Posts Tagged ‘conference’

UDS Days 2-5

June 10, 2009

I never got around to more blogging during UDS, but here’s a summary of the rest.

We had a discussion with Canonical’s Rick Spencer about the role Canonical’s desktop team is or should be playing in Kubuntu and how to avoid problems we’ve had in the past.  Conclusion: communication communication communication.

Then there was a session on Wine integration and what to do when a user clicks on a windows program.  Will need to keep up for Kubuntu.

We had a session on QA in Kubuntu.  We discussed how to avoid major problems we’ve had in the last couple of cycles and how to improve our QA process in general.  There was also a separate session about l10n problems.  The interesting thing that came out of this is a plan to have a feedback plasmoid on the desktop during the development cycle so we can pick up on problems quickly.  We also decided to expand the use of the Apport bug reporting tool and crash handler in Kubuntu.  The QA team has some neat plans for this tool, some of which are already being implemented, so hopefully the overall quality of bug reports will keep improving.

We had some discussions about the default IRC client and web browser for Karmic and came up with features we’d like to see in our options.

Several of the KDE guys and I sat in on a session about the messaging applet.  It really helped us understand what the Ayatana team is going for.  Sebas then showed off lion mail, which is similar in some ways, and several productive sessions kicked off regarding how to create a messaging indicator for KDE that both follows the DX team’s vision and the KDE way of doing things.

Riddell showed off some of the social web plasma applets available and we decided to include one or two by default in Kubuntu Social from the Start.

There was a session about what we need for KDE integration from Ubuntu One.

We had a session discussing the Kubuntu web site where we mostly talked about how much we like the Xubuntu website.  We came up with some things we can improve on the site, but most importantly, DESIGNERS WANTED!

There was a session discussing creating a way to create a bootable USB stick in KDE, and work is underway.

The last session I went to was on Canonical desktop and usability team’s “Death by a Hundred Paper Cuts” project.  The project will find and try to fix a hundred seemingly trivial usability bugs each cycle.  Neat!  We won’t get the benefit of the professional user testing on the KDE side of things, at least not during the current experimental stages of the project, but maybe we can start a similar initiative?

On the social side, we went out to a bar to watch the European soccer championship game, Barcelona vs. Manchester.  Quite a time and place to be in Barcelona.  Friday night was of course karaoke — barbie girl and bohemian rhapsody KDE style, and some other umm.. good shows.

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UDS Day 1: LoCo events, apport, and Kubuntu plans

May 26, 2009

Improving LoCo events

After introductory talks, the first session I went to was a community session on improving LoCo events.  Considering we’re in Spain, the MA LoCo was overrepresented with both Martin and I there.  He has a good writeup on the discussion.

Apport Adoption

There were two sessions on increasing apport coverage and adoption.  The adoption session mostly concentrated on getting users to file bugs using apport rather than directly through the launchpad website.  The main thing I took away from this talk is that it was unfortunately irrelevant because Kubuntu/KDE apps don’t use appport for the report a bug feature.  This is the correct way to file a bug in Ubuntu.  TODO: update the Kubuntu version of the documentation.

KDE 4.3 vs. Ayatana

There was a session where sebas presented the KDE system tray plans to Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical’s DX team.  There was a lively discussion as to how that complements or conflicts with the Ayatana desktop experience project and what that project actually entails.  The topic is controversial, but the practical question was whether it is worth implementing the message indicator planned for Ubuntu Karmic for KDE.

Kubuntu Development and Packaging

We had two sessions to plan Kubuntu Karmic that were somewhat productive.  For the most part we just affirmed the points on the specs page.  Discussion is still ongoing about the default IRC client and web browser.  We are determined to get rid of KDE3 libs for Karmic, and are really hoping for KDE4 OpenOffice.org integration in time.  Those who have looked at it so far were baffled by the codebase, so we need some help in this area.

The day ended with dinner with the Kubuntu guys and girl and Albert, a local KDE developer of Okular and poppler fame.  He showed us to a nice restaurant, and I think everyone really enjoyed the meal.  I should have forseen the delicious but small main course though.

UDS Day 0: Coming to Barcelona

May 25, 2009

Left at 7pm.  Went to sleep at 10pm.  Slept an hour.  Woke up at 5am.  OK, so this is only my second time, first in 4 years, flying east.  Got some very tired first impressions of the city as I got off the bus: Plaça Espanya – wow! down into the subway, with luggage… whatever happened to escalators?  Finally made it to the hotel in the afternoon.

After finally taking a nap (about 9-11am EDT) I went into the city, to Plaça Catalunya and La Rambla.  I walked around there for a few hours, down the Rambla, along the waterfront, and through the little alleys.  I especially like the labyrinth of alleys.  There are all kinds of little shops and cafes and backs and fronts of churches and street performers in random places.  I ended up at the Catedral de Barcelona purely by accident.  The cathedral is quite magnificent inside though unfortunately it’s undergoing renovation on the outside.  I could probably spend days more just wandering in that area.

My sense of time was completely thrown off as I was walking around, not just by the jetlag, but also by my habit of using a cellphone for a watch.  The cell doesn’t work here — it doesn’t even give me the time.  So I walk around time-blind — it’s a rather strange feeling, and makes it all the more difficult to eat the right meal at a reasonable time.

Being in a spanish speaking area is really strange to me.  My brain is saying “language I can’t quite understand… french mode! french mode!”  I think if I were to manage to say anything in spanish other than “si” or “gracias” it would come out in a french pronunciation (which would in turn have an american accent).

I came back to the hotel fairly early, but was the most exhausted I’ve been in a long time.  Before crashing, there was just the little exercise for my roommate and I to figure out how to turn off the lights in the hotel room, almost as fun as the earlier exercise of figuring out how to turn them on.  Now to spend the week engineering Kubuntu Karmic just a little less intensely than the people who put together this place.

USENIX 2008

June 28, 2008

Over the last 3 days I had the opportunity to attend the technical sessions at USENIX 08, thanks to my job at my CS department. Systems researchers from various universities and companies were in attendance and presenting their research. The companies that were there included Google, Microsoft Research, Sun, IBM Research, VMWare, and many more. There was somebody from Red Hat, but Canonical and Novell were not represented. There was also a representative from the Free Software Foundation with their usual assortment of neat stickers.

Topics concentrated primarily on virtualization and parallel programming, but other systems topics were covered as well. Peter Kronowitt from Intel talked about how Intel has leveraged open source and commented on some of the struggles they had in opening up drivers. Adrian Cockcroft talked about current and upcoming mobile gadgets and how the millicomputing technology can be used toward energy efficient datacenters. Jim Waldo from Sun reported on their project to create a distributed system for MMO game servers. When asked why they were working on the server when a major current issue is parallelizing game client programming, he ended the talk with this gem: “We’re sun. We know servers better than we do clients.” He later also did an interesting talk on why Java is useful as a system language despite not being “cool” like Python and JavaScript currently are, which I think answers Brandon’s question. I really liked those talks in part because of Jim’s very candid talking style.

Ajay Anand and Allen Wittenauer from Yahoo! talked about Hadoop, the open source implementation of the Map/Reduce distributed computation algorithm we used in class. The conference was closed out by Matthew Melis of NASA presenting on the space shuttle and the Columbia accident. Being fascinated with space exploration since I was a kid, this was a really great talk to go to.

Naturally, I looked around for who was running (K)Ubuntu. Despite being familiar with the phenomenon from the faculty and sysadmins at my university, it continues to surprise me how the people most of whose work depends on Linux, do not run it on their desktop/laptop. I’d say 60-70% were running Mac OS X, with most of the remaining on MS Windows. I saw a couple people with Ubuntu and one young Sun SysAdmin running Kubuntu.

It was a long three days, but the talks were great and I met many interesting people and had interesting conversations, so despite barely having time to check my email, I feel like it was very productive and time very well spent.