I, Ken VanDine, apply for core-dev.


Ken VanDine

Launchpad Page


Wiki Page


Who I am

Member of the Ubuntu Desktop Team, working as a integration engineer. My primary responsibility is to help the Desktop Experience and Ubuntu One teams get their software into the distro without causing much of a head ache for the rest of the Desktop Team. I have been into packaging since the late 90s, started with rpm, then a number of years with conary and the past couple years dpkg.

My Ubuntu story

My involvement

I got involved in Ubuntu when I joined the desktop team, almost 2 years ago. I love working on improving the user experience, and looking at ways we can better tie the pieces of the desktop together with a consistent interaction experience. This passion of mine fits nicely with my role as integration engineer, I get to help deliver the awesome work the DX team does. When I am not helping DX and Ubuntu One with their packages, I am usually hacking on Gwibber, libgwibber or something telepathy related. I think there are good opportunities with those to break the mindset of "an application" vs. "integration points". I would rather people not think they are using gwibber to see what their friends are doing, or using empathy to chat with their friends, but instead realise they are using Ubuntu to socialise. We'll get there Smile :)

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

Pretty much any package the begins with "indicator-", I maintain. I have also done lots of packaging and bug fixing for empathy, telepathy-* and gwibber packages and assist where ever I can with any of the GNOME packages.

Areas of work

As I mentioned above, I work on the Desktop Team, with a strong focus on the DX and Ubuntu One teams. I keep close tabs on the work those teams are doing, and communicate things that could cause concern to the Desktop Team. Also trying to spot issues early so they can be addressed and ensure their work lands with minimal friction. I drive those teams to a weekly release cadence, to help integrate early and often. This has worked out well for DX, but still working out the kinks for Ubuntu One, they have the added complexity of server side rollouts to match desktop releases.

Things I could do better

Unassign bugs, I generally have way too many bugs assigned to me. I have a bad habit of assigning a bug to myself, knowing I might be the best person to work on it or feel an individual responsibility for the bug and then I end up with a long bug list. I need to get out of the habit and become better at tracking bugs without actually assigning them to myself.

Plans for the future


I want to continue working on things like libgwibber and telepathy and dive into libfolks to help provide developers better integration points with other applications and data. For example I would love to seamlessly provide access to your contacts across the desktop, friends via Gwibber, chat contacts via telepathy, evolution address book, Ubuntu One contacts, etc. Using the data provided by various apps to enhance the user experience, so for example in empathy when you mouse over a contact, the tooltip displayed could perhaps display the last status update that person made on twitter.

What I like least in Ubuntu

I think our biggest weakness is getting more people involved. I struggled with this for years working with GNOME, and the GNOME love project, trying to get more contributors. I think Ubuntu has been more successful at this than we were in GNOME. But there is still a big problem with this. I am less concerned about getting developers involved, because they have a tendency to seek involvement, however I do think we could do more to help encourage those that might feel intimidated.

My bigger concern is how do we get non-developers to contribute? There are many ways to contribute to Ubuntu, without being a developer, bug reporting and triage, documentation, translations, advocacy, etc. In fact, I would argue in some ways non-developer contributions can be more valuable. For example, I frequently talk to non-developers that feel like they don't know enough to file bugs. Like maybe they are doing something wrong, or somehow they aren't worthy of filing a bug report. One of our greatest opportunities is the direct relationship we can have with our users. Even if the bug is user error, I want to know about it because obviously that means I didn't develop the feature properly.

I plan to continue to advocate for more non-developer involvement and encourage people to do anything they feel comfortable doing and try to stop developers from making potential contributors feel stupid.


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


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

Martin Pitt

When Ken joined Ubuntu, I became one of his main mentors. He quickly picked up the necessary knowledge wrt. version control, packaging, and release policies, and I have sponsored many dozen packages for him. He has been a member of ~ubuntu-desktop for over a year and has uploaded countless packages on his own during that time. There were minor problems sometimes, we all do errors, but nothing major. I fully support him to become a core developer. Thanks for all your work, Ken!

Sebastien Bacher

Ken has been maintaining the dx indicators stack in Ubuntu for some cycle, is actively helping on desktop updates when has time and is working on gwibber as an upstream contributor and has a packager for Ubuntu. He showed during this time that he has a solid technical understanding of the packaging work he's doing and is able to work nicely with other teams and upstreams. I would recommend you to accept his application there, he will be for sure a solid addition to the team, keep the great work Ken!

Didier Roche

I've sponsored a bunch of packages from Ken and he's already touching a large part of default install components. He has the knowledge for version control packaging, packaging from scratch and our release schedule. His current uploads contains sometimes some small issues, but who doesn't? In addition, as he always respect the policy and timeline, those small glitches are always fixed quickly in a timely fashion. I fully support him to become a core developer. Nice work and keep this way, Ken!


=== 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.''
=== Areas of Improvement ===

KenVanDine/DeveloperApplication (last edited 2010-11-22 09:50:27 by lns-bzn-53-82-65-20-199)