Dev Week -- Ask Matt - Matt Zimmerman -- Fri, Sep 5

(12:01:23 PM) jcastro: Ok, today we're starting off with "Ask Matt" ... Matt will introduce himself and explain what he does
(12:01:28 PM) laga: ah, right.
(12:01:32 PM) jcastro: please ask your questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat
(12:01:36 PM) mdz: hello, everyone
(12:01:43 PM) jcastro: prefixed with QUESTION: and I will paste them here
(12:01:56 PM) jcastro: take it away mdz!
(12:02:03 PM) mdz: my name is Matt Zimmerman
(12:02:38 PM) mdz: I've been involved with Ubuntu since its inception, and currently serve as the chairman of the Technical Board and as Ubuntu CTO for Canonical, Ubuntu's corporate sponsor
(12:03:03 PM) mdz: I'm happy to take questions about Ubuntu itself, its development, or Canonical
(12:03:38 PM) jcastro: < krokosjablik> QUESTION: What are the current plans to provide more stability in the LTS releases  ( In reletaion to this, what do you think about the idea  "LTS releases should be built upon the stable core of the previous release"  (
(12:04:09 PM) mdz: this is an interesting topic, one where we're attempting something quite different from most distributions
(12:04:55 PM) mdz: since we continue to make full-fledged releases every six months, and don't have a separate branch of development, we work from the same code base to produce LTS as we do everything else
(12:05:17 PM) mdz: the primary difference, of course, is what we do *after* release: namely continue to maintain and support them for a longer term
(12:06:01 PM) mdz: we also make certain adjustments to our development plans to especially emphasize stability in those releases
(12:06:39 PM) mdz: for 6.06 LTS (dapper), we actually extended our release cycle to give us more time to work on shoring up some key subsystems
(12:06:58 PM) mdz: for 8.04, we produced a normal release on time, and followed it up with a very intensive point release effort, leading to 8.04.1
(12:08:35 PM) mdz: this is a difficult tradeoff, as we want to provide the kind of predictability and stability that users want for the long term, but we also need to continue to keep up with the latest software for the benefit of everyday users who want that
(12:09:31 PM) mdz: suggestions like "skipping" a release and doing only stabilization work would mean disappointing a lot of people who want the latest GNOME, Firefox, etc. and are accustomed to coming to Ubuntu for that for years now
(12:10:12 PM) mdz: we are hearing the feedback, though, and will continue to make adjustments to how we do our releases in order to find the best balance
(12:10:56 PM) mdz: including some more ambitious plans which span multiple release cycles, about which I'll talk more in the future, once they're a bit more baked
(12:11:15 PM) jcastro:  < stefanlsd> QUESTION: What is Canonicals plan regarding getting more big name vendors to support their product on
(12:11:19 PM) jcastro:                    Ubuntu. Most of our clients today are running RH or SLES because Oracle, DB2, SAP, Websphere etc is
(12:11:22 PM) jcastro:                    supported on them.
(12:11:24 PM) jcastro: whoops
(12:11:39 PM) mdz: jcastro: it's fine
(12:12:25 PM) mdz: this is an area we're very active in at Canonical, but it's also a very large ecosystem, so it will take time for Ubuntu to settle into a strong position there
(12:12:58 PM) mdz: large ISVs like the ones you mention don't take decisions like this lightly, and they're more comfortable working with companies and technologies which have been around for a longer time
(12:13:13 PM) RainCT is now known as RainCT_
(12:13:45 PM) mdz: with Ubuntu, which hasn't yet turned four, we still have some way to go before we have the same standing as distributions which are more established with ISVs
(12:14:20 PM) mdz: DB2 has been certified on Ubuntu for some time, and a complete appliance is available for sale from Canonical
(12:14:43 PM) mdz: we have a very positive relationship with IBM and I expect more good things in the future
(12:15:37 PM) mdz: similarly, just a little while ago, we made a joint announcement with IBM to bundle their Open Collaboration Client (which includes Notes, Symphony etc.)
(12:16:07 PM) mdz: the trick is that for a given organization, there are a specific set of boxes to tick, and until we tick them all, there are some enterprises where it will be difficult to use Ubuntu
(12:16:35 PM) mdz: e.g. if we have DB2 but not SAP, someone who needs both may need to go elsewhere for now
(12:16:58 PM) mdz: but meanwhile, there are lots of places where Ubuntu is a great choice, even in those same companies but in different usage scenarios
(12:17:30 PM) mdz: most of our work in this area is with server ISVs at the moment, though there are some good things happening on the desktop side as well
(12:18:12 PM) jcastro: < rick_h_> QUESTION: I see that intrepid is bumping the kernel to sync up with promises of RH/SuSE, has there been much reaction/action to the idea of syncing the major distros and is this a first step in showing Ubuntu's willingness to do some of the work involved?
(12:18:46 PM) mdz: the final decision hasn't been taken yet, but it looks increasingly like we'll stick with 2.6.27 for Intrepid
(12:19:16 PM) mdz: there were a variety of reasons for this, most of which have more to do with the kernel itself and how it meets our needs for Ubuntu than what other distributions are doing
(12:19:39 PM) mdz: however, it will be a great bonus if being in sync with them makes it easier for us to exchange patches, and means that the base kernel we use receives even more testing
(12:20:32 PM) mdz: we have had positive discussions with major open source projects about synchronization, but it's a very difficult proposition for the community as a whole, and it will take a long time to see whether the idea takes hold
(12:20:48 PM) mdz: it's a large community with a lot of momentum, and large-scale changes are necessarily slow
(12:21:46 PM) mdz: we are, generally speaking, agreeable to adapting our plans to fit into a synchronized scheme; Mark has said publicly that we would be willing to change the date of our next LTS release if it meant we could benefit from synchronization
(12:22:39 PM) mdz: as an early step, we're working in some cross-distribution forums to at least gather information about what everyone's plans are, and use that as a starting point to discuss how we could coordinate
(12:23:10 PM) zachr_ is now known as zmrow
(12:23:12 PM) jcastro: (that mailing list is "distributions" on if people want to follow along)
(12:23:19 PM) mdz: ironically, some of the early effects may be in DEsynchronization before we do more synchronization; mirror operators have complained about major distributions releasing very close together and overloading their links
(12:23:45 PM) mdz: so we'll try to make sure that we don't step on each other's toes, and continue to look for opportunities to get mutual benefit from a manageable level of change to our schedules
(12:24:04 PM) jcastro: < fluteflute> QUESTION: Is there any chance of gaining work experience at Canonical? If so, who should I contact? (My message to has gone unanswered.)
(12:24:33 PM) mdz: Canonical is a fast-growing company, and we have quite a few job openings posted on
(12:25:07 PM) mdz: please note that is who you contact if you have job _openings_ you'd like to post which are related to Ubuntu: read the page carefully
(12:25:37 PM) mdz: there is a link to apply on each page for a specific job
(12:25:50 PM) jcastro: < krokosjablik> QUESTION: Do you speak with Gnome/KDE (and another upstream) projects, so they also release _LTS_ versions in time with Ubuntu LTS? Are there any plans for this?
(12:26:42 PM) mdz: quite coincidentally, the next major GNOME release "3.0" falls around the same time as our next projected LTS
(12:27:11 PM) mdz: so that may be a good time for us to coordinate something, particularly if it takes longer than six months for GNOME to go through a round of extensive changes
(12:28:03 PM) mdz: many open source projects don't make plans more than 6-12 months in advance, if that, which makes it difficult to project that far in the future
(12:28:19 PM) mdz: I think we'll start to get more clarity on these possibilities next year
(12:28:33 PM) jcastro: < Kurt> QUESTION: Just a curiosity, but will 9.04 be announced soon? I noticed that 8.04 was announced around this time last year.
(12:29:20 PM) mdz: yes, in fact an announcement is planned for early next week
(12:29:42 PM) mdz: the ever-popular question of what the code name will be will be answered at that time as well :-)
(12:30:26 PM) mdz: if you have ideas which you'd like to put forth for the 9.04 cycle, please put them into brainstorm
(12:30:43 PM) mdz: and review the items in there to help rank them
(12:31:31 PM) mdz: we will review the top items and use them to help set our direction for the release
(12:31:39 PM) jcastro: < hggdh> QUESTION: although sort of answered, any more hard data on integration with major suppliers (like Oracle, etc)
(12:32:21 PM) mdz: any such discussions in progress with partners or potential partners would be confidential
(12:32:46 PM) mdz: I would not be able to discuss such information which is not already public about our activities with those companies
(12:32:55 PM) mdz: apologies
(12:33:03 PM) hggdh: mdz, fair. I understand.
(12:33:18 PM) jcastro: QUESTION: artwork discussions are always heated and opinionated, can you discuss what the artwork plans are for intrepid?
(12:34:25 PM) mdz: we experimented with a fairly radical change in the theme earlier in the cycle (the darker theme)
(12:35:00 PM) mdz: however, we decided to work on that concept more before moving away from the basic 8.04 look
(12:35:32 PM) mdz: there's a lot of activity over on ubuntu-art if you want to follow it more closely
(12:35:44 PM) mdz: and it's true, things get pretty heated over there during development
(12:36:39 PM) mdz: one interesting change is that we've moved to a different theme engine to provide the technical foundations for the current theme
(12:36:44 PM) mdz: which should be more stable and maintainable in the long term
(12:37:16 PM) jcastro: < hggdh> QUESTION: how are plans to base some upstreams in bzr? for example, Evolution ;-)
(12:37:30 PM) jcastro: (I think this would be a great opportunity to talk about DistributedDevelopment)
(12:37:56 PM) mdz: open source projects have understandably strong opinions about which tools they choose to use
(12:38:16 PM) mdz: people get invested in a particular toolset which they have learned well and built their own custom tools on
(12:38:22 PM) mdz: it can be a lot of work to change
(12:38:30 PM) tacone: Question: any news about opensourcing launchpad ?
(12:38:48 PM) ***tacone ducks
(12:39:05 PM) mdz: the GNOME project tries to standardize their tools to some extent, and most of its components use the same revision control system
(12:39:32 PM) mdz: there was quite a bit of discussion at GUADEC about moving to a distributed system, but as far as I know, this hasn't been decided yet, so we'll see what happens there
(12:39:34 PM) jcastro: (Questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat please)
(12:40:01 PM) mdz: it would be very good for Ubuntu if GNOME and other upstream projects move to distributed revision control
(12:40:24 PM) mdz: and I personally think Bazaar is a great choice, but there are a number of good ones out there
(12:40:59 PM) mdz: the more projects go distributed, the better the tools we can build to help us package and deliver their work to users efficiently
(12:41:16 PM) mdz: I'm very excited about the distributed development plan
(12:41:31 PM) mdz: it's something that many of us have wanted to build for a long time now
(12:42:06 PM) mdz: it's somewhat hard to believe that projects as large as Debian and Ubuntu use revision control only in limited ways
(12:42:32 PM) mdz: writing just a single software program without using revision control is considered strange
(12:42:47 PM) mdz: but creating a whole distribution out of thousands, without revision control, is a bit crazy :-)
(12:43:25 PM) mdz: we have a well developed toolset for the way we work today, though, and we hope to make the transition pretty seamless for developers who want to work in revision control
(12:43:44 PM) mdz: furthermore my hope is that putting all of Ubuntu in Bazaar will make it very easy for people to get started on contributing to the project
(12:44:28 PM) mdz: if you have a patch, you'll be able to commit it to your own branch, work on it there and get feedback, build it and put it into a PPA, and when it gets reviewed, it will be very easy for a MOTU or core developer to push it into Ubuntu
(12:44:42 PM) mdz: I find it much simpler than emailing patches around and filing a lot of bug reports
(12:45:10 PM) mdz: in the places where we're using revision control today, there is a lower barrier for contribution and it's less work for the maintainer of the package
(12:45:43 PM) mdz: as to your original question, I think we're making good progress, and our goal is to start to realize some concrete benefits from the work during the 9.04 development cycle
(12:45:59 PM) jcastro: < mcisternas> QUESTION: How journalists can work in Ubuntu? Will there be more spaces for journalists in the community?
(12:46:54 PM) mdz: one of the great community success stories in Ubuntu is Ubuntu Weekly News, which recently passed its 100th issue
(12:47:16 PM) mdz: I'm very grateful to the folks who contribute to that publication and fill it with good content week after week
(12:47:45 PM) mdz: Full Circle magazine is a newer publication with a somewhat different audience and more of a print style
(12:47:50 PM) mdz: and I'm also very impressed with their work
(12:48:12 PM) mdz: journalists looking to get involved should probably talk to the Ubuntu News Team
(12:48:28 PM) mdz: whose mailing list is
(12:49:07 PM) mdz: they'll be able to give the most up to date and accurate information about what's happening and the opportunities to contribute
(12:49:41 PM) jcastro: < hggdh> QUESTION: let's suppose my company uses, commercially, Ubuntu. Will the bugs we open be viewable by all, or would we have a restricted "Malone"? This is a question I have been asked when I proposed Ubuntu elsewhere...
(12:50:47 PM) mdz: Ubuntu itself, as you know, is an open community project, and so information about what we're doing, including the bugs we have, is publicly available
(12:51:13 PM) mdz: this is a bit scary sometimes for companies who are used to working in more closed environments, and they wonder whether using Ubuntu requires that they give up their privacy
(12:51:51 PM) mdz: companies who want to participate in the Ubuntu community are very welcome, but sometimes it's hard for them to understand where they fit in
(12:52:27 PM) mdz: they're used to dealing with other companies in the normal sorts of ways, and open development may not fit into their business or culture very easily
(12:52:39 PM) mdz: for example, many large companies need to go through extensive approval processes in order to release information into the public
(12:53:11 PM) mdz: I think it's important that companies who adopt open source learn about how it works and how to get involved in the usual ways
(12:53:32 PM) mdz: because the ability to get involved, influence the direction of the project, and follow development closely, are key benefits of using open source
(12:53:47 PM) mdz: and without them, companies won't get the full value that open source has to offer
(12:54:11 PM) mdz: however, for companies where this just isn't an option for whatever reason, Canonical can act as a sort of bridge
(12:54:39 PM) mdz: we can work with companies on standard commercial terms, sign non-disclosure agreements, etc.
(12:54:55 PM) mdz: and help them to open up the things that they can open
(12:55:45 PM) mdz: for example, if a commercial customer of ours is working on a particular bug with us, we can track the bug simultaneously in a private fashion and in the public Launchpad
(12:56:20 PM) mdz: so that anything we *can* put into the open system goes there, but we still have the ability to work with them and preserve confidentiality where they need it
(12:56:54 PM) mdz: with regard to your specific question, we do have the capability to offer private bug hosting for our commercial customers to help them do things like this
(12:57:12 PM) jcastro: Ok we're running out of time, we have time for 2 more questions
(12:57:20 PM) jcastro: < krokosjablik> QUESTION: Would you like consider more consolidation between Gnome and KDE like using only one platform - GTK or Qt? Is it realistic?
(12:57:29 PM) hggdh: mdz, THANKS! This is a most important point for some of the companies I do contract work!
(12:58:30 PM) mdz: I think that consolidation is valuable where it makes development easier
(12:59:00 PM) mdz: sometimes, if one component is dominant, it will get more "love" from developers, and thus get better than if attention were divided among competing tools
(12:59:26 PM) mdz: however, it doesn't always work that way, and if everyone is working the same way, things don't get better because it's harder to create something new to displace it
(12:59:32 PM) mdz: so I think a certain amount of diversity is healthy
(12:59:50 PM) mdz: both systems have their merits, and where it's possible and sensible for the projects to collaborate on them, I think they will, and we've already seen evidence of that
(01:00:10 PM) mdz: there would be no point in trying to standardize by fiat; these things need to work themselves out organically in the community
(01:00:18 PM) mdz: KDE and GNOME are both strong communities capable of doing that
(01:00:53 PM) jcastro: ok that's it folks.
(01:01:04 PM) mdz: I think that's all the time we have, there's another session starting  now
(01:01:05 PM) krokosjablik: thanks!
(01:01:06 PM) jcastro: Thanks matt for hosting the session, and thanks everyone for their questions!
(01:01:07 PM) mdz: thanks very much for your questions

MeetingLogs/devweek0809/AskMdz (last edited 2008-09-06 00:14:23 by pool-68-238-87-204)