Reviewing all things Xubuntu

Cody A.W. Somerville cody-somerville at
Wed Sep 17 06:32:12 UTC 2008

Hello Everyone,

Originally, this e-mail was supposed to just be a quick note about an issue
with the Xubuntu website but it grew into something I've been meaning to
write - a general review of all things Xubuntu.

== Website ==

 Someone pointed out that the Xubuntu Website's "Get Xubuntu" page only
showed 7.10 and 6.06. I of course quickly fixed the page but I'm not sure
how it got that way since I'm almost positive that we updated it for both
8.04 and 8.04.1 (And on the "revisions" tab for the page, the commit message
for the current revision says something about fixing a 8.04 link).

 Just so everyone has all the fact, I should note that Canonical sysadmins
do and have upgraded our Drupal install a few times to keep it at a version
which they can support. Big thanks to them for doing so for us as they've
given us a *lot* of lee-way when it has came to our website. However, this
may have caused this issue and although I can't imagine a possible scenario
where it would (its much more likely one of us made a mistake) but it would
be hard to rule out.  So, no need to go on a big manhunt to figure out who
or what happened to the page. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up and
to ask folks to take a look over the website to see if any other pages have
reverted to older versions or if there are any problems in general.

 On the topic of the website, I'd like to do something with it soon. I'm
sure a number of you remember me mentioning that I intended to hire a firm
to give us a new theme. I have been unfortunately too busy to follow up with
that but (thanks to this unusual reminder) I'm going to follow up with that
this week - In fact, I'll go write an e-mail right now.

== Artwork (and a bit of marketing) ==

 I'd also like to give a big fat thank you to someone most of us probably
haven't heard of (yet): Pasi Lallinaho (knome on irc). Pasi has agreed to
help Jmak with our artwork efforts and seems very interested in helping
actualize my vision of a strong art community forming around Xubuntu. Thus
far (apologizes Pasi if you don't like drafts being pointed at but frankly I
think you're doing such a stunning job an am anxious to see more) Pasi has
started working on a countdown banner for the Intrepid release, draft can be
found here: ( I'm sure
your opinion is similar to mine - absolutely awesome work, eh? :) I'm super
excited for a Xubuntu countdown thingie!!

I'd also like to give Jmak a huge hug and thanks too. I saw this on IRC this

<J-n> well, since i've got ya here, and talkin... mind if i ask you in what
> situations would you recomend xfce over kde or gnome?
<favro> I'd recommend xubuntu over ubuntu just on the wallpaper...

Anyhow, Art folks: Whats the status on artwork for the distro? Have I
forgotten to upload anything? Anything need tweaking/updating? etc. etc.

== Development ==

Feature Freeze has came and past. Unfortunately we didn't get any of our big
ticket items in and we aren't going to get Xfce 4.6 in time (they've pushed
their final release date forward). I can't say I'm super disappointed though
because although our big ticket items (such as samba browsing in Thunar)
probably won't make Intrepid, chances are they *will* make Jaunty because
some awesome work has been done towards getting us there.

So, what now? Well, we're allowed to live a little on the wild side because
we just released a long term support release (hardy) - one might say this
release should be the most wild, out there version and each version until
the next LTS becomes more reserved and stabilized. No, I'm not saying lets
throw in all our junk but I'm certainly interested in hearing from
individual hackers/contributors/Xubuntu developers on which big-tickets
features we *could* _possibly_ ship. Considering our resources (Three
Xubuntu developers (two w/ upload privileges and one with FFe granting
powers), our handful of resident hackers, and our Xfce4 friends), I think if
we pick the one most likely to be successful balanced with which one we
think will be most enjoyed then we'd be able to get it in shape and in the
archive in time. What do other people think? Should I do some digging around
and write up a more detail sitrep (situation report) regarding this

== Testing & Bug Triage ==

With the above being said, I'd like us all to get excited about making
Intrepid as bug free and polished as possible. Lets organize a bug/testing
day where we all burn the latest image, report all the bugs we find, try and
confirm as many existing bugs we can (I'm sure there are a number of bugs on
Xubuntu packages that might not even be valid anymore), and close as many
bugs as possible by either proving its already fixed (ie. finding a
changelog entry or xfce4 dev that says the bug is fixed in 4.4.2) or by
uploading the fixes as we work. If we did this right, it could be a lot of
fun and very productive. I'm going to write another e-mail very soon
elaborating on this and with some potential plans. I'm hoping we can get as
many of our testers, developers, hackers, and upstream xfce4 friends
together to really crack the whip on making Xubuntu 8.10 an absolutely
stunning release.

In the mean time, please download and burn the dailies! Report bugs (always
make sure to search for an existing report! <grins>) and try to
confirm/reproduce existing bug reports. I'd also love to see some e-mails
sent to this list about people's adventures testing and their results as
they work through our developed tests. (Speaking of our tests, it would be
wonderful if someone were to take some initiative to spruce them up and make
them easier to find!).

If anyone is interested in leading our QA/Testing efforts, please give me a
shout!! :)

== Documentation (And a sad farewell) ==

No work has been done on the documentation yet but I spoke with Jim the
other day and he said he plans to get the work done very soon (not sure
exactly what he has planned). Sadly, he has confided that this will be his
last release as he has found he just has too much on his plate at the time
being to juggle everything effectively. I was exceedingly saddened to get
this horrible news. As I'm sure most of us know, Jim has been a key member
of our community with me often referring to him as my right hand man :(
We'll miss Jim and we certainly wish him the best of luck! Hopefully he'll
be able to come back soon.

Please give Jim and hand. If you're interested in documentation for Xubuntu,
get in touch with Jim or myself and we can help you get started.

Jim: Do you have any recommendations on individuals who might be able to
step in and help you with Documentation for Intrepid and help fill your big
shoes for Jaunty? :)

== My Alpha 5 experience ==

The first bug is our usplash is currently using the Ubuntu theme. I had
uploaded a package the other day thinking it should fix the issue but it
didn't (although I may know why). I'll look into this further and get this
resolved ASAP. (Thanks to numerous other people for reporting this before

Michael reported that when he boots the livecd, he gets a login prompt. For
me, I just get auto-logged in as expected. Anybody else experiencing what
Michael is? For those interested, Michael was running x86_64 while I was
just running good ol' x86.

I found that xscreensaver was installed in addition to gnome-screensaver for
Alpha 5. I haven't tracked down how its getting pulled in yet but I'll do
that after writing this e-mail.

We need to update the default preferred applications. It seems to me like
maybe a sync has caused the default preferred applications to binaries that
are only in Debian and not Ubuntu. Will fix ASAP.

When I was testing, my wireless didn't work because I have to use a wired
connection to download stuff using jockey (the restricted driver manager).
However, when I open Firefox it took me to the old Xubuntu page. I spoke
with Asac and said that was because I was offline. We need to get an eye on
this because I think Matthew East plans to remove that alternative system
for the old Ubuntu homepages. So when testing, see what happens when you
open the default homepage while offline - it'll probably break once Matthew
does upload those changes and we'll naturally need to fix it. Furthermore,
we'll also want to look at getting our own neat homepage similar to (can someone whip something up? then I'll get
it hosted like Ubuntu's and the ubufox extension updated).

I also noticed that help now opens in Midori; an unintended side affect of
shipping midori (for those who don't remember, our plan was just to include
midori on the cd during development for testing and fooling around with). It
seems very very fast and probably is more than enough browser to be the help
viewer. Alternatively, we can see this as bug (if this is occurring because
midori is now the default browser somehow system wide, then its a bug
regardless) or we can say neat and ship midori with the actual release.
Although shipping two web browsers is a little silly (and the maintainer of
Midori assures me Midori isn't ready yet to be a default browser), I can't
say I'd object to the idea of doing it. Regardless of your opinion on this,
we do have a decision to make because we won't want to ship yelp if we
decide to use midori for browsing the help. I haven't spoken with Jim about
using Midori, but I know he was looking for us to use yelp for ghelp link
support. Guh, this paragraph is getting messy and incoherent - time to move

== Meetings ==

We've gotten slack about meetings :( I know I've accidentally missed the
last two and sadly they don't seem to take place w/o me (and are often very
quiet even if I am there unless we make a lot of noise several days ahead of
time and almost run a full advertising campaign :P). I've been doing some
reading recently about how to hold meetings more effectively and I'd like to
see if we can do just that.

The next meeting is October 4th as regularly scheduled. I'd like to have
something sooner considering we missed the last two. Can someone champion
this and get 'er done?

== Xfce 4.6 ==

Xfce 4.6 alpha "pinkie" has been released. Please join me in giving a big
round of applause and several loud cheers on this accomplishment.

We'll soon get this alpha into our PPA for individuals interested in
testing. I think it is pretty evident we'll provide the PPA to users who
wish to use xfce 4.6 in Intrepid (and possibly hardy).

== Recap ==

1. Everyone please take a quick look over the Xubuntu website looking for
oddities and mistakes. You can report them on launchpad under the Xubuntu
website product. If you find anything big, please ping the members of the
Xubuntu website team in addition to filing the bugs.
2. Pasi Lallinaho (knome) is helping with artwork and is currently working
on a countdown banner for Intrepid.
3. What work is left to be done for artwork in Intrepid? Anything that can
be uploaded?
4. Feature freeze has came and gone but is there one feature we can all
focus on and get into Intrepid notwithstanding?
5. We will be planning a bug/testing/developer day where we'll get testers,
hackers, developers, and upstream together to really crack the whip on
making Intrepid awesome. (OPPORTUNITY TO VOLUNTEER)
6. Please help test the daily builds and be sure to share your results via
bug reports on Launchpad and narratives to this mailing list. (OPPORTUNITY
7. Anyone want to help lead our QA/Testing efforts? (OPPORTUNITY TO
8. No work on Documentation yet but Jim reports he'll start soon. Jim also
reports this will be his last release as a contributor due to time
constraints. We will be sad to see him go. Volunteers needed. (OPPORTUNITY
9. There are few hot, outstanding bugs in Intrepid that we'll hopefully fix
very soon.
10. Can someone organize a meeting before the next normally scheduled
October 4th meeting? (OPPORTUNITY TO VOLUNTEER)

== Conclusion ==

Wow! Almost another entire release cycle complete! It seems like it just
started the other day! Naturally, energy levels are starting to get low.
Lets all get revitalized and excited about making Intrepid rock! Lets all
put in that little bit of extra effort, really pull together as a team, and
deliver a solid product - even more so than we usually do! It takes a
special group of people to be able to pull off a distribution as massive as
Xubuntu so make sure to pat yourselves and your fellow xubuntu-er. You guys
all totally rock my world :)

So, our primary focus and goal for the rest of this release cycle is polish.
Jot down ideas, brainstorm with other team members, dig up and dust off
those older bug reports!

1. Polish, polish, polish
2. Lets try and squeeze one bigger ticket item in if we can.
3. Lets see if can make the upgrade from Hardy as smooth as possible.

If you have any ideas on how we can do these three things or how we can
really energize ourselves as a team: shout it, blog it, skype it, type it,
scream it, voip it, wiki it, do it! Our numbers may be small but we're
certainly mighty! :)

== Post-Conclusion: Ubuntu Developer Summit ==

Last but not least... UDS sponsorship. We have a new process for getting
sponsored this year as announced by Jono on his blog ( I'm hoping to get some of our Xfce4
developers sponsored to UDS (or at least FOSSCamp - both which are hosted at
the Googleplex this year) so this is one UDS (and/or FOSSCamp) you probably
don't want to miss. Has anyone already decided they're going? Whose
interested in going? Who would like to be sponsored and which of you have
already applied?

I'm hoping we can get a good Xubuntu turn out this year so start thinking
about it!


Cody A.W. Somerville
Software Systems Release Engineer
Custom Engineering Solutions Group
Canonical OEM Services
Cell: 506-449-5899
Email: cody.somerville at
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