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Launchpad team created
A short history of Ubuntu NL
Ubuntu NL was founded in 2004 and is one of the LoCos that became de-facto approved. In the past six years, the Dutch LoCo has evolved from a small group on IRC into a very active forum, and has also developed a reasonable amount of activities outside the forum. Before the official Ubuntu Pastebin service was launched, Ubuntu NL provided the most widely used pastebin solution in the Ubuntu Community. The 'sources.list'-generator generated a lot of traffic in the early years of Ubuntu's existence. Despite some internal struggles, the community is going strong and growing strong.
The bulk of the Ubuntu NL community is centred around the Ubuntu NL Forum, and until recently it was not possible to join the Ubuntu NL team on Launchpad if you weren't a member of the Ubuntu NL Team. Now anyone can join the open team ubuntu-nl-community. However, our new Launchpad policy is still in its infancy, as can be seen from the low membership of this new team. A better indication of the community's size are the 70+ users you'll find in the #ubuntu-nl IRC channel and the more than 20,000 registered users on the Ubuntu NL Forum.
Ubuntu NL is supporting one of its community members with the founding of a new LoCo 'Ubuntu Fryslân', which wants to serve the province of Friesland in the North of the Netherlands, where the main language is not Dutch but Frisian.
Ubuntu NL is closely cooperating with Ubuntu BE and many Flemish Ubuntu BE members can be found in the communication channels of Ubuntu NL. For the whole Dutch-speaking Ubuntu community there is one IRC channel, one forum and one translation team.
Some forum members have been running an effort to collect redundant PCs in the Netherlands. The collected PCs were subsequently shipped to Africa, where a community member helped with installing the computers, of course using Ubuntu. The project was run in 2008 and again in 2010. The initiative featured on national television, as part of a series by broadcaster RVU. A video at YouTube can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kBjvMANvr4.
Ubuntu Nederland governance
Ubuntu Nederland has seen some serious organisational troubles and still its structure is not solid. Although governance in subteams of Ubuntu Nederland is functioning well, in the larger team the situation is different. Indecisiveness and uncertainty plague the LoCo-wide governance. The consequence of this is that most, if not all, action takes place in the subteams.
Although there officially was a formal governance council, consisting of representatives from each subteam, this group was virtually invisible and did not do any work at all. It did have members, but there were no scheduled meetings. There was no effective method for taking decisions concerning the whole LoCo and planning the course of the community. There was no effective method for reflecting and evaluating community processes and members. There was no effective method for contacting Ubuntu Nederland management formally or informally. This caused postponement of important decisions and led valuable contributions of community members to the organisation of Ubuntu Nederland go to waste.
As a consequence there have been discussions about ways to improve this, impractical and demotivating situation. A proposal for a new organisation structure for Ubuntu Nederland was accepted on an IRC meeting a while ago. The concept of a separate 'Ubuntu NL Team' was abandoned, an important step in removing the barrier between community and team. That proposal is a good step forward, but it fails to address the core problem: lack of a clear leadership with support from the community.
The new LoCo Contact is working with reflection from the team and wider community on a new proposal that aims to clearly define the structure of Ubuntu Nederland and make sure the problems mentioned above are addressed. Discussions in the community about this proposal have started in December, when the first concept was published. At the planned meeting in January 2011 there will be a final discussion about the proposal and implementation can start.
The Ubuntu NL Forum can be found at forum.ubuntu-nl.org. The forum is for all Dutch-speaking Ubuntu users, including the Flemish. On 24 November 2010 the forum had over 58,000 topics and over 660,000 messages.
The last few months the Ubuntu NL Forum has seen changes to its structure: the subforums 'Translations', 'Documentation', 'Promotion' and 'Artwork' were fully opened to the community. This was done to allow anyone who wants to contribute to cooperate, without having to become a member of the Ubuntu NL Team. A new forum was the 'For Sale & Want To Buy' subforum.
We had a 'Board Community Council & Forum Delegation' in which delegates from the regular members could discuss matters together with the Community Council. The subforum of this board has been completely opened up so all forum members can share their opinions, contributing to a better an opener community. The regular community members have so far behaved excellent.
The subforum for the Ubuntu NL Team, where the Team members and moderators used to have their discussions, has been split in two subforums. The conversations concerning the LoCo have been moved to a public subforum, the Ubuntu NL Forum Team have moved to a dedicated private subforum. This is done to make sure every moderator can freely express his or her opinion, without having to be afraid of the repercussions when the forum members would find out who was in favour of which decision.
The moderator team has changed its name and was extended by several members of the former Forum Delegation. They are now called the 'Forumteam', which describes the team's purpose better. A moderator is more someone who is constantly following a conversation and intervenes when necessary. This is not possible on this forum, because there isn't always someone present who is responsible for this. Our time is limited since we are volunteers. The 'Forumteam' first consults before a punishment for a breach of the rules is enacted. At least every moderation act is reported, to make sure the other members of the 'Forumteam' are notified.
Because there has been quite some turnover in the moderator team and we are busy implementing the changes on the forum that are the result of Ubuntu NL's aim for more openness, the 'Forumteam' is still busy growing and accommodating to the changes. It isn't always easy, but we're getting there.
The IRC Team are the channel ops who try to keep the #ubuntu-nl* IRC channels helpful and friendly.
A new project started (very) recently is preparing a Dutch language "factoids" IRC bot.
Ubuntu NL has a strong history of organizing Ubuntu release parties in the Netherlands. There have been big parties with several hundreds of visitors in 2007 in Hilversum, and in 2008 in Amsterdam. The results were very good, however, the task of organizing such a big event proved to be a lot of work for one person.
The decision was made to try to organize multiple smaller parties instead of one big party. For the winter release of 2008, several smaller parties were organized by community members in Apeldoorn, The Hague and Groningen.
In December, a discussion was started by several community members about the future of organizing release parties. There was a call for more support from community members willing to help organize the release parties. As a result of this discussion, a group with active community members was formed who gave themselves the task to support future organisers of smaller release parties, and to act as a bridge between the Ubuntu NL Team and the organizers.
The result of this effort was a big success. The next five release parties in Apeldoorn, Drachten, Oss, Groningen and The Hague in the spring of 2009 were a great success. Some companies helped by sponsoring. Flyers promoting the four release parties were distributed throughout the Netherlands, a new release party wiki was made to inform organisers and volunteers, and to manage subscriptions. The organizing community was very enthusiast about the new approach. Several members of this release party support group were added to the Ubuntu NL Team.
The next release, the largest club of computer and electronics users in Europe—the Dutch organisation 'HCC!'—was contacted to work together organising release parties. The result of this joint effort was the Ubuntu release party on the 'HCC! Linux Thema Dag 2009' and the Ubuntu stand on the 'HCC! dagen 2009'. Lots of visitors got acquainted with Ubuntu on these big events and the release party in Oss.
The cooperation with HCC! was continued in the form of an 8 person team, consisting of members from Ubuntu NL and HCC!, working together with the communities and several companies to organize the large Ubuntu Release party 2010 with 28 lectures and workshops, several stands from the Dutch open source community, nice prizes to be won (new laptop and server and lots of goodies), and a convenient location in the center of the Netherlands. Two smaller release parties were organized by community members without official Ubuntu NL support in Utrecht and Tilburg.
Pictures of all the release parties mentioned above, and some release parties organized by Ubuntu BE can be found in the 'Releaseparty Hall of Fame': http://wiki.ubuntu-nl.org/community/ReleasepartyWiki/HallOfFame. The close ties between Ubuntu NL and the Dutch-speaking part of Ubuntu BE is demonstrated by the fact that both LoCos have shared infrastructure to promote release parties; the website releaseparty.eu, and the fact that several members were active in organising events across the border.
Videos of the talks held by Ubuntu NL members at a release party organised by Ubuntu BE can be found at http://ubuntubenelux.blip.tv/posts?view=archive&nsfw=dc.
Ubuntu NL has manned stands at several events the past few years. The T-DOSE, Software Freedom Day, the Olster Jaarmarkt, the 'HCC! Dagen 2009', the 'HCC! Regiodagen Drachten 2009' are examples of this.
Community-sponsored Ubuntu posters in public buses
To promote the release party for Lucid Lynx in 2010 locally, in the town of Ede, advertisement space was bought in 29 buses. The posters were sponsored by community members, which was made clear on the poster: "This poster was sponsored by: Name of the Sponsor, a satisfied Ubuntu user.".
Ubuntu promotion in magazines, books
In the last few years, several community members have written articles about Ubuntu for computer magazines in the Netherlands. Some of these magazines are Linux Magazine (Dutch edition), ComputerIdee, and PCTotaal". In October 2007 Ubuntu was positively discussed in a national newspaper "Trouw" with over 2,5 miljoen readers: http://www.trouw.nl/incoming/article1491539.ece
Community members also wrote a chapter about Ubuntu for the "Open Source Jaarboek 2009", a yearly overview of the Dutch open source world, aimed at politicians, officials and managers.
We want to organise several smaller release parties for the upcoming spring release. Until then, our focus is to set up an official foundation for Ubuntu NL. The main reason for this is to provide our volunteers with correct insurance coverage and protect them against possible trouble that may arise when things go wrong during events organised by us. Canonical has been contacted with regard to this, but during an IRC meeting Ubuntu NL decided to postpone the foundation until the organisational troubles have been fully resolved.
All Dutch translations for Ubuntu are done via the Dutch Translation Team. There is no separate team for Ubuntu BE, just like GNOME NL serves both the Netherlands and Flanders. There is a Lauchpad page and a subsection on the Dutch wiki that the translation team uses to coordinate its activities. Several members of the Dutch Translation Team have branched off to upstream projects and are no longer translating just for Ubuntu.
Our main form of communication is via our mailinglist and we have a monthly IRC meeting.
In the beginning there was no real "translation team", so everybody who wanted to translate helped out. We also organised a translation sprint in a "chalet" in the Veluwe woods one winter weekend which resulted in a lot of translations. At some point most of this old informal translation team got busy with other things, and although some translations were done still, there was a period when there was no real team of people working together.
This changed in 2009 when a new person, Cumulus007, took over the team. He has been successful in reviving the Dutch Translation Team, and contributed many translations. Recently he retired from translating but is still active on the forum of the Dutch Translation Team.
The drawback of (re)starting the Dutch Translation Team from scratch was that there were no experienced translators left, leaving no one to go to for advice. This has improved with time when new translators gained experience, but it did hamper the collaboration with upstreams.
The Dutch Translation Team has recently completed the translation of the Ubuntu Manual Lucid Lynx (162 pages). It will be published shortly, after the final editing is done. We feel that this is a valuable project for new users, who might know very little about Ubuntu. Its sequential nature makes it easier to follow than, for example, wiki-pages where users can navigate in circles and get lost easily.
The Dutch Translation Team is currently working to improve its collaboration with upstream translation teams—most notably GNOME NL—to make sure more users will benefit from our translations, not just those who use Ubuntu. Our most important projects with regard to this are listed below.
Maverick Translation Sprint
One of the big successes of this approach was the two-day translation sprint in preparation for Maverick. This was coordinated with GNOME NL, who had translated several programs during their own sprint a week before. These translations were then imported manually into Launchpad for Maverick and have made it into the release on time, saving the Dutch Translation Team a lot of time and work.
We were then able to focus our attention on the remaining packages, and managed to translate more than 800 strings and completing about a dozen packages in just two days. The completed translations were subsequently submitted to GNOME and have since been accepted. This was mostly coordinated by Hannie Dumoleyn, who is a member of both GNOME NL and Ubuntu Dutch Translation Team.
A first effort has been made to contact the Debian-translators to synchronise package descriptions and packages like 'apt' and 'dpkg'. This is, however, still in a very early stage.
Other upstream projects
The Dutch Translation team has also adopted several orphaned upstream translations, including quite popular ones like XScreensaver and Compiz. These translations will benefit both Ubuntu users and users of other distributions.
Our immediate goals include improving and extending our contacts with upstream projects, so that we can keep contributing back to them. We also plan to modify and extend our wiki pages—especially the introductory page Launchpad sends to new translators—to make it easier for one-time translators to contribute. This will also reduce the amount of double translations that are done for packages that are translated upstream, and thus will never be used. This has caused some irritation in the past.
We also plan to complete the translation of the Ubuntu Manual for Maverick as soon as it is released. Our long term goal is to completely translate the package-descriptions for all applications that are available through the Software Center.
Since 2007, the Ubuntu NL wiki, which is, amongst other things, also the home of the Dutch documentation, can be found at wiki.ubuntu-nl.org. The Dutch documentation that was still on the international Ubuntu Wiki was used as a starting point and has been improved and extended. There are Documentation Guidelines in place to assure the quality of the documentation.
Articles are not only created and maintained by members of the Ubuntu NL Documentation Team, but also by other community members. New items are delivered via the page: Articles in progress.
The articles are focused on Ubuntu and its derivatives, and on various related subjects. Often a page from the Ubuntu Wiki or the Official Ubuntu Documentation is used as the basis for a Dutch article, but own content is created as well. The Ubuntu NL Documentation Team discusses via a subforum at the Ubuntu NL Forum. This subforum is one of the several subfora that was opened to the whole community. Previously only the Ubuntu NL Translation Team had a public subforum on the Ubuntu NL Forum, the other teams were using private forums. Recently, the Ubuntu NL Documentation Team was organized in a Launchpad group: https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-nl-documentatie.
The Ubuntu NL Documentation Team is working on plans to make it easier for community members to get involved in creating and improving documentation.
The Artwork team is currently working on a new theme for the SMF 2.0 forum software. A live demo of this theme can be found here. Please keep in mind that the theme is still under development, so some pages won't look like they should.
They are also developing a new map. This map shows all the 'Steunpunten', support points, registered on the forum. People can click the nearest support point and send him/her a message for help. The current map can be found here, this is a screenshot of the new map that's still under development.
The Ubuntu NL news site, called Prikbord, was launched in december 2006, as part of the new website. The aim of Prikbord is to publish announcements and news for the Ubuntu NL community. Every month, a community member tells about his personal life and appoints the next Ubuntero of the month.
In the future, we will expand the number of active Prikbord contributors. At the moment, there is only one active editor.