October 22, 2009

An Inside Look at the Ubuntu Release Cycle

In the Ubuntu world, we release a new version of Ubuntu every six months, and inside each Ubuntu release cycle we cram in a huge amount of work. Through the cycle there is a sync with Debian, a merge of our patches, six alpha releases, a beta, a release candidate and all the feature development, bug fixing and other work that goes into making our favorite Operating System.

While Canonical employs a large number of developers to work on Ubuntu across seven teams: Kernel, Server, Desktop, Foundations, QA, Community, and Mobile, the larger Ubuntu community play a key role in almost every element of Ubuntu. I just wanted to share some examples of the areas in which the community got involved in the Karmic cycle.

Central to the Ubuntu community are our incredible local user groups, known as Ubuntu LoCo Teams, of which there are over 200. Many of them organised the Ubuntu Global Jam, a weekend of face-to-face events in which people get together to work on bugs, testing, documentation, translations and more.

For Karmic, this rocking collection of events took place in Bamako, Tunis, Lagos, Philippines, Birmingham UK, Southend on Sea, Paris, Toulouse, Dublin, Cardiff, Wien, Cornellà, Linköping, Berlin, Luzern, Luxembourg, Zagreb, Siena, Pordenone, Berkeley, Orange County, Orlando, Chicago, Cambridge USA, Detroit, Lake Lure, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Rochester, Syracuse, Vancouver, Montreal, Guatemala, San Pedro Sula, San Miguel, San Salvador, Nicaragua, Manaus, Chile, Bogotá, and Maracaibo. I would like to thank all of teams for putting together these events and getting together to enjoy the spirit of Ubuntu.

Another event that took place in the cycle was the Ubuntu Developer Jam: a series of 25 online tuition sessions showing how people could get involved in Ubuntu as a developer. Many of these sessions were delivered by our community, and hundreds of community members attended. We also run a similar, though less-developer-focused week called Ubuntu Open Week. The next one takes place fro the 2nd - 6th Nov 2009 and includes 40 sessions, delivered by and for the Ubuntu community. In addition to these events, our global community will be celebrating the new release at over 50 Karmic release parties across the world. Check here for more details on where these parties are can be found.

In the Karmic cycle, art and design took centre stage as a key part of Ubuntu, and the 100 Paper Cuts project was started to drive this forward. In this project we identified lots of small usability problems and opportunities, and the community contributed over 80 fixes that were subsequently implemented for Karmic. We also had a large number of wallpaper submissions from the community to be included on the CD, and we ran our Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase competition in which the winning audio, video and photo entries have been included in the Examples folder on a new Ubuntu installation.

Translations were a solid focus throughout this cycle and our stunning translations community have provided what we consider complete translations in Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, German, English, Hungarian, Traditional Chinese, British English, Russian, Dutch, Japanese, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Catalan, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Basque, Greek, Simplified Chinese, Slovenian, Galician, and Asturian. Many translations are close to what we consider complete, including Serbian, Vietnamese, Estonian, Hebrew, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi and Turkish.

In addition to these key areas we saw tremendous growth in the of brainstorm.ubuntu.com for sharing ideas. We formed a new Community Council board and saw other changes in our governance. A new Ubuntu Code Of Conduct was put in place. We improved community report handling processes, team reporting, and benefits for Ubuntu Members in the project. We also saw many contributions to other parts of the project such as documentation, testing (ISO, EC2, and Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud), marketing improvements and elsewhere.

There were so many contributions from the community in the Karmic cycle that it is impossible to list them all here, but I think provides a good idea of how diverse, enthusiastic and driven the Ubuntu community is, and I can't wait to working with them all in the next cycle: Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.

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