From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ubuntu and The Classroom Connection

Over ten years ago, my Ubuntu journey began.

On October 7th, 2006, I drove with my wife, Kimberly Kirkland, to help setup her new classroom, in Elgin, Texas.  This was her very first job as a teacher -- 4th grade, starting about a month into the school year as the school added a classroom to their crowded schedule at the very last minute.

After hanging a few posters on the wall, I found 4 old, broken iMac G3's, discarded in the closet.  With a couple of hours on my hands, I pulled each one apart and put together two functional computers.  But with merely 128MB of RAM, rotary hard disks, and a 32-bit PowerPC processor, MacOS 9 wasn't even remotely functional.

Now, I've been around Linux since 1997, but always Red Hat Linux.  In fact, I had spent most of the previous year (2005) staffed by IBM on site at Red Hat in Westford, MA, working on IBM POWER machines.

I had recently heard of this thing called Edubuntu -- a Linux distribution with games and tools and utilities specifically tailored for the classroom -- which sounded perfect for Kim's needs!

After a bit of fiddling with xorg.conf, I eventually got Ubuntu running on the machine.

In fact, it was shortly after that, when I first setup my Launchpad account (2006-10-11) and posted my first comment, with patch, and workaround instructions to Bug #22976 on 2006-12-14:

About a year later, I applied for a job with Canonical and started working on the Ubuntu Server team in February of 2008.  It's been a wonderful decade, helping bring Ubuntu, Linux, free, and open source software to the world.  And in a way, it sort of all started for me in my wife's first classroom.

But there's another story in here, a much more important story, actually.  And it's not my story, it's my wife's. It's Kimberly's story, as a brand new public school teacher...

You see, she was a 20-something year old, recently out of college and with her very first job in the public school system.  She wouldn't even see her first paycheck for another 6 weeks.  And she was setting up her classroom with whatever hand-me-downs, donations, or yard sale items she could find.  And I'm not talking about the broken computers.  I'm talking about the very basics.  Pens, pencils, paper, books, wall hangings -- the school supplies that most of us take for granted entirely.

Some schools and school districts are adequately funded, and can provide for their students, teachers, and classrooms.  Many parents are able to send their kids to school with the supplies requested on their lists -- glue, scissors, folders, bags, whatever.

But so, so, so many are not.  Schools that don't provide supplies.  And parents that can't afford it.  Thousands of kids in every school district in the world empty handed.

Do you know who makes up the slack?


Yes, our dearly beloved, underpaid, overworked, underappreciated, teachers.  They bring the extra pencils, tissues, staplers, and everything else in between, that their kids need.  And it's everywhere, all across the country, our teachers pick up that slack.  And I know this because it's not just my wife, not just Texas.  My mom and dad are both school teachers in Louisiana.  We know teachers all over the world where this is the case.  Teachers spend hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of their own hard earned dollars to help their students in need and make their classrooms more suitable for learning.

I'm super proud to say that my wife Kim has spent the last year studying and researching education-focused, local and national charities, learning how they work and who they help.

Understanding the landscape, Kim has co-founded a non-profit organization based here in Austin, Texas -- Classroom Connection -- to collect funds to help distribute school supplies to teachers for their students in need.

After a successful GoFundMe campaignClassroom Connection is now fully operational.  You can contribute in any of three ways:

Our kids are our future.  And their success starts with a rich education experience.  We can always do a little more to secure that future.  Which brings us back to Ubuntu, the philosophy:
"I am who I am, because of who we all are."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ubuntu 12.04 ESM (Extended Security Maintenance)

Canonical announced the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) release almost 5 years ago, on April 26, 2012. As with all LTS releases, Canonical has provided ongoing security patches and bug fixes for a period of 5 years. The Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Long Term Support) period will end on Friday, April 28, 2017.

Following the end-of-life of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, Canonical is offering Ubuntu 12.04 ESM (Extended Security Maintenance), which provides important security fixes for the kernel and the most essential user space packages in Ubuntu 12.04.  These updates are delivered in a secure, private archive exclusively available to Ubuntu Advantage customers on a per-node basis.

All Ubuntu 12.04 LTS users are encouraged to upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. But for those who cannot upgrade immediately, Ubuntu 12.04 ESM updates will help ensure the on-going security and integrity of Ubuntu 12.04 systems.

Users interested in Ubuntu 12.04 ESM updates can purchase Ubuntu Advantage at   Credentials for the private archive will be available by the end-of-life date for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (April 28, 2017).

Questions?  Post in the comments below and join us for a live webinar, "HOWTO: Ensure the Ongoing Security Compliance of your Ubuntu 12.04 Systems", on Wednesday, March 22nd at 4pm GMT / 12pm EDT / 9am PDT.  Here, we'll discuss Ubuntu 12.04 ESM and perform a few live upgrades of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS systems.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ubuntu at Mobile World Congress 2017

Mobile World Congress is simply one of the biggest trade shows in the entire world.

It's also, perhaps, the best place in the world to see how encompassing the Ubuntu ecosystem actually is.

Canonical and our partners demonstrated Ubuntu running on dozens of devices -- from robots, to augmented reality headsets, digital signs, vending machines, IoT Gateways, cell tower base stations, phones, tablets, servers, from super computers to tiny, battery powered embedded controllers.

But that was only a tiny fraction of the Ubuntu running at MWC!

We saw Ubuntu at the heart of demos from Dell, AMD, Intel, IBM, Deutsche Telekom, DJI, and hundreds of other booths, running autonomous drones, national telephone networks, self driving cars, smart safety helmets, inflight entertainment systems, and so, so, so much more.

Among the thousands of customers, prospects, fans, competitors, students, and industry executives, we even received a visit from (the somewhat controversial?) King of Spain!

It was an incredible week, with no fewer than 12 hours per day, on our feet, telling the Ubuntu story.
And what a story it is... I hope you enjoy.