser-based visualisation.

(Also published on robinwinslow.co.uk)

on October 07, 2015 05:24 PM

Commentary Unsought

Stephen Michael Kellat

Reading news is frequently disturbing for me. I watch the news and see destruction in the Middle East. South Carolina is suffering from flooding. To my west in Cleveland we just saw that city clock its 100th homicide so far this year. My employer is having budgetary troubles and the agency workforce is having morale problems according to the recent engagement survey results. At least, that's what the e-mail from the union said. If I understood the e-mail right, incipient BOFH-like behavior by colleagues may be the least of my worries. There is plenty going in the world around me right now.

And then I look at my feeds from beyond The Real World. It seems that Matthew Garrett is attempting to fork the Linux kernel over the behavior of Linus Torvalds and especially in response to an incident involving Sarah Sharp. The forking is so far mostly unnoticed in tech press as of last check. The behavioral incident was noticed and a good post discussing it can be from from Lars Wirzenius over in the pump.io spaces.

To all those wondering if this is a first forking of Linux, I can only ask one thing.

Have you not heard of linux-libre at all?

on October 07, 2015 04:08 AM

October 06, 2015

… or “what I’ve been working on for the past three months”.

So this summer I have participated in a programming internship at Audiovisual Technology Center – CeTA in Wrocław. CeTA is developing a number of very exciting projects, and the one I had the pleasure to work on is AlgAudio.


(download links available below)

AlgAudio is a new signal processing framework that we’ve been developing from scratch. The user builds an audio processing network by placing “building blocks” of simple operations, connecting them together, configuring their parameters, and defining how the parameters should influence each other. The network works in real time, so any changes to the parameters are immediately reflected in the outputted audio. This makes AlgAudio a perfect tool for live performances.

The general concept was inspired by Max/MSP, but AlgAudio is intended to provide a higher-level interface. It is supposed to be used by musicians, so we do our best to make it easy to work with without any programming or mathematical skills. The building blocks usually represent a more complex operation (comparing to Max or PureData), and expose a number of parameters that can be manually configured, or controlled live via an external controller.

At this stage, AlgAudio is ready to be tried out. Most core features are already implemented, so you can actually build really interesting synthesizers. However, there is still a lot to be done. Most importantly, the module collections need expansion (currently only the very basic modules are available, for example there are no audio filtering blocks available ATM), the module browser needs a better hierarchical structure, we are missing a number of parameter connecting modes, the UI needs various improvements, subpatching and polyphonic features need improvements, and we need a test framework to ensure top quality.

We also believe that creating external modules should be very simple, so that third-parties can provide their own module collections. The API is not quite stable yet, but we’re getting there. This is what an example module looks like:

  <module id="mix3" name="3ch mixer">
      <inlet id="in1"/>
      <inlet id="in2"/>
      <inlet id="in3"/>
      <outlet id="out"/>
    <description> This module mixes three channels together. </description>
arg in1, in2, in3, out;
var sum = In.ar(in1) + In.ar(in2) + In.ar(in3); 
Out.ar(out, sum);
    <gui type="standard auto"/>

It’s that simple!

But what if you would like to inject custom features? AlgAudio has a built-in plugin system. Each module may come with custom logic. The C++ interface allows interaction with literally any other AlgAudio component (you might even get as far as to, say, get your module to modify how other modules are displayed!). Below is the source of a simple module that sums the values of two parameters, and outputs the result as a third parameter.

class DataSum : public AlgAudio::Module{
  void on_param_set(std::string name, float value){
    float v  = GetParamControllerByID("input1")->Get();
          v += GetParamControllerByID("input2")->Get();

This source code should be pretty self-explanatory. Does it get much more complex? Here’s a sequencer module that outputs a hard-coded sequence:

class SimpleSeq : public AlgAudio::Module{
  int i = 7;
  int seq[8] = {60, 62, 64, 65, 64, 62, 69, 67};
  const  float fill = 0.8;
  void on_init(){
  void step(){
    i = (i+1)%8;
    int note = seq[i];
    float period = GetParamControllerByID("period")->Get();
    GetParamControllerByID("freq")->Set( AlgAudio::Utilities::mtof(note) );
    timerhandles += AlgAudio::Timer::Schedule(period * fill, [this](){
    timerhandles += AlgAudio::Timer::Schedule(period, [this](){

You can browse the API here.

We are releasing AlgAudio under the terms of the Lesser GNU General Public License, so you’ll be free to use it however you like. We host AlgAudio source code on Github.

At this moment the development of AlgAudio will significantly slow down, as we are looking for funds and contributors. We will be thankful if you could notify us about your interest in AlgAudio (contact either me or CeTA).


AlgAudio will be getting an official website soon, but before that you can download binaries for Linux and Windows from Github (OS X support is planned). Downloads for 1.99.1

Please keep in mind that this is not a stable release, and we cannot guarantee that AlgAudio won’t crash sometimes. If you find any bugs, please report them here.

Filed under: PlanetUbuntu, Ubuntu
on October 06, 2015 06:24 PM

Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.


20151006 Meeting Agenda

Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

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

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/reports/kt-meeting.txt

Status: Wily Development Kernel

We are approaching Wily Kernel Freeze this Thurs Oct 8, ~2 days away!
If there are any patches which need to land for 15.10, please get them
submitted immediately. Following the Kernel Freeze deadline, all
patches are subject to our SRU policy and could miss the release.
Important upcoming dates:

  • https://wiki.ubuntu.com/WilyWerewolf/ReleaseSchedule
    Thurs Oct 8 – Kernel Freeze (~2 days away)
    Thurs Oct 15 – Final Freeze (~1 weeks away)
    Thurs Oct 22 – 15.10 Release (~2 weeks away)

Status: CVE’s

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

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/reports/kernel-cves.html

Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Precise/Trusty/lts-utopic/Vivid

Status for the main kernels, until today:

  • Precise – Kernel Prep
  • Trusty – Kernel Prep
  • lts-Utopic – Kernel Prep
  • Vivid – Kernel Prep

    Current opened tracking bugs details:

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/kernel-sru-workflow.html
    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:
  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/sru-report.html


    cycle: 27-Sep through 17-Oct
    25-Sep Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    27-Sep – 03-Oct Kernel prep week.
    04-Oct – 10-Oct Bug verification & Regression testing.
    11-Oct – 17-Oct Regression testing & Release to -updates.
    Note: We have gotten off to a late start on this cycle due to some patches
    that came in at the last minute. We intend to stick to the schedule
    though that may change as we get farther along.

Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No open discussion.

on October 06, 2015 05:13 PM

On September 16th, Michael Hall sent out a call for nominations for the Ubuntu Community Council. I will not be seeking re-election this time around.

My journey with Ubuntu has been a long one. I can actually pinpoint the day it began, because it was also the day I created my ubuntuforums.org account: March 12th, 2005. That day I installed Ubuntu on one of my old laptops to play with this crazy new Debian derivative and was delighted to learn that the PCMCIA card I had for WiFi actually worked out of the box. No kidding. In 2006 I submitted my first package to Debian and following earlier involvement with Debian Women, I sent my first message to the Ubuntu-Women mailing list offering to help with consolidating team resources. In 2007 a LoCo in my area (Pennsylvania) started up, and my message was the third one in the archives!

As the years went by, Ubuntu empowered me to help people and build my career.

In 2007 I worked with the Pennsylvania LoCo to provide 10 Ubuntu computers to girls in Philadelphia without access to computers (details). In 2010 I joined the board of Partimus, a non-profit which uses Ubuntu (and the flavors) to provide schools and other education-focused programs in the San Francisco Bay Area with donated computers (work continues, details on the Partimus blog). In 2012 I took a short sabbatical from work and joined other volunteers from Computer Reach to deploy computers in Ghana (details). Today I maintain a series of articles for the Xubuntu team called Xubuntu at… where we profile organizations using Ubuntu, many of which do so in a way that serves their local community. Most people also know me as the curator for the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, a project I started contributing to in 2010.

Throughout this time, I have worked as a Linux Systems Administrator, a role that’s allowed me to build up my expertise around Linux and continue to spend volunteer time on the projects I love. I’ve also have been fortunate to have employers who not only allow me to continue my work on open source, but actively encourage and celebrate it. In 2014 I had the honor of working with Matthew Helmke and others on the 8th edition of The Official Ubuntu Book. Today I’m working on my second open source book for the same publisher.

I share all of this to demonstrate that I have made a serious investment in Ubuntu. Ubuntu has long been deeply intertwined in both my personal and professional goals.

Unfortunately this year has been a difficult one for me. As I find success growing in my day job (working as a systems administrator on the OpenStack project infrastructure for HP), I’ve been witness to numerous struggles within the Ubuntu community and those struggles have really hit home for me. Many discussions on community mailing lists have felt increasingly strained and I don’t feel like my responses have been effective or helpful. They’ve also come home to me in the form of a pile of emails harshly accusing me of not doing enough for the community and in breaches of trust during important conversations that have caused me serious personal pain.

I’ve also struggled to come to terms with Canonical’s position on Intellectual Property (Jono Bacon’s post here echos my feelings and struggle). I am not a lawyer and considering both sides I still don’t know where I stand. People on both sides have accused me of not caring or understanding the issue because I sympathize with everyone involved and have taken their concerns and motivations to heart.

It’s also very difficult to be a volunteer, community advocate in a project that’s controlled by a company. Not only that, but we continually have to teach some of employees how to properly engage with an open source community. I have met many exceptional Canonical employees, I work with them regularly and I had a blast at UbuCon Latin America this year with several others. In nearly every interaction with Canonical and every discussion with Mark about community issues, we’ve eventually had positive results and found a successful path forward. But I’m exhausted by it. It sometimes feels like a game of Whac-A-Mole where we are continually being confronted with the same problems, but with different people, and it’s our job to explain to the Marketing/Development/Design/Web/whatever team at Canonical that they’ve made a mistake with regard to the community and help them move forward effectively.

We had some really great conversations when a few members of the Community Council and the Community Team at Canonical at the Community Leadership Summit back in July (I wrote about it here). But I was already feeling tired then and I had trouble feeling hopeful. I realized during a recent call with an incredibly helpful and engaged Canonical employee that I’d actually given up. He was making assurances to us about improvements that could be made and really listening to our concerns, I could tell that he honestly cared. I should have been happy, hopeful and encouraged, but inside I was full of sarcasm, bitterness and snark. This is very out of character for me. I don’t want to be that person. I can no longer effectively be an advocate for the community while feeling this way.

It’s time for me to step down and step back. I will continue to be involved with Xubuntu, the Ubuntu News Team and Ubuntu California, but I need to spend time away from leadership and community building roles before I actually burn out.

I strongly encourage people who care about Ubuntu and the community to apply for a position on the Ubuntu Community Council. We need people who care. I need people who care. While it’s sometimes not the easiest council to be on, it’s been rewarding in so many ways. Mark seriously listens to feedback from the Community Council, and I’m incredibly thankful for his leadership and guidance over the years. Deep down I do continue to have hope and encouragement and I still love Ubuntu. Some day I hope to come back.

I also love you all. Please come talk to me at any time (IRC: pleia2, email: lyz@ubuntu.com). If you’re interested in a role on the Ubuntu Community Council, I’m happy to chat about duties, expectations and goals. But know that I don’t need gripe buddies, sympathy is fine, but anger and negativity are what brought me here and I can’t handle more. I also don’t have the energy to fix anything else right now. Bring discussions about how to fix things to the ubuntu-community-team mailing list and see my Community Leadership post from July mentioned earlier to learn more about about some of the issues the community and the Community Council are working on.

on October 06, 2015 04:36 PM

Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #437 for the week September 28 – October 4, 2015, and the full version is available here.

In this issue we cover:

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

  • Paul White
  • Elizabeth K. Joseph
  • Ian Nicholson
  • Zachary Igielman
  • Chris Guiver
  • Jim Connett
  • And many others

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

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

on October 06, 2015 12:08 AM

October 05, 2015

Dell XPS Screen Flaw

Solid Color Background

I usually use a picture as a desktop and do not notice this, but I noticed a slight bright line on the right edge of my Dell XPS 13 with a wallpaper option. I confirmed by changing to a solid color (image above). When testing for light bleed this was not noticed because of the automatic screen brightness adjustment. In most cases I do not notice the issue, but I have to wonder if this is a defect or to be expected with this type of monitor. See a image with the browser at full screen to simulate normal use.

Normal Use

Normal Use

You can still see the ‘bright’ or ‘hot’ part of the screen on the right side, but it is not a huge issue. If you own a Dell XPS 13 9343; do you have this issue?

on October 05, 2015 01:04 AM

October 04, 2015

October already! As the leaves start to turn red here in the northern hemisphere, here’s a brief summary of what we did in September.


  • BugTask:+addcomment’s title doesn’t duplicate the bug number (#1323808)
  • The duplicates portlet of bug tasks no longer links to invisible private bugs and now uses the correct sprite for each bug (#1443418, #1465880)
  • Show hidden bug comments to their owners (#1391394)


  • Line numbers in merge proposal preview diffs are now unselectable (#1483925)
  • Branch revision listings link more sensibly to merged branches and merge proposals (#711647)
  • Git repositories and refs have more sensible breadcrumb links (#1466271)
  • Source package recipe builds now include the distribution series in their titles (#1491336)
  • Allow archive owners to cancel their recipe builds, and make recipes use the normal cancellation infrastructure (#624630)
  • Make it possible to retry superseded builds, since there are situations where they can become unsuperseded (#444030)
  • The index page for Git refs is more useful
  • Fix crashes on various +activereviews pages when there are no active reviews (#1499744, #1501134)
  • Precache branch permissions in Branch.landing_candidates, fixing API timeouts (#1500576)
  • Add webhook support for Bazaar branches, currently enabled on qastaging though not yet on production


  • Team membership notifications now honour the “Include filtering information in email footers” setting, and have rationale information in the headers and footer (#296889, #508897)
  • There is a new X-Launchpad-Message-For mail header (or Launchpad-Message-For in expanded footers) giving just the name of the person or team directly subscribed to the notification (#1493844)
  • Treat “me” in person-or-team contexts in mail handlers as the current user (#340397)

We now consider the “Gmail filtering improvements” work complete.  Let us know if there are further categories of mail sent by Launchpad that you’re finding difficult to filter using Gmail.


  • Distribution index pages hide links to disabled features (#80315, #257627)
  • Set consistent colour for the “Opinion” bug task status (#648645)
  • Blueprints on milestone pages have icons again and are sortable (#1354387)
  • Old user-to-user email database references no longer prevent changing team privacy (#1498497)

Snap packages

  • Snap packages now have edit, administer, and delete views
  • Branches, Git repositories and refs, people, teams, and products now have snap package listing views
  • Members of ~launchpad-snap-builders can create snap packages in the web UI based on Bazaar or Git branches
  • Snap package owners can request builds in the web UI

Soyuz (package building)

  • Stop showing the confusing .dsc component on source package index pages (#521722)
  • Export archive deletion on the API (#814633)
  • Allow overriding the build version for live filesystem builds (#1496074)
  • Archive owners can change the “build debug symbols” and “publish debug symbols” settings on their own archives, rather than needing to ask an admin
  • The publisher no longer sometimes tries to update Contents files for immutable suites such as the release pocket of stable series, which could cause checksums in Release to get out of sync (#1448270)
  • Publishing PPAs now creates clearsigned InRelease files to improve reliability of updates (#804252); we intend to add this to the primary Ubuntu archive as well once one last piece of mirroring infrastructure is made ready for it
  • Archive owners can enable or disable unrestricted architectures on their own archives, rather than needing to ask an admin; we will unrestrict further architectures once they have adequate virtualised build infrastructure available
  • Enabling a test rebuild archive no longer times out (#1500973)
on October 04, 2015 02:12 PM
Your face here.

Your face here

Game Over

Maybe you’ve tried to learn another language, or worse: you’ve tried to teach another language. For many people, additional-language acquisition doesn’t come too quickly. We all process information at different speeds, and it is basically impossible to make a brain process any faster than it can or force it to process information that it’s not ready to accept. Yet, many educational methodologies expect that to happen. The result is mostly a lot of wasted braintime and garbage information. It’s game over before we even begin.

Think about how you tried to learn your first language. Wait a minute. You probably can’t really think about how that happened; it just kind of… happened. Your community spoke to you in that language, over and over, and when your brain was ready, you picked up what you could. But, could you do it over and over again?

More Over

Recently I attended a TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) training seminar by Blaine Ray. TPRS is based heavily on input-focused learning. By repeatedly hearing/seeing something, eventually it is captured by your brain, and when your brain is ready, it will also be able to output the same content.


If you keep filling a bottle with water, then eventually it will output water.

The key is to keep filling the bottle with the correct substance. Instead of pointing out that the bottle is outputting the wrong thing, just keep pouring in the right thing. When it’s ready, the bottle will produce correctly. It is, in a sense, a form of bottle brainwashing, which is much more accepted by the brain than reprimand. Knowing that, only factual errors should be corrected. Incorrect grammar, and yes, even mispronunciation, should not be directly judged. Instead, when the brain is ready, it will pick up the proper language from enough exposure through repetition.

The vehicle of repetition is stories, which help to hold the attention of the learner. I was a first-time German-language learner at the TPRS conference. After a couple sessions of observing a German-language story with the TPRS teaching technique, I was given the task of writing my own unique story within five minutes. Even though it stinks (hehe), I definitely produced more than I expected.


My first German story (unedited)


But, the story isn’t over yet.

A Case for Face



In the near future when ABC Company creates a translation device, then we won’t really need to learn language… However, communication has a lot more to it than a bunch of words strung together. It even goes beyond emotion in speech. There’s something about meeting someone face-to-face that is very difficult for a machine to replicate. Sight and hearing are not the only senses involved in communication. That is because language is also culture (for lack of a better term). You can only truly learn that from being around other people. It makes sense that if you want to be better at talking with people, then you have to talk with other people.

A Case for Community

Multiple sources of information.

Multiple sources of input

Being an input-based form of education, TPRS sure sounds like a strong case for a “broken record”. That works, but we should also be asking “who made the record, an what was the intention behind its creation?” Thus, it is important to get different points of view.

We already talked about how many senses are required to truly understand a language, but how can we know if what we are learning is effective? The test is to use the knowledge in the wild. We need multiple sources of input in order to verify information and detect variations.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then it also takes a community to raise a new language learner.

A Case for Ubuntu

If you haven’t seen the connections to Ubuntu already, then your brain isn’t ready yet, but that’s ok. When you’re ready, you will get it 😉

Ubuntu is a language. In addition to terminology, it also has a vibrant “culture” that needs to be learned. If Ubuntu is to be effectively disseminated, then we will need to:

  • Tell stories
  • Make use of repetition
  • Engage all of our senses
  • Meet face-to-face
  • Involve the community (Don’t have one? See here)

But, like most skills, if we want to be good at teaching Ubuntu then we must practice doing it. So, GYFOTS, and go practice how you preach.

on October 04, 2015 12:07 AM

October 02, 2015

My first steps into snappifying, I have publish a RestApi for PiGlow (glowapi 0.1.2). I though it might be a good first step and mildly useful for people wanting to set up build notifications, twitter mentions, whatever you fancy!

You can find it in the webdm store…
Code is here: https://code.launchpad.net/~vtuson/+junk/glowapi

And here is how it works:
PiGlow Api exposes PiGlow in your board port 8000, so you can easy accessing by POST in port 8000.

remeber to do the hardware assign, something like: sudo snappy hw-assign glowapi.vtuson /dev/i2c-1

API calls , method POST:

turns all the leds on to max brightness
turns all the leds on to med brigthness
turns off all leds
turns all the leds in a leg (:id) to a given brightness
(if not specify it uses a default setting)
parms: intensity , range 0 to 1
eg: http://localhost:8000/v1/legs/1?intensity=0.3
turns on one led (colid) in a leg (:id) to a given brightness
(if not specify it uses a default setting)
parms: intensity , range 0 to 1
eg: http://localhost:8000/v1/legs/1/colors/green?intensity=0.3
turn on all leds for a color across all legs
if not specify it uses a default setting)
parms: intensity , range 0 to 1
eg: http://localhost:8000/v1/colors/green?intensity=0.3

ID ranges
legs range : 0 – 2

on October 02, 2015 05:04 PM

I've mentored a number of students in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Debian and Ganglia and most of the companies I've worked with have run internships and graduate programs from time to time. GSoC 2015 has just finished and with all the excitement, many students are already asking what they can do to prepare and be selected for Outreachy or GSoC in 2016.

My own observation is that the more time the organization has to get to know the student, the more confident they can be selecting that student. Furthermore, the more time that the student has spent getting to know the free software community, the more easily they can complete GSoC.

Here I present a list of things that students can do to maximize their chance of selection and career opportunities at the same time. These tips are useful for people applying for GSoC itself and related programs such as GNOME's Outreachy or graduate placements in companies.


There is no guarantee that Google will run the program again in 2016 or any future year until the Google announcement.

There is no guarantee that any organization or mentor (including myself) will be involved until the official list of organizations is published by Google.

Do not follow the advice of web sites that invite you to send pizza or anything else of value to prospective mentors.

Following the steps in this page doesn't guarantee selection. That said, people who do follow these steps are much more likely to be considered and interviewed than somebody who hasn't done any of the things in this list.

Understand what free software really is

You may hear terms like free software and open source software used interchangeably.

They don't mean exactly the same thing and many people use the term free software for the wrong things. Not all projects declaring themselves to be "free" or "open source" meet the definition of free software. Those that don't, usually as a result of deficiencies in their licenses, are fundamentally incompatible with the majority of software that does use genuinely free licenses.

Google Summer of Code is about both writing and publishing your code and it is also about community. It is fundamental that you know the basics of licensing and how to choose a free license that empowers the community to collaborate on your code well after GSoC has finished.

Please review the definition of free software early on and come back and review it from time to time. The The GNU Project / Free Software Foundation have excellent resources to help you understand what a free software license is and how it works to maximize community collaboration.

Don't look for shortcuts

There is no shortcut to GSoC selection and there is no shortcut to GSoC completion.

The student stipend (USD $5,500 in 2014) is not paid to students unless they complete a minimum amount of valid code. This means that even if a student did find some shortcut to selection, it is unlikely they would be paid without completing meaningful work.

If you are the right candidate for GSoC, you will not need a shortcut anyway. Are you the sort of person who can't leave a coding problem until you really feel it is fixed, even if you keep going all night? Have you ever woken up in the night with a dream about writing code still in your head? Do you become irritated by tedious or repetitive tasks and often think of ways to write code to eliminate such tasks? Does your family get cross with you because you take your laptop to Christmas dinner or some other significant occasion and start coding? If some of these statements summarize the way you think or feel you are probably a natural fit for GSoC.

An opportunity money can't buy

The GSoC stipend will not make you rich. It is intended to make sure you have enough money to survive through the summer and focus on your project. Professional developers make this much money in a week in leading business centers like New York, London and Singapore. When you get to that stage in 3-5 years, you will not even be thinking about exactly how much you made during internships.

GSoC gives you an edge over other internships because it involves publicly promoting your work. Many companies still try to hide the potential of their best recruits for fear they will be poached or that they will be able to demand higher salaries. Everything you complete in GSoC is intended to be published and you get full credit for it. Imagine a young musician getting the opportunity to perform on the main stage at a rock festival. This is how the free software community works. It is a meritocracy and there is nobody to hold you back.

Having a portfolio of free software that you have created or collaborated on and a wide network of professional contacts that you develop before, during and after GSoC will continue to pay you back for years to come. While other graduates are being screened through group interviews and testing days run by employers, people with a track record in a free software project often find they go straight to the final interview round.

Register your domain name and make a permanent email address

Free software is all about community and collaboration. Register your own domain name as this will become a focal point for your work and for people to get to know you as you become part of the community.

This is sound advice for anybody working in IT, not just programmers. It gives the impression that you are confident and have a long term interest in a technology career.

Choosing the provider: as a minimum, you want a provider that offers DNS management, static web site hosting, email forwarding and XMPP services all linked to your domain. You do not need to choose the provider that is linked to your internet connection at home and that is often not the best choice anyway. The XMPP foundation maintains a list of providers known to support XMPP.

Create an email address within your domain name. The most basic domain hosting providers will let you forward the email address to a webmail or university email account of your choice. Configure your webmail to send replies using your personalized email address in the From header.

Update your ~/.gitconfig file to use your personalized email address in your Git commits.

Create a web site and blog

Start writing a blog. Host it using your domain name.

Some people blog every day, other people just blog once every two or three months.

Create links from your web site to your other profiles, such as a Github profile page. This helps reinforce the pages/profiles that are genuinely related to you and avoid confusion with the pages of other developers.

Many mentors are keen to see their students writing a weekly report on a blog during GSoC so starting a blog now gives you a head start. Mentors look at blogs during the selection process to try and gain insight into which topics a student is most suitable for.

Create a profile on Github

Github is one of the most widely used software development web sites. Github makes it quick and easy for you to publish your work and collaborate on the work of other people. Create an account today and get in the habbit of forking other projects, improving them, committing your changes and pushing the work back into your Github account.

Github will quickly build a profile of your commits and this allows mentors to see and understand your interests and your strengths.

In your Github profile, add a link to your web site/blog and make sure the email address you are using for Git commits (in the ~/.gitconfig file) is based on your personal domain.

Start using PGP

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is the industry standard in protecting your identity online. All serious free software projects use PGP to sign tags in Git, to sign official emails and to sign official release files.

The most common way to start using PGP is with the GnuPG (GNU Privacy Guard) utility. It is installed by the package manager on most Linux systems.

When you create your own PGP key, use the email address involving your domain name. This is the most permanent and stable solution.

Print your key fingerprint using the gpg-key2ps command, it is in the signing-party package on most Linux systems. Keep copies of the fingerprint slips with you.

This is what my own PGP fingerprint slip looks like. You can also print the key fingerprint on a business card for a more professional look.

Using PGP, it is recommend that you sign any important messages you send but you do not have to encrypt the messages you send, especially if some of the people you send messages to (like family and friends) do not yet have the PGP software to decrypt them.

If using the Thunderbird (Icedove) email client from Mozilla, you can easily send signed messages and validate the messages you receive using the Enigmail plugin.

Get your PGP key signed

Once you have a PGP key, you will need to find other developers to sign it. For people I mentor personally in GSoC, I'm keen to see that you try and find another Debian Developer in your area to sign your key as early as possible.

Free software events

Try and find all the free software events in your area in the months between now and the end of the next Google Summer of Code season. Aim to attend at least two of them before GSoC.

Look closely at the schedules and find out about the individual speakers, the companies and the free software projects that are participating. For events that span more than one day, find out about the dinners, pub nights and other social parts of the event.

Try and identify people who will attend the event who have been GSoC mentors or who intend to be. Contact them before the event, if you are keen to work on something in their domain they may be able to make time to discuss it with you in person.

Take your PGP fingerprint slips. Even if you don't participate in a formal key-signing party at the event, you will still find some developers to sign your PGP key individually. You must take a photo ID document (such as your passport) for the other developer to check the name on your fingerprint but you do not give them a copy of the ID document.

Events come in all shapes and sizes. FOSDEM is an example of one of the bigger events in Europe, linux.conf.au is a similarly large event in Australia. There are many, many more local events such as the Debian UK mini-DebConf in Cambridge, November 2015. Many events are either free or free for students but please check carefully if there is a requirement to register before attending.

On your blog, discuss which events you are attending and which sessions interest you. Write a blog during or after the event too, including photos.

Quantcast generously hosted the Ganglia community meeting in San Francisco, October 2013. We had a wild time in their offices with mini-scooters, burgers, beers and the Ganglia book. That's me on the pink mini-scooter and Bernard Li, one of the other Ganglia GSoC 2014 admins is on the right.

Install Linux

GSoC is fundamentally about free software. Linux is to free software what a tree is to the forest. Using Linux every day on your personal computer dramatically increases your ability to interact with the free software community and increases the number of potential GSoC projects that you can participate in.

This is not to say that people using Mac OS or Windows are unwelcome. I have worked with some great developers who were not Linux users. Linux gives you an edge though and the best time to gain that edge is now, while you are a student and well before you apply for GSoC.

If you must run Windows for some applications used in your course, it will run just fine in a virtual machine using Virtual Box, a free software solution for desktop virtualization. Use Linux as the primary operating system.

Here are links to download ISO DVD (and CD) images for some of the main Linux distributions:

If you are nervous about getting started with Linux, install it on a spare PC or in a virtual machine before you install it on your main PC or laptop. Linux is much less demanding on the hardware than Windows so you can easily run it on a machine that is 5-10 years old. Having just 4GB of RAM and 20GB of hard disk is usually more than enough for a basic graphical desktop environment although having better hardware makes it faster.

Your experiences installing and running Linux, especially if it requires some special effort to make it work with some of your hardware, make interesting topics for your blog.

Decide which technologies you know best

Personally, I have mentored students working with C, C++, Java, Python and JavaScript/HTML5.

In a GSoC program, you will typically do most of your work in just one of these languages.

From the outset, decide which language you will focus on and do everything you can to improve your competence with that language. For example, if you have already used Java in most of your course, plan on using Java in GSoC and make sure you read Effective Java (2nd Edition) by Joshua Bloch.

Decide which themes appeal to you

Find a topic that has long-term appeal for you. Maybe the topic relates to your course or maybe you already know what type of company you would like to work in.

Here is a list of some topics and some of the relevant software projects:

  • System administration, servers and networking: consider projects involving monitoring, automation, packaging. Ganglia is a great community to get involved with and you will encounter the Ganglia software in many large companies and academic/research networks. Contributing to a Linux distribution like Debian or Fedora packaging is another great way to get into system administration.
  • Desktop and user interface: consider projects involving window managers and desktop tools or adding to the user interface of just about any other software.
  • Big data and data science: this can apply to just about any other theme. For example, data science techniques are frequently used now to improve system administration.
  • Business and accounting: consider accounting, CRM and ERP software.
  • Finance and trading: consider projects like R, market data software like OpenMAMA and connectivity software (Apache Camel)
  • Real-time communication (RTC), VoIP, webcam and chat: look at the JSCommunicator or the Jitsi project
  • Web (JavaScript, HTML5): look at the JSCommunicator

Before the GSoC application process begins, you should aim to learn as much as possible about the theme you prefer and also gain practical experience using the software relating to that theme. For example, if you are attracted to the business and accounting theme, install the PostBooks suite and get to know it. Maybe you know somebody who runs a small business: help them to upgrade to PostBooks and use it to prepare some reports.

Make something

Make some small project, less than two week's work, to demonstrate your skills. It is important to make something that somebody will use for a practical purpose, this will help you gain experience communicating with other users through Github.

For an example, see the servlet Juliana Louback created for fixing phone numbers in December 2013. It has since been used as part of the Lumicall web site and Juliana was selected for a GSoC 2014 project with Debian.

There is no better way to demonstrate to a prospective mentor that you are ready for GSoC than by completing and publishing some small project like this yourself. If you don't have any immediate project ideas, many developers will also be able to give you tips on small projects like this that you can attempt, just come and ask us on one of the mailing lists.

Ideally, the project will be something that you would use anyway even if you do not end up participating in GSoC. Such projects are the most motivating and rewarding and usually end up becoming an example of your best work. To continue the example of somebody with a preference for business and accounting software, a small project you might create is a plugin or extension for PostBooks.

Getting to know prospective mentors

Many web sites provide useful information about the developers who contribute to free software projects. Some of these developers may be willing to be a GSoC mentor.

For example, look through some of the following:

Getting on the mentor's shortlist

Once you have identified projects that are interesting to you and developers who work on those projects, it is important to get yourself on the developer's shortlist.

Basically, the shortlist is a list of all students who the developer believes can complete the project. If I feel that a student is unlikely to complete a project or if I don't have enough information to judge a student's probability of success, that student will not be on my shortlist.

If I don't have any student on my shortlist, then a project will not go ahead at all. If there are multiple students on the shortlist, then I will be looking more closely at each of them to try and work out who is the best match.

One way to get a developer's attention is to look at bug reports they have created. Github makes it easy to see complaints or bug reports they have made about their own projects or other projects they depend on. Another way to do this is to search through their code for strings like FIXME and TODO. Projects with standalone bug trackers like the Debian bug tracker also provide an easy way to search for bug reports that a specific person has created or commented on.

Once you find some relevant bug reports, email the developer. Ask if anybody else is working on those issues. Try and start with an issue that is particularly easy and where the solution is interesting for you. This will help you learn to compile and test the program before you try to fix any more complicated bugs. It may even be something you can work on as part of your academic program.

Find successful projects from the previous year

Contact organizations and ask them which GSoC projects were most successful. In many organizations, you can find the past students' project plans and their final reports published on the web. Read through the plans submitted by the students who were chosen. Then read through the final reports by the same students and see how they compare to the original plans.

Start building your project proposal now

Don't wait for the application period to begin. Start writing a project proposal now.

When writing a proposal, it is important to include several things:

  • Think big: what is the goal at the end of the project? Does your work help the greater good in some way, such as increasing the market share of Linux on the desktop?
  • Details: what are specific challenges? What tools will you use?
  • Time management: what will you do each week? Are there weeks where you will not work on GSoC due to vacation or other events? These things are permitted but they must be in your plan if you know them in advance. If an accident or death in the family cut a week out of your GSoC project, which work would you skip and would your project still be useful without that? Having two weeks of flexible time in your plan makes it more resilient against interruptions.
  • Communication: are you on mailing lists, IRC and XMPP chat? Will you make a weekly report on your blog?
  • Users: who will benefit from your work?
  • Testing: who will test and validate your work throughout the project? Ideally, this should involve more than just the mentor.

If your project plan is good enough, could you put it on Kickstarter or another crowdfunding site? This is a good test of whether or not a project is going to be supported by a GSoC mentor.

Learn about packaging and distributing software

Packaging is a vital part of the free software lifecycle. It is very easy to upload a project to Github but it takes more effort to have it become an official package in systems like Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu.

Packaging and the communities around Linux distributions help you reach out to users of your software and get valuable feedback and new contributors. This boosts the impact of your work.

To start with, you may want to help the maintainer of an existing package. Debian packaging teams are existing communities that work in a team and welcome new contributors. The Debian Mentors initiative is another great starting place. In the Fedora world, the place to start may be in one of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

Think from the mentor's perspective

After the application deadline, mentors have just 2 or 3 weeks to choose the students. This is actually not a lot of time to be certain if a particular student is capable of completing a project. If the student has a published history of free software activity, the mentor feels a lot more confident about choosing the student.

Some mentors have more than one good student while other mentors receive no applications from capable students. In this situation, it is very common for mentors to send each other details of students who may be suitable. Once again, if a student has a good Github profile and a blog, it is much easier for mentors to try and match that student with another project.

GSoC logo generic


Getting into the world of software engineering is much like joining any other profession or even joining a new hobby or sporting activity. If you run, you probably have various types of shoe and a running watch and you may even spend a couple of nights at the track each week. If you enjoy playing a musical instrument, you probably have a collection of sheet music, accessories for your instrument and you may even aspire to build a recording studio in your garage (or you probably know somebody else who already did that).

The things listed on this page will not just help you walk the walk and talk the talk of a software developer, they will put you on a track to being one of the leaders. If you look over the profiles of other software developers on the Internet, you will find they are doing most of the things on this page already. Even if you are not selected for GSoC at all or decide not to apply, working through the steps on this page will help you clarify your own ideas about your career and help you make new friends in the software engineering community.

on October 02, 2015 04:41 PM
My BQ E4.5 phone drop from my bag and the touch screen crashed. It doesn't respond to touch the events even. Then, this is a opportunity for hacking time!

How did I fix it?

I bought this touch screen in Ebay and I followed this video for changing it.
Well... The original touch screen is integrated with glue to the LCD, then you'll break the LCD too, as I did :(

First try, fail!

But I tried again.

I bought this LCD + Touch screen in AliExpress (including a temperad glass as present), for 30,80€. It arrived really early ~18 days from China.

I followed the same video again: Be careful, about these points:
  • The battery (2:02) is not easy to remove, because it has glue. Don't be careful about the battery, you'll remove it.
  • The connector (4:01) is really weak and it's complicate to insert again, you can leave it connected.
  • A bit complicate to put again (4:09) this connector.
  • You will need glue for this new screen (I used superglue) and a small precition screwdriver will be OK.
And... the phone is alive!! :)) FYI The phone is working perfect, as with the original screen.

As resume, forget to repair just the touch screen by yourself. Change the LCD+touch screen is not complicate.
on October 02, 2015 04:38 PM

S08E30 – Gunday - Ubuntu Podcast

Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo

It’s Episode Thirty of Season Eight of the Ubuntu Podcast! With Mark Johnson, Laura Cowen, Martin Wimpress, and Alan Pope!

In this week’s show:

  • We chat about OggCamp 2015 with Les Pounder.
  • We go over your feedback.
  • We have a command line love, from Alan: sed -n '1p;$p'
  • We chat about developing cross-platform games in HTML5, the continuing saga of Mark’s laptop, building a kernel the Ubuntu Way, and getting a cheap Jolla phone.

That’s all for this week, please send your comments and suggestions to: show@ubuntupodcast.org
Join us on IRC in #ubuntu-podcast on Freenode
Follow us on Twitter
Find our Facebook Fan Page
Follow us on Google+

on October 02, 2015 03:59 PM

Huh, this turned out to be longer than I expected. Don’t feel obliged to read it, it’s more notes for myself, and to remind me of why I liked the event.


On Wednesday I went to DevRelCon in London. DevRelCon is “a one day single track conference for technical evangelists, developer advocates and anyone interested in developer relations” setup by Matthew Revell. I don’t think there’s a lot of difference between my role (defined as Community Manager) at Canonical and Developer Relations so figured it would probably have appropriate content for my role. Boy was I right!

DevRelCon was easily the single most valuable short conference I’ve ever attended. The speakers were knowledgeable, friendly and accessible, and easy to understand. I took a ton of notes, and will distil some of them down here, but will almost certainly keep referring back to them over the coming months as I look to implement some of the suggestions I heard.


The event took place at The Trampery Old Street, in Shoreditch, the trendy/hipster part of London. We had access to a bright and airy ‘ballroom’ and were served with regular drinks, snacks and a light lunch. Free WiFi was also available, which worked well, but I didn’t use it much as we had little time away from the talks.


The day consisted of a mix of long (40 minute) talks, some shorter (20 min) ones, and a few ‘lightning’ talks. Having a mix of durations worked well I think. We started a little late, but Matthew massaged the timetable to claw back some time, and as it was a single track day there was no real issue if things didn’t run to time, as you weren’t likely to run off to another talk, and miss something.

All the talks were great, but I took considerably more notes in some than others, so this is represented below in that I haven’t listed every talk.

Morning Talks

Rob SpectreTwilio – Scaling Developer Evangelism.

This started off well as Rob plugged in his laptop and we were greeted with an Ubuntu desktop! He started off detailing some interesting stats to focus our minds on who we’re evangelising to. Starting with the 18.2m developers worldwide, given ~3Bn smartphone users, and ~4Bn Internet users that means ~0.08% have the capability to write code. There’s a 6% year on year increase in developers, mostly in developing nations, the ratio is less in the western world. So for example India could overtake every other countries’ developer count by ~2017.

Rob talked at length about the structure of Developer Evangelists, Developer Educators and the Community Team at Twilio. The talk continued to outline how valuable developers are, how at Twilio their Developer Evangelists are the ‘Red Carpet’ to their community. I was struck by how very differently we (Open Source projects) and Ubuntu specifically treat contributors to the project.

There was also a section on running developer events, and Rob spent some time talking about strategies for successful events, and how those can feed back to improve your product. He also talked a little about measurement, which was also going to be covered in later talks that day.

Another useful anecdote Rob detailed was regarding conversion of talks into blog posts. While a talk at an event can catalyse the 20-100 people in the room, converting that into a detailed tutorial blog post can bring in hundreds or thousands more.

The final slide in Rob’s talk was “Would you recommend this talk?” with a phone number attendees could send a score to. I thought this was a particularly cunning strategy. There was also talk of using the external IP address of the venue WiFi as one factor to determine the effectiveness / conversion rate of attendees.

Cristiano BettaBraintree – Tooling your way to a great devrel team

Cristiano started off talking about BattleHack which I’d not heard of. These are in person events where teams of developers get 24 hours to work on a project fuelled by coffee, cake and Red Bull to be in with a chance of winning a cash prize and an amusing axe.

He then went on to talk about a personal project to manage event sign-ups. This replaces tools like Eventbrite and MailChimp and enables Cristiano to get a better handle on the success of his events.

Laura CowenIBM – Building a developer community in an enterprise world

Laura started off giving some history of the products and groups inside IBM who are responsible for WAS, the public facing developer sites and the struggles she’s had updating them

The interesting parts for me came when Laura was detailing the pain she had getting developer time to update documentation and engage with users and communities outside their own four walls. Laura also talked about the difficulty when interfacing developers and marketing, their differing goals and some strategies for coping.

I recognised for example the frustration in people wanting to publish everything on a developer site, whether it’s appropriate to the target audience or not. Sometimes we (in Ubuntu) fail to deeply consider the target audience before we publish articles, guides or documentation. I think we can do better here. Pushing back on content creators, and finding the right place for a published article is worth it, if the target audience is to be defended.

Lightning Talks

Shaunak Kashyapelastic – Getting the measure of DevRel

In this short talk Shaunak gave some interesting snippets on how elastic measure community engagement. I found a couple interesting which I felt we might use in Ubuntu. Measuring “time to first response” for questions and issues by looking for responses from someone other than the first poster. While I don’t think they were actively using this data yet, getting an initial base line would be useful.

Shaunak also detailed one factor in measuring meet-up effectiveness. Typically elastic have 3-4 meet-ups a week, globally. For each meet-up group they measured “time since last meetup”. For those where there was a long delta between one meetup and the next they would consider actions. This could be contacting the group to see if there’s issues, offering assistance, swag & ‘meet up in a box’ kits, and finally disbanding the group if there wasn’t sufficient critical mass.

I took away a few good ideas from this talk, especially given recent conversations in Ubuntu about sparking up more meet-ups.

Phil LeggetterPusher – ROI on DevRel

Phil kicked off his short talk by talking about the ROI on DevRel by explaining Acquisition vs Activation. Where Acquisition of new developers might be them signing up for an account or downloading a product/sdk/library. Activation would be the conversion which might be measured differently per product. So perhaps “purchased paid API key” or “submitted app with N downloads”.

Phil then moved on to talk a bit about how they can measure the effectiveness of online tutorials or blog articles by correlating sign ups with traffic coming from those online articles. There was some more discussion on this later on including the effectiveness of giving away vouchers/codes to incentivise downloads, with some disagreement on the results of doing so.

Afternoon Talks

Brandon WestSendGrid – Burnout

I’ve been to many talks and discussions about burnout in developer communities over the years. This talk from Brandon one was easily the most useful, factual and actionable one. I also enjoyed Brandon’s attempts to inject Britishness into his talk which lightened the mood on a potentially very dark topic.

Brendon kicked off with a bit of a ‘woe is me’ #firstworldproblems introduction to his own current life issues. The usual things that affect a lot of people, but all happening at once, becoming overwhelming. We then moved on to defining burnout clearly, and what types of people are likely to suffer (clue: anyone) and some strategies for recognizing and preventing burnout.

A few key assertions / take-aways:-

“Burnout & depression are pathalogically indistinguishable”

“Burnout and work engagement are not exclusive or correlatable”

“Those most likely to burnout believe they are least at risk”

“Learn a skill on holiday – the holiday will be more rewarding”

Tim FogartyMajor League Hacking – Hackathons as a part of your DevRel strategy

Another great talk which built upon what Cristiano talked about earlier in the day – hackathons. Tim introduced different types of hackathons and which in his experience were more popular with developers and why.

Tim started by breaking down the types of hackathon – ‘hacking’, ‘corporate’ and ‘civic’ with the second being least popular as it’s seen as free labour by developers, and so they’re distrustful. He went on to reasons why people might run hackathons including evangelism, gathering (+ve and -ve) feedback, recruiting and mindshare (marketing).

He then moved on to strategies for making an impact, measuring the effect, sponsoring and how to craft the perfect demo to kick off the event.

Having never been to an in-person hackathon I found this another fascinating talk and will be following up with Tim Later.

Jessica Rose – Stop talking about diversity and just do it

Well. This was enlightening. This talk was excellent, and covered two main topics. First the focus was on getting a more diverse set of people running / attending / talking at your event. Some strategies were discussed and Jessica highlighted where many people go terribly wrong, assumptions people make and excuses people give.

The second part was a conversation about the ways in which an event can cater for as many people as possible. Here’s a highlight of some of the ways we discussed, but this obviously doesn’t cover everything:-

  • Attendees and speakers should be able to get in under their own power
  • Meal choices should be available – possibly beyond vegetarian/vegan
  • Code of Conduct
  • Sign language for talks
  • Well lit and safe feeling route from venue to accomodation
  • Space for breastfeeding / pumping, with snacks / drinks nearby
  • Non boozy spaces
  • Prayer room
  • After party with low noise level – and covered by Code of Conduct
  • Childcare
  • Professional chapparones (for under 18’s)
  • Diversity tickets & travel grants
  • Scale inclusivity to budget (be realistic about what you can achieve)

Lots to think about!

Joe NashBraintree – Engaging Students

Joe kicked off his fast-paced talk with an introduction to things which influenced how he got where he is, including “Twilio Heroes”. The talk was focussed on the UK University system, how to engage with students and some tips for running events which engage effectively with both CS and non-CS students.

James Milnerersi UK – So you want to run a meet-up

James talked about his personal experience running GeoDev Meet-Ups. I found this information quite valuable as the subject is under discussion in Ubuntu. James gave some great tips for running good meet-ups, and had a number of things he’s clearly learned the hard way. I hope to put some of his tips into action in the UK.

Dawn FosterLessons about community from science fiction.

This was a great uplifting talk to end the day. Dawn drew inspiration from her prolific science fiction reading to come up with some tips for people running community projects. I’ll give you a flavour with a few of them. Each was accompanied by an appropriate picture.

Picture: Star Trek Red Shirt
Lesson: “Participate and contribute in a way that people will notice and value your work”

Picture: Doctor Who TARDIS
Lesson: “Communities look different from inside then when viewing as an outsider”

Picture: Enders Game
Lesson: “Age is often unknown, encourage young people to contribute”

Dawn is a thoughtful, entertaining and engaging speaker. I’d certainly like to see more of her talks.

After Party

We all left the venue after the last talk and headed to a nearby trendy bar for a pint then headed home, pretty exhausted. A great event, I look forward to the next one.

on October 02, 2015 02:00 PM

Occasionally it is useful to be able to build a kernel the Ubuntu way with debug symbols. The following is how to install dependencies, clone the tree, and finally build in such a way that ddeb packages get generated.

on October 02, 2015 01:53 PM

October 01, 2015

Where do I begin? That’s the challenge ahead of anyone who tries something new. And the first step of any new experience. Sometimes this can be exciting, like when you sit down to try food at a new restaurant. Other times the question is paralyzing. Taking the first step is difficult when the path is unclear or unmarked.

Ubuntu is the world’s third most popular operating system. It powers twenty million desktop computers, and untold servers. But for even more people who grew up using Windows or OS X, their operating system is the computer. Ubuntu’s Linux and Unix heritage are no longer its greatest strength, but its biggest drawback. But it doesn’t have to be.

For new Ubuntu users, the first challenge to surmount is familiarity. Ubuntu thinks and behaves in different ways from the computing experience they’ve gained over the years. And those years of experience are an enemy at first. But using a new operating system is much like visiting a foreign country. Everything’s different, but after a chance to acclimate, it’s not that different. The trick is finding your way around until you know what’s the same. The differences aren’t that vast and soon everything is manageable.

book cover

My new book, Beginning Ubuntu for Windows and Mac Users was written to help speed that process along. Ubuntu is the perfect operating system for every day business, casual, and entertainment use. The book explains key concepts and helps users adapt to their new operating system. It’s a reference guide to the best software in Ubuntu that can get tasks done. And it teaches how to use Ubuntu so that any computer user can get started and learn from there.

Beginning Ubuntu for Windows and Mac Users expects readers to want to use Ubuntu graphically, and prefers this over command line shortcuts. When the command lie is introduced in Chapter 5, it’s from the perspective of a window into an older period of computing history, and after a short overview, it walks the user through specific tasks that demonstrate exactly why one would use the command line over the graphical tools. Simple information lookup, text-based browsing, and even games gives the command line a practical purpose and makes the chapter a handy reference.

The book finishes up with power user advice that shows simple yet powerful ways to make an Ubuntu system even more powerful, from enabling multiple workspaces to installing VirtualBox and working with virtual machines.

If you’ve been wanting to try Ubuntu but don’t know where to begin, this book is for you. It explains the origins of Ubuntu and walks you through the install process step by step. It talks about dual-booting and installing graphics drivers. It even helps you find the right “translation” as you learn the Ubuntu desktop. Looking for the Start Menu or Spotlight? The Dash icon provides the same functionality.

If you’re already an Ubuntu user, you may benefit from the clear instructions and format of the book. But you can also buy the book for friends. It’s a friendly, gentle introduction to Ubuntu that any Windows or Mac user will enjoy, and the perfect gift for anyone who could benefit from using Ubuntu.

Beginning Ubuntu for Windows and Mac Users is available today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine booksellers around the world. Best of all, the companion ebook is only $5 through Apress when you buy the print version (even if you didn't buy it from the publisher), and the ebook is available DRM-free in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI (Kindle) formats. Not only is that an incredible bargain that offers all 150+ screenshots in full color, but the DRM-free files respect you and your investment.

Whether you’ve already taken the first steps into experiencing Ubuntu for yourself, or you’ve hesitated because you don’t know where to begin, this book is for you. We’ll walk through the first steps together, and your existing Windows and Mac experience will help you take the next steps as you explore the endless possibilities offered by Ubuntu.

on October 01, 2015 08:51 PM

Introducing Pilot

Nicholas Skaggs

It's finally here! We've been working on a way to allow those who have a ubuntu phone to participate more directly in testing the software that runs on their device. This includes things like helping test OTA updates before they are shipped and to verify and look for bugs in applications like the core apps and system services.

Introducing Pilot, a new application you can find today in the ubuntu store. The application utilizes checkbox as a way of distributing tests to you on the phone. This first round of testing includes tests from 4 of your favorite core applications including dekko, clock, music, and weather.

To help test, search for Pilot in the store and install it.

Start the app, and click the Start Testing button once it's loaded.

Select a test plan to run. Right now you can choose to test specific features of the different core apps.

Select the tests to run. You can choose to run all of tests for that feature, or just one if you wish.

Run through the test, following each step. If everything works as listed in the test, press the Pass button. Otherwise press Fail.

You can also add comments about the test or skip the test using the buttons at the top of this page.

Finally, submit your results back to the QA team by pressing the Submit Results to Community Practitest button. You'll need to supply your ubuntu SSO information to do so. You may also view your submitted results on this screen by pressing the corresponding button.

It's that easy. Over time, we'll push new tests via application updates, so you can help test new things as they are developed. As the number of devices grows, we want to ensure every device has the same level of quality. With your help, we can make sure ubuntu gets better with each update. Thanks for your help!
on October 01, 2015 05:54 PM

Aha, summer is finished, it’s time to be full active in the opensource wolrd again! I’m very happy about my contributions in September, I found myself very active.


In September I received 20 euros of donations. Thanks so much, I’ll use them to buy coffee and spent nights writing code :-)

For Falldown (see below) we received 30 euros of donations. We’re still thinking how to invest them (buying a domain for the team, doing a contest to create a theme for the game, and some others cool ideas).

If you find valuable my contribute to opensource world, or you’re enjoying Falldown, please consider to make me a donation.

Please write if the donation is for me or for Falldown (we’ll provide a separate donation mail in the future).

What I did

Other than the release of Falldown and working on some updates (themes are coming, and more), I wrote (and tested and merged) another patch for Launchpad.

Also, I wrote a couple of patches for the webbrowser and started new patches for reminders app.

More, I spent a lot of time reviewing code - I’m quite good finding small errors in implementations - in that way the quality of updates is always high :-)

Your turn

Hey, now it’s your turn to start changing the world with the opensource software.

Why don’t you start to contribute?

If you like my work and want to support me, just send me a Thank you! by email or offer me a beer:-)


on October 01, 2015 01:30 PM

September 30, 2015

Help make Kubuntu great!

“Help make Kubuntu great!”

Hello everyone!
I am hard at work with backports again. There seemed to be some problems with the last ones so
I am here, begging YOU for some help with testing. The more the merrier! What I need is for folks to
install the updates, on a non-production computer or Virtual machine, and then carry on as you normally would and take notes on functionality, install problems, and any other weirdness or lack thereof. Then report back to me (or anyone in the Kubuntu community as long as it reaches the developers). We generally hang out in IRC #kubuntu-devel or the kubuntu-devel mailing list. Don’t like IRC or Mailing lists? that is ok too, we accept reports on most social media outlets:

@kubuntu twitter
Kubuntu Google+
Kubuntu Facebook page

For faster results CC me :) Have further questions? Send me a message!
My social links are at the top of my blog. Now onto what currently needs testing:

(Disclosure: DO NOT TEST on a production machine. You have been warned.)
The first set of backports for testing is for Vivid.
KDE Frameworks located here:

Add this to your sources.list and do an update/upgrade.
Then remove the ppa from sources.list.
Then use any software you normally would to see if functionality remains the same or improved.
If things break, we need to know that.
Note to Self: We need an online test suite similar to ISO testing.
Thank you!
Your Kubuntu Developer

on September 30, 2015 10:46 PM

My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

Debian LTS

This month I have been paid to work 8 hours on Debian LTS. In that time, I mostly did CVE triaging (in the last 3 days since I’m of LTS frontdesk duty this week). I pushed 14 commits to the security tracker. There were multiple CVE without any initial investigation so I checked the status of the CVE not only in squeeze but also in wheezy/jessie.

On unpaid time, I wrote and sent the summary of the work session held during DebConf. And I tried to initiate a discussion about offering mysql-5.5 in squeeze-lts. We also have setup lts-security@debian.org so that we can better handle embargoed security updates.

The Debian Administrator’s Handbook

Debian Handbook: cover of the jessie editionI spent a lot of time on my book, the content update has been done but now we’re reviewing it before preparing the paperback. I also started updating its French translation. You can help review it too.

While working on the book I noticed that snort got removed from jessie and the SE linux reference policy as well. I mailed their maintainers to recommend that they provide them in jessie-backports at least… those packages are relatively important/popular and it’s a pity that they are missing in jessie.

I hope to finish the book update in the next two weeks!

Distro Tracker

I spent a lot of time to revamp the mail part of Distro Tracker. But as it’s not finished yet, I don’t have anything to show yet. That said I pushed an important fix concerning the mail subscriptions (see #798555), basically all subscriptions of packages containing a dash were broken. It just shows that the new tracker is not yet widely used for mail subscription…

I also merged a patch from Andrew Starr-Bochicchio (#797633) to improve the description of the WNPP action items. And I reviewed another patch submitted by Orestis Ioannou to allow browsing of old news (see #756766).

And I filed #798011 against bugs.debian.org to request that a new X-Debian-PR-Severity header field be added to outgoing BTS mail so that Distro Tracker can filter mails by severity and offer people to subscribe to RC bugs only.

Misc Debian work

I filed many bugs this month and almost all of them are related to my Kali work:

  • 3 on debootstrap: #798560 (request for –suite-config option), #798562 (allow sharing bootstrap scripts), #7985604 (request to add kali related bootstrap scripts).
  • 3 requests of new upstream versions: for gpsd (#797899), for valgrind (#800013) and for puppet (#798636).
  • #797783: sbuild fails without any error message when /var/lib/sbuild is not writable in the chroot
  • #798181: gnuradio: Some files take way too long to compile (I had to request a give-back on another build daemon to ensure gnuradio migrated back to testing, and Julien Cristau suggested that it would be better to fix the package so that a single file doesn’t take more than 5 hours to build…)
  • #799550: libuhd003v5 lost its v5 suffix…


See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

3 comments | Liked this article? Click here. | My blog is Flattr-enabled.

on September 30, 2015 03:12 PM

I woke this morning to a series of questions about a somewhat sensationalist article published by ZDnet this morning: Linux-powered botnet generates giant denial-of-service attacks

All Linux distributions -- Ubuntu, Red Hat, and others -- enable SSH for remote server login.  That’s just a fact of life in a Linux-powered, cloud and server world.  SSH is by far the most secure way to administer a Linux machine remotely, as it leverages both strong authentication and encryption technology, and is actively reviewed and maintained for security vulnerabilities.

However, in Ubuntu, we have never in 11 years asked a user to set a root password by default, and as of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, we now explicitly disable root password logins over SSH.

Any Ubuntu machine that might be susceptible to this XOS.DDoS attack, is in a very small minority of the millions of Ubuntu systems in the world.  Specifically, a vulnerable Ubuntu machine has been individually and manually configured by its administrator to:

  1. permit SSH root password authentication, AND
  2. have set a root password, AND
  3. have chosen a poor quality root password that is subject to a brute force attack 

A poor password generally uses a simple dictionary word, or a short password without numbers, case sensitivity or symbols.

Moreover, the antivirus software ClamAV is freely available in Ubuntu (sudo apt-get install clamav), and is able to detect and purge XOR.DDoS from any affected system.

As a reminder, it’s important to:

For an exhaustive review of all Ubuntu security features, please refer to:

on September 30, 2015 02:44 PM

Change Of Plans…

Svetlana Belkin

Due to life, I can’t attend Ohio Linux Fest this year. I will try again next year.

Pardon if this not okay for the Planet, but I posted news about attending earlier this year.

on September 30, 2015 11:47 AM

Tonight, Wed 30th September 2015 at 7pm there are five important reasons why you should be in Fulda in Germany:

  1. A live Bad Voltage show that will feature technology discussion, competitions, and plenty of fun.
  2. Free beer.
  3. The chance to win an awesome Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.
  4. Free entry (including the beer!).
  5. A chance to meet some awesome people.

It is going to be a blast and we hope you can make it out here tonight.

Just remember, you might leave with one of these:

Doors open tonight at 7pm, show starts at 7.30pm at:

Hall 8
University of Applied Science Fulda,
Leipziger Str. 123, 36037
Fulda, Germany

We hope to see you there!

on September 30, 2015 08:16 AM

September 29, 2015

Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.


20150929 Meeting Agenda

Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

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

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/reports/kt-meeting.txt

Status: Wily Development Kernel

Our Wily kernel remains based on stable v4.2.1 and we will continue to
track 4.2 for the remainder of the 15.10 cycle. As a reminder, we are
approaching Wily Kernel Freeze on Oct 8, ~1 week away. If there are any patches which need to land for 15.10, please get them submitted soon.
Following the Kernel Freeze deadline, all patches are subject to our SRU policy.
Important upcoming dates:

  • https://wiki.ubuntu.com/WilyWerewolf/ReleaseSchedule
    Thurs Oct 8 – Kernel Freeze (~1 weeks away)
    Thurs Oct 15 – Final Freeze (~2 weeks away)
    Thurs Oct 22 – 15.10 Release (~3 weeks away)

Status: CVE’s

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

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/reports/kernel-cves.html

Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Precise/Trusty/lts-utopic/Vivid

Status for the main kernels, until today:

  • Precise – Kernel Prep
  • Trusty – Kernel Prep
  • lts-Utopic – Kernel Prep
  • Vivid – Kernel Prep
    Current opened tracking bugs details:
  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/kernel-sru-workflow.html
    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:
  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/sru-report.html
    cycle: 27-Sep through 17-Oct
    25-Sep Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    27-Sep – 03-Oct Kernel prep week.
    04-Oct – 10-Oct Bug verification & Regression testing.
    11-Oct – 17-Oct Regression testing & Release to -updates.

Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No open discussion.

on September 29, 2015 05:10 PM

It was the early morning of a November day. My dad got here from the US, and he was carrying a small squared box for me. It was my brand new LG G Watch. A solid 10 months have passed since I turned it on for the first time, and I have seen Android Wear evolve so much, I feel it is now the time to do a slight review on how the device has made a difference in my lifestyle.

I guess the first thing to start with is the hardware, so…


Going to the basics, you can see a square watch. It has a little hole in the side that faces you, which is the microphone. It has a touch screen that lets you interact with the watch. It has a rubber adjustable band, just as you would expect from the watch. At the back, you will be able to find 4 charging pins, that will get in contact with the dock’s pins and make the watch charge. It has Bluetooth, but does not have Wi-Fi. It also has a bunch of sensors, but it lacks from a light sensor, so there’s no automatic brightness settings. Pretty simple so far, huh? But it’s changed, and you can see some wear (pun intended) on the watch.

If you take a really close look into the screen, you will be able to see that there’s a small scratch on the screen. Also, there’s a little dent on one of the borders. However, all of this was caused because I excessively use my watch, and I tend to move my arm a lot, no matter whether I am in an open or closed space. So, yes, I’ve bumped my watch several times, and the screen is almost intact, the borders look really nice and, watch-wise, all parts are working almost-perfectly. I’ve been having some problems with my dock lately, where it just disconnects and reconnects randomly, but changing cables seems to solve the problem (or at least does not wake me up anymore!).

The band is a different story. The little strap that makes sure you don’t have a piece of rubber hanging on your wrist (I don’t know the name, sorry!) seems like it’s not as thick as it was when it got here. Also, the band has been losing it’s matte appearance and become a bit more glossy on the outside on the parts where the metal saves it from moving. This is not much of a problem for me, since I have been looking into replacing the band with a custom band in the near future. I haven’t found any options that I like so far, though.

This brings us to another point. You can change the watch’s band so easily that you can even do it on your own. As a real-life example, I took out my watch’s band inside a moving airplane, just because I was bored and it was fun. I don’t recommend it, though – if there’s turbulence you may lose the little pieces! There are several 18mm watch bands around the interwebz, that you can just buy one you like and put it on your watch. Make sure it fits with both your style and your watch! With that, I believe I have covered most (if not all) the physical aspects of the watch, so let’s move on to the software.


This aspect from the watch is the one I love the most. When I bought it, it was just a ‘get your notifications without taking your phone off your pocket’ device. However, it has evolved into something else much more than that.

Again, the initial main purpose of getting the G Watch was, for me, getting my notifications while I was in class, without bothering teachers. And if it was something important I could switch to it. The first big change I saw was the addition of Wrist Gestures. It meant I could now eat an ice cream cone and check/reply to my notifications, but AT THE SAME TIME! How amazing could that be?

Applications were there since the beginning. As an example, there was a calculator application, as well as tic-tac-toe and some other games and utilities. When Wear 5.0 was released applications had a complete makeover, and several started appearing. There’s now fully-working Hangouts on mobile, and the most exciting for me was Ingress. Replying from within any of these apps or the cards shown up on the main screen now lets you draw an emoji, and even though your drawing skills may not be that good, it recognizes what you’re trying to draw. I also found out about Together, a Wear app that lets you send messages to another friend’s watch face directly! I haven’t had the change to try this one out since I’m the only one of my local friends with a Wear device, so we’ll have to see how it works. If you want to test it out with me, let me know in the comments and I’ll update the review with this app!

Theater mode is also one of my favorite features on the watch. There are times, like when you go to the cinema, when you don’t want any light coming out from your watch, even if the watch face is set to always on. Or you don’t want any vibrations to interrupt that movie. So you set up theater mode, and, with a touch, you get both. And until you disable it, it won’t have the watch (or your phone!) with the screen always on, and notifications will not go through.

Screen lock arrived in 5.0, and it lets you auto-lock your watch as soon as it detects it’s no longer on your wrist or when it disconnects from your phone. You can set up a pattern lock that’s at least four dots ‘long’, and it will automatically apply. However, I had to disable this because I had a problem: I have been travelling a bit more than usual in the last couple months, which meant I had to put my watch in Airplane Mode. This meant my watch would be disconnected from my phone, and every time I wanted to take a look at the time, I would not be able to since the screen would be locked. When I arrived to my destination I set it back to on. This is one small thing I’d like to customize, but it’s definitely a security risk if you think about it. We’ll see how it develops, or if it stays this way.

The G Watch is lacking something, though. It does not have Wi-Fi available, which means you are not able to leave your phone behind and just use your watch. To be honest, I don’t know where this would be useful for me, but it’s something that’s not on the G Watch.

Finally, watch faces! This is the most amazing part of the watch, because you can download as many watch faces as you want (or as your watches storage lets you) and change them as frequently as you wish. For me, that meant that I had a watch face for formal wear / university, and one for the rest. And since there are several in the Google Play Store, you can either download one that has already been created and that you like, or create a new one from scratch. The two I commonly use are both downloaded from the Play Store, but I love them. The first one is called SkyMaster, and it is inspired behind the pilot’s concept of a watch: whenever you took a look at it you should be able to get the basic information, all at a glimpse. I have it set to show the time, the date, a second time (UTC), both my watch and phone’s battery, and the outside temperature. This it the one I use the most, because it has all the information ready for me when I look at my wrist. I don’t even have to take my phone out to get an estimate of the battery and to decide whether I need to plug it to my power bank or not. Of course, since watch faces are in the Play Store, that means that there are both free and paid watch faces. I have been able to get a couple great free ones, as well as some cool paid ones. I even catched a deal once.


The LG G Watch is definitely a great device. And not only because of the device itself, but because Android Wear powers it in a way that the device enables you to do whatever you may think in your wrist. Of course, it is not designed to replace your phone at all, but as an extender.

To me, it did turn out to be as useful as I could’ve thought, and I don’t have any regrets on buying it. Definitely a must if you are a busy person, moving around, or just someone who wants to extend their phone. If you see a deal for a G Watch and don’t care much about the Wi-Fi functionality, I would say take it.

The reason why I got the device was because it had a square look itself. Just as people want a Moto360 because it’s round, I wanted a G Watch because it was square. And it is a device that has, certainly, not let me down. I do believe that this is just the start for Android Wear and that a lot of new things are going to pop up in 2016. But until then, I’m happy with it, and I would say that you would be too.

on September 29, 2015 04:31 AM

Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #436 for the week September 21 – 27, 2015, and the full version is available here.

In this issue we cover:

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

  • Paul White
  • Elizabeth K. Joseph
  • Zachary Igielman
  • Ian Nicholson
  • Daniel Beck
  • And many others

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

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

on September 29, 2015 01:33 AM

September 28, 2015

During the Wily Werewolf development cycle, the Xubuntu Marketing team has completed work on flyers that can now be printed by anyone wishing to promote Xubuntu at conferences, global jams, release parties and other events.

Flyers can be printed at home or with any typical printing service. A successful trial run of 25 US letter-sized flyers was completed in August by our marketing lead:


They’re available for download here:

A4 (web)A4 (print)US letter (web)US letter (print)

Licensed CC-BY-SA, you are welcome to freely remix, transform, and build upon the material under the terms of that license. Source (SVG files, editable in Inkscape) are available in the Xubuntu marketing code repository.

Please note that while you are free to make your own version, we encourage you to contribute back to the official flyer so we can improve it for everybody! If you want to get involved with the next revision of the flyer, join #xubuntu-devel on Freenode or the Xubuntu Development mailing list and let us know your thoughts!

If you are interested in translating the flyer, be in touch with us as well; we will help you with potential issues with the layouting and more and can promote the translated version on the website.

on September 28, 2015 07:10 PM

I delivered a presentation and an exciting live demo in San Francisco this week at the Container Summit (organized by Joyent).

It was professionally recorded by the A/V crew at the conference.  The live demo begins at the 25:21 mark.

You can also find the slide deck embedded below and download the PDFs from here.

on September 28, 2015 05:39 PM

Open Help Conference 2015

Svetlana Belkin

This past weekend (Sept. 26 to 27), I was at the Open Help Conference at downtown Cincinnati.  This is my first conference that relates to Open Source, Linux, and FOSS.  I really enjoyed it because it was a small (there was only 20 people who came) and informal (a cross between a class room setting and a get to together) conference.   Most of the folks were from Red Hat or the GNOME team, but there was one from Mozilla, one from a group/company that I don’t recall, and two from Ubuntu Doc Team.  The two from Ubuntu Doc Team was Ted Cox and me.  For both of us, it was our first time.

I wanted to write a summary for each day, but I wasn’t feeling well after on both of the days, so it will be all in this post.

First Day

I was a bit late to the breakfast on the first day because of an accident on the way downtown from West Chester, Ohio and the panic that I was late got me lost to the room that it  was held at.  The breakfast was good and I got to meet the others.  Then we had the first session of the day, which was a workshop on MDN.  Because I only had my tablet with me, I was only able to write a blog post about it and how it can be used to teach Web Lit.  After that, we had lunch and after lunch, we had two sessions; one on AsciiDoc and Mallard.

Second Day

My drive downtown was better than the first day and I had time to do something that I need to get done before heading to the breakfast.  We had two talks before we had lunch, one about the Ten Years of MDN and how to hold successful in-person and/or virtual sprints.  Then we had lunch.  After lunch, we had open discussions and demos.  The discussion topics were meta docs, site generators, feedback forums,  n00bs (which was a presentation about Ted Cox’s experience with the Doc Team as a n00b), and virtual spirits (which came off of the session).


  • Meta Docs should be on a wiki type of setting and should house a “getting started” page and active tasks.
  • AnnotatorJS would prefect for Meta doc review by new users
  • Have a Doc event when having Hack events
  • Make sure you give good feedback when reviewing
  • Asians seem to not like cit

I have more takeways but I think some can be a post.

This conference is one that I would go again and also meet the ones who came outside.

on September 28, 2015 04:09 PM

After an exhausting and brilliant Juju Charmer Summit I took a week off so my parents could visit and hang out.

My dad and I try to do one project together every time we visit, so while we did do useful things around the house, this time we did something fun. We built a simulation racing chair with some wood, a recycled car seat, and these plans from Ricmotech.

Here are some build pics:

My dad scavenged some logos from a junkyard, so we dediced to paint it green and make it a sim version of my old, beloved, 1999 Grand Prix GTP. Total dorkfest, I love it.

And of course, we raced it, here’s the video:

Some tips if you’re going to build an RS-1:

  • I found working with MDF to be painful, we rebuilt parts of it in normal plywood. The shifter in particular we used a 2x4 for the middle section for stiffness.
  • Wood filler is like, simracing bondo.
  • Everyone will make fun of you, and then line up to race.
on September 28, 2015 03:18 PM

Ubuntu Font Testing: Arabic

Nicholas Skaggs

Some of you may remember the birth of the ubuntu font family during the 10.10 cycle. The time has come to finish that work as well as fix a few issues with the current font set. To start with, the design team has been working on Arabic, and is ready for some feedback on how the font looks and interacts.

To help gather your feedback, we've made a simple survey. It contains the information you need to get the font, as well as the opportunity to leave feedback.


We would love to hear from you! If you encounter any issues trying to test or use the survey, feel free to get in touch, but otherwise leave your feedback on the font in the survey. Thanks again for your help!

For those of you who don't happen to speak Arabic or a related language, an opportunity to test the full ubuntu font family is coming up soon. Get ready!

on September 28, 2015 12:47 PM

September 27, 2015

There’s a new version of OpenSSH out there recently.

In this new version, 7.0, the installation has deprecated ssh-dss and diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 key exchange method for security enforcement.

So, the best fix if you face issues would be updating your OpenSSH Servers to the most recent versions.

However, if you don’t have access to the servers configuration, there’s a temporary workaround for keep using the legacy implementations.

For the ssh-dss error, create an entry in your ~/.ssh/config with the following content:

Host somehost.example.org
    PubkeyAcceptedKeyTypes +ssh-dss

And, for the diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 error, the following entry:

Host somehost.example.org
    KexAlgorithms +diffie-hellman-group1-sha1

You could also add other hosts, followed by comma:

Host somehost.example.org, otherhost.example.org

Or even regular expressions and IP addresses:

Host app*.example.org, *.example.com,

That’s all, folks.

on September 27, 2015 11:44 PM