Interviews

For the 200th Issue of UWN, Amber Graner interviews Mark Shuttleworth, Jane Silber, Joey Stanford, and Jorge Castro for their comments, reflections, and suggestions for and about the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter.

Amber asks each person the following questions:

  • Do you read the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter? If yes, for how long? If no, what can we, the Ubuntu News Team do to improve it so that you would find it beneficial to read?
  • What section do you read first and why?
  • What service does it provide to you personally? What benefit do you see that it provides to Ubuntu? Canonical? Other areas of FOSS?
  • Since this is the 200th Issue of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, in your opinion what has been the biggest change in it's evolution to what it is today that you have seen? What as been the most surprising?
  • If you could improve one area of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter what section would it be and why?
  • The Ubuntu News Team is very much a work in progress as we are always looking for ways to improve the service we provide to all readers. What would you like to see the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter evolve into over the next 100 Issues (roughly 4 cycles)?
  • When the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter was first started by Benjamin "Mako" Hill in 2004 under the name Ubuntu Traffic it was a Canonical driven project for the Community. Over time it it has evolved to a Community driven project. Do you see other Canonical initiated projects going via this route? If so, why is this important and can you hint as to which projects you might like to see this happen with?
  • Is there anything else you would like to tell the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter readers and staff?

Mark and Jane's interviews were via email as Joey, and Jorge's were recorded. Below are the the email interviews and links to the audio ones as well.

Mark Shuttleworth

Question: Do you read the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter? If yes, for how long? If no, what can we, the Ubuntu News Team do to improve it so that you would find it beneficial to read?

Mark Shuttleworth: I do read almost every edition of UWN. It's the single best summary of "what's going on out there" across the whole huge spread of Ubuntu.

Q: What section do you read first and why?

MS: I skim the list of topics covered and then jump to the specific pieces that catch my eye. Every week there's something different.

Q: What service does it provide to you personally? What benefit do you see that it provides to Ubuntu? Canonical? Other areas of FOSS?

MS: The diversity of the community is one of the best aspects of the project, and UWN helps me keep a sense of how happy and healthy the community is. It's also a source of news about some of the more amazing things people do with Ubuntu, or in the name of the project.

Q: Since this is the 200th Issue of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, in your opinion what has been the biggest change in it's evolution to what it is today that you have seen? What as been the most surprising?

MS: The first big shift, from being a summary of mailing list traffic to a true "field report" of highlights across the whole community was really important. And the fact that it actually got a lot better when a volunteer team took it on highlights for me the importance of passion as a motivator.

Q: If you could improve one area of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter what section would it be and why?

MS: Don't duplicate the topics covered - the bullet list is the easiest to scan and really useful!

Q: The Ubuntu News Team is very much a work in progress as we are always looking for ways to improve the service we provide to all readers. What would you like to see the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter evolve into over the next 100 Issues (roughly 4 cycles)?

MS: I think it's important to cover controversies as well as successes. I'd like to be confident that people can read it and feel like they have a real finger on the pulse of the community, including debates that are not yet settled.

Q: When the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter was first started by Benjamin "Mako" Hill in 2004 under the name Ubuntu Traffic it was a Canonical driven project for the Community. Over time it it has evolved to a Community driven project. Do you see other Canonical initiated projects going via this route? If so, why is this important and can you hint as to which projects you might like to see this happen with?

MS: Funny you should ask this Smile :-) I really do think UWN has got stronger as it became the responsibility of a team of folks in the community, rather than an assigned task. Lots of things make that migration - as Ubuntu gets bigger as a project, there is more capacity in the community to tackle challenges. And when you get the right mix of passion and competence you get amazing results - UWN is a very good example of that.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter readers and staff?

MS: Just a big thank-you. It's 20 minutes of really interesting reading for me, but I know it's hours of hard work for those who put it together. It's very much appreciated!

Jane Silber

Question: Do you read the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter? If yes, for how long? If no, what can we, the Ubuntu News Team do to improve it so that you would find it beneficial to read?

Jane Silber: I do read it! UWN, Planet Ubuntu, and the Fridge are important ways for me to stay informed about what's hot and happening in the Ubuntu community. And every time I read UWN, I am struck afresh by the energy, passion and skill that resides in the Ubuntu community.

Q: What section do you read first and why?

JS: I normally read it on the wiki page and my first stop is the table of contents. I scan the structured list that makes up the table of contents, and then dive into specific articles from there.

Q: What service does it provide to you personally? What benefit do you see that it provides to Ubuntu? Canonical? Other areas of FOSS?

JS: For me, UWN helps provide a view into the level of activity in the company, and highlights some interesting bits that I may have missed. So I tend to veer towards the sections like the LoCo News, the blog and podcast round ups, etc. I think that in general UWN can serve two main purposes. The primary purpose is to provide a service to the people in the Ubuntu community, both to highlight their work and to inform them of activity elsewhere in the community. I think a secondary purpose of UWN is to provide something of a map to new people. UWN is an easy to digest introduction to the range of activities in the community, and I think it may be useful to new community members, or those that are lurking on the edges and not quite sure if they want to dive in yet or not. By highlighting LoCo teams, or specific team meetings, UWN can be a guide to people wanting to take those first couple steps.

Q: Since this is the 200th Issue of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, in your opinion what has been the biggest change in it's evolution to what it is today that you have seen? What as been the most surprising?

JS: By far the biggest change is in the range of topics and activities covered in UWN. In the early days, these reports were very development and developer focused. And while developers are obviously still important, the community and UWN have expanded to include people with many other skills and interests. It's very exciting to see the full breadth of the project represented in a weekly snapshot.

Q: If you could improve one area of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter what section would it be and why?

JS: I think UWN presents such a great snapshot of the activities in the Ubuntu community, and I think we could improve how it is distributed and recognised. For example, I know we post it to Facebook, but perhaps we could make it easier for people to Digg/Reddit,/Stumbleupon UWN by adding the appropriate icons/links.

In terms of the content, I think that the editors do a great job collating information about the week's activities. I don't know how you manage to do it! Now that there is so much happening, I think we have to be careful to continue to make UWN readable for the busy people that are in the Ubuntu community. So that may mean some more careful pruning of information, or perhaps some things become monthly features rather than being in every weekly issue (e.g., are the bug stats meaningful on a weekly basis? ) It's a tough call though - there is so much great stuff to talk about, but I suspect there is also a tradeoff in terms of how much people will read if the email or webpage simply looks too long.

Q: The Ubuntu News Team is very much a work in progress as we are always looking for ways to improve the service we provide to all readers. What would you like to see the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter evolve into over the next 100 Issues (roughly 4 cycles)?

JS: I would like UWN to be viewed as the best way to keep up with the activity in the Ubuntu community, and also serve as an enticement to new community members. That means the UWN team will need to find a way to distill an ever increasing amount of activity into meaningful spotlights, while avoiding the twin traps of too much summarisation and too much detail. And it also presents a challenge in terms of reaching and speaking to not just the current community, but extending that reach and distribution to people just outside the community.

Q: When the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter was first started by Benjamin "Mako" Hill in 2004 under the name Ubuntu Traffic it was a Canonical driven project for the Community. Over time it it has evolved to a Community driven project. Do you see other Canonical initiated projects going via this route? If so, why is this important and can you hint as to which projects you might like to see this happen with?

JS: I think there are many areas where a project starts with one person, and then it grows into something larger that is improved on by a larger group. And many times that initial spark comes from Canonical, but not always. For example, within the community, LoCo teams, the Fridge, Planet, etc all started with a Canonical impetus but I believe all are community driven now. But I don't think the unique ingredient is necessarily that something starts as a Canonical project and then moves to the community, but rather that good ideas will generally attract people who are willing to spend their time on that idea, and they will flourish. And the less effective ideas don't attract momentum. What's important is to have an environment which allows innovation and experimentation, but also doesn't fragment into small, ineffective factions. And UWN is part of the glue that holds the community together.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter readers and staff?

JS: A giant THANK YOU for the time and energy that have gone into the first 200 issues, and I'm looking forward to the next 200. Love your work!

Joey Stanford

Over the years the UWN has been the voice of Ubuntu. It's started out as a way to keep the Ubuntu Community informed and continues to this day. Over the years there have been a large number of dedicated people who have contributed to the UWN. Pause for a moment and think what the news and the Ubuntu community would be without these unpaid volunteers. I applaud everyone who's worked on the UWN over the years and wish you the best and many good issues to come.

To hear more of what Joey had to say go to:

Download Interview with Joey Stanford ogg format: http://tinyurl.com/2uabwu9

Download Interview with Joey Stanford mp3 format: http://tinyurl.com/35jqbfd

Nigel Babu

Jorge Castro

To hear Amber's Interview with Jorge Castro, Ubuntu Community Team Member, and what he had to say about his experience as an UWN contributor and supporter. Jorge also talks about the history of the UWN, what service UWN provides for him personally and encourages anyone who listens to the his interview tips on contributing to UWN.

Download Interview with Jorge Castro ogg format: http://tinyurl.com/2b8y8l9

Download Interview with Jorge Castro mp3 format: http://tinyurl.com/2chd2jr

UbuntuWeeklyNewsletter/Issue200/Interviews (last edited 2010-07-04 20:42:12 by akgraner)