I, Scott Howard, apply for universe-contributor.


Scott Howard

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page

Who I am

I'm an academic researcher with a PhD in electrical engineering.

My Ubuntu story

My involvement

I started by setting up a Debian LAMP/samba server for my lab around 2004. I installed Debian on my desktop to learn Linux, but switched when someone told me of this new distro called "Ubuntu." I've been using Ubuntu/Xubuntu since. After the release of Jaunty, I joined the bug squad and eventually bug control, participating in many hugdays as a triager, and I now review bug control applications and mentor a new bug squad member. I adopted the gnome-power-manager package for triaging, and triaged nearly every "new" GPM bug over the course of a month (see the chart below). While triaging the bugs I worked a lot with upstream, and started writing patches to fix bugs. I started writing patches for Ubuntu, and bringing upstream's patches to Ubuntu. Now I'm a triager/developer that can triage, write the patch, test it with PPAs, and then do the merge proposal with bzr on LP. Since GPM is a core package, I joined Ubuntu Science to get some "universe" experience. I now am a member of the MOTU Science team and have done triaging, bug fixing/patching, packaging, merges, syncs, upgrades, FFEs, and an SRU. I have upload permission to GNOME, maintain two packages in Debian, confident with git, bzr, PPAs, package building, new packages

I have upload rights to gnome (gnome-power-manager), just got approved as a Debian Maintainer, and maintain 2 (soon to be 3) packages in Debian.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

  • GPM Bug fixing massacre of June. Wrote patches, coordinated with upstream, and brought patches into GPM during June:

  • I updated the apport hook for gnome-power-manager so we now use upstream's standard bug report script, and will update it for Lucid to attach hardware information (since we've had LOTS of bugs with brightness lately). LP commit

  • Debugged this bug on LP, worked with upstream author, wrote the patch, tested on LP with a PPA, got it accepted upstream in gnome-power-manager and patched in Ubuntu LP link

  • Inhibit applet was completely broken at the beginning of Karmic. I worked with the original reporter and upstream to get it working and maintained the PPA for testing. Throughout Karmic's development, I maintained a testing PPA of gnome-power-manager for many bugs and upstream fixes LP bug. While we fixed the bug there, the OP was not satisfied with gnome-session's inhibit behavior, so it is still open.

  • After FF, I continued working on GPM, tried to help with an update but it was passed over for a more experienced developer LP link. I then helped remove the unnecessary patch from the source package LP link

  • Rewrote nearly every string you see in gnome-power-manager notifications Ubuntu LP link. These changes were run past and commented by sabdfl, who contributed some design ideas.

  • Fixed a FTBFS LP link in octave (science package)

  • did necessary work for freeze exception and built ppa for testing flashrom package

  • upgraded k3dsurf to new version to fix bug, ppa for testing LP link

  • Follow up from above and sync of k3dsurf in lucid Lucid sync.

  • Debugged, patched, fixed in Ubuntu, sent upstream and fixed in Debian a major bug in pymol: LP link Debian BTS link.

  • Major bug fixed right before Karmic release that was causing a lot of bug reports. Fixed and tested in Ubuntu, got it adopted upstream.

  • Pending merge of the eagle package LP link, which I forwarded a fix for a FTBFS back to debian Debian BTS

  • Pending SRU fix for a crash in eagle that I found while doing the previous merge LP Link

  • My most proud achievement: Fixed a major day 0 bug that needed an SRU. link is here.

  • In lucid: Learned merges and syncs, working primarily with motu-science.

Areas of work

  • gnome-power-manager: triage, patch writing for upstream & Ubuntu, patching Ubuntu, maintaining an experimental GPM PPA, merges for GPM's Ubuntu bzr packaging branches. I have upload permission at the gnome git for GPM.

  • Ubuntu Science: Patching, upgrades, merges, syncs, SRU, coordinating with debian/upstream (there are many more bugs I've worked on than I listed above, those were the ones I could remember writing this.)

Things I could do better

Practice, practice, practice! Get more experience packaging and learning Ubuntu policies through practice.

Plans for the future


Keep the Ubuntu Science packages working, and work with Debian Science to keep both Debian and Ubuntu's science offerings the best that is available. I'm going to start the Debian new maintainer process.

What I like least in Ubuntu

When working with GPM, I saw the Ubuntu was user rich and developer poor. I felt "alone" triaging, patching, and testing some of the bugs. I found that this could be used as a strength - I learned to use LP to craft high quality bug reports that pin pointed bugs, and even proposed how to fix the exact line in the source code using the help from the users on LP. Frequently the upstream developers were not aware of the bugs and appreciated the precise fixes we could provide from LP


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


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

Jordan Mantha (LaserJock)

General feedback

I've only worked with Scott once (see below), but this guy needs to be a MOTU Smile :-) He knows his stuff and the type of packages he seems to work on a lot could really use the help.

Specific Experiences of working together

I worked with Scott on Bug 471238, which was a Karmic SRU for Qtiplot. Scott was fast, thorough and very professional. He pushed the issue forward, was polite on IRC, and technical quite proficient for Contributing Developer applicant.

Areas of Improvement

None that I could see.


=== 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.''
=== Areas of Improvement ===


ScottHoward/ContributingDeveloperApplication (last edited 2010-02-23 04:17:28 by showard314)