Tip #2 for Ubuntu Evangelists (and Advocates)

In our last episode, (post), I encouraged you to use Ubuntu yourself, every day. Moving along, here is:

Ubuntu AdvocateUbuntu Advocate

Tip #2: Don't assume people have ever heard of Ubuntu.

Pretend it's brand new to them. Introduce Ubuntu simply as Ubuntu, and skip the references to arcane systems of days gone by, and also skip the computer science minutia. Most people don't care and will tend to tune out if you try to impress them with jargon or recount a technical history lesson.

Over the coming days I'll be sharing more of my tips for Ubuntu advocates. Things I've learned the hard way by trying things myself, failing, re-thinking, and then trying again. Please stay tuned for Tip #3 tomorrow.


Are you an Advocate? Please check out the brand new Advocacy Kit:


"Ubuntu Advocate" image (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jeff Kubina.

Tip #1 for Ubuntu Evangelists (and Advocates)

In our last episode, (post), I "warned" you that I would be presenting some tips to help advocate Ubuntu. So, without further fanfare, here is:

Ubuntu AdvocateUbuntu Advocate
Tip #1: Use Ubuntu yourself. Every day.

Make it your sole operating system and immerse yourself in it. After all, if you're not confident enough to do so, why should anyone else be?

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Over the next few days I'll be sharing more of my tips for Ubuntu advocates. Things I've learned the hard way by trying things myself, failing, re-thinking, and then trying again. Please stay tuned for Tip #2 tomorrow.


Are you an Advocate? Want to help others advocate too? Please check out the brand new Advocacy Kit:


"Ubuntu Advocate" image (CC BY-SA 2.0) by arrayexception.

Tips for Ubuntu Evangelists (and Advocates) - An Introduction

In a prior post, I introduced you to a wee little project that I kicked off at UDS-R. There I hosted a session to discuss how we might begin to change the tone (and the content) of the discussion about Ubuntu. In short, I want to create a process whereby we can all "Amplify the Signal."

In the time since my session, Jono and his marvellous team of Community People (who are both inside and outside Canonical), have serendipitously created a resource that I think is going to really help in this quest: an Advocacy Kit, a highly curated collection of tools to help those of us who want Ubuntu to spread as far, as wide, and as quickly as possible. It's in its early stages but a document framework is in place. I decided to dive right in to see where I could help.

Ubuntu AdvocateUbuntu Advocate

One area that I noticed I could add immediate horsepower was in providing tips for the would-be advocate. That's right up my alley. That's what an Ubuntu Evangelist does. S/he equips people with tools to be effective. S/he gets people excited about advocating for Ubuntu.

Over the next few days I'll be sharing my tips for Ubuntu advocates. Things I've learned the hard way by trying things myself, failing, re-thinking, and then trying again.

Please stay tuned to this "channel" for Tip #1 tomorrow.


Want to get involved in the advocacy kit too? I highly recommend it! Please check out Jono's post here and think about what you can do to help:


"Ubuntu Advocate" image (CC-BY-2.0) by Myles Braithwaite.

Ubuntu Holiday Gift

Soon people all over the world will be celebrating holidays, and for many that means shopping and gift-giving. I'm here from the "school of hard knocks"[1] to give you some important advice:

If you are looking to buy (or ask for) a computer system that runs Ubuntu flawlessly (and who isn't, right?) then there are 3 places that you can (and should) check before you make that purchase:

Ubuntu-Certified systems: <-- any of these are excellent choices for Ubuntu. Be sure to check the current Ubuntu version though.

Ubuntu Friendly systems: <-- look for 4 stars or more.

Ubuntu pre-loaded. System76 is a great choice and they are all about Ubuntu! <-- just be aware that they are located in the USA which means you'll likely pay for shipping and some extra fees to get your system past the border mafia in your country.

If you are expecting to recieve an Ubuntu-ready computer, I strongly recommend that you pass this advice along to your loving gift-giver-to-be. And, encourage them to get a gift receipt for the purchase, just in case ;)

Enjoy Ubuntu in style, hassle-free, and without the pain that people experience on other platforms. [2]

Happy holidays!



[1] 20 years in IT and 6 years supporting Ubuntu. Hundreds of people asking me "How do I get my (graphics card|wifi|suspend| function keys|hockey stick) working with Ubuntu. Years of reading blog posts and bug reports about how the latest Ubuntu release "broke my (uncertified) system."

[2] You can share this gift too. Do you have system that works flawlessly (i.e. with not even one minor issue) with Ubuntu but is not on the lists above? Please tell me about it in the comments.

(Original image by asenat29, CC-BY-2.0,

Community Docs Jam Today!

Today, Thursday Dec 13th, with your help, we're going to make Ubuntu even more awesome by adding a strong dose of community.

Head on over to:


on the Freenode IRC network.

Create fresh, interesting, and exciting content for

More info:

Make Community More Awesome This Thursday... There's Jam!

Happy 12/12/12 12:12:12 everyone! The world is apparently still in tact, so let's get on with the mission to make Ubuntu even more awesome by adding a strong dose of community.

What am I talking about? The website above is not exciting enough! Jono Bacon recently invited us all to participate in a Community Docs Jam that is happening this Thursday December 13th (2012) to fix it! So, if it is Thursday in your time zone, you need to head on over to:

#ubuntu-doc (see note [1] below if you don't know what it is)

What will we be doing?
Creating fresh and interesting content for Content that shows Ubuntu for what it is: a project that we can all participate in. Ubuntu is an exciting place to be right now and we want that excitement to be clear.

The whole event description is here:
Please read it before the event if possible. (That will save us time and energy during the event.)

Please join us Thursday and help us make the new Community content the best ever! See you there!



[1] #ubuntu-doc is a chat channel on the Freenode network. It's easy to join. Just point your browser at: type #ubuntu-doc as your channel name, or use your favourite IRC program like Empathy or Pidgin.




We Are *All* Making Ubuntu - Part 2

Yesterday, I introduced an opportunity for everyone who wants to help make Ubuntu's search feature the best in the world to participate in a specification hosted here:

(Note: You will need to login with your Ubuntu SSO, and also be a member of the ubuntu-etherpad[1] team on Launchpad. Join it here:

There are already some good ideas and constructive discussions on the Pad. Go ahead. Take a look, then add some more.

One thing missing though are mock-ups, wireframes, and prototypes. Do you have a background in designing interfaces? We need you!

I am not a programmer, nor do I play one on TV. But I do know that code does not look like this:

Really bad code that doesn't make Ubuntu better.Really bad code that doesn't make Ubuntu better.

Will the people that invest all that time and energy contributing to the bickering, name-calling, and dredging up the past take the time to participate in building a constructive future together?

Paul Ferson, Mohit Kumar, Emil Protalinski, Alex Williams, and others, I challenge you to use your words for good, not click-throughs. Join us here and become part of the solution:

We Are *All* Making Ubuntu


Yesterday, an internet opinion snowstorm ensued over the Canonical's treatment of search queries that are entered into Ubuntu's Dash.

RMS, Jono, then a gerjillion others: dog-piling, re-reporting, thrashing, re-hashing... This (fun?) will continue for days, probably weeks, and maybe even years. Generations will look back at this as the moment in time when free software ceased to be free, or the world ended, or both, or worse.

Or will they?

Full stop. Did we forget somewhere along the line that we are all making Ubuntu? It does no one any good to sit at the keyboard and rant, bicker, blame, name-call, etc. That isn't how software is built. That isn't Ubuntu.

Good software begins with a spec. Do you have a better way to build Ubuntu's search feature? You can (and should) participate.

The best search feature in the world begins here:

Please click and contribute. Yes, even you, Richard Stallman.


Important Technical Note: "You need to login with Ubuntu SSO, and also be a member of the ubuntu-etherpad[1] team on Launchpad. When we first started user Etherpad, we had some problems with people vandalizing existing documents, so we created this step to prevent that problem." (Michael Hall, from comments)


"Raring" to Try Your Nexus 7 with Ubuntu?

Back at UDS-R in Copenhagen, I had the fortune to meet the fine folks on the (Canonical) Ubuntu Nexus 7 team. One thing that impressed me is just how open they were to community input and how eager they were to make Ubuntu the best it can be on a tablet form factor. Oops! That's two things.

Actually, I have a bit of a funny story. On the second day of UDS, I was sitting in the dining hall beside one of Ubuntu Vancouver's finest co-conspirators and pulled out my shiny new Nexus 7, freshly (that morning) flashed with Ubuntu 12.10. He asked, "So, what do you think of Ubuntu on the tablet?" I was just about to launch into a rant about how difficult it was to use the touch interface, the lack of automatic screen rotation, and the dreaded "button 1 lock-ups", but then my inner voice said, "Randall, this is a proof-of-concept, an alpha. Be nice." Also, there was a kind looking gentleman sitting across the table from us who looked quite interested in the device and our conversation. Who was he?

So, instead of answering my friend's question I said, "Try for yourself." He played with it for a bit and then handed it back to me with a smile. We both knew what that smile meant.

That turned out to be the right move. The gentleman across the table soon identified himself as one of the developers on the Ubuntu Nexus 7 team. Face-palm averted. More importantly, a demotivating whine from a community member likely wouldn't have helped morale.

The next thing that happened was what I call a "classic Ubuntu moment": The gentleman mentioned that he had observed our interaction with the device and noticed several things (tweaks) I could do to make my Ubuntu tablet experience more enjoyable and usable. I thanked him for that, and I also thanked him for his hard work to get Ubuntu up-and-running in the first place. He encouraged me to find more bugs and to help the team.

Here I am.

I am testing Ubuntu on the Nexus 7. I'm using it everyday. And by doing so, I am trying to help the project even if in a small way. I attend the weekly Nexus 7 team meetings on IRC. I demo the Nexus 7 at Ubuntu gatherings in my city. I gather friendly people to pose for pictures.

Friendly Ubuntu Nexus 7 team meets the Ubuntu community at UDS-R.Friendly Ubuntu Nexus 7 team meets the Ubuntu community at UDS-R.

Even though the first functional Ubuntu Nexus 7 image represents a baby step towards the goal to have Ubuntu on all form factors by 14.04, these are exciting times for Ubuntu and I feel invigorated (and honoured) to be involved in a really big thing. I am not Canonical. I am part of the jedi force that is often called Community. You are part of that community too. I'd love for you to get involved.

Oh! I almost forgot: As of today, Raring Ringtail is now available for the Nexus 7. Re-flash and have a great time!

Ubuntu is not just software.


(additional photo added Dec. 8, 2012, based on comments)
Awesome tablet people!Awesome tablet people!

Tip Jar

Liked one of my articles? Please consider clicking the "Donate" button above

Namecoin (NMC) is also appreciated:

Thanks! Your support helps keep this site free and interesting.

An Ubuntu show right from Vancouver!

Real Local Community