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Jono Bacon: Reducing Texting and Driving: An Idea

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 07/18/2016 - 08:29

This weekend I dropped Erica off at the airport. Driving through San Francisco we saw an inventive billboard designed to reduce texting and driving. Driver distraction is a big problem, with a 2012 study suggesting over 3,000 deaths and 421,000 injuries were a result of distraction. I am pretty confident those shiny, always connected cellphones are indeed a common distraction during a boring drive or in times when you are anxious for information.

So anyway, we were driving past this billboard designed to reduce texting and driving and it included an Apple messages icon with a message awaiting. It was similar to, but not the same as this:

While these billboards are good to have, I suspect they are only effective when they go beyond advocating a behavior and are actually able to trigger a real behavioral change. Rory Sutherland’s example of Scotland changing speeding signs from the number to an unhappy face, being a prime example – instead of telling drivers to drive more slowly, they tapped into the psychology of initiating that behavioral change.

When I saw this sign, it actually had the opposite effect on me. Seeing the notification icon with a message waiting caused a cognitive discomfort that something needed checking, tending to, and completing. You guessed it: it made me actually want to check my phone.

The Psychology of Notifications

This got me thinking about the impact of notifications on our lives and whether part of the reason people text and drive is not because they voluntarily pick up the phone and screw around with it, but instead because they are either (a) notified by audio, or (b) feel the notification itch to regularly check their phone to see if there are new notifications and then action them. Given how both Android and Apple phones both display notifications on the unlocked screen, this makes it particularly easy to see a notification and then action it by clicking on it and loading the app, and then potentially smash your car into a Taco Bell sign.

There is of course some psychology that supports this. Classical Conditioning demonstrates that we can associate regularly exposed stimuli with key responses. As such, we could potentially associate time away from our computers, travel, or other cognitive functions such as driving, as a time when we think about our relationships, our work, and therefore feel the urge to use our phones. In addition to this, research in Florida demonstrated that any kind of audio notifications fundamentally disrupt productivity and thus are distracting.

A Software Solution?

As such, it strikes me that a simple solution for reducing texting and driving could be to simply reduce notifications while driving.

For this work, I think a solution would need to be:

  • Automatic – it detects when you are traveling and suitably disengages notifications.
  • Contextual – sometimes we are speeding along but not driving (such as taking a subway, or as a passenger in a car).
  • Incentivized – it is unlikely we can expect all phone makers to switch this on by default and not make it able to be disabled (nor should we). As such, we need to incentivize people to use a feature like this.

For the automatic piece some kind of manual installation would likely be needed but then the app could actively block notifications when it automatically detects the phone is above a given speed threshold. This could be done via transitional points between GPS waypoints and/or wifi hotspots (if in a database). If the app detects someone going faster than a given speed, it kicks in.

For the contextual piece I am running thin on ideas for how to do this. One option could be to use the accelerometer to determine if the phone is stationary or not (most people seem to put their phones in a cup holder or phone holder when they drive). If the accelerometer is wiggling around it might suggest the person is a passenger and has the phone on their lap, pocket, or in their hand. Another option could be an additional device that connects to the phone over bluetooth that determines proximity of the person in the car (e.g. a wrist-band, camera, sensor on the seat, or something else), but this would get away from the goals of it being automatic.

For the incentive piece, this is a critical component. With teenagers a common demographic, and thus first-time drivers, money could be an incentive. Lower insurance fees (particularly given how expensive teenagers are to insure), discounts/offers at stores teenagers care about (e.g. hot topic for the greebos out there, free food and other ideas could be an incentive. For older drivers the same benefits could apply, just in a different context.


While putting up billboards to tell people to be responsible human beings is one tool in reducing accidents, we are better positioned than ever to use a mixture of technology and psychology to creatively influence behavior more effectively. If I had the time, I would love to work on something like this, but I don’t have the time, so I figured I would share the idea here as a means to inspire some discussion and ideas.

So, comments, feedback, and ideas welcome!

Svetlana Belkin: What Programs Do I Use: Diodon

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 07/17/2016 - 08:20

The commands copy and paste are deadly useful, but what if you need to retain what you have copied and pasted after you copied something else?  That’s where clipboard managers come in play.  I know some use gedit/notepad but to me that requires an extra step since one needs to paste the item then recopy it when its needed.

There are programs that allow items to be copied onto a clipboard and then selected from a menu. One such program is Diodon which I use.  It’s an integrated clipboard manager for the Gnome/Unity desktop that has the features that I need.  Ones like:

  • Expendable item list
  • Searchable items via the Dash
  • Automatic paste when item is selected
  • Plug-ins!

If you need one, you can give Diodon a shot.

Ddorda: Awesome!!

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 07/16/2016 - 14:43

Hey guys (and girls),

For a long while I’ve been happily using Fluxbox, and actually I must say, that I started to get a little bored. The reason I moved to Fluxbox is to stay away from limiting-WM, like Unity or GNOME3. but after a while using Fluxbox, I felt I want something even more hardcore, that will give me even more control on my computer.

After a talk with my roommate (which just recently installed Linux, and quite quickly became a Linux master :D), We decided both to switch to Awesome WM, which from the current point of view, seems like a great decision!

Awesome is acutally named after Barney Stinson!

Few words about Awesome and what makes it so awesome:
Awesome is a very lightweight, dynamic WM, in which you are able to modify just about anything. You have one (very long) configuration file named rc.lua, and yes, all the configuration is in Lua. actually the configuration is way more than just configuration, it’s the whole WM: widgets, toolbars, the way windows work, act and move, shortcuts, mouse actions, menus and more and more and more – everything is lua scripts, extremely configurable.

As I mentioned above, the configuration is huge lua file, containing just about anything in the wm, which makes it hard to read, and easy to mess. for that reason one of the first things I did after installing Awesome, is to split the configuration to several files, and by that making it very easy to understand and modify.
Of course that if I can think of something, probably it’s already in the internet, so after some googling I found phyber’s splitted rc.lua, which gave me a great something to start with  :)

Some more stuff I wrote for my configuration:
Language switcher (which made me write a patch for xkb-switcher)
– extremely generic startup autorun
– hacked Calendar35 a little bit to work with my local configuration

might wanna have a peek in my Github repository.

Anyways – any awesome users out there? I’m looking for tips, ideas, and mostly people for showing off from time to time (my gf isn’t impressed too much from my geeky shit :P)

Dor :)

Paul Tagliamonte: The Open Source License API

Planet Ubuntu - Sat, 07/16/2016 - 12:30

Around a year ago, I started hacking together a machine readable version of the OSI approved licenses list, and casually picking parts up until it was ready to launch. A few weeks ago, we officially announced the osi license api, which is now live at api.opensource.org.

I also took a whack at writing a few API bindings, in Python, Ruby, and using the models from the API implementation itself in Go. In the following few weeks, Clint wrote one in Haskell, Eriol wrote one in Rust, and Oliver wrote one in R.

The data is sourced from a repo on GitHub, the licenses repo under OpenSourceOrg. Pull Requests against that repo are wildly encouraged! Additional data ideas, cleanup or more hand collected data would be wonderful!

In the meantime, use-cases for using this API range from language package managers pulling OSI approval of a licence programatically to using a license identifier as defined in one dataset (SPDX, for exampele), and using that to find the identifer as it exists in another system (DEP5, Wikipedia, TL;DR Legal).

Patches are hugly welcome, as are bug reports or ideas! I'd also love more API wrappers for other languages!

Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, June 2016

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 07/15/2016 - 23:31

Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

Individual reports

In June, 158.25 work hours have been dispatched among 11 paid contributors. Their reports are available:

DebConf 16 Presentation

If you want to know more about how the LTS project is organized, you can watch the presentation I gave during DebConf 16 in Cape Town.

Evolution of the situation

The number of sponsored hours increased a little bit at 135 hours per month thanks to 3 new sponsors (Laboratoire LEGI – UMR 5519 / CNRS, Quarantainenet BV, GNI MEDIA). Our funding goal is getting closer but it’s not there yet.

The security tracker currently lists 40 packages with a known CVE and the dla-needed.txt file lists 38 packages awaiting an update.

Thanks to our sponsors

New sponsors are in bold.

Costales: Your OpenStreetMap server in 120GB

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 07/15/2016 - 08:04
1. Install Ubuntu 14.04 server.
Remember to enable the firewall:
costales@maps:~$ sudo ufw allow http
costales@maps:~$ sudo ufw allow sshcostales@maps:~$ sudo ufw enable

2. Check that you have all locales right:

costales@maps:~$ locale

If some of them are empty, add them to /etc/environment, in my case LC_ALL & LANGUAGE:

costales@maps:~$ cat /etc/environment

3. Install the server from a PPA:
sudo apt-get install software-properties-commonsudo add-apt-repository ppa:kakrueger/openstreetmapsudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-tile osmctools

4. Import a map: We'll drop so many data for allow the smallest database, then space in hard disk ;)4.1 Download from here in pbf. For example, europe-latest.osm.pbf:costales@maps:~$ wget http://download.geofabrik.de/europe-latest.osm.pbf
4.2 Do it small, we'll keep only the roads:costales@maps:~$ osmconvert europe-latest.osm.pbf -o=europe.o5mcostales@maps:~$ osmfilter europe.o5m --drop-author --drop-version --keep="highway=cycleway" --keep="highway=path" --keep="highway=footway" --keep="highway=track" --keep="highway=service" --keep="highway=pedestrian" --keep="highway=unclassified" --keep="highway=residential" --keep="highway=tertiary" --keep="highway=secondary" --keep="highway=primary" --keep="highway=trunk" --keep="highway=motorway" --keep="highway=" --drop-tags="alt_name" --drop-tags="source" --drop-tags="maxspeed" --drop-tags="created_by" --drop-tags="wheelchair*" -o=europe_tmp.o5mcostales@maps:~$ osmconvert europe_tmp.o5m -o=europe_end.pbfcostales@maps:~$ rm europe-latest.osm.pbf europe.o5m europe_tmp.o5m
4.3 Import it into the database:costales@maps:~$ osm2pgsql --drop --slim -C 1700 --number-processes 2 europe_end.pbf1700 is the GB of RAM and 2 the CPUs.

5. Set it as complete and restart the service:costales@maps:~$ touch /var/lib/mod_tile/planet-import-completecostales@maps:~$ sudo /etc/init.d/renderd restart

6. It's done! Check it: http://localhost/osm/slippymap.html

Ubuntu Insights: Notice of security breach on Ubuntu Forums

Planet Ubuntu - Fri, 07/15/2016 - 05:43

There has been a security breach on the Ubuntu Forums site. We take information security and user privacy very seriously, follow a strict set of security practices and this incident has triggered a thorough investigation. Corrective action has been taken, and full service of the Forums has been restored.  In the interest of transparency, we’d like to share the details of the breach and what steps have been taken.  We apologise for the breach and ensuing inconvenience.

What happened

At 20:33 UTC on 14th July 2016, Canonical’s IS team were notified by a member of the Ubuntu Forums Council that someone was claiming to have a copy of the Forums database.

After some initial investigation, we were able to confirm there had been an exposure of data and shut down the Forums as a precautionary measure.  Deeper investigation revealed that there was a known SQL injection vulnerability in the Forumrunner add-on in the Forums which had not yet been patched.

What the attacker could access

The attacker had the ability to inject certain formatted SQL to the Forums database on the Forums database servers. This gave them the ability to read from any table but we believe they only ever read from the ‘user’ table.

They used this access to download portions of the ‘user’ table which contained usernames, email addresses and IPs for 2 million users. No active passwords were accessed; the passwords stored in this table were random strings as the Ubuntu Forums rely on Ubuntu Single Sign On for logins. The attacker did download these random strings (which were hashed and salted).

What the attacker could not access

We know the attacker was NOT able to gain access to any Ubuntu code repository or update mechanism.

We know the attacker was NOT able to gain access to valid user passwords.

We believe the attacker was NOT able to escalate past remote SQL read access to the Forums database on the Forums database servers.

We believe the attacker was NOT able to gain remote SQL write access to the Forums database.

We believe the attacker was NOT able to gain shell access on any of the Forums app or database servers.

We believe the attacker did NOT gain any access at all to the Forums front end servers.

We believe the attacker was NOT able to gain any access to any other Canonical or Ubuntu services.

What we’ve done Cleanup
  • We backed up the servers running vBulletin, and then wiped them clean and rebuilt them from the ground up.
  • We brought vBulletin up to the latest patch level.
  • We reset all system and database passwords.
  • We’ve installed ModSecurity, a Web Application Firewall, to help prevent similar attacks in the future.
  • We’ve improved our monitoring of vBulletin to ensure that security patches are applied promptly.

Lubuntu Blog: Lubuntu Bug Day

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 07/14/2016 - 22:20
The Lubuntu team is running a bug day on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. It’s a spin of a hug day. We will have an Ubuntu On Air session on Monday, July 25, 2016 from 19 to 20 UTC. I will give a presentation for the first half, then for the second half, I will be […]

Jono Bacon: Scratch Community Manager Position Available

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 07/14/2016 - 21:27

A while back Mako introduced me to Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Mitchel is a tremendous human being; warm, passionate, and terribly creative in solving interesting problems.

Mitchel introduced me to some members of his team and the conversation was focused on how they can find a good community manager for the Scratch learning environment. For the cave-dwellers among you, Scratch is a wonderful platform for teaching kids programming and the core principles involved.

So, we discussed the role and I helped to shape the role description somewhat.

It is a really awesome and important opportunity, particularly if you are passionate about kids and technology. It is a role that is calling for a creative thinker to take Scratch to the next level and impact a whole new generation of kids and how they can build interesting things with computers. While some community managers focus a lot on the outreach pieces (blogging, social media, and events), I encourage those of you interested in this role to also think of it from a deeper perspective of workflow, building different types of community, active collaboration, and more.

Check out the role description here and apply. If you and I know each other, feel free to let them know this and I am happy to share with them more about you. Good luck!

Stephen Michael Kellat: Omnibus Grab Bag

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 07/14/2016 - 20:38
Poking My Head Back In

It seems that I occasionally end up mentioning that I am still out there. This time it came about through leaving comments on a merge request. I haven't done such in a while due to the demands of my job. My account hasn't been hijacked on Launchpad and it really is me. After some time to reflect during the day I've come to recognize how jaded and cynical I can get in my day job.

Other Changes

It feels horrible not being a online content creator lately. I'm still a podcast listener and a working list of what I subscribe to is available via gpodder.net. I encourage everyone to subscribe to Cybersauce World News, the Podcast Of Power.

I will be creating some content and presenting it on August 21st. This will be done primarily with F/LOSS tools. On behalf of the domestic missions Field Activity for West Avenue Church of Christ I will be preaching and leading Sunday services at the Music Along the River festival in the Harpersfield Covered Bridge metropark. The event has a Facebook presence. I've submitted a holding title for the Sunday sermon but may still change my mind as to what I'm speaking about. Initial thoughts were to be working from James 5.

Repeating Something From Elsewhere

My job is not good for my health. My last medical appointment was one where the medical provider yelled at me asking why I was still there. Complaints about having to pay the bills, keeping a roof over not just my head but also the heads of my parents, and more were offered as reasons as why I'm still there.

We've been trying for games to help keep stress down. One has been to take a somewhat blanked out map of the USA and just put tick marks down each call to track which states are calling. That way you can see if the flavor of your day is Sunny Southwest, New England Chowder, Cajun/Gulf Coast, Cloudy Northwest, or EXTREMELY ANGRY New Yorker. Too many of the EXTREMELY ANGRY New Yorker especially with a helping of snotty Jersey boys leads to having A Bad Hair Day. My call queue keeps coming up Cajun/Gulf Coast.

It could be said that The Process Is The Punishment in dealing with my employer. That brings up Eighth Amendment concerns over cruel & unusual punishment. Then again, so do random thoughts about how unusual flogging might be if you took out the horse whip and substituted in the biggest fish possible and greased it in while lashing at a person in a flogging. That amendment to the constitution prohibits not just cruel punishments but also unusual ones that may shock the conscience but are not necessarily considered "cruel".

To bail me out of my nation's federal exchequer for something more stable yet sane such as the aerospace research project trying to consider the Outernet platform as it wants to move to cubesats even though it ignores cubesat history and suffers from a rejection by NASA to its aspirations while also evaluating what the startup is doing now, funds can be donated here: https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/fixing-potholes-of-the-information-superhighway/

The deadline for that is September 30th, the end of the federal government's fiscal year. I may be furloughed at any time before then as it stands now but September 30th is the hard upper limit due to the current lack of approved appropriations legislation. After furlough I am out without a job until an indefinite recall date. Raising the cash lets me quit my current post and conduct research for two years, publish papers, present at conferences, and build new directions.

Upgrade Paths

My laptop is now on Xubuntu 16.04 (64-bit). Assessing the household's machinery shows a surprising number of 32-bit machines. The one currently active is sitting on Lubuntu 14.04. Other machinery is in mothballs but is still usable. I've got some hard decisions to make.

Omnibus Grab Bag by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://identi.ca/alpacaherder/note/SvpAZ05qTcy4mRdMZcWBaQ.

Dirk Deimeke: Linkdump 28/2016 ...

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 07/14/2016 - 20:11

Der Urlaub wirft seine Schatten voraus, noch 206 Einträge in der Leseliste.

Da ist was dran, das Netzwerk ist austauschbar, Facebook ist das neue Fernsehen - und macht uns zu Analphabeten.

Die acht typischen Meeting-Fehler sind irgendwie auch schon länger bekannt.

Da sind wirtklich einmal zwei neue Tipps dabei, So holst Du das Maximum aus Deiner Arbeitszeit.

The Single Piece Of Advice That Changed The Course Of My Career a good article and a very good advice.

Even though I don't have a handwritten notebook, it is a good ritual to think about what needs to be in place for the next period of time, Migrating Notebooks.

Being tired isn’t a badge of honor for sure it is not, but I like to hear, if I should adjust me life to only sleep and work on weekdays.

Good one, if you own much, you have much to lose, Less is more? Yes, less is more..

Nahaufnahme - Die Limo-Prinzessin sehr sympathisch.

Es kommt natürlich auch immer darauf an, für welche Stelle man sich bewirbt, So testen Personaler im Vorstellungsgespräch eure emotionale Intelligenz.

letsencrypt.sh - get certificates with a shell script.

Ubuntu Insights: Charm Partner Newsletter: July

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 07/14/2016 - 08:38
In this issue…
  • Ecosystem growth: Welcome to our new partners
  • New features and tips: Juju GUI 2.0, using ZFS and LXD, and OPNFV charming
  • Upcoming events: Juju Charmer Summit 12-14 September and upcoming office hours
Ecosystem Growth

Canonical announced multiple signatories to its Juju Charm Partner Program (CPP) in June. We’ve added leading storage and networking solutions to the catalogue of public Juju charms. New additions include Nuage Networks from Nokia, CloudBase Solutions, Midokura and Quobyte.

New features, tips, & tricks Juju GUI 2.0

Over the last year we’ve been working on a redesign of the Juju GUI. This redesign project focused on improving four key areas:

  1. Improve the functionality of the core features of the GUI
  2. Reduce cognitive load and pace the user
  3. Provide an at-a-glance understanding of model health
  4. Surface functions and facilitate task-driven navigation

To learn more about the new design, read the full blog here.

Using Juju on your laptop with ZFS and LXD

One of the best things about using Juju locally on your laptop is the speed at which you can iterate locally and then push out to a real cloud. In the upcoming Juju 2.0 we’ve enabled Juju to use LXD, linux containers, and the ZFS filesystem for an even faster performing local-development set up that is our fastest experience ever.

  • LXD: a hypervisor for LXC, providing fast, secure containers
  • ZFS: a combined filesystem/LVM which gives great performance

LXD is set up out of the box to do things like cache your most common images, making a 2nd deployment of something much faster than the first. And ZFS’s copy-on-write ability means that when you horizontally scale a deployment on your local machine that it’s much faster than on a traditional filesystem.

Run the following commands to install the required software:

sudo apt update sudo apt install juju zfsutils-linux

In order to use LXD, your user must be in the ‘lxd’ group. All system users are automatically added to this group, but you may need to refresh the current session. You can confirm your user is part of this group by running the command:

newgrp lxd

LXD includes an interactive initialisation which will also set up a ZFS pool to use and configures networking for your containers. To start this process, enter:

sudo lxd init

You will be prompted for various options. As an example, to configure LXD to create a new 32GB ZFS pool to use, called ‘lxd-pool’, and set up a bridge network (required for Juju), your session would look like this:

Name of the storage backend to use (dir or zfs): zfs Create a new ZFS pool (yes/no)? yes Name of the new ZFS pool: lxd-pool Would you like to use an existing block device (yes/no)? no Size in GB of the new loop device (1GB minimum): 32 Would you like LXD to be available over the network (yes/no)? no Do you want to configure the LXD bridge (yes/no)? yes

The last question will initiate a series of dialogues to configure the bridge device and subnet. Except in the case the subnet may clash with existing networks, it is okay to accept the defaults on all dialogues (though it is not required to configure IPv6 networking).

And that’s it, you can bootstrap a lxd controller with `juju bootstrap name_you_choose lxd` and then use Juju normally.

You can also check out this older video showing off the ZFS/LXD/Juju combination:

OPNFV Juju Charm Training

This OPNFV Juju charm training is focused on OpenStack and VNFs charm development, and was filmed during OpenStack Summit in Austin.

Upcoming events Juju Charmer Summit

When? 12-14 September 2016

Where? Pasadena, California

We’re proud to announce that we’re ready to have our third conference around Juju, the Juju Charmers Summit, taking place September 12-14 in Pasadena, California, USA. All our charming experts are gathering in one place to help spread charming knowledge and technical networking. Attendees will have access to experts in charming OpenStack, NFV, Big Data, Containers (Swarm, Kubernetes, and Mesos), and Benchmarking. Attendance is free for anyone who wants to participate.

For more information please visit http://summit.juju.solutions/

Juju Office Hours

When? July 15th, 2016

Where? http://ubuntuonair.com for the stream


Participate: #juju on freenode

Juju Office Hours is a freeflow meeting where we discuss what’s happening in and around the ecosystem, what hot new changes are landing in charms and Juju itself, and our favorite part, you can join in and ask the team questions about anything Juju related.

We will cover as many topics as we can in an hour, and take questions from the crowd. If you want to participate in the hangout itself ping me ahead of time and we’d love to have you onboard.

Contact us! For more information on the Charm Partner Programme, please visit partners.ubuntu.com/programmes/charm

Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S09E20 – Dad’s Old Bits - Ubuntu Podcast

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 07/14/2016 - 07:00

It’s Episode Twenty of Season Nine of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson, Laura Cowen and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

We’re here again!

In this week’s show:

That’s all for this week! If there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss, or you have any feedback on previous shows, please send your comments and suggestions to show@ubuntupodcast.org or Tweet us or Comment on our Facebook page or comment on our Google+ page or comment on our sub-Reddit.

Michael Hall: My day of convergence

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 18:47

I’ve had a Nexus 4 since 2013, and I’ve been using it to test out desktop convergence (where you run a desktop environment from the phone) ever since that feature landed just over a year ago. Usually that meant plugging it into my TV via HDMI to make sure it automatically switched to the larger screen, and playing a bit with the traditional windowed-mode of Unity 8, or checking on adaptive layouts in some of the apps. I’ve also run it for hours on end as a demo at conferences such as SCaLE, FOSSETCON, OSCON and SELF. But through all that, I’ve never used it as an actual replacement for my laptop. Until now.

Thanks Frontier

A bit of back-story first. I had been a Verizon FiOS customer for years, and recently they sold all of their FiOS business to Frontier. The transition has been…..less than ideal. A couple of weeks ago I lost all services (phone, TV and internet) and was eventually told that nobody would be out to fix it until the following day. I still had my laptop, but without internet access I couldn’t really do my job on it. And while Ubuntu on phones can offer up a Hotspot, that particular feature doesn’t work on the Nexus 4 (something something, driver, something). Which meant that the only device that I had which could get online was my phone.

No Minecraft for you

Fortunately, the fact that I’ve been demoing convergence at conferences meant I had all of the equipment I needed to turn my phone into a desktop and keep right on working. I have a bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and a Slimport adapter that let’s me plug it into a bigger screen. But while a TV works for testing, it’s not really great for long-term work. Don’t get me wrong, working from the couch is nice, but the screen is just too far away for reading and writing. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for my children, their computer is at a desk and is plugged into a monitor with HDMI ports. So I took it over for the day. They didn’t have internet either that day, so they didn’t miss out on much right?

A day of observations

Throughout the day I posted a series of comments on Google+ about my experience. You could go through my post history looking for them, but I’m not going to make you do that. So here’s a quick summary of what I learned:

  • 3G is not nearly fast enough for my daily work. It’s good when using my phone as a phone, doing one thing at a time. But it falls short of broadband when I’ve got a lot of things using it. Still, on that day it was better than my fiber optic service, so there’s that.
  • I had more apps installed on my phone than I thought I did. I was actually taken aback when I opened the Dash in desktop mode and I saw so many icons. It’s far more than I had on Android, though not quite as many as on my laptop.
  • Having a fully-functional Terminal is a lifesaver. I do a lot of my work from the terminal, including IRC, and having one with tabs and keyboard shortcuts for them is a must for me to work.
  • I missed having physical buttons on my keyboard for home/end and page up/down. Thankfully a couple of people came to my rescue in the comments and taught me other combinations to get those.
  • Unity 8 is Unity. Almost all of the keyboard shortcuts that have become second nature to me (an there are a lot of them) were there. There was no learning curve, I didn’t have to change how I did anything or teach myself something new.
  • The phone is still a phone. I got a call (from Frontier, reminding me about an appointment that never happened) while using the device as a desktop. It was a bit disorienting at first, I had forgotten that I was running the desktop the Nexus 4, so when a notification of an incoming call popped up on the screen I didn’t know what was happening. That only lasted a second though, and after clicking answer and picking up the device, I just used it as a phone. Pretty cool

Must go faster

While I was able to do pretty much all of my work that day thanks to my phone, it wasn’t always easy or fun, and I’m not ready to give up my laptop just yet. The Nexus 4 is simply not powerful enough for the kind of workload I was putting on it. But then again, it’s a nearly 4 year old phone, and wasn’t considered a powerhouse even when it was released. The newest Ubuntu phone on the market, the Meizu Pro 5, packs a whole lot more power, and I think it would be able to give a really nice desktop experience.

Simos Xenitellis: How to install LXD containers on Ubuntu on Scaleway

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 14:14

Scaleway, a subsidiary of Online.net, does affordable VPSes and baremetal ARM servers. They became rather well-known when they first introduced those ARM servers.

When you install Ubuntu 16.04 on a Scaleway VPS, it requires some specific configuration (compile ZFS as DKMS module) in order to get LXD. In this post, we see those additional steps to get LXD up and running on a Scaleway VPS.

An issue with Scaleway is that they heavily modify the config of the Linux kernel and you do not get the stock Ubuntu kernel when you install Ubuntu 16.04. There is a feature request to get ZFS compiled into the kernel, at https://community.online.net/t/feature-request-zfs-support/2709/3 Most probably it will take some time to get added.

In this post I do not cover the baremetal ARM or the newer x86 dedicated servers; there is an additional error there in trying to use LXD, an error about not being able to create a sparse file.

Creating a VPS on Scaleway

Once we create an account on Scaleway (we also add our SSH public key), we click to create a VC1 server with the default settings.

There are several types of VPS, we select the VC1 which comes with 2 x86 64-bit cores, 2GB memory and 50GB disk space.

Under Security, there is a default policy to disable «SMTP». These are firewall rules drop packets destined to ports 25, 465 and 587. If you intend to use SMTP at a later date, it makes sense to disable this security policy now. Otherwise, once you get your VPS running, it takes about 30+30 minutes of downtime to archive and restart your VPS in order for this change to take effect.

Once you click Create, it takes a couple of minutes for the provisioning, for the kernel to start and then booting of the VPS.

After the creation, the administrative page shows the IP address that we need to connect to the VPS.

Initial package updates and upgrades $ ssh root@ The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established. ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:Z4LMCnXUyuvwO16HI763r4h5+mURBd8/4u2bFPLETes. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes Warning: Permanently added '' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts. _ ___ ___ __ _| | _____ ____ _ _ _ / __|/ __/ _` | |/ _ \ \ /\ / / _` | | | | \__ \ (_| (_| | | __/\ V V / (_| | |_| | |___/\___\__,_|_|\___| \_/\_/ \__,_|\__, | |___/ Welcome on Ubuntu Xenial (16.04 LTS) (GNU/Linux 4.5.7-std-3 x86_64 ) System information as of: Wed Jul 13 19:46:53 UTC 2016 System load: 0.02 Int IP Address: Memory usage: 0.0% Pub IP Address: Usage on /: 3% Swap usage: 0.0% Local Users: 0 Processes: 83 Image build: 2016-05-20 System uptime: 3 min Disk nbd0: l_ssd 50G Documentation: https://scaleway.com/docs Community: https://community.scaleway.com Image source: https://github.com/scaleway/image-ubuntu The programs included with the Ubuntu system are free software; the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright. Ubuntu comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by applicable law. root@scw-test:~# apt update Hit:1 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial InRelease Get:2 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-updates InRelease [95.7 kB] Get:3 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-security InRelease [94.5 kB] Get:4 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial/main Translation-en [568 kB] ... Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done 51 packages can be upgraded. Run 'apt list --upgradable' to see them. root@scw-test:~# apt upgrade Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done Calculating upgrade... Done The following NEW packages will be installed: libpython3.5 The following packages will be upgraded: apt apt-utils base-files bash bash-completion bsdutils dh-python gcc-5-base grep init init-system-helpers libapt-inst2.0 libapt-pkg5.0 libblkid1 libboost-iostreams1.58.0 libboost-random1.58.0 libboost-system1.58.0 libboost-thread1.58.0 libexpat1 libfdisk1 libgnutls-openssl27 libgnutls30 libldap-2.4-2 libmount1 libnspr4 libnss3 libnss3-nssdb libpython2.7-minimal libpython2.7-stdlib librados2 librbd1 libsmartcols1 libstdc++6 libsystemd0 libudev1 libuuid1 lsb-base lsb-release mount python2.7 python2.7-minimal systemd systemd-sysv tzdata udev util-linux uuid-runtime vim vim-common vim-runtime wget 51 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded. Need to get 27.6 MB of archives. After this operation, 5,069 kB of additional disk space will be used. Do you want to continue? [Y/n] Y Get:1 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-updates/main amd64 base-files amd64 9.4ubuntu4.1 [68.4 kB] Get:2 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-updates/main amd64 bash amd64 4.3-14ubuntu1.1 [583 kB] ... Setting up librados2 (10.2.0-0ubuntu0.16.04.2) ... Setting up librbd1 (10.2.0-0ubuntu0.16.04.2) ... Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.23-0ubuntu3) ... root@scw-test:~# Installing ZFS as a DKMS module

There are instructions on how to install ZFS as a DKMS module at https://github.com/scaleway/kernel-tools#how-to-build-a-custom-kernel-module

First, we install the build-essential package,

root@scw-test:~# apt install build-essential

Second, we run the script that is provided at https://github.com/scaleway/kernel-tools#how-to-build-a-custom-kernel-module It takes about a minute for this script to run; it downloads the kernel source and prepares the modules for compilation.

Third, we install the zfsutils-linux package as usual. In this case, it takes more time to install, as it needs to recompile the ZFS modules.

root@scw-test:~# apt install zfsutils-linux

This step takes lots of time. Eight and a half minutes!

Installing the LXD package

The final step is to install the LXD package

root@scw-test:~# apt install lxd Initial configuration of LXD

A VPS at Scaleway does not have access to a separate block device (the dedicated servers do). Therefore, we are creating the ZFS filesystem in a loopback device.

root@scw-test:~# df -h / Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on /dev/vda 46G 2.1G 42G 5% /

We have 42GB of free space, therefore let’s allocate 36GB for the ZFS filesystem.

root@scw-test:~# lxd init Name of the storage backend to use (dir or zfs): zfs Create a new ZFS pool (yes/no)? yes Name of the new ZFS pool: mylxd-pool Would you like to use an existing block device (yes/no)? no Size in GB of the new loop device (1GB minimum): 36 Would you like LXD to be available over the network (yes/no)? no Do you want to configure the LXD bridge (yes/no)? yes ...we accept the defaults in creating the LXD bridge... Warning: Stopping lxd.service, but it can still be activated by: lxd.socket LXD has been successfully configured. root@scw-test:~#


Create a user to manage LXD

We create a non-root user to manage LXD. It is advised to create such a user and refrain from using root for such tasks.

root@scw-test:~# adduser ubuntu Adding user `ubuntu' ... Adding new group `ubuntu' (1000) ... Adding new user `ubuntu' (1000) with group `ubuntu' ... Creating home directory `/home/ubuntu' ... Copying files from `/etc/skel' ... Enter new UNIX password: ******* Retype new UNIX password: ******* passwd: password updated successfully Changing the user information for ubuntu Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default Full Name []: Room Number []: Work Phone []: Home Phone []: Other []: Is the information correct? [Y/n] Y root@scw-test:~#

Then, let’s add this user ubuntu to the sudo (ability to run sudo) and lxd (manage LXD containers) groups,

root@scw-test:~# adduser ubuntu sudo # For scaleway. For others, the name might be 'admin'. root@scw-test:~# adduser ubuntu lxd

Finally, let’s restart the VPS. Although it is not necessary, it is a good practice in order to make sure that lxd starts automatically even with ZFS being compiled through DKMS. A shutdown -r now would suffice to restart the VPS. After about 20 seconds, we can ssh again, as the new user ubuntu.

Let’s start up a container

We log in as this new user ubuntu (or, sudo su – ubuntu).

ubuntu@scw-test:~$ lxc launch ubuntu:x mycontainer Creating mycontainer Retrieving image: 100% Starting mycontainer ubuntu@scw-test:~$ lxc list +-------------+---------+------+------+------------+-----------+ | NAME | STATE | IPV4 | IPV6 | TYPE | SNAPSHOTS | +-------------+---------+------+------+------------+-----------+ | mycontainer | RUNNING | | | PERSISTENT | 0 | +-------------+---------+------+------+------------+-----------+ ubuntu@scw-test:~$ lxc list +-------------+---------+----------------------+------+------------+-----------+ | NAME | STATE | IPV4 | IPV6 | TYPE | SNAPSHOTS | +-------------+---------+----------------------+------+------------+-----------+ | mycontainer | RUNNING | (eth0) | | PERSISTENT | 0 | +-------------+---------+----------------------+------+------------+-----------+ ubuntu@scw-test:~$

We launched an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial: “x”) container, and then we listed the details. It takes a few moments for the container to boot up. In the second attempt, the container completed the booting up and also got the IP address.

Forums Council: Ubuntu Forums currently down – 160713

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 13:13

The Ubuntu Forums are currently down for maintenance. For the last several days they suffered several outages and slow performances. Canonical sysadmins have been doing basic maintenance until the database and the hardware needed intensive care. The forums will be down for some time again, please accept our apologies for the inconvenience. Many thanks to fo0bar who has been with us for over 24h now.

Edit : Forums have been back up around 21:00 UTC.

Ubuntu Insights: A new Skype for Ubuntu… Alpha available now!

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 07:49

Super exciting news for the Ubuntu and Linux community! News has just been announced that the Alpha version of a new Skype for Linux has been launched!

A brand new WebRTC version of Skype for Linux will be available from today which will allow continued support for the Ubuntu users for years to come. Skype for Linux Alpha is not a fully functioning Skype client yet but will be with users soon. It’s pretty different to the Skype for Linux you use today as the UI is faster and more responsive plus you can share files, photos and videos, and even send a whole new range of new emoticons! Download the app here.

The Alpha version of Skype for Linux uses the next generation of calling architecture, which allows you to call your friends and family on the latest versions of Skype on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. However, you won’t be able to make or receive calls to and from the previous versions of Skype for Linux (

We’re thrilled by this news as Skype reaches over 300 million users around the world! Today’s news shows the strength and importance of the Linux desktop and also Ubuntu as the main player in this field, with 80% share in the Linux desktop market.

Head over to Skype’s Community page to find out more here.

Simos Xenitellis: Trying out LXD containers on Ubuntu on DigitalOcean, with block storage

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 06:52

We have seen how to try out LXD containers on Ubuntu on DigitalOcean. In this post, we will see how to use the new DigitalOcean block storage support (just out of beta!).

This new block storage has the benefit of being additional separate disk space that should be faster to access. Then, software such as LXD would benefit from this. Without block storage, the ZFS pool for LXD is stored as a loopback file on the ext4 root filesystem. With block storage, the ZFS pool for LXD is stored on the block device of the block storage.

When you start a new droplet, you get by default the ext4 filesystem and you cannot change it easily. Some people managed to hack around this issue, https://github.com/fxlv/docs/blob/master/freebsd/freebsd-with-zfs-digitalocean.md though there are no instructions on how to do with a Linux distribution. The new block storage allows to get ZFS on additional block devices without hacks.

Actually, this block storage feature is so new that even the DigitalOcean page still asks you to request early access.

When you create a VPS, you have now the option to specify additional block storage. The pricing is quite simple, US$0.10 per GB, and you can specify from 1 GB and upwards.

It is also possible to add block storage to an existing VPS. Finally, as shown in the screenshot, block storage is currently available at the NYC1 and SFO2 datacenters.

For our testing, we created an Ubuntu 16.04 $20/month VPS at the SFO2 datacenter. It is a dual-core VPS with 2GB of RAM.

The standard disk is

Disk /dev/vda: 40 GiB, 42949672960 bytes, 83886080 sectors Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disklabel type: gpt Disk identifier: 4CF812E3-1423-1923-B28E-FDD6817901CA Device Start End Sectors Size Type /dev/vda1 2048 83886046 83883999 40G Linux filesystem

While the block device for the block storage is

Disk /dev/sda: 50 GiB, 53687091200 bytes, 104857600 sectors Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


Here is how to configure LXD to use the new block device,

root@ubuntu-2gb-sfo2-01:~# lxd init Name of the storage backend to use (dir or zfs): zfs Create a new ZFS pool (yes/no)? yes Name of the new ZFS pool: mylxd-pool Would you like to use an existing block device (yes/no)? yes Path to the existing block device: /dev/sda Would you like LXD to be available over the network (yes/no)? no Do you want to configure the LXD bridge (yes/no)? yes Warning: Stopping lxd.service, but it can still be activated by: lxd.socket LXD has been successfully configured.

Let’s see some benchmarks! We run bonnie++, first on the standard storage, then on the new block storage,

# bonnie -d /tmp/ -s 4G -n 0 -m STANDARDSTORAGE -f -b -u root

Version 1.97 Sequential Output Sequential Input Random
Sequential Create Random Create Size Per Char Block Rewrite Per Char Block Num Files Create Read Delete Create Read Delete K/sec % CPU K/sec % CPU K/sec % CPU K/sec % CPU K/sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU STANDARDSTORAGE 4G 749901 92 611116 80 1200389 76 +++++ +++ Latency 50105us 105ms 7687us 11021us Latency

# bonnie -d /media/blockstorage -s 4G -n 0 -m BLOCKSTORAGE -f -b -u root

Version 1.97 Sequential Output Sequential Input Random
Sequential Create Random Create Size Per Char Block Rewrite Per Char Block Num Files Create Read Delete Create Read Delete K/sec % CPU K/sec % CPU K/sec % CPU K/sec % CPU K/sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU /sec % CPU BLOCKSTORAGE 4G 193923 23 96283 14 217073 18 2729 58 Latency 546ms 165ms 8882us 35690us Latency

The immediate benefits are that the latency is much lower with the new block storage, and the CPU usage is also low.

Let’s try with dd,

root@ubuntu-2gb-sfo2-01:~# dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/standardstorage.img bs=4M count=1024
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
4294967296 bytes (4.3 GB, 4.0 GiB) copied, 4.91043 s, 875 MB/s

root@ubuntu-2gb-sfo2-01:~# dd if=/dev/zero of=/media/blockstorage/blockstorage.img bs=4M count=1024
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
4294967296 bytes (4.3 GB, 4.0 GiB) copied, 19.8969 s, 216 MB/s

On the other hand, the standard storage appears four times faster than the new block storage.

I am not sure how these should be interpreted. I look forward to reading other reports about this.



Ubuntu Insights: Etisalat partners with Canonical to Deploy NFV Telco Infrastructure

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 03:18

Etisalat, the Middle East’s leading telecoms provider announced today (download PDF) that it has built and launched its first live Network Function Virtualization telco cloud in Abu Dhabi.

The NFV-based telco infrastructure has been built with Quanta servers, Arista switches and Canonical’s Ubuntu OpenStack, a multi-vendor combination integrated for production for the first time ever globally.

Based on open-source OpenStack cloud platforms used by the likes of NASA, CERN and leading web companies, further clouds are in progress in more sites across the UAE.

Realizing the potential and benefits of cloud-based and software-defined technologies, Etisalat launched a corporate-wide program in 2016 to “cloudify the network”, dubbed Sahaab—an Arabic word that translates to ‘cloud’. The program aims to harmonize between the hardware-centric telecom services and the software-centric cloud services across the corporation.

“Etisalat are demonstrating real vision and innovation by the speed at which they are embracing network function virtualisation, “ said Anand Krishnan, EVP, Cloud, Canonical. “We are delighted that Etisalat have selected Canonical OpenStack as their NFV infrastructure and Juju as their generic VNF manager.  As the global leader in OpenStack deployments, we will work closely with Etisalat to  ensure their customers can benefit from the virtualisation and cloudification of network functions that this will deliver.”

The Fridge: Bug 1602344 opened against the CoC for more explicit condemnation of harassment

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 17:24

I just opened a bug to pave our way to amend the CoC so that it gets to be clearly visible we do not accept harassment (and, by consequence, bullying) in any form, for any reason.

This is the sequence from the discussions previously held in this mailing list, and a session on UOS 1605.

Our view is that a small change will suffice. Michael Hall has added the proposed branch to the bug. This, we expect, will precede additional information added around the CoC (but not directly part of the CoC), so that examples and pointers can be given.

Please comment. We need feedback from the community.

Originally posted to the ubuntu-community-team mailing list on Tue Jul 12 20:10:37 UTC 2016 by C de-Avillez


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