Ubuntu Developer Summit Natty, Thursday and Friday

The Ubuntu Developer Summit is over! I’m sitting at home now, and after a day of recovery tomorrow the regular life of school and homework will start again. And how it will start! Next week is a testweek full of school exams, so I have quite something to prepare. But before that all starts I still have something to do: report the last two days of the UDS to you. Apologises for the delay.


Thursday started with a community roundtable. The Beginners Team was one of the things we discussed, and I have to say that I was amazed by the large amount of good work they have done, without many of us taking notice. They really help newcomers to the community to find their place.

During a session on the Unity Places API we learned how much possibilities this interesting software offers. The most exciting piece of technology was the great ‘libdee‘, which allows you to share a table of information over DBus and use it in several applications at once. The table automatically stays synced across all applications! Really cool stuff.

During the ‘Indicator Framework Changes for N’ I learned that the keyboard shortcuts nightmares will go away in Natty, because of the move to Compiz. We can manage the shortcuts there, so things should be working much more smoothly.

Caribe Royale, as seen from the smokers' spot in front of the UDS convention centre
Caribe Royale, as seen from the smokers' spot in front of the UDS convention centre.

Thursday had two great plenary talks, from Allison Randal and Ivanka Majic, respectively Technical Architect of Ubuntu and Canonical Design Lead. Allison gave a general talk about how we are different and reminded us of our ways. She reminded us to make sure we can look at things from a different perspective. Ivanka told us about making opinionated decisions, i.e. making choices for our users. Our users doesn’t want to configure everything theirselves, and sometimes when they want we shouldn’t let them. If you limit yourselves to what your users need and make sure the users are not confronted with difficulties they cannot solve, your product will become much better and a lot more user-friendly.

The two-hour Bug Squad Roadmap session was a bit of a marathon, but it was a great session. We are planning on some changes to the Bug Squad Mentorship programme, we will run a trial of putting a few mentors and students into one group and see how that goes. Also, I mentioned that bug triaging is still too much of a first step, a first hurdle, on your way to MOTU-stardom. Now, I don’t want to say that MOTUs aren’t stars, but I do think that bug triaging also needs some status. Why? Because we need more and better people. We could make the requirements for becoming a bug triager stricter—Pedro is looking into bringing some clarity to the application requirements—but we also need to make sure that in our communication we show that bug triaging is something on its own, worthy of mentioning on your resume. Bug triaging is not easy, it requires a lot of knowledge and effort to become a good triager.


Friday we discussed how to handle non-English bug reports. We didn’t make any fixed decisions this session, but we will take a look at using Launchpad Answers to solve our problem. Bug reports would be recommended to use Launchpad Answers to report their bug in their native language, their local community could then help with translating the issue into a bug report and translating the communication.

We had a very interesting session on the results of the Unity Usability tests. It turned out that many users had problems with finding out how to drag icons. They tried to drag them up or down in a straight line, but that was not possible. Also, it was highlighted how extremely difficult users find it to launch an application they just installed from the Software Centre. They first look for more information at the “More Information” page of an application, then try the website—which is often not very useful to a user—and then the screenshot. Charlene said that some users even thought the screenshot was the real application!

My bed in Caribe Royale, during UDS-N
My bed in Caribe Royale, complete with its five pillows

The lightnight talks were really good this time. If you want to use threading and pipelines in C, use libpipeline! If you have a question about Ubuntu, go to AskUbuntu! If you want to design an awesome interface in Qt, use QML!

There were only two sessions left then: a summarising QA Roundatble and an interesting session in which we examined the needs of the Ubuntu community with regard to AskUbuntu—I hope to see localisation coming to AskUbuntu in this cycle. After those two sessions we had the closing procedures and then it was over! Done, finito, voorbij!

I took flight MP636 from MCO to AMS, which left at Saturday 30 October 19:30 EDT and arrived at a bit before 9 ‘o clock, CET, at Sunday 31 October. Today I didn’t go to school, but instead slept until 12 ‘o clock. I’m curious to find out tonight how far my jetlag is gone already.


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