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Dec 8, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Karmic Wine: Running Windows
apps has never been so easy
Upstart: Exploring the new init
Home Theater Ubuntu 9.10 Megapack Video Editors Upstart Netbook Distros Machinarium Troubleshooting
Discovery Guide
HOME THEATER
Finding the perfect netbook distro
The weird world of Machinarium
Jane Silber: Meet Canonical’s new CEO
Lots of Ubuntu troubleshooting tips !
DISCOVERY GUIDE
All-new tutorials on security,
configuration, terminal tricks,
and scripting
p83
UBUNTU
user
EXPLORING THE WORLD OF UBUNTU
9 FINE VIDEO EDITORS
Transform your computer into
a home entertainment center
9772040808007
04
£7.99
A$19.99
Issue 04
UBUNTU USER 04
WWW.UBUNTU-USER.COM
UBUNTU
user
*BUNTUS
ON ONE
DVD!
7
UBUNTU MEGAPACK
001-001_uu_cover.indd 1
28.01.2010 15:59:53 Uhr
UBUNTU
configuration, terminal tricks,
UKUUG - the UK’s Unix and Open Systems User Group
UKUUG SPRING 2010 TUTORIALS & CONFERENCE
23
rd
- 25
th
March 2010 • Manchester Conference Centre
UKUUG Ltd. PO Box 37, Buntingford, Herts SG9 9UQ Tel: 01763 273475 Email: offi ce@ukuug.org
Early bird rates available until 19
th
February.
Thought about joining UKUUG? - join now at http://www.ukuug.org/membership/membership.shtml
As a member you can attend all our events at the specially discounted member rates and receive our quarterly Newsletter!
UKUUG’s annual Large Installation Systems
Administration (LISA) Conference and
tutorials will be held in Manchester on
23
rd
, 24
th
& 25
th
March 2010.
Starting with a Tutorial: “SCons” (a Python-based
replacement for Make, and effectively the whole Autotools
chain) - by Russel Winder, on Tuesday 23
rd
March, the two
day Conference follows on Wednesday 24
th
and Thursday
25
th
March.
Up-to-date list of accepted talks, abstracts and speaker
bios can be found at: http://spring2010.ukuug.org/Talks
This is a must-attend event for system and network
administrators. As well as the technical talks, the conference
provides a friendly environment for members to meet, learn,
and enjoy lively debate on a host of subjects.
Early bird rates are available until 19
th
February
so book your place now!!
Online booking is available at
http://www.ukuug.org/events/spring2010/booking
Delegate fees have been kept to a minimum (and include
the Conference Dinner) due to our three Gold Sponsor
members - IBM, SUN & Novell.
Event sponsored by
Early bird rates available until 19
th
February.
UKUUG’s annual Large Installation Systems
Administration (LISA) Conference and
tutorials will be held in Manchester on
(a Python-based
replacement for Make, and effectively the whole Autotools
, the two
and Thursday
This is a must-attend event for system and network
Early bird rates available until 19
This is a must-attend event for system and network
Early bird rates available until 19
administrators. As well as the technical talks, the conference
provides a friendly environment for members to meet, learn,
February
Delegate fees have been kept to a minimum (and include
the Conference Dinner) due to our three Gold Sponsor
Current Conference presentations include:
• ‘The Perdition and nginx IMAP Proxies’
Jan Piet Mens
• ‘Grid and Cloud Computing: From Research to
Deployment’ Ruediger Berlich
• ‘Open Source solutions for Disaster Recovery’
Swayam Prakash
• ‘Designing and deploying a manageable virtual
desktop infrastructure’ Mike Banahan
• ‘Simplifying software appliance creation with
SUSE Studio’ Matt Barringer
• ‘Securely storing large volumes of data at rest
with ZFS’ Darren Moffat
• ‘PostgreSQL High Availability & Scalability’
Simon Riggs
• ‘Building an infrastructure for open source
development’ Simon Wilkinson
• ‘GNUBatch’ John Collins
• ‘Distributed parametric optimization with the
Geneva library’ Ruediger Berlich
• ‘Security for the virtual datacentres’ Sas Mihindu
• ‘21st Century Systems Perl’ Matt S Trout
• ‘Coherent and Integrated confi guration of Virtual
Infrastructures’ Panagiotis Kritikakos
• ‘MySQL HA with pacemaker’ Kris Buytaert
• ‘Hudson hit my puppet with a cucumber’
Patrick Debois and Julian Simpson
• ‘Don’t be scared of SELinux’ James Firth
• ‘Situation Normal, Everything Must Change’
Simon Wardley
3
Your Ubuntu 9.10 DVD
This issue comes with a double-sided DVD featuring a grand
assortment of Ubuntu variants, including:
• The full 32-bit DVDversion Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala.”
• AMultiboot menu that lets you install Kubuntu or sample
live versions of Kubuntu,Xubuntu,and Ubuntu Netbook
Remix.
• Bootable ISOimages with Mythbuntu,Lubuntu,and
Ubuntu Studio.Burn an image to a CDto sample a spe-
cialty distro.
See page 15 for more information!
Welcome to
Ub nt User
O
kay, I admit it. My interest
in computers started be-
cause I was heavily into sci-
ence fiction. As you probably know,
computers in science fiction can do
some pretty amazing things. There
was HAL from Arthur C. Clarke’s
2001: A Space Odyssey; Dora, the
computer AI that controlled (and
was) Lazarus Long’s ship in Robert
Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love;
the M5, designed by Dr. Richard
Daystrom in the original Star Trek;
Colossus from the movie Colossus:
The Forbin Project; HARLIE from David Gerrold’s When HAR-
LIE Was One, Deep Thought from Douglas Adams’ The
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; and Max Headroom from,
well, Max Headroom. Some were good, some were evil, oth-
ers were just plain misunderstood. All were seriously cool.
Computers, and artificial intelligence, took on a whole new
life with the stories of Isaac Asimov, so much so that the
“Three Laws of Robotics” seem just plain obvious when con-
sidering machine intelligence.
Computers in those books, on the big screen, and on my
small television screen, were amazing things that promised a
cool future with a capital C. I was going to be able to talk to
my car, walk into my house and hold a conversation about
the day’s events, and transmit my thoughts directly into
some virtual storage somewhere in the ether. Mostly, I was
going to have a great time, because despite the potential for
danger, the potential for fun was orders of magnitude
greater.
Maybe my expectations haven’t totally been met – my
house doesn’t greet me as I walk in – but computers have
certainly proven to be amazing things and the “fun” part has
certainly kept its promise. Sure, computers are tools de-
signed for countless repetitive and sometimes tedious jobs,
but they’re also engines of fun, and that’s what keeps me,
and many of you, coming back. That’s also why Linux and
open source software has so much appeal to so many of us.
The power of computers, the promises delivered, and those
yet to be … all that belongs to you and me when we fire up
Ubuntu. Above all, running Ubuntu Linux and open source
software delivers on the fun.
It seems fitting then that the issue you are reading features
stories covering two great multimedia and home entertain-
ment systems built on open source, Freevo, and MythTV.
The latter comes to you in the shape of the Mythbuntu distri-
bution. Meanwhile, Linux multimedia guru, Dave Phillips,
provides us with a roundup of Linux video editors so that
you, my friends, can indulge your creative side and deliver
some multimedia magic of your own.
You’ll also find out the latest on Wine in Karmic Koala.
While I do love a good Cabernet or Pomerol, we’re talking
about software here. Feel free to pour yourself a glass while
you read.
Karmic Koala is the current Ubuntu gold standard, but
Lucid Lynx is prowling the perimeter. We’ve also got the
goods from the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) re-
garding Lucid Lynx. Read our interviews with Jane Silber,
Canonical’s new CEO, and with David Siegel, leader of the
Ubuntu Paper Cuts project.
If you need more excitement, this issue delivers Upstart,
Webgen, Scribus, Amarok, and Writer’s Cafe. There’s more
fun with Machinarium and the Battle for Wesnoth.
Oh yeah. Some guy named Marcel Gagné also has an ex-
cellent roundup of Ubuntu and Ubuntu-inspired netbook dis-
tributions. If your cool little netbook came with some
strange closed-source operating system, it’s time to upgrade.
Explore. Experiment. Excite your inner child. And don’t
forget to have fun. Because in the end, that’s what comput-
ers are all about. Or at least it should be. n
Dear Ubuntu User Reader,
Senior Editor, Marcel Gagné
C mment
3
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4
Features
15 Ubuntu User DVD
Learn more about the free DVD
enclosed with this issue.
16 What’s New in Wine
Karmic Koala includes some
improvements that make it easer to
run Windows apps with the Wine
API.
20 Mythbuntu
Mix the MythTV media center with
Ubuntu and you get Mythbuntu.
24 Freevo
Looking for a DVR without the
DRM? This open source home the-
ater app keeps your favorite pro-
grams in focus.
28 Video Editors
Linux multimedia expert Dave
Phillips rounds up some of Ubuntu’s
best video editors.
38 Netbook Distros
Several Ubuntu-based distros bring
Linux to the netbook.
News
3 Welcome to Ubuntu User
Our new senior editor, Marcel
Gagné, remembers the fun.
6 Who We All Are
Jono talks about improvements in
the upcoming Lucid Lynx release.

7 Ubuntu-Women Project
Project leader Amber Graner reports
on the Ubuntu Women project.
8 Jane Silber
Meet Canonicals’s new CEO.
10 UDS Lucid Lynx
Ubuntu users and developers gather
in Dallas to talk about the next
release.
12 100 Paper Cuts
Ubuntu’s innovative 100 Paper Cuts
project has an eye on usability. We
interview chief paper cutter David
Siegel. VIC

3
Ubuntu 9.10 DVD
97
Contact Info / Authors
98
Preview
This month we bring you more great tools
for the Ubuntu environment. You’ll learn
how to set up a home entertainment center
with Mythbuntu and how to record your
favorite programs with Freevo. We also
introduce your to Canonical’s new CEO.
Video Editors: Shouldn’t you be making
your own movies? We examine some
video editing tools for the desktop. 28
K ow-How
44 Webgen
This powerful tool lets you build
whole websites in half the time.
48 Aria2
One tool helps you manage down-
loads from several protocols.
52 Scribus
Create your own newsletters, brochures, and magazines with this
powerful publishing tool.
57 Upstart
Learn why your new Ubuntu system
starts processes more efficiently.
60 Answerbuntu
Get answers for your Ubuntu con-
figuration questions.
4
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Netbooks: Marcel Gagné rounds up some
of the best Ubuntu-based distros for small
portables. 38
Upstart: Learn why this event-based
process manager is putting the venerable
init out to pasture. 57
Secure Browsing .......................84
Configuring with Tweak .........88
Terminal Time .............................92
Scripting .......................................94
If you are new to Ubuntu
9.10 “Karmic Koala,” our
handy Discovery Guide
will help you get started.
Discovery
Guide
See p15 for full details
DESKTOP
72
Amarok
Get your groove on with KDE’s
excellent music player.
76
Gedit
Plenty of plugins make Gedit much
more than just a text editor.
80
The Battle of Wesnoth
Why is this multi-player strategy
game so popular?
Ple
PuP
Put the Netbooks image here
DESKTOP
64
Writer’s Cafe
This nifty desktop app will help
you write a novel or play.
68
Machinarium
Journey to a space-age junkyard
with this weird adventure game.
70
Microblogging
Check out these open source social
networking tools for the desktop.
7 Ubuntu distros
on one DVD!
Ubuntu Kubuntu Xubuntu
Edubuntu Ubuntu Linbuntu Netbook
Studio Remix
5
ISSUE 04UBUNTU USER
*BUNTUS
ON ONE
DVD!
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ubuntu
W
ith so many Linux distribu-
tions out there – Ubuntu, Fe-
dora, Debian, Mandriva, and
more – it could be tempting to suggest
that they are all basically the same. They
all ship upstream components, they all
ship a Linux kernel, so surely they don’t
vary all that much? Of course, this is not
actually the case: The differences be-
tween distributions in quality, commu-
nity, availability, and support vary
hugely, and this is why I have always
been passionate about Ubuntu. And, I
am even more excited about our re-
newed focus in fixing and improving dif-
ferent parts of the desktop.
One such area slated for improvement
in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx is the sys-
tem tray: those little icons that applica-
tions such as Rhythmbox and TomBoy
put in the top right-hand corner of the
screen in Ubuntu. These icons are typi-
cally used as shortcuts to the application
itself, and the way they function is rid-
dled with problems.
These problems begin with inconsis-
tencies in clicking. Some applications re-
quire a left-click, some a right-click,
some put different menus in different
left-/ right-click menus, with seemingly
no standard enforced. Also, applications
put all kinds of custom, hacked-together
widgetry in those menus, much of which
is never used. As such, the menus look
cluttered, inconsistent, and messy.
What’s worse, you can’t scrub the differ-
ent application icons.
In other words, if you click on one no-
tification icon and move your mouse to
the next, it won’t automatically show the
next one; instead, you need to click it.
You should just need to click on one icon
and then slide the mouse through all the
icons like a normal menu. To top things
off, the whole shebang is not particu-
larly accessible. For those using accessi-
bility tools for navigation, these menus
can be a nightmare.
In Lucid, we are fixing this, so most of
these problems will go away. You will be
able to click on a system tray icon, and
all menus will appear with a left-click.
They will be clean, consistent menu
items, and you will be able to slide your
mouse through the other notification
icons smoothly and easily. Everything
will be accessible and
keyboard controlled,
and KDE applications
running in Gnome will
have their notification
menus rendered in the
native Gtk toolkit,
which will look more
consistent and reflect
your current theme.
The work involved in
fixing this set of prob-
lems in our desktop is
not unsubstantial, but
its effect is subtle in de-
veloping a sleek and ef-
ficient user experience.
What excites me is that
this attention to detail
will continue to seat Ubuntu as an inno-
vator in the desktop, server, and mobile
realms and beyond.
In the same way that Ubuntu inno-
vated with notify-osd – those sexy, little
notification bubbles that pop up – we
are continuing to innovate here and be-
yond. These improvements are a testa-
ment to the design team that has been
formed to tackle this work, the desktop
experience team that is developing it,
and the desktop team shipping it. The
fruits of the labors of all of these teams
working together means that step-by-
step, release-by-release, the Ubuntu ex-
perience for our users will grow and be-
come more refined.
Of course, all of these innovations and
improvements are free software, using
open and accessible technologies. It is
an exciting time for Ubuntu, the desk-
top, and the future of our community.
The future is looking rosy … . ■
Among the many improvements in the works for the Lucid Lynx release
is the humble task of simplifying the system tray.
BY JONO BACON
Innovating one step at a time
LINUX
LUCIDITY
chris32m, Fotolia
Who We All Are
NEWS
6
ISSUE 04 UBUNTU USER
T
he Ubuntu-Women (UW) Project
[1] was founded by Vidya Ayer in
2006; however, the first an-
nouncement about an Ubuntu-Women
project was posted to the Ubuntu forums
on May 15th, 2005 by Travis Newman.
In early forums, “gamerchic9” is cred-
ited with founding the IRC channel
“#ubuntu-women” on Freenode on Sep-
tember 12, 2005. In late 2005, Vidya
Ayer began development of the Ubuntu
wiki pages and in February 2006 ap-
proached the Ubuntu Community Coun-
cil to get approval for the project along
with a mailing list and website. During
this time, Susana Pereira and Clytie Sid-
dall were also instrumental in getting the
project going.
In March 2006, Elizabeth Krumbach
joined the startup initiative and worked
to bring the Ubuntu-WomenForums and
IRC group together with the Ubuntu-
Women mailing list and Ubuntu website
group to form one cohesive project oper-
ating under the Ubuntu-Women Project
name. During this transition, ownership
of the Ubuntu-Women IRC channel was
transferred to Elizabeth Krumbach.
A Stepping Stone into the
Ubuntu Community
The Ubuntu-Women Project website [1]
defines the project as “a team function-
ing under Ubuntu to provide a platform
and encouragement for women to con-
tribute to Ubuntu-Linux, a Debian-based
free and open-source GNU/Linux soft-
ware. Our main role will be along the
lines of supplementing and being the
stepping stone toward the larger Ubuntu-
Linux world. Membership is open to
all.” The page cites the 2006 Flosspols
report, which indicates that at that time
only 1.5 percent of FLOSS community
members were women. It also mentions
the Ubuntu Census Survey (2006), show-
ing 2.4 percent women actively volun-
teering in the Ubuntu Community.
I joined the Ubuntu-Women Project in
March 2009, a few weeks after I started
blogging about using Ubuntu. I was new
to Ubuntu and trying to figure where I
could contribute, who did what, and
how the community worked, and know-
ing that this project existed was very re-
assuring. I found the Ubuntu-Women
IRC channel, signed up for the mailing
list, introduced myself to the team, and
started asking about ways I could con-
tribute. This is pretty much how I have
seen others come into the project as
well. They are working in other parts of
the Ubuntu community and someone
recommends the project to them, or they
hear about the project in a forum and
decide to get involved.
What does the project do exactly? I
found myself asking that question as I
attended various events in 2009 where I
saw and heard other women’s groups
getting together for dinners or meetings
and being very active in the community
as a cohesive unit. The Ubuntu-Women
Project is evolving to meet the needs of
the group and the goals of the project.
The Ubuntu-Women Project aims to in-
crease visibility of women contributors
by encouraging participation within the
Ubuntu community through various ini-
tiatives and acting as a point of entry for
women who want to become involved in
the Ubuntu community. The project also
encourages women to participate in the
Ubuntu-Linux community through men-
toring, by encouraging team members to
speak at conferences, by giving technical
presentations, and by helping to orga-
nize bar-camps, hack-fests, and even
BoF sessions for women at the various
Linux conferences. The Ubuntu-Women
Project also provides a place for people
to openly discuss issues facing women
and their involvement in Ubuntu (and
Linux) and how to address them.
The group has grown steadily since its
beginning in 2005, and this year will
mark another milestone in the evolution
of the Ubuntu-Women project in that a
formal leadership process will be ap-
proved and the team will hold its first
election. Also, a new look and feel will
be given to the team’s wiki pages, and
there is talk of a website redesign. New
initiatives and goals will be rolled out as
more women are empowered to use, par-
ticipate in, and contribute to Ubuntu.
How Can You Help?
• Introduce women to the Ubuntu-
Women Project as they become in-
volved in the community.
• Encourage women in the community
to actively participate and contribute
to Ubuntu.
• Organize Ubuntu-related sessions for
women at Linux conferences, fests,
and local meetings.
• Sponsor women – If you want to en-
courage more women to speak at
talks, not only invite them to speak
but offer to sponsor them as well.
• Become a mentor – If you have exper-
tise in a particular area within Ubuntu,
make yourself available as a mentor
for women in the project.
As it grows, the Ubuntu-Women Project
will remain focused on cultivating diver-
sity within the Ubuntu and Linux com-
munities. Ubuntu-Women membership
is open to all, regardless of gender. n
The Ubuntu-Women Project offers several ways to help support the
Ubuntu community.
By Am er Gr ner
Getting involved
Ub nt -
Women
Project
[1] Ubuntu-Women website: http://
www.ubuntu‑women.org/
INFO
New
Women in Ubuntu
7
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New Ubuntu CEO Jane Silber shares her background and provides some insight into her daily routine man-
aging Ubuntu’s products and services.
By Am er Gr ner
Interview with new head of Ubuntu
Staying the Cour e
Q
I read on the Canonical site that you
have three degrees. Can you tell us what
they are and where you received them?
Where are you originally from in the
United States? What brought you to the
UK? How did you find Canonical?
A
I have a BS degree in
Mathematics and Computer
Science from Haverford College
(Haverford, Pennsylvania), an
MS in Management of Technol-
ogy from Vanderbilt University
(Nashville, Tennessee), and an
MBA from Oxford University
(Oxford, England). I like aca-
demia and have found it ener-
gizing to take career breaks to
pursue graduate degrees.
I’m American, although I am
also currently in the process of
obtaining British citizenship. I
grew up in Illinois but have
moved a fair bit since then. I
spent the bulk of my career in
the Washington, DC, area but
also spent 2.5 years working in
Japan. I’ve been in the UK
since 2002, when I came over
to spend a year at Oxford. I met
Mark Shuttleworth in the sum-
mer of 2004. He was just get-
ting Canonical and Ubuntu off
the ground, and I was immedi-
ately impressed by the vision,
opportunity, and team. I started
with Canonical as COO in July
2004. My first tasks were all
about Ubuntu – for example, to
organize the first of what has
evolved today into the Ubuntu
Developer Summit (UDS), to
work with Mark to finalize the Ubuntu
branding and logo, and to work with
Mako Hill to create the ShipIt program.
Q
What is Canonical? How has it
changed since you joined in 2004?
Where would you like to see it improve?
What will be your top priority as CEO?
A
Canonical has changed in so many
ways over the years, but there is also a
strong core to the company that has
stayed the same. Our original vision and
mission remains constant: to produce
the world’s best free software platform
in Ubuntu and to create a successful
business by providing services around
that platform.
Much of what you experience today in
Ubuntu, in the Ubuntu community, and
in Canonical can be traced back to prior-
ities and practices established back in
2004. But a lot has changed as well. We
have over 300 people in over 25 coun-
tries; we have solid partner relationships
with all of the largest OEMs and ODMs;
Ubuntu is increasingly pre-installed on
machines available for purchase online
and in retail environments; we have mil-
lions of users in homes, schools, and en-
terprise settings; Ubuntu is at the heart
of a thriving, vibrant community;
Launchpad and Bazaar are pillars in the
open source development world for all
sorts of projects; and we have a portfolio
of enterprise-oriented and consumer-ori-
ented commercial services that benefit
from and ultimately enhance Ubuntu.
All of that is a long way from my first
Canonical “desk” at Mark’s kitchen
table.
My priority as CEO is to execute on
the strategic building blocks we have in
place. We need to refine some of our
commercial offerings, get Ubuntu into
the hands of millions more people, and
really prove that we can build a lasting,
profitable company around a free plat-
form while staying true to our open
source ideals.
The ecosystem around Canonical is in-
creasingly complex, with new players
trying established business models, es-
Jane Silber is currently Canonical Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Director
of Online Services, but as of March 2010 will take on the role of Chief Executive
Officer (CEO). Ubuntu User was able to catch up with Jane during her transi-
tion to CEO, and here’s what she had to say.
“Canonical has changed in
so many ways over the
years, but there is also a
strong core to the company
that has stayed the same. ”ew Ubuntu C O Jane Silber
News
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tablished players trying new business
models, and everything in between.
Ubuntu has broken a lot of new
ground in the past few years, and we
will likely continue to do so to main-
tain our momentum as the Linux
platform of choice.
Q
Will you still retain some of the
responsibilities of either the COO or
Director of Online Services? When
will your replacement be named?
Will you look to staff that position
from inside the company or bring in
someone new?
A
We will be filling both of those posi-
tions, so I don’t expect to retain those re-
sponsibilities. We’re interviewing inter-
nal and external candidates for both
roles, and I hope to have them filled
prior to March.
Q
How do you see your day-to-day
routine changing once you take over as
CEO? Please describe?
A
Right now my daily routine is a mix
of problem-solving, planning, support-
ing, listening, thinking, cheerleading,
persuading, reinforcing, challenging, and
directing. All of which occurs in meet-
ings, phone calls, email, and IRC, and
with Canonical staff, customers, part-
ners, and community members. I expect
those activities to continue, so in many
respects the natural rhythm of my days
will stay the same.
What will change, however, is the mix
of topics I focus on, the balance be-
tween internal and external communica-
tions, and the level of detail at which I’ll
operate.
Q
As CEO what role will you play dur-
ing the release cycle? What can we ex-
pect to see from Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid
Lynx from the Server and Desktop sides?
How does this improve on Ubuntu 8.04
LTS Hardy Heron and Ubuntu 9.10 Kar-
mic Koala?
A
The Ubuntu release cycle is really
driven by the Ubuntu Platform team it-
self. And while within Canonical that
team will now report to me, I don’t ex-
pect to insert myself directly into that
cycle. Our Platform team already has a
process by which they solicit inputs for
feature and product roadmaps, and Ca-
nonical contributes to that largely in the
same manner as the community does.
I think 10.04 LTS is shaping up to be
another great release. On the server side,
we see a further maturation of public
and private cloud capabilities, which
seem to be hitting a real sweet spot in
the enterprise.
In addition to improved power man-
agement, we will have smoother, easier
ways to install and manage Ubuntu En-
terprise Cloud (UEC) in a greater num-
ber of configurations. This will allow sys
admins to quickly set up their own pri-
vate UEC directly from the Ubuntu
Server CD.
On the client side, we have both the
desktop edition and the netbook edition.
And for the first time, in 10.04, there
will be an effort to bring them closer to-
gether. In fact, from within the tradi-
tional desktop you’ll be able to switch
to an alternate, netbook-like interface if
you wish. This puts more emphasis on
the graphical application launcher that
has been developed for smaller-screen
laptops and netbooks.
Additionally, we’ve reduced the boot
and desktop load times even further,
created better integration with popular
online services (particularly social net-
work sites), and are introducing the
Ubuntu One music store. Overall, I think
desktop users will be pleasantly sur-
prised by a lighter, snappier, and more
social Ubuntu experience.
Q
Also of note, you have a technical
background, as you started out as a soft-
ware developer, do you ever miss “hack-
ing code”? What advice would you give
those who love developing software but
have to make a choice between man-
agement and writing code.
A
There is a lot of gratification and
satisfaction in writing code – the
pleasure of solving a puzzle, the ex-
citement of making an algorithm
faster or more elegant, the pride of
seeing the “tangible” results of your
work. I miss those feelings some-
times.
There is also a great deal of satis-
faction and pleasure in managing a
team or building a successful com-
pany, but it is different – these days
the work I do generally unfolds over
weeks or months or even years and
doesn’t often provide the clear trium-
phant feeling of fixing a particularly
frustrating bug.
I think a development background is a
great asset for any role in a technology
company, and developers who want to
move into management should definitely
give it a try. But at least at Canonical we
try very hard not to make it a forced
choice – i.e., the folks who want to stay
in a pure development role still have op-
portunity for advancement in technical
leadership roles, skills development op-
portunities, etc.
We also have a practice of allowing ro-
tations in the company. Those rotations
enable someone to spend a few months
on another team or in another role and
are a great way not only for the em-
ployee to expand their horizons, but also
for Canonical to benefit from the spread
of knowledge and best practices across
the company.
For a developer considering a move
into management, I would say don’t be
afraid – find a way to try a management
role, whether it is in your company or
an open source project or a volunteer
group, but also don’t worry if it’s not for
you.
Q
Is there anything I haven’t asked
you that you would like to tell the read-
ers about?
A
I’d just like to thank Ubuntu User
readers for their continuing support of
and contribution to Ubuntu and the
Ubuntu community. I feel privileged to
have this opportunity at Canonical, and
look forward to the next chapters in the
Canonical and Ubuntu stories! n
Figure 1: (pictured left to right) Amber Graner,
Fabian Rodriguez, and Jane Silber. Picture courtesy
of Fabian Rodriguez.
Newsew Ubuntu C O Jane Silber
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t the beginning of an Ubuntu de-
velopment cycle, Ubuntu devel-
opers and community members
from around the world gather at the
Ubuntu Developers Summit (UDS) [1] to
help shape and scope the next release of
Ubuntu. The summit is open to the pub-
lic, but it is not a conference, exhibition,
or other audience-oriented event. Rather,
it is an opportunity for Ubuntu develop-
ers, who usually collaborate online, to
work together in person to design the
next version of Ubuntu.
To get the largest number of develop-
ers from around the world involved, the
venue for UDS is usually in Europe in
the spring and the Americas in autumn.
The UDS for the Lucid Lynx cycle, the
code name for Ubuntu 10.04, was held
in Dallas, Texas. This UDS was impor-
tant because Ubuntu 10.04 will be a
long-term support release (LTS). An
Ubuntu LTS release is support by Canon-
ical and the community for three years
on the desktop and five years on the
server, instead of 18 months for regular
Ubuntu releases.
The Ubuntu Development
Cycle
The Ubuntu development cycle is a six-
month period starting soon after the re-
lease of a version of Ubuntu. The full re-
lease schedule for Lucid Lynx is on the
Ubuntu wiki [2], but the key events of
the cycle are listed in Table 1.
Ubuntu developers hope all the major
changes are done by the first beta re-
lease. The rest of the release cycle will
be spent improving stability, fixing bugs,
and polishing the user experience. The
developers and community want to en-
courage users who don’t mind testing
software to try Ubuntu after the first beta
release and provide the developers with
as much feedback as possible.
How Does UDS work?
People who haven’t been to UDS before
might be forgiven for thinking it’s a
week-long jolly. This is very far from the
case; a huge amount of work gets done
at every UDS. Each day is split into one-
hour slots for sessions. There are also
longer plenaries and shorter lightning
talks, but the bulk of the work is done in
those one-hour sessions. Separate tracks
are created for areas of Ubuntu develop-
ment, including Kernel, Server, Desktop,
Community, and Mobile, among others.
Each track has a lead, and during each
session someone is nominated to take
notes. Sometimes it takes multiple ses-
sions for one subject, especially if the
topic affects other tracks or sessions.
The scheduled sessions are based
around blueprints [3], which have been
registered in Launchpad. The blueprints
detail the specification of one particular
change to Ubuntu that is targeted for the
next release. Many tools are used during
the session to facilitate smooth running.
The collaborative text editor gobby is
used by people in the room and remote
users to work on the specification and
targets for the next release.
Remote users are catered to as well:
They can listen to the sessions by con-
necting to an Icecast server. All the
audio in the room is broadcast but not
recorded. However, some sessions are
videotaped, and these already have been
processed and put online [4] to give peo-
ple who didn’t attend UDS a better idea
of how the sessions ran and why deci-
sions were made. Finally, each room has
Ubuntu developers gathered in Dallas, Texas, to discuss the next
release, Lucid Lynx.
BY ALAN POPE AND MIKE BASINGER
The way of the Lynx
BIG U IN BIG D
Figure 1: Ubuntu users and developers gathered in Dallas for the Lucid Lynx UDS.
UDS Lucid Lynx
NewS
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ISSUE 04 UBUnTU USeR
Kenneth Wilmer, Licensed under CC
its own IRC channel to enable remote
feedback to the sessions. The IRC chan-
nel is projected onto a screen in each
room so everyone can see and react to
participation from remote contributors
[5].
The planned sessions are a large part
of UDS, but equally interesting conversa-
tions can be had at breakfast, in corri-
dors, or in the bar later. Many ideas are
formed and developed outside the for-
mal sessions. Such interactions can lead
to opinions and decisions being reached
but not formally recorded in a session,
which from the outside can be frustrat-
ing. It’s not unusual to see the phrase “It
was discussed at UDS” pop up on a
mailing list; however, no formal record
of that conversation was logged because
it happened over a pint in a bar or dur-
ing a bus journey to a scheduled excur-
sion. This is unfortunate, but it does
make the Ubuntu development process
more dynamic and flexible at the ex-
pense of some transparency.
Sessions of Interest
The Ubuntu One Music Store was easily
the most popular session with develop-
ers and community members, with even
the Canonical CEO having standing
room only. What was interesting about
the music store session was how little
was known about the project by many of
the people in the room. The one-hour
session was part product announcement
and part brainstorm as the music store
was introduced and people chipped in
their ideas. The session felt incredibly
productive, even though the number of
developers contributing to the function-
ality initially would be quite low given
the internal development nature. Despite
that, the positive atmosphere created by
the music store discussion was evident,
with rounds of applause for the develop-
ers responsible. There’s plenty of pres-
sure on them to deliver now; that’s for
sure.
Conversely, one of the least attended
sessions covered package caching and
mirroring tools. In that session, we dis-
cussed the requirements – caching re-
cently downloaded packages for multiple
systems to save bandwidth and mirror-
ing sections of the entire repository for
controlled deployment of packages on
local networks. It was not as “sexy” as
the Ubuntu One Music Store, but few
sessions were. With only a small number
of attendees, it was surprising how
much experience with all the tools was
in the room. Everyone had a war story,
tip, or idea for improving the packages
available. Overall, it was felt that many
of the available packages were lacking in
one or more areas, but it was still a very
productive session, with everyone pick-
ing up knowledge and ideas from other
attendees.
Of the plenaries attended, the one on
Quickly [6] was popular, entertaining,
and informative. For those who don’t
know, Quickly is a framework that
makes it easy to create applications in
Ubuntu. It integrates well with the exist-
ing desktop apps like the graphical inter-
face designer Glade and the revision
control system bzr. It also makes packag-
ing and publishing applications easy
through tight integration with the
Launchpad code-hosting site.
During this session, we saw the his-
tory of Quickly and were given a zero-to-
hero tour of the product from the guys
who wrote it. These kinds of first-hand
sessions from authors of the code we
Ubuntu users run every day is meaning-
ful and invaluable.
Probably the most inspiring of the
lightning talks was one called Ubuntu
Hour by Fabián Rodríguez [7]. In this
talk, Fabián discussed the problems of
organizing major events with venues
and other facilities and kept the meeting
to one hour. He explained the incredibly
simple premise of Ubuntu Hour. It’s
based on announcing your intention to
be somewhere public at a specified time
and date for one hour only. No presenta-
tions planned, no marketing, just a brief
announcement of intent to be some-
where. People are then invited to turn up
and do whatever comes to mind for the
hour. This could be advocacy, ad hoc
training, fixing a broken system, what-
ever the attendees need at the time.
UDS is not just about the software and
technologies in Ubuntu but also the user
and developer community around it. The
Community track sessions included dis-
cussions with the Ubuntu IRC Council
[8] about improving their policies and
communication between IRC operations
and the Ubuntu IRC users. The Ubuntu-
Women [9] team met to discuss issues
encountered by women in the commu-
nity and to build a leadership structure
for the team.
The Future
The next UDS to discuss features going
into Ubuntu 10.10 [10] will be held
sometime in May or early June. An
Ubuntu release after an LTS version is al-
ways a little more radical and adventur-
ous, in which the Ubuntu developers
stretch the limit of Ubuntu. Planned are
discussions on the possibilities of includ-
ing Gnome 3 [11], expanding the fea-
tures of Ubuntu One and the Ubuntu
Software Center, and much more. Check
out the Ubuntu Fridge [12] for news re-
lated to UDS and to learn what you can
do to help improve the Ubuntu experi-
ence for everyone. n
[1] UDS schedule: http://summit.
ubuntu.com/uds‑l/
[2] Lucid Lynx release schedule: https://
wiki.
ubuntu.
com/
LucidReleaseSchedule
[3] Ubuntu blueprints: https://
blueprints.edge.launchpad.net/
ubuntu
[4] UDS video: http://ubuntudevelopers.
blip.tv/
[5] Remote participation: https://
wiki.
ubuntu.
com/
UDS/
RemoteParticipation
[6] Quickly: http://launchpad.net/quickly
[7] Ubuntu Hour: https://
wiki.
ubuntu.
com/Hour
[8] IRC Council draft: https://wiki.
ubuntu.com/IRC/IrcCouncil
[9] Ubuntu-Women team: http://www.
ubuntu‑women.org/
[10] Ubuntu 10.10 features: https://
wiki.
ubuntu.com/UDS‑M
[11] Planning for Gnome 3.0: http://
live.
gnome.org/ThreePointZero/Plan
[12] Ubuntu Fridge: http://fridge.ubuntu.
com/
INFO
Date Release
December 3, 2009 Alpha 1 release
January 7, 2010 Alpha 2 release
February 4, 2010 Alpha 3 release
March 4, 2010 Beta 1 release
April 1, 2010 Beta 2 release
April 15, 2010 Release Candidate
April 29, 2010 Final release of
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
Table 1: Ubuntu Lucid Lynx
Release Schedule
New
UDS Lucid Lynx
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Q
So, what, exactly, is a paper cut,
and how did you get the idea to go hunt-
ing for them?
A
A paper cut is a small usability issue
that has been around for a long time.
They’re not flaws that cause the software
to crash; they’re just things you sort of
have to work around: you have to click
on something twice, or the menu doesn’t
quite open right.
One of my all-time favorites that we
fixed in our first cycle of paper cuts was
when you’re prompted for a password
100 Paper Cuts project leader David Siegel puts a price on small usability problems.
By Joe Casad
Little problems are big for Ubuntu’s chief paper cut hunter David Siegel
100 Pa er Cuts
Little problems can have a big effect
on the user experience – even if they
don’t break the system. The 100 Paper
Cuts project wants to build a better
Ubuntu by cleaning up the easy stuff.
I asked Paper Cuts leader David Sie-
gel about his work at the usability
edge.
for an encrypted WiFi network, the pass-
word field is not selected, so you have to
first click it with your mouse and type
the password, and you can still join the
network and do everything you need to
do, but it’s just one extra click that was
sort of unnecessary. Everyone says,
“Yeah, it’s a pain, but I only ever type
my password once, so I can deal with it,
I can live with it.”
We were at the Karmic UDS in Barce-
lona, and we were talking about a lot of
these little issues, and we had this idea
that if we were to find 100 of these is-
sues and fix them all in one cycle before
a new Ubuntu release, the result would
be amazing. Fixing 100 trivial, small,
easy bugs would result in something that
felt a lot more polished than the older
version of Ubuntu.
Q
So this just all boiled out of brain-
storming sessions at UDS?
A
I think there were a lot of influences
that went into it. One was that we had
put together a design and experience
team, and it’s composed of mostly peo-
ple who are brand new and fresh to
Linux, so not only are these people in
charge of improving usability and doing
user testing, but when they first joined
Canonical and first got involved with
Ubuntu, they were also the test subjects.
They were experiencing the software for
the first time.
When you don’t have 20 friends who
are all members of Gnome and are all
working on projects, and you don’t have
that pride associated with having
worked on an open source project,
you’re much less forgiving. You’re more
likely to say, “Well, why doesn’t this
work? This should work.” And then all
the developers sort of shrug and say,
“Yeah, yeah, well, I had to fix the
crasher, or the high-priority release
blocker bug, that’s been there for a few
years, but, you know, it’s not a big deal.”
When you’re fresher to a problem, it’s
easier to see the little issues that every-
body has become accustomed to.
Another influence was the 0.8 release
of Gnome Do, which is an open source
project I founded a couple of years ago.
Version 0.8 was the last release for
which I was the maintainer. We spent a
lot of time fixing these tiny little prob-
lems that we had been ignoring because
they weren’t critical, and after we fixed
them and had the release, we got all
these great reviews saying, “Oh, you
fixed this little tiny problem that had
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been bugging me, but it was so small, I
didn’t even think to bring it up.”
Q
Were you brought on board with
Canonical to work on this particular
project, or were you already working
with Canonical at the time?
A
I just joined Canonical to be part of
the new design team. I’m a computer
scientist and an engineer by training, so
I participate in all these design discus-
sions, but I can also participate in the
engineering discussions and try to unify
the efforts of the engineering teams and
the design teams.
Q
Is the design team mostly in-house
Canonical people, or do you have people
out in the Ubuntu community volunteer-
ing?
A
We have an official design team that
is all Canonical employees – 14 or 15
people by now. And we work on the
website, UNR, desktop, branding, pretty
much anything. We have a very wide set
of responsibilities. There’s a core set of
us that only works on stuff like Ubuntu
and the desktop in particular, and that’s
only three or four people, including me,
and we’re very interested in starting a
user experience renaissance within the
open source free software community.
We really want this drive for improved
user experience to catch on.
Q
So you hunted down 100 paper cuts
for the Karmic release. Are you still look-
ing for more?
A
Yeah, we’re repeating the same pro-
cess for Lucid, and I think we’re almost
up to 50 for the cycle. The community
reported something like 2400. Unfortu-
nately, some people reporting the bugs
might not have finished the articles
where I explained what a paper cut is, so
they sort of reported anything that was
bothering them, like “Fix my scanner.”
That problem doesn’t affect most users,
because most users don’t use your scan-
ner, and your scanner doesn’t come with
Ubuntu. We had to explain to them that
hardware issues in general are not paper
cuts. One rule of thumb we used was
that a paper cut should be something
that’s easy enough to be fixed by one de-
veloper in one afternoon. So, if it takes
more than that, it’s too complex to be a
paper cut.
Q
So do you go ahead and tweak the
code yourself, or do you just forward the
fixes to the application developers?
A
A good example is Empathy.
We focused on fixing 10 bugs in
Empathy last week. To fix 100
paper cuts for the cycle, I create
10 weekly milestones of 10 each.
For Karmic, we really had no
rhyme or reason to how these
groups of 10 were composed, but
for the Lucid cycle, I created the
term Paper Jam. A Paper Jam is a
one-week intensive paper-cut-fix-
ing effort in one domain of user
experience.
And last
week’s
Paper Jam
focused on
Empathy,
the messag-
ing client
that replaces
Pidgin.
The Paper
Cutters is a Launchpad team of about 10
people who are really interested in col-
lecting paper cuts, classifying them, and
assigning them to milestones. The Paper
Cutters looked at all the bugs and found
all the ones that affected Empathy and
were paper cuts, and we said, “We’re
going to fix them this week.” One exam-
ple is a dialog in Empathy for editing
custom status messages; you can say
you’re unavailable, or you can enter a
custom status message. That window is
just as wide as your buddy list, like 100
pixels, so when you account for pad-
ding, the actual text entry in that win-
dow for editing or entering a new cus-
tom status message can only accommo-
date something like 14 characters. This
custom status window is too narrow by
default. So Don, a guy on the Ubuntu
desktop team, edited the default values
for that window to be wider. We imme-
diately landed that change in Ubuntu,
and then we filed it upstream and gave
the Empathy developers the patch. And
that’s a trivial patch. They probably
won’t even merge it. They’ll probably
just find it by hand and edit in the fix.
So, we’re definitely collaborating with
upstream, and we want to drive all these
changes upstream, but one of our priori-
ties is to get these fixes to Ubuntu users
as quickly as possible. If we are confi-
dent that a bug should be fixed, and if
we have a patch for it, we’ll go ahead
and ship it in
Ubuntu, as long as
we feel confident
that upstream will
accept the patch or
maybe implement
their own version
of that change.
Q
How do users
get involved? Can
anyone submit a
paper cut request?
A
I think it’s a
little difficult for
users to get in-
volved with bug re-
porting, because
one of the criteria
for paper cuts is
that they’re easy to
fix. Users usually
have no way to
know how easy it is to fix a problem, so
the best way for users to get involved in
the Paper Cuts project is vicariously by
user testing. I would recommend that
somebody who is familiar with develop-
ment and bug triage just go to a friend
who’s just an average computer user or
someone who’s never used Ubuntu or
the applications that it ships with before.
Sit them down in front of the computer
and say, “Set up your instant messaging
account,” and they’ll say, “Oh well, this
wasn’t quite right,” or, “I don’t under-
stand this,” or “What does this mean un-
mount. Why would I unmount this USB
disk when I want to eject it?” The best
way to find paper cuts is to show some-
one a piece of software for the first time
and see where they stumble.
Q
The 100 Paper Cuts project is listed
as an Ayatana project. What is Ayatana,
and how does it fit with the big picture
of Canonical’s desktop strategy?
A
Well Ayatana really got its start be-
fore I got my start with Canonical. The
big idea behind it is to develop a set of
components for the desktop that are
“...it is good to think
about swapsize in
advance”
“When you're fresher
to a problem, it is
easier to see the little
issues...”
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predicated on different aspects of the us-
er’s awareness of their environment. No-
tify OSD, the desktop notification tool,
was the first component that was devel-
oped for Ayatana. It sort of plays on this
idea of ambient awareness of informa-
tion. And then the messaging menu was
another component that was developed
as part of Ayatana. But more practically,
Ayatana is a mailing list where we dis-
cuss these usability issues.
Q
And it’s all about transforming the
desktop to include these new, revolu-
tionary features?
A
Ayatana is a project where we can
explore new solutions to old problems,
and it’s also, for the time being, a place
where we discuss these issues. I’ve been
communicating a lot with the Gnome art
guys, and they’re saying, “How can I dis-
cuss problems with user interface design
in a way that developers discuss soft-
ware problems?” Currently, our tools re-
flect a thinking focused on software cor-
rectness. It’s sort of hard to fit design
and user experience problems into that
mold, because there’s a different kind of
thinking involved. There’s user testing,
there’s exploring different options, and
iterating those independently; when you
try to express these problems of user ex-
perience in terms of a bug with a patch,
I think you miss out on a lot, so things
that work for measuring and ensuring
quality in software are sometimes not
flexible enough to address design and
user experience problems.
That’s one thing that came up at a
very fundamental level with this 100
Paper Cuts project. “What do we call
these things? Is a bug a paper cut? Is a
paper cut a bug?”
Just introducing a new word opened
up possibilities for discussions that were
a lot harder to have when we were talk-
ing about bugs. A lot of bug reports say,
“This button doesn’t work the way I
would expect it to.” That is a problem in
your software – when it doesn’t
meet user expectations. But so
many developers immediately
say, “Won’t fix. This is not a bug.
It works as developers intended
it to work.”
Just because the software
works as developers intended it
to work doesn’t mean it’s work-
ing as users might want it to
work. So, decoupling the idea of
a bug from these usability issues
is a difficult pro-
cess but an inter-
esting one.
Q
Experts have
been predicting
the arrival of the
desktop Linux
revolution for a while, and this 100 Paper
Cuts project seems to be trying to help
that happen. How close are we? Are any
particular issues preventing widespread
adoption of Linux?
A
How long have you people been
talking about this takeover of Linux?
Q
I mean I’ve been hearing about it
for at least five years.
A
I think it’s been going on even lon-
ger than that, but the thing is, all the
time we’ve been talking, the world has
been moving under our feet. Now more
than ever, the consumer electronic mar-
ket is changing so rapidly. In one year,
it’s going to be something we don’t even
recognize. Everyone will have these five-
inch touchscreen devices that are going
to replace laptops. And we see so many
people migrating to the cloud.
Q
What is an important step the open
source community could take to help im-
prove user experience?
A
I’d like to see free software projects
assign a core user experience stake-
holder. By that, I mean someone whose
job it is to oversee, maintain, and ad-
vance the user experience of the project.
I went to an IRC channel of a project that
introduced a change I was worried might
cause users some trouble – it was a re-
gression in terms of user experience –
and I said, “Who can I talk to about this
change; who made the decision?” The
answer was a
bunch of shrugs
and blank stares,
and someone said,
“I think the mailing
list – that was de-
cided on the mail-
ing list.” I thought
immediately: Proj-
ects need one per-
son versed in all
the user experience
aspects of the soft-
ware they work on
and who knows
the decisions that
have been made,
why they were
made, and the his-
tory of the user ex-
perience as the project has evolved. The
user experience stakeholder doesn’t
have to be a designer or graphic artist. I
don’t think they have to have any special
skills besides an open mind and a will-
ingness to communicate with others
who have a similar role on other proj-
ects. I think that would be amazing. n
“A paper cut should
be easy enough to fix
in one afternoon.”
Figure 1: Follow the progress of the 100 Paper Cuts project through Launchpad.
Interview
Features
14
I U 04 Ub nt U er
ss

U
S
U
e
T
he DVD enclosed with this issue
lets you explore seven of the fin-
est Ubuntu-based systems.
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Ubuntu
Netbook Remix all start from easy boot
menus, and three other bonus distros are
available as ISO imges on the DVD (see
the box titled "Special Extras"). All the
Ubuntu variants on this DVD are de-
signed for Intel or equivalent Pentium-
class-or-better PCs.
To get started, first make sure your
computer is configured to boot from the
DVD drive. If you aren’t sure, enter the
BIOS setup menu, make sure CD/ DVD
boot is enabled, and make sure the DVD
drive appears before the hard drive in
the boot order. The steps for how to
enter the BIOS setup menu can vary de-
pending on your hardware. Typically,
you’ll need to enter a keystroke combi-
nation (such as F2 or Ctrl+Esc) in the
first seconds after your system boots. See
your hardware vendor documentation.
The instructions for entering the Setup
menu often appear as a message on your
screen as the system boots.
Ubuntu 9.10
Side A of this DVD comes with a full 32-
bit DVD version of Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic
Koala.” Insert the DVD in your drive
(with the side labeled “Ubuntu ‘Karmic
Koala’ 32-Bit” facing up), and restart
your computer. Your system will boot to
the Ubuntu menu. To boot a Live version
of Ubuntu that runs from the DVD with-
out disturbing your current configura-
tion, select Try Ubuntu without any
change to your computer.
If you wish to install Ubuntu perma-
nently on your system, choose Install
Ubuntu. Note that the default installa-
tion option reformats your entire hard
drive, which will delete all the data cur-
rently on the disk. You also have the op-
tion of adding a new partition or recon-
figuring the partitions on your hard disk.
See the Ubuntu documentation for more
on installing Ubuntu and partitioning
your hard disk [4] [5].
In most cases, if you preserve the ex-
isting partitions and install Ubuntu in
free space, the installer will locate a
Windows or Linux systems on your hard
drive and configure a boot menu to let
you choose the system at boot time.
To bypass the Ubuntu 9.10 disc and
boot to the system that is already on
your hard drive, select Boot from first
hard disk. For more on Ubuntu installa-
tion, see the Ubuntu 9.10 installation
Guide [6].
Multibuntu
Side B of the DVD boots to a menu that
lets you install Live versions of the fol-
lowing Ubuntu variants. These Live boot
options will run the system from the
DVD without disturbing your hard disk:
• Xubuntu – a small-footprint system
optimized for older hardware [7].
(Choose Start Xubuntu live.)
• Ubuntu Netbook Remix – a special
version designed for netbooks [8].
(Choose Start Ubuntu Netbook remix.)
• Kubuntu – a full-featured *buntu
based on the KDE desktop [9].
(Choose Try Kubuntu without any
change to your computer.)
The rest of the Multibuntu boot menu is
similar to the Ubuntu boot menu, except
that it boots to Kubuntu rather than
Ubuntu.
Select Install Kubuntu to permanently
install Kubuntu to your hard drive. See
the Kubuntu Guide [10] for more on
working with Kubuntu.
To permanently install Xubuntu or
Ubuntu Netbook Remix to your hard
drive, boot to the Live desktop and click
the Install icon. ■
This month’s DVD comes with 7 stupendous Ubuntu variants…
ABUNDANCE
OF *BUNTUS
[1] Ubuntu 9.10 Technical Overview:
http:// www. ubuntu. com/ getubuntu/
releasenotes/ 910overview
[2] Ubuntu Forums: https://
ubuntuforum. org
[3] Ubuntu Wiki: https:// wiki. ubuntu.
com
[4] Official Ubuntu Documentation:
https:// help. ubuntu. com
[5] How to Partition: https:// help.
ubuntu. com/ community/
HowtoPartition
[6] Ubuntu Installation Guide: https://
help. ubuntu. com/ 9. 04/
installation-guide/ i386/ index. html
[7] Xubuntu: http:// www. xubuntu. org/
[8] Ubuntu Netbook Remix: http:// www.
canonical. com/ projects/ ubuntu/ unr
[9] Kubuntu: http:// www. kubuntu. org/
[10] Kubuntu Guide: http:// kubuntuguide.
org/ Karmic
INFO
The Multibuntu side of the DVD also in-
cludes ISO images for Live boot ver-
sions of the Mythbuntu, Lubuntu, and
Ubuntu Studio variants. Look for the ISO
images in the iso-images folder. Burn
the image you wish to boot to a writable
CD. (Be sure to use an option for burn-
ing an ISO image – don’t just copy or
drag and drop the file to the CD.) Then
boot the system with the CD in the tray
to start the Live session.
Special Extras
J
Judith: Please change
this header to:
Try our Multibuntu 9.10
UBUNTU 9.10 KARMIC KOALA
15
ISSUE 04UBUNTU USER
J
ohn wasn’t joking. “It needs to
work perfectly, or he’s going to
throw it out the window.” The
previous technician had made the mis-
take of giving The Boss a new laptop
without checking to see that all the
necessary applications were still work-
ing. Now, both the laptop and the tech-
nician were on the sidewalk, only one
enjoying the benefits of a few concrete
steps to break his fall. The Boss’s list of
demands was as specific as it was im-
possible. The laptop had to open all his
important “business documents,” and
the corresponding applications needed
to fill the screen in a single click when-
ever someone dared to venture into his
office. The laptop had to play music, es-
pecially the kind that he showed off by
actually paying for. But most of all,
when he wasn’t pretending to read or
feigning interest in the London Sym-
phony Orchestra, he needed to play
video games.
John was never one to back down
from challenges. Not only was he going
to get the system working, he was going
to do it in a way no one else expected:
using Ubuntu. OpenOffice could handle
the documents, and an entire virtual
desktop could be dedicated to the boss’s
work environment. Banshee could play
every non-encrypted music format, and
the new Software Center could deliver
thousands of free games.
But despite John’s zeal for free soft-
ware, he wasn’t one for taking unneces-
sary risks. What if the boss couldn’t do
without Microsoft Office? What if he had
already paid for music with Spotify or
iTunes? What if the only game that mat-
tered was World of Warcraft? In short,
what if the Boss wanted Windows appli-
cations?
To make this work, John knew he was
going to need Wine [1].
What is Wine?
The Wine API, and its collection of re-
lated tools, provide a means for running
Windows applications in Linux. Wine is
Can’t give up your Windows apps? Ubuntu’s Wine packager tells about
some recent advances for the Wine compatibility layer in Karmic Koala.
BY SCOTT RITCHIE
Wine improvements in Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”
SALUD
Figure 1: The Wine Application Database provides useful information, unless you are running a
recent Wine beta release.
Ubuntu with Wine
FEaturEs
16
ISSUE 04 UbUnTU USer
Email/Fax/SMS
Business Academy
Calendar
Sales Invoicing
Online Data Storage
Online Shop
Accounting Software
All you need to run your home business or small office:
Contacts
Run A Business, Not An Office
Web Hosting
Business Planning
Online. Easy. Secure. Reliable
Payment
Best Price
Guarantee!
Networking
Elnur Amikishiyev, Pixelio.de
intended for situations when an equiva-
lent native Linux version of the app isn’t
available, which is often the case with
computer games and certain commercial
desktop products.
When you think about it, the whole
business of running a binary application
on a whole different system is a remark-
able feat – needless to say, this task of
building a compatibility layer for Win-
dows programs to run in Linux has been
a gradual process.
Wine is not really an emulator – it is
an open source implementation of the
programming interface that Windows
applications use to talk to the computer.
The immense complexity of recreating
the complete Windows program inter-
face has led to some mixed results. Some
Windows applications work with Wine
right out of the box. Other important
Windows apps require some additional
tinkering and troubleshooting on the
part of the Wine developers for full com-
patibility.
To complicate matters still further,
each new update of Windows, and each
update of Wine itself, can lead to the
need for additional tinkering and trou-
bleshooting. Consequently, the Wine
team puts out frequent updates that ad-
dress bug reports and compatibility
problems reported for specific Windows
applications.
Issue 1 of Ubuntu User included an ar-
ticle on using Wine in Ubuntu 9.04 [2].
You will also find plenty of HowTo infor-
mation in the Wine User Guide, which is
available through the Wine HQ website
[3]. This article describes some new en-
hancements with the Karmic Koala re-
lease – including a new feature that
makes it easier to install and update
Wine.
Wine in ubuntu
I think about John and his boss when
I’m designing the Wine user experience
for Ubuntu. They aren’t real people, but
they’re not fake either: in my mind,
they’re a rough combination of the 1.5
million Wine users compressed into two
archetypes. One is willing to work a bit
at setting things up and would like a lit-
tle help; the other demands a computer
that does all the work for him. For the
boss, right-clicking an install file and se-
Figure 2: The Wine 1.0 icons, as they appeared in Ubuntu 8.04.
Figure 3: Wine 1.2 comes with a modern set of Tango-standard icons.
FEaturEs
Ubuntu with Wine
Email/Fax/SMS
Accounting Software
Calendar
Sales Invoicing
Business Planning
Online. Easy. Secure. Reliable
Networking
Contacts
Payment
Business Academy
Best Price
Guarantee!
Online Data Storage
Run A Business, Not An Office
Web Hosting
All you need to run your home business or small office:
Online Shop
lecting Open with Wine is just about his
limit of tolerance.
Ubuntu Karmic makes life substan-
tially easier for all the Johns out there.
We’ve long had tools like the Wine Ap-
plication Database [4], which provides
information on the level of Wine com-
patibility for several popular Windows
applications (Figure 1), and the Ubuntu
Wine Forum [5]. Of course, tinkerers
could always turn to Google for help
with troubleshooting, but these docu-
mentation sites aren’t really good solu-
tions. Most of the time the best advice
for working with Wine is “try it and see”
or “upgrade to the latest Wine beta.”
In the past, the process of upgrading
Wine was often cumbersome; however,
in Ubuntu 9.10, anyone can install a re-
cent Wine beta straight from the new
Software Center. At this writing, Wine
has undergone over a year and a half of
development since the 1.0 release that
first appeared in Ubuntu 8.04. More ap-
plications work, and many that already
worked now work substantially better.
Combined with Karmic’s newer versions
of video drivers, the experience of play-
ing Direct3D games in Wine has im-
proved greatly.
Before even running a Windows appli-
cation, astute users will note the visual
difference between the more recent
Wine and the original 1.0 version pro-
vided in Ubuntu 8.04 (Figures 2 and 3).
The newer Wine has an appropriately
modern set of Tango-standard icons,
while the original Wine 1.0 still looks
like something from the early 90s. This
is no accident: the more attractive icons
are designed to draw a new user into in-
stalling the beta release first, when
they’re much less likely to throw their
computer out the window.
Great Expectations
Unfortunately, not every Windows pro-
gram works in Wine, no matter how
much tinkering you do (Figure 4). One
of the biggest problems I face as the
Ubuntu Wine packager is how to man-
age user expectations. Literally millions
of people want Wine to work; however,
the unfortunate reality of the Wine avail-
able today is that many users will end up
feeling frustrated and thinking less of
Ubuntu as a whole. For some applica-
tions, the most valuable thing a user can
learn is not to try.
However, it’s equally important that
Wine is recognized as a solution when it
does work. Based on public statistics,
I’ve conservatively estimated that Bliz-
zard has tens of thousands of Wine users
playing World of Warcraft (netting them
a couple million dollars a year). It’s a
similar story with countless other apps
that have no Ubuntu equivalent; for
these users, it was certainly worth giving
Wine a shot.
As the Karmic release ages, more
Wine development is taking place. With
a new beta coming out every two weeks,
it’s quite plausible that current problem
applications like Photoshop CS4, iTunes
8, and Office 2007 will soon start work-
ing – all are areas of active Wine devel-
opment sponsored by CodeWeavers [6].
Some applications end up functioning
without any specific attention; Wine de-
velopers affectionately call this “collat-
eral damage.”
Until Karmic, users who wanted to
take advantage of these new Wine devel-
opments had to go through a compli-
cated 6-step process on the Wine web-
site in order to get the latest packages.
This process has been greatly simplified
in Karmic; just go to the Other Software
tab in Administration | Software Sources,
click Add, and enter the following:
ppa:ubuntu‑wine/ppa
as shown in Figure 5.
Conclusion
Whether you are more like the boss or
more like the technician, I encourage
you to try Wine if you need to run a
Windows game or desktop application.
It’s my goal that John’s job should be so
easy that he could simply hand the boss
a fresh copy of Ubuntu and let him in-
stall his Windows applications on his
own. I still have work to do, and we’re
not at that goal yet, but in the meantime,
Karmic just might be “good enough” for
many Windows applications. n
[1] Wine Project:
http://www.winehq.org/
[2] “Wine Importer,” by Tim Schür-
mann, Ubuntu User 1, pg. 30.
[3] Wine User Guide:
http://www.winehq.org/docs/
wineusr‑guide/index
[4] Wine Application Database:
http://appdb.winehq.org
[5] Ubuntu Wine Forum:
http://forums.winehq.org/
[6] CodeWeavers:
http://www.codeweavers.com/
INFO
Figure 4: Adobe Photoshop CS2 and earlier work well in Wine, but more recent releases have
some issues.
Figure 5: Entering the Wine repository as a
software source.
Ubuntu with Wine
F atur s
18
ISSUE 04 Ub n U er


S

E



U


TU
















E


LinuxFest
Northwest
linuxfestnorthwest.org
April 24-25 2010
Bellingham, WA
a
legacy video recorder could only
handle moving images, but to-
day’s hard-disk recorders can
also burn DVDs, play music, and store
your holiday snapshots. Of course, a
piece of equipment with these capabili-
ties can easily cost several hundred dol-
lars. So why not just use a PC that you
don’t need for any other purpose or
build your own video-recording PC to
suit your needs? A media center PC, also
known as a Home Theater Personal
Computer (HTPC), can replace multiple
legacy devices, and you can easily ex-
tend the system to suit your own re-
quirements. The software you need is
available free of charge on the Internet
in the form of Mythbuntu [1]. Myth-
buntu combines an easy-to-use Ubuntu
system with the MythTV [2] user inter-
face. The MythTV Digital Video Recorder
(DVR) supports convenient remote con-
trol of the TV program, a DVD, or a
home music archive. Matching exten-
sions will even let you surf
the Internet or access your
news feeds without leaving
your couch.
Hardware
Not every old PC can serve
as a media center. If you
check the Mythbuntu
homepage [1], you will see
that you need 192MB of RAM, a
20GB hard disk, and a 1GHz CPU.
Three to five-year-old PCs should ful-
fill these requirements; however, these
requirements are the absolute minimum
for listening to music or watching DVDs.
High-definition television requires a
state-of-the-art, multiple-core processor.
If you intend to receive and record TV
programs, you will also need a TV card
that Mythbuntu supports and a suffi-
ciently large hard disk. One hour of TV
at standard resolution will consume ap-
proximately 2GB of disk space. And if
you have a large collection of music or
photos, or if you will be using high defi-
nition television, you should think about
terabyte-sized hard disks. Mythbuntu
supports TV cards for both satellite-
based digital television (DVB-S), cable
(DVB-C), free-to-air (DVB-T), and even
legacy analog stations if you can find
any. You’ll find a list of tested TV cards
at the MythTV site [3]. As a rule of
thumb, if a TV card will run on Linux, it
will very likely run on Mythbuntu.
If you will be building your own
media center PC, it is a good idea to
choose components that are as quiet as
possible. Nothing spoils your viewing
pleasure more than a noisy old case with
a whirring fan with percussion effects.
You also have to make sure your graph-
ics card cooperates with your TV; the
Mythbuntu developers recommend a
model by nVidia with a TV Out port. To
install Mythbuntu, you additionally need
a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor just
to be on the safe side. After completing
the media center software installation, a
remote control is all you need, but make
sure you choose a remote from the LIRC
project list [4].
Little by Little
If you are sure your hardware is sup-
ported, you can download the Myth-
buntu image off the project homepage
[1], burn it onto a CD, and boot your
media center PC from the disc. In the
menu shown in Figure 1, select Myth-
buntu Live Environment. The Live boot
option will not change the current con-
tents of your hard drive.
Although Mythbuntu is based on
Ubuntu, it discards any resource-hogging
programs and removes other applica-
tions and components that aren’t abso-
lutely necessary – including the Gnome
desktop. What you get instead is the
slightly Spartan Xfce 4 with a beautiful
black look (Figure 2).
Installation
To install Mythbuntu on your media cen-
ter PC, double-click the Install Myth-
buntu icon on the desktop. This icon
launches the familiar Ubuntu install wiz-
ard with a few steps added for MythTV.
Press Next to skip the language selection
Mythbuntu combines a lean Ubuntu distribution with the
MythTV media center. We’ll show you how to use this
special ‘buntu variant to turn your normal home PC
into the universal entertainment center.
BY TIM SCHÜRMANN
Creating a Mythbuntu-based media center
THE ENTERTAINER
Mythbuntu
FeatureS
20
ISSUE 04 UbUnTU User
Andrey Kiselevhigh, 123RF
screen, keep the time zone, and opt for
the current keyboard layout. In step 4,
you will want to choose Guided – use en-
tire disk. Note that this option will de-
stroy any data on your disk, so make
sure you have a backup. After clicking
Next, you are prompted to type your
username and enter a password, which
you then need to retype in the box on
the right. These credentials will let you
access and modify the settings for the
media center computer later on. Also,
make sure that Automatic login is se-
lected (unless you really prefer to type
your password every time you boot your
media center PC).
As of step 6, you will actually be con-
figuring the MythTV media center soft-
ware. Start by selecting Application. The
cryptic Backend utility with frontend op-
tion is the right choice. You can use the
other items to set up a small multimedia
network (see the box titled “Under the
Hood”). This doesn’t make much sense
for a single media center PC, so just click
Next; then, enable various back-end ser-
vices. For example, the Samba Service
lets you populate your media center PC
from a Windows computer. If the ser-
vices listed here don’t mean anything to
you, your best option is to keep the de-
faults by clicking Next.
If you have a remote control, you will
want to enable it on the next screen. To
do so, check Enable a Remote Control
and select your remote from the list. If
you don’t have a remote, you will need a
keyboard to control MythTV later on. If
your computer has an AMD/ATI or
nVidia graphics card, you can then select
the matching proprietary driver in the
final step (find it in the Selected Video
Driver list.) Because the driver typically
will be required for HDTV to work, it is a
very good idea to do this. Then select
the TV Out port in the list on the lower
left, and choose the cable format used in
your area.
Continuing the Setup
After you finally click Next, the wizard
will show you a summary of your set-
tings, and you can then press Install to
put Mythbuntu on your hard disk. After
completing the copying actions, your
first port of call is Setup MythTV. If you
like, you can change the basic settings or
just keep the defaults by pressing Finish.
Then reboot your media center in the
next dialog. The screen will go dark at
some point in the proceedings. You can
remove the CD from the drive and press
the Enter key.
When your media center PC boots for
the first time, you can select a language.
Press the arrow keys to change the de-
fault, or press Enter to keep US English.
Confirm the No UPnP backends found
message and the two following screens
by pressing Enter. The GUI will relaunch
and come back with the main menu
(Figure 3).
Before you can use any of its options,
you first need to register your TV card
and complete any installation steps you
might have missed earlier. To do so,
press Esc and quit the interface by say-
ing Yes, quit now. This takes you back to
the familiar Xfce 4 user interface. In the
Applications menu, select the System |
MythTV Backend Setup item and confirm
the prompt by pressing OK. This
launches the MythTV setup program.
You can use the arrow keys to access the
individual items and press Enter to con-
firm your selection: Pressing Esc takes
you back to the previous screen.
To start, I’ll look at the settings in Gen-
eral. Confirm the dialog by pressing the
Enter key. In the dialog that follows, you
can change the TV format and other set-
tings. See your cable provider for more
All it takes to convert an existing Ubuntu
9.10 installation into Mythbuntu is a
couple of mouse clicks. To do so, go to
the Mythbuntu homepage [1], look for
the Download item, select Add to Exist-
ing Ubuntu Install, and click the gray in-
stall mythbuntu link. Confirm in the dia-
log that follows, and then click Install.
Once you have downloaded all the re-
quired packages, select System | System
Management | Mythbuntu Control Cen-
ter, and then select Primary Backend
and Desktop Frontend in System Roles
before finally clicking on Apply.
Also, you can create a full-fledged
Ubuntu, Xubuntu, or Kubuntu install
from Mythbuntu via the control center.
To do so, enable System Roles, check
the required distribution in Desktop
Role, then click Apply. The control cen-
ter will download the required packages.
To launch your choice of desktop rather
than the MythTV GUI, uncheck Startup
Behavior and confirm the changes by
pressing Apply.
Chameleon
Figure 1: Mythbuntu starts up like other Ubuntu variants. Select
Mythbuntu Live Environment to boot from the CD. You can access
advanced settings by pressing F4 or F6, or press F1 for help.
Figure 2: Mythbuntu’s Xfce 4 destktop. Click on the Applications
menu for a couple of useful tools, such as Firefox and the VLC media
player.
Feature
Mythbuntu
21
ISSUE 04Ub n User
U

S
TU
on the correct settings for your area. The
NTSC format is used in North America,
whereas the PAL format is more com-
mon in Europe [5]. To change the set-
tings, use the left and right arrow keys.
Click Next for more settings and confirm
the configuration by pressing Enter.
Listening Service
In TV Cards, tell Mythbuntu that you
have a (New Capture Card). The screen
that follows lets you choose the Card
type; for digital reception this will typi-
cally be a DVB DTV TV Card (v3.x).
Then check the details lower down the
screen – if you have a satellite dish, be
sure to select a value for DiSEqC. Nor-
mally, MythTV will have ascertained the
right data. Then you can click Finish to
complete the setup and press Esc to re-
turn to the main menu.
When you get there, look for Video
sources and tell MythTV where to find
information for the electronic program
guide (EPG). This setting also might de-
pend on your location. Create a (New
Video Source); assign an intuitive name
such as EPG via Satellite in Name and set
the XMLTV listings grabber to an appro-
priate setting, such as Data-Direct for
North America.
Just leave the
Channel frequency
table as is, then
click Finish to cre-
ate the source and
press Esc to return
to the main menu.
This tells MythTV
that it needs to
grab information
off the ether, but it
doesn’t say which
TV card it should
use for incoming
signals. To define this, use Input connec-
tions. Start by selecting your TV card,
then choose the Video source associated
with the input and Scan for channels.
Press Enter to confirm the details on the
next screen. MythTV searches for chan-
nels, which can take some time. When
it’s done, press Next, then Finish, and fi-
nally Esc to return to the main menu.
The Channel editor lets you sort the
channels you have found or restart the
scan. If you have more than one TV card
in your media center PC, you can follow
the same procedure to set up more Cap-
ture cards, Video sources, and Input con-
nections. The final item, Storage directo-
ries, lets you choose the directories in
which the various media are stored.
Mythbuntu typically drops Videos into
/var/lib/mythtv/videos.
This completes the basic setup. Press