Analyzed 1 day ago based on code collected 1 day ago.
Posted 3 days ago
KDE Project: DCOP
Trust in Me

You've been waiting for it, we've been working hard on it.. it's the new Long Term Support release of Kubuntu!

This means we've been working hard on removing bugs, polishing features and not adding ... [More] new ones. This will probably be the last release before KDE Frameworks 5 and Plasma Next gets introduced so for those who like to live life on the cautious side you'll be pleased to know the Long Term Support label means we'll have important bug fixes and security fixes for the next 5 years. It'll also get backports of important KDE software for the next couple of years.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing new. Take a look at the release announcement for a long list. For one thing we're the first distro to ship with KDE SC 4.13 fresh out today. It brings a much nicer desktop search capability that makes search fly.

Muon is slicker, all new Driver Manager means hardware works better, Gwenview plugins mean it's easier to upload to Facebook, KDE Connect makes your phone talk to your laptop.

All wrapped up with the safety of commercial support if you need it and plenty of community support if you need that.

I'd like to thank Harald who put in a lot of effort in this release, even writing up release notes which I've never found anyone to help with before. Rohan did crutial last minute bugfixes including at the last minute and nifty new features like the Driver Manager. Aurelien took care of Ubiquity to get your installs looking nice. We've all new documentation thanks to Aaron and Valerie and others. Scott kept the policy ticking over. Phillip got things packaged, debfx had bug fixes when it was needed most, Michal keeping an eye on the important packages, Scarlett being the Queen of packaging for KF5 and others. Really what a wonderful team effort.

And next? We'll be looking at making KDE Frameworks usable, Plasma 2014.6 may be the next desktop and who knows we may even get something working with Wayland. it's exiting! Come and join us, chat in #kubuntu-devel and join the kubuntu-devel mailing list. [Less]
Posted 6 days ago
KDE Project: DCOPCandidate images for Kubuntu 14.04LTS are up and need you to test them. Go to the ISO tracking site to download and mark your testing status. Check out the milestoned bugs for issues we are aware of and do report any we are not.
Posted 9 days ago
I'm not angry any more. It's because this week I started being less available to people. Counterintuitive, because I like people. Well, I don't like many people but I like the idea of people.

I'm happily, peacefully, unavailable for ... [More] interruption. I don't have a quick minute. It's such a relief. Today I sat down and started working on the things I decided to work on. It's about being more present in the now. Paying more attention to the task at hand. Listening to the people here with me, and thinking about them. Not being ripped away from the obligations I have so painstakingly made and scheduled.

It was surprisingly hard to give myself permission to be less interruptible. Hard because I have and embrace certain responsibilities where I want to be interruptible. But it's gone too far. Continous availability for interruption any time any one of my friends, colleagues, aquaintances, family members, has any fleeting thought they want to share, any question they want to ask has eroded all of my relationships rather than enhanced them.

The damage was subtle, building slowly. Eventually I realized the problem was me, not them. I felt irritated at the friendly hello, the non-urgent question that could have and should have waited for the next in-person meeting, because I had mindlessly accepted the defaults in the technology I used. The problem was how I consumed these communications - as an interrupt that had to be read (if not processed) immediately.

The last time a family member was on his deathbed, I wasn't able to answer the phone because I was at an event and didn't get the message for an hour or two. I have never felt regret or wished I had gotten the message sooner. However, my attention and participation at countless other events has been destroyed by interruption with friendly, well-meaning, absolutely trivial messages.

The solution is simpler and easier than I ever thought possible. Text messages are now relegated to the same hated status as email. No badges telling me about unread counts. No alert when a new message arrives. No indication of any sort that a message is waiting. I'll read my messages when I remember to go look and see if there are any waiting.

It's worth mentioning that I've tried a less severe policy that was a total failure. My previous attempt was to not respond to personal messages while at work. It didn't work because I still knew the messages were there, which yanked my attention over to them and caused an expensive context switch despite my intention to postpone reacting until a more appropriate time.

I am partially reachable for emergencies. Call my phone. It's probably in my bag or in my car or on my desk in the other room at home, and I won't answer if I'm in a meeting at work (%50 of the day), spending time with my family (%50 of the evening), riding my bike, eating a meal. If it's truly an emergency, I'll hear about it.

The fastest way to get in touch with me just might be to write me a letter. Or make an appointment for coffee. I promise I won't be distracted by text messages while we are talking. [Less]
Posted 13 days ago
KDE Project: DCOPLydia brought a load of friends over from Germany to visit the sights of Stirling. Paul threw a party for her friends. I canoed up the Firth of Forth to visit and drank lashings of ginger beer.
Posted 16 days ago
KDE Project: DCOP

This week, as well as being a centrefold model in a tabloid rag, another of my life ambitions came true when I had the glory of being the release dude. Plasma 2014.6 is the first version of Plasma using KDE Frameworks 5 ... [More] and the developers are hard at work coding on it. The release schedule required an Alpha so I was tasked with working out how to release some tars.

This is a very exciting release because it's the start of the next evolution of KDE Software. No major feature overhauls just a solid codebase to work from using nice technologies like QtQuick.

This is also a very boring release because it's made up of kde-workspace and kde-runtime both of which are about to disappear as the archive gets modularised. kde-runtime also overlaps with much of the kde-runtime from KDE SC 4 land so you can't install it alongside your normal KDE install. We'll fix that.

I also included a release of Oxygen Fonts which is the new feature font for Plasma. The developer of this has renamed it due to trademark issues to Comme Font but there's some alignment issues in Comme Font, plus it needs a copy of Font Forge from git to generate the .ttf files which nobody seems to be able to compile. Please tell me how if you can.

Packages are in the Kubuntu Experimental PPA for anyone who wants to try but we're still working out all the dependencies etc. And it'll remove your existing KDE install, so you take your chances :)

It's the start of something amazing... [Less]
Posted 20 days ago
Every detail matters, and building great software means taking time to remove the papercuts. Ubuntu has over the past 5 years been refined in many ways to feel amazingly comfortable on the cloud. In the very early days of EC2 growth the Ubuntu team ... [More] recognised how many developers were enjoying fast access to infrastructure on demand, and we set about polishing up Ubuntu to be amazing on the cloud.

This was a big program of work; the Linux experience had many bad assumptions baked in – everything had been designed to be installed once on a server then left largely untouched for as long as possible, but cloud infrastructure was much more dynamic than that.

We encouraged our team to use the cloud as much as possible, which made the work practical and motivated people to get it right themselves. If you want to catch all the little scratchy bits, make it part of your everyday workflow. Today, we have added OpenStack clouds to the mix, as well as the major public clouds. Cloud vendors have taken diverse approaches to IAAS so we find ourselves encouraging developers to use all of them to get a holistic view, and also to address any cloud-specific issues that arise. But the key point is – if it’s great for us, that’s a good start on making it great for everybody.

Then we set about interviewing cloud users and engaging people who were deep into cloud infrastructure to advise on what they needed. We spent a lot of time immersing ourselves in the IAAS experience through the eyes of cloud users – startups and industrial titans, universities and mid-sized, everyday companies. We engaged the largest and fastest-moving cloud users like Netflix, who have said they enjoy Ubuntu as a platform on the cloud. And that in turn drove our prioritisation of paper-cuts and significant new features for cloud users.

We also looked at the places people actually spend time developing. Lots of them are on Ubuntu desktops, but Windows and MacOS are popular too, and it takes some care to make it very easy for folks there to have a great devops experience.

All of this is an industrial version of the user experience design process that also powers our work on desktop, tablet and phone – system interfaces and applications. Devops, sysadmins, developers and their managers are humans too, so human-centric design principles are just as important on the infrastructure as they are on consumer electronics and consumer software. Feeling great at the command line, being productive as an operator and a developer, are vital to our community and our ecosystem. We keep all the potency of Linux with the polish of a refined, designed environment.

Along the way we invented and designed a whole raft of key new pieces of Ubuntu. I’ll write about one of them, cloud-init, next. The net effect of that work makes Ubuntu really useful on every cloud. That’s why the majority of developers using IAAS do so on Ubuntu. [Less]
Posted about 1 month ago
ACPI comes from an era when the operating system was proprietary and couldn’t be changed by the hardware manufacturer.

We don’t live in that era any more.

However, we DO live in an era where any firmware code running on ... [More] your phone, tablet, PC, TV, wifi router, washing machine, server, or the server running the cloud your SAAS app is running on, is a threat vector against you.

If you read the catalogue of spy tools and digital weaponry provided to us by Edward Snowden, you’ll see that firmware on your device is the NSA’s best friend. Your biggest mistake might be to assume that the NSA is the only institution abusing this position of trust – in fact, it’s reasonable to assume that all firmware is a cesspool of insecurity courtesy of incompetence of the worst degree from manufacturers, and competence of the highest degree from a very wide range of such agencies.

In ye olden days, a manufacturer would ship Windows, which could not be changed, and they wanted to innovate on the motherboard, so they used firmware to present a standard interface for things like power management to a platform that could not modified to accommodate their innovation.

Today, that same manufacturer can innovate on the hardware and publish a patch for Linux to express that innovation – and Linux is almost certainly the platform that matters. If Windows enters this market then the Windows driver model can evolve to give manufacturers this same ability to innovate in the Windows world, where proprietary unverifiable blobs are the norm.

Arguing for ACPI on your next-generation device is arguing for a trojan horse of monumental proportions to be installed in your living room and in your data centre. I’ve been to Troy, there is not much left.

We’ve spent a good deal of time working towards a world where you can inspect the code that is running on any device you run. In Ubuntu we work hard to make sure that any issues in that code can be fixed and delivered right away to millions of users. Bruce Schneier wisely calls security a process, not a product. But the processes for finding and fixing problems in firmware are non-existent and not improving.

I would very much like to be part of FIXING the security problem we engineers have created in our rush to ship products in the olden days. I’m totally committed to that.

So from my perspective:

Upstream kernel is the place to deliver the software portion of the innovation you’re selling. We have great processes now to deliver that innovation to users, and the same processes help us improve security and efficiency too.
Declarative firmware that describes hardware linkages and dependencies but doesn’t include executable code is the best chance we have of real bottom-up security. The Linux device tree is a very good starting point. We have work to do to improve it, and we need to recognise the importance of being able to fix declarations over the life of a product, but we must not introduce blobs in order to short cut that process.

Let’s do this right. Each generation gets its turn to define the platforms it wants to pass on – let’s pass on something we can be proud of.

Our mission in Ubuntu is to give the world’s people a free platform they can trust.  I suspect a lot of the Linux community is motivated by the same goal regardless of their distro. That also means finding ways to ensure that those trustworthy platforms can’t be compromised elsewhere. We can help vendors innovate AND ensure that users have a fighting chance of privacy and security in this brave new world. But we can’t do that if we cling to the tools of the past. Don’t cave in to expediency. Design a better future, it really can be much healthier than the present if we care and act accordingly.

Posted about 1 month ago
KDE Project: DCOPScarlett has been working hard on packaging KDE Frameworks 5 Alpha 2 and the build status page shows a sea of green (the only yellow is when a framework is asking for a package which doesn't exist yet). Just in time for Plasma Next ... [More] to get its Alpha release this week coming :) Grab the KF5 packages from the experimental PPA for Kubuntu Trusty. [Less]
Posted about 1 month ago
Check out “loving the bottom edge” for the most important bit of design guidance for your Ubuntu mobile app.

This work has been a LOT of fun. It started when we were trying to find the zen of each edge of the screen, a long time ... [More] back. We quickly figured out that the bottom edge is by far the most fun, by far the most accessible. You can always get to it easily, it feels great. I suspect that’s why Apple has used the bottom edge for their quick control access on IOS.

We started in the same place as Apple, thinking that the bottom edge was so nice we wanted it for ourselves, in the system. But as we discussed it, we started to think that the app developer was the one who deserved to do something really distinctive in their app with it instead. It’s always tempting to grab the tastiest bit for oneself, but the mark of civility is restraint in the use of power and this felt like an appropriate time to exercise that restraint.

Importantly you can use it equally well if we split the screen into left and right stages. That made it a really important edge for us because it meant it could be used equally well on the Ubuntu phone, with a single app visible on the screen, and on the Ubuntu tablet, where we have the side stage as a uniquely cool way to put phone apps on tablet screens alongside a bigger, tablet app.

The net result is that you, the developer, and you, the user, have complete creative freedom with that bottom edge. There are of course ways to judge how well you’ve exercised that freedom, and the design guidance tries to leave you all the freedom in the world while still providing a framework for evaluating how good the result will feel to your users. If you want, there are some archetypes and patterns to choose from, but what I’d really like to see is NEW patterns and archetypes coming from diverse designs in the app developer community.

Here’s the key thing – that bottom edge is the one thing you are guaranteed to want to do more innovatively on Ubuntu than on any other mobile platform. So if you are creating a portable app, targeting a few different environments, that’s the thing to take extra time over for your Ubuntu version. That’s the place to brainstorm, try out ideas on your friends, make a few mockups. It’s the place you really express the single most important aspects of your application, because it’s the fastest, grooviest gesture in the book, and it’s all yours on Ubuntu.

Have fun! [Less]
Posted about 1 month ago
KDE Project: DCOPThe Blue Systems office in Edinburgh has moved across The Meadows to the Grassmarket to a larger office which is also surrounded on two sides by curious artist collectives and the occasional hipster café. Hosted in Edinburgh's new ... [More] technology incubator Codebase we are in another building which is nicer on the inside looking out, this time with a view of our local volcano Arthur's Seat.

I'd like to thank Cloudsoft for squatting in the office with me, making software to manage your applications in the cloud they are hiring now if you fancy a job in the most beautiful city in the world..

In terms of skill set we are looking for, the main thing is that they are
good software engineers rather than specific skills. However, here are a
few potential areas:
1. Experienced Java programmer (and/or other languages a big plus; Java
is not a pre-requisite).
2. Devops experience.
3. Good sys admin skills.
4. Distributed computing (i.e. understands the architectural
considerations etc).
5. Cloud/virtualization.
6. Javascript / web-dev (for one of them, perhaps) [Less]