I, Frank Heimes (fheimes), apply for MOTU (and Ubuntu Contributing Developer).


Frank Heimes



PGP key fingerprint

D292 B300 0E85 B9B7 F939 A0B9 56DC 3CDC CE17 8F50


fheimes (jfh)


Ubuntu Wiki

Blog (Ubuntu-on-Big-Iron)

I am applying because:

  • While doing packaging work, I need to bug fellow colleagues for sponsoring and reviews quite often.
  • Universe package bugs are usually lower priority, so want to support in that area.
  • I want to be able to upload fixes to certain packages directly reducing the need for sponsoring.

Who I am

I'm a German electronics and computer guy that grew up in the Rhine/Ruhr area close to Neuss/Düsseldorf and later moved to Böblingen - for business reasons.
I'm still living in Böblingen (in SW/Germany) with my wife Steffi and Lilo our cat.
I still like spending some time at the computer, even in my spare time, like to travel - cuddling Lilo and spending some time in the garden are other hobbies, as well as watching SciFi and my rattly classic car.

My Ubuntu story

After my time at Siemens, I joined the IBM R&D lab in Böblingen/Germany, where I enjoyed working for almost the entire time in the area of Linux (SW and HW) - but mostly with SLES and RHEL.
At some point in time a volunteer workstation OS project started at big-blue (called Open Client Debian Community, OCDC) and I became involved and maintained a dozen of packages (since the other Linux distro that could be used on the workstation sucked, imho).
Even if it was called Open Client Debian Community, most people in that community used 'Ubuntu'.
So I strove Dapper Drake / 6.06 LTS and really started to fell in love with Hardy Heron / 8.04 LTS (on private and business machines).
A couple of years later, a company called 'Canonical' was looking for someone to help-out with getting Ubuntu (Server) on 'big-iron' and since I worked at IBM on 'big-irons' at that time and had some Ubuntu experiences due to the volunteer project, I thought that this is a nice combination and the next thing I really want to do and work on - which ended in me joining Canonical in early 2016. Since then I'm a member of Canonical's Server Commercial Engineering (SCE) team (former Hardware Enablement, HWE), mainly working on IBM Z (s390x) and Power (ppc64el).

My involvement

Things I'm proud of

I coordinate and collaborate with other team on the technical work that is needed for the SCE projects. Bug management work is on me too, and with that I am in contact with larger parts of Canonical.

  • One of my favorite packages - it took quite a while, due to intense partner discussions, but the solution is nice (s390-tools): LP#1892367
    (Well, there is more on s390-tools: LP#1942908, LP#1938947, LP#1908371, LP#1903984, LP#1898935, ...)

  • The first library that I've packaged (libzpc): LP#1932522 (new to jammy and as PPA for impish).

  • A common universe bug, the Debian maintainer noticed it, jumped in, applied the patch on Debian and sponsored my Ubuntu SRU, too, since he's also an Ubuntu (Contributing) Developer (qtwebkit): LP#1951470

  • Patch and little rules-file change (pcre2): LP#1931857

  • Well, I'm not sure if I should be proud of that [FFe], but it was at least quite some work: LP#1866866

  • NVMe disk support for Ubuntu on s390x: LP#1902179

  • Having worked together with Lee Trager creating an initial MAAS port for s390x (DPM, FCP systems-only).
  • Working now on the last missing pieces to get livepatch to work on s390x.
  • Having been able to remove almost the entire delta between the s390-tools Ubuntu package and upstream by getting the (quilt) patches upstream integrated (just two one-line patches are left, which are not really upstreamable).

In 2016 I started the 'Ubuntu on Big-Iron' blog (, like to work on documentation, contributed to the Ubuntu Server Guide (mainly the installation chapter), the Ubuntu Release Notes (s390x section), did some BrightTalk webcasts and more (see my Wiki page).

Examples of my work (mostly 2021)

Here some more general package work:

  • A typical but simple universe package fix (scapy): LP#1908280

  • That was a pretty complicated bug (opencryptoki): LP#1915517

  • Again a simple universe package fix (tigervnc): LP#1929790

  • A little endianness bug (elfutils): LP#1908756

  • Expanding hardware support (valgrind): LP#1825343

I'm also doing quite a lot kernel SRU/PATCH submissions, largely due to the above projects (e.g. Dec, Nov, Oct, Sept, Aug).

For more details see my Related Packages, Uploaded Packages and the Ubuntu Sponsorship Miner.

Areas of work

Due to the ubuntu-z-systems (and ubuntu-power-systems) projects I'm involved in, I looked at several endianness bugs (s390x, see above Wink ;-) ), organize and triage bugs in these projects, own the Launchpad ubuntu-z-systems project and touch several areas of the (server) distro (from installer, test and even OpenStack and kubernetes CK/Microk8s).

I enjoy working with my team mates and other teams like Server, Foundations, Kernel, OpenStack and Field Engineering, Kubernetes - and help to maintain and provide access to Canonical's IBM zSystems (s390x) hardware infrastructure.

I also do contractual, testing, reporting, collateral, enablement and external collaboration work.

The packages I mainly work on are s390x and/or cryptography related ones, like s390-tools, libica, openssl-ibmca, libzpc, opencryptoki and the kernel, but also others (mainly driven by the projects that I work on).

Things I could do better

  • Have a closer look at Debian

  • Become more confident in packaging.
  • Learn more about Ubuntu Release Management transitions.

  • Be more '-EvIL' and '+pedantic'.

  • Avoid by-passing Launchpad for bug work and communication.

Plans for the future


  • Get more familiar with autopkgtests.
  • Thinking about PPU rights (i.e. s390-tools).
  • Give back and help others (since I got a lot of help from many people too...)

What I like least in Ubuntu

  • That it's virtually impossible to address everything that's coming in to Launchpad (on bugs).
  • The fact that different teams (/people) do package maintenance in a slightly different way.
    • Hence reviewers and sponsors partially have a slightly different opinion and focus.

Updates since DMB 2022/01/24 (Ubuntu Contributing Developer)

  • in prep. for 22.04
    • updated several crypto packages (mainly due to the openssh 3 migration), like s390-tools, opencryptoki,
    • openssl-ibmca (LP#1967141, version bump and FFe) and

    • libica4 (LP1959421 version bump, with transition)

  • merges/syncs:
  • ready to be reviewed/sponsored:


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.

dann frazier

Frank and I have been on the same team at Canonical for nearly 6 years. I don't appear to have sponsored any packages for him in that time, so I can not provide an endorsement of his packaging work. However, I know Frank to be a very meticulous and careful engineer who takes great pride in Ubuntu, and he is a well respected leader in the Ubuntu s390x community. I trust him to act responsibly as a MOTU, and believe him joining the ranks will be a net positive for Ubuntu users. -- dannf 2022-01-11 22:45:16

Łukasz 'sil2100' Zemczak

I have not sponsored any uploads for Frank IIRC, but I had the pleasure of working with him a few times in the past - usually when preparing for a release of point-release of Ubuntu. Frank seems to know his way around Ubuntu and puts a lot of pressure on quality. I think he would make a great MOTU. -- sil2100 2022-01-24 14:56:45


As a sponsor, just copy the template below, fill it out and add it to this section.

Lukas 'slyon' Märdian

General feedback

I know Frank since about 2 years, when we have supported each other several times. He helped me figuring out how to run an installation of Ubuntu on (and getting access to) 'big-iron' s390x machines, that was needed for debugging an early-boot (initrd) issue in my role as an Ubuntu Foundations Engineer and I helped him with his packaging efforts on s390-tools and pcre2. Frank is very much on top of all his bug reports and wanted to move faster (not waiting for peers to help with solving certain issues), therefore he started contributing patches (for foundations-owned packages) himself. I reviewed several of those patches – mostly for s390-tools[-signed], which has quite some special bits to it (wrt. to package signing on Launchpad) – and uploaded those into the devel and stable (SRU) series. In the beginning I had some minor comments about his patches and Frank was really quick and motivated about reading up on and learning from the feedback, incorporating it into the next uploads. With each patch submission he improved the quality and reached a very good level. Frank is very pleasant to work with, understands the Ubuntu processes and he is strongly connected within Canonical and the Ubuntu community; I fully trust that he's making decisions in the best interest of the Ubuntu community.

Specific Experiences of working together

Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.

I have not sponsored any universe packages for Frank, thus cannot comment on the MOTU qualities specifically, but from my sponsorings into main for s390-tools[-signed] and pcre2 I can assess Frank's motivation and quality of packaging work. I'd suggest for him to apply for s390-tools PPU at the same time or quickly after MOTU as this is (to date) one of his most touched packages, that he'd not be able to work on with just MOTU privileges. The uploads I sponsored for Frank have been of high quality and Frank wasn't shy to ask about any uncertainities when preparing those patches. He has mostly been working closely with s390-tools upstream and then incorporating/cherry-picking certain patches into the Ubuntu packages for the development and stable series; following through on the full SRU process, always on top of his bugs and responding quickly to sponsor or SRU team requests.





















Areas of Improvement

The version bump for pcre2 might have been a bit rushed, that was due to the FeatureFreeze being close. The version bump included a soname bump in the library and triggered a small transition that we needed to work out after the freeze. Not a big deal but I'd recommend learning more about transitions ( to better understand the impact of library version bumps.

Christian Ehrhardt

General feedback

Due to our common IBM/Mainframe past I've more experience working with Frank than I have working with Ubuntu. Thereby I'm not only feeling good about his MOTU application for the work/sponsoring that happened here, but also for knowing how he dealt with things in the IBM days. His Job for Ubuntu and in the IBM-past constantly makes him coordinate people - but being an engineer at his heart I totally understand that sometimes he'd just want to fix something instead of having to bother five people to get it done. And after a few years of supplying those fixes through sponsors, going for MOTU now seems to be the right next step.

Specific Experiences of working together

I've sponsored a few universe and one main upload by Frank. See sponsorship miner.

But in addition I have also reviewed a few PRs/Changes on bug updates. Throughout those I've seen his contributions mature through the past few years and I think he is ready for the MOTU level he applies for.

He isn't the most experienced packager yet, but he applies due diligence and I support his request to get MOTU to clean more of the long tail of universe packages in the archive with his s390x-responsibility head. I'm convinced that he will do well there and I'm also convinced - if unsure - he'd certainly ask a more experienced developer before an upload.

Areas of Improvement

So far the packages Frank fixed migrated somewhat easily (at least those I touched), while I'm sure he will do well there is a lack of (known to me) complex dealing with proposed migration. I'd want to encourage him while fixing with his MOTU powers to take more and more complex packages to gain this experience before e.g. applying as a core-dev somewhen in the future.

-- paelzer 2022-01-17 07:38:06

Graham Inggs

General feedback

I have only known Frank for a couple of months, and mainly through his work on bug reports on Launchpad. I have sponsored one upload for Frank, which was the packaging of a new library (libzpc). I believe Frank is ready to be a MOTU right now.

Specific Experiences of working together

Frank did a good job in his initial packaging of libzpc. He was very quick to come back when I had questions and suggestions.

Areas of Improvement

Frank can get more experience with transitions and proposed migrations while he is a MOTU.


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
## Full list of sponsored packages can be generated here:
=== Areas of Improvement ===

FrankHeimes/MOTU (last edited 2022-09-05 17:28:44 by fheimes)