UDS Day 1 (only a day late)

So, yesterday was the first day of my first UDS!

Arrived at the airport around 8:30pm local time. The plane was scheduled for 30 minutes earlier, ruining my rather harebrained scheme to meet up with Andrew SB there and share a taxi. (I later met him at the hotel and apologized profusely). Ended up getting to the hotel around 9:30 pm. Somehow, my room-mate and I managed to be completely invisible to one another. For that night and the next morning, the only trace I had of the fellow was his laptop computer. (I’ve been racking my brain for a particularly apt “lucid lynx” metaphor to describe the behaviour).

I FINALLY recognized his computer – and, therefore, him – later in the day.

Following an awesome demo during the plenary session, I have been completely convinced: Quickly is beautiful. It’s simple, it doesn’t _look_ like something particularly amazing, but by golly it is!

I already love the atmosphere here. Still trying to figure out who everyone is, but once I get my head around that, I feel like this is really empowering :)

The sessions so far have been very inviting for participation. (And there is always the room’s IRC channel projected in plain sight for everyone, for those who aren’t aware).

There was a really productive discussion with the desktop team about the upgrade experience for Hardy Heron users. There is interest in presenting users with what is new and what they should be careful about before and during the upgrade. This is really important for Hardy -> Karmic because we will have changed many default applications. There are also sure to be some packages installed by the user which end up being removed with the upgrade.

Someone drew a parallel to ubiquity-slideshow, and I made a note of that in Gobby. It would be fun to have something like it during the installation. A big issue, though, is that Webkit isn’t installed in Hardy and it would be silly to engineer a particularly complex solution. A simpler slideshow style application – or using gtkhtml – would work better. (May be a good direction to move in as a whole, now that Karmic is done).

Besides that, it seems that this type of information could do with being more personalized to the user’s particular situation. And besides THAT, upgrades are slower than clean installs from my experience; nobody is going to sit and watch a slideshow, but they may read a nicely formatted list of notes relevant to their situation.

Another important thing – and, personally, I love this – is the thought that upgrades should be more decisive in presenting the end user with a desktop that is close to the defaults. It is a bit controversial, so I hope there is a lot of community involvement around the point, but I think there is some great reasoning for it. For example, a lot of users may have applied their own settings because they didn’t like the old defaults, but the new ones – especially with the delta between Hardy and Lucid – may be more interesting to them.

There was also a great discussion about Ubuntu Fridge. There is a strong concensus that, at this time, it isn’t working. It is unexciting and usually starved for content. It is also not very colourful; very plain :(

Unfortunately, it all got pretty caught up, around the middle, with talk about Canonical’s IS department and WordPress vs. Drupal. Still, a lot did get done. Knowing that people agree around an idea helps a great deal. I look forward to contributing to this one if I can!

Personally, I think it would be fun to drop the one-dimensional blog feel. Someone (sorry, as I said I’m still matching names to faces) mentioned that we could post occasional fun things to break the mold, “like a real fridge,” just in lower volume and with more certain quality than on a planet. Thinking about it, I think this type of content could be maintained nicely in a sidebar of some sort. Two benefits: the colourful stuff stays in plain sight to keep the Fridge looking more dynamic, but the flow of more “important” information isn’t broken.

By this being a single web site run through a more centralized group of people (as opposed to a completely automated planet), lots could be done to arrange different types of content in useful, exciting ways.

Just thinking out loud, of course :)

Over and out!