Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #13 for the week of Sept 3 - 9 2006. In this issue we cover Scott James Remnant's upstart going live, Edgy getting GNOME 2.16, Melissa Draper's interview with the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia and much more.
You can always find older Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter issues at: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuWeeklyNewsletter
Upstart goes live
Scott James Remnant threw the switch early this week and made upstart the default init for Edgy. Init controls the startup sequence of programs when Ubuntu is booted up. Users of edgy will notice the following new packages:
- startup-tasks definitions of essential tasks to run on startup
- system-services - definitions of essential system services
These two packages are the upstart equivalent of "initscripts".
- upstart - event-based init daemon
- upstart-compat-sysv - compatibility for System-V-like init
Kubuntu Community Coordinator
At the last Community Council Sarah Hobbs (Hobbsee) was given the title of Kubuntu Community Coordinator, if you want to know how to help out in Kubuntu, give Hobbsee a ping on IRC and she can help you get sent in the right direction.
Kubuntu Support Team
The Kubuntu Support Team is a group of Kubuntu enthusiasts who have taken it upon themselves to ensure that community support for Kubuntu is as good as it is for Ubuntu. They will be working with and within existing teams to ensure wiki pages, IRC support, documentation and forums have correct instructions for Kubuntu throughout.
New Ubuntu theme in Edgy
The Ubuntu artwork team has been hard at work and this week unveiled a new default theme for Ubuntu in Edgy. You can view the new artwork at: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Artwork/Specs/EdgyArtworkPlan/Produce/Incoming/CurrentDefault
After a pair of quiet weeks, there were 6 security updates this week:
USN-343-1: bind9 vulnerabilities - http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-343-1
USN-342-1: php4, php5 vulnerabilities - http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-342-1
USN-341-1: X.org vulnerability - http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-341-1
USN-340-1: imagemagick vulnerabilities - http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-340-1
USN-339-1: OpenSSL vulnerability - http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-339-1
USN-338-1: MySQL vulnerabilities - http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-338-1
New Apps In Edgy
Edgy sees GNOME 2.16 this week, uploads of which started on the 3rd and continued all the way through the formal release of GNOME 2.16 on the 7th. GNOME uploading team Sebastian and Daniel were reportedly up very early some mornings, eager to beat each to packaging more of GNOME.
It used to be that when you popped an Ubuntu CD into a running machine, it would ask you if you wanted to upgrade, even if you had put a 4.10 cd in your 5.10 computer. Michael Vogt has finally fixed this and thus re-enabled support for this feature in update-notifier 0.43.1.
Mattias Klose did some work for Python 2.5 this week, uploading a large number of python packages to make them work with this new version of Python. It is not planned to make Python 2.5 the default for edgy, as it has not been released yet, but you can already find the 2.5 release candidate 1 in the archives.
Michael Vogt has landed his recommends-support spec this week. He and Colin Watson have converted the ubuntu-desktop seed to use this, allowing users to remove various parts of the default installed desktop without needing to remove the ubuntu-desktop metapackage itself. Expect the Edubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu desktop seeds to support this in the very near future.
New startup and shutdown jingles are in the ubuntu-sounds package in Edgy. Pete Savage has created some wonderful new audio to complement the distinctive Ubuntu theme.
Futher pieces of work on LTSP came together this week. Oliver Grawert uploaded ltsp 0.99, which turned on session and login selection in LDM, the login manager for thin clients. In addition, code for the sole essential spec for Edgy, ltsp-dhcp-autogeneration, landed in ltsp 0.100. This includes merged work from the Debian LTSP team.
Pete Savage has being doing a great deal of work with the student control panel, a tool for teachers to be able to see and control their students desktops. With student-control-panel 0.4.1, his work of providing lockdown (via the GNOME lockdown tool, Pessulus), killing processes, sending messages and start applications on the students machines arrives.
Packages of the first KDE 4 development release are now available for Edgy from kubuntu.org and will soon be appearing in the Ubuntu archive. These are very much for developers and testers only, good luck with them. More information can be found at http://kubuntu.org/announcements/kde4-3.80.1.php
Over the past several weeks the KDE Guidance team has been working on usability of the tools, which has resulted in several straight-from-SVN uploads by various Kubuntu developers, including Anthony Mercatante. Meanwhile they have also been busy improving the search feedback in System Settings, and improving the layout of the gamma tool in displayconfig, both now available in Edgy. On the horizon is a new power-management applet. You can read more about that at http://vizzzion.org/?blogentry=631.
In light of the recent release of Xfce 4.4 RC1, Jani Monoses and Gauvain Pocentek have uploaded versions of xfdesktop and Thunar that contain Trash support in addition to numerous bugfixes.
Summer of Code Projects
Another Summer of Code project hit the archives this week, this time it was Chris Jones' onBoard 0.81 (previously known as SOK or Simple Onscreen Keyboard). Also uploaded was a helper library, virtkey 0.41, which emulates the key presses onboard sends out.
Evan Dandrea uploaded migration-assistant 0.2 this week, which adds ubiquity (the live-cd installer) installer support.
The web filtering tool from Edubuntu, Willow NG, has been ported to KDE, thanks to Robert Day, as part of the Ichthux project. Available in Edgy (soon) as willowng-config-kde.
This week brought a fair amount of changes in Launchpad and we thought we would share them with you.
Let's start out by covering a feature in our bug tracker I would like to call your attention to. The advanced search page for bugs now provides a set of interesting options for people managing bugs for a distribution. Filtering based on status of remote bugs and upstream reports linked to your bug. Launchpad now offers three new filtering options:
- Bugs that need to be linked upstream
Ubuntu URL: http://tinyurl.com/oavke
The first option is very useful for the bug triage team: it points out bugs that have been identified as upstream issues but for which no remote bug watch has been established yet.
- Bugs that are closed upstream:
Ubuntu URL: http://tinyurl.com/kdjx7
This option is useful for package maintainers: it points out bugs that have been marked as resolved (or rejected) upstream. These bugs are prime candidates for packaging work, because all that's needed to fix the issue is package a new version.
- Bugs not known to affect upstream:
Ubuntu URL: http://tinyurl.com/l49be
This option lists bugs which have not been identified as upstream issues; this is currently the vast majority of bugs open on Ubuntu.
This update also provides us with a number of improvements to bug tags, such as creating a new tag now offers a confirmation step, you can do advanced searches for tags, and the portlet listing bug tags includes counts of open bugs.
On the translations front, we are (finally) proud to announce the opening of Edgy translations in Rosetta! After a lot of hard work in getting the initial data setup right, and processing a billion uploaded templates and translations, Rosetta is now offering translators with a new distribution release to work on, but without losing the work that was done in Dapper. You can see the status of translation and get started translating at https://launchpad.net/distros/ubuntu/edgy/+translations
Rosetta now also displays the identity of the person who entered the latest version of an approved translation for a string. This allows translation reviewers to assess work done and provide feedback to translators, tightening the process of getting top quality translations.
A number of important changes also went live on the support tracker this week. If you visit the Ubuntu page for tickets at:
You'll notice that the display is now formatted using a table, which provides a much more compact display of tickets. It also allows for simple searching and ordering through tickets, one of the top requested features for the support tracker; as an example you can see open tickets sorted newest first at:
New support requests now go through a guided process, which first tries to locate similar reports, avoiding duplicates and helping users get answers faster. You can test this for yourself on our staging server:
and entering a summary; the next step will list similar tickets, if they are found.
Also new in the support area is the fact that Karma is properly attributed to people providing answers and updating tickets; the listings will soon be updated to include the top contributors in this area as well.
Other noteworthy updates: the official URL for the specification tracker has been changed to http://features.launchpad.net/ as part of our branding cleanup. A /very/ serious amount of work went into refactoring and cleanup of Soyuz, our distribution management system, and we are currently in the process of running our first smoketest to verify that the changes were successful (and we caught a performance regression already). On the branch management front you can now safely change branch metadata without causing imports to fail; this should make the feature more robust over time and is one of the first practical benefits of the bzr transition.
Finally, handling of OpenPGP and SSH keys has been overhauled and sanitized; if you had trouble registering keys, or signing the Code of Conduct, now would be a great time to test and provide us with feedback.
As always, the launchpad-users mailing list which is shared between developers and users of Launchpad and is good place to raise issues:
Come help us define what Launchpad should become. Thanks!
You can read the full announcement, including a detailed changelog, at:
- Open (15019) (+332 over last week)
- Unconfirmed (8023)
- Unassigned (10310)
- All bugs ever reported (53238)
As always, the Bug Squad needs more help. If you want to get started, please see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/HelpingWithBugs
In The Press
Media watchers may have noticed that Forbes is paying an unusual amount of attention to Linux and open source software. That positive trend continues with their look at Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu:
"Ubuntu now has 4 million users, half of which are governments, universities and a smattering of businesses. It adds new ones at a rate of 8% per month. After its public release in October 2004, Ubuntu quickly deposed Red Hat's Fedora as the most popular version of Linux on DistroWatch, a Web site that caters to Linux users. Ubuntu works in 22 languages, and Canonical, the company Shuttleworth set up to distribute his software, will send a free Ubuntu CD anywhere in the world. New users rave about the simple user interface, which has gained recent converts in a couple of well-known bloggers who switched from Apple Computer's OS X."
While we applaud Forbes for covering Free Software and Ubuntu, we thought we might correct a few of their facts. Ubuntu is installed on somewhere between 6 and 7 million computers (the exact number is hard to tell) in a great many languages, about 30 of which are fairly complete, and the reigning champion on Distrowatch, until Ubuntu came along, was Mandrake (later Mandriva) not Red Hat or Fedora.
Tectonic interviews Canonical's education programme manager Richard Weideman in its look at the prospects for open source in education.
"We are also participating in high level projects and studies, funded by organisations such as the European Union, to build blueprints for the next generation. These collaborations of education experts and learning culture experts, alongside technical organisations like ourselves, take the benefits of an open source future for education as a given," he says. "Right now, open source is now firmly on the education agenda; it is no longer a fringe element but a cornerstone. This is the year to be on the lookout for large scale deployment and successes."
"Right now, open source is now firmly on the education agenda; it is no longer a fringe element but a cornerstone. This is the year to be on the lookout for large scale deployment and successes."
Read more at http://www.tectonic.co.za/view.php?id=1146
Melissa Draper of counter fame gets a mention in the Sydney Morning Herald, in an article that spends a large amount of time telling people that they have choice, and there is support in all shapes and sizes.
"While it is hard to estimate how many everyday users have defected from Windows or Apple software to join the open-source movement, Ubuntu (pronounced oo-boon-too) has emerged as one of the Linux desktop packages of choice for those looking for a basic desktop alternative."
Feature Of The Week - Katapult
Katapult is an application for KDE, designed to allow faster access to applications, bookmarks, music and other many items. It is plugin-based, so it can launch anything that is has a plugin for. Its display is driven by plugins as well, so its appearance is completely customizable. It was inspired by Quicksilver for OS X.
Simply by pressing alt+spacebar, you can launch Katapult and then just start typing, for example in the screen shot "ka" was typed and brought up the obvious choice of KDE's kate, it can also handle math equations on the fly, no need to actually launch kcalc. Give it a shot, you'll find it a great asset to your KDE toolbox.
To keep you informed, here are some of the upcoming events in the Ubuntu and Free Software world.
Hungarian Ubuntu Conference 2006
The FSF Foundation and the Hungarian Ubuntu Community are presenting the first Hungarian Ubuntu Conference on the 28th October. Many well-known developers have accepted our invitation to present in English, on various Ubuntu related projects: Mario Đanić (Edubuntu Developer), Ante Karamatić (Ubuntu Developer, Ubuntu Printing Team), Jani Monoses (Xubuntu Lead Developer), and Raphaël Pinson (Kubuntu Core Developer, Itchtux Lead Developer).
The conference will be held on the 28th October, 2006 (Saturday) in Building 'I' of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary. We also plan to have the presentations streamed online, so that anybody can watch in real time. Stay tuned for further info on that!
For more information, please visit the homepage of the conference at http://ubuntu.hu/konf/?q=english. The organizers are happy to help you with anything, including travel information, just use the contact form.
The one-day Linuxfest Ohio has been announced for 30th September 2006 with an impressive list of presenters. Opening the show is an Ubuntu double-bill from Jeff Waugh with "Linux for Human Beings", followed by Jorge "whiprush" Castro:
Registration for the event, to be held at the the Greater Columbus Convention Centre is free:
If the Ubuntu showing didn't impress you. Jon "maddog" Hall will be there. Michael Johnson (of 'rpm' fame) will be showing off 'rbuilder'. Chris DiBona will be leaking secrets from Google and to top it off, the Columbus Zoo keepers are promising to attend with a pair of Genuine Real Live Penguins(tm). Don't let our feathered friends see Tuxracer!
Software Freedom Day
September 16th is Software Freedom Day! Software Freedom Day (SFD) is a worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The goal of this celebration is to educate the worldwide public about of the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home, and in business -- in short, everywhere! The non-profit company Software Freedom International provides guidance in organizing SFD, but volunteer teams around the world organize their own SFD events to impact their own communities.
To find out how you can do it yourself learn more here:
You can prepare by burning some disks yourself and join the community out there.
Additional News Resources
As always you can find more news and announcements at:
Thank you for reading the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. See you next week!
The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter is brought to you by:
- Corey Burger
- Christian Reis
- Szilveszter Farkas
- John Little
- Paul Sladen
- Jonathan Riddell
- Brandon Holtsclaw
- And many others
This document is maintained by the Ubuntu Marketing Team. Please feel free to contact us regarding any concerns or suggestions by either sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using any of the other methods on the Ubuntu Marketing Team Contact Information Page.