Riccardo Padovani

Changing the world bit by bit

My opensource contributions in March 15

This month was amazing: first Ubuntu Phones reached users, and so now we have feedbacks from actual customers, and we’re seeing platform growing.

If you have published any app on the Ubuntu Store you know what I’m talking about: in last two weeks there were a lot of new downloads by new users. In this moment 100 balls, a little game I published, has more than 1200 download by something like 1000 users (actually, 936).

If I think where we were 2 years ago, it all seems a miracle: community and Canonical are doing a great work together, and we finally reached the market with a real device, and others are coming. Wow!


First of all, thanks to all you who follow me, this blog has a number of visitors I never expect. I know I say that every month, but every month is a surprise. When I reboot this blog three months ago, my expectation was to have 4000 page view every month. Without calculating who read articles on Ubuntu Planet or in a RSS Reader, this blog had 26,866 page views by 5,916 unique visitors in 30 days. Thanks to all! And I only wrote 2 articles!

Stats are calculated by CloudFare, I don’t have Analytics or others trackers on the site. It just counts the number of request it has. And I think this is the last month I use CloudFare, as I describe below


As I mentioned last month, I used your donations to buy a VPS. I’m still configuring it, but I’ve already installed OwnCloud and an irc bouncer and a webmail. It still misses the website itself, and then some tests to see performances.

When it will be live I’ll write a post about the configuration, with all details.

This is only thanks to your donations, I’ve no words to say how much grateful I am. I’ll continue to do my best to make Ubuntu better, thanks for your support.


In March I received 55 euros in donations. It’s astonishing. I really, really appreciate to see my work is appreciated so much. I’ll can pay a good VPS, and have some good Italian coffees to have more energy to contribute opensource projects :-)

What I did

Some of you already know: in March I did surgery to the left eye to correct myopia: it was a success (also the one I did in February to right eye) and it’s amazing to see without glasses.

Now, it’s time to describe what I did in March. Considering the surgery, the uni and life in general I’m satisfied about what I did.

Browser app

The month start was a bit frustrating: I was working on new tab improvements, but I found a lot of upstream bugs in Qt, and I wasn’t able to land improvements I did. I tried different approaches to the problem, but every approach hit a different upstream bug. Unfortunately, I’m not good enough to fix upstream bugs: I took a look, but Qt code isn’t simple.

Luckily, after a couple of weeks, Olivier (main browser app developer) said me to leave that branch, for now, and focus on settings. He implemented settings in the backend itself and found a very elegant qml solution to manage search engines (I was writing a long C++ class to do that), and I wrote the UI for settings.

The branch has been approved yesterday night: I know in some parts of the world was already April, but here was still March, so it’s one of the March’s contribution I’m most proud of.

Thanks to oSoMoN for the mentorship and the patience reviewing my branches and suggesting me best practices.


Calculator Reboot

Do you think your app is perfect? Then popey hasn’t tested it yet! So you fix all bugs popey found, and you think you’ve done, but then there is Joe, the product manager. And he will find user cases you have never think to.

So we’re continuing to fix bugs, and I hope we will able to include it in the OTA update of next week. Quality of apps has to be very high to be included in the default image, so we want to fix all bugs before releasing it. It’s not easy, but we’re near enough.

At the moment we have only one blocking bug about keyboard, and I hope to fix it today or tomorrow. If I’ll able to fix it, then the calculator app will be pushed to thousands of phones next week. No pressure at all.

Meanwhile, you can test it on your phone looking for Ubuntu Calculator App Reboot on the store. Please leave us your feedbacks, so we can improve it :-)


Michael Zanetti worked hard on reminders last month, and a lot of improvements will land in next OTA image (we hope). I reviewed all its branches, and it’s a luck for me: I learn lot of things doing reviews, probably it’s the best way to improve my code skills: of course, then I have to try to use what I read!

Other than that, I did usual things: bugs report, a very little patch for Telegram, some code for ubuntu-it, promotion of Ubuntu on social networks, support on Italian forum and on IRC and so on.

Have you ever thought about helping the Ubuntu development? There are a lot of things to do, and you don’t have to be a developer: we need translators, testers, promoters and so. Try to take a look here, and, if you have any doubt, write me. I’ll be more than happy to address you to the right place to start to contribute.

Just think: two years ago, when I started to do things for Ubuntu Phone, I knew very little about developing world, and know I’m doing cool things that reach thousands of users. Wow!

Someone asked me how to start, well, I have no good suggestion: find something you like, and try to improve it. As soon as I’ve time I write a blog post with my story, maybe for someone could be useful: but remember, you have to create your own story, don’t copy others, it’s useless. Be yourself and try to change the world in your way :-)

You know, I’m a student and I do all this in my free time. So, if you like my work and want to support me, just send me a Thank you! by email or offer me a beer:-)