Are You an Ubuntu Evangelist?

At UDS-R I hosted a session to discuss how we might begin to change the tone (and content) of the discussion about Ubuntu, starting with "the media" (mainly the popular tech sites) that continue to get the story wrong. This is important if Ubuntu is to "break the sound barrier." Turbulence in the next year or two is going to get stronger and we need to be prepared for it.

(If this is the first time you've heard of this, I recommend that you read my original article here: )

The session was well-attended and the discussion was lively. UDS has a way of sparking fresh ideas and invigorating Ubuntu supporters.

And from that discussion, consensus was reached that an Ubuntu Evangelism team was needed. I have taken on the responsibility of building this team during the Raring Ringtail cycle, and have begun to do so. Expect to see building blocks and further information to appear shortly.

In the meantime, I encourage everyone reading this article to share their thoughts in the comments.

Are you an Ubuntu Evangelist?

How would you define an Ubuntu Evangelist?


hi, nice post. I see a good future of Ubuntu but so far I am not interested in it. A real hard work is required to make such a team, Best of luck!

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Thanks for your well wishes, and hope you'll keep an eye on us as we grow this ;)


I would say that you're describing someone who is passionate enough that he/she is willing to explain the ideas at any time and any place, possibly even in any context. But you can't just be passionate about talking Ubuntu. You need to pay close attention and evolve your own insights, also into fields that you have little or no natural reason to care about. I'd also argue that an "evangelist" needs to understand not only the technology, but also peoples perception of it – including misunderstandings and dislikes. And you need to have the "stay-in-there-dness" (Thanks, Mr. Savage) to investigate those things in order to find other angles. And you certainly need the patience to hammer the same issues over and over.

Yes, I think I'd have to say I am an Ubuntu Evangelist and I'd certainly be willing to contribute to your efforts.


Hard to define - initial etymology of this word was: some one who brings good news. Some thing like: "Yor problems are solved, ubuntu has come!".
Sins we know, even ubuntu is not perfect ;) i would say, some thing like this can say only liar, fanatic or idiot.
If you mean, some one who talks about ubuntu, helps to install it on other computers and so on, then i think - ubuntu missionar is good word for this.

And yes, i doing this, independent of how it calls.


Thanks fishor. The latter definition sounds close.


Have you first tried to simply ask to the journalists about why they get the story wrong and how to correct that instead of antagonizing them ?
I found the idea of the journalist scoring system funny, but mainly because I do not consider it as a real scoring system ( ie, I am still not sur eif this was no ironic ). If someone take it seriously, I am pretty sure he would not feel very open to make people lose point because they spoke of Linux, Gnome or Debian, or because journalist relayed concerns from the community ( such as the amazon story, the rampant feeling that Ubuntu is becoming more and more a commercial product, etc )

So maybe looking at the whole process would permit to find fails in it, ie, how does a move by Canonical or the community end being a PR issue. Then try to see if for example, the press release should be checked by the community first ( after all, since the community should be in charge, that sound logical to take care of that part too ), or if better contact need to be built with journalists, or watch where they do get their stories.

But adding more communication is not gonna fix much for the negativity, fixing the existing one will.


Hi Michael, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I agree that engaging with journalists by simply asking "Why?" is a good starting point. In an ideal world, there would be an ongoing dialog so that misunderstandings about Ubuntu are not spread in the first place. Failing that, and more specifically in the case where a journalist wilfully opts out of a community discussion, or has a multi-year track-record of bias/inaccuracy, I would not hesitate to apply a score card. The prototype I created in an earlier post is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but with some adjustments could provide readers a quick test of "Should we bother to listen to what this person is saying?"


In the case of Amazon story, do you consider that someone relaying concern based on the input of blogs, bug reports and forums has opted out of the community ? Or do you think this is a special case ?

Maybe doing a open ( ie, done on the wiki, with everybody input ) post mortem of the various PR issues would permit to everybody to participate, to understand at a high level how PR work, therefore improving the process and the skills of people. And for something on the scale of some controversies, crowdsourcing would be perfect ( not to mention that doing such crowdsourcing can only increase the sense of belongings in his participants, strengthening the community instead of dividing it ).


Hi Michael,

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I guess I'd consider them having opted out had they not tried to fix it in a constructive way. I do think that some people are legitimately trying to help (with specs, mock-ups, code, etc.), bit others are simply re-iterating and summarizing what has already been said.

The wiki idea is a great one. I'll add that to my next blog post when I follow-up on the original article.


is it by chance the tech sites are in fact getting the story correct but are just not writing the story Canonical wants? Much of the criticism of Canonical on their recent changes in Ubuntu are valid. Certainly you dont think the EFF was wrong?


Yes, I think the tech sites are consistently getting the story wrong. And no, I don't agree 100% with everything Canonical does or might do. Many (maybe even you?) erroneously equate Ubuntu with Canonical. That is a disservice to the thousands of volunteers (like me) that work on Ubuntu pro-bono.

On the topic of EFF: I respect much of what they do. I think the EFF raised some issues that they felt were important, and I think that those issues have been largely addressed, or will be shortly. What I do not agree with is a public press release announcing a position on a project without first having met with the leaders and contributors to fix the issues together. I suspect that didn't happen and welcome any proof otherwise.


I don't like the Unity desktop. I think the best way to encourage Ubuntu evangelism is to get a desktop that looks the same as Gnome 2, where you can put YOUR OWN choice of applications along the top of the screen, and the CONCURRENTLY RUNNING programs are along the bottom.
Yes, this is short. It's out of respect to the tens of thousands of hours that volunteers put in that I've kept this this short.


Thanks for your feedback. The pulse within the Ubuntu community that I've encountered is one of excitement about how Ubuntu will spread far and wide with a modern, fresh, and innovative interface like Unity. And, for those who wish to remain with the familiar, there are several other desktops available for Ubuntu, including ones that look like legacy Gnome.


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