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 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)
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.
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! https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Nexus7/Installation
Ubuntu is not just software.
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: http://randall.executiv.es/uds-r-4 )
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?
Four days of cameras everywhere! Thousands of photos! Are you (or were you) there?
Let's get all our photos onto Flickr (or similar) photo sharing services. Let's show the whole world our great Ubuntu Contributor Community in action.
Suggested photo tags: uds-r, ubuntu, raring
Please upload your photos. Thanks :)
If you do, please take a look at a recent Ubuntu Vancouver "A Cup of Ubuntu" event. (It's a bit like an Ubuntu Hour, but with several twists and marketing hooks which I'll describe in an upcoming post.)
Does your city have these events? No?
The most likely reason is that no one has stepped up to organize one. You could be the person in your city that changes that equation. The fact is: we are all creators of Ubuntu.
This post brought to you live from UDS-R "Blog-o-rama".
"Ubuntu is not just software."
The media continues to miss the story. There! I said it again. Don't believe me? Set up a recurring Google search for Ubuntu and see what pops up every day.
My good friend Charles spotted yet another article (which I shall not point to) today that picks on a perceived weakness of Ubuntu. In this case, the author was referring to the lack of Ubuntu local community in his area (greater Seattle, USA). Though I think the author missed the bigger points (1: we're working on it, and 2: he can help), I am somewhat happy that at least one person dared take the challenge to report that "Ubuntu is not just software." Score one small victory for the underdogs!
Overall though, I'm still tired of this. Really tired of this. Name a project that has more "awesome" than Ubuntu. Go ahead, I dare you.
Yesterday at UDS-R, I bumped into the amazing David Planella from the Ubuntu Community Team. We (Ubuntu folk) likely all know that David and the rest of the team recently did a 24-hour Ubuntu marathon for charity. What we probably didn't realize is that not one journalist (from the usual big sites) bothered to report the story.
So, how do we get the media to catch on? Good question! Today at UDS-R, I'm hosting a session to discuss this.
I hope you'll join me and add your thoughts. (And, if you're reading this after the session, chime in either in the blueprint or the comments.)
The Blog-o-thon is on! For the next 24-hours, expect plenty of mayhem on Planet Ubuntu.
Day 2 at UDS has begun, and by now you all have met the team behind the scenes. You know, the always friendly and awesome folks who make sure the event runs smoothly, make sure that you get your badges, goodie-bags, and all the other logistics that go into making a large event a success.
If you are at UDS, I hope you will take a minute to drop by the registration areas and say a big thank you to them. Maybe even bring some chocolates ;)
Are you at UDS? Met some amazing people? Blog about it!
The often misunderstood UDS-R Crew can be an intimidating force, especially given that they are armed (2 arms to be precise!), and lead by the arguably the toughest Ubuntu community member on the block: Chris Johnston.
If you were up early enough today, and at UDS in Copenhagen, you likely saw the "wall of orange" carefully guiding participants to the auditorium, and answering tough first-day questions like:
"Where are the meetings?"
"Where do I get my badge?"
"Where are the bathrooms?"
"When will Ubuntu phone be released?"
One of the things that I really enjoy is the camradarie that is built at UDS. The UDS Crew is but one example of people coming together to build a team and make UDS (and Ubuntu) better.
As sessions started, the crew assigned to the day made sure that all the meeting rooms were signed and that no one got lost. This fun will continue throughout the week.
In just a couple hours, at the opening party, we'll be your source of correct-answer stickers for the "top-secret" contest. So, if you see us walking around, please come over and say hi. Introduce yourself. Bring answers!
We're not what you think ;) We're armed (with stickers) and we're friendly.
Have an example of a fun team you've been part of at UDS? Write about it!
I was up bright and early this morning, meeting fellow members of the illustrious, never boring UDS-R Crew and getting ready for the onslaught of attendees from all parts of the globe.
One of the things that impressed me was just how *BIG* UDS seems to be compared to previous ones. It's been a year since my last UDS and wow!!: Ubuntu is growing, and growing!
Some "behind the scenes" shots:
Are you attending UDS-R? Please share your photos and experiences! "Ubuntu is not just software!"
The wisest readers of Planet Ubuntu will certainly remember my challenge to ahem, "journalists" to report the real story: "Ubuntu is not just software."
Who do you think will be the first to take the challenge? Who dares stand up to their editor? And, which publication dares to let out the little secret that Ubuntu is wildly the hugest thing on the planet? We shall see.
In the meantime, while you're reading the types of stories that the same pack of (approximately ten) contract writers write every cycle, here's a little game you can play.
Each writer starts with a perfect score (or zero?). Then, for each of the following tactics points are deducted (or awarded?):
- Refers to Ubuntu as a kernel
- Attaches/includes the "L" word
- Says s/he has been using this release for a long time
- Says s/he has been using computers since dinosaurs walked the earth
- Calls the release "Quantal Quetzal"
- Laments that it won't pass the "ancient hardware test"
- Laments that it won't run on random hardware
- Criticizes that the project is soliciting donations (or repeats the criticism)
- Criticizes the stance on Secure Boot (or repeats the criticism)
- Criticizes the inclusion of search results from the "Large Rainforest in Seattle" (or repeats the criticism)
- Refers to Ubuntu as a commercial product
- Refers to Ubuntu as a company
- Refers to Canonical as the owner of Ubuntu
- Drops the name of at least 1 other distro
- Drops the name of at least 1 other desktop environment
- Recommends breath fresheners
- Admits to having regular halitosis
- Compares Ubuntu to an OS sold by a Monopolist in Redmond
- Compares Ubuntu to an OS sold by a Fruit Company in Cupertino
- Compares Ubuntu to an OS created by a Large Number Company in Mountain View
- Writes for a site that is sponsored by at least one competitor
- Uses the term "users"
- Uses the term "noob", or "newbie"
- Uses the term "geek", or "techie"
- Includes random blather from forums/blog posts, etc for dramatic effect
That's my list so far. Did I miss any?
Next up? A point system to go with the above.
Possible extension: an award ceremony or a prize.