Heads Up: Smart Scopes Not Landing

Jono Bacon jono at ubuntu.com
Fri Mar 29 16:25:50 UTC 2013

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to give you what I think is a pretty uncontroversial heads up
as I promised to do a better job preparing our leaders for any

As some of you will know, the dash team has been working to get the new
smart scopes functionality in the dash ready for 13.04; this functionality
delivers a far more comprehensive dash experience, performing searches over
50 or more different data sources.

The team has been working as part of a Feature Freeze Exception (FFe) to
get this into 13.04. but unfortunately the feature is simply not mature
enough for 13.04 -- it is nearly there, but doesn't meet the quality needs
for Ubuntu, so the team has decided not to peruse landing in in 13.04 and
to instead move it to the Ubuntu 13.10 cycle where it will be developed as
soon as the archive opens. Currently this feature has been developed in a
PPA and has not landed in 13.04 yet.

Now, this might cause a few questions as there has been some blogging about
the feature as it stands in the PPA and some folks may be expecting the new
privacy features to land in 13.04. I worked with the team to prepare a FAQ
with the key questions. Copied in is Olli Ries who can also answer any
questions. The FAQ is below.

Olli will update the FFe late today, and I plan on notifying the news sites
to let them know and will blog about it on Planet Ubuntu. This should
ensure everyone is on the same page, but do let us know if you have any


Q: The FFE (1154229) got a sabdfl override and is now being rejected, how

A: A sabdfl override always has high requirements regarding code quality
and User Experience. After looking at the current status of the smart
scopes project we decided that the User Experience simply needs more work
and it does not meet the quality requirements for Ubuntu. We would prefer
to delay the feature until the next release cycle to ensure that it is rock

Q: Why was this feature being pushed at the last minute?

A: We believe the feature does provide additional benefit to Ubuntu Users
by improving the search experience in the Dash, which is Unity’s weak spot.
Landing the feature in 13.04 would have given us 1 additional cycle on the
way to 14.04 to train and improve the suggestions provided by the server
and further refine the overall Dash experience.

Q: When, if at all, will the feature make its way into Ubuntu?

A: We are planning to provide the feature in a PPA for Ubuntu Raring which
will be always rebased on Unity shipped on Raring. It will land it as soon
as we are confident enough on the feature quality in Ubuntu S.

Q: What about the in-dash purchases feature? Will that be landing?

There were some final outstanding issues with in-dash purchases and we are
striving to have a conclusion to this ready for early next week (week
beginning 1st April).

Q: What about the privacy enhancements that were part of the smart scopes

A: It is unfortunately not possible to get the privacy enhancements from
the smart scopes projects without the larger project itself. Smart Scopes
would have allowed to disable individual scopes and limit network access
for searches at all. In Ubuntu 13.04 you will still be able to disable all
server communications  through the settings apps. You can also remove the
scopes and lenses you are not interested in using them by directly
uninstalling the corresponding packages.


Jono Bacon
Ubuntu Community Manager
www.ubuntu.com / www.jonobacon.org
www.identi.ca/jonobacon www.twitter.com/jonobacon
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