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Ubuntu Open Week - How the GNOME desktop team works ? - didrocks - Wed, Apr 29th, 2009

(02:06:35 PM) didrocks: DING DONG, it's time to start. Through away your cigarettes and come on! :)
(02:06:38 PM) jcastro: discussion to #ubuntu-classroom-chat please!
(02:06:55 PM) didrocks: The presentation will be about what ubuntu desktop team is, what we are doing, how we organize…
(02:07:08 PM) didrocks: This one is largely inspired by seb128's lesson during last Developers'week (THANKS seb ;)).
(02:07:35 PM) didrocks: Then, we will do a question-answer session. Hope you will be interested in it! As usual, you can ask your question at #ubuntu-classroom-chat
(02:07:51 PM) didrocks: is there a volonteer to handle them?
(02:08:16 PM) didrocks: ok, will see then :D
(02:08:19 PM) didrocks: The Ubuntu Desktop Team is the team working on most of the Ubuntu GNOME desktop applications.
(02:08:27 PM) didrocks: The team is a mix of people working full time for canonical and contributors.
(02:08:40 PM) didrocks: There is many ways to contact and find us, even if we try to get hidden :)
(02:08:46 PM) didrocks: - #ubuntu-desktop for IRC on freenode
(02:08:55 PM) didrocks: - mailing list (low traffic)
(02:09:07 PM) didrocks: - desktop-bugs and ubuntu-desktop launchpad teams
(02:09:21 PM) YoBoY: Hi
(02:09:22 PM) didrocks: The first team is subscribed to every bug reported against a desktop related soft.
(02:09:32 PM) didrocks: so, if you subscribed, you will get spammed :)
(02:09:41 PM) didrocks: think to set up a filter for those mails
(02:10:03 PM) didrocks: - The team has weekly IRC meeting on #ubuntu-desktop, they are at 16:00UTC on Tuesday, but regarding the timeframe, most of people there are Canonical guys ;)
(02:10:27 PM) didrocks: So, what are we doing?
(02:10:37 PM) didrocks: We are working on the desktop packages, the rough list is on
(02:11:15 PM) didrocks: as you can see, there is really a bunch of packages
(02:11:38 PM) didrocks: all bugs against those packages will be in our backlog
(02:11:47 PM) didrocks: We are dealing mainly with two tasks:
(02:11:58 PM) didrocks: - updating the desktop packages when new versions are available (especially GNOME ones)
(02:12:16 PM) didrocks: - trying to work on the corresponding bugs lists, triaging the bugs and work with upstream to get those resolved
(02:12:40 PM) didrocks: hopefully, we have good relations with GNOME upstream :)
(02:13:03 PM) didrocks: one member of the team is a Canonical employee, another a volonteer
(02:13:22 PM) didrocks: and we have also some people from the GNOME release team idling on our IRC channel
(02:13:53 PM) didrocks: ok, going back to packages
(02:14:00 PM) didrocks: Most of the packages are coming from the debian pkg-gnome team.
(02:14:21 PM) didrocks: We try to keep those packages in sync with Debian as much as possible and send their our changes to them.
(02:14:44 PM) didrocks: some changes, as launchpad integration, does not fit Debian. So, we keep this delta for us
(02:15:09 PM) didrocks: but remember that, as for every team, the delta between Debian as us has to be as little as possible :)
(02:15:44 PM) didrocks: But contrary to Debian, we do package unstable version update earlier than them and carry some ubuntu specific changes though.
(02:16:03 PM) didrocks: For instance, Debian generally doesn't upload unstable GNOME version.
(02:16:32 PM) didrocks: we do, because we need to update GNOME very quickly when getting the stable version
(02:16:39 PM) didrocks: The new GNOME release is generally out 3 days from ubuntu beta.
(02:17:01 PM) didrocks: Consequently, we have only very few time to update the bunch of GNOME packages.
(02:17:28 PM) didrocks: That's why we prefer to detect as soon as possible regression, changes in packaging we have to do, so that the new GNOME version still compile in Ubuntu
(02:17:51 PM) didrocks: Also, providing unstable GNOME version in alpha release of Ubuntu is better for all Ubuntu QA
(02:18:14 PM) didrocks: And as most of people us the Ubuntu vanilla version, everyone is possibly a GNOME tester :)
(02:18:35 PM) didrocks: To sum up, we mostly updates packages when GNOME roll new tarballs and we backport upstream fixes from svn.
(02:19:01 PM) didrocks: Just to notice, the packaging is mostly done using cdbs. (this is more intended for developpers) ;)
(02:19:17 PM) didrocks: Organization:
(02:19:42 PM) didrocks: To organize those updates, we current have somebody looking at the new upstream tarballs and noticing what upgrade we need to do in ubuntu.
(02:20:02 PM) didrocks: Tasks are usually splitted on IRC (ie, upgrade are assigned to people there) and people are free to claim tarballs they want to work on.
(02:21:18 PM) didrocks: Contributors, that is to say, people who don't have upload rights, use bugs on launchpad to get their work reviewed (usually it's easy to get review since the team is quite active and you often find people to help on IRC)
(02:21:39 PM) didrocks: Some issue with the current workflow is that "somebody" is mostly seb128 and this is a huge task!
(02:22:02 PM) didrocks: Even if he is some kind of superman, he can't be live 24h a days (what he really can't? O_o)
(02:22:22 PM) didrocks: <Riddell> QUESTION: how many people are on the team?
(02:22:30 PM) didrocks: Riddell: less than Kubuntu ;)
(02:22:54 PM) didrocks: So, let's say we have 7-8 people doing active work
(02:23:01 PM) didrocks: (some of them being full time canonical employees)
(02:23:14 PM) didrocks: double the number if you count people helping on bug triage, etc.
(02:23:35 PM) didrocks: Riddell: we would love to have some kind of "ninja" team as it is the case for Kubuntu
(02:23:51 PM) janito_ is now known as joaopinto
(02:24:30 PM) didrocks: Riddell: I will talk about futur and Kubuntu desktop team/ubuntu desktop team cooperation later :)
(02:24:55 PM) didrocks: QUESTION: what is the view of gnome upstream on ubuntu and linux in general comparing to other distros and platform (freebsd, opensolaris, etc.) ?
(02:25:19 PM) didrocks: well, don't know really well what to answer to that question
(02:25:40 PM) didrocks: regarding GNOME ML, most of people seems to use linux
(02:26:08 PM) didrocks: but GNOME wants to be agnostic regarding plateform, and I see it working very well on opensolaris
(02:26:26 PM) didrocks: reading planet GNOME, you can see that there are a bunch of opensolaris addict there :)
(02:27:00 PM) didrocks: I think that ubuntu is quite liked there. There seems to be fedora, opensuse and ubuntu users.
(02:27:12 PM) didrocks: <Riddell> QUESTION: does the team do any coding?
(02:27:16 PM) didrocks: mostly bug fixes
(02:27:30 PM) didrocks: but there are some development by mvo to update manager
(02:27:41 PM) didrocks: and add/remove softwares
(02:28:09 PM) didrocks: bug fixes are always pushed upstream, and some people on the team have commit right in GNOME svn
(02:28:19 PM) didrocks: oooopsss, git (from just a few days) ;)
(02:28:40 PM) didrocks: <Riddell> QUESTION: what's the reaction been to the DX team's notification changes?
(02:28:50 PM) didrocks: well… quite divided
(02:29:27 PM) didrocks: some part of the team were very disappointed by this direction taken…
(02:29:41 PM) didrocks: some others were convinced it was the right way to go
(02:30:00 PM) didrocks: it was not uninamous if this is what you want to know
(02:30:27 PM) didrocks: (the core critize is about the "non action button" or "default action")
(02:30:43 PM) didrocks: hopefully, for people who don't like it, there is a way to go back
(02:30:54 PM) didrocks: so, the old notification system is still present
(02:31:21 PM) didrocks: to make better the cooperation with the DX team, some of them are idling on the channel too now
(02:31:41 PM) didrocks: <Riddell> QUESTION: is the change to git causing problems for people who aren't experts in revision control?  e.g. translators
(02:31:57 PM) didrocks: yes, a lot of spam in the GNOME devel ML :)
(02:32:19 PM) didrocks: that's normal, I think, when you change your VCS and some people aren't used to distributed VCS
(02:32:29 PM) didrocks: the migration was well prepared
(02:32:53 PM) didrocks: and I think it was as slick as possible. Good work from people release team :)
(02:33:19 PM) didrocks: <cody-somerville> The DX team is using git?
(02:33:35 PM) didrocks: cody-somerville: no, it's upstream GNOME who migrated
(02:33:49 PM) didrocks: <awkorama> QUESTION: what do you think is gnome killer application and what application does it miss the most?
(02:34:25 PM) didrocks: awkorama: I tested recently KDE 4 and well… maybe there are some good ideas to take from it
(02:34:53 PM) didrocks: especially all those widgets, moving them from taskbar to desktop
(02:35:02 PM) didrocks: well, plasmoïd seems to be a very good concept
(02:35:13 PM) didrocks: the GNOME killer app for me is gnome-shell :)
(02:35:31 PM) didrocks: it's quite still experimental and will be finished for GNOME 3.0
(02:36:21 PM) didrocks: but rethinking the desktop user experience is the way to go, and removing the VFS view to organize by activities is a very good idea
(02:36:30 PM) didrocks: (bonus point for KDE in this area)
(02:36:55 PM) didrocks: <gregknicholson> QUESTION: Oo! Gnome-shell! Will we get to play with the beta of that in Karmic (2.28)?
(02:37:09 PM) didrocks: gregknicholson: I really don't think so :)
(02:37:20 PM) didrocks: this is _really_ really experimental :)
(02:37:31 PM) didrocks: and there are some raised issue
(02:37:44 PM) didrocks: for instance, gnome-shell needs a 3D card hw
(02:37:50 PM) didrocks: (it uses clutter)
(02:37:56 PM) didrocks: and is incompatible with compiz
(02:38:14 PM) didrocks: if I have the time, I will drop a package in my ppa
(02:38:30 PM) didrocks: well, no more question, just going on
(02:38:56 PM) didrocks: I was talking about the centralized dispatch of work
(02:39:03 PM) didrocks: So, the idea will be to do some kind of seb128-bot :)
(02:39:15 PM) didrocks: More seriously, this is a domain we have to improve.
(02:39:30 PM) didrocks: Basically, we want a website to take some "lock" for updating packages, noticing general contributor to this package, unlocking after a period of time…
(02:39:40 PM) didrocks: I will try to put some work there to integrate it with bzr and debcheckout so that we don't have added administrative paper work and organize better :)
(02:39:56 PM) didrocks: Some ideas are a website + an IRC bot, and enventually some tools to integrate with developper's tools
(02:40:22 PM) didrocks: We are also integrating more and more bzr for package. Have a look there for a step by step process:
(02:40:31 PM) didrocks: A lot of packages are there:
(02:41:06 PM) didrocks: Using a VCS for packaging enables us to do a better tracking, for cherrypicking changes, making SRU, and so on…
(02:41:30 PM) didrocks: This is an on-going process and some workflows as yet to be decided (for instance, on merges)
(02:41:49 PM) didrocks: On a technical side upgrades are usually standard version updates, some of them are very easy, so good low hanging fruits for new volonteers!
(02:42:16 PM) didrocks: Some are tricker with (soname changes, change to build system, new binaries added, waiting for new dependencies on libgda3 (takes that huats! :p)
(02:42:41 PM) didrocks: I gave a talk on "how to update a package" sumurizing the main steps to check.
(02:42:56 PM) didrocks: You can find it at and I won't go into any further details :)
(02:43:16 PM) didrocks: We also discuss desktop changes, new components to install by default or not, configuration changes, etc.
(02:43:32 PM) didrocks: I think that's enough for presenting the team, we are friendly and it's surprisingly quite a small team for so many packages.
(02:43:37 PM) didrocks: So, don't be shy and come ;)
(02:43:56 PM) didrocks: Also, do not hesitate to have a look at There are a collection of good references there.
(02:44:09 PM) didrocks: Now, rooms for questions , just fire up! :)
(02:44:26 PM) didrocks: <SiDi> QUESTION : What is gnome shell ? :)
(02:44:33 PM) didrocks: oh sorry ;)
(02:44:56 PM) didrocks: gnome shell is the new layout and engine that will be settled in GNOME 3
(02:45:14 PM) didrocks: the idea is to rethink the main desktop layout
(02:45:24 PM) didrocks: basically, removing the two boards
(02:45:48 PM) didrocks: and presenting some kind of "activities", that enables you to launch applications and tasks
(02:45:53 PM) didrocks: let me look for screenshots
(02:46:05 PM) didrocks:
(02:46:25 PM) didrocks: very different from current desktop, isn't? :)
(02:46:43 PM) didrocks: <awkorama> QUESTION: do you personally use any app that replaces gnome default (and why) ?
(02:47:39 PM) didrocks: awkorama: no, as I'm upgrading and testing a lot of packages I made (yes, I want to TEST your packages before uploading), I even have the default desktop background :)
(02:47:49 PM) didrocks: I tried gnome-do
(02:48:11 PM) didrocks: wasn't really convinced and too used to drop a gnome-terminal with alt-f2 to care about it :)
(02:48:46 PM) didrocks: <gregknicholson> Follow-up QUESTION …'cos the Gnome roadmap says Gnome-shell beta will land in time for 2.28: —in your view is that too optimistic?
(02:49:16 PM) didrocks: hum, to be honest, looking at upstream discussion about GNOME 3, nobody is certain that GNOME 2.30 = GNOME 3.0
(02:49:27 PM) didrocks: it will be maybe GNOME 2.32
(02:49:41 PM) didrocks: (for the record, we currently have GNOME 2.26)
(02:50:00 PM) didrocks: so, less than one year to make GNOME 3 a reality seems very short
(02:50:19 PM) didrocks: ok, changing from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 is not a complete rewriting contrary to KDE
(02:50:37 PM) didrocks: it will certainly be easier
(02:50:53 PM) didrocks: but still, if you drop the boards to replace by gnome-shell
(02:50:59 PM) didrocks: you have to rewrite all applets systems
(02:51:38 PM) didrocks: will see, if we have the time to propose a package, we will do :)
(02:51:50 PM) didrocks: for instance, there is a package for gdm 2.26 in universe
(02:52:01 PM) didrocks: (the current used gdm is 2.20, as in every distribution)
(02:52:26 PM) didrocks: because gdm 2.22 was a complete rewrite and some features are still missing…
(02:52:39 PM) didrocks: well, futur
(02:52:52 PM) didrocks: I really hope to make ubuntu desktop team and kubuntu desktop team closer
(02:53:04 PM) didrocks: I already tried to make some updates in the ninja team
(02:53:12 PM) didrocks: it was really a great experience
(02:53:12 PM) nixternal: \o/
(02:53:18 PM) didrocks: hey nixternal \o/
(02:53:24 PM) sebsebseb: apparantly  Gnome in 9.04 lacks certain features, such as for example new GDM screen
(02:53:31 PM) didrocks: people are rellly friendly there too
(02:53:47 PM) didrocks: sebsebseb: you can see what I told about GDM just before
(02:54:07 PM) didrocks: so, I think that at UDS, I will get closer to kde team, so that we can share our process
(02:54:22 PM) didrocks: and take the best of our two worlds :)
(02:55:19 PM) didrocks: <^arky^> Question: The Shutdown / Quit option in System menu disappears when you have Gdm auto login enabled. This creates problems to some user like the blind screen reader users. Do you often do usability testing with blind users in mind.
(02:55:44 PM) didrocks: ^arky^: normally, the QA team does some usability tests
(02:55:52 PM) didrocks: didn't know about that
(02:56:05 PM) didrocks: a workaround is to remove the FUSA applet
(02:56:21 PM) didrocks: (the applet with your name, where you can Shutdown / Quit)
(02:56:36 PM) didrocks: the old menu items will magically appears again :)
(02:56:53 PM) didrocks: ^arky^: I think it's time to open a bug :D
(02:57:12 PM) didrocks: (against FUSA, it will be the best)
(02:57:44 PM) didrocks: Riddell: the FUSA applet is an other example of coding by the team
(02:57:59 PM) didrocks: well, it seems there is no remaining questions
(02:59:08 PM) didrocks: I think, yes, the time is almost over, let's continue on #ubuntu-classroom-chat
(02:59:18 PM) didrocks: thanks to everybody who partipated to it :)