Presenting the Xubuntu status tracker

Status tracking is useful for all kinds of projects, including Xubuntu. Amongst other things, it allows contributors to quickly see what’s left to do and what others are working on. When the tracking data is kept up to date, the resulting data can be immensely helpful.

Until 2015, the Xubuntu team had been using the common status tracker for Ubuntu teams. For a reason or another, it suddenly stopped working as tracking data from Launchpad didn’t make it into the tracker database. That was unfortunate, but on the other hand, it helped the team make an important decision which had been floating around for quite some time already; we need our own status tracker that is ideally better than the common one used this far.

Today, we want to present you the Xubuntu status tracker. For the impatient, head down to dev.xubuntu.org to see what it looks like.

For the rest of us (and the impatient when they come back), continue reading to get an idea what the tracker can do and how it can help the Xubuntu team – and potentially, motivate people to start contributing to Xubuntu.

The views and the benefits

In the current state, the status tracker has four main views. The first one of them is the overview, which lets contributors see how different specifications are coming along. This view also allows the visitor to look at the whiteboards of each specification easily and quickly without visiting Launchpad.

The other view is all about the work items and their details. In this view, you can filter the work items with various filters, as well as sort them by assignee, work item status or specification. The filtering is a new feature specifically built for the Xubuntu status tracker and has already proven useful for the team members.

For example, if you wanted to see all work items related to GTK, you could simply type gtk in the Text filter – the results are shown to you immediately. If you further wanted to filter the results, you could select any assignees, specifications and statuses. Yes, that’s right, you can select multiple values for all of the filters.

As another example that has a more useful real world use case, you could show only all of the open work items by selecting To Do, In Progress and Blocked from the Status dropdown. Finally, you can create a handy shortcut for this view by dragging the Permalink into your bookmarks. Following this link you can always get to the same filter state.

The third view is the burndown chart. This view shows the history for the work item statuses. In the Xubuntu status tracker, the burndown chart also shows events that the team considers important during the cycle, mostly different freezes.

In addition to showing the team whether we are in good pace to finish all work items in time, it can also point out useful and interesting information for the testers and end users; for example, the amount of work items closed between Beta 1 and 2 is huge. While this means that the quality of the product should have gone up, it also means that tests ran against Beta 1 do not have any validity during the Beta 2 testing – it all needs to be ran again to make sure the fixes are actually working and that there are no regressions.

The final view – the timeline – simply shows which work items have been completed and when. This is also a new feature for the new tracker. The timeline is useful for the testers – when they can see what has been changed and when, they’ll know what they need to test. It also helps the contributors to gather the release notes for the releases, especially the milestones, which has previously been laborious work digging through changelogs and much more.

Finally, it serves as an automatic team updates chart for the team itself as well as other teams. This way we can let everybody know what we have been working on without actively needing to take extra effort.

In addition to the main views, the tracker has an menu that is integrated with the Xubuntu wiki and additionally links to the team calendar, IRC channel, mailing list and the new contributor documentation.

The future

As the common Ubuntu status tracker, the Xubuntu status tracker gets most of the data from Launchpad blueprints. While this means we don’t have to take on some of the maintaining burden, it has it’s problems. It’s possible that we start storing the work items internally to avoid a lot of API calls and the caching issues related with them.

There are also some plans for the future to start digging more information to the tracker from other tools like the QA trackers and Jenkins to get an overview of how the quality assurance is running.

If you are interested in contributing to the tracker, be in touch with us via the developer IRC channel (#xubuntu-devel on Freenode) or the Xubuntu developer mailing list.

Xubuntu 16.10 Released

The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 16.10. Xubuntu 16.10 is a normal release and will be supported for 9 months.

This release has seen little visible change since April’s 16.04, however much has been done towards supplying Xubuntu with Xfce packages built with GTK3, including the porting of many plugins and Xfce Terminal to GTK3. Those GTK3 ports can, if one wishes to test them, be installed from one of the team’s development PPAs

The final release images are available as Torrents and direct downloads from
http://xubuntu.org/getxubuntu/

As the main server will be very busy in the first few days after release, we recommend using the Torrents wherever possible.

Support

For support with the release, navigate to Help & Support for a complete list of methods to get help.

Known Issues

  • Thunar is still the subject of a few bugs, though they all appear to revolve around similar issues. A further patch has been applied since 16.04.
  • On some hardware the password is sometimes required twice when returning from suspend.

For more information on affecting bugs please refer to the Release Notes.

Thanks to all who have contributed to Xubuntu, not least those who test for us when called upon, and generally anyone can do that for us all. We will name you all in time – you deserve one last mention. Thank you on behalf of all installing Xubuntu – you all rock!

SRU for 16.04: Intel cursor bug fix released

When we announced the release of Xubuntu 16.04 back in April there were a few known issues, but none has been more frustrating to users than this one:

When returning from lock, the cursor disappears on the desktop, you can bring the cursor back with Ctrl+Alt+F1 followed by Ctrl+Alt+F7

Most of the other bugs were fixed by the time 16.04.1 was released in July, but this one lingered while developers tested the xserver-xorg-video-intel package that had the fix in the proposed repository in August.

Thanks to the work of those developers and the members of our community who tested the package upon our request in August, we’re delighted to announce that the fix has been included as a Stable Release Update (SRU)!

This update will be applied to your system with all other regular updates, no special action is needed on your part.

Xubuntu 16.04.1 Release

The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 16.04.1 Xubuntu 16.04 is an LTS (Long-Term Support) release and will be supported for 3 years with point releases appearing at regular intervals.

The release images are available as Torrents and direct downloads from
http://xubuntu.org/getxubuntu/

During the next few days the upgrade from 14.04 to 16.04.1 will become available via the update-manager.

Those upgrading from 14.04 should take note of the following 2 issues which affect us particularly, details of these and other bugs are further detailed at the Release Notes

The Intel cursor bug is currently the subject of an SRU, the fix will be released in the near future.

In addition, those upgrading from 14.04 should take note of the deprecation of the fglrx driver detailed at the Ubuntu Release Note

Known Issues

  • Thunar is the subject of a few bugs, though they all appear to revolve around similar issues. We have 2 patches applied that, while not completely fixing the issue, do lessen the impact.
  • When returning from lock, the cursor disappears on the desktop, you can bring the cursor back with Ctrl+Alt+F1 followed by Ctrl+Alt+F7

Looking for memorable and fun Xubuntu stories!

To celebrate Xubuntu’s tenth birthday*, the Xubuntu team is glad to announce a new campaign and competition!

We’re looking for your most memorable and fun Xubuntu story. In order to participate, submit the story to xubuntu-contacts@lists.ubuntu.com. Or you may share an image (photo, drawing, painting, etc) to Elizabeth K. Joseph <lyz@ubuntu.com> and Pasi Lallinaho <pasi@shimmerproject.org>, please restrict your file size to a maximum of 5M.

For example, have you shared Xubuntu with a friend or family member, and had them react in a memorable way? Or have you created Xubuntu-themed cookies, cakes or artwork? No story or experience is too simple to share and don’t be restricted by these examples, surprise us!

Bonus: Share it on Twitter and hashtag it with #LoveXubuntu and during the competition, the Xubuntu team will retweet a posts on the Twitter account for Xubuntu. Additionally, we encourage to share your stories all over the social media!

At the end of the competition, we will select 5 finalists. All finalists will receive a set of Xubuntu stickers from UnixStickers! We will pick 2 winners from the finalists who will also receive a Xubuntu t-shirt! We will be in touch with the finalists and winners after the contest has ended to check their address details and preferred t-shirt size and color (for winners).

Notes on licensing: Submissions to the #LoveXubuntu campaign will be accepted under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license and available for use for Xubuntu marketing in the future without further consent from the participants. That said, we’re friendly folks and will try to communicate with you before using your story or image!

* The first official Xubuntu release was 6.06, released on June 1, 2006.

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