Ubuntu Open Week - Introduction to the ServerTeam - MathiasGug - Mon, Apr 27th, 2009

(06:02:47 PM) mathiaz: after NCommander introduction to Xubuntu, I'll make another presentation about the Ubuntu Server Team
(06:03:28 PM) mathiaz: I'll go through who are the members of the Ubuntu Server team, what are interests.
(06:03:50 PM) mathiaz: Then I'll outlines the different hats one can wear in the Ubuntu Server Team
(06:04:11 PM) mathiaz: and I'll finish by giving practical tips on getting started in the Ubuntu Server Team
(06:04:25 PM) mathiaz: So Who are we ?
(06:04:35 PM) mathiaz: We are a group of people that have an interest in server related software.
(06:04:46 PM) mathiaz: As an extension we tend also to deal with setups found in corporate environments, such as directory services (ldap, AD) web services, or network authentication.
(06:05:12 PM) knome left the room.
(06:05:15 PM) mathiaz: Some of us are working for Canonical in the Server team, lead by Rick Clark (dendrobates on IRC).
(06:05:27 PM) mathiaz: Others have services and businesses running on Ubuntu and are interested in fixing bugs.
(06:05:45 PM) mathiaz: Regular contributors takes on important tasks and lead them to completion.
(06:06:00 PM) mathiaz: Here is a short (and incomplete) list of the features that have been developed during the last release cycle:
(06:06:21 PM) mathiaz: Dustin Kirkland (kirkland) added the possibility to create encrypted home directories. The implementation is based on the ecryptfs project. Dustin is also one of the leader in the upstream project.
(06:06:54 PM) mathiaz: For Karmic he is looking into adding this feature as an option to all users installing Ubuntu as well as a migration mechanism for saying "I didn't encrypt my home at install, but i would like to do so now!".
(06:07:14 PM) mathiaz: Help in designing, coding and testing this feature is welcome. Interested? Contact Dustin Kirkland.
(06:09:47 PM) mathiaz: If you're interested in helping out implementing this feature get in touch with Ante!
(06:07:30 PM) ***kirkland waves o/
(06:07:47 PM) mathiaz: Soren Hansen (soren) and Thierry Carrez (ttx) integrated Eucalyptus helping Ubuntu users to build their own EC2-like cloud.
(06:08:29 PM) mathiaz: In the domain of cloud computing official Ubuntu Server machines are available from Amazon EC2 thanks to the work of Chuck Short (zul).
(06:09:16 PM) mathiaz: Ante Karamatić (ivoks) lead an effort to improve the mail server stack in Ubuntu: postfix and dovecot are now better integrated through the dovecot-postfix package providing seamless SASL authentication.
(06:10:20 PM) mathiaz: Adam Sommer (sommer) is our documentation guru. He reviewed and updated the Server Guide.
(06:10:31 PM) mathiaz: The virtualization section has been revamped to closely follow what has been done in the virtulization stack while the section about network authentication has been augmented to cover kerberos and its integration with openldap.
(06:11:23 PM) mathiaz: So you can see that we are a diverse group that have different interests. We're also involved in other teams from the Ubuntu project.
(06:11:34 PM) mathiaz: This is one of the characteristics of the Server Team: we all share a common interest in server technologies, but have different skills.
(06:11:52 PM) mathiaz: Being part of the team often means representing the Server Team in other areas of the Ubuntu project and the Free Sofware ecosystem in general.
(06:12:53 PM) mathiaz: Being a contributor to the server team can be taken under different roles:
(06:13:00 PM) mathiaz: The helpers answers questions on the ubuntu-server mailing list, the #ubuntu-server irc channel and the server forums.
(06:13:17 PM) mathiaz: Triagers dig into bugs the ubuntu-server LP team is subscribed to.
(06:13:34 PM) mathiaz: Our LP team is a bug contact for a list packages, such as samba, openldap, mysql or apache2.
(06:14:09 PM) mathiaz: The current list of packages can be found in Launchpad ( and is growing every release.
(06:14:37 PM) mathiaz: A mailing list gathers all the bugs related to the ubuntu-server team: To get started in triaging signup here:
(06:14:54 PM) mathiaz: This is a great way to start with the LP bug tracker and doesn't require any knowledge of programming languages.
(06:15:11 PM) mathiaz: We're working closely with the BugSquad team - triagers participate on the bugsquad mailing list
(06:15:28 PM) mathiaz: And once in a while with have the honor of having our own HugDay where the whole bug triaging community helps us.
(06:15:52 PM) mathiaz: Once bugs have been triaged, it's time to fix them. This is when the packagers come into the game.
(06:16:23 PM) mathiaz: This role requires an interest in packaging.
(06:16:41 PM) mathiaz: We maintain a list of bugs that are easy to fix:
(06:16:51 PM) mathiaz: Fixes can make their way into the ubuntu repositories via the sponsorship process as described in the wiki page
(06:17:03 PM) mathiaz: Doing work on the packaging front leads to a close a collaboration with the MOTU team and is a great way to gain experience to become a MOTU -
(06:17:47 PM) mathiaz: Testing is another way to take part of the Server Team activity. This role doesn't require a lot of deep technical knowledge.
(06:18:02 PM) mathiaz: We work with the Ubuntu QA team -
(06:18:22 PM) mathiaz: Testers are taking a more and more important role the more we advance in the release cycle:
(06:18:42 PM) mathiaz: We're responsible for ensuring that the ubuntu-server isos are working correctly, which involves performing a dozen of tests for two isos.
(06:18:54 PM) mathiaz: The list of tests can be found in the wiki:
(06:19:07 PM) mathiaz: Results are tracked via the Iso testing tracker located at
(06:19:22 PM) mathiaz: Server hardware support is another area where testing is welcome.
(06:19:50 PM) mathiaz: We're trying to make sure that ubuntu can be used on the main server hardware, so if you have access to such hardware, popping a cd into the machine, installing a standard ubuntu server and reporting whether it has successfully installed or failed is an easy way to contribute to the server team.
(06:20:00 PM) mathiaz: This work is coordinated in the ServerTesting Team wiki pages:
(06:20:38 PM) mathiaz: rowsing the ubuntu-server mailing list archive, lurking in the #ubuntu-server irc channel or going through the forum posts shows patterns in user's questions.
(06:21:14 PM) mathiaz: Recurring themes are identified and turned into documentation. A wiki page in the community section of is first created. Once the quality has improved, a new section is added to the server guide.
(06:21:23 PM) mathiaz: All this work is undertaken by the Documentors of the Server Team.
(06:22:02 PM) mathiaz: Collaboration with the Documentation team is done on a daily basis to achieve consistency with other help resources.
(06:22:20 PM) mathiaz: More information about the Documentation team can be found on their website located at
(06:22:46 PM) mathiaz: Adam Sommer (sommer) leads the update and review of the Ubuntu Server guide. The source document is maintained in a bzr tree. Helping Adam will introduce you to docbook and distributed versioning with bazaar.
(06:23:07 PM) mathiaz: Getting started involves following 3 steps outlined in the Server Team Knowledge base:
(06:23:23 PM) JManGt_ is now known as JManGt
(06:23:32 PM) mathiaz: There is also the option to go over server related wiki pages on the community help pages. A good starting point is the Server page that has links to lots of other howtos.
(06:24:06 PM) mathiaz: Another hat you can wear in the Server Team is the Developer one.
(06:24:35 PM) mathiaz: They develop new features usually specified during the Ubuntu Developer Summit that takes place at the beginning of each release cycle. Tracked by a blueprint we have around 3 months to get a new feature into Ubuntu.
(06:25:05 PM) mathiaz: As we are at the beginning of a release cycle most members of the Server Team are thinking about new features that could be implemented for Karmic. These ideas should be added to the Server Team IdeaPool page:
(06:25:18 PM) mathiaz: Anyone is welcome to give input on existing ideas and help out refining them.
(06:26:16 PM) mathiaz: As you can see, contributing to the Server Team can be undertaken in more than one way. It usually involves a lot of interaction with other teams from the Ubuntu project.
(06:26:37 PM) mathiaz: It's also a good way to show your contribution to Ubuntu and helps getting Ubuntu membership.
(06:27:05 PM) mathiaz: The GettingInvolved page gives an overview of the roles I've talked about above:
(06:27:36 PM) mathiaz: So how do we work ?
(06:27:54 PM) mathiaz: We track our progress on the Roadmap and meet once a week to discuss outstanding issues.
(06:28:18 PM) mathiaz: Our current work can be tracked on the Roadmap wiki page:
(06:28:56 PM) mathiaz: We use the ubuntu-server mailing to coordinate our activities, discuss policy change in the team as well as helping out users.
(06:29:36 PM) mathiaz: You can subscribe to the mailing list here: Join our mailing list at
(06:30:09 PM) mathiaz: There is also an Ubuntu Server blog maintained by some members of the Server Team. Minutes of the meeting as well as other topics related to the Ubuntu Server Team activities are regularly posted there:
(06:31:24 PM) mathiaz: How to join the Server Team and start contributing ?
(06:32:06 PM) mathiaz: Joining the ubuntu-server team on LP is as simple as subscribing to the ubuntu-server mailing list and applying for membership on LP
(06:33:13 PM) mathiaz: If you already know which role you'd like to contribute as, you can find a list of tasks in the Roadmap. Don't hesitate to ask one of the team members involved in your area of interest.
(06:34:00 PM) mathiaz: Most of the information related to the ServerTeam can be found in the ServerTeam wiki pages:
(06:34:43 PM) jcastro: mathiaz: you might want to open it up for questions soon, people are getting antsy. :)
(06:34:49 PM) mathiaz: If you're overwhelmed by all the available information and you're lost, come talk to me. You can find me in #ubuntu-server amongst other channels. I'll help get out of the mist and we'll find a way you can get involved in the Server Team.
(06:35:10 PM) mathiaz: Allright - I'm going to answer the questions from -chat.
(06:35:31 PM) mathiaz: I'm sorry that I haven't specified this at the begining of my session.
(06:36:02 PM) mathiaz: 18:12 < somnoliento> QUESTION: Jono asked a while back about a possible tighter integration between client and server. Is this a current area of interest/development?
(06:36:29 PM) mathiaz: somnoliento: yes. We're looking at ways to get better integration.
(06:37:07 PM) mathiaz: It depends on the applications considered and especially the environment in which the Ubuntu infrastructure will be deployed.
(06:38:20 PM) mathiaz: Some things such as Single Sign On support is looked at: so that you can use your evolution mail client and connect to the mail server without having to enter a username and password for your IMAP accounts or for sending email.
(06:39:31 PM) mathiaz: Another example would be for intranets where a user using firefox would authenticate automatically to internal web servers.
(06:40:26 PM) mathiaz: 18:13 < pwnguin> QUESTION: Does the server team have a preferred tool for backing up servers and desktops?
(06:40:59 PM) mathiaz: pwnguin: one of the official package (ie in main) for backup is bacula
(06:41:34 PM) mathiaz: pwnguin: backuppc is also in main and can be used for backups.
(06:41:59 PM) mathiaz: pwnguin: however bacula support tapes and robotic libraries which are often used in corporate environements.
(06:42:46 PM) mathiaz: 18:14 < RoAkSoAx> QUESTION: What about packages like Heartbeat, Keepalived, ipvsadm, ldirectord, etc, why is server team not suscribed to them?
(06:43:26 PM) mathiaz: RoAkSoAx: we aren't subscribed to every possible package. We tend to add them whenever we come across them.
(06:43:26 PM) hal14450: cprofitt, at least i can time shift irc easily enough ;-)
(06:44:12 PM) mathiaz: There are thousands of packages in the archive - we haven't conducted an exhaustive review of which packages should be server related.
(06:45:25 PM) RoAkSoAx: mathiaz, But, for example, i do think those packages are importante since companies tend to use, or at least are trying to handle clusters, so those packages should be important for the server team.
(06:45:26 PM) mathiaz: We should also be careful about adding too many packages - doing so would increase the number of bug mails, which usually means that people tend to ignore them
(06:46:04 PM) mathiaz: RoAkSoAx: agreed.
(06:46:39 PM) RoAkSoAx: mathiaz, i do think they are important.. and i do offer myself to implement howtos for the server guide on most of them :)
(06:46:46 PM) mathiaz: The specific packages you gave are more oriented towards high-availibilty. May a team could be created to gather people interested in that specific area
(06:47:29 PM) mathiaz: RoAkSoAx: awesome! thanks for the offer.
(06:47:52 PM) saketh: when is the next session in pacific time?
(06:48:04 PM) mathiaz: RoAkSoAx: you should get in touch with sommer - I'm sure he'll gladly accept more sections to the server guide
(06:48:11 PM) RoAkSoAx: mathiaz, that's an awesome Idea! you guys should discuss that in the next UDS (since i'm not attending) and I offer myself to colaborate in High availability related stuff
(06:50:25 PM) mathiaz: 18:15 < somnoliento> QUESTION: Could you explain Eucalyptus in about ten words? (none of them being EC2?) in other words, who could do what with it?
(06:50:37 PM) mathiaz: an open-source software infrastructure for implementing "cloud computing" on clusters
(06:51:41 PM) mathiaz: Based on virtualization technology (such as kvm) it supports starting, stoping guests on a multiple machines.
(06:52:40 PM) mathiaz: 18:50 < pwnguin> QUESTION: how many nodes should I have before eucalyptus makes sense?
(06:53:20 PM) mathiaz: pwnguin: I don't have a specific number.
(06:53:32 PM) pwnguin: wags are acceptable :)
(06:53:38 PM) mathiaz: I think what matters is how many users would be serviced.
(06:53:53 PM) mathiaz: eucalyptus makes it simple to deploy and manage new guests on nodes.
(06:54:27 PM) mathiaz: whether you run one, five or hundreds of nodes isn't so important
(06:54:56 PM) mathiaz: (by node I refer to the physical systems that are running hypervisors)
(06:56:43 PM) mathiaz: If there are more questions ask them in ubuntu-classroom-chat and I'll try to answer them in the remaning minutes
(06:56:45 PM) jcastro: 5 minute warning!
(06:57:03 PM) mathiaz: 18:55 < pwnguin> QUESTION: what's the most important next step to take if someone wants to participate with the ubuntu server team?
(06:57:38 PM) mathiaz: The GettingInvolved page gives an overview of the roles I've talked about above:
(06:58:09 PM) mathiaz: If you already have an are of interests, start looking at bugs for the relevant packages.
(06:59:44 PM) mathiaz: Allright - if there aren't any questions anymore I'd like to thank you all for attending.
(06:59:50 PM) jcastro: thanks Mathias!
(06:59:58 PM) mathiaz: If you have any questions you can stop by #ubuntu-server or email me

MeetingLogs/openweekJaunty/ServerTeam (last edited 2009-04-27 23:04:26 by pool-70-16-48-183)