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Costales: ¿Está triunfando Unity? Sí, con los temas, como Numix

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 11:28
Un buen día Fernando me hizo descubrir la belleza del tema de escritorio Numix. Y coincido plenamente con Lorenzo, tras una instalación de Ubuntu sólo añado algún programa, dejando la configuración por defecto. Pero, cómo Lorenzo comenta, diseños como el de Numix parecen ser el camino a seguir para aplicaciones, web, iconos...

Y es que, señoras y señores, sólo hay que prestar atención a la comunidad de Numix en Google+ y ver como hierve con multitud de capturas de pantalla de escritorios que parecen de ciencia ficción: Modernos, atractivos y funcionales :)

Numix + Unity
Awesome!¿Te apetece probarlo en Ubuntu? Abre una Terminal,
Para instalar Numix:
 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install numix-gtk-theme numix-icon-theme numix-icon-theme-circle

Para activar Numix:
 gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme "Numix"
 gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences theme "Numix"
 gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme "Numix-Circle"

 gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode normal

Para revertir y activar el tema por defecto:
 gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme "Ambiance"
 gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences theme "Ambiance"
 gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme "ubuntu-mono-dark"

 gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode overlay-auto

Tal vez Ubuntu encontró un nicho de mercado en el que Unity puede que sea el rey :)

Scott Moser: Snappy Ubuntu Core and uvtool

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 10:19
Earlier this week, Ubuntu announced the Snappy Ubuntu Core . As part of the announcement, a set of qemu based instructions were included for checking out a snappy image on your local system.  In addition to that method, we’ve been working on updates to bring support for the transactional images to uvtool. Have you used uvtool before?  I like it, and tend to use for day to day kvm images as it’s pretty simple. So let’s get to it.

Setting up a local Snappy Ubuntu Core environment with uvtool
As I’ve already mentioned Ubuntu has a very simple set of tools for creating virtual machines using cloud images, called 'uvtool'.  Uvtool offers a easy way to bring up images on your system in a kvm environment. Before we use uvtool to get snappy on your local environment, you’ll need install the special version that has snappy supported added to it:

$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:snappy-dev/tools
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install uvtool
$ newgrp libvirtd

You only need to do 'newgrp libvirtd' during the initial setup, and only if you were not already in the libvirtd group which you can check by running the 'groups' command. A reboot or logout would have the same effect.

uvtool uses ssh key authorization so that you can connect to your instances without being prompted for a password. If you do not have a ssh key in '~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub', you can create one now with:

$ ssh-keygen

We’re ready to roll.  Let’s download the images:

$ uvt-simplestreams-libvirt sync --snappy flavor=core release=devel

This will download a pre-made cloud image of the latest Snappy Core image from http://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/snappy/. It will download about 110M, so be prepared to wait a little bit.

Now let’s start up an instance called 'snappy-test':

$ uvt-kvm create --wait snappy-test flavor=core

This will do the magic of setting up a libvirt domain, starting it and waiting for it to boot (via the --wait flag).  Time to ssh into it:

$ uvt-kvm ssh snappy-test

You now have a Snappy image which you’re sshd into.

If you want to manually ssh, or test that your snappy install of xkcd-webserver worked, you can get the IP address of the system with:

$ uvt-kvm ip snappy-test

When you're done playing, just destroy the instance with:
$ uvt-kvm destroy snappy-test

Have fun!

Jamie Strandboge: Snappy security

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 02:43

Ubuntu Core with Snappy was recently announced and a key ingredient for snappy is security. Snappy applications are confined by AppArmor and the confinement story for snappy is an evolution of the security model for Ubuntu Touch. The basic concepts for confined applications and the AppStore model pertain to snappy applications as well. In short, snappy applications are confined using AppArmor by default and this is achieved through an easy to understand, use and developer-friendly system. Read the snappy security specification for all the nitty gritty details.

A developer doc will be published soon.

Filed under: canonical, security, ubuntu, ubuntu-server

Randall Ross: Party? Party!

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 20:38

Hey Ubuntu people! It's been too long since we've had a real party!

In Vancouver? Consider yourself invited!

photo by James Vaughan

Sebastian Kügler: Trusty Old Router

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 16:10

I decommissioned a fine piece of hardware today. This access point brought the first wireless connectivity to my place. It’s been in service for more than 11 years, and is still fully functional.

In the past years, the device has been running OpenWRT, which is a really nice and very powerful little Linux distribution specifically for this kind of routers. OpenWRT actually sprang from the original firmware for this device, and was extended, updated, improved and made available for a wide range of hardware. OpenWRT lately has made this piece of hardware useful, and I’m really thankful for that. It also a shows how much value releasing firmware under an Open Source license can add to a product. Aside from the long-term support effect of releasing the firmware, updated firmware would add features to the router which were otherwise only available in much more expensive hardware.

The first custom firmware I ran on this device was Sveasoft. In the long run, this ended up not being such a good option, since the company producing the software really stretched the meaning of the GPL — while you were technically allowed to share software with others, doing so would end your support contract with the company — no updates for you. LWN has a good write-up about this story.

Bitter-sweet gadget-melancholy aside, the replacement access point brings a 4 times speed increase to the wifi in my home office: less finger-twiddling, more coding. :)

Eric Hammond: Persistence Of The AWS Lambda Environment Between Function Invocations

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 15:07

AWS Lambda functions are run inside of an Amazon Linux environment (presumably a container of some sort). Sequential calls to the same Lambda function could hit the same or different instantiations of the environment.

If you hit the same copy (I don’t want to say “instance”) of the Lambda function, then stuff you left in the environment from a previous run might still be available.

This could be useful (think caching) or hurtful (if your code incorrectly expects a fresh start every run).

Here’s an example using lambdash, a hack I wrote that sends shell commands to a Lambda function to be run in the AWS Lambda environment, with stdout/stderr being sent back through S3 and displayed locally.

$ lambdash 'echo a $(date) >> /tmp/run.log; cat /tmp/run.log' a Tue Dec 9 13:54:50 PST 2014 $ lambdash 'echo b $(date) >> /tmp/run.log; cat /tmp/run.log' a Tue Dec 9 13:54:50 PST 2014 b Tue Dec 9 13:55:00 PST 2014 $ lambdash 'echo c $(date) >> /tmp/run.log; cat /tmp/run.log' a Tue Dec 9 13:54:50 PST 2014 b Tue Dec 9 13:55:00 PST 2014 c Tue Dec 9 13:55:20 PST 2014

As you can see in this example, the file in /tmp contains content from previous runs.

These tests are being run in AWS Lambda Preview, and should not be depended on for long term or production plans. Amazon could change how AWS Lambda works at any time for any reason, especially when the behaviors are not documented as part of the interface. For example, Amazon could decide to clear out writable file system areas like /tmp after each run.

If you want to have a dependable storage that can be shared among multiple copies of an AWS Lambda function, consider using standard AWS services like DynamoDB, RDS, ElastiCache, S3, etc.

Original article: http://alestic.com/2014/12/aws-lambda-persistence

Nicholas Skaggs: Quality opportunities for the Vivid Cycle

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 13:45
I thought I would add a little festivity to the holiday season, quality style. In case your holidays just are not the same without a little quality in your life, allow me to share how you can get involved.

There are opportunities for every role listed on the QA wiki. Testers and test writers are both needed. Testing and writing manual tests can be learned by anyone, no coding required. That said if you have skills or interest in technical work, I would encourage you help out. You will learn by doing and get help from others while you do it.

Now onto the good stuff! What can you do to help ubuntu this cycle from a quality perspective?

There is an ever present need for brave folks willing to simply run the development version of ubuntu and use it as a daily machine throughout the cycle. It's one of the best ways for us as a community to uncover bugs and issues, in particular things that regress from the previous release. Upgrade to vivid today and see what you can break!

This tool is written in drupal7 and runs the iso.qa.ubuntu.com and packages.qa.ubuntu.com sites. These sites are used to record and view the results of all of our manual testing efforts. Currently dkessel is leading the effort on implementing some needed UI changes. The code and more information about the project can be found on launchpad. The tracker is one of our primary tools and needs your help to become friendly for everyone to use.

In addition a charm would be useful to simplify setting up a development environment. The charm can be based upon the existing drupal charm. At the moment this work is ready for someone to jump in.

Running unity8 as a full-time desktop is a personal goal I have for this cycle. I hope some others might also want to be early adopters and join me in this goal. For now you can help by testing the unity8 desktop. Have a look at running unity in lxc for an easy way to run unity8 today on your machine. Use it, test it, and offer feedback. I'll be talking more about unity8 as the cycle progresses and opportunities to test new features aimed at the desktop appear.

Core Apps
The core apps project is an excellent way to get involved. These applications have been lovingly developed by community members just like you. Many of the teams are looking for help in writing tests and for someone who can help bring a testing mindset and eye to the work. As of this writing specifically the docviewer, terminal and calculator teams would love your help. The core apps hackdays are happening this week, drop by and introduce yourself to get started!

Manual Tests
Like the sound of writing tests but the idea of writing code turns you off? Manual tests are needed as well! They are written in English and are easy to understand and write. Manual tests include everything you see on the qatracker and are managed as a launchpad project. This means you can pick a bug and "fix it" by submitting a merge request. The bugs involve both fixing existing tests as well as requests for new testcases.

As always there are images that need testing. Testing milestones occur later in the cycle which involve everyone helping to test a specific set of images. In the meantime, daily images are generated that have made it through the automated tests and are ready for manual testing. Booting an image in a live session is a great way to check for regressions on your machine. Doing this early in the cycle can help make sure your hardware and others like it experience a regression free upgrade when the time comes.

After subjecting software to testing, bugs are naturally found. These bugs then need to be verified and triaged. The bugsquadders, as they are called, would be happy to help you learn to categorize or triage bugs and do other tasks.

No matter how you choose to get involved, feel free to contact me for help if needed. Most of all, Happy Testing!

Walter Lapchynski: happy Haul-a-Days

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 12:42

Bikes are a lot like open source.

With public source code and development processes, open source software puts the power of your software into your own hands. Additionally, it creates huge communities of support, testing, and development. Once you discover the beauty of open source, you find yourself wanting to use it everywhere. It's gotten to the point with me that I've even sought out open source hardware. Eventually it gets to the point, I think, where you want everything to be open source.

Bikes put the power of transportation into your own hands. Sure, bikes are fun and good for your health, but their mechanical simplicity makes them approachable to everyone. Additionally, their remarkable efficiency and utility make them appropriate for all sorts of things beyond recreation. Once you've experienced the freedom and joy of riding to the grocery store, you want to use your bike everywhere.

Thankfully now, I truly can. Thanks to Bike Friday's new Haul-a-Day cargo bike, I can bring nearly anything with my bike. With a standard cargo capacity of 200 pounds (upgradable, too!), a mere 32 pounds, and adjustability for everyone, it's practical for nearly every situation. Did I mention it's short enough to fit on a standard bus rack, hanging up in a bike train car, and even disassemble to make taking it with you a breeze?

I've hauled a harvest of quince to share (that's no small feat, I might add!). I've taken a huge load of unwanted electronics to the local recycling center. I've taxied my daughter and all of her stuff and my stuff to school. I've carried my spare bike home with me. Most interestingly, because it is so lightweight, I mostly use it as a normal bike.

Other people in the community of users have used theirs most for hauling kids (it's a nice alternative to a mini-van!), but there have also been such unique things as generating electricity and showing movies. In fact, those very ideas can now be yours with the Haul-a-Day Kickstarter campaign, along with everything from handmade cards to t-shirts.

We have turned to crowdfunding as a way to integrate the community into the development process and to allow for greater capacity to really stimulate major production. We manufacture in the domestic United States and that is great for our local economy but is not without its challenges. This boost will allow us to really propel the project forward. We met our goal a long time ago, but we're very close to meeting our 3rd stretch goal which will allow us to finish some oft-requested developments, including a trailer bike attachment and an electric assist option. Please contribute anything you can, even $1, as it's going to a good cause!

We don't necessarily have the bike design open sourced, but I believe that Bike Friday is a lot like any other open source community. It's full of users more than happy to volunteer their time to help others. It has an inviting and passionate group of project contributors (even though they all may work for the parent dcompany). It doesn't hide behind some corporate image, but is a real workplace of real people, where you can talk to someone, and where humble hoensty and transparency is a norm. Finally, it listens to its users, who often make their own modifications and experiments and document them for us.

We are also a company that values open source software, using FreeBSD and Ubuntu servers and Kubuntu on most of our workstations. Thunderbird, Firefox, and LibreOffice are all common applications we use on a daily basis.

Indeed, we know that open source can save the world. Bikes can, too. Now what if we put two and two together? What about an open source hardware electric bike kit? Or an open source mobile application that keeps track of your cadence? I'm shocked this isn't out there yet.

Actually, there are a number of open source bike things out there (to name a few):

What's your open source bike idea?

Lydia Pintscher: Keeping our eyes on the big picture – High Priority Projects

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:23

Free Software has made great strides in all kinds of areas and improved our lives. Nonetheless there are still many areas where people don’t have the freedom to use, study, modify and redistribute software that is important to them. The Free Software Foundation has a list of projects where it is especially important to provide a new or better Free Software solution. I am very happy to see that the process for maintaining this list has been opened up now. The list is going to be renewed by a committee (that I am a part of). Our movement needs to keep the big picture in mind and attract new people for important areas if we want to make further progress on giving more people more control over more parts of their digital lives. But what should be on this list in the future? Where does Free Software need to make a difference? We need your input. For further details please see the announcement by the FSF.

Ubuntu Kernel Team: Kernel Team Meeting Minutes – December 09, 2014

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:13
Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.


20141209 Meeting Agenda

Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/kt-meeting.txt

Status: Vivid Development Kernel

The master-next branch of our Vivid kernel has been rebased to the
final v3.18 upstream kernel. We have pushed uploads to our team’s PPA
for preliminary testing. We’ll likely upload to the official archive
Important upcoming dates:
Thurs Dec 18 – Vivid Alpha 1 (~1 weeks away)
Thurs Jan 22 – Vivid Alpha 2 (~6 weeks away)
Fri Jan 9 – 14.04.2 Kernel Freeze (~4 weeks away)
Thurs Feb 5 – 14.04.2 Point Release (~8 weeks away)

Status: CVE’s

The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:


Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Utopic/Trusty/Precise/Lucid

Status for the main kernels, until today:

  • Lucid – Testing
  • Precise – Testing
  • Trusty – Testing
  • Utopic – Testing

    Current opened tracking bugs details:

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/kernel-sru-workflow.html

    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/sru-report.html


    cycle: 21-Nov through 13-Dec
    21-Nov Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    23-Nov – 29-Nov Kernel prep week.
    30-Nov – 13-Dec Bug verification; Regression testing; Release

Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No Open Discussions.

Mark Shuttleworth: Announcing Ubuntu Core, with snappy transactional updates!

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 09:00

What if your cloud instances could be updated with the same certainty and precision as your mobile phone – with carrier grade assurance that an update applies perfectly or is not applied at all? What if your apps could be isolated from one another completely, so there’s no possibility that installing one app could break another, and stronger assurance that a compromise of one app won’t compromise the data from another? When we set out to build the Ubuntu Phone we took on the challenge of raising the bar for reliability and security in the mobile market. And today that same technology is coming to the cloud, in the form of a new “snappy” image called Ubuntu Core, which is in beta today on Azure and as a KVM image you can run on any Linux machine.

This is in a sense the biggest break with tradition in 10 years of Ubuntu, because snappy Ubuntu Core doesn’t use debs or apt-get. We call it “snappy” because that’s the new bullet-proof mechanism for app delivery and system updates; it’s completely different to the traditional package-based Ubuntu server and desktop. The snappy system keeps each part of Ubuntu in a separate, read-only file, and does the same for each application. That way, developers can deliver everything they need to be confident their app will work exactly as they intend, and we can take steps to keep the various apps isolated from one another, and ensure that updates are always perfect. Of course, that means that apt-get won’t work, but that’s OK since developers can reuse debs to make their snappy apps, and the core system is exactly the same as any other Ubuntu system – server or desktop.

Whenever we make a fix to packages in Ubuntu, we’ll publish the same fix to Ubuntu Core, and systems can get that fix transactionally. In fact, updates to Ubuntu Core are even smaller than package updates because we only need to send the precise difference between the old and new versions, not the whole package. Of course, Ubuntu Core is in addition to all the current members of the Ubuntu family – desktop, server, and cloud images that use apt-get and debs, and all the many *buntu remixes which bring their particular shine to our community. You still get all the Ubuntu you like, and there’s a new snappy Core image on all the clouds for the sort of deployment where precision, specialism and security are the top priority.

This is the biggest new thing in Ubuntu since we committed to deliver a mobile phone platform, and it’s very delicious that it’s borne of exactly the same amazing technology that we’ve been perfecting for these last three years. I love it when two completely different efforts find underlying commonalities, and it’s wonderful to me that the work we’ve done for the phone, where carriers and consumers are the audience, might turn out to be so useful in the cloud, which is all about back-end infrastructure.

Why is this so interesting?

Transactional updates have lots of useful properties: if they are done well, you can know EXACTLY what’s running on a particular system, and you can coordinate updates with very high precision across thousands of instances in the cloud. You can run systems as canaries, getting updates ahead of other identical systems to see if they cause unexpected problems. You can roll updates back, because each version is a complete, independent image. That’s very nice indeed.

There have been interesting developments in the transaction systems field over the past few years. ChromeOS is updated transactionally, when you turn it on, it makes sure it’s running the latest version of the OS. CoreOS brought aspects of Chrome OS and Gentoo to the cloud, Red Hat has a beta of Atomic as a transactional version of RHEL, and of course Docker is a way of delivering apps transactionally too (it combines app and system files very neatly). Ubuntu Core raises the bar for certainty, extensibility and security in the transactional systems game. What I love about Ubuntu Core is the way it embraces transactional updates not just for the base system but for applications on top of the system as well. The system is just one layer that can be updated transactionally, and so are each of the apps on the system. You get an extensible platform that retains the lovely properties of transactionality but lets you choose exactly the capabilities you want for yourself, rather than having someone else force you to use a particular tool.

For example, in CoreOS, things like Fleet are built-in, you can’t opt out. In Ubuntu Core, we aim for a much smaller Core, and then enable you to install Docker or any other container system as a framework, with snappy. We’re working with all the different container vendors, and app systems, and container coordination systems, to help them make snappy versions of their tools. That way, you get the transactional semantics you want with the freedom to use whichever tools suit you. And the whole thing is smaller and more secure because we baked fewer assumptions into the core.

The snappy system is also designed to provide security guarantees across diverse environments. Because there is a single repository of frameworks and packages, and each of them has a digital fingerprint that cannot be faked, two people on opposite ends of the world can compare their systems and know that they are running exactly the same versions of the system and apps. Atomic might allow you to roll back, but it’s virtually impossible to customise the system for your own preferences rather than Red Hat’s, and still know you are running the same secure bits as anybody else.

Developers of snappy apps get much more freedom to bundle the exact versions of libraries that they want to use with their apps. It’s much easier to make a snappy package than a traditional Ubuntu package – just bundle up everything you want in one place, and ship it. We use strong application isolation to keep data confidential between apps. If you install a bad app, it only has access to the data you create with that app, not to data from other applications. This is a key piece of security that comes from our efforts to bring Ubuntu to the mobile market, where malware is a real problem today. And as a result, we can enable developers to go much faster – they can publish their app on whatever schedule suits them, regardless of the Ubuntu release cadence. Want the very latest app? Snappy makes that easiest.

This is also why I think snappy will result in much simpler systems management. Instead of having literally thousands of packages on your Ubuntu server, with tons of dependencies, a snappy system just has a single package for each actual app or framework that’s installed. I bet the average system on the cloud ends up with about three packages installed, total! Try this sort of output:

$ snappy info release: ubuntu-core/devel frameworks: docker, panamax apps: owncloud

That’s much easier to manage and reason about at scale. We recently saw how complicated things can get in the old packaging system, when Owncloud upstream wanted to remove the original packages of Owncloud from an old Ubuntu release. With snappy Ubuntu, Owncloud can publish exactly what they want you to use as a snappy package, and can update that for you directly, in a safe transactional manner with full support for rolling back. I think upstream developers are going to love being in complete control of their app on snappy Ubuntu Core.

$ sudo snappy install hello-world

Welcome to a snappy new world!

Things here are really nice and simple:

$ snappy info $ snappy build . $ snappy install foo $ snappy update foo $ snappy rollback foo $ snappy remove foo $ snappy update-versions $ snappy versions

Just for fun, download the image and have a play. I’m delighted that Ubuntu Core is today’s Qemu Advent Calendar image too! Or launch it on Azure, coming soon to all the clouds.

It’s important for Ubuntu to continue to find new ways to bring free software to a wider audience. The way people think about software is changing, and I think Ubuntu Core becomes a very useful tool for people doing stuff at huge scale in the cloud. If you want crisp, purposeful, tightly locked down systems that are secure by design, Ubuntu Core and snappy packages are the right tool for the job. Running docker farms? Running transcode farms? I think you’ll like this very much!

We have the world’s biggest free software community because we find ways to recognise all kinds of contributions and to support people helping one another to bring their ideas to fruition. One of the goals of snappy was to reduce the overhead and bureaucracy of packaging software to make it incredibly easy for anybody to publish code they care about to other Ubuntu users. We have built a great community of developers using this toolchain for the phone, I think it’s going to be even better on the cloud where Ubuntu is already so popular. There is a lot to do in making the most of existing debs in the snappy environment, and I’m excited that there is a load of amazing software on github that can now flow more easily to Ubuntu users on any cloud.

Welcome to the family, Ubuntu Core!

The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 395

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 19:01

Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #395 for the week December 1 – 7, 2014, and the full version is available here.

In this issue we cover:

The issue of The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter is brought to you by:

  • Paul White
  • Elizabeth K. Joseph
  • Walter Lapchynski
  • And many others

If you have a story idea for the Weekly Newsletter, join the Ubuntu News Team mailing list and submit it. Ideas can also be added to the wiki!

Except where otherwise noted, content in this issue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License BY SA Creative Commons License

Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 395

The Fridge - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 19:01

Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #395 for the week December 1 – 7, 2014, and the full version is available here.

In this issue we cover:

The issue of The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter is brought to you by:

  • Paul White
  • Elizabeth K. Joseph
  • Walter Lapchynski
  • And many others

If you have a story idea for the Weekly Newsletter, join the Ubuntu News Team mailing list and submit it. Ideas can also be added to the wiki!

Except where otherwise noted, content in this issue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License BY SA Creative Commons License

Andrew Pollock: [tech] A geek Dad goes to Kindergarten with a box full of Open Source and some vegetables

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 10:04

Zoe's Kindergarten encourages parents to come in and spend some time with the kids. I've heard reports of other parents coming in and doing baking with the kids or other activities at various times throughout the year.

Zoe and I had both wanted me to come in for something, but it had taken me until the last few weeks of the year to get my act together and do something.

I'd thought about coming in and doing some baking, but that seemed rather done to death already, and it's not like baking is really my thing, so I thought I'd do something technological. I just wracked my brains for something low effort and Kindergarten-age friendly.

The Kindergarten has a couple of eduss touch screens. They're just some sort of large-screen with a bunch of inputs and outputs on them. I think the Kindergarten mostly uses them for showing DVDs and hooking up a laptop and possibly doing something interactive on them.

As they had HDMI input, and my Raspberry Pi had HDMI output, it seemed like a no-brainer to do something using the Raspberry Pi. I also thought hooking up the MaKey MaKey to it would make for a more fun experience. I just needed to actually have it all do something, and that's where I hit a bit of a creative brick wall.

I thought I'd just hack something together where based on different inputs on the MaKey MaKey, a picture would get displayed and a sound played. Nothing fancy at all. I really struggled to get a picture displayed full screen in a time efficient manner. My Pi was running Raspbian, so it was relatively simple to configure LightDM to auto-login and auto-start something. I used triggerhappy to invoke a shell script, which took care of playing a sound and an image.

Playing a sound was easy. Displaying an image less so, especially if I wanted the image loaded fast. I really wanted to avoid having to execute an image viewer every time an input fired, because that would be just way too slow. I thought I'd found a suitable application in Geeqie, because it supported being out of band managed, but it's problem was it also responded to the inputs from the MaKey MaKey, so it became impossible to predictably display the right image with the right input.

So the night before I was supposed to go to Kindergarten, I was up beating my head against it, and decided to scrap it and go back to the drawing board. I was looking around for a Kindergarten-friendly game that used just the arrow keys, and I remembered the trusty old Frozen Bubble.

This ended up being absolutely perfect. It had enough flags to control automatic startup, so I could kick it straight into a dumbed-down full screen 1 player game (--fullscreen --solo --no-time-limit)

The kids absolutely loved it. They were cycled through in groups of four and all took turns having a little play. I brought a couple of heads of broccoli, a zucchini and a potato with me. I started out using the two broccoli as left and right and the zucchini to fire, but as it turns out, not all the kids were as good with the "left" and "right" as Zoe, so I swapped one of the broccoli for a potato and that made things a bit less ambiguous.

The responses from the kids were varied. Quite a few clearly had their minds blown and wanted to know how the broccoli was controlling something on the screen. Not all of them got the hang of the game play, but a lot did. Some picked it up after having a play and then watching other kids play and then came back for a more successful second attempt. Some weren't even sure what a zucchini was.

Overall, it was a very successful activity, and I'm glad I switched to Frozen Bubble, because what I'd originally had wouldn't have held up to the way the kids were using it. There was a lot of long holding/touching of the vegetables, which would have fired hundreds of repeat events, and just totally overwhelmed triggerhappy. Quite a few kids wanted to pick up and hold the vegetables instead of just touch them to send an event. As it was, the Pi struggled to play Frozen Bubble enough as it was.

The other lesson I learned pretty quickly was that an aluminium BBQ tray worked a lot better as the grounding point for the MaKey MaKey than having to tether an anti-static strap around each kid's ankle as they sat down in front of the screen. Once I switched to the tray, I could rotate kids through the activity much faster.

I just wish I was a bit more creative, or there were more Kindergarten-friendly arrow-key driven Linux applications out there, but I was happy with what I managed to hack together with a fairly minimal amount of effort.

Valorie Zimmerman: Institutions in KDE?

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 03:24
The Randa Meetings are becoming an institution in KDE. Really? And is that a good thing, or not. When I complimented Mario Fux on the excellent on-going work he is doing on the Randa Meetings, he was surprised and maybe offended that I called it an institution.

I've been thinking about this since reading The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama. The basis of my comment is that in some ways, our KDE community is like a state.
Modern political order ...consists of ...[first] a modern state, with competent and honest officials, not prone to nepotism, corruption, and clientelism. Second is the rule of law, or binding constraints upon the rulers as well as the ruled. Third is accountability, usually via elections but also via a sense of responsibility towards the people, a sense of ruling for the common good.  - from http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1261, a review of the book.

What supports and keeps a state alive are institutions. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia, social institutions are ... sets of rules and norms that organise human activities within a society. These rules and norms aren't just written law, such as our Code of Conduct and Manifesto, but also the unwritten "way we do things here." We have our habit of collaboration, our e.V., Akademy, our infrastructure, our coding style, APIs, documentation, and so forth.

And what is cool is to see that we continue to adapt to a changing world. I see the Frameworks effort as leap forward in our ability to adapt. The Plasma 5 work has flexibility written into it from the beginning, especially important as new form factors come onto the market. And we seem to be doing this within our community as well as in our code.

Fukuyama spoke not only about the development of the major institutions: the state, the rule of law, and accountability, but also of political decay, which happens when institutions grow rigid, and don't change with the times. I see the opposite with KDE.

Randa Meetings are a beautiful example of how one great idea has grown into something people look forward to, plan for, and support in many ways. We've had sprints for a long time, but now the year's calendar feels empty if there is no Randa meeting planned. The teams there not only do a sprint as usual, but also feed on the energy of the other teams around them, and collaborate on the fly. The Randa Meetings, like Akademy, have become indispensable; a norm. And that's a good thing.

Benjamin Kerensa: Mozilla All Hands: They can’t hold us!

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 13:06
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform for Mozilla

What a wonderful all hands we had this past week. The entire week was full of meetings and planning and I must say I was exhausted by Thursday having been up each day working by 6:00am and going to bed by midnight.

I’m very happy to report that I made a lot of progress on meeting with more people to discuss the future of Firefox Extended Support Release and how to make it a much better offering to organizations.

I also spent some time talking to folks about Firefox in Ubuntu and rebranding Iceweasel to Firefox in Debian (fingers crossed something will happen here in 2015). Also it was great to participate in discussions around making all of the Firefox channels offer more stability and quality to our users.

It was great to hear that we will be doing some work to bring Firefox to iOS which I think will fill a gap that has existed for our users of OSX who have an iPhone.  Anyways, what I can say about this all hands is that there were lots of opportunities for discussions on quality and the future is looking very bright.

Also a big thanks to Lukas Blakk who put together an early morning excursion to Sherwood Ice Arena where Mozillians played some matches of hockey which I took photos of here.

In closing, I have to say it was a great treat for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to come and perform for us in a private show and help us celebrate Mozilla.


Benjamin Kerensa: Chasing the wrong problems

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 19:44

As the discussion on Ubuntu Governance has progressed, it seems the Community Council decided to host a meeting the other day to discuss the topic while the conversation pivoted around a few topics.

I want to add my two cents and say I really do not think that the Ubuntu Community has suffered from a lack of leadership and good governance, both separate things.  I think Jonathan Carter (Highvoltage) really nailed it when he said this in the Community Council meeting “if you visit a canonical page on community and how to get involved, it’s *full* of whatever’s important to canonical right now” and he went on to add some examples on where Canonical has in the past just made important decisions without input from Community and pointed out there are even more recent examples he could offer.

So the real issue is if the Ubuntu Community wants to tackle it is not leadership or governance because we have brilliant leaders and members of governance but instead it is making contributors feel like they are stakeholders again and kept in the loop. Mind you, the Canonical Community Team has repeatedly promised to help Canonical employees get better at keeping the community in the loop even promising such at UDS-P but my experience has been they never really got better.

Finally, I think an Ubuntu Foundation is still a great idea and could create some harmony between Canonical’s commercial interests and the community interests of the project. Projects that have had companies controlling the project have never had great success at sustaining a community because the commercial interests always win at the end of the day.

Something needs to be done otherwise there will be a continued decline in participation in Ubuntu. Let me say the only reason Ubuntu Membership has not had the same downtrend as UDS participation and governance participation is because you do not need to be re-vetted to be an Ubuntu Member. We have folks who are Ubuntu members who have not been on IRC, Mailing List or anywhere in the project in years but are still members. The reality is that if we just looked at contributions, the actual amount of contributors today is far less than the member rolls represent.

Lubuntu Blog: Box icons release 0.49

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 13:30
It's been a while since last post, but no, we're not dead, just busy preparing everything for 15.04 and it's new features. Now the icon theme part has been updated since Utopic Unicorn release with a few modifications (see the changelog here) improving integration with LXQt, and we'll keep working on it.

And remember you can use it with any Linux distro! Download it while it's hot.

Ali Jawad: Help, Contribution and Activity

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 05:55
Hi, I would like to share my own vision, thoughts and discuss 3 terms we usually use daily in our projects that we are part of, specially within Ubuntu family. First of all, most if not all of us are volunteers. We are not getting paid for what we do. We do that because we […]

Ali Jawad: How I prefer to learn?

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 20:38
Hi, In life, there are two different ways or approaches: The Easy Short Way The Hard Long Way That applies to Learning. For me? I prefer to take the hard long way and I shall explain why To KISS, I believe easy come, easy go and I believe that applies to learning as well. Yes, […]


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