Friday, March 26, 2010

Created Word for the Day: Domesticulation

Domesticulation: 1) The intense sense of satisfaction by a male of a species when he has successfully done something around the house that pleases the female of the species. 2) A subject of much scorn between males of the species to another of their kind who is affected by this disorder. 3) The supreme source of happiness for a female of the species when the male regularly works to achieve it.

*Created Words of the Day are generated by JFo and are therefore free to use and distribute in daily speaking or writing. JFo in no way condones the use of violence upon males of the species by other males of the species based on their addiction to this particular CWoD. There is no warranty implied or otherwise to the females of the species as to how much Domesticulation is possible in a male of the species. All other rights are expressly reserved. :-P


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google Summer of Ubuntu... err Code :-)

Well folks, it looks like Ubuntu will once again be participating in the Google Summer of Code. This is a great opportunity for students 18 or older to participate in open source projects with stipends to be awarded by Google.

Details of the Ubuntu project are available on the Ubuntu Wiki here. And an FAQ for the SoC can be found here

I hope you or someone you know can be a part of this. There is no better way to be introduced to the Free and Open Source Software world.

Get Coding!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Anyone who really knows me...

...also knows that I am not the type to let something that is on my mind go without saying. So here we go.

This past Friday I had the misfortune, and good fortune, of experiencing one of open source software's major detractors, in the minds of a large majority of people. I'll explain the good fortune bit in a few moments, but I'd first like to focus on the misfortune. :-)

I updated my Lucid Lynx install on my main laptop Friday evening. I can hear people groaning now, but please bear with me. For those of you who are not aware, Lucid Lynx is the release name for the Ubuntu 10.04 version of the popular operating system. I want to stress that this software has only just reached beta and is, therefore, not recommended for production level use. What that means is, if you don't want your machine to crash and potentially wipe out all of your precious bits and bytes, it is probably a good idea not to use this version.

Since I am a Canonical Employee, I find that I am honor bound (meaning not required by the company, that I am aware of) to use the development version of the software so that I can catch unexpected problems as they arise. Having said that, Friday evening was a bit of a stress for me. :-) My Evolution (mail client) icon disappeared from the Office section of my launcher menu. My chat icon disappeared from my Indicator Applet and every time I selected Home directory from my places menu the archive manager popped up indicating that it couldn't create the specified archive. Sounds like a barrel of monkeys eh?

So like any good software guy... I freaked right out. Yes, I did. After a moment, I caught my breath and I tried looking around on my machine to see what else, if anything, was broken. Nothing, that I could tell. I shut the machine down thinking if the worst were to happen, I could just reinstall later. I put the incident out of my mind.(I have 2 laptops running so I could do that :-P)

Now we get to the good fortune and why I love free software so much. I booted my machine today. I saw several failures, but everything looked as if it had come up smoothly. I decided I would try to update the machine (via the Update Manager) to see if any of the latest updates fixed the issues I had been seeing. Post-update, everything was back where I expect it to be. Those things that were missing are there once again, and when I click to open my home folder, it opens! \o/

Now, in the real world, I realize that any of the issues I saw could have been the result of some failure during the boot or loading process, but some of these issues seemed to be, during my analysis, products of the update I did on Friday. This is just one of the times I have seen this in action, but I know that the Ubuntu team worked to fix the issues I encountered and maybe a host of others that I didn't experience as the result of the Lucid Beta release on Friday. Why do I think this is good fortune you ask? Simply because I have personally encountered such issues in the Windows and Mac world, and I can tell you, never have I seen them react so quickly and resolve issues like these. In those cases I was a paying customer. This is free software, and I couldn't be more proud. This is the team of brilliant professionals that I am allowed to work with daily. It is events like these that affirms the decision I made so long ago to use and promote Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

Thanks to the developers, the testers and indeed to the community members who brought this to their attention for getting this squared away during the weekend!


Friday, March 19, 2010

ahhh Friday, and moving into a new house...

Well, ok, not new, but very nice and new to me. I found the perfect old house for me to live in.

It is close to town (most things are walking distance), yet still retains the relative quiet of the country. I sit about 25 feet from the road, yet I can barely hear the cars passing. Oh, and the ceilings are 11 feet high!

Here's a look at the front hall as you walk in the door.

Yes, the walls are purple. Ironic considering the facts: I don't really care for purple, and Ubuntu has changed the default theme of the desktop to purple... err Aubergine. :-)

Here's a look from the living room to the dining room.

And finally the front room that will most probably end up containing a pool table.

I'm really excited about this house. It is the type of thing I have always seen myself eventually living in. The downside is, now I have to get my tubby self out and care for the yard, but then, I really need to get outside more anyway.

These pictures are from my Facebook album. I'll add more to it as I add my furniture.

Happy Friday!!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Luck O' the Irish

As anyone who has known me for any length of time knows, I love my Mother. I am the epitome of the 'Mama's Boy'. I can distinctly remember dishing out pain to anyone who disrespected her as I was growing up, and I still have a few plans for pain to dish. ;-)

My mother has Irish ancestry. A very large amount from her mother's side, which gives me a certain amount of Irish blood. (This would explain my desire to inflict pain on those as would disrespect me mum :-) ) What some of you may not know is that her birthday is tomorrow, so it is celebrated all over the world. (Which is as it should be, saint that she is) Additionally, her hair, at one time, was bright red. So you can understand why St Paddy's is a special occasion for me. I have celebrated it for as long as I can remember from wherever I happen to be in the world.

So as you go about your day tomorrow, have a drink for my old mum and take part in the global celebration of her birth, and the subsequent entry of my modest self upon the world. ;-)


"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand."

(Traditional Irish Blessing; origin unknown,
although some attribute it to St. Patrick.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Take a deep breath. Stretch. Kick off your footwear..."

So, the word on the street is, Ubuntu installations currently cover about 10 million machines. That is a LOT of users. I am personally happy that we have such a large user base. In most cases it helps test development versions of the software, as well as giving us a very timely sense of when something inevitably goes wrong. However, there are still edge cases where users, whether by having had bad experiences or simple personality conflicts or even becoming overwhelmed by the release and update schedule of the software, tend to become resistant to answering our questions or remaining willing to test newer versions of the software for us. I can tell you, from experience, that I have those days too. I understand the sentiment. I've only just begun to hash through all of the bugs against the kernel for Ubuntu, and yes, there are quite a number that have not been touched by us in a VERY long time. I understand the frustration that some of you feel as a result of that, but I want to address some of that right now. These bugs, while stale, do NOT indicate a lack of work on the part of either the upstream maintainers nor the Ubuntu Kernel Team itself. It is also not an indication that the Kernel QA folks don't care. I would absolutely love to be able to work all of the kernel bugs and respond to each of them every day.

The truth is, with over 10 million potential users, in addition to around 10,000 open bugs, it is simply not possible for me to provide a 'high touch' level of interaction with all of those cases. This doesn't mean (as mentioned above) that work is not ongoing for those issues that I am not able to get to. The absolutely beautiful thing about Ubuntu, and specifically the Kernel team and upstream kernel maintainers, is that there is a great deal of amazing work going on outside the normal view of the end user. What I mean is, just because one must dig quite a bit in order to know what work is being completed to address a specific issue doesn't mean that there is no work occurring.

There are so many contributers to the main kernel that, for me to enumerate them, would undoubtedly see some number of brilliant people left out. The same is true for the Ubuntu Kernel Team. There are a vast number of people working on and identifying specific defects in the software, that for me to try to define what they do and when would be a serious disservice to them. These people are the cream of the crop, and by 'these people' I include all of the people who work on kernel development and maintenance. That there can be hardware enablement of new platforms and bug fix of old ones without the normal margin of regressions is amazing to me, and is a testament to how smart and thorough these people really are.

So asking for a specific page where a fix has been applied before you are willing to even test on a new version, or railing about your bug having 'only' been pinged by an automated script asking you to verify or collect logging is simply childish and unhelpful in the face of all of the work that goes on behind the scenes. Please consider all of these factors in addition to the Code of Conduct when responding on bugs. Most of the people working to help you get your issue resolved are community members as well.



P.S. Title courtesy of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince 'Time to Chill'

"It is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." -- Silvan Engel

Friday, March 12, 2010

Comic fun

ok, this made me laugh.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who am I?

I am the Ubuntu Kernel Team Bug Triager. That basically means, if it is a bug on the kernel as shipped in a supported Ubuntu release, I manage it. This currently to the tune of 10,000+ bugs just on the linux(Ubuntu) package.

I work with the smartest team of people I have ever had the good fortune to come across, and I am thankful every day that they are so much smarter than me because they tend to see my errors before I make them public. ;-) If you have some time and you are interested in the inner workings of the Ubuntu kernel, feel free to come see us on FreeNode in the #ubuntu-kernel channel. There is a place for everyone.

Which brings me to another large part of my job, Ubuntu community involvement. If you are unfamiliar with how the Ubuntu community works, I can tell you that it is like one very big family all working together to make Ubuntu the best that it can possibly be for each release. Check out the pages here for more info. I can sure use the help managing the bug backlog for the kernel, so if you are interested in the kernel or in bug triage itself, chat with me on FreeNode and let me know you want to help.

That is all for now. Carry on.


Hello World!

Well, I suppose it had to happen eventually... not that I have never planned to have a blog, I suppose I just never.... well, I never! ;-)

So here it is. Something you've all been waiting for, (I hope not, if you have then I worry about your hobbies and interests), The Drivel from JFo!

And for those of you who recognized the title and thought it could get no worse, I present: $foo bar.

/me bows