Archive for October, 2009

Making of a new Ubuntu Flavor

Once the release finally happens today, Ubuntu will have some new siblings. One of them will be Kubuntu Netbook Edition.
Why Kubuntu Netbook Edition?
1. Kubuntu because it’s built on Kubuntu and KDE.
2. Netbook because that’s the target system.
3. Edition because it is all built from FOSS packages available in the official archives.
First there was a nugget of an idea from upstream. KDE should have a different approach for netbooks. About the same time we had the developer summit to plan the Karmic release. Fortunately we had good representation from both the Kubuntu community and KDE developers and we organized around the idea of an early look at the KDE netbook vision (it will be released “for real” with KDE 4.4 in January 2010).
We came up with a basic plan and got it approved.
Then as we got to work, interesting things started to happen. We created a new subset of the Kubuntu seeds to define the packages for a standard netbook install. We created a set of default settings designed for the smaller screens on netbooks. Then we started to make an ISO image for Kubuntu Netbook. One thing I noticed throughout this process was that every time we needed a little bit of help or direction from someone at Canonical (trust me, I did not navigate the internals of debian-cd to add another image type without help) they were there to help us keep moving along.
By the Alpha 3 milestone, Kubuntu Netbook existed. At this point, Kubuntu Netbook was nothing more than a miniature Kubuntu. Thanks to the inherent scalability of KDE4, this was pretty easy to do.
Fortunately for us, the KDE developers had done their <a href=""research before they started and already had a good idea where they wanted to and made rapid progress.
By Alpha 5 we had a svn snapshot of the new plasma netbook packaged and working. From that point on, we had a solid foundation for development and got to a pretty good result.
I’m very pleased with the way that Ubuntu developers (many, but not all of which work for Canonical) have jumped in and helped out when we needed it. This is a supportedt release just like Kubuntu or Ubuntu. It’s a first effort, but I think a pretty good one that would not have been possible without all the help.
We’ve got three netbooks running Kubuntu Netbook Edition here at our house and we’re all pretty happy. I hope everyone else enjoys it too.
Of course we can’t get too satisfied with what we have. While we were off integrating and testing the early version of Plasma Netbook, upstream has been busy working on the final version we’ll see in Lucid Lynx.

Ubuntu Community 1 United Airlines 0

A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Chicago with my wife and three kids for the wedding of one of my wife’s cousins. As we were about to board the return flight, my middle daughter (15) noticed that her suitcase was missing. We didn’t have time to do anything except a quick look around and then get on the plane to go home.
Once we were home, after a lot of calling around by my wife and the daughter in question, they located the bag. It was found at the TSA security checkpoint. This was better than we had hoped for.
TSA told us all we had to do was have the airline come pick it up and with our authorization, they would turn the bag over to United for them to send it back to us. All seemed well.
Unfortunately, United’s position was that since it wasn’t a checked bag, it wasn’t their problem. United’s motto used to be “Fly the friendly skies.” I checked and I see that’s no longer the case. At least they aren’t still pretending.
As soon as I heard this, I said to my wife, “Wait, I know people in Chicago.” I know Ubuntu developers who live there and I know there is an active Chicago loco team.
I visited #ubuntu-chicago (IRC on freenode) and almost immediately had multiple offers of help. Thanks to
Tony Narlock (skiquel), the suitcase is on it’s way home and my daughter is out of having to do a lot of shopping for clothes with money she doesn’t have. Thanks again Tony.
Being in the Ubuntu community is kind of like having family everywhere.