Inside Ubuntu's Development Process

Canonical executive Matt Zimmerman discusses the nuts and bolts of the open source distribution's build process.

No small community project, Ubuntu has -- for many users -- become synonymous with Linux itself. A leading Canonical executive talks about managing its sprawling development process.

Recent years have seen the Ubuntu Linux distribution, led by Canonical, experiencing rapid growth in both users and features. With the upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat release, set for October, Ubuntu developers will continue to push the boundaries further of both server and desktop Linux. Sitting at the upper rung of Ubuntu's engineering efforts is Matt Zimmerman, Canonical's CTO, who helps to lead Ubuntu's technical direction.

That's no small feat: Keeping the project and its developers organized is a mammoth undertaking, requiring the daily coordination of activities across the globe. But as Zimmerman describes it, he has the tools and processes in place to keep the Ubuntu project running strong.

One way that Zimmerman keeps the project on track is ensuring close communication among members of his team, a disparate organization that mirrors how the Ubuntu community itself builds and develops its Linux distribution. For one thing, While Canonical has offices in multiple countries, most of Zimmerman's engineers aren't located in those offices.

"My team is about 120 people and I think we have less five people who are in offices," Zimmerman told

While Zimmerman noted that he does get together face-to-face fairly regularly with his staff once a quarter, facilitating regular interaction requires a long list of common tools. For instance, Zimmerman said that Canonical engineers do a lot of work through IRC , wikis and teleconferences. The team also uses the open source Gobby tool for collaborative editing and Mumble for voice chatrooms.

Read the rest at Linux Planet.

Tags: open source, Linux, Ubuntu, Linux downloads, Canonical

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