Thursday, May 16, 2013

Feel Like Friday (post-vUDS)


It feels like Friday! Why? I think it's because I am tired. I am tired because Virtual UDS turns out to be surprisingly intense.

Power to People

So, that is to say, the second Virtual UDS is over. After experience my second vUDS, I think vUDS is really a boost for the transparency of the Ubuntu Project for a few reasons.

  • Frequency. We can do it every 3 months instead of every 6 months. As I mentioned in the opening plenary, this is important because we don't actually plan only every 6 months anymore. Like any modern software project, we are continuously planning. The 3 month cadence for vUDS means that there will be less time between detecting a need to change plans and discussion about how to make those necessary changes. I pushed very hard to have the first vUDS quickly, because there was a lot of planning for Ubuntu Touch that was backed up and needed proper discussion. If we waited until now, a lot of the work would have started without a good opportunity for discussion.
  • Access. Folks don't have to travel to wherever UDS is. People with specific interests can rock those interests with a laser focus, without having to dedicate a whole week away from home. Let's face it, traveling for 2 weeks a year to participate in UDS is something that only a few privileged people can swing. Many many more people can join a hangout.
  • Persistence. The sessions are streamed live, but then instantly available for reviewing, along with the white board, links to blueprints, etc... Try it. Go to Summit for the UDS that just ended. Find a session. Click on the session. It's like you are there live. Discussions that used to exist only in the memories of a select few with some written traces are now persisted and available.

Personal Faves

I won't go into a run down of the results, because that job is taken. However, here are some of my personal favorite discussions at this vUDS. These are my favorites based only on personal interests of mine. These are by no means the most important decisions or discussions. Just things that interest me a lot personally.

Rolling Release

After the unfortunate kerfufle last cycle when I pushed hard to move Ubuntu to a model of LTSs with rolling releases in between, it was niceto close in on one nice outcome. Namely, Colin has a technical solution that will allow users to subscribe to essentially the tip of development. Instead of using "raring" or "saucy" in your sources lists, you'll subscribe to a new name which is symlinked to whatever is the current development release. In this way, each day you will be on the latest. Even the day after a development release becomes a stable release, because the symlink will just point to the next development release.

I ended up with a couple of action items from this session. Mostly, to come up with a name and bring it to the next Tech Board meeting for approval. I'm very much leaning to "rolling", but I am open to discussion ;) This would mean you could say "I am on Raring", or "I am on Precise", or "I am on Rolling". "I am on Rolling" means that you are on the tip of development. Fun!

Touch Image Testing

I've been very keen to get Ubuntu Touch out of "preview" mode and into our standard development processes so that they inherit all of the daily quality tools that we have in place. This means moving all the code of out PPAs and into the real archives, so that we get the benefits of all the efforts we have put into place around -proposed and archive maintenance. It also means getting smoke testing and regression testing automated on the Touch images. I loved hearing from the Phone Foundations team and the QA team about their vision for "not accepting regressions". We should have dog-foodable touch images as early as the end of this month. Then if we can keep the images fully usable with minimal regressions each day, we will go very fast towards completion.

Ubuntu Status Stracker

I am partial to this topic because the status tracker started out as a labor of love for me. The first real bit of code that I wrote after joining canonical was to render my version of burndown charts. If I am not mistaken this code is still in use. In any case, status.ubuntu.com is critical to maintaining our planning, and ensuring that the status of the project is visible to all.

Unity 8 in 13.10

While 13.10 is very very focused on Ubunty Touch for phones, we all know that the real prize is the fully converged client OS. With that in mind, I think it's important to get the code up on as many device types as possible as soon as possible. There was a rich discussion about the steps to offer Unity 8 on top of Mir as an option in 13.10. Now, keep in mind that the result will only be the Phone UI on the desktop, and the default will be the Unity that we know and love today (with Smart Scopes and other enhancements of course!). Still in all, I am betting that basing Unity 8 on QML means that it will be surprisingly functional on a desktop even though it won't have any real desktop support in terms of things like workspace switching, etc..

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