And There Was Jam

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

Ubuntu. What Just Happened?

Ubuntu community (in the broadest sense of the word) friends,

I have been reading the recent posts on Ubuntu Planet with mixed feelings of disappointment but mostly with excitement, and always with keen interest in searching for a pattern that would assist us in understanding change.

Rather than analyse or critique individual posts, I would like to present a visual model of what I think just happened, as an engineer(1) and a manager.

This just happened.


Is this a bad thing? No. If we (the Ubuntu project and its contributors) are to get to orbit and do something epic, the we need different rocketry at different stages of our journey. Physics. Deny it at your peril.

Let's all ask ourselves these important questions:

1) Look back to the "early days" of Ubuntu. What was needed then? Is it still needed in that exact form now? More of the same?

2) If you are on the rocket ship (one of the manned sections, not a booster rocket), but not in the capsule, do you want to argue or debate with those who are? Or, by extension do you want to disrupt mission control? Throw a little sand in their faces? Those who built the rocket, who made deep investments, and decided the flight plan, and who are monitoring systems have our best interests in mind. We all need to get to orbit. Let's help.

3) Do you have children? Do you know children? Do you intend on having children? Do you want them to suffer another twenty five years at the hand of rent-seeking monopolists who build mansions in Los Altos Hills and Redmond whilst the young struggle to eek out a living? Do you think that innovation at a snail's pace will free them in your lifetime? We have been at this for over 25 years now. Want another 25?

4) Have you ever met a billionaire face-to-face and talked to them? Have you wondered why they don't try to change the world? I've met two. One of them cares and is doing something tangible with both his mouth and his money. The other pontificates from his mansion in Palo Alto. Can you guess who's who?

5) What if there was no "them"? What if we ignored a lifetime of propaganda saying there is always a them? What if there were no "Canonical Conspiracy"(2)? What if we all embraced the philosophy of Ubuntu?

6) Can you guess where I stand yet?

Where there is change, there is opportunity. In this case there is a massive opportunity. This is going to be big. When I (officially) joined the Ubuntu project four years ago I felt it: a feeling I hadn't felt since the early beginnings of the World-Wide-Web. "Spidey sense is tingling." I still feel it, but more intensely.

Ubuntu is still true to its roots: To bring software freedom to everyone in the world, without prejudice. Everyone.

Be a part of "the next big thing". Help change the world. Ubuntu is not just software, it's also human, and it's about to go viral.

1. Yes, I am a degreed electrical engineer. Need voltage?
2. No, I do not work for Canonical. I work for community, and I happily include and embrace Canonical as part of my community.

Image CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasamarshall/

Measuring Jam

Confession: I'm a dashboard kinda guy. So, when approached to help "catalyze" the Raring Ringtail edition of the Ubuntu Global Jam, my natural instinct was to measure and to report the result.

Here's where we stand:

Note: I say "stand" rather than "stood", as there still might be Jams in March that haven't hit loco.ubuntu.com yet.


We're back on a growth curve. Admittedly the Quantal number had me a bit worried, and I was dreading that occurring again. Thankfully, we've recovered nicely. We're not yet where I want to be, but with one more cycle and a big push, I think we'll be able to set a new Ubuntu Global Jam Record.

Thank you everyone that Jammed, and thank you to those who will soon Jam. Let's keep this momentum going!

Think big. Let's Jam the planet with Ubuntu.

Jamming? We Need Your Photos!

Are you Jamming this weekend? Take photos!

Post your Jam photos to your favourite photo sharing service (Pictag: ubuntu) and also to Planet Ubuntu. Show the world the wonderfully awesome project that is Ubuntu.

Thank you!


Someone famous once said that "If there are no photos, the event never happened." Hint: Might be Jorge Castro.

There's Still Time to Jam!

Have you planned your Jam event for this March 1, 2, 3? There's still time.

Here's the link to register. It only takes a moment.

You can register an in-person event or an online event. If you're Jamming online, why not try a Hangout as a good way to prepare for the upcoming UDS?

Thanks and let's get Jamming!


"We're Going to Jam!" - Replay

Are you going to Jam this March 1, 2, 3? I and the more than 20 million people that enjoy Ubuntu are hoping that you are!

We have 22 Jams scheduled currently, which is a good start, but far short of my goal of 60,000 (give or take). Why that many? Well, why not?

Please take a moment now to register your "Ubuntu Global Jam" event. It only takes a moment. Here's the link: http://loco.ubuntu.com/events/add/?global_event_id=2221

Not convinced? Today I hosted "We're Going to Jam!" as part of the "Ubuntu on Air" series. If you are looking for tips and tricks about how to host an Ubuntu Global Jam, or would just like some inspiration from others who have done so, please watch. Here's the replay for you to click:

Thanks and let's show the world how to Jam, Ubuntu style!

On Friday "We're Going to Jam!" Ubuntu On Air

A special episode of "Ubuntu on Air" entitled "We're Going to Jam!" will be presented this Friday Feb 22nd 2013 at 20:00UTC. (Time conversion is here: http://ur1.ca/cvbn5 )

During this session, I will be fielding your questions about the "Ubuntu Global Jam", as well as providing tips & tricks for hosting (or being part of) a successful event. I will be joined by guests who have organized Jams and will reveal their secrets. We'll talk about ideas for Jams, including Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet.

I hope you'll watch and participate too! The session will be online at:


Thanks and "see" you soon!

Please forward this message to anyone you feel would be interested and out to your social nets too...

Ubuntu Global Jam - With Phones! With Tablets!

Would you like to see (or show) the Ubuntu Phone or Ubuntu Tablet in person? Come to the Ubuntu Global Jam!

The Ubuntu Global Jam happening on March 1, 2, 3 (2013) is your chance to see (or to show others) how amazing Ubuntu is on these devices.

I have received confirmation that the flashing instructions will be ready before (and in preparation for) the Jam weekend, so get ready! Do you have a "Galaxy Nexus" or a "Galaxy Nexus 4" phone? Do you have a "Nexus 7" or "Nexus 10" tablet? Bring them!

Up until now, most readers of Ubuntu Planet (and most journalists too) have only seen these devices in videos. The Ubuntu Global Jam is our chance to change that.

Be an Ubuntu Advocate. Give a great demo. (If you are planning to bring your phone or tablet to the event, please add the word "phone" or "tablet" or both to the event description at http://loco.ubuntu.com/events/global/2221/detail/ )

Be an Ubuntu supporter. Find people in your town/city that enjoy Ubuntu and spend some time with them.

Don't see an event near your city/town? You can help fix that! Please add your event to the LoCo Team Portal http://loco.ubuntu.com/events/global/2221/detail/ so the world can start seeing all the amazing things that you're doing for Ubuntu.

Thanks in advance for participating in the Ubuntu Global Jam!

Ubuntu Global Jam - More Events!

Eleven fantastic teams have already announced their intention to participate in the The Ubuntu Global Jam (Raring Ringtail edition)!

Don't see an event near your city/town? You can help fix that!

The Ubuntu Global Jam is happening Friday March 1, Saturday March 2, and Sunday March 3, 2013.

Please add your event to the LoCo Team Portal http://loco.ubuntu.com/events/global/2221/detail/ so the world can start seeing all the amazing things that you're doing for Ubuntu.

More information is here:

Thanks in advance for participating in the Ubuntu Global Jam!

Will It Route?

Chances are that if you're a LoCo team contact you've received an email message from me recently *encouraging* you to get your team signed up for the Ubuntu Global Jam. Or maybe you didn't...

Horror of horrors! You have an email issue.

Are you a "Team Contact?" Does your @ubuntu.com address still work? Check it. Fix it!

Are you a "Team Contact?" Are you cloaking your email address? Hmm. That would make you less than "contactable". ;) Fix it!

And by extension, if you are an Ubuntu Member it's a grand idea to check your email settings in Launchpad to ensure that yourlaunchpadID@ubuntu.com routes to some address that you check periodically.

This concludes my Public Service Announcement on routable email addresses. Happy messaging!

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