Ubuntu Developer Summit Paris

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I attempted two times before to blog about UDS Paris, but didn’t know where to start, so here’s take 3, trying to keep it simple this time.

In short, the summit was great. I met lots of great people there, like the good old Mr Edubuntu (aka ogra) and the LTSP developers (sbalneav and jammcq), and played cards with Ian Jackson (he wrote dpkg and is previous DPL), along with many other cool and interesting people.

The processes worked quite smoothly, most high-priority specs were processed during the week, and everyone were quite happy with the efficiency of this summit. It sets a great pace for the development for Edgy.

A highlight was attending a BoF (Bird of Feather) session with the accessability team. They have some great ideas for accessability and Ubuntu. Klaus Knopper, author of Knoppix, was also there to give assistance. He’s working on a very nice system for visually impaired users, most of which will hopefully find it’s way in Ubuntu. The accessibility team does need a lot of help though. They are also currently a small team, and are doing plenty of other work on Ubuntu as well. Henrik asked me if I can do an access.ubuntu.com website, that would be easy to access for accessibility users. I’ve never done something like that before, but I told him that I would try. I googled for accessibility, and it turns out there’s a W3c specification for accessibility sites. I was also refered to the BBC Website, which seems to be widely accepted as a good designed site in terms of accessibility. If you want to help with the accessibility site, please contact me. I think I’m going to need some help on this one. Henrik also suggested using sounds in the website, I don’t think there’d be much technical problems there, but good layout and usability for people who can’t see is something that I haven’t worked with yet, so if you know of someone who is visually impaired, please let me know, I’d appreciate it if they could test it for me and provide feedback.

Some of the upstream projects also had some interesting ideas, some of them I can’t talk about it yet, since they haven’t announced it yet, but I’ll definitely blog about it once they do :)
We managed to go to downtown Paris a few evenings during the week, I took some pictures at the Eiffel tower and Notre Dam. It was an intense week, and I got very little sleep, but it was completely worth while. Spending time with so many great people definitely changes you.

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First for Argentina

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Argentina became the first country in the world to have more women Debian Developers than men:


Let’s hope that the Debian Women project continues to be successful, and get more contributors into the project, and that the Ubuntu Women will be equally successful!

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Xubuntu Proves to be Popular

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Only a week after release, Xubuntu is receiving nearly as many hits as Kubuntu on Distrowatch.
Distrowatch chart

I think it’s great to see a new Ubuntu based distribution climb so fast! I also think it’s great to see that more and more of the top distributions are Debian (and also more of them Ubuntu based), which is always handy when having the occasional flamewars about .rpm vs .deb on your local lug list :)

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Quote of the Day

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16:45 < jsgotangco> jeezz my 4 year old just said “oh my god its ubuntu”

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New Kid on the Block

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I used to be a huge fan of Slackware and SuSE Linux. I loved Slackware for being so heavily oversimplified. And I enjoyed SuSE for all it’s bloat and YaST and all the things that came with it. I used to use SuSE on all my bigger machines, and Slackware on the older, slower machines.

When I started working at TSF, I thought that it might be a good idea to start using Debian. I’ve installed Debian before, but hated it. All the software was outdated, and it still shipped with Gnome 1.6 and used GTK 1 applications (yuck). I asked Thomas Black, open source program manager at the time, to show me what he thinks is cool about Debian. He showed me how to dist-upgrade to unstable, and it was awesome. Every single day, there were new packages available, and I had the latest and greatest software all the time. I very quickly started moving all my machines to Debian, and learned to love it very quickly.

Thomas then told me that Mark is looking going to support updates to the unstable Debian branch. Putting it like that sounded a little strange, but then he handed me a CD that he downloaded from http://no-name-yet.com. He said that it was made by “the warty warthogs”. For the most part, it looked like a standard Debian install, although there were less questions and somehow it felt more pleasant. I remember how we laughed when we saw the first naked people mockups on GDM. And how nice it was to have a Debian setup that just works more the way you’d want it to.

Since that first release, many things have changed. In Warty, the main section was only a bit more than 500MB large. Now, if my calculations and assumptions is correct, it’s about 3.5GB. Universe has also grown, and now Ubuntu gives you one of the finest collection of packages you’d find in any operating system.

What’s more is, the installation options have grown. Every release after Warty, a new baby distro was born. The first baby was Kubuntu, and has grown up very quickly. So much in fact that other commercial distributions, such as Impi Linux has based their distribution on it. Then came Edubuntu, an Ubuntu setup that saves lab administrators time by automating much of the setup, by including as many educational software on the CD that will fit on it, as well as automatically setting up the LTSP environment. Edubuntu has also come a long way since its first release. LTSP now uses much, much less RAM on the thin clients, and it boots up very quickly. Congratulations to ogra, your hard work had really made a difference to many :)

With the 6.06 LTS release, however, we see a new Ubuntu kid on the block. This time it’s Xubuntu. Xubuntu fills that gap a bit nicer for what I used to use Slackware for. It ships with the Xfce desktop environment, which is clean, simple and fast. It’s also less CPU and memory intensive, and is great for use on terminal servers. Jani Monoses has been incredible, and have done some great last minute work to get LTSP into Xubuntu. You can now choose “Install LTSP server in Xubuntu, just like you would with Edubuntu. Happy birthday Xubuntu! Welcome to the tribe!

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