Blow off some Steam , now officially released for Linux, by joining this Canonical sponsored Team Fortress 2 server deployed with Juju!
After a stirring round of nominations 15 candidates have put their hat in the ring for a chance to be elected in to one of the three available new moderator spots. Over the next four days stop by the site if you have more than 150 reputation to vote for who you think should have a chance to run in the final election. The list will be widdled down to 10 nominees before the final election takes place. If you have time visit the Ask Ubuntu Town Hall, a town hall style chat which will take place in the Ask Ubuntu chat server; there you can ask candidates questions about why they should be elected. If you’re not able to attend a transcript of the event will be made available shortly afterwards.
A common problem we have on Ask Ubuntu is people assuming that it’s just “another forum” and not quite grasping the concept of how the site works. Today Stack Exchange has rolled out a new About page that helps to curb this issue and educate new users with a quick start on how to use the site. You can view this page by clicking “About” at the top of the Ask Ubuntu website.
During the height of the OMG Ubuntu! transition, it dawned on my that Juju was missing one key feature: an interactive front end. Eight months ago, while at POSSCON 2012 I started working on what I called “Juca” at the time, a project I eventually renamed to Amulet. Amulet is a SaaS that is designed to provide an always available Juju UI for admins and users to manage.
The idea was simple, and there was demand for it. I then spent the next eight months scrapping, rebuilding, and scrapping again until I was satisfied with the progress and overall functionality. During this time, I had heard rumors that Juju was building a UI. This news made my heart sink. How can I offer a SaaS solution if Juju comes with a UI out of the box? I was relieved to hear that it would probably be a UI that was available on the bootstrap node, making it only able to manage the current deployed environment. Amulet operates by managing multiple environments per user. I decided to press on. With UDS fast approaching, I increased work on the project, including splitting off the library I created to Github as a sign of good will that I eventually intended on releasing more portions open source. My goal was to show off the work so far and gain feedback from Juju developers and other charmers, eventually releasing a private beta shortly after UDS.
An interesting thing is happening over at Stack Overflow. They’ve been doing an analysis of their “niceness” to people. Like all growing online communities there comes a point where you’ve gotten so big that it feels like you’re stuck in Eternal September.
When you start to get real popular on the internet there’s usually a a shift or transition when the early adopters either move on, or attempt to resolve the situation, or any one of the number of things that can happen to a site. Since Stack Overflow, SO, is many times larger than Ask Ubuntu but the same kind of site, I think we can look at how they’re solving their “big city” problems and apply it to make AU better.
I’m not surprised that SO used a very scientific method of figuring out how nice they were to people. They gathered up all the comments, shoved them into Mechanical Turk, and then published the results. Stack Overflow is nice, nyah-nyah, science. And the debate continues.
I’d like to think we do a decent job of keeping the snark down on Ask Ubuntu. If someone asks “How do I adjust my clock?” and someone else responds with “Have you googled?” you can be pretty sure that kind of response gets removed in a timely manner. Every day we have users submitting fixes to answers and questions, and about 140,000 visits every day, so we know the content is getting better and more importantly, staying up to date.
The site does have a pretty strict element to it. If your question is a bug report, it gets closed and you’re sent to Launchpad. If you want to run a poll or have a chit chat about Ubuntu it’s closed and you’re sent to the forums, and so on. It’s my strong opinion that this level of focus is a good thing, do one thing and do it well. But on the other hand I can see why some people might think we’re sending them up the creek with no paddle, and after reading some of the bad comments posted on Stack Overflow it reminds me that we should be vigilant to ensure that we’re learning how to continue to grow without letting the quality slip.
So what’s your opinion on Ask Ubuntu? Do you feel like the site is friendly and welcoming to new users and contributors? Have you had a bad or good experience with the site?
One of the biggest fears I have mine is using outdated information from blogs to fix an issue. Thanks to the work by Nathan “George Edison” Osman we now have an updated version of StackTack which will allow you to dynamically include/embed questions and answers from any of the Stack Exchange sites including Ask Ubuntu. If you run a WordPress blog you can search “StackTack” in the plugin section or download the latest plugin from the project page. If you run a project site or use other blogging software you can easily install StackTack on your site.
I’ve been meaning to use MAAS for quite some time. In fact, I’ve been excited about its release since I stumbled upon it a few weeks before its announcement in the package repo. I originally started by trying to install Xen on my Desktop as it’s what I’ll be using in production. That didn’t quite work out, so I took my chances with VirtualBox instead. I skimmed the Testing MAAS section of the documentation and felt confident enough that VirtualBox could handle something like MAAS. To start, I created a few MAAS machines in VirtualBox and attached the 12.04 ISO as the install medium. I started the first one to install a MAAS “master” server.
On the installation screen I selected the “Multiple server install with MAAS” option, selected “Create a new MAAS on this server”, and followed the defaults from there. Toward the end of the install I was given an address through which I could view the MAAS control panel, 10.0.2.5. Needless to say I was pretty excited. Of course, the address didn’t work and I quickly realized that I couldn’t actually access that network. Reviewing the Networking settings for the VM I made the following changes:
For the last month we’ve been working on getting the perfect charm setup for the OMG! Ubuntu! website. Today we deploy the final version of the charm just in time for the 12.04 release. It’s been a long road, but now that we’ve wrapped this up it’s time to take all the knowledge we’ve gained in the past month about scaling WordPress (from caching to session management) and place it in the stock WordPress charm, making it anything but stock. What has made this otherwise grueling experience easy and enjoyable is Juju. No longer do we have to toil with different environments, upgrade paths, or even major documentation. Since we’ve encapsulated all of our tweaks in the charm, deploying and performing large upgrades is relatively streamlined.
To demonstrate how easy it is to get OMG! Ubuntu! running I’ve recorded the latest deployment on shelr.tv where I created a new environment, bootstrapped it, deployed, then re-pointed the IP address in AWS. What you see in the terminal cast is what’s running OMG! Ubuntu! right now. Compared to traditional deployments, the process is effortless. This terminal cast outlines the deployment of OMG! Ubuntu! from nothing to a running blog. Since it takes about 10 minutes to do the first deploy (imagine having to pull down about 5-10 GB worth of assets, database dumps, etc then import those in to MySQL), I decided to cut there and create this additional short video on how to scale out the deployment.
It’s a fantastic thing. Sure we’ve been rushing around trying all these different methods, but at the end of the day that time was well invested. Now deployments for OMG! Ubuntu! (and WordPress) are easy. In minutes you have a battle ready, tried and true blogging software deployed to the cloud.
If you wish to drill the candidates about their philosophies and get to know them better before you vote in the Ask Ubuntu Moderator Elections then join us for our Town Hall chat today! The chat will take place in the Ask Ubuntu Town Hall Chatroom at 21:00 UTC. I look forward to an informative town hall with all the candidates!
One of the great things Stack Exchange provides the community with is free advertising for projects and events that affect the Ubuntu community. The ads are rotated though and displayed on Ask Ubuntu pages. It’s a great way to get the word out about your projects.
Here’s a sample of events and projects that have submitted ads for this Quarter.
Are you looking for outreach? Looking to advertise your Local Team? It’s easy, just create a 220×250 image of your event and post it in this meta thread following the described format. Once the post gets at least six upvotes from the community, the ad will automagically be added to the rotation of existing network ads. (Users withing to vote on ads will need at least 15 reputation to cast an upvote)
Want to support these events and ads on your own blog? Then check out George Edison’s Stack Ad, which will let you run these ads on your own blog!