[ubuntu-uk] Best way to contribute to Ubuntu? - was Re: 12.04 has locked me out of my account

Alan Pope alan.pope at canonical.com
Fri May 4 06:59:59 UTC 2012

Hash: SHA1

On 03/05/12 23:00, kpb wrote:
> I have always had a separate /home and reinstalled when changing 
> version.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with doing that. One of my
machines is setup like that too, but that's by virtue of / being an
SSD and /home being spinning rust.

Having a separate home is a legacy, it works for some but isn't the
default and shouldn't be seen as the panacea. Things break and when
they do we should help people to fix them or file bugs so developers
can fix the issue.

If we don't then we're doing a disservice to the next person who has
the issue.

> I have done that partially because that was the advice when using
> Mac OS before I started using Ubuntu, and partially from advice 
> about Ubuntu that was around then.

The problem with advice is that people often give it without knowing
why. Fact is rebooting/reinstalling doesn't often fix anything
whatsoever. It makes the problem go away temporarily for one person.
It doesn't stop it happening in the future, and doesn't inform
developers that there's an issue in the first place.

> What would be the best way to contribute during the 12.10 cycle?
> Are you suggesting that I should have a test box that I keep 12.04
> on and then try upgrading it to 12.10 at regular intervals?

It's funny you should ask that. I'm at a Canonical product sprint this
week and one of our tasks was to review the 12.04 release and make
suggestions for how things could be improved.

One point which came up was that 12.04 was very stable from very early
on in the cycle. There were very few catastrophic breakages which led
to a broken desktop (such as X version migrations or compiz/unity
inconsistencies in packaging). It was (more often than not) possible
to get to a working graphical desktop at any point in the 12.04 cycle.

We are adamant that we should keep that for 12.10. It should be
possible to upgrade to 12.10 around the Alpha 1 stage and keep it as
your main desktop through the entire cycle, knowing you'll be
relatively safe to do so.

Some people will have multiple machines, some will do testing in a
virtual machine (VirtualBox, VMWare or similar) and some will test
using a live USB stick. All are valuable contributions.

> My recollection is that an upgrade path does not become available
> until late in testing.

It's not that late. I upgraded to 12.04 around Alpha 1. That's pretty
early. Now of course some people don't want to run bleeding edge on
their main machine, and that's fine. Some don't appreciate massive
daily updates to critical packages, and the possible instability. It's
fine to not run 12.10. However there are (as I outlined above) other
ways to contribute. Consider them all.

- -- 
Alan Pope
Engineering Manager

Canonical - Product Strategy
+44 (0) 7973 620 164
alan.pope at canonical.com
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