This article originally appeared in issue 88 of Linux User & Developer magazine.
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As each new developmental cycle commences, there is an Ubuntu Developers Summit (UDS) – it’s a biannual event where many of the developers meet to plan, and create, the goals for the next release of Ubuntu. The attendees are a mixture of Canonical employees, community members (many sponsored by Canonical) and external project representatives.
The summit is always held in a different location, and usually switched between Europe and the USA each time. The latest one was held in La Hulpe (near Brussels), Belgium, to plan the next Ubuntu release Maverick Meerkat.
The intensity of the week coupled with the sessions is hard, serious work. This one had 18 session rooms, with around ten concurrent sessions running during each slot. When I first attended a UDS, I found I attended sessions that I thought would be interesting, but as each summit passes I’m increasingly finding that I start to attend sessions that I am of most use in. This means that I found myself mainly attending the Cloud and Server track.
The design of the summit has ‘tracks’, which this time included Cloud and Server, Community, Design, Desktop, Foundations, Kernel, QA (Quality Assurance), Security, and Ubuntu on ARM. Each session is attached to one track, sometimes more.
However, it is also thoroughly rewarding. There is a great social feel, even though many attendees start to feel like zombies towards the end of the week. The hard work coupled with the social evenings is fantastic.
One thing that really stands out to me is quite how far-reaching the development is distributed. There are attendees from so many countries, I couldn’t possibly keep count. Working, and socialising with these people is very enjoyable. As I arrived on the Sunday I felt a great sense of joy seeing people who I haven’t seen for six months, at the last summit. Catching up on some of the really exciting things is what helps build our community often talking to people with interests that would never have been introduced to me if it were not for this event.
This summit kicked off with a highlight from Mark Shuttleworth giving us a warm welcome and outlining some of the ideas this UDS would bring us. One of the more alarming things he announced was that the 10.10 release will be launched on 10 October 2010 (10.10.10). Our development cycle is already very tight with the amount of work that needs to be achieved, and moving this in by a couple of weeks created a sense of worry in the room. However, at the end of the week, Robbie Williamson (normally the Foundations lead) did some number crunching, some pretty graphs and demonstrated that it really is an obtainable goal.
Each day there are plenary sessions, which are usually in a theatre style where all attendees gather in a large room, rather than the small rooms that each session occupies. We have a presentation from various projects outlining some of the work they have been doing, with one of the plenary sessions being occupied with lightning talks where each talker has an allocation of five minutes; these can be very interesting.
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