Blog Tags: 

UDS - Natty Narwhal summary

As I previously mentioned, I was graciously sponsored by Canonical to participate in the Ubuntu Developer Summit held in Orlando, Florida. It was a very productive and fun week. Lots of sessions, lots of hall way discussions, and information overload.
So, I wanted to summarize the week in my perspective, and give those who weren't following the proceedings a glimps into what is planned for Natty and beyond. The full UDS-N proceedings summary is available here. If you're interested, here are the UDS-N photos.
Special thanks goes out to Scott Moser who acted as my personal delivery man, lugging my newly ordered laptop and SSD across the US so I could have it in time for UDS. Thanks Scott!


Before getting to the summary, I wanted to inject a thought I had and which was shared by others I spoke to. Ubuntu is developed and contributed to by a wide range of individuals spanning the globe, with different backgrounds, polical views and religions.
It was amazing to see everyone put aside their so-called differences, give respect to one another, and come together as a whole - united by the desire to make a difference. To make a real difference to real people.
Jono said it best: "Each of us is attracted to Ubuntu for our own reasons, but a great many of these reasons have one underlying element - Freedom."


It was great to finally be able to put a face to an IRC nick, and meet lots of people and have interesting conversations, with whom I otherwise wouldn't have crossed paths with.
I was mostly involved in the Cloud track, but I did join in on other sessions which personally interested me. The sessions were productive and valuable on a technical level, but I found that the hall-way and lunch-time chats were just as valuable, if not more.
A lot can be accomplished in just a few minutes of facetime - which you can sometimes forget when spending your days behind a keyboard. True, I still prefer email and online chats for technical communication, but there is no alternative to meat-space facetime.

TurnKey and Ubuntu

Almost every person I spoke to had either used TurnKey or at least heard of the project. I even had a brief run in with @sabdfl who said "ah TurnKey, you guys are doing great work". I enjoyed getting feedback, comments and ideas from the Ubuntu community on how to make TurnKey better, and bring the projects closer together.
There are just too many sessions and conversations to summarize them all, so here are some highlights related to TurnKey:

Ubuntu image store

For a while now we have had UEC (Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud - Eucalyptus) image builds available, but unfortunately they have been collecting dust and were not imported into the UEC image store, which would make them easily accessible in UEC deployments.
The current implementation of the UEC store is not very flexible, and importing images involves a painful and error prone process. The original maintainer of the project has moved on to bigger and better things, and the store has been left largely unmaintained.
Due to a 5 minute hall-way chat, confirmation from upper-management and a brief discussion during a related session, a new session was added to the itinerary and requirements fleshed out. The project has a new POA and we are now on our way to providing UEC deployments with easy access and discoverability of TurnKey Linux (and other) images.

Rackspace and OpenStack

We have received lots of requests to support TurnKey on the Rackspace cloud. Luckily, the OpenStack folks were at UDS and I had some dicussions with them.
Nothing is final yet, but we will be working with them to make TurnKey images available via Glance in OpenStack, which is planned to be deployed at Rackspace in about 6 months. OpenStack is a very interesting and exciting project, both technically and what it can do to the cloud space. I love the design, and can't wait to see it in action.

Kernel upgrades on Amazon EC2

Ubuntu Maverick AMI's have a great feature which allows users to perform kernel upgrades. Unfortunately this is not available in Lucid (the LTS).
After chatting with Scott Moser (and the security team for SRU applicability), I decided I would backport the functionality to Lucid after UDS. But, it seems Scott is super-human. One evening he said to me "by the way, I backported the functionality and it's available in my PPA". Scott, you rock!

School server in a box

This session was not part of the server/cloud track, but the title tickled my curiousity. And since I've had quite a bit of experience packaging up servers I thought I'd attend.
I got to sit in the fish bowl (one of the front seats next to the mic) and provided my feedback, comments and ideas. I also told Rik Goldman's and the Chelsea School's stories. We came out with a couple of action items to push the project forward, and am looking forward to collaborating with the edubuntu team.

EBSMount going to main

As an outcome of UDS Maverick, I worked with Scott to get EBSMount into the Ubuntu archives together with Eucalyptus support. Towards the end of the cycle I didn't have time to make some changes to the codebase which were required to get it into main, so it's currently in universe.
Hopefully for the Natty cycle I'll get those changes implemented and into main. Why main? It's a preqrequisite so EBSmount can be included in the official Ubuntu cloud images.

Automated image testing

I had a great conversation with the Server QA team, well, Carlos, on how to automate ISO and image testing. We'll be collaborating to make Ubuntu as well as TurnKey image testing more automated and more efficient.
Well, to be honest, TurnKey is more in need of automation and can learn a lot from the Ubuntu process, but we hope to give back to Ubuntu what we learn and unit tests we develop.


The project was first introduced to me during UDS Maverick. I hadn't heard much of the project since then, but during lunch with some of the core developers, they gave me an overview of what they have done, and where they are going.
In a nutshell, the project is about deployment and management of services (not servers), mostly aimed at multi-machine deployments in the cloud.
For example, you could ensemble a Wordpress service, and specify a MySQL service that you may have already deployed. Ensemble would then magically deploy Wordpress on a new instance, and configure it to use the already deployed MySQL service, as well as configuring the MySQL service to be used by the Wordpress service.
A project like this is very ambitious, has a lot of gotcha's and pitfalls, but could be powerful if realized. The ensemble concept as a whole goes against the appliance concept in terms of deliverables, but does share in objectives. I have plans to work with the ensemble team to see what we can do together, and hopefully collaborate to bring TurnKey multi-server deployment and seamless management into reality. 

OLPC (One laptop per child)

Not related to TurnKey, but a great initiative I thought I'd share.
I bumped into one of the organizers of OLPC, who let me hold and play with one of the latests devices. It is a very impressive piece of hardware for under $200, and when he told me that they have put over 2 million units in the hands of children around the world, and shared their upcoming plans, I was even more impressed.

UDS-N theme song

If you were at UDS, then you've heard this song. If you haven't, it's really catchy and you will not able to get it out of your head. Thanks to Scott and Dustin for this one.

Narwhals Narwhals...

Closing notes

All good things come to an end, and so did UDS. Additionally, I'd like to wish the following folks good luck in their new adventures: Thierry Carrez (OpenStack), Scott James Remnant (Google).
Lets make Natty rock!
The next UDS will be held on Budapest, I hope I'll be able to attend and see you all there!


Liraz Siri's picture

I was expecting something lame and corny for the theme song, but it's not bad at all. And it certainly did the job. I'm full of renewed vigor and enthusiasm for the next release. Narwhals really are awesome! Who knew?

Great summary BTW. Sounds like a very productive UDS. I just wish you took more pictures. I was checking out your Twitter updates every day for those. Oh well, maybe next time. Or better yet, maybe next time I'll attend in person.

Alon Swartz's picture

I started taking pictures, but they were mostly in dark-lit rooms and at night, which didn't come out too well. So I decided to not upload them, and rely on the professional photographer.

Hopefully we can travel Budapest together next year :)

Duplicity support Rackspace CloudFile well , so there will not be much difficulty in porting TKL to Rackspace , atleast the TKLBAM part. I think 64bit support is the most critical thing that need to be addressed.

Alon Swartz's picture

64bit is on our radar for after the 11.0 release. It's been a long time coming, and will be a great addition to the TurnKey library.

Lets first push those out, then see how the other parts fall into place.

Adrian Moya's picture

As a fan of Cthulhu and Lovecraftian stuff, I really laughed with that part of the video!

Nice summary, did they mention the UEC moving to OpenStack or was it me dreaming that the other day? 

Alon Swartz's picture

Good question, I should have included that in my summary. The following is my understanding on the issue, though I may be wrong.

Canonical are not moving away from Eucalyptus anytime soon. Eucalyptus has been deployed in quite a few enterprises on Hardy which is the LTS, and supported for 5 years. Canonical have an invested interest in the success of UEC and Eucalyptus. There were a lot of sessions in the Eucalyptus/UEC space - and a couple on OpenStack. A very interesting session was UEC and OpenStack gap analysis, based around this.

OpenStack is the new kid-on-the-block, and has a lot of buzz around it. RIghtfully so - I really like the design. Development is being done on top of the latest release of Ubuntu, so don't expect a backport to the Lucid LTS. Some of the components are already available as packages, and as development continues, more of the components will be available for installation.

In the upcoming cycles, you should expect UEC to support both Eucalyptus as well as OpenStack. Not sure if it will be "marketed" under the same name (i.e. UEC), though it might happen. But OpenStack will be a deployment option one way or another.

Jeremy Davis's picture

Sounds like you had a very productive time. Nice too to be feeding some of the great TKL work back upstream. My son is gonna love that Narwhal song! :)

Alon Swartz's picture

UDS is definitely about collaboration, and it was great to collaborate with the Ubuntu community.

Meeting the actual people behind the IRC nicks was amazing, fun, and I think by doing so we can bring the projects closer together, and collaborate even more.

I still have the Narwhal song stuck in my head, my wife is infected as well. I played it for a couple of family friends kids and they were dancing and trying to sing along - it was really funny!

Narwhals Narwhals... Swimming in the ocean...

Anil Mahadev's picture

Hi Alon,

Great Post! Good to know about Rackspace and OpenStack initiatives.

The Edubuntu School Project seems interesting.

Moodle could be a vital component in that offering maybe or Joomlalms :)



Thank you for the great summary. Narwhals Narwhals has become the new greeting for our tech students. Extremely flattered to have had their work mentioned. As the aim of the school server in a box has come into sharper focus, so has our enthusiasm. We're looking to the success of the Fedena patch and hoping to have the same success with other ed tech server solutions. Thanks, Alon.


Add new comment