Ubuntu Online Summit

There's a fundamental difference between conferences for community-driven projects and closed-source commercial software. While Microsoft, Apple and other large companies hold regular meetings to keep developers updated, the information almost always flows in one direction. They (the software owners) tell us (the software users) what they are working on and what they are about to release. These releases almost always come out of the blue often leave the developer community scrabbling to catch up.

For large community-driven projects, regular conferences or summits serve a different function. This is the time when the community leaders call their contributors together to discuss strategy and plan the future of the platform. These meetings are essential to keep the project moving forward and help to keep everyone "marching to the same tune".

The Ubuntu Online Summit wraps up today. This 3-day event is an opportunity for the community to gather and shape the future of the popular distribution. It's an important time for volunteers and enthusiasts to get together and make their opinions count. The decisions made at the conference will shape the evolution of the upcoming release (16.10), which is due to ship in October 2016. This is an important release, as it will be an LTS (long-term support) release.

The summit serves four main functions:

1) As a forum to discuss the issues that are most important to the community.

2) Fostering and stimulating collaboration—Ubuntu is a huge project, and it requires the help of contributors outside the company to get things done.

3) Developing new ideas.

4) Planning.

A number of topics will be under the microscope at the summit, include the migration from Python 2 to 3. Many scripts and packages will need to be revised to support the changes and to take advantage of new language features. Moving from Python 2 to 3 will allow the Ubuntu team to drop the Python 2 runtime entirely in favor of its more secure and feature-rich successor.

Canonical also will be apprising the community of its work on Mir and Unity 8. Several sessions will address the new requirements and opportunities facing Ubuntu Native app developers. Also, Canonical will outline which areas of these projects require contributions from the community.

Snappy will be an important issue in the summit. Snappy is Canonical's new package manager, which ultimately is set to replace apt across every version of Ubuntu. Subjects under discussion will include how to support legacy applications and how to develop for Snappy moving forward.

Convergence is a subject dear to Canonical's heart—the design of Unity is very much influenced by the needs of touch-device users. At the summit, Canonical will introduce developers to Kirigami, a project that aims to make it simpler to bring Qt apps to a wider range of devices.

The summit also will cover the future direction of native Ubuntu apps, such as Dekko, the e-mail client.

The summit is free to attend, and anyone can register.