Sunday evening I arrived in Orlando after a short flight, which was only stressful because I had no word about the ongoing Steelers/Patriots game until we landed. I was happy to hear that it ended the right way, and could relax and focus on the business at hand.
The shuttle to the hotel was full of Linaro guys, and we had a nice talk about ARM development boards during the ride. It was a short one, and we arrived at one of the biggest hotels I’ve ever seen. It’s not really one hotel as much as it is a complex, with several towers full of rooms and a convention center surrounding an outdoor pool/lounge area (here’s a picture). After checking in I took a walk around the grounds trying to get a feel for the place and have some idea of where the important areas (conference rooms, bars) are. I stopped by the hotel bar and chatted with some other UDS folks. I met Thomas Bushnell of Google, who works on their internal Ubuntu desktop OS (chatted with him about Android) and a nice chap from ARM whose name escapes me (chatted with him about… ARM). Eventually I met up with some folks from my group and others who I knew from the UDS in Budapest and we got caught up before calling it a night.
Today was an exciting, action-packed adventure full of sitting in rooms and listening to people talk. Actually I attended some very interesting sessions and got to make my own humble contributions to the discussions.
First up was Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote, where he discussed the what’s coming up for Ubuntu. There are some really exciting things in the pipeline, including bringing Ubuntu to phones, TVs, and IVI devices. The next couple of years are going to be full of new gadgets for me to buy… you know, for “work”.
After the keynote the regular sessions began. The first one I attended was on providing image-building tools for customers and community members to allow them to make their own ARM builds and installers. The current situation is a bit of a mess, with poorly-documented, broken, or incomplete tools being the only options right now. Another obstacle is that any solution will have to fit into the Launchpad build infrastructure. Clearly there is plenty more work to do here. (blueprint, notes)
My second session was showing off the upcoming improvements to the Unity Greeter, which recently replaced GDM as the default greeter in Ubuntu. The authors showed off some of the new bling, like the background morphing into the selected user’s wallpaper, a greeter-inspired replacement for the lock screen, and messaging indicators showing when new messages arrived while you were away. You can see a mockup of some of the new features in this video. Some of the other OEM guys requested an easy way to customize the greeter for our customers, but the greeter authors seemed to think it would be easier to just write our own seeing as the code is very simple. (blueprint, notes)
The last session before lunch was a discussion about adding Google+ support to Gwibber once the API is released. Most of the discussion centered around how to represent the Google+ “circles” concept in the UI, with the possibility raised of creating a separate UI (still on top of libgwibber) for it. In the end Ken VanDine called for mockups of proposed UI for the new plugin, but nothing concrete was decided. One positive thing to come out of the session was Thomas Bushnell saying he was planning to package the Google+ API and bindings for Debian. (blueprint, notes)
After lunch was a plenary session with a couple of talks from Cloud Foundry about deploying web apps in the cloud. Also there was a short talk from the Debian Project Leader about the history and current state of the relationship between Ubuntu and Debian. In short, it’s better than it was, but there are still areas ripe for improvement.
Next up was a session on how to better integrate applications with the Unity desktop. Most of the discussion was around which apps need an indicator or better integration with the launcher, or how to get icons for web apps that don’t suck. (blueprint, notes)
Following that session I went to a discussion about cleaning up the GNOME Control Center, and better integrating Ubuntu’s desktop and applications with it. The discussion devolved into (IMO) a bit of bikeshedding about the Ubuntu One control panel, and its eventual implementation in Qt, which would make it difficult to integrate with the control center, and (according to reports) would also make it look like crap on OSX (cross-platform compatibility was the reason behind the Qt port). (blueprint, notes)
The last session of the day for me was the Debian Health Check. Several topics were raised, including easier bug sharing between Debian and Ubuntu, encouraging first-time packagers for Ubuntu to get their work into Debian, and how packages for which Ubuntu is an upstream (specifically Unity) could be integrated into Debian. (blueprint, notes)
In the evening was a meet and greet event complete with free food and drinks. I ended up talking to Karen Sandler, the newly-minted executive director of the GNOME Foundation, and a couple of the developers behind the Shotwell photo manager about baseball and real-life story behind Moneyball. Later I met up with my team members again and my newly-minted boss (Hi, Alex!) bought a round of drinks for everyone.
After a bit of socializing I decided I’d had enough fun for one night and packed it in. Plenty more action to come this week.