Ubuntu Business Remix update

Mark Shuttleworth mark at ubuntu.com
Wed Feb 1 21:02:26 UTC 2012

Hi Alan

Thanks for the insights, it's good to see what different people would
look for in a business remix. I'll comment in detail below, but would
also say that the choices in this remix were informed based on a review
of what sysadmins are doing in practice. As ever, it's an average and so
won't fit all tastes, but it's aimed at being a best-guess,
non-ideological starting point.

On 31/01/12 09:55, Alan Bell wrote:
> I have wanted a business desktop remix for some time. The partner
> archive does not seem to be particularly relevant to this, I have some
> reservations about the partner archive, mostly already stated, but
> here is my list:
> * Alfresco came and went and was broken and I couldn't contribute a
> fix and reporting bugs was painful as it fell in the gap between
> Canonical and Alfresco.
> * Anyone installing it would be worse off than installing manually
> from upstream because there were no updates to the packaged version,
> no clear plan on whether it would be best to wait for a new packaged
> upgrade or dump upstream source on top of the packaged installed
> Alfresco (at best, if it worked at all this would be unsupported by
> anyone)

There's a large category of things which are very difficult to package
well, especially complex java server apps. Alfresco is a good example.
In future, we'll try to solve these with Juju rather than packaging,
using packages for parts which are common shared dependencies.

> * Sun Java was in the partner repo and wasn't a wise installation choice

AFAIK the Sun Java package was well maintained. That means it was better
to get it from partner than from a Sun-provided tarball, which would not
self-update. The fact that Oracle has revoked our rights to distribute
it isn't a strike against the partner repo, imo.

> * Stuff gets added post-release with no pre-release testing, nowhere
> to report bugs and contribute fixes on Launchpad etc. etc.)

Good point, I thought bug reporting should be normal, and if it isn't,
let's fix that. The namespace should be flat, so there should be no
problem reporting bugs in LP against partner packages. We don't put
these packages in the normal archive for the simple reason that it would
complicate the life of mirrors.

> so right now for me the partner repo is empty.
> http://archive.canonical.com/dists/precise/partner/binary-amd64/

ISV's won't often target an unreleased version :) Given that precise is
an LTS, I'm sure it will fill up.

> Looking back at Oneiric it contains Adobe reader (evince is better),
> Adobe flash (standard downloader package works fine) and something
> called centrifydc which relates to authenticating against a windows
> server of some kind. Thats it.

We're not here to judge Acrobat vs Evince. I know what I use, and it's
probably what you use, but I'm not here to tell someone who needs
Acrobat that they should jump through hoops just because neither you nor
I would use it.

> For me at least, Ubuntu + an elderly version of Adobe reader is not
> really my vision of what the Ubuntu business desktop remix could be.
> What I would like to see is a vision for the Ubuntu desktop in a
> business context that is Free Software end to end.

Agreed, I think that would be wonderful.

> * Gwibber for connecting to public and private social business
> networks like Linked-in, Ecademy, Yammer, Huddle or an internal Elgg etc
> * Empathy instant messaging with support for Sametime, Groupwise
> * De-emphasise the music and photo stuff. Banshee/Rhythmbox are fine
> to have, people listen to music at work, but clicking the dash right
> now (yeah I know it is changing) would kind of imply that "look at
> photos" and "listen to music" is 50% of what the computer is *for*
> * Lenses for connecting to open and proprietary business systems. I
> really want to know the right way to do an authenticated lens. I would
> like to search in the dash for a customer name and find correspondence
> in Alfresco, contact information from vTiger (or even SalesForce.com),
> invoices and project details from OpenERP or SAP, and a button to
> click to call the contacts through an Asterisk server.

All sounds good.

> * A relationship with Ubuntu Server. I want to install the Ubuntu
> Business Desktop and it should ask "Where is my Ubuntu Server please"
> and then everything just works, in terms of authentication, printing,
> configuration. Right now there is no special magic between Ubuntu
> desktop and Ubuntu server.

That also sounds interesting - opinionated network architecture,
essentially. In most large-scale deployment, however, many of those
decisions are already taken, often for hysterical raisons, and there's
not much we can do but enable people to integrate smoothly. That
includes integrating with Active Directory, for example, so perhaps that
Centrify option isn't such a bad idea ;-)

I don't disagree with the attractiveness of the vision you describe. But
that doesn't diminish the value of a remix which reflects what Real
Sysadmins Do Today.

Let's get the bug tracking issue sorted, that's very valuable.


More information about the technical-board mailing list