Interview with Pete Graner, Manager of the Ubuntu Kernel Team
Subject: Editorial | May 27, 2011 - 10:52 AM | John Davis
Tagged: ubuntu, linux, kernel, interview, hardware
In a continuation of our effort to embrace and report on the open-source community, PC Perspective has contacted another very interesting Open-Source project. This week we selected Ubuntu and their Manager of the Ubuntu Kernel Team, Pete Graner
Image courtesy of Ubuntu
The self-described beginning of Ubuntu:
Linux was already established as an enterprise server platform in 2004. But free software was still not a part of everyday life for most computer users. That's why Mark Shuttleworth gathered a small team of developers from one of the most established Linux projects – Debian - and set out to create an easy-to-use Linux desktop, Ubuntu.
The vision for Ubuntu is part social and part economic: free software, available free of charge to everybody on the same terms, and funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.
If you would like to learn more about Ubuntu please click here.
Ubuntu also lists its features as the following:
- A fresh look
The launcher: Get easy access to your favourite tools and applications with our lovely new launcher. You can hide and reveal it, add and remove apps and keep track of your open windows.
The dash: Our new dash offers a great way to get to your shortcuts and search for more apps and programs. So you can get fast access to your email, music, pictures and much more.
Workspaces: Our handy workspaces tool gives you a really easy way to view and move between multiple windows and applications.
You can surf in safety with Ubuntu – confident that your files and data will stay protected. A built-in firewall and virus protection come as standard. And if a potential threat appears, we provide automatic updates which you can install in a single click. You get added security with AppArmor, which protects your important applications so attackers can’t access your system. And thanks to Firefox and gnome-keyring, Ubuntu helps you keep your private information private. So whether it’s accessing your bank account or sharing sensitive data with friends or colleagues, you’ll have peace of mind when you need it the most.
Ubuntu works brilliantly with a range of devices. Simply plug in your mp3 player, camera or printer and you’ll be up and running straight away. No installation CDs. No fuss. And it’s compatible with Windows too! So you can open, edit and share Microsoft Office documents stress-free.
Ubuntu loads quickly on any computer, but it's super-fast on newer machines. With no unnecessary programs and trial software slowing things down, booting up and opening a browser takes seconds. Unlike other operating systems that leave you staring at the screen, waiting to get online. And Ubuntu won’t grow sluggish over time. It’s fast. And it stays fast.
Accessibility is central to the Ubuntu philosophy. We believe that computing is for everyone regardless of nationality, race, gender or disability. Fully translated into 25 languages, Ubuntu also includes essential assistive technologies, which are, of course, completely free. We recommend the Ubuntu classic desktop experience for users with particular accessibility requirements.
(Image courtesy of Distrowatch)
I have used Ubuntu almost as long as I have been using Fedora. Ubuntu has been my go to Linux distrobution since Wartty Warthog. I have installed Ubuntu on laptops, family members computers, and I even went 100% Ubuntu for a year. In my experience, any and all of my questions could be answered by Documentation, Community, and Launchpad.
Now that you have a brief idea about Ubuntu, lets get to the interview:
(Hit that Read More link for the details!!)
PcPer: How do you feel hardware support is on your current platform/s and what are your plans for the future?
PG: Hardware support on current platforms is a wide range of hardware and architectures :) In general, our Kernel team is working with Intel to support the latest hardware and chipsets. Our current support is good but as with everything there is room for improvement. The biggest area we are struggling with (as every Linux OSV) is current graphics support in the Intel Graphics Chips. We are currently in discussions with Intel about how to make this process work better for Linux OSVs and how to support their chipsets.
PcPer:What could be better about hardware support? What do you need from manufacturers?
PG: Thats an open ended question... This is a difficult problem due to the nature of the PC industry. The NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) nature of the business makes it difficult for Linux to get early support. Most ODM & OEMs don't consider Linux a Tier 1 OS so the driver support comes late or not at all. There are exceptions of course but quite often this comes in the form of binary drivers which make supporting almost impossible. If the ODMs would start working with the upstream kernel community on the latest hardware support would fall in place naturally.
PcPer: How do you think performance in Ubuntu compares to BSD, Windows or Mac OS X? How could it be better?
PG: Performance is a big area that covers many sub-systems (processing, memory mgt, storage, etc...) In general Ubuntu is quite speedy at boot since Lucid we have made quick boot times a priority. There are a few odd cases where performance regresses release over release due to various work ongoing in the upstream Linux kernel. We have folks trying to make sense of what workloads are causing these issues and hope of identify the root cause.
PcPer: Do you consider Ubuntu to be a viable gaming platform? If so, why are there so few games?
PG: By gaming I'm assuming you mean high end 3d type games not the solitaire or board type games. It could be. There is nothing stopping people from playing things like OpenArena (based on the Quake Engine) now. Until Linux in general becomes a more mainstream desktop OS there is no economic incentive to port or write games for Linux.
PcPer: What are your plans for the future of this platform? What is new and up-coming?
PG: With our Natty release we released the Unity Desktop Shell. Going forward you will see follow on work adding features, accessibility and performance. We are reworking our Quality Assurance (QA) infrastructure to get better test coverage and working with the Ubuntu Community to engage them in better more focused testing which will make the user experience better than ever.
I would like to thank Pete Graner for taking the time for this interview and am enojying the new 11.04! Thank you for reading, and please let us know if you feel we have left any questions out by your comments and we will include them in future interviews.
To download the recent Ubuntu 11.04 to give it a try, click here.
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