Part of our efforts to reduce power consumption in Ubuntu is to provide an easy tool to hunt down which programs and devices are to blame for inordinate power consumption. powertop’s interactive mode is pretty good for this if you are sitting in a train and want to tweak some knobs to max out battery life, but we need something more reproducible and noninteractive for developers who want to file proper bug reports. ... Read More
Part of our efforts to reduce power consumption is to identify processes which keep waking up the disk even when the computer is idle. This already resulted in a few bug reports (and some fixes, too), but we only really just began with this. Unfortunately there is no really good tool to trace file access events system-wide. powertop claims to, but its output is both very incomplete, and also wrong (e. ... Read More
PackageKit has a “WhatProvides” API for mapping distribution independent concepts to particular package names. For example, you could ask “which packages provide a decoder for AC3 audio files? $ pkcon what-provides "gstreamer0.10(decoder-audio/ac3)" [...] Installed gstreamer0.10-plugins-good- GStreamer plugins from the "good" set Available gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-0.10.18-3ubuntu4.amd64 GStreamer plugins from the "ugly" set This is the kind of question your video player would ask the system if it encounters a video it cannot play. ... Read More
Suppose you install Ubuntu and select a language other than English (it’s known to happen!). This will install the general and the GNOME language packs, translated LibreOffice help, and so on. Now, install a KDE package or GIMP. You’ll notice that the new application is not translated and has no help available for your language. The next time you open the language selector from control-center it would tell you that you miss some language support and offer to install it, but this has been pretty indiscoverable, and we really can do better. ... Read More
On my 8 hour train ride to Budapest last Sunday I finally worked on making libxklavier introspectable. Thanks to Sergey’s fast review the code now landed in trunk. I sent a couple of refinements to the bug report still, but those are mostly just icing on the cake, the main functionality of getting and setting keyboard layouts is working nicely now (see the example script).
I’m the release engineer in charge for Precise Alpha 1 which is currently being prepared. I must say, this has been a real joy! The fruits of the new QA paradigm and strategy and the new Stable+1 maintenance team have already achieved remarkable results: The archive consistency reports like component-mismatches, uninstallability, etc. now appear about 20 minutes earlier than in oneiric. CD image builds can now happen 30 minutes earlier after the publisher start, and are much quicker now due to moving to newer machines. ... Read More
Apport and the retracer bot in the Canonical data center have provided server-side automatic closing of duplicate crash report bugs for quite a long time. As we have only kept Apport crash detection enabled in the development release, we got away with this as bugs usually did not get so many duplicates that they became unmanageable. Also, the number of duplicates provided a nice hint to how urgent and widespread a crash actually was. ... Read More

12.04: Testing FTW
7 November 2011

I arrived back home in Augsburg, from last week’s Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, FL. As this is a quality/LTS cycle, we pretty much already knew in advance what to do (bug fixing, bug fixing, some boot speed, and did I mention bug fixing?), but still we had many highly interesting and exciting sessions this time, not so much about what we are going to do, but how we are going to build 12. ... Read More

Riding the Pangolin
4 November 2011

Just took the plunge, using the excellent bandwidth and local mirror at UDS: `Just took the plunge, using the excellent bandwidth and local mirror at UDS: ` Nothing blew up in my face, so it seems today is a good day to die^Wupgrade.
On a rather calm ten-hour flight to Orlando I once again did some pygobject, udisks, and Apport hacking (It’s scary how productive one can be when not constantly being interrupted by IRC, email, etc). One more visible change amongst these was finally fixing a five year old five-digit bug to integrate apport-retrace into the GUI, now that it does not potentially wreck your installation any more. If the apport-retrace package is installed, the crash detail dialog will show a new “Examine locally” button: ... Read More