Ubuntu Open Week - MOTU - Sat, Dec 2, 2006

see also Wednesday Session.

05:01   dholbach        HELLO EVERYBODY
05:01   dholbach        this session is going to be about MOTU, the Master of the Universe!
05:02   dholbach        I'm Daniel Holbach, work for Canonical and my main objectives are Ubuntu's Desktop and working with teams like MOTU, Telepathy, Accessibility, the Art team and others. I joined the MOTUs nearly two years ago and we were around 5 of them at that time.
05:02   dholbach        I should probably say, that I'm happy to take questions in between, so don't be shy.
05:03   dholbach        The name originates from the Universe component, which holds the biggest amount of our packages. 'main' and 'restricted' are supported by Canonical, 'universe' and 'multiverse' by the community. 'main' and 'restricted' hold 4829 packages today and 'universe' plus 'multiverse' 15855. So as the name suggests, the MOTU team takes care of 'universe' (and 'multiverse' also). We currently have 57 members. And we hang out in #ubuntu-motu - so
05:03   dholbach        if you're interested in helping out and get to know the people and packaging, join us and have fun
05:04   dholbach        So what do MOTUs generally do?
05:04   kalon34 thanks elkbuntu
05:04   dholbach        As a MOTU you're maintaining packages. The good thing about Ubuntu is that we don't follow the concept of applying the rigorous big maintainer lock, it's your choice which package you take care of.
05:05   dholbach        We have people
05:05   dholbach        * taking care only of their own packages
05:05   dholbach        * working together with others on a set of packages in a team
05:05   dholbach        * fixing lots of different packages
05:05   dholbach        (* working on no packages at all)
05:06   dholbach        So if you belong to the last category, listen up! This is your first step in the Ubuntu Development Community. :-D
05:06   dholbach        Any questions up until now?
05:07   dholbach        So who of you is already part of the MOTU process?
=== rmjb raises hand
05:07   dholbach        rmjb: Excellent#
05:07   dholbach        Anybody in here considering joining the team?
05:08   dholbach        I'll just go on and if you have questions or ideas what you'd like to do we can try to get into more detail there

<kalon34> Which knowledges are needed to join MOTU team ?

  • we had people joining the team, who were just curious and had basic linux skills and they did a good job.

05:09   dholbach        Key to having fun and profiting of the MOTU world is to be interested and motivated, talk to people and learn a lot
05:10   dholbach        if you already built  source from scratch, wrote small programs, know how to use shell scripts, even better
05:10   dholbach        but we have people at any skill level in the MOTU team, so you'll always find somebody you can learn something from
05:11   dholbach        I'll go on now with what I've prepared - feel free to ask more questions in -chat
05:11   dholbach        So how do I become a MOTU?
05:11   dholbach        That's very easy. You basically contribute to the team's efforts, either by packaging a new piece of software or by helping with fixing / updating / merging existing packages.
05:12   dholbach        MOTUs are the community package maintainers
05:13   dholbach        and apart from that a group of people having a lot of fun and hanging out in #ubuntu-motu :)

<mruiz> do you consider a MOTU mentoring plan?

  • I'm not quite sure I understand the question. We do have people mentoring MOTU hopefuls. What is your exact question? If we have a strict plan to do the mentoring? might answer your question, if not, please ask again

[kalon34] Is there somewhere with the process to follow or can you describe it please ?

  • I personally always found the second way (to work on existing packages) to be much easier and you learn a lot along the way. As a MOTU hopeful you're not allowed yet to upload to the archive yourself, but you can ask other team members to sponsor the upload for you. We have a lightweight process for that in place.

<rmjb> How can someone who is not yet an MOTU help with the merging / syncing process? Isn't a MOTU always needed for this?

  • that might also answer your question: we do sponsoring, which means that somebody who has upload rights already reviews your patch or package and then does the upload for you

<mruiz> I don't know that you have people mentoring MOTU. Can you explain it?

  • if you look at the page I mentioned to you, you will find a list of people and mail adresses there. just mail anybody of them - all of them are happy to take on MOTU hopefuls to walk them through the basic first steps in the MOTU world

05:17   dholbach        It's easy to see that it's not just a matter of technically abilty, but also a matter of teamwork and trust. The current process asks you to become an Ubuntu member in the Community Council meeting (where you are recognized for your efforts) and become a member of 'ubuntu-dev' after the Technical Board was happy with you on a technical basis. That process will change in the near future and a MOTU council (let's see if it will be called
05:17   dholbach        'Council Grayskull' in the end...), which will do the approval.
05:19   dholbach        Here some things the MOTUs do:
05:20   dholbach        We work on Bugs, so just to put some numbers into the discussion
05:20   dholbach        * 10563 bugs in Universe/Multiverse    (66274 in Ubuntu total)
05:20   dholbach        * 6739 closed bugs Universe/Multiverse (46063 closed in Ubuntu total)
05:20   dholbach        While the numbers look scary, here's a very good thing about working with the MOTUs: you're not alone. If you try to fix a bug in a package you have:
05:20   dholbach        1) team members,
05:20   dholbach        2) the Debian maintainer and
05:20   dholbach        3) the upstream author
05:20   dholbach        you can ask and work with. Working on bugs is highly rewarding: sometimes it's a one line fix, you find in the upstream CVS already and you make a lot of users happy.

<LKRaider> Do all upstream packages go through MOTU before entering the repos?

  • No, we inherit an awful lot of packages from Debian automatically. in the times where we're not in Freeze times ( will show), we automatically sync the source from Debian packages (if we don't have changes that might get overwritten). so sometimes you upload a new package to ubuntu and in the next cycle there's a debian maintainer you can merge your efforts with. it's really to cool to have another somebody to work with on the package, so that's great

<rmjb> what ubuntu mailing lists should a MOTU Hopeful subscribe to other than ubuntu-motu?

  • good question, ubuntu-devel-announce@ and ubuntu-devel@ are good fits also, because it's good to know what's planned, which big changes are going to be introduced, etc. I'd also recommend to read feisty-changes@ which send you a mail for every package change that is uploaded. these are only changelogs, but still you get a general gist of what's going on - so if you have packages that you need to integrate yours with, you can easily find out what happened there. apart from that it brings a certain learning experience to see what other package maintainers do and then of course upstream mailing lists, so if you're package maintainer for say abiword, you might want to sign up for their lists too. I'm subscribed to loads of other mailing lists too, but that should be a good start and not be too scary Smile :-)

05:26   dholbach        TEAMS
05:26   dholbach        MOTU has formed a huge bunch of subteams already:
05:26   dholbach        * Games team
05:26   dholbach        * Media team
05:26   dholbach        * Science team
05:26   dholbach        * Photo team
05:26   dholbach        * UncommonProgrammingLanguages team
05:27   dholbach        and a lot of other teams, which started in Universe, but now are working across the whole distro, the Mono team is a good example for that. If you have good ideas for a team and want to kickstart it, let me know: dholbach at

<jorgp> :does Edgy MOTU get version bumps and updates or are the versions locked in the same way main is?

  • Edgy is released, which means it is LOCKED. We currently work on Feisty. of course you get security fixes in edgy-security and high-profile bug fixes in edgy-updates ( has more info about that one) and specific backports in edgy-backports

<pradeep> Is uploading packages a one time activity for a release? I mean can I build a new package or a new version for an existing package for edgy/dapper now?

  • I'm not quite sure I understand. You can't upload to Edgy or Dapper now. They're both released. Which means they're locked. Frozen.

05:30   dholbach        Mentoring
05:30   dholbach        We're doing huge efforts at helping people get up to scratch on packaging, especially #ubuntu-motu on is always buzzing and somebody is always awake to answer *your* packaging question.
05:30   dholbach        But mentoring also happens on our mailing list, in private chats, by doing reviews of packages and patches or via mail. Don't hesitate to approach us, join the Master of the Universe today! :-)
05:31   dholbach        ( )
05:31   dholbach        Something we do at the moment: Merges
05:31   dholbach        In the beginning of each release cycle we merge our efforts with those of the Debian maintainers. So this is what we currently do for Feisty. If you want to help out, just grab a merge from or and go ahead.
05:32   dholbach        there's the MOTU School
05:32   dholbach        In the spirit of the Ubuntu's Open Week we already had some interesting MOTU School sessions: - if you want to hold a session or request a session, let us know on the mailing list and on the wiki pages.
05:33   dholbach        so if you look at named page, you'll find that we did some sessions already and there are really good logs you can just dive into

<jorgp> you said security updates make it into edgy release, what about bug fixes?

  • I said that high-profile bugs go into edgy-updates.
    05:34   dholbach        if we look at the requirements are:
    05:34   dholbach        Stable release updates will, in general, only be issued in order to fix high-impact bugs. Examples of such bugs include:
    05:34   dholbach            *  Bugs which may, under realistic circumstances, directly cause a security vulnerability
    05:34   dholbach            *  Bugs which represent severe regressions from the previous release of Ubuntu
    05:34   dholbach            *  Bugs which may, under realistic circumstances, directly cause a loss of user data
    05:34   dholbach        if you look at the page some more, that our policy is very strict
    05:35   dholbach        that's for a reason - some of you might remember the problems with the X server updates that left people without X and just a black screen and wonky messages
    05:36   dholbach        but as I said, we 1) don't rule out such updates and 2) have backports which are less conservative but of course we can't packages that require too intrusive changes

<mruiz> you told us that MOTU also works in bugs... what is the difference between MOTU and Bug Squad team?

  • the BugSquad helps out to triage bugs, which means: 1) get more information from the reporter, 2) get the right people involved with the bug and so on. of course MOTUs do that too and we have people who are active on both fronts, but MOTUs actively work on packages and fix them themselves

    MOTUs also introduce bugs. no, I was kidding about the last point Wink ;-) of course they don't === dholbach hugs all the MOTUs in the room MOTUs: please speak up if you're here and tell us something about you

05:39   dholbach        Ok, let's move on: Documentation!
05:39   dholbach        Jordan Mantha (Laserjock) and others have worked hard on the Packaging Guide, but he'd always be glad to have people who are interested in explaining and helping new MOTU hopefuls to find their way into the community. lists a few pages of interest.
05:40   dholbach and its subpages could also do with some helping hands. MOTU is a community effort and has grown into all sorts of directions over time, the wiki pages bear witness of that, so it'd be great if you'd fix whatever documentation you found inaccurate.
05:41   dholbach        I know that's probably not a task for newcomers, but the same thing applies here: if you don't understand documentation or it seems broken to you: let us know - just drop a mail on and we'll fix it

<LKRaider> what about introducing packges that are not on Debian, for example?

  • we add new packages that are not in Debian all the time. is the link to the packaging guide. there's no problem with that, it's just nice if you find a RFP (request for package) or ITP (intent to package) in Debian's bug database, that you follow up on the bug and say something along the lines of: "hey guys, I have the package ready, please comment on it and try to get it into debian if you like." because you then have additional people to talk to and work with and that's what we all rely on

    [LKRaider] so the work is always synched back to Debian?

    • we try to do our best, sometimes it's not easy because we didn't do a transition that debian did already or the other way around for example debian decided to stick with gnome 2.14 for their release and have 2.16 in experimental. we're working on 2.17 already and then there are other decisions that just don't match. but there's a patches mailing list, which automatically send the patch when the upload happens and then there are maintainers working together closely. we have collaboration on different levels

05:48   dholbach        So who of you could imagine joining the MOTUs at some point?
05:48   dholbach        not now, not tomorrow, but in the near future?
05:48   mruiz   me!
=== rmjb is hopeful
05:48   LKRaider        me (maybe) :)
05:49   pradeep me too .. at some point
05:49   Neonightmare    me also, i do what i can
05:49   jorgp   me
05:49   dholbach        rock and roll, that's nice to hear
=== Lure is considering
=== elkbuntu can picture dholbach on the other side of the internet doing the Mr Burns 'Eeeeeexcellent'
05:49   vicox   me too
05:49   dholbach        super
05:49   zilo_   me
05:50   zilo_   It's interesting working with such a big team
05:50   dholbach        so if you haven't done already - try to pick somebody from the mentors list and ask them for help if you need

<rmjb> so the process is 1. get ubuntu membership, 2. get ubuntu-dev membership, 3. get ubuntu-motu membership?

  • drop the 3rd point. ubuntu-dev means MOTU. : there's only ubuntu-core-dev to go for afterwards, which means upload rights to main and restricted too

[zilo_] So if I wan't to put mu own program into ubuntu it is possible right?

  • absolutely. if you need help with the packaging, ask in #ubuntu-motu or on the mailing list

05:51   dholbach        who here finds the whole idea of joining the MOTU still intimidating or not easy to achieve?
05:53   mruiz   if someone can help you, I think that must be easy to join MOTU team
05:54   dholbach        it absolutely is - the huge list of merges is a good start and we have a good motu school session about that one already
05:54   dholbach        If you want to join the MOTU and help making Universe ROCK, start here:
05:54   dholbach        and remember:
05:55   dholbach        If there's no more question I think we should let the room settle down for the next session, which is about KDE, I believe.


MeetingLogs/openweekedgy/MOTU2 (last edited 2008-08-06 16:19:28 by localhost)