Wednesday, 25 November 2015

GUI vs CLI:KLM speed analysis


I have decided to analyze what is faster in terms of actual speed of use, the GUI or CLI? In this post I will describe my process, and I will display the results of the various scenarios. All the scenarios describe on how a user would update the software on his computer.

Important:In this test I did not measure the speed of the actual software. What I measured was the total time of how many seconds did the user have to interact(user actions) with his computer to complete the desired goal while using the GUI or the CLI. In other words I am not measuring the speed of the software but the speed of the usage of said software. That is we are measuring the speed of the hand movements and similar(which can cause the carpal tunnel syndrome).

The method

I have used the KLM(Keystroke-level model), it is a method that tries to predict on how long will it take a user to accomplish a routine task while using an interactive computer system. This method assumes that the user knows how to do the taks in question, and it also assumes that in the measured scenario no errors were made by the user.
Keystroke-level model 
I also should mention that although I have used Ubuntu 15.04(Unity) as my reference operating system, I consider that my results are usable on most modern operating systems, because the process of updating the software is very similar with 2-3 common steps:
1)Search for updates
2)User authentication
3)Install the updates

The goal of my measurement was to be system agnostic, so I have simply assumed that the system response time = 0.
Some scenarios however cleverly automate 1), which is perfectly ok for the purposes of this test.
As for the KLM, I have used 4 of its six operators in my scenarios:
  • K - Keystroke or mouse button press-I have assumed that the user is an average skilled typist - 1K = 0.2s
  • P - Pointing to a target with a mouse - 1P = 1.1s
  • H - Switching your second hand from the keyboard to the mouse and vice versa - 1H = 0.4s
  • M - The mental preparation for the execution of physical actions - 1M = 1.35s
I have ignored the D operator because I did not use them in the scenario and I have ignored the R operator because this measurement was system agnostic so the system response time was just assumed as 0, as that is not what I intended to measure. The length in seconds for each operation was scientifically established by monitoring many users of different skill levels.

Each of the operators(K, P, H, M) represents one single user action.
In total I have measured 5 scenarios. Each of the 5 scenarios was first broken down to several steps which were then separately measured by the KLM method. When analyzing the steps I will not describe every single user action, instead I will just write down the neccesary operators and the resulting time.

In the GUI scenarios the user starts with an empty desktop with no windows open. The user in those scenarios is using both the keyboard and mouse. In the CLI scenarios the user starts with an empty terminal. In those scenarios on the other hand the user only uses the keyboard. In all of the scenarios the user starts with both his hands on the keyboard. At the begining of each scenario there is one 'M' operation.
The scenarios are:
  1. GUI - The user has to find the software update dialogue. He also has to check for the updates,authenticate and install them.
  2. CLI - The user has to manually search for updates, authenticate and update his system via the CLI. 
  3. GUI - The user gets a 'notification' which leads him to the software update dialogue. The user has to click on the icon, authenticate and install the updates.
  4. CLI - The user has to update his system via a script file. He has to start the script, authenticate and approve the updates.
  5. CLI + i3wm GUI - the peculiarity of the i3wm GUI is that it promotes keyboard only usage. This scenario acually uses the CLI and the same script from scenario 4. The i3wm GUI however is only used for launching the CLI terminal with the script preloaded onto the terminal. Everything else is pure CLI.

The actual measurements
1)The 'long' GUI scenario

In this scenario the user has to first do 'menu hunting'  until he finds the neccessary system update dialogue box. Then he has to authenticate and search for the updates. After that the user ends his actions by pressing the install updates button.

Here are the steps that I have used to separate everything into smaller chunks:
  1.  Finding and activating the 'start' menu: 2M+H+P+K=4.40s
  2. Searching for the 'software update dialogue'(typing in 'update' into the search box): H+M+6K=2.95s
  3. Activating the 'update software dialogue'(running it): H+M+P+K=3.05s
  4. Searching for the updates: M+P+K=2.65s  
  5. Authenticating(8 letter password + shift + enter):  P+11K+H+M=5.05s
  6.  Installing the updates: H+M+P+K=3.05s
Total: 21.15s 

2)The 'manual' CLI scenario

In this scenario the user has to completely manually input the neccessary CLI commands in order to update his software. The commands used were 'sudo apt-get update' and 'sudo apt-get upgrade'
Here are the steps:
  1. Search for the updates: 2M+20K=6.70s
  2. Authenticate(8 letter password + shift + enter): M+10K=3.35s
  3. Starting the install process: M+21K=5.55s
  4. Review and allow the updates: M+K=1.55s
Total: 17.15s

3)The 'notification' GUI scenario

In this scenario the user gets a notification on his GUI that allows him to directly skip into the 'software update dialogue'. Also the 'search' for updates step can also be skipped as it was done automatically by the system.

  1. Pressing on the notification: 2M+H+P+K=4.4s
  2. Starting the install process: M+P+K=2.65s
  3. Authenticating(8 letter password + shift + enter): P+H+11K=5.05s
Total: 12.1s

4)The 'scripted' CLI scenario

In this scenario the user has to start a script that automates the processof searching for the updates and starts the process of installing the updates. It is assumed that the script itself is finished and ready to use.

  1. Start the script( './' + enter): 2M+13K=5.3s
  2. Authenticate(8 letter password + shift + enter): M+10K=3.35s
  3. Review and allow the updates: M+K=1.55s
Total: 10.2s

5)The 'combined' i3wm + CLI scenario

The i3wm GUI promotes keyboard only usage. It is something that is called a 'Tiling window manager'(Tiling WM ). I3wm functions in such a way that often you can think of it as a visual extension to your CLI. It is definitely not a traditional GUI. This scenario acually uses the CLI a lot more and it uses the same script from scenario 4. The i3wm GUI however is only used for its keyboard shortcuts to launch the CLI terminal with the script preloaded onto the terminal. Everything else is pure CLI. In this scenario the user has to press the keyboard shortcut that opens a CLI with the same script that was used in scenario 4 preloaded. After that the user only has to authenticate and review the updates.

  1. Input the keyboard shortcuts: 2M+2K=3.1s
  2. Authenticate(8 letter password + shift + enter): M+10K=3.35s
  3. Review and allow the updates: M+K=1.55s
Total: 8s

What have we learned?
Well we have learned that the above picture depicts the truth. However there are other things that we have learned as well...
Is the CLI faster in usage?
Definitely. But I will admit that it is a few seconds slower than I expected it to be.
What about those nifty 'Tiling WM's?
Those are also awesomely fast, however in the workflow their nature is closer to being extensions to the CLI. Had we avoided to use the CLI, then we would have had to go trough the same 'menu hunting' process as we did with the traditional GUI(Unity) and that would cost us a lot of speed.
Does that mean that the CLI is superior to the GUI?
Absolutely not. It only means it is faster in usage. Plus there are many other scenarios to test. For some situations and users it is better to use the CLI, for others it is better to use the GUI.
Ok, but what are the advantages of the GUI then?
Intuitiveness and interactiveness. The GUI uses our 'intuitive knowledge' to make it easier to use computers. I.e. you can take apiece of paper, grab it and throw it into the trash can. The same way you can take an icon, grab it and throw it into the trash can. The CLI on the other hand is a lot like 'casting spells' you have to learn the commands and tell them to the computer. 'rm -rf' is very similar to 'Avada Kedavra' :P
Oh and another thing... Notice how the scenarios with 3 steps are faster than the scenarios with 4 and 6 steps...

In the future
 Further research should be done:
1)Further research should be done on many other scenarios
2)UX designers should try to decrease the number of steps neccessary to complete scenarios.
3)UX designers should implement more keyboard shortcuts for its software even when it is not marketed only towards experienced users.
4)When designing GUI's for advanced users, UX designers should try to integrate the CLI into the GUI.  A good example would be how the file manager named 'Dolphin' has a CLI extension(picture below):

5)Tiling WM's are nice and they are something that should be looked into.

6)The strength of the GUI is in its intuitivity. However when it comes to doing more with less the CLI has the advantage. That means that the GUI world must not stagnate, in order to start doing more with less UX designers must do 'wild exerimentation'.
7)Where are NUI's in this whole mess?

Monday, 23 November 2015

Multiculturalism and why I love it.

Phew, this will be my first blog post that is not related to technology this year. I have gone 11 months without writing about anything that is not related to technology.

Well... What I want to write about is why I am such a big fan of multiculturalism. To talk about multiculturalism first we need to define what exactly it is:
Multiculturalism describes the existence, acceptance, or promotion of multiple cultural traditions within a single jurisdiction, usually considered in terms of the culture associated with an ethnic group. This can happen when a jurisdiction is created or expanded by amalgamating areas with two or more different cultures (e.g. French Canada and English Canada) or through immigration from different jurisdictions around the world (e.g. Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, United States, United Kingdom, and many other countries). 
Multicultural ideologies and policies vary widely, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, to a policy of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, to policies in which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group to which they belong. - From Wikipedia-multiculturalism

I would just add one more thing, multiculturalism is a goal, not a means or a process. This is not a discussion on how well multiculturalism currently functions in place XY. In recent events it certainly takes a lot of strong will to keep your hope in humanity and the idea of multiculturalism.

I think that the best way to explain on why I like multiculturalism is to mention some of the opposites of multiculturalism. So, what do we have at the opposite side of multiculturalism:
-prejudice, intolerance, inhumanity, brutality, isolationism, misunderstanding, wars, authoritarianism, big brother, dictatorships and ultimately all of that leads to nazism. And that is only just among other things.

Also the argument that some cultures are superior to or more valuable than others is moot. Firstly it is very subjective on which culture is superior. Secondly, sure the west might be superior in some ways to other cultures but only at this moment. 1000 years ago for instance the Islamic world was more progressive both culturally and technologically, there was tolerance to atheists, different religions and tolerance to different cultures.  Meanwhile in Europe at that time we had forced baptizing, an all out war against heretics and everyone who was "different". It was a culture of violence back then. What happened to islam is that all the bad things that I have mentioned in the paragraph above had take over. So, you can't guarantee that western culture will be 'superior' in 100 years. Furthermore if we let the bad things take over we might become just like modern islamic culture, defensive, stuck in our ancient ways and aggressive.

But that is enough about the negatives, let's talk about the positives. 

Multiculturalism promotes peace. Let us look at the example of Europe. Before WWII, Europe was the continent that was the most riddled with wars and with intercultural hate and misunderstanding. After WWII the people in Europe(myself included) and their leaders have finally learned their lesson and they decided that they must do something to stop the wars in Europe. So they decided to form the European union, with multiculturalist policies at its heart. As a result Europe became maybe even the most peaceful continent of modern civilisation.

Another very important and my favourite reason on why I like multiculturalism is that multiculturalism 'expands' my perception of the real world. I.e. if you were born in the English speaking world, you probably know English. And you know your way with people in the English speaking world. Everything else is actually pretty closed for you. However, I who also know German, I also know my way around the German speaking world.  I can go to Berlin as a tourist and enjoy everything that Germans do. I can read German newspapapers, I can read German web sites. I can go to German forums and take part in flame wars on German. I can even make German friends, easier than to force them to speak English. I even took part in a beginner class of Japanese, though my Japanese skills are still not that good.

The conclusion about multiculturalism is that you should think long term. Very long term. You should think in decades and centuries. You should also think about, how could we ever reach the famous "star trek society".

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Ubuntu Q&A 6.10.2015.

Hello everyone.
This time I will write about the Q&A that happened on the 6th.October 2015. This miniseries will be overviewing the regular weekly Q & A's held by the Canonical community team. I don't promise to do this miniseries regularly because of my own time constrictions. I also will not write about every question that was asked, I will only write about questions and answers which I consider interesting. And I will only indirectly report what was asked and how it was answered. You can find those details in the video of the sessions themselves. I will however put a link to the videos(if I forgot the link, please tell me so in the comments). So let's start with the first question.

20:00 What are their user names on twitter and irc?

21:06 Will Kubuntu exist after 15.10?

21:45 Do you think patreon is the answer for the adblock for chrome browser, they have joined adblocks acceptable ads program?
They have no opinion. 

23:30 What do you do before the stream goes live?
You don't want to know. They prepare the announcements, they chase guests.

24:15 What year do you predict the postal service will have an Ubuntu snappy app?
Next year.

25:00 Is the unnamed US phone manufacturer still coming?
They can not say anything. They might invite the product management team on the Q & A.

25:50 Why haven't we got all the default scopes on BQ and Meizu on the store yet?
When they released the first phone they decided to give the phones some exclusive value. They are now having an initiative to open source some of those scopes.They open most of the scopes. There will probably always be some exclusive scopes in order to please the manufacturers.

28:00 How many Canonical developers work on Ubuntu phone?
At least 100+ people.

29:40 is it possible to suggest topics for UOS?

31:30 When the new Ubuntu installer comes, will it still support the small console output for troubleshooting purposes?
They don't remember seeing it. They won't take out the logging.

33:00 When do you expect to see Ubuntu pre-installed in stores for phones or desktop?
You can buy some laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed.

34:00 In your opinion what are the priorities that the application openfoodfacts should have?
Congratulations for being one of the winners. All judges added lots of comments with feedback. There is no settings dialogue.

36:50 What is the feedback from BQ and Meizu about their recent phones regarding sales and customer feedback? Are they happy about it?
Overwhelmingly positive. They don't know the numbers. For them return rates are the most important, and the return rates are very very low. So everyone is very happy with it. Canonical also helps them with customer support. They can't disclose any information, but more phones will come.

39:00 What can help speeding up Ubuntu convergence development?
One issue is that not all Ubuntu phones can run convergence.Another issue is that Unity8 on desktop is not yet stable enough for testing apps.

41:45 Is canonical going to be run over by Germans?
Germans love Ubuntu.

42:50 When Ubuntu personal gets released will the deb version with unity7 get a new theme just to keep visual consistency?

43:30 On convergence, how does Ubuntu.layout and the new adaptive page layout fit together?
Ask someone from the SDK team on the IRC or the mailing list.

44:30 Do you perhaps have the information that when the convergence phone comes,will it be packaged with a dock? Also will it support VGA and DVI screens?
They don't have the information.They probably won't have DVI and VGA support.

47:00 Will Canonical put commercials on TV to get a bigger view from Ubuntu. Not many people in the UK have heard about Ubuntu, And I imagine it is the same in the USA. I feel like a lot of Ubuntu users are preaching to the choir when they are promoting Ubuntu.
Yes Canonical is trying to get awareness of Ubuntu. In the past there were commercials on billboards, commercials on airports. And they are working with partners that are pre-installing Ubuntu, like Dell and Lenovo. Commercials on TV are extremely expensive though.Right now they are trying to get the phone out there first.

49:40 Do you think it would be good for the phone industry to create something like a 'BIOS' standard so that we can install any OS on a phone the same
They completely agree with the question. They never understood why we can install any OS on a phone or a desktop while we can not do the same on a phone. They can do the same thing but the user is forced to use the one OS with which the device came with, if he goes to great lengths the user can maybe substitute it with another version of the same operating system.But I can't install Ubuntu on a random phone. Some devices are even locked down. It would be nice to have, and finally something like that is coming, ARM is making such a standard specification.But as long as the manufacturer modifies its OS, interests are colliding. Similar situations were also with PC's and laptops and there it was escalated to the regulatory agencies in order to force everybody to stop trying to build monopolies, maybe that is necessary for phones as well.

52:30 When will we have apps running in the background on the Ubuntu phone? way we can do it on the PC?
It is a big problem.It will have to be done eventually. It is very hard to do right.

This post might be the last post I am doing on this miniseries. Well, probably not the last, but I don't want to do it for every Q&A session from now on. I might do it again sometimes but that is it. One of the resons for this is that the viewership has dropped rapidly. The first post in this series had almost 2000 views in its first two weeks. The last post in this series before this one did barely even reach 200. A more important reason is that I want to reroute my time and effort to something else,still mostly Linux related stuff, like this for example:

And here is the link to the video:

Phew... I am not a journalist(I m an IT student), however I must give a heads up to all the professionall journalists, good journalism is indeed a hard job, keep your chin up :)

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Should I make my own distro?

So, on January 2013, I tried to create my own anime oriented Linux distro, I was however a noob with just 2 years of Linux experience and no barely enough CLI knowledge to 'cd' and 'apt-get'. That what I made was nothing more than Ubuntu 12.04(or 12.10 was it?) and some preinstalled software like a mass renamer for anime episodes, vlc and some other software. And it was made with UCK and the help of similar tools.

Now I am willing to maybe give it another go, just for funzies. And yeah, I did get some skills since then.

I don't want to give you an answer directly about what exactly my distro will be, because as you can see if you read it down furrther, I still have questions myself.

So let's talk about some of the ideas I have.
I will definitely again use the help of tools like UCK, except this time I will delve in much deeper. 
For my base I want to either use Ubuntu or Debian. I am kind of leaning more to Ubuntu, because Ubuntu does have sane defaults(and if we go the 'user friendly route' then definitely Ubuntu), plus if it ever succeeds and becomes my brak off success hobby project(yeah Linus I am looking at you :=P )it might become an official flavour in the long run(hey, a guy can dream right :P ?). 

If I pick Debian I will definitely use the netinstall image. Also I don't want to leave it unprotected, however I do not want to use the NSA backed SELinux, or the omnipresent AppArmor. I will try Tomoyo, because I do like the security trough obscurity concept.

If I pick Ubuntu I will also probably try any kind of minimal image, but I will also consider the Unity image except I will remove Unity from that image. I will do that If I want to have the GUI application software that comes by default with Unity (LO, the unity control center, network manager).

But what GUI will you use?
I am 95% sure that I wan't to have i3wm there somewhere. 
But what does i3wm bring to the usermean to the user, with heavy keyboard usage, ultra high on customisation and even less resource usage than LXDE. It will also mean debloating, although Ubuntu is definitely not bloated, it should just come closer to actual minimalism. A caveat however is that i3wm is not one of the most user friendly interfaces.

Ok, but what about that 'user friendly route'?
If I go that way I will very probably make 2 distros, one with i3 and another one with probably KDE,Unity or LXDE.

What file manager?
I still have no idea. I need to do research on that one. But if I don't find anything better then probably Dolphin. Nautilus activates too many background services and screws up i3wm while launching(by default at least, maybe I could even tame it). Pcmanfm however is too barebones in my opinion. I do want to have automounting and a working search index in the file manager, which Dolphin does have even if it is buggy on i3wm.

What web browser?
Probably not one of the mainstream ones. Maybe Otter browser?

Ok but what about the 'flavour' of the distro?
I am once again thinking about 2 routes:
"i3buntu"- basically a flavour of Ubuntu or Debian with i3wm, modified as I have described before.
"something something anime Linux"- The same like before except anime themed. Anime themed or related or useful software preinstalled. The "user friendly route" is actually a subroute of this route. I will probably also preinstall it with renpy based Visual novels. And maybe steam.

Sounds fun, so may I help?
Of course. Contact me here or on my email: 
What I really do need help for is if you can do Debian packaging for some of my own software and some other tarballs. Because dependency hunting while packaging is something that reminds me of vomiting.
If you can't help with that but can help with something else you are still free to contact me

But isn't there already something like an 'Anime distro'?
Yes there is:
And it looks great. I reccomend you to try those before I finish my first alpha.
However I still want to try my idea for the following reasons:
-Mangaka is based of the LTS release of Ubuntu. Which is not bad in itself, but I want mine to be based of the curent release.
-Mangaka does not have a i3wm version
-I want to do it to further my own knowledge of Linux and for fun.
But I would consider mergin my i3wm version with them when I get something workable.

So what next?
My first order of business is to install the tools I want and need and then get my desired image.
My second order of business is to uninstall Unity (either 15.04 or 15.10 if the bug with AMD drivers gets fixed soon enough), install i3wm and test if the image works.
My third order of business if everything is successful is to reprioritise on what I as a person am doing to make enough space and time to work on this.

Just like Linux Torvalds suggested in one of his famous quotes, I plan to start small. This is a hobby project for me.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Ubuntu Community Q&A 29.09.2015

Hello everyone.
This time I will write about the Q&A that happened two weeks ago. This miniseries will be overviewing the regular weekly Q & A's held by the Canonical community team. I don't promise to do this miniseries regularly because of my own time constrictions. I also will not write about every question that was asked, I will only write about questions and answers which I consider interesting. And I will only indirectly report what was asked and how it was answered. You can find those details in the video of the sessions themselves. I will however put a link to the videos(if I forgot the link, please tell me so in the comments). So let's start with the first question.

13:14 Who is the guest today?

13:34 What happened to the Meizu MX4?
It will probably come back. It was sold out.

15:37 What about making CChromium the default Ubuntu browser instead of Firefox?
It will not happen in 15.10. Perhaps in 16.04. If you have arguments then bring them out in the mailing list.We shall also talk about the Ubuntu browser or any other browser. It is good to have that discussion regularly.

19:30 Would Popey and Michael describe themselves as free software advocates, where is the line between transparency and convenience?
Popey is a pragmatic FSF advocate but he also does use proprietary software. He admits he is one but he is a bad one. Michael is kind of the same. He uses Linux exclusively and uses OSS whenever it is an option, but he is not an idealist, i.e. he uses Chrome instead of Firefox. However when he has the option even if it is a bit of an inconvenience he will still ose OSS

22:00 is the 25000 Ubuntu phones sold estimate correct?
They don't have the information. Probably a good estimate. It is better to look at the number of Ubuntu desktops. 5 Years ago that was 20000000 installations. Right now those numbers are not important for them as a company. They are currently building an enthusiast product. Right now they are only trying to break even in profit, and they are doing that. It is more important that the OEM's want to continue carry on making phones and that has happened with BQ so far.

27:35 what happened to popeys disco ball?
The room was redecorated. Now he has a lavalamp.

28:50 How do you guys feel about the 2 month OTA updates?
Compare it to Android and iOS, it is interesting how the mindset is different with Ubuntu. You can run rc-proposed if you want. The target is actually 6 weeks, not 2 months and they think that is alright. You are welcome to help fix some of the bugs.

35:00 Is there a place where we can suggest guests in the obvious apps and suggests guests for the Q&A ,who is doing the scheduling?
You can reach them on the mailing list and IRC.

35:50 is there going to be a cradle for the convergence phone, and why not when Android is kicing butt in this area?
They don't know. They don't know about the hardware specfics. Bq is very open source friendly and they are big on 3d printing,they might provide some 3d printable models.

37:00 As IPlayer works on the Ubuntu phone, does Netflix work?
No. They are missing DRM extensions.

38:00 Are popey and mhall watching the bad voltage live stream from germany?
Mhall won't. Popey might. They think it is a great show though.

39:26 Willy Werewolf is pretty close to launch now, can you give us a background as to the promotion by Canonical, and how to get involved with loco groups and will Mark Shuttleworth give us a keynote?
Find your closest loco team and just get involved. Planning events is probably one of the best ways to get involved and a lot of people will get involved. The best is to just make an event, no matter hoiw many people are interested into getting on the event.

41:31 Why not use the Ubuntu browser, are there any plans to support plugins within it?
No plans to support plugins yet. They are not yet at that point int the development.

42:00 When is the next UDS?
It depends if you mean the UOS or the in person developer sumit? The next online summit will be in the first week of november.

43:00 Since browsers are large and complex programs, and therefore it takes a lot of effort, would it not be better to delegate it to some organisation like Mozilla?
Yes. That is why the ubuntu browser is based off chromium. Chromium provides the engine, while Canonical provides the UI and everything else. That is why they were able to build the browser. There is nothing stopping anyone else to bring their browser to Ubuntu. There are other browser.

45:00 Are there any Telegram updates, the Telegram application is far behind the Android based application?
Upstream Telegram is super active and they are developing a new version of Telegram. 

46:00 What are Popey and Mike doing for movember?
Popey does not do movember.Mike only grows facial hair when he is lazy, because of his wife it won't happen.

47:00 Will Firefox come to Ubuntu phone?
Yes if someone ports it. Opendocument support will come though.

48:00 Is it possible to include pepper flash plugin-nonfree in Ubuntu restricted extras, it is important for Chromium, because most people ask me how to use it in Chromium?
The question is how it implements flash in the system. You should ask on the mailing list.

49:30 Do you know what the big picture mode in steam is, could the mobile UI be used on TV for greater viewing distance?
Yes, that is part of the big plan for unity8. That is why we have grid units. They are still keeping the TV in mind. Also TV will be part of convergence. But now the priority is the converged phone.

51:50 What are your twitter and Google+ user names?
Michael hall:mhall1119 on twitter, on Google+ Michael Hall119
Alan Pope:Popey everywhere.

52:45 What is your favourite app at the moment and what is on your wishlist?
Monster wars and Neverball. Wishlist: Whatsapp just so that people stop asking :P. Mhall would like a better facebook application.

54:05 If Jolla can make a tablet why can't Canonical?
Because Jolla paid for it. Canonical will revisit tablets next year. Canonical does not want to be a hardware company. They would be surprised if we will not have a tablet next year-

54:45 If you could buy the uber webcam but definitely work with ubuntu 100% of the time, which one would you suggest?
A logitech webcam, or whatever one is in your laptop. 

55:45 Is Popeys cat a girl or boy?

56:06 Is anything being done about the memory management killing applications?
The main focus is to reduce the memory footprint. There is a state saver for applications. It is similar to android.

57:00 What kickstarter,indiegogo or patreon have you seen that really appeals to you?
Popey backed the scraps games. It is a game where you build cars and drive around, and Mycroft...
Michael hall has backed mycroft which is an open source AI appliance.

As usual the link to the video is here:

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Ubuntu Q&A 22.09.2015

Hello everyone.
I have decided to start a new miniseries on this blog. This miniseries will be overviewing the regular weekly Q & A's held by the Canonical community team. I don't promise to do this miniseries regularly because of my own time constrictions. I also will not write about every question that was asked, I will only write about questions and answers which I consider interesting. And I will only indirectly report what was asked and how it was answered. You can find those details in the video of the sessions themselves. I will however put a link to the videos(if I forgot the link, please tell me so in the comments). So let's start with the first question.

Note:If you have any questions yourself, after reading this, please don't ask me, instead join the Q&A sessions which happen every Tuesday on 15:00(UTC) on

13:17 What is the release date for OnePlus2 with Ubuntu?
It is a community project, There is an announcement on the OnePlus forum. It is great to see such ports.

14:40 When developing for Ubuntu phone, can I test it on my desktop always?If I test my phone app on the desktop assuming that the phone app does not use any desktop specific hardware, and it does not work because the compenents are not in willy or are in older versions then are in older versions, instead of buckling the SDK because it should work, because testing on the desktop is not a target and if it works it is just lucky.
Their approach is to make the emulator a great tool, however you can always test it on the desktop. With convergence and unity8 on desktop this will become even better. The SDK guys are thinking about more advanced virtualization. The problem is that the desktop and target frameworks are not matching up. With convergence it should help. It remains an issue. Sensors however will just not be supported if you don't have the hardware. The API is there but there is no device to talk to.

16:35 Are there any updates on the convergent BQ phone?
Nothing official he can say yet, they do want to have it next year.

17:40 We have heard a lot about upcoming messaging frameworks and syncing frameworks, can you tell us what is to be expected, and when will they become available for developers?
That is a long term effort over the next year, they are building it on top of empathy and other existing building blocks. They are adding api's on that.

19:40 What is your daily driver phone?
The Meizu MX4, he prefers the nexus 4 though. He has also tried the BQ.

20:26 In the demos you see a small representation of the big screen on the small screen. Will that change by giving us a keyboard on the phone?
The question is what you do with the phones screen. It would be nice to have such a keyboard, there will be some kind of keyboard application.

21:31 Is there any possible hint of standard applications like whatsapp on Ubuntu?
It is a chicken and egg problem. Once they will be able to work with larger providers they will come. Textsecure is getting ready to launch on Ubuntu.

23:00 Is there any plans for in app payments?
They are working on it at this moment. They are using an interesting API that is almost ready to be released. It is a question of back-ends as well. QT has opensourced its purchasing stuff.

25:00 What is the biggest surprise and dissapointment in the years of phone development?
He is surprised at how fast it was until they made their first working prototypes. It was dissapointing how they did not release more mobile or tablet products last year.

28:40 There was something called Ubuntu brainstorm, but it was discontinued, anything as an alternative?
The best thing would probably be the mailing list. Ubuntu brainstomr was too much to maintain. Or the IRC would be good as well.

31:10 Are there any plans to upgrade the Android base?
There are. The devices will also have to switch. The only bits of Android they still use is the kernel version and device drivers.

33:10 Will you be able to use the phones in big picture mode?
They don't know yet. It will depend on what people will want.

34:00 How long is Ubuntu supported on Phones and how often is it updated,phone makers usually have bad software support?
The intention is to be supported for several years, certainly much better than Android, they are updating every 6 weeks for every device. Probably not as long as 5 years though.

35:26 What is your idea of a pure Ubuntu phone,without the Android bits?
The barrier is that the vendors have to implemnent drivers for native Linux. The vendors do not want to implement twice.

39:00 Any idea on the number of people purchasing the phones and how many developers are there?
There was almost a thousand developers only on the store. There are more outside the store. The number of users is somewhere in thethousands or more.

40:28 Will the convergence phone be able to run Inkscape?
Yes it will but probably not in the first generation.
Those applications will not have to be reworked, just properly installed and packaged.

41:37 What is the minimum limit for paid applications in the store, why is it not 99 cents?
The limit is 1.99. The limit is there because it is reasonable for processing ad making sure that everyone gets some money.

42:47 Is now the right time to crowdfound a Ubuntu tablet?
It is pretty soon, but they would like to see one. You may want to wait until they first get one commercial partner.

43:40 What are the plants to solve the chicken and egg problem?
To get a bigger market share and work with bigger partners. The approach so far was to purposefully target enthusiasts. It will happen with time.

45:25 I am using Ubuntu since march, will we be able to change the background on a phone?
Initially they wanted it but now they disabled it for UI consitency. Scopes might be able to help in here.

46:32 Androidhow, Why did they move from cyanogenmod to AOSP?(I am not sure I have heard that question correctly)
It probably had to do with the devices that they wanted to support back then. All the images come from AOSP now.

47:35 when using a TV as a display, will it always switch to desktop mode or can you choose the phone UI on the TV screen?
Right now not, but if the use case will be popular enough, why not.

48:20 was there work on running Android applications on Ubuntu?
It is pretty difficult to do well. They have a very different UI and lifecycle model. They do not want peopl to write Applications on Android and then making them run on Ubuntu trough a bad compatibility layer as a second rate platform. They wnat Ubuntu to be a primary platform with good native applications.
Also,see here:

54:07 Microsoft is working on convergence as well, any hope of being able to port ubuntu on their phones as well so the hardware convergence is already built in?
They are currently relying on hardware dupport from the Android implementations, so they don't know how that would work. It would be a lot of work. On WP boot loaders are locked.

55:00 Are we going to win the convergence race?
They have been talking about it for a long time and they are ready to realise it. Because of the design patterns it will hopefully work well.

56:00 Will the scopes be rotateable and will the nexus 5 be officially supported?
Scopes will be improved a lot soon. There is no plan to officially support the nexus 5. Now they have their own device partners.

57:21 Any new applications in the works that other phones can not do, other than scopes?Any killer app?
They don't think so. Good convergence is the killer app they are working on right now.

57:50 How is the intense work on the software side going with the efficient use of the hardware, battery drain is the point where other phones struggle right now?
They had battery issues in the past but now on the BQ phones they have better battery life now than the Android BQ phones have.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Otter has potential.

This originally started as a comment, but since I wrote so much I decided to turn it into a blog post.

Try otter browser:
It promises to be everything that old opera was, so a bit similar to Vivaldi, except, Otter browser is open source!

Ever since Opera shifted to version 15, I just can not find a browser that I consider irreplaceable. Because Opera versions 15-25 did not support Linux I was forced to switch. My choice at that time was Chromium, and it was generally ok, it loaded web pages pretty fast and youtube just worked. But it lacks some  serious features, plus most of the interface elements are not made for the widescreen era. And it eats RAM.

However as soon as Opera 26 with linux support entered Opera's Alpha channels I switched back to Opera. At first I liked it, but the more I used it, it felt like Chromium with gimmicks. And it started to feel unclean to use a non-open source browser on an open source operating system. I do however watch Opera's blog and I admit that the latest versions are more than Chromium with gimmicks, if only it were open source.

So I gave Firefox a chance, which I still use to this day. I like it because it is more feature rich than current Opera or Chromium. However some websites, including Youtube, just don't like Firefox anymore. And Firefox actually tends to eat my CPU.

Since Vivaldi is not open source, using Vivaldi is out of the question. I have also tried using several smaller browsers like Arora(I loved it back in 2011,but now it is outdated), Epiphany, Midori, Konqueror(I wanted to try KHTML as an alternative to Webkit)...But most of them had either even less features than Chromium or they were hated by websites.(Konqueror does seem like an interesting File browser/Web browser hybrid however).

However,then I have stumbled upon Otter browser by accident when I saw a comment about it on Opera's blog. And after a few versions of it, Otter browser looks like a glimmer of light. It is rapidly gaining features every 1-2 weeks. It promises to bring most of old Opera 12.16 features. It is open source and has a repository on github. The only feature missing for me to move to it as my main browser is an https everywhere option. Plus it has a Youtube bug, but due to the youth of the project I am willing to overlook it. Oh yeah and although I am a Linux user, Otter is one of the very few browsers that still support *BSD!