12.10 Unity updates

Oliver Ries oliver.ries at canonical.com
Thu Sep 20 13:02:15 UTC 2012

Hi Everyone,

my name is Olli Ries (olli on IRC) and I am a Director of Technology at
Canonical, responsible for most of the Canonical client upstream
projects such as Unity and web apps. In addition to a long overdue
introduction of myself I also wanted to share some updates for 12.10
that my teams have been working on.

A few new features are appearing in Ubuntu 12.10 that relate to
searching offline and online content and in some cases, generating
affiliate revenue to helps us to support the Ubuntu project. Let me
share some further details about this work and invite you to give us

Firstly, we have been building improvements around searching and
previewing content directly from the dash (you will have seen the dash
previews already in Quantal). A new feature we have introduced extends
what was already introduced in the Music and Video Lenses, with a “more
suggestions” results category that is added to searches performed from
the home dash. This helps users find content available online in
addition to what already resides on their device (thus continuing the
maturation of the dash as a viewer to different types of offline and
online content). As with the other lenses, a preview section, accessible
by right clicking on the result, will allow users to instantly view
descriptions, app ratings, music previews, purchasing options when
relevant and more, directly from the dash.

For some of this content, if a user clicks the item and purchases it, it
will generate affiliate revenue that we can invest back into the project
(in a similar way to how we generate revenue from the Firefox search
bar). We have found affiliate revenue to be a good method of helping us
to continue to invest in maturing and growing Ubuntu.

Another addition is that we will be including Launcher web apps icons to
Amazon and the Ubuntu One Music Store by default. We feel that these
icons will provide convenient access to these resources for our users
and also benefit the project with the generation of affiliate revenue in
those cases that these resources are used. If our users choose to not
use these Launcher icons, they can be easily removed by the user by
dragging the icon to the trash.

These are features we have been working on throughout this cycle, and we
apologize that it was added after Feature Freeze. Unfortunately, we had
a few complications that occurred in the development of these features
(such as some staffing adjustments and scope adjustment) and some
technical issues we needed to resolve before we felt it was ready for
inclusion. We appreciate that it is suboptimal that it is landing late,
but we are confident it will be an interesting and useful feature for
our 12.10 users.

We have been sure to take care of the necessary documentation to get
these features included after Feature Freeze. We also appreciate that
these features have not had as much testing as we would like, but we are
coordinating with Nicholas Skaggs on the Community Team to get
additional manual testing and we are continuing to building extensive
automated tests for the feature (like we do for the others features our
team delivers).

Naturally, if you have any further questions, please let me know. I am
looking forward to working closer with you.


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