The following is a guest post from Lucio Martinez:

Yesterday the community of Ask Ubuntu has joined to all the Stack Exchange network celebrating the holidays in the the coolest way, by wearing hats!

Those that had been visiting the site one year ago were happy when they started to see a new bonus for doing cool stuff like editing, answering, etc. This year you get a bonus. Hats, and here I’m going to show you why they are so amazing:

Now you know perfectly why hats are great :)

The hats have their own page where you can see them all and also the action to unlock it. For instance, someone who won “The Stallman” for edit a community wiki post will get this:

So start editing, answering, upvoting, chating, reviewing and doing all those amazing things that you do every day to make this a great community!


After about ~7 months of prototyping our watercooler is here.


Our new discussion site built on the modern 100% Free Software Discourse platform. Log in with your Ubuntu SSO and start the party!

Over the next week or so I’ll be detailing instructions for community members to integrate their blog comments with the platform, and we have a bunch of integration ideas between Discourse and , as well as other integration points with mailing lists and social networks.

We also have an entire section dedicated to Local Team categories, so if you’re looking to jump in with your local team, let me know.

One of the things I’ve heard about people managing services over the last year or so is that even though it’s useful to do things at the service level, sometimes even doing that can be time consuming or tedious.

For example if you want Discourse or Mediawiki then you need to know which databases those services need. Why not just steal what some other person has put together and deploy it all at once? Services by themselves are fun but I want an entire working thing out of the box!

Bundles are sets of services that are bundled together in one file that you can deploy. And we’re putting them in the Juju Charm Store so that you not only get to share individual services, but clumps of working deployments. It’s easy, you merely model your deployment in the Juju GUI, export, and then share the yaml file. Bundles also have their own page in the store, showing users what components are available, how to use it, and what they consist of.

The nice thing is that you can deploy the entire thing at once:

juju quickstart bundle:~gary/demo/2/instantBigDataNoSQL

This fires up a bootstrap node, add the Juju GUI to the environment and deploys this monster.

Here’s what it looks like from scratch.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:juju/stable
sudo apt-get install juju-core juju-quickstart
sudo apt-get update

juju init -w

Then edit ~/.juju/environments.yaml with your cloud credentials. Then pick a bundle to deploy.

juju quickstart bundle:~makyo/mediawiki-scalable/5/mediawiki-scalable


juju quickstart bundle:~jorge/mediawiki-simple/3/mediawiki-simple


juju quickstart bundle:~jorge/discourse/5/discourse-simple

Bundles are in beta, so here’s the caveats. Doing the environments.yaml dance gets tedious, so we’re working on the quickstart command to prompt you for credentials for whatever cloud you want to use. We also realize that the URLs aren’t exactly ideal, but we’re working to make that simpler. Bundles don’t support –to right now either, so “run an entire Discourse install on one cheap node” is not quite there yet, but we’ll be there soon. The goal by 14.04 is just to have the one quickstart command do what you want without all the previous mumbojumbo. will continue to grow support for bundles, right now it’s mostly focused on charms, and while charms are great and an important building block we’ll be pushing bundles as a complete solution for a deployment. As far as submitting your bundles to the charm store, the process is slightly different than charms, we’ll be pushing updated documentation on how to do this over the next few days. In the meantime feel free to deploy these example ones.

I did a talk about Juju at our local LUG, but I also did a talk on building your own Steam Box.

Some of the information here is already out of date, but you can check it out here.

Juju Charm Ecosystem Status for the 30th of October

General Info



  • 1.1 release coming tomorrow with support for bundles.
  • Minor bug fixes
  • Charm testing template included to create boilerplate Amulet tests.


  • no changes, tons of discussion, please join UDS for the details, here’s high level view:
    • Packaging for charm helpers, so you don’t have to embed them anymore
    • Multiple language support in charm helpers!


  • No changes, there will be more coming based on user feedback, no release date set yet.


  • More work in the charm author docs specifically.
  • Documenting the interfaces is coming
  • config pages getting updated to reflect 1.16.
    • Would also like to rework some of the screenshots (HP Cloud changed again).

Charm Updates

  • Queue @
  • CONTEST OVER! Judging has begun.
  • Owncloud has critical fix in the charm queue, needs to get in asap.

  • Lots of progress clearning it out over the past 2 weeks, we’re almost out of the hole.


What is a bundle?

  • Jorge: Bundles are to charms as metapackages are to packages
  • Marco: But you can define bundles of bundles, so it’s more like a bundle is a source package of a package that has multiple binaries.
  • Ok enough with the analogies, bundles are sets of charms AND relations that represent a workload, you deploy that into your cloud so like.
  • You can export a bundle from your GUI by hitting shift-d, and then share with others
  • You’ll be able to share you bundle with the community, it’s just a simple yaml file.
  • charm tools will lint your bundle!
  • How do we promulgate official bundles?
  • TODO for UDS, we need a session on Bundle policy.


  • ODS HongKong (Nov 5-8)
  • LISA’13 (Nov 4) (GlusterFS community days)
  • SCaLE CFP - 15 December
  • RubyConf (Nov 8-10)
  • AWS re:Invent (Nov 12-15)
  • MongoSV (Beginning of Dec, TBD)
  • Charm School schedule will be updated wih the t-cycle

Charm Championship

  • Submissions are in … judging has begun!
  • Announcement TBD.


  • [jorge] Openstack bundle deployment thing from jamespage: SUPERCEDED
    • Cloud installer + we’ll make other bundles for the GUI
  • [m_3] mapR charm review: INPROGRESS
  • [marco] Get 1.0(.1) charm-tools into precise: BLOCKED
  • [marcoceppi] Document SimpleStreams, scrub docs to make sure public-bucket-url and friends are updated: INPROGRESS
  • [jorge] - Local provider troubleshooting: DONE
  • [marcoceppi] - Document local provider troubleshooting: INPROGRESS
  • [jorge] - Document local provider troubleshooting: INPROGRESS
  • [nickveitch] - File a bug to bring -v back (show-log? really?): DONE
  • [nickveitch] - Document tags in the MAAS provider: DONE
  • [nickveitch] - control-bucket is now chosen automatically if omitted from the configuration for new ec2 and openstack environments.: DONE
  • [nickveitch] - admin-secret is now chosen automatically if omitted from the configuration of a new environment.: DONE
  • [jorge] [nickveitch] - Create a logging page. Logging has changed. You can specify an environment variable “JUJU_LOGGING_CONFIG”, or you can specify –log-config on the command line. To show the log on the command line, now use –show-log. The –debug has been kept to be short-hand for “–log-config==DEBUG –show-log”, and –verbose has been deprecated with its current meaning.: TODO
  • [marcoceppi] Document charmhelper http relations: TODO
  • [marcoceppi] Documenting the ~charmers responsibilities: INPROGRESS

(This post probably is not useful to anyone outside of the US)

I’ve been without cable for a few years now, using a combination of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and an HD Homerun. This past week Aereo launched in Detroit and after 30 seconds of using it I stumbled over backwards to pay for it.

Here’s the part that Aereo fills in. Right now here is what each service provides:

  • Netflix - The archive of movies and TV shows.
  • Amazon Prime - Same as Netflix, but also has first run shows available immediately if you want to pay for them (which I can’t do on Netflix)
  • HD Homerun - Local television.

The problem with my HD Homerun is that all it does is take OTA cable signals and put them on my network. This is handy, except it’s not integrated nicely on my Roku nor my Plex/XBMC setup. And at the end of the day, it basically is a retransmitter. Aereo is much more. And since I don’t have a dedicated PC in my living room (Just a Roku), if I want to watch the Lions game this Thanksgiving I need to hook up a PC to my computer, toss the URL in VLC and then fullscreen it.

With Aereo I don’t need hardware other than my Roku, PCs, or phones – and it does more than retransmit, it also provides a DVR-like service to my shows. That means I get the equivalent of a Tivo for my OTA broadcasts. Now, combine that with Netflix and Amazon Prime and all my bases are covered, one ONE DEVICE (the Roku). That means I can just record all the Lions games and watch them from anywhere. Now I can have people come over without them flipping out that I don’t have sports or local news.

Ah, my trifecta is now complete. $27 a month for all three, not bad!

The one complaint I have is that these services still force you into the “channel” model. That is, the channel is a first class thing in the UI. I think this is backwards; ideally I wish to have all the TV shows be available as an aggregate from every “channel”, and then I browse/search by grammer/content. When I pick “The X-Files”, then tell me my backend options. Of course, this model will likely never fly with the content providers, alas only my old Boxee Box ever got that right.

All in all, a great deal at $7 a month (I got the multiple antenna provider and more space for an extra 4 bucks) – and as a bonus the service is so innovative that the incumbents don’t even know what to do other than sue. Gotta love it.

Now that everyone is talking about SteamOS and Steam Machines I thought I’d blog about my “Faux Steam Machine”. SteamOS is basically a Linux-based OS, and we know that the SteamBox is basically a PC. And while people are guessing that the announcement on Friday will be a controller, I went ahead and assembled my own with my own stuff.

Certainly not “Steam Certified”, but it’ll tide me over until I can buy the real hardware, and it’ll let me follow along with development of Steam at the “Big Picture” level. This is all pretty straightforward and there’s nothing new in this post that you haven’t been able to do before. It’s just now that Valve is committed to this direction I want to follow along – especially as the number of titles coming out continues to increase.

For this tutorial you need:

  • An Ubuntu machine with good video performance. I have an Nvidia based machine. You need to install Steam on this machine.
  • This wireless receiver which enables you to reuse your Xbox 360 controller on your PC.
  • An Xbox 360 controller or some other wireless gamepad.

First you need to get the controller working in Ubuntu:

And now, make a Steam session:

  • Can I run Steam as its own standalone session? - this is great because it allows us to just login to the machine and then Steam fires up automatically in big picture mode. Kudos to you thor27 (the author of this little integration bit).

And finally, turn on auto login in LightDM so that our machine just boots right into Steam with no user input:

Steam updates itself at the client level so there’s no need to worry about that, the final step for a console-like experience is to enable automatic updates and you should be good to go!


  • There’s certainly some work we can do in Ubuntu to make configuring gamepads suck less.
  • There’s a Steam repository that has some goodies like a Steam Plymouth theme, this would make first boot look real slick.
  • Does anyone know if there’s a similar cable for PS3 controllers?
  • Performance: I assumed that loading Steam in a dedicated session would lead to better performance but it’s actually slower than running it in Unity. I think it has something to do with Steam running in the stripped down XFCE window manager that doesn’t have compositing? Need to investigate.
  • Someone on reddit mentioned that SteamGuard/login in could be a problem but I haven’t run into those issues yet.

Thanks to everyone who showed up to the OhioLinuxFest. It was fun, well, other than getting that cold from Ian and Jono. evil glare

A friend of mine let me play around with Ghost, the new simplified blogging engine.

It’s still missing some features, but for me it’s about 90% there. The Markdown editor is excellent, it’s really all about no-frills content and publishing, which I like. There’s no content importing from Octopress (yet), so I’m going to not move (yet); but when it’s out for the public it should be a nice alternative for those of us who prefer simple blogging. And I must admit after hosting a static blog for so cheap it gets kind of weird moving back to something that needs a working web server (First world problems I know.)

I think it would be nice to have a hosted service like this that would just let me dump the rendered html into an S3 bucket.

Also check out Lee Hutchinson’s review of Ghost on Ars Technica.