Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 21 for the week of Oct 29 - Nov 11th, 2006. After a long absence, we are back. In this issue we cover the Ubuntu Develop summit in Mountain View, the opening of Feisty, spec lifecycle, new teams, and much more.

You can always find older Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter issues at::

In This Issue

  • Ubuntu Developer Summit Mountain View
  • gNewSense announced
  • KDE 4 packages available
  • New teams
  • Forging Feisty
  • Changes in Feisty
  • In the Press
  • Edgy reviews
  • Security and Updates to 6.10 and 6.06
  • Bug stats

General Community News

Ubuntu Developer Summit Mountain View

The Ubuntu Developer Summit in Mountain View, California wrapped up on the 11th of November. It was a busy week of talking, meeting up with people, drinking and dancing (just ask Jono Bacon about the "bottle dance"). As with previous development summits, this one covers the next release and all the various goals people have for it. One thing was clear, community matters. This was shown in all the community related specs discussed at the summit. There is a detailed section below covering the process for shepherding specs from idea to release goal.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier of covered the summit quite extensively, in two separate reports. You can read them at and

gNewSense announced

A new Ubuntu derivative was launched, supported by the Free Software Foundation, called gNewSense. It will be a distribution entirely free of non-free software but otherwise very similar to Ubuntu.

You can

New KDE 4 Packages available

A second developers release of KDE 4 was made available and packages of the core modules are available for Kubuntu Edgy. This version can be run successfully in a full session.

Several new teams announced

These past two weeks were busy with new and revived teams, either local community or development based.

Ubuntu Latvia team revived

Danko Alexeyev announced the revival of the Ubuntu Latvia team, with a meeting at a local university. You can read more about their success at

Ubuntu Burning team announced

No, this is not a team for representing Ubuntu at Burning Man, rather to work on the burning infrastructure in Ubuntu. Announced by Mario Đanić, the team will focus on the all the upcoming changes in this field in Linux. The Launchpad team can be found at and you can read the full announce at

Ubuntu Backup team announced

And finally, Sivan Greenberg, author of the HUBackup tool has announced a new team to work on integrating backup and data preservation more deeply into the desktop. Like all good teams, they have a Launchpad team, which can be found at You can read the full announce at

Behind Ubuntu: Raphaël Pinson

The latest Behind Ubuntu interview is out, and this time it is Raphaël Pinson, one of the many Kubuntu developers. He is also one of the developers of Ichthux, a derivative of Kubuntu aimed at Christians. Learn about how many hours a week Raphaël spends on Ubuntu and much more at

Forging Feisty

The Ubuntu Developer Summit provides developers and contributors with a unique opportunity to collaborate and work together. This month, Ubuntu participants from around the globe gathered at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California to set goals and make decisions that will shape Feisty Fawn. The meeting facilitated coordination between the disparate sub-teams that make up the core of Ubuntu's most dedicated contributors.

The bread and butter of a nascent Ubuntu feature is the "Specification" or "spec", in developer shorthand. A spec is a written suggestion of what a new Ubuntu feature should be like.

Specs have always driven the Ubuntu development cycle, and as such, they need to be prioritized according to the amount of developer time available. At a casual glance, the spec lists () for Ubuntu is long, largely because anybody can create a specification. However, only certain people have the authoirty to determine which specs are worthy of discussion at a meeting like the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Mountain View, and fewer still can approve a spec for official inclusion in Ubuntu. Since the spec list reflects the direction of Ubuntu development, it provides useful insight into the community's goals for upcoming releases.

So, how do specs go from an idea to a plan? Most approved specs go through a three step implementation process. After they are created, specs are usually proposed at a meeting for discussion. In the Ubuntu world, spec discussions take place at biannual Ubuntu Developer Summits, like the recent one held in Mountain View. If a spec is accepted for evaluation at a meeting, the first phase is dicussion. Topics are scheduled for a BOF (Birds of a Feather) session. These usually include the registrant of the spec (the progenitor of the bright idea), an assignee, a drafter (responsible for writing the spec on the Ubuntu Wiki), and an approver. For this Ubuntu Summit, there were about 10 rooms available for people to gather and discuss specs. These discussions are usually where developers hash out implementation details, gather information, research upstream issues, and generally discuss the nature of the proposed features. After this, there is a session in which the drafter gathers the notes from the discussion, fleshes out the implementation section of the spec, and refines use cases. A "use case" is a software engineering term that defines the feature from the perspective of a user. This helps developers visualize potential requirements for the feature.

After drafting, a team of editors reviews the spec. The editors check to ensure that the spec is well written, comprehensible, and in conformance with the quality guidelines expected by Ubuntu. So, why go through all the trouble to document the process in excruciating detail? Although a majority of Ubuntu developers are present at the summit, not all are able to attend. Even an excellent spec may not be implemented due to lack of developer resources. By outlining potential features in detail, a volunteer developer can cultivate an understanding of what needs to be done to get the feature finished. This transparency allows people to build upon well documented ideas, and possibly collaborate with others to get the features they want into Ubuntu. This is why the spec editors help refine the specs to make them as good as possible.

After the editors are satisfied with their creation, it finally enters the "Pending Approval" stage. From here, senior Ubuntu developers have the final say and can choose to grace a spec with the coveted "Approved" definition, with a matching priority. From here most specs will be implemented. Some get finished, some might be deferred to another release, and some might be split into several smaller specs. Some might languish around for a few releases, it all really depends on available resources and time until release.

As the Ubuntu community continues to grow, the number of specs will continue to increase as well. This is why expanding the Ubuntu developer community continues to be an important part of the Ubuntu project.

Changes In Feisty

The floodgates for the new Feisty opened this week, with a lot of predictable changes. After the toolchain (glibc, compilers, etc.) went throught their rebuild process, the first new package was Ben Collins' 2.6.19 kernel, one of many uploads of the new .19 kernel of the following two weeks.

As can be counted on for every release, the latest GNOME development release, 2.17, has started to appear. Held up by the UDS, the upload, by Sebastian and Daniel, has trickled in over the last two weeks, rather than in a single few days. Packages included epiphany-browser 2.17.2, gnome-utils 2.17.0, metacity 1:2.17.2, gtkhtml3.8 3.13.2, file-roller 2.17.2, gnome-vfs2 2.16.2, deskbar-applet 2.17.2, vino 2.17.2, gnome-icon-theme, gnome-themes 2.17.2, gnome-games 1:2.17.2 (including two new games, sudoku and chess), gnome-system-monitor, eel2 2.16.1, and totem 2.17.2. You can read more about GNOME 2.17 at

Barely slowed down by the Edgy release, the Telepathy team continued to push the latest and greatest of this communication framework into Ubuntu. Riccardo Setti, uploaded a quite respectable total, including telepathy-gabble 0.4.4, telepathy-stream-engine 0.3.12, farsight 0.1.10, libtelepathy 0.0.39. Daniel Holbach put one of the final pieces in place for a complete Telepathy stack, that of the UI, with the upload of the Telepathy branch of gossip, gossip-telepathy 0.18+cvs20061110. The regular, Jabber-only branch of gossip also had a new release, with gossip 09.19.

As usual, the XFCE people are not far behind those in the GNOME camp in uploading packages. These past two weeks it was all Gauvain Pocentek, who uploaded various pieces of the the latest XFCE 4.4 RC2. Pakcages included libxfce4mcs, libxfce4util, thunar 0.5.0, xfce-mcs-manager, libxfcegui4, xfce-mcs-plugins, xfce4-panel, xfdesktop4, xfce4-utils, xfprint4, xfwm4, exo and 4.3.90svn+r23773.

And for the Kubuntu crowd, a refreshed kubuntu-default-settings has been uploaded to Feisty, and by popular demand the /.hidden menu structure has been reverted to the default KDE way, which shows the root (that's /) filesystem. Support for the feature is still in Kubuntu but now off by default. Amarok also gets support for Microsoft's "Plays for Sure(tm)" devices via libmtp.

The latest CUPS, 1.2.5 was among the first major parts of the desktop to hit. Uploaded by Martin Pitt, this is mostly a bug fixing release on the 1.2 series of CUPS.

In the "I have used $app since 1980 and I ain't changing" category, Martin Pitt uploaded mutt 1.5.13 and Colin Watson uploaded vim 7.0-122.

Those of you who run Ubuntu on clusters were not left in the dark, with Fabio Di Nitto uploading openais 0.80.1, ocfs2-tools 1.2.2 and redhat-cluster-suite 2.20061106. In related news Andrew Mitchell uploaded libvirt 0.1.8, a Red Hat tool for interfacing with Xen & other virtualization systems.

Kubuntu gets a hand from upstream

New this release cycle, Celeste "seele" Paul (blog at of KDE useability fame will be joining the Kubuntu ranks to make sure it is as easy to use as it is to look at and install. Also Sebastian "sebas" Kügler (blog at from KDE marketing fame will be lending a helpful hand making sure the Kubuntu cheerleaders have much to show off. And lets not forget the artwork, those great guys from the KDE4 Oxygen Team, Kenneth "kwwii" Wimer and Nuno Pinheiro will share the Artist in Chief title for the Kubuntu Feisty cycle.

In The Press

This week we have a roundup of the post launch news of Ubuntu 6.10. But first:

Mark Shuttleworth was interviewed by The Register on Oracle's fork of Red Hat and on Novell's controversial deal with Microsoft. You can read more at

Leslie Hawthorn, our gracious hostess (of the Ubuntu Developer Summit) from Google has put the video of Mark Shuttleworth's presentation (see the video at to interested Googlers about Ubuntu, and sent a note of thanks to those in attendance, looks like we behaved ourselves *gasp*. You can read this shocking revelation at

Our benevolent dictator was recently interviewed by regarding the profitability of Linux and the path Ubuntu is taking as opposed to the path taken by other distributions. Certifications got some discussion -- especially in regard to Sparc, and for good measure the age-old user interface debate also got a mention. The full story can be found at

October 26-27th saw the fruition of the 2006 Free Software and Open Source Symposium on the York University campus in Toronto, Ontario. There were workshops galore and the speaker line-up was impressive, with representatives from companies and organisations such as Mozilla, IBM, Apple, Novell, Creative Commons and more. Ubuntu Canada's Dave Sullivan was on hand, with ubuntu cds. Additionally, each attendee received an Ubuntu cd in their conference bag. Recordings of the speeches have been made available at

Ubuntu 6.10 reviews from around the web

Well, we had a release. As was to be expected, people reviewed it. As we are somewhat popular, lots of people chimed in . Here is small sampling of reviews we have seen.

Review: Ubuntu Edgy is nice, but not so edgy : "I was surprised to find that Gnucash is not installed by default in Edgy, since the 2.0 release came out in July" URL:

What Really Happened To Ubuntu's Edgy Artwork? URL:

Edgy pushed me over the edge : "To be honest, I am not entirely unhappy with having to run Breezy, even if I do still have a little envy for those able to enjoy the bells and whistles of Edgy Eft." "But, after my recent experience with Edgy I am more than happy to stick with something a little less cutting edge and flashy. At least for now." URL:

Ubuntu 6.10 "Edgy Eft" released : "Ubuntu 6.10, which includes the freshly released Firefox 2.0, sports the new Tangerine theme, designed to improve visual integration of the browser by making it better conform to Ubuntu's style. Other visual improvements are featured as well, including a new USplash startup screen that will provide better support for a wider range of resolutions." URL:

EXE HOME: UBUNTU 6.10 REVIEW : "Ubuntu is the first Linux distro I've used and I have no plans to go anywhere else. It rivals Windows in ease of use, and comes with a lot of features packed. I couldn't ask for anything else." URL:

Edgy upgrade pains and fixes : "For now, perhaps the best thing to do with the Edgy Eft release is not upgrade your Ubuntu system. There are simply too many problems to justify the move, at this point. Once the fixes are in -- or at least well-documented ways to avoid the most common problems are published -- then, and only then, will making a move to Edgy Eft be a wise idea." URL:

Upgrading to Ubuntu Edgy Eft a "Nightmare" : URL: Scott James Remnant, one of Ubuntu's lead evelopers, has post two blog posts about various upgrading issues. You can read them at and

Linux Forums: Ubuntu 6.10 Review: "This is probably my biggest disappointment: there are no 3D effects in Ubuntu 6.10. Of course, if you have a look on the Internet, you'll see that installing and setting them up for Edgy Eft is not hard at all, but considering how much attention 3D effects are catching at the moment and the efforts made by other distributions to integrate them by default, this seems like a slap in the face. Were they considered trivial and uninteresting? Why were they not on the agenda?" also "By default Ubuntu won't play your multimedia files if they are encoded in an ugly format. The reason for that is explained on their website and you'll find a lot of information" "There are no graphical tools for accessing Bluetooth devices but hcitool is installed by default so you can do that from the command line." "I found the applet and configuration tool for the network better in Mandriva 2007" URL:

Upgrade to Ubuntu Edgy (6.10) - and a look back on the switch : "Ubuntu/Linux has better support for my hardware (cardreaders [usb2] are a lot faster, than with Windows, my Bluetooth adapter has more functionality, and less trouble than with Windows, etc.)" URL:

Ubuntu on the Desktop - My Experiences : "Contrary to some people's experiences, the upgrade went very smoothly." "I have to say I didn't notice much of a difference, except that after that first reboot, it took a while for my Bluetooth mouse to be seen and start working, and the first login seemed to take an age." URL:

A Diehard SUSE User Tries Ubuntu 6.10 : "Other programs that aren't loaded by default include XMMS, inkscape, or Bluefish. I use all of these on a regular basis, but loading them through Synaptic is fairly painless." URL:

The Trouble with Ubuntu: "My printer and scanner still need resolving under Ubuntu. This is mainly the manufacturer's fault (very few cater for this rogue GNU/Linux) but if it wants to be like OS X in simple driverless plug 'n' play, my non-obscure devices have to be catered for easily!" URL:

Updates and security releases for 6.06 and 6.10

Security Updates

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Updates

The only updates were new language packs, pulling from Rosetta.

Ubuntu 6.10 Updates

There were no updates to 6.10 for the past two weeks.

Bug Stats

  • Open (19313) +1337 over two weeks ago
  • Unconfirmed (10180) +921 over two weeks ago
  • Unassigned (14534) +1298 over two weeks ago
  • All bugs ever reported (64699) +2135 over two weeks ago

As always, the Bug Squad needs more help. If you want to get started, please see [WWW]

Check out the bug statistics: [WWW]

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