NetbookRemixQA

Dev Week -- Ubuntu Netbook Remix Q&A -- njpatel -- Thu, Jan 22

UTC -4 (EST)

(12:04:37 PM) repete: Can we start the next session?
(12:04:52 PM) repete: Ok, in the absence of a moderator, we will :-)
(12:05:02 PM) repete: Hi and welcome to the Ubuntu Netbook Remix session for Ubuntu Developer Week.  I am Pete Goodall, the product manager for the OEM Services group at Canonical.  And joining me are Neil Patel and Bill Filler, also with OEM Services, and the lead developers for the Ubuntu Netbook Remix project.
(12:05:18 PM) repete: We did a session on Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) back in November for Ubuntu Open Week, so this will be an update on UNR followed by a question and answer session.
(12:05:37 PM) repete: Neil, Bill and I work for the OEM Services group at Canonical, and we are the group responsible for customising Ubuntu for device manufacturers.  By "customising" we mean making sure that all the hardware components work, integrating custom interfaces (ala Dell and HP) and providing on-going maintenance.
(12:06:01 PM) repete: So you know what is coming, here is a quick agenda for this hour:  1) Installing UNR  2) Developing for UNR and netbooks in general 3) Question and answer session.
(12:06:21 PM) repete: OK, so lets start with installing UNR.  Hopefully many of you are already running UNR on your laptop or netbook, but if you are not you can find information on how to install UNR at the UNR wiki - http://wiki.ubuntu.com/UNR.
(12:06:43 PM) repete: To date, Ubuntu Netbook Remix has been an addon to Ubuntu 8.04 and Ubuntu 8.10.  Installing the UNR interface involved either adding the PPA to your software sources list and twiddling configuration bits, or running the UNR installer which overwrites your entire hard drive.
(12:06:44 PM) Ireyon left the room.
(12:06:50 PM) charlie-tca left the room ("Looks like I'm going now ...").
(12:07:17 PM) repete: However, starting with Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) you will have two new and improved ways to install UNR on your existing device.  If you don't already have Ubuntu or you just want to do a clean install you will be able to download a Live CD image just like you can with Ubuntu Desktop Edition and go through the normal installer.  That means you can choose your own partitioning or just use the Live CD to see what UNR is all about.
(12:07:53 PM) repete: We are still working out the exact way it will be done, but the second option is for those that have an existing Ubuntu 9.04 system and want to install the UNR interface as well.  You will no longer have to add a PPA to your software sources list because UNR will be in the official Ubuntu software repositories.  Therefore you can just install the UNR interface with apt-get, aptitude, or synaptic.  This may or may not involve tw
(12:09:00 PM) repete: Before I move on to developing for UNR, does anyone have questions about installing?
(12:09:04 PM) njpatel: QUESTION: Should it work with virtualbox?
(12:09:39 PM) njpatel: No, unfortunately, as there will not be OpenGL acceleration available for the launcher
(12:09:54 PM) StyXman: repete: previous-to-last paste got truncated at 'This may or may not involve tw...'
(12:10:06 PM) repete: ah... thx
(12:10:11 PM) njpatel: so the launcher will run with software accel., which is slow and a bit buggy
(12:10:17 PM) repete: This may or may not involve twiddling configuration bits, but we're trying to make it easy. :-)
(12:10:24 PM) njpatel: QUESTION: Will the LIVECD (iso) image have support for many common netbooks? ie. corrcet driver for eeepc wifi?
(12:10:56 PM) repete: As much as possible we try to support all the hardware
(12:11:17 PM) repete: To your specific question, the wireless should work just fine in the eeePC
(12:11:31 PM) repete: Many people use UNR on a eeePC
(12:11:53 PM) njpatel: there are always device-dependant quirks (just like with ubuntu desktop), which will need tweaking after install
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(12:12:06 PM) njpatel:  QUESTION: Do you also have the ordinary Ubuntu interface with the netbook remix?
(12:12:37 PM) bfiller: yes, you have the option to switch to "classic" Ubuntu interface
(12:12:38 PM) njpatel: Yep, we have a nifty utility called Desktop Switcher, which allows you to switch between netbook-mode and classic-mode without losing your customisations
(12:12:50 PM) njpatel: this was not available for intrepid, but will be for jaunty
(12:13:05 PM) repete: You can find the Desktop Switcher in Preferences
(12:13:26 PM) repete: OK. Next let's talk about developing for Ubuntu Netbook Remix.  If you are interested in contributing to the development of the UNR interface and components there a couple of things you need to know.  First, the UNR launcher (netbook-launcher) is written using the Clutter (http://clutter-project.org/) toolkit.  If you are not already familiar with Clutter it is basically a toolkit that simplifies common OpenGL and OpenGL ES ope
(12:14:21 PM) repete: The second consideration is that we need to keep things simple.  That is a core value of the UNR project.  At Canonical, we work with OEMs and ODMs to create devices that are sold to consumers.  "Consumers" may be people whom are not techies and just want things to be easy to use.
(12:14:41 PM) repete: They don't want a spinny cube, they don't want a thousand functions available at a single click and they don't want to open a terminal from any place in the system.  :-)
(12:15:11 PM) repete: I'm conscious that my long posts are being truncated so I'll make them shorter
(12:15:22 PM) repete:  If you are not already familiar with Clutter it is basically a toolkit that simplifies common OpenGL and OpenGL ES operations and allows you to create rich, annimated user interfaces.  If you are already familiar with gtk+ and gobject, Clutter should not be hard to learn.
(12:15:51 PM) repete: Since the inception of this project we have received invaluable feedback from the Ubuntu user and developer community, and this has been a key advantage of UNR.
(12:16:03 PM) repete: If the project leads reject your feature as "out of scope" please don't be offended.  We are just trying to keep things simple.
(12:16:20 PM) repete: If you really want to implement a more advanced or crazy feature all the code for the UNR launcher and the various components is in Launchpad.  From there you can create your own branch.
(12:16:50 PM) repete: Finally, if you already maintain an application in Ubuntu or are considering creating an application for UNR please consider the available verticle resolution.
(12:17:07 PM) repete: Last year most netbooks had a resolution of 1024 x 600.  This year 1024 x 576 is the new black.
(12:17:23 PM) repete: Canonical has worked to fix some applications such the Evolution account dialog, Pidgin and various GNOME utilities.
(12:17:57 PM) repete: Also, you should be mindful of the emergence of touch.  Touch will be more and more prevalent and application developers should keep this in mind.
(12:18:17 PM) repete: Bigger icons, simpler interfaces
(12:18:38 PM) njpatel: Not too reliant on right-click, menu-bars etc
(12:18:50 PM) repete: Ok.  let's field some questions about developing for UNR.
(12:19:18 PM) njpatel: thats ok
(12:19:18 PM) njpatel: <creek23> " and various GNOME utilities." --- ?!? o_O
(12:19:18 PM) njpatel:  I thought GNOME was not used in UNR?
(12:19:40 PM) njpatel: UNR is based on Gnome, but we have a different UI for launching and switching applications
(12:20:17 PM) bfiller: gnome-panel is used, but configured differently by default in UNR
(12:20:26 PM) repete: The reason UNR is called a "remix" is because it is based on Ubuntu Desktop Edition, but adds some components and changes some configuration bits
(12:20:31 PM) njpatel: QUESTION: I submitted 2 bugs a while ago for UNR, however it took around a month for them to get seen, are you making steps to shorten this time?
(12:21:02 PM) njpatel: the bug situation is almost definitely my fault, and yes it is getting better
(12:21:33 PM) bfiller: our QA team is now formally involved in initially confirming/triaging bugs, so the initial response time should be much faster
(12:22:02 PM) bfiller: it is a goal of ours for sure to improve this process
(12:22:06 PM) bfiller: QUESTION: some graphic effects (ex, spinning icon during opening app) doesn't looks correct, if compiz enabled (i think, it's becase exist some confilcts in graphic between compiz and clutter). does UNR team plan to include correct compiz support?
(12:22:41 PM) njpatel: The intel video drivers (on most netbooks), do not support displaying Compiz and a GL window (like the launcher) at the same time
(12:22:52 PM) njpatel: you can get some more information here https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/netbook-remix-launcher/+bug/237731
(12:23:14 PM) njpatel: This is a bug that's fixed in xorg bugzilla and will hopefully be available fr testing in Jaunty
(12:23:23 PM) njpatel: QUESTION: Are there plans to support LXDE?
(12:24:20 PM) repete: We have looked at LXDE as a base, but the GNOME environment is a well developed environment
(12:24:47 PM) bfiller:  QUESTION: What are the goals wrt Memory footprint as well as boot time for UNR? And how have you been striving to meet them?
(12:24:55 PM) repete: by that I mean that GNOME has things such as advanced power management utilities, accessibility
(12:26:25 PM) bfiller: boot time 30 secs or less, RAM 1GB, HDD/SSD 4GB minimum
(12:27:09 PM) repete: Boot time is a major focus of Ubuntu 9.04, so there should be some big improvements when UNR is released on Ubuntu 9.04
(12:27:13 PM) bfiller: we test those configurations, boot time is the biggest challenge and we spent much time trying to reduce boot time, Jaunty should help in this area
(12:28:17 PM) bfiller: QUESTION: why opengl? why not plain gtk?
(12:28:31 PM) bfiller: it's sexier :)
(12:28:51 PM) njpatel: We wanted a nicer user experience with the launcher, using animations, fades etc to enhance it. We are currently quite tight on which animations we use, but we plan to start experimenting more over the next few months
(12:29:26 PM) repete: QUESTION: If most people say GNOME is bloated (in contrast to other desktop environments); And UNR team is trying to make thing light and simple, why not choose other like Xfice?
(12:29:40 PM) repete: This is similar to the LXDE answer
(12:30:21 PM) repete: We have looked at XFCE, and we actually have one of the core devs on staff, but the GNOME environment is still better developed for our purposes
(12:30:41 PM) repete: Several years ago, GNOME was stripped down for the 2.0 release
(12:31:06 PM) repete: ever since them they have been building up capabilities as needed.  We believe it is the best environment for the job.
(12:31:18 PM) repete: s/them/then/
(12:31:54 PM) repete: Anymore questions?
(12:32:06 PM) njpatel:  QUESTION: do all the development made for OEM appear in the repositories, i.e. 1. hw drivers 2. hw and software tweaks 3. interface configuration ?
(12:32:54 PM) njpatel: Yes. The user interface components that make up the netbook remix are all developed in launchpad and available from there
(12:33:29 PM) njpatel: the patches to desktop apps to make them fit in the smallr space are being reviewed and merged into Ubuntu main and we are working with the upstreams to get them integrated
(12:34:10 PM) repete: Where appropriate we push the hardware drivers upstream as well
(12:35:11 PM) repete: As part of the OEM engagement we require close collaboration with the component manufacturers
(12:36:07 PM) njpatel: So all hw should function the same, wether from the OEM install or if one wants to reinstall from scratch using for example a (sometimes newer) LiveCD?
(12:36:44 PM) repete: Well with our customers they are using hardware that may not actually be on the market yet :-)
(12:37:28 PM) repete: As soon as the product is released we work to get those drivers in upstream, but that doesn't mean we can necessarily get it in Ubuntu 8.04
(12:37:40 PM) bfiller: there also may be custom work we've done for an OEM is newer than the latest release of Ubuntu
(12:37:41 PM) repete: because that is a released product and we cannot change that kernel too much
(12:38:25 PM) bfiller: we work to ensure mods which are made to the kernel, drivers, apps, etc.. make it into the next Ubuntu release where applicable
(12:38:29 PM) njpatel: Any more questions? (We've moved onto Q&A now, if it wasn't obvious ;)
(12:39:52 PM) bfiller: QUESTION: I understand ten that the Ubuntu Dell is shipping is the same as the Ubuntu I can install via the Canonical CD? or are there differences?
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(12:40:52 PM) bfiller: there are differences, the publicly available UNR from Canonical is completely free, open-source components and standard UNR launcher
(12:41:37 PM) bfiller: Dell and other OEM are able to ship applications which require a license (i.e Adobe Reader, Skype, etc..) where the free version doesn't have these components by default
(12:41:59 PM) bfiller: Dell's launcher is also customized, but it is open source
(12:42:05 PM) bfiller: so there are differences, yes
(12:42:35 PM) repete: QUESTION: has any OEM asked for non GPL/LGPL development (f.e. hw drivers)?
(12:42:35 PM) bfiller: it's the same baseline of code though
(12:42:43 PM) repete: sorry, bfiller :-)
(12:42:49 PM) bfiller: I'm done :)
(12:43:02 PM) repete: ok.  So to answer the non-GPL question...
(12:43:24 PM) repete: Canonical does not do any non open source development work on the client
(12:43:41 PM) repete: Anything that is not open source is done by a third party
(12:44:20 PM) repete: Wherever possible we always encourage our customers to use and contribute to open source software
(12:44:50 PM) bfiller: QUESTION: difference bw OEM install and Ubuntu repos means if i buy an OEM with UNR, the only way to be sure hw will be "perfectly" supported is to stick with an "old" version of Ubuntu?
(12:45:55 PM) bfiller: I think you are referring to the fact OEM version of UNR is based on 8.04
(12:46:35 PM) bfiller: updates are released to the OEM repository, but is based on 8.04
(12:47:13 PM) repete: With a device that is sold in retail it is not a good idea to change the underlying OS every six months.  Ubuntu 8.04 is a long term support release (LTS), so that mean we will support it (and products based on it) for up to three years.
(12:47:20 PM) bfiller: so yes, for a fully supported product released by the OEM you should stick with their install and update as appropriate
(12:48:33 PM) bfiller: it doesn't mean the latest and greatest free version won't run on it, but it may not be specifically tested and supported on that particular device
(12:49:27 PM) njpatel:  QUESTION: how can users check that a netbook that comes with UNR is entirely supported by OS drivers (so no lock-in), and to make it easier is there a logo Canonical is advising OEM to stick when it's the case?
(12:49:58 PM) repete: As much as possible drivers from an OEM install will make it into the next version of Ubuntu.
(12:50:20 PM) repete: If you want to test your hardware, you can (as of Ubuntu 9.04) use a Live CD.
(12:51:44 PM) njpatel: any other questions?
(12:53:21 PM) njpatel: QUESTION: AFAIU, Intel IGP used in most netbooks aren't open-source (and the one they plan to use for their next Atom platform, based on PowerVR tech, isn't either), are you in discussions with Intel to improve the situation?
(12:53:46 PM) repete: loic-m is obviously very interest in UNR :-D
(12:54:55 PM) repete: Intel is a close partner of Canonical.  As I mentioned earlier, we *always* advocate for the use of open source software.  That being said, it is entirely up to Intel how the license drivers.
(12:55:57 PM) bfiller: QUESTION: Has Canonical tied up with other company (aside from Dell) to release Ubuntu as netbooks default OS?
(12:56:01 PM) njpatel: Also, the IGP cipset isn't the one that's being used the most. Most of the netbooks have 954GMA, which has very good drivers
(12:56:48 PM) repete: There are two other vendors that have released products based on Ubuntu
(12:56:52 PM) repete: sorry, three :-)
(12:57:17 PM) repete: No, two...
(12:57:31 PM) repete: Toshiba NB100 and the Sylvania G Netbook Meso
(12:57:37 PM) repete: both running UNR
(12:58:02 PM) creek23: woohoo!
(12:58:04 PM) repete: of course there is lots of interest in products based on UNR, so look out for more to be released this year
(12:59:24 PM) repete: Ok, we are out of time, but thank you for attending.

MeetingLogs/devweek0901/NetbookRemixQA (last edited 2009-01-22 21:13:49 by ausimage)