UDS Budapest: Accessibility and User Experience Take Center Stage

May 09, 2011

The Budapest Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS-O) kicked off on Monday, May 9, at the Corinthia Hotel. "Accessibility is one of our core values as a project," Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said in his keynote address, as he acknowledged the Unity documentation team contributions to the 11.04 release. After briefly looking back at the "Natty Narwhal" Ubuntu release, Shuttleworth set his sights on the upcoming release, saying, "Our goal, our mission is 200-million Ubuntu users in four years."


"We are in the crucible. We see what users are experiencing," Shuttleworth says. "We are the conduit. We are the place where software lands in users' hands," he added, emphasizing the importance of the Ubuntu user experience. Shuttleworth says that taking responsibility for user experience and re-evaluating software documentation shows real leadership. When it comes to the new Unity desktop, he says, "I think we've set a new bar for disciplined design in free software."

Shuttleworth laid out Ubuntu's goal of 200-million users in four years, saying, "We're playing a game for user's hearts and minds." He acknowledged that, although the focus is on user experience, improvements also benefit developers. "Developers need all the things that users need, and more," he says. Shuttleworth then launched into the focus, goals, and mission of Ubuntu. "We want contributions and participation," he says, "It only makes sense for people to participate if they share our values." He then reviewed those values, starting with governance. Shuttleworth says that governance means qualified people in power can make decisions and are trusted to make them, which then leads to "getting things done." He then addressed the value of accountability, saying that he has no problem with being challenged and asked to explain decisions. Shuttleworth also addressed Ubuntu's history of being transparent, saying, "We need to figure out a way to be more transparent."

Then Shuttleworth moved onto the role of companies in Ubuntu, saying, "It's one of the things that have made Ubuntu great." But he clarified what he means when he talks about collaboration, explaining that it shouldn't be confused with teamwork. Collaboration, Shuttleworth says, is when you take people with different values and goals and work together to create great software. He says he's failed in this area and needs to figure out how to get companies involved in free software.

Shuttleworth asked UDS attendees to think about generosity. "Ownership brings responsibility," he says. Shuttleworth used his new interest in gardening to illustrate his point. "I don't have time to make vegetables," Shuttleworth says, "but I do have time to put chicken shit on it." He says that he wants to invite someone who wants to grow vegetables to use his well-fertilized garden and share the produce.

After leading attendees in a standing ovation for Matt Zimmerman, Shuttleworth turned over the microphone to the departing CTO. "It's been an incredible seven years," Zimmerman says, adding that he plans to stay involved with the open source community in his new company. After Zimmerman left the stage, Shuttleworth returned and said that the mission for the week starts with a challenge. The word Oneiric popped up on the screen next to the stage. "How the hell do you pronounce this?" Shuttleworth asked. He then invited some attendees to join Ubuntu Director of Engineering, Rick Spencer, on stage to act out pronunciations, including annoy Rick, one-eye Rick, and on a Rick. Finally, Shuttleworth settled on pronouncing Ubuntu's next code name, Oneiric Ocelot, own-air-ick.

"You'll be glad to know there are no major, profound shifts," Shuttleworth says of the 11.10 release. He says that he sees that next release as an evolution.

Later, Shuttleworth turned the stage over to Linaro CEO George Grey, who discussed the work his company is doing to produce software on development boards for Ubuntu and Android. "It will be good if Android has some competition," Grey says. "I think you'll see that happen." Linaro's developer summit is part of UDS, with tracks for Linaro Android, graphics, kernel, and more. Day 2 of UDS-O concludes with the Linaro Technical Showcase this evening.

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