Warning: US politics ahead, read at your own risk ๐Ÿ˜‰

This weekend has been quite exciting. I’m totally jazzed about McCain’s pick for VP. Sarah Palin sounds like an absolutely phenomenal, albeit a bit risky, pick and for the first time in this election cycle I’m actually wanting to get involved. Previously, I wasn’t voting for somebody so much as voting against somebody else. Finally, somebody who resonates with me is running and I’m excited. /me goes to find some yard signs ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S I’m starting a “politics” category for my blog so Planet Ubuntu will be spared too much political ranting.


Network Manager

I’ve never really liked Network Manager all that much. Part of it is that I haven’t changed wifi networks all that much, and mostly because I have a static IP address at work. My usual network solution has been to create Home (let NM find my home wifi) and Work (turn off wifi and set up static IP on eth0) profiles in the Gnome Network config GUI. So when I saw that Intrepid wasn’t going all Network Manager and not install the Network config GUI by default I was pretty concerned. Sebastien Bacher convinced me to give NM a chance and after getting some bugs fixed I’m pleased to say that for the first time I’m only using Network Manager for network connections. I even did a bit of testing for Alexander Sack to see how the new Network Manager handled/parsed existing /etc/network/interfaces files. Awesome.

Ubuntu Quality

I’ve been rather busy with the PhD and other real life stuff, but I wanted to give a shout-out to a couple things going on in the QA realm. Leann Ogasawara has been working on the package-status-pages spec. A prototype can be seen at: http://people.ubuntu.com/~ogasawara/pkg-stats/openoffice.org.html . Stรฉphane Graber is also working on taking the XML output that Leann creates and making nice pages to go on qa.ubuntu.com. This will be a rather awesome addition to Ubuntu’s QA tools. Another cool project on the bug-metric front is work that Brian Murray is doing on the useful-bug-metrics spec. Brian’s working on gathering time-based data from Launchpad so that we can analyze things like the average time a bug sits in the New status, or how long it takes to get to Triaged, or even simply how long it takes to close bugs. This will add a whole other dimension to QA data that I’m really happy to see.


One of my true loves is education. Creating a FLOSS environment for kids to grow up learning and exploring computing is a sure way for FLOSS to permeate society. Providing high-school and university students high-quality applications to learn and research is awesome. Showing students how to collaboratively develop technology, expand scientific knowledge, and empower open learning is revolutionary.

Edubuntu has gone through a lot of changes over the last couple years.ย Oliver Grawert and the rest of the crew have made some really great strides developing an LTSP educational server. More recently, LTSP has been shifted to the Ubuntu Alternate CD and now Edubuntu’s CD offering has moved to an Educational Addon CD containing ~500 MB of educational software and other useful packages.

For Intrepid Oliver’s been moving into the mobile arena and consequently Edubuntu has kind of been in a kind of a holding pattern, waiting to see what comes next. I’ve been doing a little work lately to make sure the CD is installable (KDE-Edu 3 -> KDE-Edu 4ย  required some seed changes) but there’s a lot more that could be done. I think we’re going to need some sort of Project Phoenix to revitalize, rejuvinate, and refocus the project. I’ve was really impressed with Cody’s Xubuntu Strategy Document and would like to see something similar (though probably shorter ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) for Edubuntu. Anyway, if you have interest in Edubuntu or Linux in education (pre-school, K-12, university) we’d love to to see you in #edubuntu on IRC or edubuntu-devel/edubuntu-users mailing lists. We want to hear from educators, school sysadmins, developers, students, etc.

Avogadro rocks!

I’ve been involved a little bit with the Avogadro project. Avogadro is a cross-platform 3D molecular editor. It’s written in C++/Qt4 for people who care and sports a new Python console for people like me who want to have our cake and it it too. Here are the things I like about it:

  • cross-platform – my lab has both Linux and OS X machines. Being able to use the same application on all of them is a big plus
  • auto-optimization – you can turn on an autooptimizer that does does geometry optimizations on the fly as you move atoms around. Not only does this look awesome, it’s also a great teaching tool.
  • Gaussian input – we have an undergrad this summer in our lab and he’s working on some MO calculations using Gaussian. The Avogadro Gaussian input tool was really easy to having start using and he didn’t have to spend time figuring out all the syntax/options.

For a project this young, it’s really coming along nicely.

SRU needs you!

Do you want to help contribute to Ubuntu but you don’t want to run the development release? Do you want to see Hardy become more bug-free? Then do I have a deal for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ubuntu pushes updates to stable releases (currently Dapper, Fiesty, Gutsy, and Hardy) through a system of review and testing. Once stable release updates (SRUs) are prepared and approved for testing they are uploaded to the corresponding -proposed repository (hardy-proposed for example). The packages in -proposed wait there for at least one week and until 2 people verify that the bug(s) being fixed is indeed fixed. This step of SRU verification is where you all can help.

What you can do to help: You can look at the list of Pending SRUs and pick something you’d like to verify. Click on the bugs in the “Changelog Bugs” column, read about them and follow any instructions on how to reproduce the bug. Then install the package from -proposed (System->Administration->Software Sources, go to the Updates tab and select Pre-released updates) and then retest to verify that the bug is fixed. Report your findings, both positive and negative as a comment to the bug report.

Where you can go for help on how to help: The #ubuntu-testing IRC channel on irc.freenode.net is the place to go. Steve Beattie (sbeattie) and others would be glad to assist.

What you get in return: a warm fuzzy feeling for help your fellow Ubuntu users have the best Linux experience possible. You also might find you enjoy testing and get involved with other testing efforts the QA team will be doing for Intrepid.

Rock on people!

P.S. did I mention that SRU verifications are great for 5-a-day? ๐Ÿ˜‰

employment idea

Jorge Cham is a genius:

I wonder if there’s an easy way to find these professors in mid-tenure crisis?