Core components in Ubuntu Friendly for 11.10

Yesterday we had our first meeting to start nailing down the Ubuntu Friendly programme. It was a great meeting, with lots of participation from both Canonical and non Canonical people.

Meeting logs and summary are available at the wiki.

One of the things that was agreed was the final separation of core and extra components.  The final list looks like (the tick represents a core component):

This list is the final list for Ubuntu 11.10 and was mainly based on a survey we conducted within the Ubuntu Friendly community.

We will improve coverage and might modify core components for future releases based on the feedback we get in the first Ubuntu Friendly release.

Going to the Desktop Summit 2011

This year, the Desktop Summit happens in Berlin and although I am not that much involved with the desktop that I was previously it is a great opportunity as it happens locally :-)

I will be attending Saturday, Sunday and, thanks to my employer, Canonical, Monday as well, using one of the conference day paid leave that we have as part of the employee benefits. I will also be attending the parties, of course!

Really looking forward to this weekend and to seeing again some friends who are coming to the summit as well.


Why we need artists


Picture by theodevil

The Free Software community is a great community, but a bit narrow. Most of the people are geeks and there are many more men than women. Disclaimer: I would consider myself a geek. It is true that the older I get the less geek I am, but during my childhood, my early youth and my University years I was a true geek. And that was almost yesterday…

Artists is a very influential collective, they are one of the best PR any product can get. They influence people, the media and even governments. We need writers writing novels using Ubuntu, musicians making music using Ubuntu and video artists editing their films using Ubuntu.

Designers are also influential. Let’s face it, blogs by designers talk about more beautiful stuff that those of hackers. If you read Planet Ubuntu, a lot of the information there comes in the form of code. On a designer blog you’d rarely see the word branch if they are not talking about trees. Why Ruby on Rails got so much attention? Was because it was the best piece of free software ever? Probably not, but it attracted designers. Designers and developers starting working together using the same tools and they spread the word.

One of the examples I always use for the FLOSS community being too geek is PyRoom. PyRoom is a simple but great distractions-free writing application that, obviously, is coded in Python. I love the application and use it almost on a daily basis, but using the name of the programming language as part of your application is a clear indication that the technology you’re using is as important as the features your coding with it.

I am not saying that we need less geeks in our community, I am just saying that if we want to reach the 200M users goal, we need to have a wider community. And that’s why I backed Novacut on their Kickstarter project. Because they are focusing in talking to film makers as part of their design process. Because they have one in the team. Because I think they could help Ubuntu getting a wider and very much needed community. And they can fail, as anyone can fail, but I think it is worth supporting those brave enough to try. I am looking forward to seeing what Novacut brings.

As a side benefit I think that having a less geeky community will bring more women into free software. I’ve always defended that one of the reasons of the low ratio of women to men in FLOSS communities was mainly due to the geekyness of these communities. For social reasons (or a combination of social and biological ones), the proportion between men and women among geeks is far from the fifty percent. I am not trying to explain why: I am not a sociologist, nor a psychologist, but I think most people would agree that that’s the case. Bring more non-geeks to Ubuntu and women will be among them.

Translations needed

Last week, and thanks to the efforts of Brendan (among others), a lot of tests that used to be private were moved to Checkbox, the tool that we are going to use to test Ubuntu for the Ubuntu Friendly project, and are now public.

This means that a lot of new strings are ready to be translated:

We want Ubuntu Friendly to be as open as possible and that involves having the tests translated to as many languages as possible. We are aiming to collect as many results as possible, so allowing people who don’t speak English to test their systems and provide results is a very desirable feature.

If you speak a non-English language (or want tests to be in perfect Queen’s English), come to our translations page and submit your translation suggestions. Thanks!

What is a Core Component?


Picture by madame_furie

One of the decisions that we took when defining the Ubuntu Friendly process was that we would distinguish between a core component and an extra component. A submission received with a failing core component would get a rating of zero (who wants to buy a bike with broken pedals?), and a submission with all its core components working would get a rating of 3 out of 5. The extra 2 points will be gained with working extra components.

But the question is, which components of a system should be considered core components?

This is a tricky question, as it will depend a lot of the uses a person gives to a system. But, in the end, we all have to take decisions, so we can make things happen. Obviously, core components in desktops won’t be the same ones as in laptops/netbooks, as their uses are completely different.

We have also to take into account that a system with all its core components will only get a 3 out of 5 from those core components, so it is totally OK to leave outside of the core components an important one, as it will only mean that if it fails, the system won’t get a 5 out of 5. For example, for a laptop I would consider wireless a core component. I just can’t imagine using a laptop (if it comes with a wireless card) if the wireless network is not working. But I can imagine using  a laptop where the wired ethernet card is not working. I would consider the wired network an extra component for a laptop. Obviously, the perfect laptop will have both working, that’s why we would need both working to be able to reach a rating of 5 out of 5.

So, what are your ideas? What components are vital for your laptop/netbook? What components in your desktop you couldn’t live without? Comments welcome!

Ubuntu Friendly Process


Picture by stefanvds

Last week, current members of the Ubuntu Friendly Control gather together and we took the opportunity to discuss some of the Ubuntu Friendly processes. One of the biggest questions that we wanted to answer was what it meant for a system to be Ubuntu Friendly. How and where should we draw the line between an Ubuntu Friendly system and the rest of systems. After a very good discussion and brainstorming we came up with a different solution: we wouldn’t draw that line.

The basic idea from where we will define the way a system is tested and have an Ubuntu Friendly rating is the division between core components and extra components. What is a core component or an extra component we care about will be decided later in the process.


Ubuntu Friendly tests will be grouped by the component that they test. In order for a submission to be consider valid and accepted in our rating system, all the tests that cover the core components should have been tested (either pass or fail, but tested).

If a submission does not contain results for ALL tests that cover, the system will reject that submission and it won’t count for Ubuntu Friendly status.

Once that the core components have been covered, the submission will be accepted.


Rating per submission

The rating for a particular accepted submission (at least all tests for core components) will be determined by the number of components that passed or failed. The rating will be between 0 and 5.

If any of the tests that cover the core components failed, the submission will get a value of 0. Even if any of the extra components worked.

If the all the tests that cover the core components passed, the submission gets a rating of 3.

The two remaining points to get to a rating of 5 are covered by the extra components with a simple rule of three. If a system does not have any extra components, and, again, all tests covering core components passed, the submission will receive a rating of 5.


We have a list of 10 core components (UFC) and 7 extra components (UFE) that we care about. Any other component we will list it as additional component (AC).

System Components Pass Results Rating
Laptop1 6UFC, 3UFE, 0AC 5/6 UFC, 3/3 UFE 0
Laptop2 10UFC, 4UFE, 3AC 10/10 UFC, 1/4 UFE 3.5
Desktop1 7UFC, 5UFE, 1AC 7/7 UFC, 5/5 UFE 5
Netbook1 4UFC, 1UFE, 0AC 4/4 UFC, 0/1 UFE 3

Global rating per system

The global rating for a particular system will be the average of all the submission for that particular system.

Ubuntu Friendly Website

Each release of Ubuntu will get its own list. By default, the list shown will be for the latest release of Ubuntu.

Systems will be ordered by global rating first, and number of submission after.

Systems with very bad rating will also appear in the list. There will be no boarder line to call a system Friendly or not, it will be just a rating systems


Ubuntu 11.04 Friendly

Latitude 2120             4.3   (30 submissions)
Vostro                    4.3   (13 submissions)
Acer EeePC                3.2   (40 submissions)
Mac Book Pro              2.9   (3  submissions)
WinPro Laptop             0.3   (50 submissions)     


The representation of the ratings will be graphical (stars, bars, etc). Clicking on any of the results will give us the details of each of the submissions.

People will be able to filter by model, type of system, minimum rating, etc.

Giving Feedback on Results

Any user will be able to give feedback and comments for a particular system without needing to run the tests. The feedback will be things like “bluetooth is supposed to be working, but it is not working for me”. These comments will be showed on the details of a particular system, but they won’t affect the actual rating of the system.

Waiting on your comments!

As in previous processes and thoughts about Ubuntu Friendly, we are looking to get as much feedback as possible, and this part of Ubuntu Friendly is no different. Please, join us in the Ubuntu Friendly Squad and have your say!

Ubuntu Certification Going Forward

As you might already know, we will do some changes to Ubuntu Certification in the Oneiric Release. Victor Palau has written a nice summary of some of those changes:

[…] we are planning to close down the “Ubuntu Ready” programme in time for Oneiric Final Release.

The aim is to simplify the public Canonical endorsed certification programme to only one:“Ubuntu Certified“.

To straighten out any confusion about what our certification offering will be here is a quick fact sheet about certification:

Existing Ubuntu Ready Certificates
We will not be offering new “Ubuntu Ready” services to OEM/ODMs. The existing Ubuntu Ready certificates will be maintained on the public website until the applicable releases reach end of life.

Remote Testing
We will continue to offer testing tools to partners and the community.The objective is for a common test tool for partners and community will be available within the Ubuntu ISO (from Oneiric).

Ubuntu Certified for Clients
Ubuntu Certified will continue to require hardware to be submitted to Canonical for testing. Ubuntu fortnightly Stable Release Updates means that certified systems are required to be tested every 2 weeks to ensure no regressions are introduced.
Remote testing can be used by partners as a way to assess if certification will be successful before engaging in a contract with Canonical.

Ubuntu Certified for Servers
While Certification of single servers follows the same process than client certification, we are concentrating our efforts on Certifying full server lines from OEMs.
In order to achieve this objective, the full server line is analysed by the appropriate TAM, a component matrix is produced and small representative set of servers is provided to Canonical by the OEM to test in-house, while the rest of servers are test remotely.

Ubuntu Certified (Pre-install Only)
A OEM or ODM shipping a pre-install custom ISO with their systems can apply for Ubuntu Certified (Pre-install Only).

Ubuntu Friendly
Ubuntu Friendly in not a Canonical certification programme. Ubuntu Friendly is a Ubuntu community hardware validation programme that recognises the need for community and partners to list various degrees of working Ubuntu hardware publicly. At the same time, we expect this initiative to increase the visibility of which hardware components work with Ubuntu.
Participation in Ubuntu Friendly is free, done in the open and will utilise the remote testing tools provide by Platform Services.


Auto Regulated Results in Ubuntu Friendly

Picture by Javier Mcallan

One of the things that we will need to discuss and decide to run the Ubuntu Friendly programme is what makes a particular system Ubuntu Friendly. Obviously, one of the ways to do this is to make the Ubuntu Friendly Control review the submissions that are considered complete and correct and determine whether those results are enough to consider the system Ubuntu Friendly.

This, obviously, scale badly if the number of submissions grow to a number that make the revisions of submissions the bottleneck of the programme.

The other option, that I think we should explore is create a way to auto regulate results, partly manually and partly automatically. Think On that site, people asking questions can accept or reject answers from people, answers can be voted up or down, etc. The same way, I foresee an Ubuntu Friendly site where people from the Ubuntu Friendly Squad could:

  • Reject results that are incomplete or invalid
  • Vote up results that are complete
  • Ask for more information to the tester, if some discrepancies are found
  • etc.

With this information, an algorithm could then decide whether a particular system is Ubuntu Friendly or not. The details of that decision would always be public. For example:

Thinkpad 420s is Ubuntu Friendly.
Details: 5 positive results (3 voted up), 1 negative result (1 voted down, 1 incomplete).

Of course, at any point, members of the Ubuntu Friendly Control could override the algorithm decision, and remove a system from the list of Ubuntu Friendly if necessary.

Ubuntu Friendly Squad

Some weeks ago we announced the Ubuntu Friendly programme, a new community driven HW validation programme. We had at UDS a couple of sessions about it and we were very happy to see that a lot of people were interested in participating.

I am happy to announce today that we have created the Ubuntu Friendly Squad team to start participating in the programme.  This programme is on its very early stages and almost everything needs to be implemented and organized. People joining the team at this stage are people willing to work in shaping the idea behind the programme, its tools, its governance, etc. If you prefer to wait until the programme is more organized, that’s totally fine: Ubuntu Friendly Squad will always be open to join, we just decided to create the team a bit earlier, as there were many people at UDS willing to participate. The team has a mailing list to start discussing what needs to be done to kick it off, so make sure to subscribe and start the discussions. I have also created a project in Launchpad, to be able to use it to organize our tasks and tools.

One of our first tasks will be discussing how people in the Ubuntu Friendly Squad can be part of Ubuntu Friendly Control, the administrator of the programme, and propose that to the Community Council.