Get Your Sleep and Excercise

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Fishbowl Sessions

This morning I attended a session on burnout. It was different to usual sessions in that the table has been removed from the room and the chairs were arranged in such a way that there is an inner circle and an outer circle. People who are more interested in the topic sit in the inner circle and people who are interested in keeping up to date or who might contribute more casually sit in the outer circle. This experiment is called fishbowl sessions, it’s happening with all the sessions in room 11 today.

Burn Out


We had a really good discussion about burn-out, what causes it, coping mechanisms and how to avoid it.

This is some of the things that were mentioned:

Burn-out sometimes tend to happen in cycles, and it can also easily be triggered by external factors, like burning out at work or even when your boss runs into burn-out. Negative influences seem to make burn-out worse, while spending quality time with people who share your views seem to  cool the burn-out somewhat. Many people used to do free software as a hobby and now doing it as a job as well. It’s important to get new hobbies, go work at the zoo. Having a girlfriend helps a lot in terms of grounding and having someone to talk to. Otherwise having a friend that knows you well and understands you can work just as well. Perhaps putting together a talk on burn-out that could be presented to loco teams would be of much value. Mike Basinger mentioned that he’s come accross members who have even been suicidal and that it helped a lot when they were refered to a professional. Can a whole team burn out? Some people have seen some situations where that has happened. A burn-out / health session on communities will probably be held at future UDS’s as well.

Taking on too much – Don’t kill yourself trying to be the next Colin Watson

In a project such as Ubuntu, there are lots of people we look up to and try to aspire to be like. It happens regularly that someone works really hard trying to catch up to someone elses skill level and they end up doing more damage to themselves than good. Many people actively take on too much, finding themselves to juggle too much and not doing enough leading up to more frustration. Jono mentioned that Canonical is an interesting company in the sense that managers actively have to tell their team members to stop working. It was also mentioned that it’s important to let people know that Ubuntu is like a big machine and there are lots of big and small coggs and that if a small one breaks, it can have massive implications for the bigger machine and that they are also important.

Mark Shuttleworth Shares Tips on Burn-Out

Mark often walks into sessions for a few minutes. I think he takes just enough time to gauge what the discussions are about and if it’s going into the right direction and tone. He said that what works well for him is to get to bed and get some decent sleep, and then get some good excercise when he wakes up. Other people in the session confirmed that excercise has indeed helped them in feeling good and being more productive.

So, there you have it. If you want to be a good developer or contributer and make Ubuntu as good as it could possibly be, then take care of yourself, stay healthy and as Jono said earlier this week… eat your vegetables :)

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Linpus Plans On Rolling Out Moblin For Netbooks

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This week there’s been lots of interest in Moblin at the Ubuntu Developer Summit. It surely is very shiny and flashy, and I’m sure it will make a big impact on the mobile world when it is ready for mass consumption.

According to Engadget, Linpus Linux, which is distributed on Acer Aspire One netbooks, is working on a Moblin desktop for netbooks. I would actually expect Ubuntu do be the first distribution to do this, but from what I heard Moblin is really just not ready yet. Perhaps something to consider in the Karmic+1 release cycle?


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UDS sessions attended 2009-06-27 (Day 3)

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These are just some points I took down during todays session at the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Better notes may be available by the time you read this via Gobby on the server.

Architecture of a Directory Infrastructure


  • Recap: Yesterday kerberos was discussed as a default solution for authentication in Ubuntu, dns, openldap, etc
  • Brief discussion on how slave/masters should be selected
  • DHCP in OpenLDAP will probably not be required for the Karmic, DNS could still be configured via DHCP
  • Discussion on various patches that may be appropriate for kerberising services
  • Should DNS be built-in to the directory server infrastructure or would it be ok relying on an external one? Karmic release won’t be so much about integrating with current infrastructure, but will be revisited for future release.
  • Discussion around PTR records and other nigly DNS and DHCP issues, race conditions and avoiding spoofing.
  • Discussion of relevant OpenLDAP features
  • Password changes and password synchronization is still an issue with a Samba/OpenLDAP integration, Howard has a patch that could provide a solution for MIT OpenLDAP.

Improving Loco Marketing

  • Paulo Sammicheli introduced ubuntu-it and explained that there are usually differences between English and non-English speaking Loco teams.
  • “Evangalism” is possibly not a good word to use when refering to advocacy.
  • Some loco teams work very much like LUGs, are too passive.
  • 250 CD’s for loco team is by far not enough for Loco team areas that covers millions of people.
  • Discussion on printed CD’s vs self-burned. Some people feel that local burned CD’s are harmful and the printed CD’s are the only way to go. Printed CD’s isn’t an option for many because of limited quantity, timing, etc.
  • Spread Ubuntu should be promoted to loco teams more.
  • Paulo played a “Stand by me” video that was quite good that could be used as an inspirational video. It features street artists from all over the world, something similar that combines loco teams from all over the world would be awesome.
  • A follow-up session will be held on IRC and be announced soon.

Loco Council Review

  • Some people don’t know what the Loco Council does, it may need to be communicated better.
  • It does conflict resolution, team approvals and team reviews.
  • When a leader isn’t contactable for team review, the council should attempt to contact the most popular posters of the loco list, a team shouldn’t be deactivated/punishes when the leader is unavailable for whatever reason.
  • Ubuntu-ZA had a good experience with the Loco Council review, perhaps loco teams should provide more feedback on the review process.
  • Loco Council would like some more feedback and ideas.

Build a very light desktop based for Ubuntu with LXDE

  • LXDE is a very light desktop environment widely used in Asia with a large user community, runs fast in 64MB memory.
  • It’s themable, adjustable, has a light filemanager (although horrible usability, maybe something worth investigating)
  • How much of gconf, etc is required to integrate network manager, update manager, etc? Seems like gcong may still be required.
  • A .xsession file may be required to start update manager, notify-osd, network manager, etc since LXDE does not start the xdg autostart applications automatically.
  • wiqd and conman has been mentioned as possible alternatives to network-manager.
  • e17 isn’t a good alternative candidate, it’s not released yet.
  • Do we want an image, or just a meta-package? Ogra suggests only a meta-package for now. People in the session generally agrees.

Pleniary Sessions

  • Daniel Cheng talked about Ubuntu’s audio stack.
    • How ALSA and OSS came about.
    • Why Pulse Audio is necessary.
  • Canonical vs Community – An Outside Study.
    • Findings from university students studying Canonical’s business model
  • Moblin and Android
    • A demo of Moblin and Android running on Ubuntu. Moblin is really awesome.

Edubuntu Karmic

  • Add-on release such as previous releases, the work will begin to make Edubuntu a full release again for Ubuntu 10.04 (Karmic+1)
  • Universe will be enabled for builds so that applications from universe can be included.
  • The Sugar interface will become part of the Edubuntu software bundle in Karmic and users will be able to install it as a optional packages. Integration of tasks from sugar in the desktop menus will be investigated.
  • Localised menu support, currently some districts, most notably in Spain and in Canada requires the menus to follow a manu structure that is alligned to the curriculum and locality. Guadalinex currently addresses this by modifying 43 packages in Ubuntu for their system. We’ll attempt to produce a mechanism that would reduce their workload with regards to the menu implementation drastically.

LoCo Team Conference Packs

  • The t-shirts that say “Ubuntu Guru” might be better without the “Guru” part- “Ubuntu Guru” sounds terrible in Italian.
  • Language is an issue, in many countries the brochures in English aren’t of any use.
  • Mozilla provides big banners for their local chapters that can be re-used, that could work for Ubuntu as well.
  • Positioning text in the middle for banners/brochures is good practice, accommodates cultures that read from left to right and from right to left.
  • Some people have ordered converence packs directly without consulting the loco team which creates problems.
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UDS sessions attended 2009-06-26 (Day 2)

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Edubuntu Swimming with the ducks



  • Introduced Edubuntu and it’s current status
  • Went through the current Edubuntu Strategy Doc on Gobby, and explained why we have what we do in there and why we purposely kept it so simple
  • Real-life problems that the Guadalinex Edu team is facing currently. They currently have to add dpkg-diverts to 43 different packages to implement the menu system required by the local education department.
  • Installation media: Assumptions can’t really be made, there will always be schools who don’t have either an optical drive, support for USB booting or even a local area network.
  • Briefly touched on the roadmap and goals that we can consider for Karmic and Karmic+1, but then we ran out of time.

Planning LTSP for Karmic


  • dhclient is big and clunky, ipconfig is small but doesn’t really work to well. Microdhcp could be a good option, it supplies the details as environment variables and then you could do with it what you want. The foundations team will be contacted for a resolution on this.
  • LTSP could probably not work for EC2 since EC2 doesn’t provide layer 2 network layer support so DHCP woudln’t work. Besides that LTSP clients could be completely virtualised. Local apps could work for server-type services.
  • Ogra is still waiting for someone to implement a call-center out of the box based on LTSP :)
  • Revolution Linux is currently running 50 LTSP servers with 5000 clients using LTSP Cluster, adding another 500 machines soon.
  • Further improvements for local-apps: mime-types, gconf (gconf writes at the same time on the home directory on the server and on the client, messing up some XML files). Oliver suggests a more proper implementation of dbus, he discussed it with Scott, but there’s no proper way to implement that with dbus currently. Oli also suggested taking a look at gabriel, which allows you to run gconf over ssh.
  • Checking for Compiz on LTSP currently is currently a hack and a better way should be found to enable compiz by default for Karmic.
  • Scanning on LTSP for Karmic can be solved by adding xsane as a dependency for the LTSP chroot.
  • Functionality to let users choose their security level might be useful, ie. switching between ssh encryption and not.
  • Oliver said that the new union mount infrastructure, it’s possible that it will be quite slower than than the current unionfs tools.

Helping Ubuntu With NGOs

This session was a nice surprise. I joined it without knowing much what it was about or where it came from. It’s about what we can do as the Ubuntu community to help NGO‘s get started with running Ubuntu. The idea of an Ubuntu users showcase / Behind Ubuntu users came up again. There will probably be a follow-up meeting in about a month or so, Daniel Holbach will announce in about 2 weeks or so.

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UDS Sessions attended today

Free Software, Games, Jonathan, Politics 2 Comments »

The sessions are quite short, most of them just under an hour which works quite well, most sessions have follow-up sessions planned. Refer to for further details.

Improving LoCo Team Events

This was the first session I attended today. We discussed package and bug jams and how it could be improved. Also the possibility of introducing marketing jams where users would get together to produce local marketing content such as posters, CD covers, etc in local languages. A requirement was identified for a Facebook-like events engine. Currently loco-teams are finding Facebook a handy tool for this, and something similar may be included in Launchpad for all Ubuntu related events based on the current sprints scheduler. The community directory is 98% complete, Jono will provide us with more details soon when it’s just about complete.

Refocusing The Ubuntu Spirit

This was mostly a discussion that went into various different directions. The Ubuntu Code of Conduct came up and it was discussed how new users sometimes are a bit too diligent trying to enforce it on everyone else in the community. It was agreed that the CoC is a guideline on how people should conduct themselves and that it shouldn’t be used to through books at people, so to speak. Keeping users and developers motivated was also discussed, and the possibility of some kind of showcase of success stories from users around the world.

Free Culture in Ubuntu

Getting free culture on the Ubuntu discs is hard due to the lack of free space. Free culture could be provided in Ubuntu via links and default subscriptions in Firefox, Liferea, Miro etc.

Tutorial on Upstart and How to Convert to it

Scott James Remnant did an introduction on Upstart. Upstart replaces Init on Ubuntu and migration for all init scripts to Upstart is planned for Karmic. Upstart is quite nifty and replaces lots of duplicate and error-prone work that package maintainers had to implement in init before. You can specify environment variables or put entire scripts into the sections before, during and after a process is started. Upstart also keeps an eye on the list of PID’s that it spawned and won’t break when a user does something like execute “apache2ctl stop”.

Meet Your Users

This was a workshop/discussion about personas, archetypes and stereotypes and how personas are used to define the edges of our user universe. We wrote down who we think our users are and they were posted up the board and sorted in to different groups. I think this was the first BoF I’ve ever attended that was led by a women. Speaking of which, there are much more women attending this UDS than previously. One of the results seem to be that there’s some more attention given to some of the more softer issues in Ubuntu. Hopefully it also means that our community has built a good reputation of being welcomming and mature.

Edubuntu Session Tomorrow

Tomorrow at 9:00 UTC (11:00 in Barcelona) we’re having the Edubuntu session where we’ll discuss the Edubuntu stategy document, it’s been in draft for a while and we will hopefully have it finilized very soon (maube even tomorrow if we’re lucky). Some people couldn’t make it, so we’ll try to keep #edubuntu in sync with discussions if the Internet holds up.

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What I learned at pleniary talks today

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  • LTSP Clustering support is coming to Ubuntu. Yay \o/
  • Samba 3 and Samba 4 can be run together on the same server as an AD/MS file server replacecment.
  • Porting applications to Wine properly is sometimes trivial and can even be done in as little as 4 hours.
  • mdz
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Renewed enthusiasm for Edubuntu

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Renewed Enthusiasm

Recently I’ve been wondering if I really want to be involved with Edubuntu or not, I blogged about it, and have been talking to Jordan Mantha about a lot of the issues we have had. I also booked a ticket to Barcelona for the Ubuntu Developers Summit, so that we could get a few people together to figure out how we can make Edubuntu a good choice for educators and something that people will be happy and proud to contribute for. I was very pleased when I applied for accomodation sponsorship and Canonical said they’d pay for accomodation and my flight tickets (thanks Canonical, it’s very much appreciated), but I think I’m even more excited about the renewed energy in the Edubuntu community. In just the last two weeks we’ve had a surge in enthusiasm and new people dropping by being *very* eager to participate and contribute. It creates a problem where we have too many ideas and some people who are new who want to get something into Edubuntu but who don’t quite understand how Ubuntu’s processes work yet, but I’m not complaining, I think it’s great that people care about Edubuntu again, and we have ideas on how to get around those problems.


I thought I’d jump right in and mention some of the things that we’ve been discussing recently. Currently, Edubuntu has just been an add-on CD with packages for an Ubuntu installation. There’s plenty of good reasons for this, such as the amount of space available on a CD (Ubuntu already fills a disc so you have to remove things in order to add anything else), being desktop agnostic, etc. However, the feedback that we received suggests that most people prefer a full distro installation.

We’re not sure how it’s going to happen yet, but we’re probably going to have full releases again that can be installed via DVD or USB disk. Plenty of people have stressed how important it is to be able to demo Edubuntu properly. We’re also going to be looking at getting an LTSP instance in the live environment, which will be a challenge doing it right but will also aid in demo’ing LTSP.

We also want to work better with upstream projects. It’s been stressed in Ubuntu and upstream projects how beneficial a good relationship between Edubuntu and the upstream projects can be. Edubuntu will aim to make Ubuntu (and hence the Edubuntu system) a great distribution for running KDE Edu, Sugar, Moodle an easy to use school LAMP stack and more.

We also want to integrate better with all the desktop environments. Gnome has great usability features, which makes it a good option in educational environments, but it consumes resources relatively heavily compared to Xfce which offers fairly good usability as well. Besides that, there are even lighter environments such as LXDE which runs very well on very old hardware. The improvements since KDE 4 can’t be ignored either, plasmoids for example has lots of potential in education, and considering that KDE-Edu uses KDE and QT libraries, it makes good sense to use KDE in an educational environment . We want Edubuntu to be able to easily integrate with the major desktop environments, even the Ubuntu netbook remix. Whatever the user’s choice of desktop is, we want to integrate the best that the free software world has to offer in terms of education for that environment on Ubuntu.

Also in big demand is ease of use. People keep requesting that things are easier, and that Edubuntu, Ubuntu and LTSP is in need of better documentation. We’ll keep this in mind with the changes and plans we introduce over the next few releases, and do our best to make sure that what is put out there is as supportable and intuitive as it could be.

How we see this happening

What’s mentioned above is certainly not going to happen in one release, and some of the things may take many releases to get just right. We’re considering keeping the Edubuntu distro releases as only LTS, and not releasing any other releases inbetween. This way we have to worry less about constantly testing discs and focussing more what’s on there. Perhaps add-on discs will still ocur for every release, there’s some detail there we still need to flesh out.

The plan is also to have various PPA archives available in the edubuntu-dev PPA, some for experimental or hacky code that might not be quite ready for Edubuntu, as well as stable updates for Edubuntu  that can be installed with confidence by users. We’re mostly going with PPA’s initially since we only have one core-dev. Hopefully that will change over time but for now the PPA’s should work as a good interim solution. There might also be community spins for very specialised installations, but we don’t want to dilute Edubuntu too much so it’s something we still have to consider.

Everybody’s Welcome

Bringing the best of education and education-related technologies to Ubuntu means that we have to extend out to others doing similar work, whether it’s K12-LTSP, Skolelinux, Guidalinux-EDU, Debian-edu, OpenSuse-edu,  etc. In my opinion we can learn a lot from them, and if they are having any kind of problem that we have dealt with already, then we should give them a hand as well.

Actually, I can’t say it better than Jordan Erickson, read his message sent to edubuntu-devel earlier here.

It is our goal to make Edubuntu easy and worth while to contribute to. If you’re interested in becoming involved, you are absolutely more than welcome to introduce yourself on the edubuntu-devel mailing list or joining us on the #edubuntu IRC channel.

PS: I haven’t slept much the last 2 days, so if things don’t make sense, I’ll try to clear it up later!

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