Meet the Platform Team Managers: David Mandala
Part two of the seven-part series introducing you to the Canonical Platform Team in Where Karmic's Karma Comes From. In part one of this series, we met Robbie Williamson of the Foundations and Security team. In part two we ear from David Mandala, the Canonical Mobile Team Manager.
Amber Graner: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do at Canonical and for the Ubuntu Project?
David Mandala: I'm David Mandala, Manager of the Ubuntu Mobile team for Canonical. I try to keep the team focused on producing the best product for netbooks devices and also for the ARM platform.
AG: Out of all the things in the Karmic release, what are you and your team most proud of?
DM: We are putting out Ubuntu Netbook Remix, in really nice shape, and Ubuntu Moblin Remix, also in very good shape. And finally we have ported the Ubuntu main and universe archives to ARM and produced images for Freescale and Marvell platforms.
AG: What was the biggest obstacle you faced for this release and how did you over come it?
DM: Biggest has been the learning curve working with ARM – how you have kernels that are unique for each platform vs. having a single platform on i386 that will boot most any x86 platform. Lots of work getting that sorted and lots of work on the kernel team trying to get solid kernels for us.
Finally, another big obstacle was the lack of ARM hardware. The latest ARMv7 hardware has been in short supply, so we have had a shortage of hardware within the team and it's been very hard for the community to get access to the latest hardware. That I hope is changing in the coming cycle.
AG: What can be expected from you and your team for Lucid Lynx, Ubuntu 10.04?
DM: The netbook release is likely to get trimmer, lighter weight, and perhaps a bit faster. We will likely have more ARM platforms to support and will again focus on great support for netbook computers.
AG: Understanding that every developer and community member's contribution and participation is appreciated, but if you had to name a "rockstar" that helped Karmic's Karma Rock – who is it and why?
DM: You know I'd be hard pressed to identify a "rockstar." The entire mobile team does what they do because they believe in Ubuntu, and as such they pull together with the community to produce the Mobile product. They work unbelievably hard all the time to make Ubuntu what it is. I am awed by the team, the way they work together and cover each other to end up every 6 months with a fantastic release.
AG: How and where you would encourage more community contributions?
DM: Great question – it really is hard in some ways. We love folks poking at Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Ubuntu Moblin Remix, and that is fairly easy for the community to do, and we have been getting more and more support in this area.
Another area we would love more community involvement is with ARM, but this is much harder because the hardware is much harder to come by. That should change in the coming cycle and we welcome more folks to come in and contribute to testing and packaging for the ARM release.
AG: When you think of the Ubuntu Community and the Spirit of Ubuntu, what comes to mind and how do you foster that within yourself and your team?
DM: We try very hard to do everything in the open to make Ubuntu the best open and free OS in the world. For the last year we have some extra challenges, working with folks that for years have been in the embedded space and are not accustomed to working in the "open," so to speak. But working side by side with them, we are helping them get accustomed to working with the Linux community and the release-early-and-often ethic we have.
AG: David. thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and letting us know how we as community can get involved and help you and your team make Ubuntu even more awesome!
More information about the Mobile Team can be found at: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MobileTeam. For more info on how you can participate in and contribute to Ubuntu, visit: http://www.ubuntu.com/community/participate.