Ubuntu and me

My name is Brendan Donegan and I've been an Ubuntu user for 4 and a half years and encountered Debian, Red Hat, SuSE and Knoppix before that. My appreciation for Ubuntu stems from the fact that, being a technical person, I like to be able to hack around and customize my system but sometimes just want to be able to get on with things. I've more recently become a very active community member, thanks in a large part to the fact that working with Ubuntu is now my full-time occupation having joined Canonical at the beginning of December 2010. I first installed Feisty on my laptop back in the autumn of 2007 and never looked back in terms of my home computing needs.

The early years of my career were spent developing in a Windows environment as a Test Engineer for Symbian Software Ltd (later Nokia and then the Symbian Foundation) so I never got as much time as I would have liked with Ubuntu, but always made sure to keep up to date. It was shortly before joining Canonical that I managed to complete the transition, having worked myself into a position where I could use Ubuntu for most of my tasks at work.

Contact Details

Contributions to the Ubuntu Community

Hardware Certification

My main workload in the Ubuntu project, as dictated by my job title of 'Hardware Certification Engineer' is to perform engineering tasks in Canonical's Hardware Certification Team (obviously!). This is essentially a QA role so pretty much involves:

  • Developing and maintaining the test suite used to certify systems, i.e. writing new tests and fixing bugs in existing ones.
  • Developing and maintaining the tools used to perform these tasks (some reporting scripts and test infrastructure packages)
  • Executing test runs on releases of Ubuntu (as part of a team effort)
  • Occasionally answering questions from the community on related to certified systems and the process of certification.

In this way I help the Ubuntu Community by contributing to the task of ensuring that users who want to use Ubuntu have a list of systems that they can have confidence in (as seen at

SRU Hardware Testing

As a step in the process of releasing kernel updates through the SRU process, the new kernel is tested on all of the hardware which we certified for that release. This is about 100 systems of all different types (desktops, laptops, netbooks and servers) with a wide range of components. I'm the lead engineer on this task.

Ubuntu Friendly

I have been involved with the Ubuntu Friendly project from it's inception. I took part in the discussions which established the scoring system used and as a maintainer of the Checkbox system testing tool contributed a number of fixes to tests and the tool itself. After the launch of the site and the release of Oneiric (the first release of Ubuntu which supports Ubuntu Friendly) I've also been triaging bugs raised against both the website and the Checkbox tool.

Ubuntu Bug Squad/Bug Control

I regularly take part in Bug Days as a member of the Ubuntu Bug Squad, touching about 10-20 bugs per Bug Day; and participate in the 5-A-Day program which encourages participants to triage (you guessed it) 5 bugs per day every day. I am also a member of Ubuntu Bug Control, the sub-group of the Bug Squad who have demonstrated skill at triaging bugs and are able to set bug importance and perform other restricted bug handling activities in Launchpad.

Ubuntu Community QA

Though my day job is a function of QA, I also like to participate in QA activities that are open to the community during my spare time. This allows me some time to participate in those activities which really interest me and also make a big impact. I usually take part in ISO testing in the early phases of development (pre-beta)

Update Manager Contributions

As much as is feasible, I like to contribute bug fixes and other bits and pieces to the update-manager package. My contribution record so far extends to 2 bug fixes and a minor feature contribution.

Software Center Unit Tests

I have written a new set of unit tests for Ubuntu Software Center using Python unittest for the DebFileApplication class which provides functionality for extracting information from .deb files when they are opened in Software Center.


I attend Ubuntu Developer Summits and ran one session at UDS O in Budapest on 'Desktop Certification'. I also participated in as many sessions as I could fit into the day. At UDS P in Orlando I ran two sessions, one on improving automated testing of kernel SRUs and another on creating customised images for performing SRU testing.

In The Future

My aim is to continue contributing strongly to Ubuntu QA. I hope to lean more towards improving test processes where possible, leaning towards automated testing while still participating in tried and tested practices such as ISO testing.


This is a space for putting feedback about me as an Ubuntu contributor. Please put any comments you have relating to the work you have done with me.

Ara Pulido

Brendan is a great person to work with. Since the very beginning he has been very committed to the Ubuntu project, trying to participate in as many activities as possible, from testing, to coding, or bug triaging. He is one of the main contributors to checkbox, the client application used in Ubuntu Friendly. But not only that, he has been helping triaging bugs in different packages of Ubuntu and he's work has been recognized by the members of Bug Control, accepting him in the team. One of the things I love about working with Brendan is his organizational skills. His sessions at UDS are very well driven, as he always arrive to them with everything well prepared, his ideas clear about it, and he is able to explain them clearly to the audience and engage people to participate in the discussions. Brendan has been a fantastic addition to the Ubuntu community.

Marc Tardif

Outside of Canonical, I'm continuously impressed by people who find the time to contribute to the community in addition to their already busy schedule. First, I can't believe Brendan managed to keep triaging at least 5 bugs a day for 40 days during the Oneiric cycle which is something I never managed to sustain myself. Second, he managed to be among the top 3 ISO testers still during the Oneiric cycle which is quite an accomplishment considering the devout community also testing. Last, going above and beyond testing, Brendan also contributed three fixes to Update Manager. These contributions fit the profile of a true Ubuntu Member.

Pedro Villavicencio

Brendan has been working on the BugSquad for a good while and he's been doing an amazing work, he's very proactive and being helping doing us to keep the Bugs in a sane form, he's also always asking for new targets for Bug Days and participating in most of those either doing Triage or just helping people on the #ubuntu-bugs channel. I totally support his application for becoming an Ubuntu Member.

Carlos de-Avillez

I fully agree with Ara, Marc, and Pedro. Brendan has shown interest, good work, and commitment, and fully deserves being an Ubuntu Member.

Jeff Lane

I've known Brendan for some time now and everything said above is absolute true. Few people can claim to be as dedicated and as hard working as Brendan is, and as enthusiastic and energetic in his pursuits. He's done a lot of great work on Checkbox and helping Ubuntu Friendly get off the ground and grow. He opens bugs frequently to help the Ubuntu project better and also spends a good bit of time triaging open bugs to help get them the attention they need. Additionally, he helps out in testing Ubuntu on ARM. Brendan's a great guy and I think he'd be an excellent member.

Daniel Manrique

Brendan just seems to be everywhere: be it bug triaging, actually submitting bug fixes, testing and reporting on Ubuntu ISO releases and other components of the Ubuntu system and answering questions from other community members, his work can be seen pretty much everywhere. He's also patient, polite and helpful in his dealings with the rest of the community, this reflects very well on Ubuntu as a whole, something Brendan should be commended for. I think he's a tremendous asset for the Ubuntu project and community.

BrendanDonegan (last edited 2011-12-23 11:00:53 by brendan-donegan)