Making Ordinary Laptops Into Ubuntu Laptops

In previous posts ,  I have mentioned the certification efforts that Canonical is putting into Ubuntu.  However, it takes more than running test to make sure that Ubuntu runs well in a system.

Systems get into the “Certified” list (once they pass the test criteria) for different reasons. One of them is because at Canonical we work with manufacturers to make sure that Ubuntu is  pre-install with their hardware.  Hence, you can go to a shop and  buy a laptop with Ubuntu in it. But, what happens when you want to upgrade you laptop to the latest Ubuntu version?

Take the Dell Precision M6500 as an example. This systems has been certified as “Pre-install only”.  This means that, in certain market areas, you can buy this laptop with Ubuntu 10.10 out-of-the-box.  In order to achieve this the Canonical team ensures that drivers, BIOS and other quirks for that system are ironed out. Continue reading “Making Ordinary Laptops Into Ubuntu Laptops”

The value of the first contribution

Since we started the BugSquad, we had many people come and go from the mailing list, some of them show to the IRC sessions… however most of the ones that do contribute at least once (raising or fixing bugs) always seem to stick around.

It is my experience that making an extra effort to support someone’s first contribution is key to them becoming a regular member of the community. So, what are my “lessons learned” from the BugSquad so far:

  • Getting started guides – It is crucial to have detailed step-by-step guides for newbies, if you are trying to attract people from outside that might not have an in-depth knowledge of the project. For example, we realised that we didn’t have a simple guide on how to raise a bug. We had tones of detailed information on obscure Bugzilla functionality but nothing on the basics!
  • Make it simple (effort) – the more time that is needed to be spend downloading , installing and configuring stuff the less likely people are to participate. For example, we split the kits down to smaller download files, and reduce by half the amount of MBs needed to set up a running emulator. Continue reading “The value of the first contribution”

Translating the podcatcher

The Symbian Bugsquad is hosting test and fix days for the S^1 and S^3 podcast app: The podcatcher!

One type of contributions that is often overlook is localisation of applications to other languages.  So here is some simple instructions on how to translate the podcatcher:

  1. Clone and build the latest version of the podcatcher
  2. (optional) Apply my spanish translation patch for reference. You can find it attached to bug 2059
  3. Create a copy of \application\data\PodcastClient_english.rls and rename it to your chosen language.
  4. Translate the english strings into your language of choice (here is one I have did for Spanish)
  5. Next , update  language.rss with your translation. You will need to find what is the id number for your chosen language. For Spanish is 04. Continue reading “Translating the podcatcher”

PDK3.0.i: Qt and Symbian

PDK_3.0.i has now been released and contains pre-build QT4.6.2. QT is a graphical runtime that will become the main UI environment in Symbian^4. It makes writing applications for Symbian much simpler and also cross platform, as QT runs in many other OS environments.

This new Symbian^3 PDK contains a pre-integrated version of the Qt runtime environment. It also includes some Demo Application that show case easy is to build great user experience with a few lines of Qt code.

Here is a video demo of some of the things you can do with PDK_3.0.i and Qt:

Symbian^2 Success Story: 24 Contributions and Counting

If you have been following the Symbian world, the latest  hot news is the announcement of the first Symbian^3 phone by Nokia (the N8).

However, between Symbian^1 and Symbian^3 there is missing number –  so what is it going on with Symbian^2?  While Symbian^2 is not a revolutionary step in platform functionality, it is in terms of Open Source working practices.

Despite the fact that Symbian^2 remains SFL, and hence its source still open only to members, there are currently 24 contributions from non-Package Owner companies that have been accepted into the MCL, and another 50 still going through the review process.

So why is this important? Firstly, because it clearly signals the willingness of Symbian members to make source contributions and to improve the overall quality of the platform.

Secondly, because Symbian^2 is a foundation release and most of these quality improvements are still relevant for Symbian^3.

Kudos goes to DOCOMO as the main contributor and to all the package owners that are providing feedback and managing these contributions. To all of you: Thanks  and Keep up the good work!

My Package Dashboard – A Web Widget for Symbian about Symbian

You might have noticed how much Symbian is pushing the Web Run Time as an environment for application development, as it is thought to be really simple to do. I can confirm that it is!

After talking to some package owners, I had the realisation that we (Symbian) needed to offer an easy way for Package team members to track community activity. I do some of these tasks day to day, and it involves lots of pre-saved searches and so on…

Mix these thoughts with an ich to do some programming and what you get? “My Package” Dashboard WRT widget.

Continue reading “My Package Dashboard – A Web Widget for Symbian about Symbian”

There be Geckos here… arrggh!

I have previously blogged about the Bug Squad , but today I wanted to focus a bit more on the kudos aspect of the programme. Geckos and Gold!

The Kudo unit for the programme is a Gold Coin. We chose the Gold Coin as we felt it had an universal meaning representing a unit of value, and also because we can pretend to be pirates -Arrggh!

Coins are earned by performing several tasks related to the Bug Squad:

  • 1 piece for active participation on a test or bug day
  • 1 piece for finding and reporting a valid bug
  • 1 piece for adding information which lead to or pinpointing the cause of a bug correctly
  • 3 pieces for fixing a bug or implementing an enhancement (by providing a patch attached to bug or FCL changeset)
  • 1 piece for verifying a fix (you can not verify your own fixes)

Continue reading “There be Geckos here… arrggh!”

Improving Code Contributions

If you have been dowloanding code from the mercurial repos, you would have notice some spooky coincidences… most package MCLs update all at the same time!

Well you can relax, our repos are not posses. This is the result of Nokia’s package owners delivering contributions to our repos in a centralised manner.As you can imagine delivering updates to over 30 million lines of code every other week is a rather complexed operation.

We have been Working with Nokia to improve the contribution channel to make it reliable (we now consistently recieve contributions every 2 weeks). We are now moving towards the next big step, an automated package-base publishing system. You can now see the first live pilot on the access security package repo. Continue reading “Improving Code Contributions”

Update on the Bug Squad

One month on..

It is a month(ish) already since we started the Bug Squad (call to join the team through the Symbian Developer Forums).  I am pretty pleased with the participation so far and also with how much the Symbian team is learning from this programme.

I think the participation numbers tell an insightful story: The forum entry received 1,087 reads and we twittered our mailing list link to +1K followers. This resulted in 45 people subscribed to the mailing list (including about 5 symbian staff) .  Since then , 7 squad members have scored points for contributing to the bug squad efforts. Continue reading “Update on the Bug Squad”