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Ubuntu Global Jam - Call for Events!

The Ubuntu Global Jam ("Saucy Salamander" cycle edition) is quickly approaching! This event is when the entire Ubuntu community comes together to make a real difference to Ubuntu and to have a great time in the process. Everyone is able to contribute to the Jam, and everyone is welcome and encouraged to get involved.

Several teams have already registered an event. Have you?

I would like to encourage you to

Register an event NOW!

We're only a couple weeks away!

The Ubuntu Global Jam is scheduled to occur on these dates:

  • Friday September 13, 2013
  • Saturday September 14, 2013
  • Sunday September 15, 2013

This part is important! Please add your event to the Ubuntu Team Portal http://loco.ubuntu.com/events/global/2315/ so others can find your event and so the world can start seeing all the amazing things that you're doing for Ubuntu.

Good documentation about how to create a successful Global Jam event is here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuGlobalJam

A short video explaining the most basic steps is here:

Thanks in advance for participating in this upcoming cycle's Global Jam event. If you have any questions, please feel free to

Get in touch!

Update! Did you know there's a Saucy Salamander Cafe in Maryland? http://www.saucysalamander.com/ourcafe.asp Now you do. Maybe Ubuntu people from all over the world should gather there and Jam. Share your thoughts in the comments.


Thanks jliau for the spiffy new Jam logo. Good jam on that globe!

IT's Innovation Opportunity: Ubuntu Edge

My front-row seat in the internal (to companies) Information Technology (IT) world provides an interesting vantage point, one that is at times disappointing. In the past few years, internal IT has struggled to maintain its relevance in the face of cheaper (and better) cloud-based service providers armed with GPL'd software. Internal IT's cost structures are out of whack, and IT executives know it. The solutions they have built on proprietary products sold by monopolists are brittle and increasingly expensive. The solutions they have built on internally written closed source comes with a huge technical debt, and that debt is now due.

So what's an internal IT executive to do? Internal IT has trapped itself in a death spiral and now must find a way out, or simply disappear. The business leaders they support aren't dumb and they aren't impressed. A CIO's admission of their past (and present) mistakes would amount to political suicide.

Here's the path forward:


Some IT executives understand this, or at least claim to. Here are some quotes from the lips of IT executives I've met along my journey.

"We are innovating."
"We are building a culture of innovation."
"We are delivering value to the business through innovation."
"We will demonstrate industry leadership through innovation."

Sounds good so far. But here's the problem: They aren't. The words are simply words on a presentation deck. The methods remain the same, or in some cases even get worse; more proprietary nonsense, more lock-in, more double-speak. Millions of dollars spent on no outcome.

Are you an IT executive? Are you saying similar things yet not demonstrating anything innovative? Here's Randall's advice, free of charge: You are in clear and present career danger. Your employees aren't dumb, and neither are your business stakeholders. It's time to "Walk the talk."

If you're an IT executive and looking for a really quick way to demonstrate your commitment to innovation, and a way to steer clear of this trap, then join the most innovative technology project on the planet: Ubuntu Edge. That's right. Ubuntu Edge!

When you join the Ubuntu Edge project you are helping to shape a technology future that is inclusive, and a future that will serve your business leaders well by leveraging the power of crowds of really smart people, without all that nasty lock-in. You will also be showing your employees that they can work on something fun and empowering.

Here's the link to get involved:

Any questions?

This article was partially inspired by Bloomberg's recent announcement of financial support for Ubuntu Edge. No CIO's were harmed in the making of this article. Names have been omitted to protect the careers of those quoted.

Ubuntu Gets Two More "P's": Lucky 7!

"Ubuntu is not just software."

In an earlier post, I introduced you to the Five "P's" of Ubuntu. After a lively quiz I hosted at Ubuntu Vancouver's "Cup of Ubuntu" event this past Saturday I learned that there are actually
two more P's that I hadn't thought of.

Behold Ubuntu's Seven P's:

Ubuntu is a:


that inspires


to participate in a massive collaborative


that creates a rich and solid


that supports useful and freedom-respecting


that the whole world can enjoy. This is creating a global


and a new technology


Thanks UVLC!

Would You Buy a T-Shirt If It Would Help Change the World?


Every smart phone on the market sucks. Yes, every single one of them; even the one in your pocket!

The Ubuntu Edge campaign is now offering fantabulous t-shirts as a perk for supporting the project. I know what you're thinking: "So what Randall?"

Well, here's the deal: This presents an opportunity for almost everyone reading this post to show their support for the project, the goal, and the dream of a future where we control our phones and not vice-versa. This is like voting for a future we want to see.

"But wait, Randall, I like the present. I got the apps. I like the fruit. All my friends think I'm cool. My robot that pretends to be free is all I need. Why do you insist on forcing this future thing on me?"

Really? Do you have a "smart" phone? When was the last time you talked to a developer about its features? Do you have any say whatsoever in it's design and functionality? Do you enjoy all the "carrier-ware" that your favourite phone company glues onto your phone OS? Do you like lock-in? DRM? Mansions in Los Altos Hills? Do you admire those who withhold the best technology from you? Do you like record profits? Do you like companies that hoard more cash than the entire purses of some nations? Do you own a yacht? Do you think you are free? I don't.

It's time to shake things up a bit.

Let's change the current sad state of affairs in the mobile phone industry, and by extension the tech industry. Let's get a nifty t-shirt (or even a phone) in the process.

I hope you will join me in supporting Ubuntu Edge. "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Click here:

Ubuntu Edge: a.k.a. The Fruit Slicer! **

I must admit, I was *startled* by the announcement of Ubuntu Edge today. Bold. Disruptive. BRILLIANT!

Please join me in thanking Mark, Jane, Jono, Rick, Alan, Jorge, Robbie, Daniel, Dave, Nicholas and all of the fine folks at Canonical and "not at Canonical" for all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that have gone into getting Ubuntu this far. A move like this takes guts.

With this in place, Ubuntu is poised to do to the phone industry what it has done to the PC industry. Or, in other words:

"Let's slice some fruit and have a great time!""Let's slice some fruit and have a great time!"

Do you want to help? Consider contributing your money here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ubuntu-edge?c=home

Don't have the funds right now? Consider getting involved in helping design and build the phone by joining the Ubuntu Phone Team's mailing list:

But talk is cheap. I contributed ideas, bug reports, and money. Did you?

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Image http://www.flickr.com/photos/malabooboo/ (CC BY-NC 2.0)
** My son came up with the "Fruit Slicer" title. How neat is that!?

Did you know that "Ubuntu is not just software?" ;)

Community Leadership Summit 2013 - Opening

With preparations complete, the opening session started. Jono walked attendees through the background, goals, and format of the summit.

Like other years, the summit format was to be conducted in an "unconference" style. Attendees were asked to consider hosting a session and to indicate their proposed session on a session card. Then, one by one, the proposals were pitched to the audience to get people excited about all the lively discussions ahead.

Proposals complete, the remaining task was to get them on the day's schedule. Here it is!

Day 1 totally designed by community leaders from around the world - great minds from as far away as Kenya and New Zealand.

Community Leadership Summit 2013 - Setup

In the wee hours of Saturday morning and running only on caffeine the crew was hard at work getting CLS 13 ready for the hundreds of attendees from around the world. I managed to snap a few impromptu photos with my Ubuntu Phone between setup duties.

The intractable schedule board! It's amazing how the seemingly small details take so long to finish. Here, the crew puts finishing touches on the day's session schedule. It took four of us over an hour to make this:

My crew-mate and I were instructed by Jono to "tape down anything that people might trip over." After carefully scouting the rooms for loose cables, we discovered a previously overlooked but huge hazard and dealt with it...

Mission accomplished.

Community Leadership Summit 2013 - It Is ON

After many (4) years of wanting to attend, and having various road-blocks to doing that, I'm finally here!

I'll be sharing some updates as I get time between sessions and after each day.

In the meantime, if you are an Ubuntu person and here too, please find me and come and say hi! I'd love to meet more of our fine community.

Refining the Message

You've likely heard me say (and maybe even sing) that:

"Ubuntu is not just software."

I would like to introduce you to the Five "P's" in Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a:


that inspires


to participate in a massive collaborative


that creates a rich and solid


that supports useful and freedom-respecting


that the whole world can enjoy.

When I was in Budapest at a UDS, Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) presented a plenary session and introduced me to the concept of thinking about Ubuntu as more than an OS. I am greatly thankful to him for doing that and for inspiring this post. We stand taller on the shoulders of giants.

Spies Amongst US

I usually don't wade into politics, but this hits too close to home to not voice an opinion, and there is a link to Ubuntu.

When I was growing up, I loved the music of Prism , a band that hails from Vancouver. Now that I call Vancouver home, I love them even more. Here's an interesting fact for the space lovers amongst us: "On Sunday, March 6, 2011, Prism's "Spaceship Superstar" was chosen as the wakeup song for the Space Shuttle Discovery crew members." How cool is that? If you love space, please take a listen. It will cheer you up and inspire you before you read the rest of my article.

Late last week some news broke about a different group with a lacklustre name and no musical talent. Terrible musicians who unfortunately stole the name of one of my favourite bands for their pet project - spying. Very disappointing. And, it seems they have a list of friends that you'll recognize.

News of this project and its goals did not come as a surprise to me, and likely not to you as well.

Take a deep breath and read this.

Take another deep breath and read this.

If the articles are a surprise to you, please consider the logical fallacy known as "false premise". Perhaps growing up you were given a premise that certain places are beacons of freedom and free speech and that they protect the same. You may have received this "information" from movies, television, newspapers, etc. And if you lived in certain places, you may have even sung songs to that effect. You were lied to.

So, knowing that these events have occurred and will continue to occur, what is an appropriate and direct action that you can take? On the surface it seems like an intractable problem to solve. Fortunately it's not. Here are a few simple steps that you can take right now to protect yourself, your friends and your family:

1) Start with yourself. Think about all the services you use and whether they are on the list. If they are, take immediate steps to discontinue their use. Are you a Verizon customer? Time to leave. Liking Facebook? What's stopping you from using Diaspora instead?

2) Next help your friends and loved ones. If you have people in your life that you care about that use services or products from the companies listed in the report, please reach out to them and help them leave TODAY. Does your best friend use Yahoo mail? Offer an alternative. Help make it easy for them.

3) Double down your efforts on Ubuntu. Encourage your friends who have been sitting on the sidelines to do the same. The only way to achieve freedom and the promise of a shared humanity is to build it. Don't waste your time trying to fix a broken political process that is built on greed and psychopathy. The best way forward is to build a system that works better. (Luckily, many of you reading this post are already involved in Ubuntu. Thank you! Please tell your friends.)

There is a saying that I like to cite in circumstances like this: "You can't change the world, but you *can* change your world."

Start simple. Start local. Be the change you want to see.

Image by "Colourless Rainbow" http://www.flickr.com/photos/irteza/ CC by-nc-sa

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