I, Olivier Tilloy, apply for the Ubuntu Core Development Team.


Olivier Tilloy

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page


Who I am

French software engineer in my thirties. I studied CS near Paris and spent a year in the UK doing a MSc in research. I have been living in Spain for the past 12 years.

My Ubuntu story

I first installed Ubuntu with a CD of 5.10 (the Breezy Badger). I got hooked. I initially did mostly advocacy and contributed to translations, then registered my pet projects on Launchpad to share them and package them for Ubuntu, and gradually started contributing more seriously by way of bug reports, patches, and feature branches for the Ubuntu Software Center. In 2010 I joined Canonical in the OEM division. I worked on a number of projects including Unity 2D, Ubuntu for Android, Ubuntu Touch. In April 2017 I joined the desktop team and I took over the maintenance of chromium-browser and libreoffice. These days I still maintain chromium-browser, and in September 2018 I took over the maintenance of firefox and thunderbird. I de facto specialize in browsers and related technologies, but my area of interest is broader, and includes the entire desktop stack.

My involvement

I have particular interest in applications, user experience and quality.

I contribute to translations, I file and I triage bugs, and whenever possible I investigate and fix them. I do package merges, and I contribute GNOME package updates in Debian and in Ubuntu.

These days, as a member of the desktop team, my interest revolves around desktop packages, GNOME, browsers, libreoffice and snaps.

I also maintain and actively develop a snap package for chromium (in the process of being upstreamed), and one for 0 A.D. in my spare time.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

Everything listed in my 2017 PPU application for chromium-browser and my 2020 mozilla packageset application still stands. This includes:

  • Initial implementation of the history view for Ubuntu Software Center

  • General work and initial packaging for Unity 2D

  • Implementation of autofill in oxide (unfortunately oxide was discontinued before this was merged)

  • Writing brand new autopkgtests for chromium-browser and firefox
  • Taking over the maintenance of firefox and thunderbird from their previous maintainer, and keeping up with regular upstream releases
  • Transitioning chromium-browser from the existing deb packages to the snap

Areas of work

A significant share of my time is spent preparing and testing updates for firefox, thunderbird and chromium-browser (debs for xenial and bionic, and snap everywhere else).

Those being browser(-based) products, they are very sensitive to security issues, and as such every new version is backported to all supported Ubuntu releases (currently xenial, bionic and focal) as security updates. I am tasked with preparing and validating the updates, which I then hand over to the security team for publication.

I also contribute to the Desktop team's effort to keep the GNOME stack and other related desktop packages up-to-date with the latest upstream releases. Whenever possible I contribute to the Debian packages in salsa, and I also merge Debian updates into packages with an Ubuntu-specific delta.

I recently took the opportunity to learn more about seeds in Ubuntu, by doing a gvfs update that removed a binary package that a number of flavour meta-packages depended on. I also submitted a fix for germinate to stop trying to pull gnome-software back into main.

In June this year, I joined the +1 maintenance team. I did three shifts (reports: 1, 2, 3) and I subsequently followed up on issues blocking the migration of nodejs, including one hairy upstream regression on ppc64el.

Things I could do better

I could be more efficient at bug triaging. It's a tedious task that I take seriously, and as a consequence I tend to spend way more time than I'd like on reproducing/confirming issues. I think I have made some progress on that front, but I'm not as efficient as I'd like yet.

Why I am applying for core dev

Becoming a core dev would allow me to upload all manner of desktop packages, not just the subset I have access to by being a member of ~ubuntu-desktop (which excludes most packages in the desktop-core package set).

This would also make me more productive when doing +1 maintenance shifts, by not having to rely on sponsoring for all autopkgtest retries and packaging fixes.

Finally, I hope to dedicate time to reviewing and sponsoring others' uploads to contribute more broadly to Ubuntu.

Plans for the future


  • Keep up with new firefox, thunderbird and chromium releases
  • Continue triaging and addressing regressions caused by the transition of chromium from a deb to a snap

  • Spend more time on general desktop packaging and quality (and why not, feature work!)
  • Becoming a Core Dev awards great privileges, and an increased responsibility towards the Ubuntu development community at large, so I'll have to make room for this new set of duties

What I like least in Ubuntu

Regressions. It's not an Ubuntu-specific plague, but I think we could do better at preventing them by testing more upfront. At least, I think we're not doing too bad of a job at addressing them timely once they are surfaced.


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.


Ken VanDine

General feedback

I've had the pleasure of working with Olivier on two separate teams spanning more than a few years now. Olivier has a great work ethic, excellent attention to detail as well as a keen focus on quality. Olivier will chase regressions and own that until the issue is fixed. He will absolutely take responsibility for any work he does.

Specific Experiences of working together

I've sponsored quite a few package uploads, most recently libreoffice, gnome-terminal, and some others. His attention to detail was good and I have a great deal of confidence that he is an excellent candidate for core dev. He will not shy away for from constructive feedback on packages he sponsors for others and I'm sure he'll maintain a high level of quality for the packages he maintains.

Sebastien Bacher

I've been working with Olivier for some years now and regularly sponsoring his work. His packaging work is solid, he understands Ubuntu well and knows how to work with Debian and upstreams. In the recent cycles he has been helping with proposed migration and autopkgtest issues as well a Desktop related updates. I worked with him during his recent +1 maintenance shifts where he helped on some transitions by preparing updates for Debian and Ubuntu and his work was ready for upload without needing adjustments. He showed that he understands the Ubuntu cycles, freezes, archive rules, transitions, proposed migration and that he has the skills expected from a coredev. I strongly +1 recommend his application.

Didier Roche

I’ve known and worked with Olivier for years and regularly sponsored his work. He is cautious, attach his attention to details, and won’t upload/propose for sponsoring anything without deeply understanding it. He has the same attitude towards testing and ensuring that everything he uploads works flawlessly, while still being pragmatic and have clear knowledge and documenting where tradeoffs has to be made before taking a decision. His last work I have been sponsoring didn’t need any fixes and went straight to the archive. He knows well the Ubuntu cycle and the different gates and process we have, and don’t hesitate to ask in case of any wondering. I too strongly recommend him on his application.

Iain Lane

Olivier and I have been on the Canonical desktop team together for a few years now. I'm impressed with how he has advanced his knowledge of the Ubuntu project and all of its processes. As a recent example I was watching Olivier taking ownership of a tricky nodejs migration in groovy-proposed, which was required for the Firefox package that he was working on. This was a new upstream version which had several issues to fix, and Olivier handled it very competently and professionally.

The Debian NM advocacy tips page says:

  • When you advocate a person, you are saying that they need and should get unsupervised upload rights on the entire archive, right now.

I think that's a nice standard to apply, and I'd be happy saying that here.

As a sponsor, just copy the template below, fill it out and add it to this section.


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
## Full list of sponsored packages can be generated here:
=== Areas of Improvement ===

OlivierTilloy/CoreDevApplication (last edited 2020-10-13 08:53:36 by laney)