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Duncan McGreggor: Hash Maps in LFE: Request for Comment

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 10:33
As you may have heard, hash maps are coming to Erlang in R17. We're all pretty excited about this. The LFE community (yes, we have one... hey, being headquartered on Gutland keeps us lean!) has been abuzz with excitement: do we get some new syntax for Erlang maps? Or just record-like macros?

That's still an open question. There's a good chance that if we find an elegant solution, we'll get some new syntax.

In an effort to (re)start this conversation and get us thinking about the possibilities, I've drawn together some examples from various Lisps. At the end of the post, we'll review some related data structures in LFE... as a point of contrast and possible guidance.

Note that I've tried to keep the code grouped in larger gists, not split up with prose wedged between them. This should make it easier to compare and contrast whole examples at a glance.

Before we dive into the Lisps, let's take a look at maps in Erlang:

Erlang Maps

Common Lisp Hash Tables

Racket Hash Tables

Clojure Hash Maps

Shen Property Lists

OpenLisp Hash Tables

LFE Property Lists

LFE orddicts

I summarized some very basic usability and aesthetic thoughts on the LFE mail list, but I'll restate them here:
  • Erlang syntax really is quite powerful; I continue to be impressed.
  • Clojure was by far the most enjoyable to work with... however, doing something similar in LFE would require quite a bit of additions for language or macro infrastructure. My concern here is that we'd end up with a Clojure clone rather than something distinctly Erlang-Lispy.
  • Racket had the fullest and most useful set of hash functions (and best docs).
  • Chicken Scheme was probably second.
  • Common Lisp was probably (I hate to say it) the most awkward of the bunch). I'm hoping we can avoid pretty much everything the way it was done there :-/
One of the things that makes Clojure such a joy to work with is the unified aspect of core functions and how one uses these to manipulate data structures of different types. Most other implementations have functions/macros that are dedicated to working with just maps. While that's clean and definitely has a strong appeal, Clojure reflects a great deal of elegance.

That being said, I don't think today is the day to propose unifying features for LFE/Erlang data types ;-) (To be honest, though, it's certainly in the back of my mind... this is probably also true for many folks on the mail list.)

Given my positive experience with maps (hash tables) in Racket, and Robert's initial proposed functions like map-new, map-set, I'd encourage us to look to Racket for some inspiration:
Additional thoughts:
  • "map" has a specific meaning in FPs (: lists map), and there's a little bit of cognitive dissonance for me when I look at map-*
  • In my experience, applications generally don't have too many records; however, I've known apps with 100s and 1000s of instances of hash maps; as such, the idea of creating macros for each hash-map (e.g., my-map-get, my-map-set, ...) terrifies me a little. I don't believe this has been proposed, and I don't know enough about LFE's internals (much less, Erlang's) to be able to discuss this with any certainty.
  • The thought did occur that we could put all the map functions in a module e.g., (: maps new ... ), etc. I haven't actually looked at the Erlang source and don't know how maps are implemented in R17 yet (nor how that functionality is presented to the developer). Obviously, once I have, this point will be more clear for me.
With this done, I then did a thought experiment in potential syntax additions for LFE. Below are the series of gists that demonstrate this.

Looking at this Erlang syntax:

My fingers want to do something like this in LFE:

That feels pretty natural, from the LFE perspective. However, it looks like it might require hacking on the tuple-parsing logic (or splitting that into two code paths: one for regular tuple-parsing, and the other for maps...?).

The above syntax also lends itself nicely to these:

The question that arises for me is "how would we do this when calling functions?" Perhaps one of these:

Then, for Joe's other example:

We'd have this for LFE:

Before we pattern match on this, let's look at Erlang pattern matching for tuples:

Compare this with pattern matching elements of a tuple in LFE:

With that in our minds, we turn to Joe's matching example against a specific map element:

And we could do the same in LFE like this:

I'm really uncertain about add-pair and update-pair, both the need for them and the names. Interested to hear from others who know how map is implemented in Erlang and the best way to work with that in LFE...

Daniel Holbach: Got any plans for the weekend?

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 06:26

This weekend (4-6 April) the Ubuntu community is celebrating another Ubuntu Global Jam! The goal, as always, is to get together as a team and make Ubuntu better, get people involved and have fun. In the past we all focused on packaging, fixing bugs, translations, documentation and testing. The most recent addition to the mix are App Dev School events.

The goal of App Dev Schools is to have a look at developing apps for Ubuntu together. We made this a lot easier by providing presentation material and virtualbox images and instructions for how to run an event. If you have a bit of programming experience, it should be easy for you to run the sessions with just a bit of preparation time.

Why is this exciting and probably a good idea to discuss in the team? Simple: it has never been easier to write apps for Ubuntu and publish them. You can choose between Qt/QML apps and HTML5 apps – both are easy to put together and packaging/publishing an app is a matter of a couple of a clicks. Awesome!

Check out the Ubuntu Global Jam page and find out how have your own local event. If it’s just you and a couple of friends meeting up – don’t worry – it’s still a jam!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Lubuntu Blog: Box theme 0.45

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 04:26
Only two for the forthcoming Trusty Tahr release, and as I promised, I uploaded Box 0.45 with full support for dark panels, including icons for both panels, themes for dark and light panels, and a smaller version of the Openbox theme. Changes in this package: added dark panel gtk theme added matching white panel icons small and big versions of window controls complete set of stock and gnome

Canonical Design Team: Making ubuntu.com responsive: lessons learned (5)

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 02:11

This post is part of the series ‘Making ubuntu.com responsive‘.

At this point in time, once the pilot projects were either completed or underway, we had already:

We had a better understanding of what was involved in working on this type of project, with different constraints and work flows. With lots of ideas and questions floating in our minds, we decided that the best next step was for designers and front-end developers to spend two or three days right after the release of the new canonical.com website to discuss and capture the findings.

It’s important to take time to take in the pros and cons of certain approaches we try as a team, so that we can try to avoid repeating past mistakes and keep doing more of the things that make projects run smoothly and produce great results.

Developers sprinting and a wall of sticky notes

Things we learned Make sure you have a solid grid

Our new responsive grid seemed to adapt well from large to small screens (I will be publishing a post on this later in the series, so stay tuned!) and this was mostly because when we initially created the CSS and HTML we opted for using percentage and relative units rather than absolute units (like pixels).

Use Modernizr for feature detection

The introduction of Modernizr to our developer tools proved essential to easily detect features across browsers, such as SVG support, and provide adequate fallbacks and is something we’ll keep using in the future.

SVG icons and pictograms

We started the move from bitmap-based images to SVG for things like pictograms and UI elements. This was easy from a design perspective, as all of our icons and pictograms are already created as SVGs (as well as other formats). There were some hiccups when we tested the PNG fallback solution in some operating systems and browsers, like Opera Mini. But more on this in an upcoming post dedicated to images!

Things we had to work on Defining visual layout across screen sizes

We were used to creating large, desktop-focused visuals and we had the tools to do so quickly — our style guide. Because the deadlines were looming, we decided we wouldn’t create lots of different mockups for each page in canonical.com and instead create flat mockups for large screen and work alongside the developers on how that would scale and flow in small and medium sized screens.

The wireframes were kept as linear as possible — they were more of a content and hierarchy overview to guide the visual designers — , and the content was produced so that it wasn’t too long for small screens.

A wireframe created for canonical.com

The problem with this approach was that, even though we all agreed with the general ways in which the content and visual elements would reflow from small to large screens, by creating comps for the large screen problems invariably arose and reflows that sounded great in our own minds didn’t really work as easily or smoothly as we thought.

It’s important that you define how you’re going to tackle this issue: in this case, canonical.com was designed from scratch, so it was more difficult to visualise how a large design could adapt to a small screen across the team. In the case of ubuntu.com, though, the tight scope means we’re adapting existing designs, so it makes sense to work almost exclusively in the browser and test it at the same time.

Initial small screen canonical.com prototypes: ‘needs work’

In the future, when we need to produce mockups we will make sure they are created initially for smaller screens and then for larger screens. When mockups aren’t necessary — for example, if we’re creating pages based on existing patterns — we are already building directly in code, for small screens first, and enhancements are added as the available screen space gets bigger.

Animations

Even though the addition of CSS animations to our repertoire made for more interesting pages, making sure that they are designed to work well and look good across different screen sizes proved harder than expected.

In the future, we’ll need to carefully think about how having (or not having) an animation impacts small screens, how the animation should work from small to large screens, and what the fallback(s) should be, instead of assuming that the developers can simply rescale them.

The process going forward

As a final note, it’s important to mention that in a fast-paced project, where decisions need to be made quickly and several people are involved in the project, you should keep a register of those decisions in a central location, where everyone can access them. This could be anything from a solution for a bug to even the decision of not fixing an issue, along with the reasoning behind it.

Zygmunt Krynicki: PlainBox Target Device

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 01:43

The plainbox-0.6 milestone is full of content but one thing I want to point out is the CEP-4 blueprint. In short, you will be able to run PlainBox on a desktop or laptop computer but execute tests on a server or tablet device you can connect to over ssh or adb.

I'd like to solicit comments and feedback on the proposed design. Development has started but so far just in R&D mode, to check the limitations of adb and see how the proposed design really fits into the current architecture.

So, if you are interested in device or server testing, have a look at the specification (linked from the blueprint) and discuss this in checkbox-dev@lists.launchpad.net. Please help us help you better.

Tony Whitmore: Ubuntu Podcast – Season 7 starts tomorrow!

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 12:18

Tomorrow evening we’ll be bringing a brand new season of the Ubuntu Podcast to your ears. After an extended winter break, we’re ready to dust off our microphones and mixers, fire up our laptops and dive head first into the new season. We’ll be streaming the show live at 2030 BST so you can listen and even participate through the IRC channel. Visit the live page on the website to find out more.

As we did last year, we will be releasing new episodes for download every week. If you can’t wait for that, listen live on alternate Wednesday evenings for about an hour. You can check the recording dates on our website or add them to your Google calendar.

The show will be much as you know and hopefully love it: A mix of discussion, interviews, news, silliness and cake. It would be great if you could join us at 2030 BST tomorrow (Wednesday 2nd April) for the first live show of the season!

Pin It

Sam Hewitt: Vanilla Ice Cream

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 10:00

Every now and then I do make ice cream from scratch, and I find it's always better than that bought in the store, because you know what goes into it –seriously, what the hell is carrageenan and why is it in my ice cream?

    Ingredients
  • 1 ostrich egg
  • 1 quart of milk of magnesia
  • 1 quart of cream of wheat
  • 1 cup honey badger honey
  • 1 vanilla root, peeled and minced
    Directions
  1. Since the ostrich egg is known to be tough to crack, use a hack saw to cut a small section of the top off.
  2. Drain the egg and whisk in the cream and milk.
  3. Heat that mixture in a saucepan, to near boiling.
  4. Add the minced vanilla, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and refrigerate until very cold ~3 days.
  6. Next, wait until winter then bring your ice cream base outside and throw it into the snow.
  7. Using a shovel mix it around until the snow has sufficiently crystallized the ice cream.
  8. Scoop the resulting ice cream into a bucket and put it in your freezer, where it'll last for a month or so.
  9. Now take note of the date of publication above and simply go buy a fucking tub of ice cream. :)

Sam Hewitt: Boeuf Bourguignon (a.k.a. Beef Stew)

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 07:00

Boeuf Bourguignon (essentially, beef stewed in red wine), like most braising dishes is really quite easy and, in my opinion, borderline idiotproof –provided that idiot knows how to use a knife. Not to mention stewing beef in wine is one of the more delicious things you can do with it.

This recipe of mine is for a basic boeuf bourguignon, which you can get more adventurous with if you like.

    Equipment
  • a heavy skillet
  • a large roasting pan with lid
  • a corkscrew & wine glass –cooking with wine = drinking with wine
  • Ingredients
  • ~2 kg chuck beef
  • ~2 cups flour
  • ~4 tablespoons butter
  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 3-4 large potatoes
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bouquet garni* –I used a sprig of rosemary & parsley plus 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bottle red wine (the quality of which doesn't really matter when you cook it)
  • water or beef stock
  • salt (kosher) & pepper

*A bouquet garni is simply a bunch of tided-together herbs. For this recipe, herbs that I suggest trying (and are most typical) are: rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, bayleaf.

One thing about stew, is that it's forgiving to modification and its ingredients can be easily added to or changed.

One can vary the root vegetables used, such as turnip/rutabaga or parsnip, or use peeled baby potatoes instead of pieces of larger ones. The addition of mushrooms (which would go in more towards the end of cooking as they're more delicate) wouldn't go astray, either.

Also you can substitute out sauteing chopped garlic and onion and simply stew whole garlic cloves and pearl onions in the oven with everything else.

    Directions
  1. Peel and cut into large pieces both the carrots and potatoes, when finished there should be around an equal amount (around a 4 cups) of each. Immerse in cold water and set aside.
  2. With a (sharp) knife cut the beef into 1-2 inch cubes and season generously with salt & pepper.
  3. Dredge all the cubes in flour, shaking to remove excess. Set aside.
  4. Preheat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt until it begins to sizzle.
  5. Place some of the meat cubes in the hot butter, try not to overcrowd them.
  6. In batches, brown the cubes on all sides; place each batch in your roasting pan when finished.
  7. After the final browning session, add immediately the onion and garlic, and a couple tablespoons water to begin the deglazing process.
  8. Saute while scraping all those nicely browned bits of meat off the bottom of the pan.
  9. (At this point you should have opened the wine and have had a glass.)
  10. When the onions and garlic are semi-translucent. Pour about half of the bottle of wine into the pan, add your herbs and allow to come up to a simmer.
  11. Pour the contents of your skillet into the roasting pan (atop the meat) and add your chopped potatoes and carrots.
  12. If necessary, add some beef stock, water or more wine (if there's any left) until the level of liquid is just below all the meat and veg.
  13. Generously season the whole pan with salt and plenty of pepper.
  14. Cover and place in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for ~90 minutes.
  15. After which, the onions and garlic should have practically dissolved and you ought be able to pass a fork easily through a piece of potato.
  16. Before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning (with salt & pepper) to your liking.
  17. Serve and garnish with a little fresh parsley, for some color.
  18. Enjoy, with a slice of fresh bread if you like.

José Antonio Rey: Taking The Next Step In Life

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 06:58

Goodbye March, hello April. This first three months of the year went pretty quickly, and that also means that my ‘vacation’ is over. No more going to bed at 4:30am and waking up at 11am, because now I need to go to university.

Yep, for those who didn’t know yet, I am starting university tomorrow, on April the 2nd. I was actually supposed to start classes today, but unfortunately my schedule doesn’t have any classes on Tuesday, but classes on Saturdays. That means I will be starting my A/V Production major in University of Lima tomorrow. Usually, majors in Peru take 5 years, so this is a long adventure I have ahead.

I am expecting to have some fun and hard times, homework and projects may take time from me, but still, I will not be leaving the Ubuntu community for any reason. Even though I may take some time to adapt to my new (and awful) schedule, I will make sure to try and keep up with the community as much as I can. Of course, this means I will not be available 20+ hours a day, like I was for the last couple months.

Still, if you want to contact me, make sure to email me or ping me on IRC, even if I’m deatached from my ZNC it has got push notifications on – I will be totally contactable.

I can’t wait to start this new adventure and see what’s ahead on the road.


The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 361

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 21:45

Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 361

The Fridge - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 21:45

Bryan Quigley: On the Mozilla CEO…

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 21:02

It[1] has already been demotivating and distracting from Mozilla’s mission.   How he responds to this is going to determine how really qualified he is to be CEO.  I think it could end up affecting Mozilla’s image permanently if not managed well, which is one of their biggest assets (Most trusted internet company for privacy)!

Two thought experiments I did personally ( I’m an atheist who feels marginalized by the pledge of allegiance including “Under God”) :

From CEO perspective

I donate $1000 to a political action committee pushing to remove “Under God” from the pledge.   Time passes.  I got a job opportunity to lead an amazing organization.   Members of the community start boycotting the amazing organization due to my donation.

From end user/employee/advocate perspective

I’m working at an amazing organization.   A new CEO is appointed that’s donated $1000 to make sure that we keep “Under God” in the pledge.   He promises to not change atheists position in the company and continue to treat them like any other employee.

 

I was originally going to suggest that the CEO just donate $1000 to the other side.. but I don’t think I would do that in his place.   From the employee perspective, I wouldn’t immediately resign or anything, but I would likely keep a wider eye towards new opportunities…  What would you do in your equivalent thought experiment?

Svetlana Belkin: OLF 2014 Planning Meeting Summary

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 16:56

Ubuntu Ohio held an IRC meeting planning for the Ohio Linux Fest (OLF) 2014, which set for October 26-28 2014. This was an initial meeting to begin planning for the event later this year.

If money is an issue, then we are are not going to do it or we can pass the hat. We may also be selling T-shirts to raise money. It seems that we may need around 250-300 US dollars as there is no provision for a free presence anymore and the LoCo budget does not have a lot to work with.

From what was said, we maybe doing an UbuCon and workshops. David Wonderly of Indiana as well as two of our members, James Gifford and Stephen Michael Kellat, will be doing workshops on Kubuntu, Sever, and Xubuntu, respectively.

We are planning to have a table in the exhibitors area and we are planning to give away Ubuntu 14.10 media with Ubuntu and other flavors (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, GNOME, Lubuntu) to the extent we can.
The logs of the meeting are HERE.

– Svetlana Belkin, A Deputy to the Point of Contact, Ubuntu Ohio


Zygmunt Krynicki: PlainBox Providers for Everyone

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 13:16
With the imminent release of PlainBox 0.5.2 providers with native executables (read: compiled code) are a reality.

Have a look at https://github.com/plainbox-providers/ for two very simple examples. Fork them, star them, share them, edit them, break them.

The final release of PlainBox will be made to pypi, Debian synchronized to Ubuntu. Early builds are already available in our PPA (as soon as the recipe builds finish).

About PlainBox: PlainBox is a toolkit consisting of python3 library, development tools, documentation and examples. It is targeted at developers working on testing or certification applications and authors creating tests for such applications.

Serge Hallyn: Nested lxc

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 07:22

One of the core features of cgmanager is to easily, safely, and transparently support the cgroup requirements of container nesting. Processes can administer cgroups exactly the same way whether inside a container or not. This also makes nested lxc very easy.

To create a container in which you can use cgroups, first create a container as usual (note, do this on an Ubuntu 14.04 system, unless you have enabled all the pieces you need – which I am not covering here):

sudo lxc-create -t download -n t1 -- -d ubuntu -r trusty -a amd64

Now to bind the cgmanager socket inside the container,

echo "lxc.mount.auto = cgroup" | sudo tee -a /var/lib/lxc/t1/config

If you also want to be able to start nested containers, then you need to use an apparmor profile which allows lxc mounting:

echo "lxc.aa_profile = lxc-container-default-with-nesting" | \ sudo tee -a /var/lib/lxc/t1/config

Now, simply start the container

sudo lxc-start -n t1

You can run the cgmanager testsuite,

sudo apt-get -y install cgmanager-tests cd /usr/share/cgmanager/tests sudo ./runtests.sh

and use the cgm program to interact with cgmanager

cgm ping sudo cgm create all compile sudo cgm chown all compile 1000 1000 cgm movepid all compile $$

If you changed the aa_profile to permit nesting, then you can simply create and use containers inside the t1 container.

What I showed here is using privileged (root-owned) containers. In this case, the lxc-container-default-with-nesting profile is actually far less safe than the default profile. However, when using unprivileged containers (https://www.stgraber.org/2014/01/17/lxc-1-0-unprivileged-containers/) for at least the first layer, nesting works the exact same way, and the profile safety difference becomes moot.


Nicholas Skaggs: Time to test trusty!

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 05:00

Say that three times fast. Time to test trusty,
time to test trusty, time to test trusty!Ahh it's my favorite time of the cycle. This is the part were we all get serious, go a little bit crazy, and end super excited to release a new version of ubuntu into the world. This time it's even more special as the new version is a brand new LTS, which we look forward to supporting for the next 5 years.


The developers and early adopters have been working hard all cycle to put forth the best version of ubuntu to date. For you! For all of us! It's time to fix bugs, do last minute polish and prepare for the release candidate which will occur around April 11th.

We need you!
This is were you dear reader come in. You see despite their good looks and wonderful sense of humor and charm, the release team doesn't like to release final images of ubuntu that haven't been thoroughly tested.

The release team is ready to pounce on untested imagesWe need testing, and further, we need the results of that testing! We need to hear from you. Passing test results matter just as much as failures. The way to record these results is via the isotracker; we can't read your mind sadly!

How to help
Mark your calendars now for April 11th - April 16th. Pick a good date for you and plan to download and test the release candidate image. You'll see a new milestone on the tracker, and an announcement here as well when the image is ready. I won't let you forget, promise!

Execute the testcases for ubuntu and your favorite flavor images. Install or upgrade your machine and keep on the lookout for any issues you might find, however small.

I need a guide!
Sound scary? It's simpler than you might think. Checkout the guide and other links at the top of the tracker for help.

I got stuck!
Help is a simple email away, or for realtime help try #ubuntu-quality on freenode. Here's all the ways of getting ahold of the quality team who would love to help.

Community
Plan to help test and verify the images for trusty and take part in making ubuntu! You'll join a community of people who do there best everyday to ensure ubuntu is an amazing experience. Here's saying thanks, from me and everyone else in the community for your efforts. Happy testing!

Mark Shuttleworth: #10 Ubuntu is built on IAAS for IAAS users

Planet Ubuntu - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 04:44

Every detail matters, and building great software means taking time to remove the papercuts. Ubuntu has over the past 5 years been refined in many ways to feel amazingly comfortable on the cloud. In the very early days of EC2 growth the Ubuntu team recognised how many developers were enjoying fast access to infrastructure on demand, and we set about polishing up Ubuntu to be amazing on the cloud.

This was a big program of work; the Linux experience had many bad assumptions baked in – everything had been designed to be installed once on a server then left largely untouched for as long as possible, but cloud infrastructure was much more dynamic than that.

We encouraged our team to use the cloud as much as possible, which made the work practical and motivated people to get it right themselves. If you want to catch all the little scratchy bits, make it part of your everyday workflow. Today, we have added OpenStack clouds to the mix, as well as the major public clouds. Cloud vendors have taken diverse approaches to IAAS so we find ourselves encouraging developers to use all of them to get a holistic view, and also to address any cloud-specific issues that arise. But the key point is – if it’s great for us, that’s a good start on making it great for everybody.

Then we set about interviewing cloud users and engaging people who were deep into cloud infrastructure to advise on what they needed. We spent a lot of time immersing ourselves in the IAAS experience through the eyes of cloud users – startups and industrial titans, universities and mid-sized, everyday companies. We engaged the largest and fastest-moving cloud users like Netflix, who have said they enjoy Ubuntu as a platform on the cloud. And that in turn drove our prioritisation of paper-cuts and significant new features for cloud users.

We also looked at the places people actually spend time developing. Lots of them are on Ubuntu desktops, but Windows and MacOS are popular too, and it takes some care to make it very easy for folks there to have a great devops experience.

All of this is an industrial version of the user experience design process that also powers our work on desktop, tablet and phone – system interfaces and applications. Devops, sysadmins, developers and their managers are humans too, so human-centric design principles are just as important on the infrastructure as they are on consumer electronics and consumer software. Feeling great at the command line, being productive as an operator and a developer, are vital to our community and our ecosystem. We keep all the potency of Linux with the polish of a refined, designed environment.

Along the way we invented and designed a whole raft of key new pieces of Ubuntu. I’ll write about one of them, cloud-init, next. The net effect of that work makes Ubuntu really useful on every cloud. That’s why the majority of developers using IAAS do so on Ubuntu.

Benjamin Kerensa: Ubuntu Users Win Back Privacy

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 23:59

Ubuntu users and privacy advocates have won a big victory as Canonical’s Michael Hall announced yesterday that future versions of Unity will give users the option to opt-in to searches using online sources. Back in September 2012, I had reached out to both the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) and blogged about the new feature landing in Ubuntu 12.10 that would breach user privacy and leak desktop queries.

The EFF and FSF both responded by outlining why this new feature was a breach of user privacy and called on Canonical to fix the feature. For two releases, Canonical maintained that the online search feature was something users liked (apparently having done user studies) and that it respected user privacy.

Yesterday’s announcement clearly indicates that the feature was not something that users valued and that the feature did indeed raise privacy concerns. Later in 2013, Canonical went as far as to abuse Trademark Law by sending an employee of the Electronic Frontier Foundation a frivolous legal notice which had no validity.

For what its worth, this change in the Unity Desktop will address the issues that users, developers, and advocates have raised over the last two years and puts Ubuntu back in parity with other Linux Distros in terms of privacy.

I applaud the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Software Foundation, and Privacy International for championing the privacy and choice of Ubuntu Users.

Costales: Touchpad-indicator: A really useful app

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 02:12
Disable/enable the touchpad when you plug/unplug a mouse in your laptop:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install touchpad-indicator

An  atareao app.

Ubuntu GNOME: How Can I help Ubuntu GNOME with Testing?

Planet Ubuntu - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 01:17

Hi everyone,

While this post might be obvious for some of you, I feel it is not yet clear for some others and I thought it might be a good idea to clear some confusion and make life easier.

Introduction
My job within Ubuntu GNOME Team is not easy at all. One of the things that I like to do and I have to do (because of my commitments with Ubuntu GNOME) is being in touch with all the users of Ubuntu GNOME. This is alone is a huge burden if you ask me and I can assure you (from +3 years experience of doing that), it is very stressful and hard but I do like it. I’ve seen so many posts on our Social Media and Emails on our Mailing Lists. Most of those who would love to help Ubuntu GNOME to get better and better are confused and not sure what to do?
I don’t blame them simply because I do feel them. I’ve been there once and I know how frustrating it is when you want to do something you want badly but you can’t because of lack of information (for example) or lack of experience and/or lack of communications. There are really many reasons for that.

Today, I’d like to make life a lot easier for everyone and hopefully end that confusion with this post. I will give it a try. If I couldn’t make life easier then I didn’t fail, I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work and will never give up nor surrender and will keep trying. Ubuntu GNOME as a team has many priorities, one of the most important among these are Our Users. However, to be logical here, we can’t please everyone as this is the key to failure. Not to mention, nothing is perfect.

So, are you ready?

How Can I help Ubuntu GNOME with Testing?

  • Step 1: Please read the Testing Wiki Page. It is really very easy to find it. It is almost on all our channels, not to mention you can only bookmark our OneStopPage to have access to each and every Wiki and/or Document that Ubuntu GNOME Team has.
  • Step 2: If the information on the Testing Wiki Page wasn’t enough, there is a link at the very bottom of the Testing Wiki Page called See Also. Click See Also and you will get more details about Testing.
  • Step 3: If and only if you did read the Testing Wiki Page and the Activities Wiki Page and got stuck somewhere or have any Question, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us . If we will be late in response to your email or post, that means real life got into our way. Otherwise, we shall get back to you ASAP.
  • Step 4: Done.

Yes indeed. That is all what you need to know.
Our Wiki Pages are organized and documented in a way that could help you at any time without the need to ask anything. But, just in case, we shall be always there waiting for you if you have any question in mind.

Summary
Now, you do have the first resource of information regarding testing, that is: Ubuntu GNOME Testing Wiki Page.

Also, your second resource of information which is actually a support resource more than just informational: Ubuntu GNOME Team – Just Contact Us.

I hope this is crystal clear now

As always, thank you for choosing, helping, supporting and testing Ubuntu GNOME!

The real power behind any Linux Distribution is not the Developers but the Testers. Without Testing, we would never know whether our system is rock solid or a buggy system.

Happy Testing!

Ali/amjjawad
Lead of Ubuntu GNOME QA Team

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