Pulse 12 - Ubuntu Desktop engineering update

Greetings Ubuntu enthusiasts,

I am Tim, your Engineering Director for Ubuntu Desktop 🫡, and it’s my pleasure to share the latest update on our progress. This is update #3, so if you missed them: #2 and #1.

Project Management

We have been adopting Jira to help manage the complexity of building the Ubuntu desktop. Jira is a great tool, but it does present transparency challenges. For example our entire project needs to either be public or private; we can’t pick and choose an item’s visibility. Rest assured we are working towards openness and hopefully you see these posts as a step towards that. Do let me know if you have suggestions or nudges on what you would like to know more about. I’ll do my best to accommodate.

Next pulse we’ll have deltas to give a sense of progress, so to give you a sense of effort this time around, here are a few indicators:

  • There are 462 tickets in our “Jira project”, with 164 untriaged and 298 open.

  • This pulse the team worked on roughly ~45 tickets.

The term ‘ticket’ can be unhelpful because the scale of scope isn’t clear, however, I am hoping you can infer a sense of progress knowing that there are 26 humans behind those tickets.

Vision & Manifesto

We’re developing a long-term vision for Ubuntu. We’re eager to share this with the community as soon as it’s ready. Similarly, we have been developing a long-term Ubuntu Desktop engineering manifesto. I’m super excited about this. The only obstacle to sharing it is finding the time to write it down in something more digestible. But rest assured it is high on our todo lists jira board.

Additionally, I owe you posts on our roadmap (past due), my thoughts on working with the community, and next week expect an update on the App Store.

User Experience

Our team now includes two full-time designers :grinning: This means we can put more effort into refining our apps to make them more user-friendly and nicer to look at. Keep an eye out for visual changes to the flutter firmware-updater app and some new printing dialogs.

Ubuntu 23.10

I appreciate that not everyone finds the new variable ubuntu font an improvement. I have heard that on a lower resolution monitor, or with extra small font sizes, it may exacerbate how it’s rendered. Sorry about that. Rest assured, we are listening and so work is underway to offer the classic Ubuntu font as an easy-to-install alternative from Ubuntu 23.10 forward. We think it’ll be as easy as $ sudo apt install fonts-ubuntu-classic :crossed_fingers:

For those already running mantic as their daily, you may have noticed that the tiling extension is now enabled by default :heavy_plus_sign:

Even more stuff

Firstly, a huge congratulations to everyone involved in the Debian 12 “Bookworm” release; what an exciting milestone :star_struck:

  • GNOME Shell 44.2 is in lunar-proposed. Assuming no major issues, we expect to land that in the next pulse.
  • The osinfo-db has been updated. This simplifies running 23.04 in the GNOME Boxes app on 22.04.
  • For those of you on Windows, @edu wrote an brilliant blog post on testing WSL with GitHub Actions we’ve created. These are for both internal testing and available for use by the community in their own workflows :bowing_man:
  • The desktop snap team have been busily adding test plans for all ~ 80 desktop-snappers-snaps. This was brought to you by their work in the desktop-snaps repo.

Finally for the Flutter fans

  • We’ve created an ubuntu.com publisher on pub.dev. We encourage you to check it out here.
  • Wow you made it this far … okay here’s a sneak peek of the current tweaks to the firmware updater.

That’s all for this pulse. As always, we value your input, so please feel free to ask questions in this thread or provide feedback. See you in the next pulse.


Tim (on behalf of many)
Director of Engineering | Ubuntu Desktop

PS If you missed it last month, checkout this post on an Ubuntu Core Desktop. :wink: exciting times ahead.

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