Ubuntu Open Week - The Ubuntu Community - Wed, Nov 29, 2006
see also Monday Session.
06:03 jono ok I am going to kick off discussing some of the future direction of the communitu 06:03 jono the ubuntu community today is a pretty diverse place 06:03 jono we have a number of different types of disciplines represented 06:03 jono for us to improve the community we need to make our teams much easier to join 06:04 jono and those teams need to be better connected and report their actions more
<neuro_> How different do you see the Ubuntu community to that of, say, Debian, Fedora, Slackware, or Gentoo? Any pros and/or cons?
- I see the Ubuntu community as a hugely open and transparant community. we don't suffer from the "water cooler effect" as much where developers working for a company talk to each other and don't update the community - our distributed community means that happens much less - sure it will happen to a point, but much less. I have a huge amount of respect for the other communities, particularly Debian. the Debian community has a strong base, and has become a pretty reliable place to be
<rasman> How does the commercial side of Ubuntu fit within the community? 06:06 jono rasman, I think it is important that our commercial side (Canonical and other people who make money from Ubuntu and Ubuntu services) have a solid connection with the community
- as an example, Christina Armstrong who is CJA in here, is our communications hero at Canonical - Christina is looking to work with the Ubuntu Marketing Team where possible to have a solid relationship. community is pretty much *all* about communication - the problems, the benefits, the blow-ups can often be tracked down to good or bad communication. I think when that communication between a company and the community is solid, we have a fair palette of expectations to draw with
<brian_> How do you see Ubuntu driving the apps that get built? And have the app projects themselves been coming to Ubuntu for input?
- upstream developers base their process around predictable tools and platforms as many of you will know, I am involved in the Jokosher project, and we have built our development roadmap around the Ubuntu roadmap. we did this for a few reasons:
- so we can get Jokosher in Ubuntu
- Ubuntu is hugely popular, which means a lot of people will use it when using Jokosher
- Ubuntu is representative of a typical desktop - no crazy of funky crack that confounds expectations
- A good solid release schedule that is pretty reliable
<brian_> are conflicts within the Ubuntu community resolved by spinning off another MyUbuntu ???
- conflicts are an interesting subject, and people have different approaches to them. some people try to solve conflict by forking. some try to solve it by creating new rules and governance. in some situations, these are temporary solutions to deep problems. we actively encourage derivative distributions, as many of them serve a purpose that Ubuntu does not exclusively. we also want to encourage that valuble aspect of free software - the ability to take free software and roll it your own way. but, I think with great power comes great responsibility :P we need to ensure that digressions from Ubuntu make feature-sense - I would personally not like to see derivs that are the same direction as Ubuntu, but just derived for no-good-reason - that is a NIH problem
<mattl> Will you as community manager welcome people from the gNewSense community?
06:13 jono mattl, most certainly! I am always eager to talk to people who have got interesting things and ambition. gNewSense is a good example of a deriv - it fits a need that Ubuntu does not 100% right now. I am certainly keen to work with other derivs. for many distros, Ubuntu offers a solid base that is built upon - take Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu etc. we need to collaborate together where it makes sense, but to be different where it makes sense too. as Mark Pilgrim says, "gNewSense is the reference implementation of software freedom." what I don't want to see is people re-inventing the wheel
<corstar> Have bounties helped in brining a wider userbase to Ubuntu or is that just some geek cred?
- bounties have their place, and when used correctly, yes they do help. but bounties are not the only solution to getting people over to Ubuntu. bounties work well for certain things with a specific and targetted problem to solve, and with a certain type of developer. the problem with bounties is that they often don't offer up enough cash for people. I think growing a userbase and developerbase is an advocacy problem, and advocacy cannot be performed with a single technique. we need many feathers to our bows to get people over
<rasman> What do you mean by Ubuntu roadmap?
- the roadmap is the plan for Ubuntu is moving forward - it is the feature set and direction we want to take. this is usually done at a release level - dapper roadmap, edgy roadmap, feisty roadmap etc
<brian_> back to apps, are there plans or a mechanism to put Ubuntu specific features into any of them?
- good question. I am not the best person to answer this, as the distro team probably is. but some apps have additional things rolled in, such as the help menu options that hook into launchpad. we also customise apps and add specific support where it makes sense, such as using the GNOME VFS where it makes sense in Ubuntu. with free software it often makes sense for upstream apps to build in the main features, and any specific integration additions are patched afterwards. but we are certainly keen that upstream apps get those features that benefit all distros
<sjoeboo> do you ever see some sort of "feature voting" taking place, allowing users and the like the ability to weigh in on specs when they are not able to attend the summits/confrences?
- we have informal process of feature voting now, but it requires people to offer comments on features. I doubt we will have polls about features as polls are inexact techniques of determining popularity. polls are just literally a popularity contest that can be stuffed by people with too much time on their hands. we are always keen that the wider community should offer thoughts and guidence on the direction of Ubuntu though, and we actively encourage people to take part in the spec writing process at the developer summits. of course, you don't need to be at the summits physically to take part in this. we are hoping to make this process easier as time goes on
<binary2k2> how important are LoCo teams to the ubuntu community?
hugely. LoCo teams are a key part of our community, and I am *really* keen to see them grow. my first month of Canonical was largely spent on Loco teams and improving the structure we have there - improving the docs, better organising the site, building regular meetings, improving communication between teams etc
<effie_jayx> how often do you talk to the different loCo teams... and why is the loCo team in my country in another irc server (unplug)
I try to talk to as many teams as I can, and I am always keen to get feedback from teams, by my time is fairly limited and spread across the entire Ubuntu community, so I don't get a chance to talk a lot to everyone. I also encourage that all teams have IRC channels on Freenode - and all LoCo enthusiasts should join #ubuntu-locoteams on Freenode
[effie_jayx] jono so I heard... but they insist on using unplug
get them over here
<corstar> Is there a meathod of advertising that we can use to gain maximum bang for our buck to spread Ubuntu?Maybe something similar to "spread firefox" What other meathods have worked for Ubuntu in the past?
- this depends on how you frame the problem. I think this is an advocacy mission. I used to be a professional Open Source advocate in my previous job, and I spent some time trying different methods of getting people over to free software. again, it needs a multi-faceted approach - a single technique will not cut the mustard. advocacy generally needs a consistant, sustained approach - that is why spread firefox was so successful, they kept pushing and pushing. but it also relies on having a solid understanding of your audience and what they need. firefox had a relatively simple audience - web users. I think a lesson we should *all* take from spread firefox is that freedom was *part* of the selling point - they also hammered home the feature and security benefits. I personally think we need to stop the focus being 100% on freedom - the picture is MUCH bigger than just that
<tonyyarusso> There has been some discussion about a one-vote per approved member system for certain things though, still very much in the mildly pondering stage, has there not?
- there has been some discussion, although afaik nothing is decided on. we do like the fact that approved ubuntu members have been through a vetting process that identifies them as good contributors - we need to factor that into the decision
<rasman> Is there a guide to getting our LoCo to start meetings or adgendas or even tasks?
check out the main Loco pages at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoTeams and see the HOWTO at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoTeamHowto - also see the knowledge base at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoTeamKnowledgeBase and the FAQ at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoFAQ. I also encourage you to ask for advice on the loco-contacts mailing list - the people on there are exceptionally cool. the best advice I can give is to just go ahead and book an IRC meeting in a few weeks in your IRC channel and encourage people to get there - blog about it, mention it on the LoCo team's mailing list, mention it on the team's website etc
<freakcode> What about proprietary software? Will it come as bundle in edgy+1, or is the team working in some type of tool to install via apt-get, upon showing a disclaimer to the user? If not, I think this should be an ideia, because many users rely on proprietary software (drivers, codecs), so a tool like that (more simple than using synpatic) should be more human-like.
- nothing is cast in stone for Feisty (which is edgy+1), but are actively encouraging all application vendors to make their software available on Ubuntu. we are keen to provide a solid free software Operating System that users can run what they need to on it
<corstar> It must feel great to be working for a company that has such high moral values, will Cannonical get much bigger or do you think they have reached a peak for now?ALso, what oppertunities will open in the future?
- I do love working here and I always wanted to work here. in my previous job there was a cutoff date of March 2007 for the project to finish and I may have gone back to freelancing, but Canonical was always #1 on my list of companies to approach. then the Ubuntu Community Manager position came up and I figured I would strike while the iron was hot :P Canonical is growing, there is no doubt about that. we are company that is growing in engineering, community outreach, and critically, in our business operations. my responsibility is that community will always be part of canonical's growth. I am confident that the community and its central role in Ubuntu will always be a priority at Canonical since I have worked at Canonical, it amazed me just how much it is a central focus. so yes, I think the moral standards will prevail but I always welcome feedback, as does Mark
<in_flames_666> how can the ubuntu users get involved in the community?
there lots of ways people can get in touch - and I recommend you figure out your own skills and interests and see which team they are best matched too - feel free to ping me if you are unsure. also see http://www.ubuntu.com/community/participate
<brian_> Is there a feeling among the communtiy that Ubuntu needs a killer app or feature that will have people come running to it?
I think it depends on the demographic. I think we do need a unique factor to pull people to us - but that factor is typically "reliable, predictable software releases." I also think Ubuntu is there to identify the future direction of Linux and what we need to include - so our next release will have the bling, and we are keen to explore presence and multimedia benefits. but like anything, this is a community project and we all need to play a part in what we do
<samgee> Is it important for an active community member to be on all relevant communication channels? What if you don't like IRC and/or mailing lists?
I think a member needs to be on the communication channels relavent to them - I could understand for example that a marketing person may only be on the marketing mailing list and in #ubuntu-marketing. its only some of us who are on virtually all lists. its certainly not an expectation
<rejden> In some cases it's obvious that the new ubuntu members, which basicly came to contact with FLOSS thru Ubuntu doesn't understand the involvement within various other projects like Open Office or KDE suite, don't you think in some cases this can damage the FLOSS community itself?
- misunderstanding only damages a community if you don't work to fix the misunderstandings. I think there is some confusion about how the process works, and we could do with improving it. if someone is interested in getting involved to help clarify in a document the relationship between a distribution and an upstream project, do let me know
<mruiz> How non-english speakers LoCo teams can coordinate their activities? We don't have enough tools; For example, Planet Ubuntu is only for english speakers.
translations is a great place to help - y'know, the translations aspect of Ubuntu really, really rocks some people, so we need to improve this all the time. as for other services like planet, yes, we need to improve this - there is a spec for setting up per-LoCo planets to make this better
<rejden> After almost few years of involvement within the translation community many of us find out that translation made to rosetta (for example gnome) doesn't make it to the main application (GNOME in this case) and we lost many great translatorst because of that, is there any way that Ubuntu is thinkin about more support of these translation and their interaction to the main application?
I don;t know about this - best to ask jordi, bring that up in the next Rosetta session
<freakcode> Again about Cannonical... Many people, especially from other projects and distros, doubts about the Cannonical business plan, like "How can they ship CDs worldwide, for *free*?". Its obvious that Mark done the first step, but can Cannonical really profit only with the comercial support and third-party costumers?
- Canonical is a business, and Mark is a very good business man who has formed a good business team. I am not going to comment on our business direction, not because of any Uber Secret Plan (TM) but because it is someone elses job to figure out how we become profitable. it is important to stress though that Canonical is a well run ship with a careful budget - there is a misconception that Mark with his many-millions is happy to just pour it all in with no measurable outcome - we have a business direction and targets to meet. and always remember that like free software, businesses evolve - I am sure the Canonical business offering will evolve as new markets become available for us
<corstar> Would it be possible for ubuntu to do a similar thing to the "google summer of code:
- nothing planned right now, but who knows? and no, don't take that as the start of a rumour people... :P
<brent_cool> When are we going to see Ubuntu on Pocket PCs and/or Tablet PCs?
- no immediate plans, but I would *love* to see a community project form around this - all the pieces are out there, anyone want to pull them together?
[gnomefreak] i was jsut reading something on that not too long ago abotu RHE was shipping on pocket pcs and or tablets
<debarshi> Where exactly do you draw the line between Debian and Ubuntu?
- thats a big question. at a technical level, the project uses Debian and works to merge it into Ubuntu and provide patches back up. at a social level we try to work with Debian as closely as possible - we are all Debian heads after all :P
<kudzubane> Do you have a sense of how the explosive growth of the Ubuntu community affecting the Debian community?
- there are no clear metrics for measuring this, so it relies on licking your finger and putting it in the air. I think the growth of Ubuntu will have mean't more being up to Debian, but on the flipside, there are no doubt people who have moved from Debian to Ubuntu. we are keen though that we have a co-existant relationship with Debian and collaborate together where possible. in the same way that Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu collaborate together on the core underlying system
<brian_> Has Ubuntu thought about working with Universities to complete features?
recently we hired Richard Weiderman to head up our Ubuntu team - RichEd on IRC - he is keen to help factor in education at so many levels - I recommend you ask him this question
<corstar> Last night Mark doged the "Google OS" question nicley, can you confirm, deny or ignore any rumors?
- I am not aware of any Google OS. I am aware they love Ubuntu though but a Google OS, its not something I have heard of
<finalbeta> Are you planning to somehow take into account more of the community input. The binary drivers thing is raging on mailing lists and forums. Is it not wise to actually listen to the end users, and not just the ones that make the most noise. Community voting or something. You can still ignore the result once you get them. But right now we read things like, "we will include proprietary code because people ask for it.
- we are always keen to get community input, and I am keen to hear your ideas on how we do that - re. the binary drivers issue this is a big issue in itself, I recommend you contribute your thoughts to the spec
06:59 jono ok folks I am going to wrap up now 06:59 jono thanks for the excellent questions 07:00 jono as usual. get in touch with me if you need anything else :)