Server

September 2010 Community Report : Server

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This report is being put together by: Ahmed Kamal

This report is here to satisfy the following use case:

Sam loves Ubuntu Server and would like to make it better but is not sure where to begin.

The goal of this assessment to identify what typical experience Sam may have and areas in which it can be approved.

Assessment Process

To perform this assessment we would like to ask those involved to perform the following steps:

  1. First put yourself in the position of Sam who has no idea how to participate within this area. How does find out about to participate, where our resources are, which communication channels they can use etc? Please enter your findings into the Discoverability section below.

  2. How does Sam learn the skills to participate in this area? Enter your findings in the Learnability' section below.

  3. How does Sam know what to work on and how to contribute? Enter your findings in the Doability section below.

  4. Find five community members who are very new to the community and ask them to answer the questions in the New Community Member Feedback section below.

  5. Finally, review all the findings you have notes down here and propose a set of improvements that are concrete things we can work on. Note these in the Recommendations For Improvement section below.

Findings

To ensure our work is as useful as possible, please ensure that all findings are factual and not based on opinion and perception, and where possible, backed up with links to resources that outline the findings.

Discoverability

Items to consider:

  • How do new community members typically start learning about the community?
  • What is the primary web pages and points of contact when new community members get involved?
  • Are there magazines, other websites and other resources that often act as on-ramps for community members to get involved?

Findings

  • The Official www.ubuntu.com/server page does a good job pointing to community resources (Forums, wiki, irc)
  • Ubuntu server community locates info via forums, IRC, mailing lists and Google
  • Server oriented contributers seem to be using all available communication channels, since they're usually pro IT staff
  • Those who wanted to find the information, had no trouble locating it

Learnability

Items to consider:

  • What documentation/resources are available?
  • What support channels are available to help them learn?

Critically - from the perspective of someone completely new to learning the skills in this area of the community, are our resources easy to follow and understand?

Findings

The links above tells a new contributer which doors to knock and does a fairly good job at it, however once knocked, there is no solid mentoring program behind it as we mention below

Doability

Items to consider:

  • How does someone know what to work on?
  • How do they contribute their work back?
  • How easy is it for Sam to understand how this works?

Findings

  • It is hard for new contributers to find tasks to work on, especially simple ones. The server paper cuts program can be a good start, but so far not very popular
  • There is no real mentoring program, it's not easy for Sam to engage
  • An engagement path is not clear
  • For mentoring we depend on emailing a single server team member, that is not scalable
  • There is not well defined procedure
    • There is no list of things to work on, especially newbie friendly "smallish" tasks
    • There is no weekly mentoring sessions for training new contributers and answering questions like (how do I do this, where do I push this)
    • Contributers are encouraged to work only on packaging/bugs/docs/QA, it seems impractical to work on sexy new features

View #Recommendations For Improvement

New Community Member Feedback

Within this part of the community, look at which community members are new (such as new MOTUs in the Packager assessment or those newly participating in LoCo teams in the Advocacy assessment) and pick five community members to answer the following questions on this page. They should include their answers below.

Name Matthew Byers

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

I have Ubuntu server installed and found out about team from ubuntu forums

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

I enjoy working with servers and ubuntu community as a whole

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

I viewed the ubuntu server wiki page but nothing on it helped on showing how to get involved

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

No, the information on the wiki was not useful at all. It says to send a email to mathiaz to get involved with the mentoring program and i sent emails based off this site: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ServerTeam/Mentoring but i never received any responses back

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

Alot of the server docs have not been touched since last year. Not much help really!

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

More updated/recent information on the docs page and more assistance from current members to get new members involved with team

Name Sreekanth B

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

As part of my work with amazon ec2 cloud work for a client

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

Looks liked a focused group (ubuntu-server) who wants to solve some real world customer problem rather than just mathematical computer problem

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

irc #ubuntu-server

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

There way tooo many #ubuntu-* channels and many talked the same and i got a bit lost in which meeting to participate and lost interest there after

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

I have google with me, i can find what i want. so not much comments here

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

Consolidate all ubuntu-server* related discussion at one place, keep announcing the next event in the ubuntu-server commuity (either in home page or in tweet, etc). i will perhaps write more about this over the coming weekend

Name Simon de Boer

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

Years ago, on the advice of a friend, I installed Ubuntu as my desktop. Having tonnes of sysadmin experience I appreciated the thoroughness of the system. Somewhere along the way I noticed that you had a server based image

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

I have been entirely dependent on open source software for my whole career. I have a feeling of a need to give back. Ubuntu Server is of interest, in particular in its use in the cloud, because I have personal interest in effective and efficient system administration, but also my business objectives map onto making the Server OS more robust in these areas. With no other open source project has personal interest matched with business requirements.

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

I have not actually looked at all yet. Its on the list to do over the next 6-12 months

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

In looking up bugs and other support issues I have interacted with LaunchPad - it is very complex - as it probably has to be. But, somewhat daunting. In particular when I did look for help on reporting a bug I seemed to end up reading about how to improve LaunchPad -- not the project I was interested in reporting a bug about. But...that was just one experience

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

I have not begun to explore what would actually be necessary in order to contribute

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

NA

Name Rodolfo Pilas

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

I have not previous notice about a Ubuntu server community. I am participating at ubuntu-cloud and ec2ubuntu mailing list from a couple of months ago, and I seen the Ahmed e-mail for this survey where I receive the notice of Ubuntu server community

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

Cooperate with high technology to business uses. To lern form others

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

I have just subscribed to ubuntu-server mailing list

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

Yes, I have found information about ubuntu-server at the wiki. But I did not known that it is a expression of a community behind

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

I read the community wiki, and it is very useful. Also I learn from mailing lists. In general, I do not use web-forums neighter IRC

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

Perhaps open local groups or at last language groups. I read everyday http://planetubuntu.es and it has zero news from server

Name Miguel Angel Salinas Gancedo

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

From Ubuntu Comunity Site

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

The community has given me a lot, now should provide it the same

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

From Ubuntu Comunity Site

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

I used linux from many years: Red Hat, Suse, Mandrake, Fedora and Ubuntu (the best).

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

Yes, Ubuntu Comunity Site is a grate site to start

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

I never contribute in the comunity, so i don't have any experience yet

Name Joe Williams

  • How did you learn about this part of the community?

I use ubuntu server for my employers machines

  • What attracted you to this type of participation?

We've run into some bugs and I wanted to see if participation gave me more control over what happens to the distribution I use on a daily basis.

  • Where did you look first for information on getting involved?

I happened to see your email on ubuntu-cloud and decided to reply.

  • Did you feel the places you looked for information were useful? If not, how could we improve?

I didn't look for more information.

  • When learning skills and content for participating, were the resources you used useful? If not, how could we improve?

Same as above.

  • What recommendations would you make for improving your experience in our community?

More direction on what needs to be done, I want to immediately start working on something. Basically, I work with EC2 and Ubuntu everyday and just want to make it better and make my life easier

Name Khaled Hussein

Khaled provided interesting in free form (not specifically answering the questions one by one), his feedback below

I know a lot of developers that always wanted to contribute, but never did. Here are my thoughts on why this is the case:

  • Sexy problems to solve

I know a lot of people that have contributed much to Redhat instead of Ubuntu Server only because it is "sexier". What made Redhat more appealing in my opinion is:

  • - I talked to some of them and I think that the "sexy" problems are very well documented, which doesn't seem to be the case for Ubuntu Server. - For the case of these developers that I know, there has been a well defined mentoring process that helped developer (almost baby stepping them) towards the right direction. Having that has increased the commitment of the developers to contribute
  • Buzz

I think that the Ubuntu Server team needs to create a bigger buzz for Ubuntu Server use cases in the market. This helps PMs and developers to look more into using Ubuntu Server instead of whatever they are currently using. It almost needs to look like a selling process about the benefits of using Ubuntu Server vs other alternatives

  • Vision and Roadmap

It doesn't have to be perfect, but it needs to be there. The community is going to improve it significantly and try to drive it forward. But it is hard to get "engagement" from developers if they can't see the longer term value of the time they are willing to contribute

I hope this makes sense.

Recommendations For Improvement

The goal of this effort is to make practical changes that improve our community. Please place these recommendations here, and make sure every suggestion is a practical achievable goal.

  • PROBLEM: Lack of reach out for new contributers

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: We need to have seasonal call-out for new contributers, and work with them till they "graduate". We should not assume interested people will just come to us

  • PROBLEM: No clear engagement path

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: There needs to be a clear engagement path for new server contributers. What problems to work on, Who is your mentor, What is expected from you and what will you get from us, regular help and support for some time till they graduate

  • PROBLEM: Need community "owned" features

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Non commercial backed contributers should not be limited to certain types of contributions. They should be allowed to suggest and own features and drive it to success. While there is no rule against that today, all information available suggests otherwise. The fact that writing new sexy functionality is usually more rewarding and self-fulfilling, should make us focus on making it possible for newcomers to own their own new features that progress at community rate with guidance and help from more senior server team members, but without the newcomers being run over

  • PROBLEM:

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION:

  • PROBLEM:

  • RECOMMENDED SOLUTION:

Commentary

This section is for those not involved in the report to leave their feedback.

CommunityReview/Sep2010/Server (last edited 2010-10-15 12:38:22 by kim0)