Long wait at the check-in desk. Looks like the self-check-in machines were broken, but in such a way that each person got to try to check-in twice before being sent to the desk to have it done manually.
Got myself checked in and made my way to the gate. Lots of other UDS folks also heading to Frankfurt. Talked to a few of them. Sat next to one of the other OEM team members on the plane.
This time the connection through Frankfurt airport went smoothly. I did have to head out and find the US Airways check-in desk to grab my remaining boarding passes but I had plenty of time and made it to my gate without incident.
On the plane back to the States I sat next to one of the gentlemen from Monday’s Frankfurt Airport Support Group. We caught up a bit and soon after we took off he was fast asleep.
Finally caught the end of Green Hornet. The movie itself was OK but it seems like Seth Rogen’s style of comedy didn’t really fit the character or tone of the movie. It just felt off. Also watched a documentary on rice that led to a nice 40-minute nap and another on personal flying vehicles that I actually found fascinating. Also watched the Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz vehicle Knight and Day which was surprisingly entertaining.
Arrived in Philadelphia and waited an hour in line to go through immigration, then through customs and another half an hour to get back through security for my flight to Pittsburgh. Once again no hiccups but I was in no mood to stand in line all evening.
Landed in Pittsburgh just ahead of a thunderstorm. Unfortunately they can’t unload baggage from an airplane during a lightning storm so about three planefuls of people had to sit at baggage claim for an hour and a half before we could collect our things and head home. Emily showed no end of patience and even had a granola bar and a bottle of pop waiting for me in the car when she picked me up. Have I mentioned that I am a very lucky man?
We drove home through some heavy rain. Unpacked and passed right the hell out.
Up rather late, had to skip breakfast. Probably for the best.
First session of the day was a roundtable discussion about desktop technologies that will appear in the next release. Most notably there was lots of discussion on porting the manifold Ubuntu-specific tools and apps to GTK/GNOME3. (notes)
Next was a review of desktop performance. Much time was spent looking at timing diagrams of what took how long to do what during startup. There was also some discussion of which programs were causing the CPU to wake up most often. (blueprint, notes)
Then there was a session on speeding up software upgrades. Apparently there are lots of post-install operations that are run multiple times depending on which packages are updated which could be delayed to run once at the end of the upgrade. Other tweaks and some crackerific hacks were also on the table. (blueprint, notes)
After lunch there was a group of “lightning talks”, quick 5-10 minute presentations on cool things going on with the project. Lots of improvements to Launchpad and byobu.
Thanks to a lack of interesting sessions after that I had a chance to walk around Budapest for a while. I ducked into a couple of shops and generally tried to take in as much as I could before returning for the wrap-up talk.
At the wrap-up Jono announced that the next UDS will be in Orlando. I haven’t been there since I was a kid so I’m looking forward to seeing it with a different perspective.
At 7 the UDS party got into full swing. There was free food and drink, music and merriment. The Ubuntu Allstars is a group that gets together for every UDS and puts together a loose set over the course of the week to be played at the after party. The music ranged from ballads to blues to classic rock and 80s pop. Matt Zimmerman sang a rousing rendition of George Michael’s Faith.
Around 10 I’d decided I’d had enough fun and called it a night. I was exhausted from this marathon week and had to catch a shuttle at 7AM to the airport. Sleep came easily.
First session was on what to do about ubuntu-dev-tools, a set of scripts that make Ubuntu developers’ lives easier. Mostly the goals were to get all the relevant ones into Debian and split the rest into more topical packages. (blueprint, notes)
Next was a session on integrating applications that ship by default with the Unity interface. Most of the ideas revolved around adding items to the right-click menu for each of the icons in the launcher bar (that’s the spiffy icon bar on the left if you’re using the latest Ubuntu) or little progress bars in the icons for things like downloads. (blueprint, notes)
Then there was a session on what the default email client should be in the next Ubuntu release. It was decided that Mozilla Thunderbird will get the nod if certain conditions are met (the most onerous being enough space on the CD). (blueprint, notes)
Next I attended a session reviewing the Linux kernel configurations for the various flavors of Ubuntu. This was every bit as boring as it sounds. (blueprint, notes)
After lunch everyone got together for a group photo (if you zoom in you can see me towards the front on the left).
There was a session discussing the relationship between Ubuntu and GNOME. There was a bit of tension as the two projects have started moving in different directions and those differences haven’t always been communicated with the utmost tact and diplomacy. (blueprint, notes)
Next was a pretty interesting discussion on session saving, or saving the set of open programs and their state when you log out. This was removed in the last release but they’re looking to put it back in, though in a less hackish way than before. (blueprint, notes)
Last meeting of the day was a session on how to reduce the number of patches carried in Ubuntu packages. This session quickly degenerated into a review of specific patches against GNOME packages. (blueprint, notes)
The OEM team had its team dinner, which started as a cocktail hour, then moved to a nearby restaurant for pizza (again!) and beer, then to another place for even more beer. I got to know my new teammates a bit, and got to chat with the likes of Jono Bacon, Stuart Langridge, and Ken VanDine. Eventually I made it back to my room and promptly passed out.
Went to a Unity Design Feedback session in which I lamented aloud the lack of sloppy focus support. Others raised points both positive and negative about the design and we got some clues about how some of the current issues will be resolved in this cycle. (notes)
Next up was a session on debugging suspend and hibernate support. The presenter had some interesting ideas about how to get debug information from the kernel when it freezes before things like video are brought up. The basic idea was using either the PC speaker or a keyboard LED to encode the state of the system. This would be recorded using a camera or audio recorder and sent to the developers, who would have the tools to extract the data. (blueprint, notes)
I then went to a session on dual-monitor support. The general idea of this was that the current way of setting up multiple monitors is crap and that it can be done much more intelligently. (blueprint, notes)
Last up before lunch was a session about porting Gwibber to GTK3. I’m a huge fan of Gwibber in general, but it takes up far too many resources in its current state. Happy to hear they’re moving all the logic into the back end and rewriting a very simple client in Vala. (blueprint, notes)
After lunch I went back to my room to relax a bit. Tried to call Emily but I guess my timing was not as good as I had thought.
Next was a session on Ubuntu’s distributed development processes. (blueprint, notes)
After that I went to a riveting session on postinst scripts for kernel packages and how to align them better with upstream initramfs-tools. (blueprint, notes)
Last session of the day was a Q&A with Mark Shuttleworth about governance in the Ubuntu community. He answered questions about how decisions like those around Unity and Banshee were made and how processes like those could be improved. (notes)
After dropping my bag in my room I met up with a large group heading to the Invisible Exhibition. Some members of the Hungarian Ubuntu Local Community team were gracious enough to guide us through the extensive public transit system to the exhibition and arrange for English-speaking guides for us. The exhibition itself consisted of several environments which we had to navigate and interact with in total darkness, simulating the everyday life of a blind person. There was a cabin, a forest, a busy street, a statue garden, an apartment, and a bar. In each place we tried to find our way around using only touch and hearing, helping each other as best we could. The statue garden had replicas of famous statues which we had to try to identify just by touching them. In the bar we were given the chance to buy a drink. Not being familiar at all with the coin of the realm made this a challenging and entertaining endeavor. Surprisingly enough I only messed up the value of one coin and I was able to enjoy a beer in total darkness.
When we had re-acclimated ourselves to the light we took a streetcar back toward the hotel and ended up at a little Italian restaurant where we had pizza (again!) and talked a while before heading back.
Up early, still a bit woozy from jet lag (or perhaps an overabundance of cheap beer). Breakfast in a beautiful gallery encased almost entirely in glass. Lots of natural light. Helps with the waking up.
First session of the day was a discussion with some of the Qt developers. They talked about some features and upcoming Qt releases. (blueprint, notes)
I was still feeling a bit off and perhaps I overdid it at breakfast, but I decided to take a break during the second session and have a brief nap in my room.
Next up was a session on Ubuntu One and its model for sharing files with other people. Several paradigms for sharing were discussed including public sharing, private sharing, and collaboration. The main sticking points were how to handle each type gracefully and expose the options to do so to the user without overwhelming them. (blueprint, notes)
Following that I attended a session checking up on Ubuntu’s relationship with Debian. I’m told that in the past these sessions got pretty heated, but judging from the tone of this particular session things must be improving. (blueprint, notes)
After lunch I spent some time in the super secret OEM private room, where I got a preview of some upcoming projects and some really cool toys.
Next I went to a session discussing uploading packages by committing to a package branch rather than uploading a whole source package to the builder. There are some technical nits that need picking on the bzr side (of course they use bzr 🙂 ) but it looks like it could streamline the packaging process a bit. (blueprint, notes)
Last session of the day was a discussion of simplifying Ubuntu’s hardware verification tool. Apparently there are several versions of it floating around used by different groups and the goal is to merge all of them into a single code base. (blueprint, notes)
After the sessions a few of us rented bikes from the concierge desk and took a little sightseeing ride around the city. We rode across the Danube into Buda (our hotel is in Pest) and along some riverside trails before finding a pathway to a little island in the middle of the river. We rode around the island a bit, spotting some ruins, a bird sanctuary and even an Ultimate Frisbee game. We eventually found a nice beer garden where we stopped for dinner and drinks. I finally had some dark beer the name of which I couldn’t pronounce and some pizza which I could also not pronounce but it had mushrooms, broccoli, and corn on it. Pictures of the sightseeing ride and from the rest of the trip can be found on my flickr page.
As it was getting dark we headed back to the hotel. A relatively early night.
After several hours attempting to sleep on the plane, gave up and decided to watch The Green Hornet. Not bad from what I saw, but what I saw didn’t include the last 20 minutes since we landed just as the movie was reaching its climax. Going to have to Netflix it just to watch the end.
We landed in Frankfurt just late enough for me to miss my connecting flight to Budapest. Seven others were in the same boat. We banded together to support each other as we navigated the Frankfurt airport on the wild goose chase that was our attempt to get scheduled on another flight. As we deplaned on the tarmac we were met with a shuttle bus for people heading to Budapest. They rushed us back to the terminal but we were stymied at passport control and sadly were not able to make the flight. The nice folks from the airport apologized profusely and guided us to the Lufthansa desk so we might get rebooked. Unfortunately the Lufthansa folks couldn’t do anything for us, as we’d all originally booked on US Airways. Even more unfortunately, the US Airways desk was outside the security perimeter (As an aside, what is the point of the whole “Star Alliance” thing if they can’t just call each other to get someone on a flight? As another aside, the Frankfurt airport is HUGE). We exited passport control again (I have TWO German stamps on my passport for the price of one!) and took the airbus to the other terminal. Once there we tracked down the US Airways ticketing desk and rebooked on Malév Hungarian Airlines for a flight two hours later. We tracked down the Malév check-in desk then headed back through security and found our gate. After a couple of hours spent joking about what else might keep us from getting to Budapest we finally boarded and were on our way.
Landed in Budapest around noon, only three hours after I’d planned to. Traded in some dollars for Hungarian forints and hopped on a shuttle bus to the hotel.
Emailed my new manager asking where I might meet him then took a much-needed shower. Got a response by the time I was done and headed down to the main floor to start my first day of work.
Spent most of the afternoon meeting various Canonical and Ubuntu folks and attending UDS sessions.
The session on cleaning up the startup apps was pretty interesting. It was more about cleaning up the UI for setting startup apps, but there was some discussion of what should be there by default. (blueprint, notes)
Also attended the session discussing whether to continue limiting the size of CD images to 700MB (I know that sounds weird). Points were raised about how many folks actually burn the images to CD vs. using a USB thumb drive and whether the DVD image might be made smaller. (blueprint, notes)
After the sessions was a meet-and-greet where everybody was able to schmooze it up over free food, beer, and wine. Speaking of schmoozing, I met Mark Shuttleworth and got to talk to him for a few minutes. I managed not to ask him about space (I’m sure he gets that a lot) and he said he was very excited about what the OEM team (which I’ve joined) is doing and how it will help spread Ubuntu to the masses.
Caught up with Lyz Krumbach and a couple of my new coworkers. Heard some stories of past UDS shenanigans. Apparently the UDS in Brussels was legendary. They told me tales of pants dropped and cut rear ends.
Once the free beer ran out we took the party to a nearby bar. Discussion ranged from perspectives on working for Canonical to Lyz’s perspective as a community member and mine as the new guy and what type of beer is popular in Australia.
Got back to the room way too late. This is the start of a pattern.