Monday, November 29, 2010

Unity in Natty Evaluation 1

Today I am finally finding Natty to be usably stable. So long as I stay away from Open Office, it seems to be running quite fine. So, I updated my maverick spider diagram in an attempt to capture where I think Unity is in the journey to being the Ubuntu desktop.

In this first natty diagram, yellow is the target, blue is maverick, and that orangy color is my subjective assessment of Unity as it is today. You can review the criteria that I chose from assessment in a previous post.

Note that there is a large portion of the diagram missing. Everything related to the Dash is zero, because none of that is implement yet. Here is a summary of why I picked these values for the other items:

Natty > Maverick
  • Launcher Performance (3 to 8): The natty launcher feels snappy when you drag the items, and when the launcher overflow and "folds" items, the unfolding and access to those items is also totally responsive. This is a big improvement!
  • Application Launch Time(4 to 8): I was told a few times that apps didn't start any slower under Mutter. However, they sure always seemed to. Well, they seem to start nice and fast now, so I'm saying that application launch time is nice and fast.
  • File Management (3 to 6): The launcher features a nice big Nautilus item at the top of the launcher. This makes access to typical file management tasks much easier accomplish, because you can find them. Since there is no dash, there is no integration with dash and that search yet, so hopefully this particular area will improve.
Maverick > Natty
  • Launcher Quality (5 to 3): I'm probably being really unfair here, but I'm blaming all the crashiness, especially when I'm using OOo on the Launcher. It's probably really Compiz itself, but subjectively, it feels like the launcher is the new thing, so I'm blaming that.
  • Launcher Functionality (6 to 3): Without quick lists, this took an big hit. You can really only launch and switch now. Adding back in the quick lists, and then getting a hiding launcher, and we'll be in business.
  • Application Window Management (5 to 4): Not much has really changed here, except that without the quick lists there is no where to click on different windows from the same app. I use Alt-Tab, so this doesn't much impact me, personally. Minimized windows still disappear with no way to get them back.
  • Application Window Management:
Natty == Maverick
  • Launcher Appeal (6): The launcher is still a bit "blocky". I do like how the items look, and the attention getting animations as well. I expect to see lots of improvements to the look and feel of the launcher, especially when they start adding in some of the animations and transitions.
  • Global Menu Integration (5): I don't see any changes to this part. Firefox still has it's own menu, for example.
  • Indicator Appeal (7): I don't see any changes here, either. I expect to see some slightly tweaked icons and maybe and improvements to the look of the indicators themselves.
  • Indicator Performance (8): No changes here.
  • Indicator Functionality (6): No changes today, but I hear that the new indicator for the network manager was supposed to land today. That will mean that all the default functionality will be managed by indicators, so no more panel applets by default.
I also just noticed that key nav between the indicators isn't working! grrrr. It's also not working for the global menu. Well, Accessibility is already rated zero, so there's really no way to change my ratings based on that, unless I added it to "Indicator Functionality". I'll see how annoying it is to me, and maybe change it then.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ubuntu is *not* moving to a rolling release

So, I just got asked to provide a statement about whether Ubuntu is moving to a rolling release. The statement I provided was:

"Ubuntu is not changing to a rolling release. We are confident that our customers, partners, and the FLOSS ecosystem are well served by our current release cadence. What the article was probably referring to was the possibility of making it easier for developers to use cutting edge versions of certain software packages on Ubuntu.This is a wide-ranging project that we will continue to pursue through our normal planning processes."
The reason that I was asked to comment on this was that an article appeared this morning that built off of some comments that Mark made regarding daily builds. The article went on to make some reasonable conjecture about possible implications. Links to this article were then labeled things like "Ubuntu Moves to Rolling Releases!"

I do like the idea of making it easier for developer and enthusiasts to use daily builds of software that they really care about, and maybe even have them discover this capability through the software center. Currently you have to find PPAs or maybe activate backports to do this. But having a stable release with a six month cadence plus the option to stay cutting edge on certain packags (at your own risk) is not really a rolling release.

Friday, November 19, 2010

3 Weeks In

I was about half of last week, and this Monday as well. So I didn't do a week 2 update. Again,, please note that these are things that are happening that I found interesting or important, or was otherwise involved in. This is not the status of work that I personally did. Here's my perspective on week 3 ...

This Week
  • Unity landed in Natty (today actually).
  • I installed Unity and turned it on in the Compiz settings. I was able to play a bit with the launcher, and it was very snappy, and it launched apps. Places is still not working. Compiz in general seems quite snappy.
  • Unfortunately running Unity caused so much crashing, that I was unable to evaluate it for a spider diagram again.
  • A decision was taken to focus Unity on for Natty, and not work on a Maverick PPA. Based on my experience with Unity today, this was a sane decision in my estimation.
  • I checked in with Luke and Gary regarding Unity accessibility. Luke is still working on getting his head around gobjects and such.
Next Week
  • Hopefully enough stability in Unity that we can really evaluate it.
  • Luke to start with some accessibility prototypes.
This Week
  • The QA team has started putting automated integration tests into place. These tests will try to catch bugs in the way applications work within Unity very quickly and frequently.
  • We started planning a sprint, where a few Canonical folks will get together for the first week of December and focus on tests for kernel SRU validation, as well as for desktop integration.
Next Week
  • More tests written and running.
  • Better definition for sprint goals.
This Week
Next Week
  • Start of Patch Piloting schedule.
Software Center
This Week
  • Plans for New Apps in Maverick were finalized. Will be installed in /opt/ Python apps will lack per-compiled byte code if installed in this way for Maverick, but there should be a better solution in Natty.
  • didrocks landed changes in quickly to support installing to /opt in Natty.
  • mterry landed changes to the Quickly template to make it easier to attach to events (no more defining signal handler in Glade).
  • I'm not sure about the status of ratings and reviews. Since it's mvo driving, I assume all is well.
Next Week
  • ???
This Week
  • Schedule-wise, there is one week until Feature definition freeze as of yesterday. So this week we asked all teams to have work items identified by eod yesterday so that we could finalize plans by the Feature Definition Freeze. You can see all the blueprints for natty. I summarized how some of the Essential and High importance blueprints will effect the Editions as well. Of course there will be lots of Medium and Low blueprints that have a lot of impact too!
  • Release meetings started again, with new format and agenda thanks to skaet.
Next Week
  • Next Thursday is Thanks Giving holiday in the US, so I'm expecting about 60% of normal productivity in Ubuntu.
  • Work items should be identified for Alpha 2, so I will prepare a detailed review and ensure that items are prioritized appropriately heading into the A2 milestone.

Friday, November 5, 2010

1 Week In

Back from UDS for a week now. Here's a progress update on some of the happenings in Ubuntu that I am tracking. There are, of course, myriad other aspects to the product that I care about, but that I am not following closely. You may notice a strong correspondence between these areas and The 5 Foci.

Of course I am doing almost none of this work personally. When it makes sense I'll credit the specific people and/or teams. Questions and comments welcome, of course. I have no idea if this kind of thing is useful to folks. But I wonder if I can keep up a weekly cadence of updates.

This week
  • Dx team is working to get the Compiz based experience ready for testing
  • Nothing new uploaded this week, so no update to the spider diagram :(
Next Week
  • I hope to start testing new compiz-based experience and update the spider diagram

This Week
  • ara has confirmed that mago will work with apps under unity so it's possible to start writing integration tests
  • Unity integration testing is blocked this week on looking into the global menu because of a bug in the dumper tool, but it should be unblocked next week
  • Server team outlined steps for packaging Hudson
Next Week
  • Switch Unity Integration testing on Natty
  • Start teseting the global menu on Unity (this is important because there are lots of bugs their in Maverick)
  • Get more tests in place and running daily
  • Progress on packaging and deploying Hudson
This Week
  • Created documentation for Path Pilots (a tweak to our system for responding to contributors)
  • Straw man schedule for Ubuntu Engineering Engineers set up (these are engineers paid by Canonical to work on Ubuntu)
Next Week
  • Share Patch Piloting schedule with Ubuntu Engineering Engineers, let them change it around to suit self
  • Ensure documentation works for Patch Pilots
  • Pick a date to start with the tweaked system
Software Center
This Week
  • I followed up on UDS session regarding using /opt for installing new apps on a stable release, and drafted a proposal to the App Review Board that they ask the Tech Board to remove the /opt requirement for Maverick, since there are so few apps we can really review them carefully, and the technology is not there to support /opt properly in Maverick
  • didrocks broke out work items to ensure that Python build system and Quickly will support installing to /opt in the future
Next Week
  • Perhaps see some progress by didrocks on making the Python build system work with /opt
  • First meeting regarding Donations with IS, I requested that the notes from the call be posted to a mailing list or such
This Week
  • I confirmed with cjwatson that we can make good progress on "Text Free Boot" in Natty. It won't surprise anyone to know that I had trouble grocking the blueprint :)
  • Open stack is all packaged up and ready for better integration with Ubuntu Server
  • Set schedule to get to Feature Definition Freeze with the Ubuntu Engineering Managers (All Blueprints Accepted by 11/11, All Work Items Identified by 11/18)
Next Week
  • Perhaps create a system for getting feedback on which platforms can boot Text Fee so we can start to assemble the white or blacklist
  • Some server team members to attend Open Stack Design Summit next week
  • pitti to reset work item tracker to start burndowns for teams that are ready