Planet Ubuntu postings

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.

Making Community Very Obvious on the Desktop - An Update

This blog post is a follow-up to a session I hosted at UDS-P, the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando. The original post is here.

The main idea of the session and the resulting blueprint was to make discovery of the Ubuntu Consumer Community and the Ubuntu Contributor Community automatic, and not an accident (as it currently is for most people).

I learned this morning that thanks to Michael Hall we are one step closer to bringing community to the #ubuntu desktop. Michael has developed a Unity lens that makes discovery of one's Ubuntu LoCo-team Community easy, and that's an important first step in finding one's Ubuntu Contributor Community.

Thank you Michael!

There is still much work to do to get to my "nirvana" of making the entire Ubuntu Consumer Community obvious and discoverable, but Michaels' first step is an important one.

So, where do we go next? I'm glad you asked! https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/community-p-making-communi...

Here's the obligatory screenshot :)

Why the World Needs an Ubuntu Phone

In case there's any confusion out there about why the Ubuntu Contributor Community is hard at work building a platform for phones (and other non-PC devices), please allow me to "Amplify the Signal" by presenting "Exhibit A":

"Android developer Trevor Eckhart last week released information and started an uproar about a widespread rootkit, called Carrier IQ, that's capable of logging everything you do and comes preinstalled on a ton of smartphones-including various Androids" (Source: Lifehacker)

That's right. The "Robot that pretends to be free" really isn't.

Oh, one more thing: "Carrier IQ, the now infamous “rootkit” or “keylogger”, is not just for Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, and even webOS. In fact, up through and including iOS 5, Apple has included a copy of Carrier IQ on the iPhone.
(Source: "chpwn blog")

Seems that the "Fruit device from Cupertino" humming away in your pocket isn't so sweet/free either ;)

You'll likely recall that at UDS-P, our self-appointed-benevolent-dictator-for-life raised the bar and encouraged us to get Ubuntu running on all form factors.

Smart move.

Steampunk handset image by "urban don", used and modified under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/donpezzano/3257999418/

The "Ubuntu Pig Thesis", Revised

This blog post is a follow-up to The "Ubuntu Pig Thesis", an article I wrote in August 2010. The "Ubuntu Pig Thesis" hypothesized that the popularity of Ubuntu was waning based on declining Google search query volume. The original article is here and is good background before reading further.


Yes, it's me again. That guy who just won't stop looking into the future and trying to determine when Ubuntu will cross the chasm. Admittedly, in August 2010 it was looking bleak.

At that time our favourite, freedom-respecting, complete operating system with "community-awesomeness" was in clear and present danger of losing mind-share. And, like sharks drawn to blood in the water, the mainstream tech press (the Ubuntu "Non-Consumer" Journalist Community) began their feeding frenzy. Meanwhile we forged on with making Ubuntu even better, growing our local communities and spreading the word wider and farther than ever.

Guess what?

Ubuntu turns the cornerUbuntu turns the corner
It may have worked :)

Just over one year later here we are. Ubuntu is poised to once again rise in popularity and to finally begin that final (and treacherous) journey across the chasm. It appears that the journey officially began on September 2011.

In the legend of the Haemorrhaging Horse "parties have another opportunity to assist their own horse, or hinder others, or both" as it attempts to cross the "Blood Forest" (i.e. the chasm). "Inexperienced clans often fall victim to the diversions of other clans, causing confusion with their horse which leads to its ultimate death."

Expect diversions. Expect turbulence.

Our challenge as an Ubuntu (Marketing) Contributor Community is to therefore to ensure that our horse does not get hurt, diverted, or otherwise hindered as it makes this final sprint to the mainstream.

Before 2011 ends, and before our upcoming 12.04 release, let's put our heads, our hearts, and our voices together as a community and give Ubuntu precise marketing brilliance. Let's make the world notice us. The whole world, including those fine people on the other side of the chasm. Let's "bring free software to the masses."

Are you in?

Oh, one more thing ;)

Ubuntu on the riseUbuntu on the rise

We Ignore At Our Peril

Lots of lively (and civil) discussion on the meme I blogged about yesterday. But...

Anyways, here's what happened while we were "sleeping":

The PC World article cited above is by John E Dunn in London UK.

This is interesting, given John's apparent geographical proximity to Canonical's UK location and also the active Ubuntu UK LoCo Team. Does he reach out and talk to them? Do they reach out and talk to him? Is he a member of any LoCo? My guess is not. And, which Ubuntu {adjective} Community does John belong to?

Pop quiz: Is the meme spreading?


The Haemorrhaging Horse image and story is still here, if you'd like a reminder.

"Head in the sand" image (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Molly Dolkart

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