Dev Week -- Developers Roundtable -- Various (ScottK & bdrung) -- Thu, Aug 30th, 2012

   1 [19:01] <JoseeAntonioR> ok guys, so let's get started with the roundtable
   2 [19:01] <JoseeAntonioR> thanks everyone for coming to our Ubuntu Developer Week for this cycle
   3 [19:01] <JoseeAntonioR> I hope you've enyojed all our sessions, this is the last session for this event :)
   4 [19:02] <JoseeAntonioR> this is basically a session where you're able to interact with different developers, so, if you're a developer just say hi, and bring in your question
   5 [19:02] <JoseeAntonioR> or if not, and just want to ask, go ahead, you're free to :)
   6 [19:03] <JoseeAntonioR> some of you can also be sharing experiences as developers later, so get ready for this last hour!
   7 [19:04] <bdrung> if you will have questions later, feel free to ask them on IRC (in #ubuntu-devel, #ubuntu-motu, or #ubuntu-packaging) on on the mailing lists.
   8 [19:04] <JoseeAntonioR> let me remind you all interaction is via this channel (#ubuntu-classroom), as this session is non-moderated
   9 [19:04] <JoseeAntonioR> so, anyone's got any questions?
  10 [19:05] <TheLordOfTime> JoseeAntonioR:  note that some questions might drop into -chat, for those using lernid.
  11 [19:05] <TheLordOfTime> ;)
  12 [19:05] <JoseeAntonioR> and I'll get them here, so don't worry about that
  13 [19:06] <JoseeAntonioR> so, if you're a developer, or would like to get started on it, raise your hand!
  14 [19:06] <JoseeAntonioR> o/
  15 [19:07] <wan26> I'd like to get started but don't know how to become directly involved
  16 [19:07] <thummar> o/
  17 [19:07] <wan26> o/
  18 [19:07] <JoseeAntonioR> wan26: I'm sure many people have that problem :)
  19 [19:07] <stadtfeld> o/
  20 [19:07] <jincreator> o/
  21 [19:08] <bdrung> wan26: don't you know on what you should work or don't you know how to interact with Ubuntu?
  22 [19:08] <chilicuil> o/
  23 [19:08] <JoseeAntonioR> great, seems like we've got many people in here, anyone else? :)
  24 [19:08] <bdrung> i started becoming a Ubuntu developer by scratching my own itch. i needed a newer version of matplotlib and tried to update the package.
  25 [19:09] <bdrung> thummar: ask!
  26 [19:10] <raki1> o/
  27 [19:10]  * ScottK is here now too.
  28 [19:10] <JoseeAntonioR> seems great!
  29 [19:10] <JoseeAntonioR> so, bdrung, can you please tell us about your experience as an Ubuntu developer?
  30 [19:11] <ScottK> I came in at bdrung saying "i started becoming a Ubuntu developer by scratching my own itch." - This was true for me too.
  31 [19:11] <bdrung> scratching your own itch is a very motivating reason to start working on free software.
  32 [19:12] <bdrung> finding an itch is easy: you probably experienced a bug that annoys you or you want a newer version of a program, but it's not updated in the current development release.
  33 [19:14] <bdrung> over 4 years ago, i participated in a packaging jam, in which dholbach explained how to package stuff.
  34 [19:14] <bdrung> i saw all the tools used in a very short time, but i knew that i would be able to learn them.
  35 [19:15] <bdrung> packaging is knowing a bunch of command line tools and file formats.
  36 [19:15] <ScottK> Finding an itch was a start, but it's not what sustains me.  I think people should do their bit to make the world a better place and contributing to free software is part of how I do that.  I wrote about it a few years ago:
  37 [19:16] <JoseeAntonioR> seems great, so anyone else here has got any experiences you want to share with us?
  38 [19:17] <chilicuil> I've a question, hope u dont matter if I do it while sharing experiences, what are ur favorite|most used tool in the ubuntu-dev-tools pkg ?
  39 [19:18] <bdrung> there are a bunch: syncpackage, wrap-and-sort, sponsor-patch come to my mind
  40 [19:19] <bdrung> syncpackage is for syncing a package from Debian to Ubuntu. if you have no upload right, you will probably use requestsync instead.
  41 [19:19] <bdrung> wrap-and-sort will make your debian/control file look nicer (at least for me)
  42 [19:20] <JoseeAntonioR> ok, so, cdunlap asks: Do they still do packaging Jams where you can get some of this knowledge?
  43 [19:20] <ScottK> Developers use tools very differently and that's OK.
  44 [19:20] <ScottK> I use syncpackage all the time, but I've never used the other two.
  45 [19:21] <bdrung> sponsor-patch is for sponsoring a package for someone else, it download the source package, applies the proposed patches, test builds it. this tool allows me to concentrate on looking on the proposed changes.
  46 [19:22] <ScottK> I think they still do packaging jams, but there's no need to wait.  I learned before such a thing existed.  If you've got something to work on, dive in and start and the people on #ubuntu-motu will be glad to help if you get stuck.
  47 [19:22] <bdrung> ScottK: you should try wrap-and-sort! ;)
  48 [19:23] <ScottK> There's lots of documentation (enough to be overwhelming), but as long as you're trying to figure it out and not just waiting to be spoon fed, people will help you.
  49 [19:23] <ScottK> Don't worry about appearing not to know stuff when you ask questions.  I've been doing this since 2007 and I still have questions.
  50 [19:23] <bdrung> cdunlap: i can't remember when we had the last packaging jam. The Ubuntu Developer Week is a equivalent event that can trigger someone to start diving into development.
  51 [19:26] <wan26> I've noticed many people write code differently, how do you deal with that if someone has a different style ? or is there a general style you all adhere to?
  52 [19:26] <ScottK> The biggest problem I see people have with getting into development is not being enough of a self-starter.  This is not a regular job with a manager that will set work in front of you and tell you what to do and when it needs to be done by.  You need to find the motivation in yourself to get something done.  If you can find that, you'll succeed because the actual technical knowledge needed for most package activities isn't that complex
  53 [19:26] <ScottK> (there's a lot of it, but the individual pieces aren't hard).
  54 [19:27] <JoseeAntonioR> calmi asked: to the experienced developers: can you still abstract your point of view? i.e. can you still put yourself in the posion of - let's say your father trying to get things done with little knowledge about computers?
  55 [19:28] <ScottK> wan26: Distribution packaging is primarily integration work, so we don't write a lot of code from scratch.  If you're working on patching something to fix a bug or work better on Ubuntu, you generally want to stick with the upstream style for consistency and to maximize the chance of the patch getting accepted upstream.
  56 [19:29] <ScottK> JoseeAntonioR: It's very difficult.  I often ask people who are new to development to go fix documentation after I help them with something because they are much better positioned to write it so it works for the new developer audience than me.
  57 [19:29] <JoseeAntonioR> calmi: ^
  58 [19:29] <ScottK> Right.
  59 [19:30] <chilicuil> do u use the distributed development system (branch/merge) or are u stick with the debian way to produce the patches?, do you think the new Ubuntu way is ready to use safty for new contributors? what're some of the things that the Ubuntu way cannot still handle?
  60 [19:30] <ScottK> I never use UDD.
  61 [19:30] <ScottK> I tried it and found it more complex and the tools not mature.
  62 [19:31] <ScottK> I think it's a mistake to teach it to new people first since as soon as they hit a branch that's out of date, they have to go back to the old way, so they still need to know that too.
  63 [19:31] <bdrung> calmi: good question. I help a bunch of people in my neighbourhood to maintain Ubuntu. looking at how they interact with the computer shows the difference to my usage. I do stuff quickly and often on the command line, but that doesn't explain what prevents them to do the same stuff.
  64 [19:31] <ScottK> Also, if you want to get involved in Debian (which I recommend), you're better off knowing how the more general tools work.
  65 [19:32] <ScottK> That said, I love the package branches that are generated on each upload.  It makes it very easy to go back and figure out what changed, when and why.
  66 [19:32] <ScottK> It's an awesome tool for forensics.
  67 [19:33] <JoseeAntonioR> any other questions or ideas?
  68 [19:33] <bdrung> I rarely use UDD. I do most of my stuff in some Debian version control systems (in most cases: git).
  69 [19:33] <ScottK> That does bring up another good point.  Both bdrung  and I are also Debian developers.
  70 [19:34] <ScottK> We both started with Ubuntu and migrated to start doing work in Debian too.
  71 [19:34] <jincreator> Many Ubuntu developers are also Debian developers(as far as I know). What makes them(you) also start paritipate in Ubuntu?
  72 [19:34] <ScottK> So for packages I maintain, I'm almost always uploading to Debian and syncing.
  73 [19:34] <ScottK> I started in Ubuntu.
  74 [19:35] <bdrung> More people benefit if you do stuff upstream.
  75 [19:35] <ScottK> Exactly.
  76 [19:35] <bdrung> jincreator: I started in Ubuntu and became Debian Developer (DD) afterwards.
  77 [19:35] <ScottK> Also if changed done in Ubuntu get ported up to Debian, that's less work for Ubuntu developers to have to deal with.
  78 [19:36] <ScottK> This is important.  Debian has about an order of magnitude more developers than Ubuntu and so it's critical for as much to be done there as possible.
  79 [19:37] <bdrung> Doing stuff just in Ubuntu will give you a diff between Debian and Ubuntu. Then a Ubuntu Developer needs to maintain this diff. This takes time that could have been used for something else.
  80 [19:37] <ScottK> Also Debian package maintainers are experts in their package so by working with Debian people you get good feedback it's hard to get in Ubuntu where most developers are generalists and few packages have dedicated maintainers.
  81 [19:37] <bdrung> Debian has around 1000 developers. Ubuntu has only around 150.
  82 [19:38] <ScottK> I know Debian developers that have gotten involved in Ubuntu.
  83 [19:38] <chilicuil> in order of difficultity how would you clasify the tasks you do?
  84 [19:39] <ScottK> Generally it seems to be either a desire to learn about issues with their packages (Ubuntu has a LOT of users and the file a lot of bugs) or they consider worrying about users of Debian derivatives like Ubuntu a natural extension of the Debian Social Contract.
  85 [19:39] <bdrung> that depends. doing one specific task the first time can be difficult. doing the same task for the tenth time is easy.
  86 [19:40] <stadtfeld> Let's say you start contributing by doing some bug fixes and writing some patches, what happens next? How do you go from being let's say casual contributer  to ubuntu developer?
  87 [19:41] <chilicuil> I mean, I find myself creating a patch for an Ubuntu package a lot easier (if it's not a difficult one) than merging or working with FTFBS, I've never managed to fix one of those
  88 [19:42] <ScottK> stadtfeld: Usually people are seriously considered for being an Ubuntu dev until they've been contributing for about six months.
  89 [19:42] <bdrung> stadtfeld: once you contribute for at least a half year and your sponsors have nothing to complain about your proposed changes, you can apply for uploads rights at the Developer Membership Board (DMB)
  90 [19:42] <ScottK> Sometimes sponsors will tell you they think it's time to apply.  If you think maybe you're ready, you should ask people that have been sponsoring you.
  91 [19:43] <ScottK> chilicuil: Fixing a FTBFS is still just some kind of a patch usually, it's just often hard to figure out what the patch should be.
  92 [19:43] <stadtfeld> I see, thanks :)
  93 [19:43] <bdrung> stadtfeld: you could also ask your sponsors if they think that you are ready to get upload rights. in my case my sponsors encourage me to apply for uploads right before i was thinking about it.
  94 [19:44] <bdrung> chilicuil: it's very useful to know the programming language (and sometimes the build system) to fix a FTBFS.
  95 [19:45] <bdrung> chilicuil: it often depends on the background what is considered easy or hard.
  96 [19:45] <ScottK> The hardest thing is packaging something new from scratch.  Not because it's particularly complex, but because to do this you need to know about all aspects of packaging.  I think that's the one thing to stay away from to start.
  97 [19:46] <bdrung> yes, starting with packaging something from scratch is not a good idea.
  98 [19:47] <ScottK> Becoming an Ubuntu developer is a very big step.  It means you can upload code to the official archive without further review that might eventually run on millions of desktops.
  99 [19:47] <ScottK> It's critical that the community know you well enough to trust you before granting that privilege.
 100 [19:47] <JoseeAntonioR> calmi asked: how is the relationship between ubuntu developers and those of ubuntu "official" derivates as k/x/lubuntu and especially linux mint "secessionists" ;)?
 101 [19:48] <ScottK> I'm not aware that there is one.
 102 [19:48] <ScottK> I know Ubuntu works really hard to push fixes it does into Debian and I've done so literally hundreds of times.
 103 [19:48] <ScottK> I don't recall ever seeing someone from Mint doing the same.
 104 [19:49] <ScottK> Ubuntu has a lot of derivatives and I don't think anyone in Ubuntu minds a bit.
 105 [19:49] <ScottK> As a rule though, I don't think there's a lot of interchange.
 106 [19:50] <ScottK> It's equally possible that I'm working with people who also work on Mint and I just don't know it.
 107 [19:50] <ClassBot> There are 10 minutes remaining in the current session.
 108 [19:50] <bdrung> The difference of Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu is just the CDs. There is no difference between a Kubuntu or Xubuntu developer. We all work on the same archive. Just a different set of packages is used to build the CDs.
 109 [19:51] <ScottK> Yes.
 110 [19:51] <jsjgruber-x-p_> Can you get upload rights without packaging from scratch?
 111 [19:51] <ScottK> Yes.
 112 [19:51] <gustavo_> enc
 113 [19:51] <ScottK> If you've done enough other things.
 114 [19:52] <ScottK> We generally encourage new packages to go to Debian these days so packaging from scratch in Ubuntu is not the norm.
 115 [19:52] <JoseeAntonioR> calmi asked: so everyone does his thing in "his tribe" except ubuntu-debian?
 116 [19:52] <bdrung> I newer met a Mint developer. Maybe I worked with them, but then they didn't say that they were from Mint.
 117 [19:52] <ScottK> calmi: We can't answer that.
 118 [19:53] <ScottK> I do know that the Sabily developers are active in Debian/Ubuntu.
 119 [19:53] <ScottK> So that's at least one exception.  The Ichthux developers were too when it was active.
 120 [19:54] <ScottK> So there are some exceptions.
 121 [19:54] <bdrung> calmi: Mint uses the Ubuntu archive and add some packages, but Ubuntu uses just the source packages from Debian.
 122 [19:54] <ScottK> I also see developers from other Debian derivatives active in Debian.
 123 [19:54] <chilicuil> the people who help u to come abroad are still part of ubuntu?, do u see people leaving ubuntu at the same rate new people jumps in?, how is the relation?
 124 [19:54] <bdrung> calmi: Every update to the Ubuntu archive will end up in Mint.
 125 [19:55] <ScottK> One point I want to make sure that I make is that Ubuntu participation is based on contribution and merit.
 126 [19:55] <ScottK> It doesn't matter who you work for.
 127 [19:55] <ClassBot> There are 5 minutes remaining in the current session.
 128 [19:55] <jincreator> How much times do you spend on contribuing Ubuntu?
 129 [19:56] <ScottK> I'm, among other things, a member of the Ubuntu Archive team who's job it is to check and make sure new packages are legal for Canonical and the Ubuntu mirrors to distribute, even though I don't and have never worked for them.
 130 [19:57] <bdrung> chilicuil: most of them are still active. some are less active than they used to be. the job and the real life can influence the time you have to spent on Ubuntu.
 131 [19:57] <ScottK> jincreator: It varies a lot.  I've probably spent less than two hours this week, including this last hour, but then some times I've spent full days on it.
 132 [19:58] <bdrung> jincreator: around one hour per week for the DMB and a varying timespan for packaging stuff (between 0 hours till 60 hours per week)
 133 [19:59] <ScottK> I've done all nighters where someone broke something and I was the only one around that could fix it.
 134 [19:59] <bdrung> jincreator: i have spent just this hour this week for Ubuntu, because i am ill.
 135 [20:00] <jincreator> It really varies a lot! bdrung: Hope you get better soon.
 136 [20:00] <ClassBot> Logs for this session will be available at
 137 [20:00] <ScottK> Feel free to ping me on #ubuntu-motu if you have questions
 138 === ChanServ changed the topic of #ubuntu-classroom to: Welcome to the Ubuntu Classroom - || Support in #ubuntu || Upcoming Schedule: || Questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat ||
 139 [20:01] <JoseeAntonioR> ok guys, so this is the end of the session
 140 [20:01] <bdrung> jincreator: thanks. i feel better today. no headache any more. yeah!
 141 [20:01] <JoseeAntonioR> and also the end of the Ubuntu Developer Week for this cycle
 142 [20:01] <JoseeAntonioR> I hope you all enjoyed the sessions, I should also thank all the instructors who volunteered for doing this, you've done a great job
 143 [20:02] <JoseeAntonioR> we'll be having some Ubuntu on Air sessions and the Ubuntu OpenWeek soon, so stay tuned! again, thanks for being here :)
 144 [20:02] <chilicuil> \o/, thanks a lot guys!
 145 [20:03] <jsjgruber-x-p_> Thanks, all.
 146 [20:04] <bdrung> if you still have questions, feel free to ping me on #ubuntu-devel, #ubuntu-motu, or #ubuntu-packaging

MeetingLogs/devweek1208/DevRoundtable (last edited 2012-08-31 09:42:50 by dholbach)