From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Monday, September 18, 2017

Results of the Ubuntu Desktop Applications Survey

I had the distinct honor to deliver the closing keynote of the UbuCon Europe conference in Paris a few weeks ago.  First off -- what a beautiful conference and venue!  Kudos to the organizers who really put together a truly remarkable event.  And many thanks to the gentleman (Elias?) who brought me a bottle of his family's favorite champagne, as a gift on Day 2 :-)  I should give more talks in France!

In my keynote, I presented the results of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Default Desktops Applications Survey, which was discussed at length on HackerNews, Reddit, and Slashdot.  With the help of the Ubuntu Desktop team (led by Will Cooke), we processed over 15,000 survey responses and in this presentation, I discussed some of the insights of the data.

The team is now hard at work evaluating many of the suggested applications, for those of you that aren't into the all-Emacs spin of Ubuntu ;-)

Moreover, we're also investigating a potential approach to make the Ubuntu Desktop experience perhaps a bit like those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books we loved when we were kids, where users have the opportunity to select each of their prefer applications (or stick with the distro default) for a handful of categories, during installation.

Marius Quabeck recorded the session and published the audio and video of the presentation here on YouTube:

You can download the slides here, or peruse them below:


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Running Ubuntu Containers with Hyper-V Isolation on Windows 10 and Windows Server

Canonical and Microsoft have teamed up to deliver an truly special experience -- running Ubuntu containers with Hyper-V Isolation on Windows 10 and Windows Servers!

We have published a fantastic tutorial at, with screenshots and easy-to-follow instructions.  You should be up and running in minutes!

Follow that tutorial, and you'll be able to launch Ubuntu containers with Hyper-V isolation by running the following directly from a Windows Powershell:
  • docker run -it ubuntu bash

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bare Metal Kubernetes: More Containers, Less Overhead

Earlier this month, I spoke at ContainerDays, part of the excellent DevOpsDays series of conferences -- this one in lovely Portland, Oregon.

I gave a live demo of Kubernetes running directly on bare metal.  I was running it on an 11-node Ubuntu Orange Box -- but I used the exact same tools Canonical's world class consulting team uses to deploy Kubernetes onto racks of physical machines.
You see, the ability to run Kubernetes on bare metal, behind your firewall is essential to the yin-yang duality of Cloud Native computing.  Sometimes, what you need is actually a Native Cloud.
Deploying Kubernetes into virtual machines in the cloud is rather easy, straightforward, with dozens of tools now that can handle that.

But there's only one tool today, that can deploy the exact same Kubernetes to AWS, Azure, GCE, as well as VMware, OpenStack, and bare metal machines.  That tools is conjure-up, which acts as a command line front end to several essential Ubuntu tools: MAAS, LXD, and Juju.

I don't know if the presentation was recorded, but I'm happy to share with you my slides for download, and embedded here below.  There are a few screenshots within that help convey the demo.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Desktop Default Application Survey

Back in March, we asked the HackerNews community, “What do you want to see in Ubuntu 17.10?”:

A passionate discussion ensued, the results of which are distilled into this post:

In fact, you can check that link, and see our progress so far this cycle.  We already have a beta code in 17.10 available for your testing for several of those:

And several others have excellent work in progress, and will be complete by 17.10:

In summary -- your feedback matters!  There are hundreds of engineers and designers working for *you* to continue making Ubuntu amazing!

Along with the switch from Unity to GNOME, we’re also reviewing some of the desktop applications we package and ship in Ubuntu.  We’re looking to crowdsource input on your favorite Linux applications across a broad set of classic desktop functionality.

We invite you to contribute by listing the applications you find most useful in Linux in order of preference. To help us parse your input, please copy and paste the following bullets with your preferred apps in Linux desktop environments.  You’re welcome to suggest multiple apps, please just order them prioritized (e.g. Web Browser: Firefox, Chrome, Chromium).  If some of your functionality has moved entirely to the web, please note that too (e.g. Email Client: Gmail web, Office Suite: Office360 web).  If the software isn’t free/open source, please note that (e.g. Music Player: Spotify client non-free).  If I’ve missed a category, please add it in the same format.  If your favorites aren’t packaged for Ubuntu yet, please let us know, as we’re creating hundreds of new snap packages for Ubuntu desktop applications, and we’re keen to learn what key snaps we’re missing.

  • Web Browser: ???
  • Email Client: ???
  • Terminal: ???
  • IDE: ???
  • File manager: ???
  • Basic Text Editor: ???
  • IRC/Messaging Client: ???
  • PDF Reader: ???
  • Office Suite: ???
  • Calendar: ???
  • Video Player: ???
  • Music Player: ???
  • Photo Viewer: ???
  • Screen recording: ???

In the interest of opening this survey as widely as possible, we’ve cross-posted this thread to HackerNews, Reddit, and Slashdot.  We very much look forward to another friendly, energetic, collaborative discussion.

Or, you can fill out the survey here:

Thank you!
On behalf of @Canonical and @Ubuntu

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Integrity of Amazon Consumer Reviews

Along with most red blooded Texans, I love to barbeque on the back deck. From smoking a brisket to grilling chicken, and any other fish, fowl, pork, or beef in between, there are few ways I’d rather spend a Sunday afternoon.

But we Texans are not the only ones inextricably attracted to the peppery, sweet, smokey aromas emanating from our back deck. No, unfortunately, bbq always means flies. And lots of them. Zipping around the grill, and inevitably, into our house.

And if my love of barbeque has an equal and opposite reaction, it’s my hatred of flies buzzing around inside of my house.

With that in mind, I was grilling some chicken on the back deck a few weeks ago, picking off flies with a Bug-a-salt (way more fun than it even sounds), and pulled out my phone, searching Amazon for 21st century solutions to the flies-in-my-house problem. Surely we’ve IoT-automated away our fly problem by 2017?

I immediately stumbled upon an unusually highly rated product — 4.5 stars over 2,621 reviews for the “Pest Soldier Electronic Plug Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller for Insects — White, Set of 4”.

So I snapped it up, and figured, what the heck, I’ll give this a shot.

The result was underwhelming. Undetectable, even. There’s no difference, with or without these gadgets plugged in around my kitchen. It was worth a shot. Burned thirty-something dollars. Live and learn. Flies don’t respect ultrasonic annoyances. Ah well.

About a month later, I receive this email, which made me wrinkle my nose a little, asking me to review this product on Amazon, and receive a $25 gift card.

I ignored it.

Three days later, a “reminder”, which I also ignored.

And then, three days later, a third nagging email:

At which point, I did reply:

And I wrote this review.

At this point, things went from bad to worse. I was immediately offered a full refund, and an extra $40 to delete the review.

Wow. Simply, wow. Reading through the other negative reviews of this product, I see multiple reviewers saying they were offered money to delete their critical reviews.

Along with so many of you, we place our trust in the honest and integrity of Amazon’s customer review system. And yet it’s being systematically gamed by sellers such as this.

I’ve reported the product and the seller per Amazon’s instructions, but I for one am a bit more skeptical about Amazon reviews from now on.

Now, I just wonder…
How much will Pest Soldier offer me to delete this blog post?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Back on The Changelog, talking Ubuntu 12.04 ESM, Ubuntu on Windows, and Snaps!

I met up with the excellent hosts of the The Changelog podcast at OSCON in Austin a few weeks back, and joined them for a short segment.

That podcast recording is now live!  Enjoy!

The Changelog 256: Ubuntu Snaps and Bash on Windows Server with Dustin Kirkland
Listen on


Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Meetup Slides: Deploy and Manage Kubernetes Clusters on Ubuntu in the Oracle Cloud

Thank you to Oracle Cloud for inviting me to speak at this month's CloudAustin Meetup hosted by Rackspace.

I very much enjoyed deploying Canonical Kubernetes on Ubuntu in the Oracle Cloud, and then exploring Kubernetes a bit, how it works, the architecture, and a simple workload within.  I'm happy to share my slides below, and you can download a PDF here:

If you're interested in learning more, check out:
It was a great audience, with plenty of good questions, pizza, and networking!

I'm pleased to share my slide deck here.