Reviewing all things Xubuntu

Cody A.W. Somerville cody-somerville at
Sun Sep 21 01:11:11 UTC 2008


 We just had a most effective meeting in ages and it wasn't even planned!
I've made annotated updates to items below.

On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 3:32 AM, Cody A.W. Somerville <
cody-somerville at> wrote:

> 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.

As you've read in my other e-mail, our new Marketing Lead Pasi will be
redoing our website! Woot!

> == 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 evening:
> <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.

Still haven't heard from Jmak yet. I'll poke him here soon.

> == 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
> possibility?

Jannis (our new Xfce Liaison), Michael, and myself will be testing and
playing around with the samba functionality and the search/tag

> == 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!! :)

 Charlie Kravetz is interested in filling this role and we're going to
discuss it some more this upcoming week. Hopefully we'll have QA/Testing
role filled soon!

 Furthermore,  Charlie has agreed to organize my bug day idea and has
already enlisted the help of Michael and Jannis to help round up upstream
developers to help get involved.

> == 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? :)

No progress with documentation.

> == 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
> me).
> 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.

Michael reports this as fixed, I think.

> 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.

This is fixed.

> 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).

Anyone test this yet?

> 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
> forward!

We discussed this briefly. There has been some discussion of shipping Midori
with Xubuntu even if we decided to go with yelp (which we're waiting on Jim
to come around to discuss).

> == 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?

Well, we had a good impromptu meeting tonight and I'm hoping we have more
spontaneous ones (so be sure to hang out in #xubuntu-devel). We'll sitll be
having our official team meeting on October 4th.

> == 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).

Michael has this almost completed.

> == 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

Be sure to help test the daily builds!! :) Its very important.

> 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

We still need some help with documentation. I'm going to organize a day here
soon where I'll be around to walk people through the initial steps of
getting involved.

> 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)

I think we're good here now.

> == 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!

If you haven't done so already, get your applications in!! Be sure to
volunteer to help out on crew ;]

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


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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