Ubuntu Open Week - Ubuntu Desktop Team - Mon, Nov 27, 2006

see also Thursday Session.

04:01   seb128  Good Afternoon Desktop Lovers :)
04:01   seb128  I'm Sebastien Bacher, and I'm working on the Ubuntu Desktop
04:01   seb128  and I'll lead the discussion for the next hour apparently ;)
04:01   seb128  so let's get started
04:02   seb128  looks like we have some Desktop Team members around
04:02   seb128  want to present yourself quickly guys?
04:02   Hobbsee gah
04:02   dholbach        Hello everybody, I'm Daniel Holbach, work with "magic" seb128 in the Desktop Team and help him to work on bugs, take care of accessibility related packages, look after Telepathy and Galago packages, try to keep our wiki clean, package new stuff, do a bunch of other things I forgot in the list and try to be there for everybody. I think the Desktop Team's secret to success is Hugging.
=== pitti is Martin Pitt, working on Utopia related packages on Gnome
04:03   seb128  other desktop guys who want to say something? ;)
04:03   BugMaN  I'm BugMaN and i am admin of Italian Translation gruopu, and in free time i  help triage bugs in Desktop Team.
04:03   pitti   also, all sorts of i18n
04:03   seb128  So the Desktop taking is basically the people who take care of the Ubuntu desktop and try to make it rocking
04:03   seb128  I've some notes for the session
04:04   seb128  I'll copy then by block and people are free to comment after each ones
04:04   seb128  does it work for you?
04:04   seb128  ok, let's go then :)
04:04   seb128  The main goals for the team are:
04:04   seb128  - update desktop packages when new upstream versions are available
04:04   seb128  - make easy for users to try new cool softwares by packaging them quickly
04:04   seb128  - have a good collaboration with upstream
04:04   seb128  - triage and fix desktop bugs
04:04   seb128  - make the Ubuntu Desktop ROCK!
04:04   seb128  Those are the major goals for the team
04:05   seb128  any remark or questions on that?
04:05   fafek2  How do you know which packages want Ubuntu users?
04:05   seb128  fafek2: we look at forums, lists, bugs
04:05   rmunn   How does the team decide what falls in the category of "desktop packages"?
04:05   Panzerboy       seb128: this includes all the xgl aiglx compiz beryl stuff?
04:05   gnomefreak      Panzerboy: no
04:06   seb128  Panzerboy: not really
04:06   seb128  there is a desktop-effects subteam for those
04:06   jono    ssh people, lets do Q+A at the end of the tutorial section
04:06   seb128  ok
04:06   Panzerboy       seb128: ok :)
04:06   seb128  Where you can find members of the desktop team:
04:06   seb128  - the #ubuntu-desktop@freenode IRC chan
04:06   seb128  - the mailing list
04:06   seb128  we also look at launchpad bugs for desktop packages
04:07   seb128  so let's see the things you can do for the desktop team if you want to contribute
04:07   seb128  you can
04:07   seb128  * Work on Bugs:
04:07   seb128  Bugs managements is a good part of the work for the desktop team at the moment and required to prioritise the work and now what problems should worked first
04:07   seb128  some points about bug management
04:07   seb128  - Places for desktop bugs:,
04:07   seb128  - You can help the Desktop Team by joining the bug squad (
04:07   seb128  * 236 members to date
04:07   seb128  * ~60000 bug mails in the last year ;-)
04:07   seb128  * Hug Days
04:07   seb128  * forward useful bugs and investigate with upstream
04:07   seb128  * make bug useful (reassign them to the right place, ask for required details, get debug backtrace for crashers, clean bugs that should be closed)
04:07   seb128  - help listing bugs that should be fixed for the next version of Ubuntu (or fixes to backport)
04:07   Kenton  What is the workflow of a updated package?
04:08   seb128  Kenton: let's discuss that after the presentation
04:08   seb128  there is not only bugs
04:08   seb128  there is also communication with other people
04:08   seb128  * Communication with other teams, upstream, Debian, etc:
04:08   seb128  We want to have a good relationship with the people we work with
04:09   seb128  - work on forwarding patches upstream (, having a low delta is better for everybody
04:09   seb128  - become point of contact between the distribution and upstream for packages you have an interest in
04:09   seb128  - work with other teams and Debian
04:09   seb128  people working on documentation:
04:09   seb128  * Documentation:
04:09   seb128  A good documentation help new contributors to know where to start and also not-so-new team members how to do specific things, or what is to do by example
04:09   seb128  .
04:09   seb128  - help by writing specifications (i.e: documents on launchpad and the wiki that describes the changes we want to get implemented and how)
04:09   seb128  - update wiki pages for the DesktopTeam ( (goals, list of things to do, documentation, how to start, etc)
04:09   seb128  - help the ubuntu-docs team
04:10   Keyseir gnomefreak, I ran into some weird problems trying to burn a dapper install cd. I downloaded the iso, but the md5sums were different. Reactivated the torrent, it repaired itself for a second. unactivate, broken again. So I tried to leave the torrent open while burning, but the burn came out as a different md5sum sequence and the original iso was an even different sequence even though bt was still open.
04:10   seb128  next point: packaging:
04:10   seb128  * Packaging:
04:10   seb128  Most of the work for a distribution is at the packaging level which means there is some place to contribute there too :)
04:10   seb128  - help doing desktop packages updates (update the package, test the new version, communicate issues with upstream is there is any)
04:10   seb128  - pick a package you have interest in (contacting the usual maintainer before starting to work on it might be a good idea) and start working on it. No need to have uploads right to start on a package, having your first updates mentored is usually a good start and way to learn. If you do a good job you can quickly become the maintainer for that package
04:10   seb128  - work on fixing issues by writting patches or backporting them from upstream and applying those fixes to the packages
04:10   seb128  - package new softwares
04:11   seb128  you can also help testing:
04:11   seb128  * Testing:
04:11   seb128  - help testing GNOME, write specific test plans
04:11   seb128  and on other things too
04:11   seb128  * Other:
04:11   seb128  - new ideas: bring your good ideas of changes for the Ubuntu desktop and help to implement them
04:11   seb128  - teams: if you can motivate several people to work on a project creating a team around it is a good way to organize work: pda, printing, mono, telepathy, etc
04:12   seb128  I think I've listed most of the groups of things you can work on as a desktop team member
04:12   seb128  I'll mention some example of tasks to start now
04:12   tux75   i've a problem with my ubuntu: when i try to log in a terminal or into a console, i receive a FAIL_DELAY unknown error.
04:12   seb128  Examples of tasks to start:
04:12   seb128  - If you feel comfortable enough to reply to upstream comment about bugs there is a list of bugs that should be forwarded upstream available on (you can also pick bugs not listed there yet, there is plenty of them not categorized to forward)
04:12   seb128  - Clean old 'NeedsInfo' bugs
04:12   seb128  - help out with packaging, maintaining, merging
04:12   seb128  - review bugs with patches attached
04:12   seb128  - look at bugs tagged as 'ubuntulove'
04:12   gnomefreak      tux75: join #ubuntu
04:12   seb128  - write about the new cool changes happening to the UbuntuDesktop world for UWN:
04:12   seb128  - update wiki pages for the DesktopTeam to make them useful, especially for new contributors (having an updated and useful would be nice by example)
04:13   seb128  the starting point on the wiki for the desktop team is
04:14   seb128  ok, so that's probably enough informations presented
04:14   seb128  let's do comments on that now
04:14   seb128  I'm not sure if the format is ideal, that's the first session ;)
04:14   dholbach        Considering the different teams: If you're good at any programming language, you will find that you can help out in the Desktop Team also, there are bindings and programs which use them for lots of different languages, for example Python, C++, Perl, Java and so on

[at2000] are KDE and Xfce managed by other teams?

  • Yes. the desktop team is mainly focussed on the Ubuntu desktop (like the Ubuntu CD desktop). There's also the kubuntu-team and xubuntu-team in The workflows for those teams are roughly the same, with the same goals. mostly what changes is due to differences upstream.

[daschl] i want to contribute in some way, but im afraid that my programming skills are enough. how many skills do i have to have? how many time do i have to spend on it approx. per week?

  • No need of any particular skill and as much time as you want to spend. If you spend 10 min a week to confirm some bugs or make an useful bug report or reply to an user support question any of that is useful. You don't need any particular skill just pick something you feel comfortable doing might be replying to some user, filling a good bug, forwarding something upstream, etc

[fulat2k] To add to the question, what kind of language do you guys usually use?

  • C, Python, C++ sometimes, and others. Any language used by upstream. We don't write a lot of app[s] from scratch. We get 95% of what we ship from upstream

[popey] I have ideas for applications that I'd like to develop. I'd really value a mentor, someone who could help me over the initial hurdles of getting started.

  • You can create a specification for that, or mail a list with your ideas. Ubuntu-desktop if that's something for the desktop

[finalbeta] Does ubuntu have any project that could use help on coding? perl/python/java/mono. I'm a mid leveled coder so fixing bugs is not my thing. Know several high languages and willing to learn a new one. Does Ubuntu have it's own programs apart from the installer?

  • Ubuntu has lots of programs other than the installer. If somebody particularly likes a program and wants to help with bug triage, it would be incredibly helpful if you could establish a contact to upstream, forward bugs to him, discuss bugs, etc.; i. e. become the packages' 'ambassador' this doesn't require much programming skills, and is a valuable contribution. This a good point that's something which is especially appreciate ... and is rewarded with lots of hugs, and even more important, better quality ... and KARMA. If you have interest in a package and want to work on it and as a contact point for it that's really appreciate by the distro team by upstream and by users.

If you're interested in writing new code rather than triaging, packaging, or applying small modifications, look upstream to the GNOME, KDE, or XFCE desktop projects.

[burner] regarding "new ideas," what would be the preferred way to receive these? so far, I just created an .odt file with screenshots and mockups and text about the general plan, would that suffice? I notice a wiki page for something similar, is that checked?

  • Writing a specification and track it in launchpad is a good idea for writing a new app also. I've to admit that .odt is not my preferred way Wink ;) the wiki is nice. you can also mail the desktop list (with your .odt if that makes the presentation easier for you)

[davmor2] is there a preferred level of detail for bugs I understand that this doesn't work isn't that uesful but what do you class as acceptable

[at2000] can everyone write a spec in launchpad? does it mean I intend to work on that spec or just suggestion of a feature?

  • anybody can write a spec yes. no need to work on it, though it make it easier to be implemented. we all are already pretty busy and there is not a lot of extra new things we can implement with only the core team work

[xerxas] being an ambassador for a package is an "abstract" role, right ? there's no such thing in launchpad, right ?

  • right that's a good point, we should make that an explicit role. It would be a good idea that would make things easier for upstream too they would know who to contact.

[Stemp] isn't one of the role of the package maintener ?

  • We don't have a fixed maintainer

[DreamLost] translation is dealt upstream?

  • I'm not sure to get the question, and it's not really desktop specific translations come from rosetta. we import upstream translations and people are free to work on them from rosetta but some times ubuntu have new string in a package different from upstream

[jpetso] are the rosetta translations fed back to upstream, and if yes, how?

  • rosetta team is working on some feature to make easier for them to get the changes though

[effie_jayx] Are there more localized teams wornking with the ubuntu-desktop-team.?

  • There is an ubuntu group in my country like if there is a desktop-team-<locale>?

the desktop-team works on the Ubuntu packages. that effort is not splitted by region or group. you are probably speaking about a locoteam. the efforts are not overlaping, don't worry

[Jucato] are there Kubuntu/Xubuntu Desktop Teams too?

  • yes, there is a kubuntu and a xubuntu team

what would be the best way to find which packages are in need of maintainers/packagers?

  • no easy way at the moment I would say look if the package is usually quickly updated and on the work done on its bugs if you're interested in a certain package, you can ask about it on

[xerxas] can I close some bugs that are in NEEDINFO for a long time (what does a long time mean ?)

  • Yes, usually I wait one month and close it if there is no reply to the request for informations about the problem

[davmor2] if a program crashes where would you find a printable log in order to send a copy I have had this issue a couple of times?

[at2000] what is the process to submit a patch for a package? is this documented somewhere?

  • attach it to the corresponding bug to launchpad. if there is no bug open one

[at2000] so someone will review the pack and check-in if appropriate?

  • correct

[at2000] do I need to do anything to the bug report to notify someone to review?

  • no. people will get the mail about your patch

[daschl] say i want to fix a bug. this bux was fixed in upstream how can i get that into the ubuntu package? how can i handle the "ok i have a bug here, what should i do next"-thing?

  • that is a good question. open a bug to launchpad saying it's fixed upstream and you would appreciate a backport of the fix pointing to the upstream commit or attaching a patch make the job easier for us or pointing the corresponding upstream bug. we have a canned bug search for "patch attached". we tend to backport only annoying issue and not every glitch fix though so better to not flood us with request to backport every commit. we would be happy to backport lot of patches but it's a lot of work and we have only few people working on desktop packages atm. hint: you can help making a package better by co-maintaining it Wink ;) so more people working = more backports available, right? correct Smile :)

[proppy] is there something like 'debian wnpp' for ubuntu ?

[davmor2] How many package currently fall under the juristiction of the desktop team to give us some idea of how much work you have?

[davmor2] so does that include the packages you have to update or is that just physical bugs

[jpetso] is there any way to work on packages on the currently stable release, without having to set up stable+1?

  • by using a pbuilder, or dual booting pbuilder is a system to easily build packages in a clean chroot environment. To get started with PBuilder, see not easy, some apps don't change a lot though or you can still help on the wiki, packaging new apps if the requirements are available on stable or triage bugs or reply to support requests some desktop applications are a bit hard to work on in chroots/pbuilder; for these, vmware comes in handy

[davmor2] Do you favour slab over the standard gnome interface for menu's?

  • that's the spec about that, the reply is "no" we will likely ship it on the CD maybe with a desktop profiles app which allow to switch profiles easily but we will not pick a different default than upstream

[exo-griffith] You mentioned the ubuntulove tag in launchpad. What does it mean?

  • that's an "if you look at something to do", like something easy to start and useful, dholbach has tagged a bunch of those bugs. I'm trying to do that too. we will put extra work on that and the TODO list too. has a "Tasks" section

[exo-griffith] so they're a good place to start then?

  • right, it's a way to make easy for people to find something they can start on because there is so many component, not easy to know where to start we are trying to figure way to make that first step easier if you have any suggestion on the topic feel free to join #ubuntu-bugs to discuss them at any time Smile :) or #ubuntu-desktop

[Jucato] what is the process for updates (bug fixes and security patches)? how long does it take for bugs that have been patched/fixed upstream to be patched in a current release?

[daschl] is there a "step-by-step" tutorial out there for "how-to-fix-my-first-bug" which includes the procedures and so on?

  • no tutorial afaik but an excellent idea so if anybody wants to work on one has information for getting your patch uploaded into the archive attaching a patch to a bug report is a very good start, or filing a bug at all and testing patches that come up Smile :) any contribution to lower the first step for people who want to contribute is welcome Smile :) the issue is that "writting a patch" is not something easy for beginners

[pikkio] when a bug is fixed in launchpad, will be always fixed in upstream as well?

  • no. few upstream read launchpad bugs at the moment. if you can encourage upstreams to do so you are welcome :). otherwise we need to "forward" bugs upstream that's a part of the bug triage work I mentionned before if you are confident a bug is upstream you can file it to their bug tracker directly too

[fafek2] What are priorities of Desktop Team now, apart from specs for Feisty Fawn?

  • catch up with bug flood, package new versions of desktop apps and package new exciting apps Smile :-) working on documentation etc to make easier for people to join the team the specs have already enough goal to keep the core team busy for the cycle actually

[fafek2] I mean what's the vision? How Ubuntu should look like in your opinion? [kai[sds] What is the long term vision for the ubuntu-desktop beyond feisty? what are the areas you are not satisfied with yet (regarding features not bugs)?

  • we are likely to have a composite manager installed by default for feisty (compiz or beryl) and I think we might give a try to tracker we'll have exciting Telepathy bits and bobs Smile :-) no "long term" vision we want better visual experience and the best from upstream world visual bling is compiz or beryl atm we will likely work on a better GDM experience too

How do you choose which program to use as default (using the compiz/beril example)?

  • that's not easy to choice there is our feeling about the software how upstream is responsive user feedback on it etc. the technical comite will choose in the end AFAIK

[jonibo] biggest question I would have about desktop effects is: how do you avoid leaving people with old graphics card behind?

  • fallback to metacity for such configs. we need to work a good way to know if effects are working fine for that though. it'll be one box to click to have effects or not anyway

[elvstone]: Is there any cooperation going on between the Kubuntu and the Ubuntu Desktop Team? I'm a soon-to-be Kubuntu laptop user.

  • on the area used by both we try. like pitti looked at some kubuntu printing bugs after updating cups I think mvo has a look on some kubuntu specs similar to the Ubuntu ones he works on too

[elvstone] does Kubuntu have a "Desktop Team" of its own?

  • kubuntu has a whole lot of people in #kubuntu-devel. there is just kubuntu-team which is sort of "KDE Desktop" other parts are common and you can join kubuntu-team (if you want to be notified of kde bugs in launchpad)

[DreamLost] do you use any automatic testing tools? Given being hard to test GUIs...

  • good question, not at the moment and something we would be happy to set up there is that "Announcing dogtail: a GUI automation and test framework" which could be interesting to look at. dogtail is pretty useful for automating gui testing if something is interested to make that happen if anybody has interest in it let me know Smile :)

[fafek2] Do you develop Ubuntu administration applets?

  • no, we use gnome-system-tools for that at the moment. we already had several discussion if that would be worth starting writing new tools from scratch. we didn't for now though. if software-properties is a administration applet, then yes, some. package managers are administration tools too Smile :)

[bhale] Who does Daniel Holbach's hair?

  • I suspect it's mvo, but we can't say for sure

[leks] will Network-Manager ever get installed by default, probably in feisty? plus updated configuration tools, to use it?

  • that's the plan. I think it'll be by default for feisty. we will teach it to work better with manual configurations and integrate better with network-admin yeah, and bug fixing is a must

[jayteeuk] How do I get involved? I'd love to see NM as a default install.

  • Test it thoroughly, report bugs, work with upstream to get them resolved and triage bugs. we need all hands we can get for this

[leks] Will the brown ever be ditched, as mark formerly said once? (After the fourth release or something) sabdfl?

  • you will be happy to know that Ubuntu is orange since dapper Wink ;) We have theme teams who are working on complete themes, and if one of those meets the test of being (a) classy and (b) distinctive it could become a new default theme. This is covered well in Mark's wiki page. Basically little in Ubuntu will be very static, so yeah, it may well (and has) changed over time

[somerville32] One of the SABDFL's goals for feisty was the adoption of emerging desktop technologies. What are these emerging desktop technologies and what goals have the desktop team set to align themselves with this direction?

  • One of two window managers possibly. Beryl or compiz. Some information: Beryl is a window manager that takes advantage of an OpenGL accelerated X environment. See - Help in #ubuntu-xgl. Compiz (compositing window manager) and XGL (X server architecture layered on top of OpenGL) - Howto at - Help in #ubuntu-xgl - See for Kubuntu systems. what will probably happen is that for able systems (good enough graphics cards) they'll adopt one of these window managers by default. These have some cool effects, such as wobbly windows, nice animations, etc. cf discussion on compiz,beryl from some questions ago, we might have a look on beagle or tracker too, and dholbach and the telepathy team are looking on telepathy

[jayteeuk] And is there a spec available on the wiki or similar to help me understand how NM interacts with other parts of the system?

  • not to my knowledge; but feel free to ping me in #ubuntu-devel about this

[eliteforce] when will a really stable version of ubuntu be released, without xx bugs in core components (:

  • when upstream stop writting boggus program Smile :) joke aside, we do our best to fix bugs, it's not always easy since there is lot of them. dapper was pretty good I think. edgy was a very short cycle so it has not been easy. anybody can make a difference here by helping fixing a bug :). you can get hugs on #ubuntu-bugs for any bug you fix, just let know dholbach Smile :) stable doesn't necessarely mean bug free. stable means that has a constantly predictable behaviour.. including bugs

[binary2k2] If you install a *ubuntu-desktop metapackage, is there an easy way to remove all the dependences, so you remove the desktop environment?

  • apt-get remove *ubuntu-desktop or apt-get autoremove. that feature is available for apt since edgy

[somerville32] What do you feel is the biggest obstacles facing the Ubuntu desktop team at this time and how do you plan to overcome these obstacles?

  • clearly the number of bugs at the moment I would say. overcome: make easier for people to help and try to get upstream helping us when possible too. there is just too many of them for the number of people looking at them at the moment. we tried to work lot of extra hours, that doesn't scale. we need your help Smile :) your being anybody who wants to give a hand

[Grishkin] will KDE4 , firefox 2 and any other new apps be ever backported on dapper?

  • no, the backport team does backport apps, but those are not easy to backport though especially if they can break other apps like firefox is used by epiphany-browser, devhelp, yelp, etc

[stani] will kde4 be ready for kubuntu feisty?

  • no, there's a preview in the repositories at the moment, but it wont be out in time.

[RadiantFire] i was under the impression a feisty CD was going to be remastered to contain KDE4 whe it was releasd

  • might be, that's not Ubuntu though, that would be a special milestone CD for KDE4 probably, better to ask to the kubuntu team. if it's out in feisty's time, yeah. But not for dapper, almost certainly. (i.e. kde release date is still open; it may be feisty+1 time till it's out, depending on KDE TB plan of action)

[amarillion] I've experienced it's very hard to get started fixing bugs. What are your plans for making it easier for outsiders to join the bugfixing process? for example: I joined the mailing list for a while. But the amount of bugs is completely overwhelming. So I stopped that immediately. It would be nice if there was a way to say... get 10 random bugs each weak

[nosse] what should I learn if I want to squash bugs? and is there an irc channel somewhere full of people wanting to help me to start?

MeetingLogs/openweekedgy/DesktopTeam (last edited 2008-08-06 16:30:46 by localhost)