Planet Ubuntu postings

Prague Will Jam. Will You?

Where will you be on Saturday March 3rd 2012? No plans yet? GREAT! How about heading over to Prague?

The Ubuntu Global Jam in Prague is one of those "must attend" events. And this weekend, I had the honour of interviewing the organizer, Vojtěch Trefný of the Ubuntu Czech Republic team.

1) Vojtěch, what does the Ubuntu Global Jam mean to you personally?

It's a good opportunity to meet other people from our community and
to work together. It's much more fun when we do something with Ubuntu together, talk about it and learn from each other. And because I'm also the coordinator of the Czech l10n (localization) team, it's also good to see the number of newly translated strings after the Jam.

2) What is UGJ Praha going to be about?

Our Jams are mostly about translations. We think translating is
the easiest way to help FOSS. All you need is knowledge of
English and working knowledge of the translated system. The best thing is that experienced translators can give you immediate feedback, help correct mistakes etc.

3) What excites you most about Ubuntu?

The community. Ubuntu is a good system and I use it everywhere, but the people around the project and the spirit and passion are the real reasons I love Ubuntu.

4) Did you run UGJ events before?

Yes, we did. We participated in our first Jam in October 2009 and since then, we've met every half year jamming in Prague. Our first Jam took place online (via IRC, we just couldn't find place to meet), but we enjoyed it as well.

5) Do you have any good tips for anyone planning to organise an event?

Yes! Stop talking about organizing Jams and just do it. For our first Jam we didn't even have a place to meet, so we met online and it was awesome too (of course not as good as a physical meeting). If you don't make the first move, you won't have chance to start awesome community sessions full of fun and hard work. Three people with laptops in local library is also a Jam, so just try it.

6) Can you share a couple of photos of a UGJ event in Praha? I'd love to include them in the story.

You can see some photos here: https://picasaweb.google.com/ubuntuczech/GlobalJamBrmlabPodzim11

Thank you Vojtěch for taking time out of your busy schedule to "speak" with me :)

Please join Vojtěch and the awesome Czech team on Saturday. Here's the link to get all the details and join in the fun: http://loco.ubuntu.com/events/ubuntu-cz/1552/detail/

And how about you, dear reader? Do you live in a large city like Prague? Do we have your event on the extremely awesome Ubuntu Loco team portal?

Well you heard Vojtěch. Why not make the first move? ...


For those keeping score and barely able to contain their anxiety over our Jam numbers, the Jam-o-Meter returns tomorrow. Watch out Lexington!

The Jam-o-Meter Returns!

The Ubuntu Global Jam (Precise Pangolin edition) begins in less than one week: Friday March 2nd 2012.

We have Jams organized all over the world. But how many? Let's see what that now infamous Jam-o-Meter has to say:


We're now up to 22 Ubuntu LoCo teams participating in 16 countries. Hmm...

Do you live in a large city? Do we have your event on the awesome Ubuntu Loco Directory?

Today's list of large North American cities that really should have an Ubuntu Global Jam but do not are:

San Francisco
New York City
Los Angeles
Lexington, MA

OUCH! Did you spot that not-so-subliminal hint?

So, you live (or work) in one of these cities. Great! Please register your event on the awesome Ubuntu Loco Directory. It's so easy that it will bring tears to your eyes. It's more fun than unicorns and puppies.

Remember what I said ~6 months ago? "Your event could be the one that changes Ubuntu, and the world." That may seem lofty to some, but I like to think that change begins locally.


For those keeping score, here's the final Jam-o-Meter from the last Global Jam we had (Oneiric Ocelot cycle):

Making Jam Fun. Spreading Jam Everywhere!

This message is going out to every one of you that has never been to an Ubuntu Global Jam. Yes, that's you!

You might have heard that Ubuntu Global Jams are events designed to make Ubuntu better. They are a way to add your help (your brick in the wall) to the world's most important collaborative project.

Sounds a bit like work, doesn't it? Well, what if all you want to do is enjoy meeting other Ubuntu people? Is there a place for you?


Please do me a favour. Please get up from your chair for just a minute. And as you get up, look out the window in the direction of the nearest downtown in your town/city. Take that minute and observe carefully what you see. I'll wait for you here.

++insert 1'00" of charming Rick Astley elevator muzak here++

So, are you back? Great! Now what did you see?

Did you see an Ubuntu group? Did you see a bunch of people gathered to talk about Ubuntu? To share Ubuntu tips and tricks? To meet people that believe that it is important to solve Bug #1 in our lifetime? Did you see Ubuntu people having fun?

No?? Guess what? That's a bug!. Not only that but it's a bug that you can fix! Your very first Ubuntu bug. Cool.

All you need to start an Ubuntu Global Jam in your town or city is a place to meet other Ubuntu users and contributors. Find that place and then find the people to visit it. Do something fun. Don't make work or talk about work. Play with fun software. Talk. Draw. Eat. Drink. Eat Jam! Whatever you do, keep it light and fun.

When you do that, you will have added something very special to the Ubuntu project: the beginnings of a new Ubuntu Community in your community.

Imagine if you can an Ubuntu group in every village, town, and city everywhere in the world. Now, imagine that you helped make that happen.

Please Spread Jam Everywhere. Eat Jam. Tell them the "Ubuntu Buzz Generator" sent you.

Jam. Yum!Jam. Yum!

Music of Ubuntu: Asimbonanga

Recently on Planet Ubuntu, Jono "challenged" us to share the music we associate with Ubuntu. I love a challenge, and Jono's my bud. (I know he'll write an Ubuntu anthem one day!)

So until then Jono, I have several great tunes that come to mind, but I want to share the one song that I think absolutely nails the spirit of what we're doing.


1) This song is difficult to pronounce, but can be mastered with practice, just like Ubuntu. (Hint: oo-boon-too)

2) This song is by a band that hails from South Africa (Johnny Clegg and Savuka, formerly Juluka) and its sound is distinctly African. Ubuntu has similar origins.

3) This song is a song about a struggle for freedom: In this case, Nelson Mandela and the struggle to end apartheid. Ubuntu is a struggle to bring freedom to a domain (computing) that has seen very little of it.

4) This song is inspiring, just like Ubuntu.

5) I have opened dozens of Ubuntu Vancouver celebrations and presentations with my own Ubuntu soundtrack, and this song is the song I play before taking the stage. So for me, when I hear the song, I remember those that were beside me, supporting me. I remember hundreds of people in Vancouver that love, use, and contribute to Ubuntu and celebrate local community together with me, in person.

Ubuntu friends, our struggle might also seem insurmountable at times (hate, negativity, unfair competition), but remember that a great vision (Mark Shuttleworth) and hard work (Ubuntu Contributor Community) trumps even the most evil construct. (Evil? Think predatory monopoly. Think indifferent. Think fruit.)

Allow me to present ASIMBONANGA.

Click to play!Click to play!


Happy Valentines Day Ubuntu <3


This post proudly shared on Diaspora*, the social network that speaks freedom.

Following Good Blogging Advice

Yesterday on Planet Ubuntu, Jono blogged about how to make your blog more compelling, professional and popular. Great advice!

One of Jono's tips that caught my eye, and admittedly one that I personally underutilize was:

     "Use social media – post a link to your post on 
      Twitter, Google+, Facebook and other social media accounts."

Social media can extend the reach of your blog, taking it to new places and new audiences. However, despite my love of the first (bolded) part of that advice, I just could not stomach the second part. To me, it would be the equivalent of wearing a fur coat to a PETA rally. So, in the spirit of forking, here's my version:

     "Use social media – post a link to your post on 
      Twitter, Google+, Facebook and other  social media accounts 
      that respect freedom, do not censor, and do not sell or 
      otherwise disclose your social graph."

So, I reposted my Planet Ubuntu post from yesterday to Diaspora*. To my delight, I received some additional traffic and insight from a new reader:


Do you use Diaspora* to further the reach of your blog? Do you want to communicate to people who love and understand freedom?

#Ubuntu is now followed by 1737 people on Diaspora*. And I'll bet you a beer that we can easily multiply that by a factor of 1000.

I hope you'll join the discussion on Diaspora* by participating and contributing your great Ubuntu blog posts there.

Forget walled gardens. Freedom awaits :)

Dealing With Hate Precisely

Those of us who blog about Ubuntu, or participate in Ubuntu forums, mailing lists, and other aspects of the "Ubuntu Online Community" all have something in common: We are subjected to hatred from time-to-time. Recently these are roughly of the form:

"Unity sucks and you are an Ubuntu fanboy for liking it.""Unity sucks and you are an Ubuntu fanboy for liking it."

The Ubuntu Code of Conduct has a guideline that we can use when we encounter "haters". It says: Be respectful.

This is simple in concept, but I've always sought something more concrete: a clean, efficient and effective way of "agreeing to disagree".

Then the other day while doing some research, I stumbled upon this *gem* from Darren Rowse (who was quoting a Buddhist monk) over at ProBlogger:

     When someone attacks you with anger and hatred
     say to them:

     “thank you for your ‘gift’ – but I think you can
     keep it for yourself.”

     It is easy to take on the anger of other people and
     to wear it as a burden of your own but it is usually
     unhealthy to do so.

I'll be using that line from now on. :)

You can read the whole article here. http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/02/16/what-a-buddhist-monk-taugh...

image by Andrew Senay (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Follow Ubuntu (with Social Network Freedom)

Remember America Online? Remember Compuserve? Remember walled gardens? Remember when the internet was free?

All the "l337 h4ck3r$" are now moving to Diaspora*.

Be sure to follow #ubuntu and #ubuntuTV there.

Consider yourself notified.

Ubuntu TV: A Welcomed Side-Effect

The announcement of #ubuntu tv today appears to have confirmed one of my theories: People do indeed need a second word when referring to #ubuntu, but normally cannot tolerate three.

There is something about calling an operating system by a single word that freaks people out.

Usually, the second word that is naturally (and erroneously) appended to Ubuntu is the "L" word. But today, the buzz is "Ubuntu TV". No "L" word in sight.

Perhaps this #ubuntu tv thing has an important and long overdue side-effect: Removing colonels and kernels from the discourse about free computing and clearing the way for Ubuntu to cross the chasm.

Now, what do we call Ubuntu when it's not embedded in a television?

How about "Ubuntu OS"? Any takers?

Amazing chicken artwork: jliau!

2012: The Year of Ubuntu

Welcome to 2012!

At this time of year I like to read forward-thinking and philosophical writings. It's one of the ways I try to "reboot" my thinking processes and clear the way for new ideas. In that quest today, I discovered an interesting and helpful research paper on Ubuntu written by Tom Bennett at the University of Cape Town entitled "Ubuntu: An African Equity."

Though written in the context of law several ideas presented resonated with what I've seen both online and in the "in-real-life" community.

"It must be remembered that ubuntu is a "loan word" in English, which suggests that it was adopted to signify a phenomenon that was never before expressed in its new environment.(1)

This makes a lot of sense. Ubuntu is indeed novel to both the computer realm and to western-centric cultures and therefore is confusing a lot of people, especially journalists. What is it? It's software, right? How does something from Africa matter to computing?

A new word is a solution to a problem. Often the need is obvious, but sometimes it is unseen or barely felt, and then it is only in finding something to plug the gap that we actually realise the gap was there in the first place.(2)

Of your three closest friends or family members, how many of them understand the problem that Ubuntu is designed to solve? How many of them are actually using Ubuntu as their primary operating system? How many of them are aware that Ubuntu is "not just software"? How many of them care?

Ubuntu involves more than entitlements to equal treatment or fair play. It also obliges the individual “to give the same respect, dignity, value and acceptance to each member of [the] community. More importantly, it regulates the exercise of rights by the emphasis it lays on sharing and co-responsibility and the mutual enjoyment of rights by all".(3)

I think this is profound. The notion that any of us are entitled to Ubuntu is false. One might argue that we are entitled to it to the extent that we contribute to it. Have your friends downloaded Ubuntu? Have they used it? Have they given something back to the project? Have they joined an Ubuntu group in their town? Why not?

All of these excerpts point to a need we have in the Ubuntu Community. We have much educational (and marketing) work to do, and it's bigger than software. We need to teach people what Ubuntu is, how it works, and what problems it is designed to solve.

I hope everyone had a great New Year holiday and is ready for the 2012 challenge: to take Ubuntu across the chasm and to the other 99%+ of the world.

Happy New Year from Ubuntu Vancouver!

Tonight, Ubuntu Vancouver meets to celebrate the holidays. No computers, no chat rooms, no formality. Just real-good-in-person-fun-community. It's our early start to New Year's and a fine way to celebrate another great year for Ubuntu (the project, the ethos, the product, the platform, and the people.)

Before we all get swept away into our celebrations, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Ubuntu Contributor Community for their hard work, persistence, and dedication to what is the most important free software project in the world.

Thank you!

And from us to you Happy New Year! from Vancouver.

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