Ubuntu developers plan the road to Ubuntu 13.04
At the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) that took place in Copenhagen last week, the developer community for Canonical's Linux distribution laid down the goals for the next release of the project, expected in April of next year. This information is now publicly available thanks to the work of Ubuntu community member Alan Bell, who extracted the meeting notes from the Etherpad instance used at the summit.
All in all, the developers set themselves 1,023 action items, 75 of which are classed as "essential". Notable themes for the upcoming development cycle are changes in the quality assurance and release process of the distribution, the development of an Ubuntu SDK and an effort to streamline the submissions of applications for inclusion in the repositories. Several sessions also dealt with improving Ubuntu as a gaming platform.
After deciding to drop alpha releases and concentrate more on "smoke testing" and automated tools like the UI testing framework AutoPilot, the developers also proposed a new release process that iterates over merging fixes, testing and freezes every two weeks. The developers have also been discussing the creation of an Ubuntu SDK, although the meeting notes on this topic do not mention much detail beyond the scope of the planned development kit. To go hand in hand with this, the review process for the Ubuntu App Developer programme is also being worked on to make it easier for developers to submit their applications for inclusion in the distribution.
With discussions within the upstream GNOME project pointing towards a stop on development for the GNOME Fallback Mode very soon, the Ubuntu developers have decided to plan for this eventuality and become less reliant on upstream code from Fallback Mode. Unity currently uses parts of the panel and several indicators from that code base and the developers plan to ship their own stand-alone versions or migrate to different technologies.
Other notable topics at the UDS included improving the performance of several gaming engines on Ubuntu, including the preparation for a possible switch to the Wayland display server and a push to fix support for NVIDIA's hybrid Optimus graphics cards, a topic that famously raised Linus Torvald's ire earlier in the year. The developers are also working on the Ubuntu TV implementation and are undertaking a complete rewrite of the Quickly development framework.