Ubuntu Friendly at Ubuntu Global Jam in NC

During Ubuntu Global Jam I had the opportunity to present the Ubuntu Friendly Project to the Western North Carolina LUG at the Firestorm Cafe in Asheville. It’s a great group of folks and a really cool venue. (The computers in the Cafe/Bookstore run Ubuntu and last I talked to the owners their Point of Sale machine also was running Ubuntu).  While we as a LoCo team try hard not to dominate all the LUG meetings with Ubuntu, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves and Global Jam was one of those times.

Lessons Learned:

#1 When preparing to give a talk where said talk is based on a live demo of an application on a development release *ALWAYS* have a backup plan. (Especially if said talk and demo are on the heels of a major milestone in release process–in this case Beta1)

In this case I had upgraded to the Ubuntu 11.10 Beta 1 and failed to test system testing (checkbox) until the day of my talk.  (My thought was it was working in Alpha, surely it’s going to work in Beta 1). Bad Idea – System Testing failed to work.  I emailed people on the Ubuntu Friendly team, pinged the team in the IRC channel and asked Pete (yes after three years I sometimes ask him for help now) to see if he could reproduce the issue on his Beta install and sure enough it failed for him.  I then asked him to grab the log file for me and to file a bug as I was busy preparing a backup plan on the fly now.

#2 Always have a slide deck prepared in case live demo or internet fails.

If I had done this instead of assuming it would just work for then I would have been prepared with Screenshots and explanations (I didn’t because I thought what if the screenshots change during Beta – I don’t think they did but I over thought it and failed in proper preparation.)

Thank goodness the internet worked and I was able to show the group how to find ‘System Testing’ on their machines and what the icon looked like currently and using my Natty machine kicked off a demo of system testing noting to everyone that the windows now contained better wording for each of the tests and that the new Ubuntu Branding guidelines were being followed so the look of the window had changed as well.


The presentation went well and I recovered (yep I can adapt and overcome on the fly like that; however, it’s not an ideal situation).

As I mentioned above I was able to show the group how to find the System Testing (Checkbox) application/client on my Natty Machine and after demo’ing it from that machine long enough for everyone to grasp the concept about what the program was trying to do I then moved to my Ubuntu 11.10 Beta 1 machine.

From there I showed the group Ara’s summaries and mock-ups from the Ubuntu Friendly Sprint and the ball was rolling.  I asked everyone to go through system testing on whatever version of Ubuntu they were using and to give feedback.  As it is helpful to get many perspectives.  I gave the team the information to find the Ubuntu Friendly Squad in Launchpad and how to sign up for the mailing list as well as how to join the #ubuntu-quality IRC channel on freenode.

From their I opened up the floor for questions and it was great.  People were asking questions voicing concerns and excitement over the program.

Some of their questions included:

  • When will the website be ready for us to see?
  • When will we be able to upload new system tests?
  • When will the information on the site be trusted to use? (I had to ask for clarification on this one) In other words, when will I be able to walk into Best Buy, Walmart or other stores and see new hardware on the site that has been tested?
  • What about privacy?  Will System testing collect any private data about me?
  • What will the website show verses what has been collected? Will there be a difference?
  • What if I have feedback but don’t want to sign up for Launchpad?
  • Will I be able to go into computer stores and see if the computers in there are Ubuntu Friendly and upload the data to the sight some how?
  • Can you run system testing from the liveCD?
  • Will it be useful to run system testing in a VM?
  • Will other supported derivatives have System testing included and will that information be available on the website?

Some of the questions I was able to answer others I said I would take back to the team ask them then post the answers here. (So if you have more questions please let me know I’ll add them to my list.) I listed the questions here to show that the conversation was really a positive and lively one.

From there we moved into an overview/review of the Beta – I went through the launcher, touched on the default applications, Ubuntu One, as well as the Software center and encouraged everyone to try it out using their favorite VM.

From there we then discussed ideas for a release party and I gave out the free stuff I had collected and brought to Ubuntu Global Jam.


I learned a few lessons the hard way (sometimes that’s the best way to learn them, then I won’t forget them), the group learned about Ubuntu Friendly and there was lively discussion and excitement about this new way to contribute to Ubuntu, people walked away with some Ubuntu User swag, and we got some solid ideas for upcoming LUG meetings as well as the release party.

Thanks everyone!  I had a blast and I hope to see more people contributing and giving their feedback to the Ubuntu Friendly Program one system test at a time.  Happy Testing!

p.s. Once I have the answers to all the questions I’ll make sure and post them here in a follow-up blog post.


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