Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 81 for the weeks March 2nd - March 8th, 2008. In this issue we cover the release of Hardy Alpha 6, interesting Brainstorm stats, interview with Server developer Mathias Gug, and, as always, much, much more!

UWN Translations

In This Issue

  • Hardy Alpha 6 Available
  • Brainstorm Stats
  • Interview with Mathias Gug, Server Developer
  • Full Circle Podcast - episode #01
  • In The Blogosphere
  • In Other News
  • Upcoming Meetings & Events

  • Updates & Security

  • Bug Stats & Translations

General Community News

Hardy Alpha 6 Available

The Alpha 6 images are now available. Images are known to be reasonably free of show stoppers, while representing a very recent snapshot of Hardy. Alpha 6 includes a number of new features that are ready for large-scale testing. Pre-releases of Hardy are "NOT" encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage.

Brainstorm Stats

Because everybody like stats, here are some numbers for you. These stats represent the week of the Brainstorm launch (28th February - 5th March):

  • 10796 users
  • 338319 votes cast! (that’s around 31 votes per user)
    • 238043 were +1 votes
    • 100275 were -1 votes
  • 10446 comments posted on ideas!
  • 3145 ideas
    • 326 deleted (spam,…)
    • 578 marked as duplicate (out of 1125 duplicates report submitted by users)
    • 2567 remaining(Includes some categories added after the initial launch)

Interview with Mathias Gug, Ubuntu Server Developer

UWN: Who are you? What do you at Canonical?

MG: My name is Mathias Gug - I was born and raised in France. I moved to Montreal Canada 4 years ago. I've been working for Canonical as an Ubuntu Server Developer since May 2007. With the help of the Server Team I look after packages dealing with server technologies.

UWN: Is there (or is there a specific need for) an "enterprise" community that is specifically geared towards Ubuntu Server? If so, how is it different from the rest of the community? Do enterprise users ever dive into IRC or mailing lists and ask for help?

MG: Members of the Server Team share a common interest in server-related technologies, such as databases and network authentication. These products are mainly used in corporate environments. So you're right in that we tend to have "entreprise" members in the Server Team.

We're trying to reach for more users from the corporate world. However we're facing the cultural problem that most of the companies don't authorize or encourage their employees to have public activities on mailing lists or IRC channels.

A related issue is how to get feedback from these users. The corporate world is not used to dealing with the Ubuntu Development process. Our process is opened and getting things done is much easier than with other products. When someone complains that a feature is lacking, the answer is not "we're not interested in supporting it" but rather "nobody did it yet". So you can do it yourself (or pay someone to do it for you) and get it included in the next release of Ubuntu.

One such example is SELinux: Tresys asked Kees Cook why SELinux wasn't correctly supported in Ubuntu. The answer boiled down to "Because nobody did it". Tresys came to the following Ubuntu Developer Summit and wrote up a specification for integrating SELinux in Hardy with the input of Ubuntu developers. They've then taken up the role of implementing the specification, packaging new versions, submitting patches to enable selinux in some packages all through the SponsorShip process [1]. And by FeatureFreeze SELinux was implemented in Ubuntu !

I think this is a great example on the strength of our Development process. But this is a rather radical changes for companies: rather than hoping for a vendor to add a feature, there is the opportunity to take a more active role. Our tools are available, our processes for inclusion are opened and documented - it's up to you to get things done.


UWN: How can individuals and LoCos get involved with the Server Team? Are there any specific skills that would be helpful?

MG: Contributing to the server team can take many forms: support, documentation, bug triaging, testing or packaging. Getting involved in the Server Team is a great way towards Ubuntu membership. We have loads of tasks to do which are recognized as contribution to the Ubuntu project. The Getting Involved page [2] outlines the different ways to contribute to Ubuntu via the Server Team.


UWN: Are there specific MOTU mentoring programs geared for the Server Team or a separate mentoring project?

MG: We've recently started a mentoring program within the Server Team. It's aimed at users that want to get started contributing to Ubuntu but don't really know how. The Contribute To Ubuntu page [3] has an extensive list of ways to help which can be overwhelming for some people.

The mentoring program of the Server Team tries to help them by giving them a mentor from the Server`Team. Together, they'll discuss areas of interest, define a simple task to accomplish and get the contribution integrated in Ubuntu. This program is lightweight and short in time.


UWN: With Hardy being a LTS release, what help does the Server Team need and where can readers go to find out more?

MG: Now that we're in Feature Freeze, we've switched to bug fixing mode. So the Server Team is looking for help in testing, both hardware and software. For example if you have server hardware available for an hour, you can try to install the latest version of the hardy-server iso [4] and send a report to the ubuntu-server mailing list [5] if your hardware is supported. The Server Team Roadmap [6] has list of tasks we're currently working on.


UWN: There were two Server Team related sessions during Developer Week and how did those go?

MG: Soren ran a session on Virtualization [7] - a lot of users turned up in the IRC channel and asked for information about virtualization support in hardy. This proves how important this new technology is in the IT world.

I gave a presentation of the SeverTeam [8] the day before. I spent most of the hour giving an overview of the team: who we are, what we do and how you can get started contributing. I received a couple of emails since then from users asking how to get involve in the ServerTeam.


UWN: What are you working on for Hardy? Whats your favorite feature in the LTS release?

MG: I kept an eye on AppArmor and helped with the creation of new profiles for a couple of servers (mysql, named and slapd). I've also tackled bugs in samba and mysql that have been opened for quit a long time. Hardy being an LTS we've been focusing a lot on stability and testing.

Virtualization is my favorite feature coming up in Hardy. Soren has been doing an amazing job at integrating kvm and libvirt in Hardy. I use it to do all of my work: being able to create vms with specific roles or different releases make things simpler. I can reproduce corporate environments (for example network authentication based on ldap and kerberos) with five or six vms using only one physical machine.

UWN: You worked on getting AppArmor into Ubuntu and SELinux will be available in Hardy. How are they different?

MG: AppArmor takes a process oriented approach: you define which files a process is allowed to access. SELinux uses a data view of the system: you attach labels to bits of data and SElinux makes sure that entities are allowed to access the data. AppArmor is easier to use for users: the process-oriented concept is easier to grasp than the data-labeling view. On the other hand, SELinux provides much finer granularity which is required in some environments.

The good news is that both AppArmor and SElinux will be available in Hardy: switching from one to another is just a matter of installing some packages.

UWN: How long have you used Linux and what was your first distro? And how long have you been using Ubuntu?

MG: The first time I saw linux was in 1997, Redhat 5 if I remember correctly. The first time I downloaded it was in September 1999, Debian. But I gave up after a couple of weeks. I came back during summer of 2000 with Mandrake Linux and the 2.4 kernel. I’ve never left since then. I've been using Ubuntu since dapper.

UWN: Do you have any cool servers that you get to play on?

MG: I don't think so. I bought a new machine recently, based around an Opteron processor with 4Gb of RAM and 320 Gb of disk space. But I don't have a stack of exotic hardware - I'm not part of the kernel team ;).

In The Blogosphere

  • Ubuntu: next release will be the critical one - According to Sam Varghese at, "April 24 will be a red letter day for the Ubuntu project. It will be three-and-a-half years since the experiment began and the release that day of Hardy Heron, as version 8.04 is known, will be a defining moment. This could well be the release that either makes or breaks the project." Ubuntu was initially based on the unstable release of Debian, but has now diverged to the extent that it would be silly to pretend that it is anything other than a fork. The release of Hardy Heron shows some interesting features. For once, the plain brown desktop is gone and there is a graphic which gives it character - fittingly of a heron. The main feature which marks this out as the release on which Shuttleworth is probably betting the house is Wubi, which allows one to install Ubuntu from within Windows. Shuttleworth has been walking a very difficult path in trying to make this project sustainable. Dealing with the FOSS community is not easy, dealing with developers less so. He would like to see the Ubuntu project succeed if only because some people in the non-Linux world will then be able to eat cake, rather than stale bread.

  • Ubuntu 8.04 Will The Hardy Heron Bear Fruit? - With the problems of Vista, the end of the availability of XP, and Apple unable to see the light and open up OS X to non-Apple hardware, much is expected of the next release of the most popular consumer Linux distribution. If Heron is indeed "Hardy," it could be the most important release of any non-Microsoft operating system ever. Ubuntu has shown such progress that many already use it occasionally, and it will only take a small nudge to get them in the habit of constant use. Once a level of comfort is established, the user base will grow beyond the expectations of anyone. Hardy Heron is amazingly workable with little to no knowledge of what lies beneath the pretty face. Ubuntu shows how the open source community has concern for the average user with its Long Term Support versions. Since Ubuntu is free, and not difficult to obtain, giving Hardy Heron a try at the end of April might be one of the best things you do for yourself this year.

  • Starting a week with Ubuntu and Lenovo's X61 ThinkPad: First impressions - Before switching to the Mac, Matt Asay was a hardcore IBM ThinkPad devotee. This is his first experience with the post-IBM ThinkPad, and it's an impressive piece of hardware. Equally important for this review, it seems to work flawlessly with Ubuntu. Everything on the keyboard works with Ubuntu, everything. Lenovo doesn't officially support Ubuntu on this hardware but you wouldn't know it from the experience. All of the specialty keys work and when Ubuntu was told to put the X61 to sleep when the lid closed, it did so. Ubuntu doesn't make a fetish of itself. It's just there, and it's letting the applications do the talking without getting in the way.

In Other News

Full Circle Podcast - episode #01

Full Circle, the independent magazine for the Ubuntu Linux Community, is proud to announce the release of it's first podcast! Featured in this inaugural episode:

  • Driver-Free Car Runs Ubuntu
  • DARPA Grand Challenge
  • Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 4
  • KDE 4.1 Feature Plan and Release Schedule
  • Torvalds pans Apple with ‘utter crap’ put down
  • And Much More!

Runtime is 1 hour and is available in MP3 or OGG formats.

Document Freedom Day

The Document Freedom Day (DFD) is a global day for Document Liberation with grassroots action for promotion of Free Document Formats and Open Standards in general. The DFD was initiated and is supported by a group of organisations and companies, including, but not limited to the Free Software Foundation Europe, ODF Alliance, OpenForum Europe, IBM, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems, Inc.

On 26 March 2008, the Document Freedom Day will provide a global rallying point for Document Liberation and Open Standards. Read more at

LoCos and Politics

Along with three other LUGs, the Ubuntu-ni LoCo issued a public statement promoting the need for a discussion and approval of guidelines for a minimum level of accessibility for all Nicaraguan government websites. The debate started on a mailing list to highlight the inability to access some public websites using Firefox, specifically the website of the General Comptroller of the Republic.

The issue was picked up by bloggers and various Internet sites, as well as newspapers and television. Eventually the the General Comptroller of the Republic site was made available for all Firefox users. Read more at

Upcoming Meetings and Events

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Server Team Meeting

Updates and Security for 6.06, 6.10, 7.04, and 7.10

Security Updates

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Updates

Ubuntu 6.10 Updates

Ubuntu 7.04 Updates

Ubuntu 7.10 Updates

Bug Stats

  • Open (40262) +260 # over last week
  • Critical (23) +/-0 # over last week
  • Unconfirmed (19562) +6 # over last week
  • Unassigned (30819) +283 # over last week
  • All bugs ever reported (158157) +1990 # over last week

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

Translation Stats Hardy

  • Spanish (13644)
  • English-UK (42367)
  • French (42530)
  • Swedish (51441)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (59173)

Remaining string to translate in Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron," see more at:

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Additional Ubuntu News

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Thank you for reading the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter.

See you next week!


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UbuntuWeeklyNewsletter/Issue81 (last edited 2008-08-06 17:00:27 by localhost)