Just before that GUI (giant Ubuntu icestorm) gripped the interwebs, there was a massive event called the "Ubuntu Global Jam." If you've been following along on "Amplify the Signal" (rather than fixating on soviet space stations, software release management jargon, and losing the big Ubuntu bi-annual love-ins) then you might have caught the story that this cycle's Ubuntu Global Jam was a big one.
It's an interesting dichotomy. Interweb fiction versus AFK fact. When one looks at what's being said about Ubuntu on the web, one might get the sense that Ubuntu's community has collapsed (or is about to), that people are defecting all over the place, and that Ubuntu has somehow "lost it's way." Really? Come on!
I'm here to report that nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are some facts from the ground campaign, where all good battles are won:
1) Our local Ubuntu group has reached the highest membership levels in our history, and we're still growing!
2) People come to our events with enthusiasm and happiness knowing that they are near others that enjoy Ubuntu and that they can share their discoveries with each other.
3) People are excited to learn that they can get involved in Ubuntu. They think it's incredible that they are a part of something big. They have an "Aha" moment when it clicks why "Ubuntu is not just software."
4) People generally don't give a "rat's ass" about display server stacks, rolling releases, and other computer science minutia. Most people just want an enjoyable interaction with their technology and Ubuntu delivers solidly on that. Tech journalists, keep reporting stuff that doesn't matter. It makes us giggle and snort, usually uncontrollably. :)
5) People who use proprietary technology systems (our competitors) are stuck going to stores in malls for help and support, essentially renting "community" from their technology landlords. That's profoundly sad. I am relieved and happy that Ubuntu is alive and thriving in my city and a great place to experience community the way it was meant to be: in the spirit of sharing a gift.
6) The people (mainly journalists) who are deriding Ubuntu, saying that "Ubuntu has a community problem" are the same people that don't show up for local Ubuntu events, don't bother to get to know Ubuntu contributors, Ubuntu's culture, and generally never gave a flying leap about Ubuntu in the first place except perhaps where it intersected with their pet project - page clicks. Are you an Ubuntu Advocate? Please do me a favour and tune them out. If you find that too difficult, at least don't spread what they are saying. Ever. Let their pages rot on the site where they were published.
So, what does the real "on the ground" "AFK" Ubuntu community really look like? I'm glad you asked! Here's a little glimpse:
Smiling faces. Loving Ubuntu community!
Dear readers, I'll follow up with a few more details shortly... Until then, keep building real Ubuntu community in your town or city.
The Jam never stops.
image CC BY-SA rrnwexec