The Ubuntu Podcast covers all the latest news and issues facing Ubuntu users and Free Software fans in general. The show appeals to the newest user and the oldest coder. Our discussions cover the development of Ubuntu but aren’t overly technical. We are lucky enough to have some great guests on the show, telling us first hand about the latest exciting developments they are working on, in a way that we can all understand! We also talk about the Ubuntu community and what it gets up to.
The show is presented by members of the Ubuntu community, adheres to the Ubuntu Code of Conduct and is recorded every fortnight on a Tuesday evening (British time) and is released as half-hour episodes every Thursday.
The Ubuntu Podcast is an entirely community run project, with no guidance or coercion from corporate masters (or mistresses).
The thoughts and opinions of the presenters are theirs and not their employers (unless otherwise stated). We didn’t really need to say that, but we did anyway. We’re not lawyers. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments.
Some Rights Reserved
All contents of this site (including audio) are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.
It might sound like we just open the mic and start talking, but there is a process to making the Ubuntu Podcast and we are proud to say we use Ubuntu and Open Source every step of the way. We did discuss the process in S08E08 but things have changed a bit since then, here’s how we do it now.
So it turns out you need a website for this podcasting malarkey. Our VPS runs Ubuntu Server which is kindly hosted by Bitfolk.com. The server was originally installed with Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) and was upgraded to 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron), then upgraded to 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx), then upgraded to 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) and then upgraded to 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr). It has never been re-installed. In your face Arch Linux!
Our website is powered by WordPress and the Powerpress plugin, which in turn are powered by PHP and MySQL. We use nginx webserver, php-fpm and fastcgi to serve everything up. Naturally we are also using fastcgi_cache to boost the site performance considerably.
Before we start recording a show we need content. We scour the Ubuntu and Open Source world for news and collate our findings using Gobby, which is a collaborative text editor and chat application. All the Gobby documents have Strapdown-Zeta embedded and are composed using Markdown. Gobby is configured to sync any changed documents to a private website every minute so that we have beautifully rendered, Ubuntu styled, show notes to read from. Naturally the show notes are also laminator ready.
We use these show notes to guide the recordings and to help remind us what we’re supposed to be talking about. All the presenters are running Ubuntu Desktop or one of the, so called, Ubuntu flavours. Ubuntu MATE for the win!
We record the shows remotely, each of us sitting in our own homes and connected via the Internet. The Internet is amazing, you should try it. We converse with each other using Mumble, a low-latency, high quality voice chat server. We each record a local copy of our audio in flac format using Audio Recorder. Audio Recorder has a feature to start recording at set time, so we make sure all our computers are kept in time sync using ntp. We all load “Stuart’s Massive Clock” in a browser window or tablet. The clock manages the show running order and helps us keep each segment to time.
When we finish recording the local audio recordings are sent to the team member who is mastering the show that week and someone else on team edits the show notes (removing presenter prompts etc) so they are ready for publishing on the website.
The five audio files, one for each presenter and one for Samantha (who plays our stings) are imported into Audacity. Audacity is cross-platform audio editing software and we use it to align the audio tracks and top and tail them, but we don’t edit. This means you get to hear what we said exactly as we said it. Then we apply some filters to clean up the audio and to make our hot British accents sound even hotter. Finally we export a stereo flac file.
We have created a utility, called podpublish which is licensed under the GPLv2 and written in Python. podpublish converts the mastered flac into Ogg, MP3 and H.264 video and also adds tags, show notes and covert art. Finally podpublish uploads the audio files to our server and posts the episode to this website. podpublish can upload video to YouTube and the plan for Season 09 was to upload every episode to the Ubuntu Podcast YouTube channel, but sadly YouTube hate us and banned our channel. Twice.
We’ve super charged WordPress with the Jetpack plugin to automate posting to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter . Jetpack also renders our Markdown show notes. We make use of IFTTT to automatically post new episodes to the Ubuntu Podcast sub-reddit, the Ubuntu sub-reddit and our Ubuntu Podcast notification channel on Telegram.
A wise man once said, “if you don’t measure it, it’s not important”. Therefore we use GoAccess and (ironically) Public Radio Podcast Measurement Filter to analyse our webserver logs to check that we still have more listeners than Late Night Linux.
And that, as they say, is how it’s done.
You’ll find Season 08 and onward on this website. Seasons 01 to 07 are still available on the Ubuntu UK Podcast website. The split is due to some re-branding and restructuring that occurred between Seasons 07 and 08.