Losing perspective

12.10 is out, how awesome is that? Go ahead and get it if you haven’t yet. I’ve upgraded all my computers months ago and they’ve been stable and receiving polish and new features almost every day since, how awesome is that? It has tons of new features that put closed-source competitors to shame, how incredibly awesome is that!? It looks nicer, it works faster on my slower machines and a lot of the small bugs in 12.04 have magically gone away, awe-some.

Then, as if things couldn’t seem better in a project nearing it’s 10th year of attempting to take over the world in a lot of very literal ways, Mark spontaneously decides to take on more financial risk by further opening up the current skunkworks projects Canonical works on and what happens? A lot of crap gets thrown his way. How insane is that?

I can understand competitors taking the opportunity of spinning this as a bad thing, highlighting the fact that there are such projects at all, and how X or Y project is 100% open and pure (although, maybe not as successful). Then there’s the usual Ubuntu trolls, folks who are bitter about Ubuntu being successful in the format that it adopted, blending commercial and community development in a unique way that requires a constant balancing act. They were betting on Ubuntu failing and they hate that it hasn’t, they hate that for a huge number of people “Linux” actually means “Ubuntu”. They also hate that there are millions of people who don’t even know (or care) what Linux is, and happily use Ubuntu. That’s fine, this is how life works, let them be bitter.
But I cannot understand strong, long-time Ubuntu members and contributors bashing Mark, Canonical or Ubuntu. It feels very disconnected from reality.
I can understand Unity sucked, everybody hated it and it made everything slow. It doesn’t any more. In fact, it’s crazy fast, crazy stable and it sets us apart from everybody else by a very long stretch. In some areas we leap-frogged a worthy competitor like Apple, and in many cases even forgot about Windows, our bug #1. This happened with many things, compiz, pulseaudio, empathy, you name it. Those sucked too, but ultimately rocked. For us, and for the rest of the open source ecosystem.

And yes, now you can purchase things from the Dash. It’ll offer up items even though you maybe weren’t looking to buy something, just opening your email. But it helps the project, it helps fund the very same things that make Ubuntu different from everyone else because we get to invest an enormous amount of money in user testing, design, custom engineering and closing deals with OEMs so Ubuntu ends up in the hands of millions of new users every year. I have an unfair advantage over most of you since I’ve worked at Canonical for over 4 years now and have seen a lot of what it costs in terms of actual dollars. It’s not that hard to imagine, though, flying hundreds of people across the globe every 6 months to get together, work and make it feel more like a community, by any simple math it is hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is a lot of money. And when you complain about a feature which you can ultimately disable bothers you and should be removed (or disabled by default, cutting off the actual chance that it’ll generate any significant revenue), also take a minute to think that you’re saying to Mark he should take that money out of his own pocket instead just so you can feel more comfortable with yourself. I can empathise with people immediately thinking of all the terrible examples of OEMs bundling adware with their computers that annoy people to no end, just to squeeze out every single penny out of each user to bump up their stock. But this is not the same, Mark’s been crystal clear that there is a lot being developed to make this a fantastic experience, I have inside knowledge to vouch for that. It is also all free software, it has been for almost 10 years, consistently, and has shown no signs of changing that. In fact, I started writing this because Canonical is trying to make the few bits that aren’t fully permeable to the community more open. How fucking awesome is that?

I think it’s time to stop, breathe and gain some perspective again.

Real collaborative design with open source software

Last week we organized a local Ubuntu conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which we plan on making it a regional conference from now on thanks to the help from our friends in the Uruguay LoCo. The conference was great but by far what stayed with me was a talk and some subsequent conversations with Guillermo Espertino about how a new-ish and small group of designers that used open source software to design professionally had gotten together and started a community called Gráfica Libre. These guys, individually do some very amazing things. As a group they’ve blown my mind  🙂

These are designers who are using 100% no-excuses free software on a daily basis to design and ship professional designs to customers.

These are some of the things they’ve designed as a group for the conference:

The video was edited by Guillermo Espertino and the 3D animation done by Martin Eschoyez. The blender source files are available on his website.

This was done by Lucas Romero

 

There’s a presentation given by Guillermo Espertino (you can see the work his company does with open source in their website http://ohweb.com.ar/) you can download it (it is in spanish, though) and it highlights the challenges they’ve faced so far in putting together designs in the open and collaboratively. They still feel they have a few iterations to go until they have a settled process, but it certainly does look like they’ve cracked the hardest part to me.

Help us organize UbuConLA 2012!

While a lot of you are at UDS, several Latin American LoCos are working hard to organize a local Ubuntu conference.
Things are going really well, we’re 4 weeks away, but we’re a little short on funds. Every year the same people who organize it end up having to pay for many things themselves despite have a few generous sponsors, and this year I’d like to change it so I set up a small but valuable fund raising campaign and we could really use your help.
The site is in Spanish, so it may take a bit of blind surfing to get around but it should be fairly easy once you’ve been sent to PayPal  🙂

If you have a some spare change, head on over here: http://www.groofi.com/profile/beuno/projects/ubuconla-2012-conferencia-de-ubuntu-en-argentina

Ubucon 2012, Buenos Aires edition

This June 1st and 2nd, we will be holding an all-Ubuntu conference for the second time in Argentina, and with plans to make it regional from now on (next one is in Uruguay!).
Even though it’s in Spanish, I’d like to open up the Call for Papers here on planet Ubuntu as well, in case anyone reading is close by  🙂

 

 

Ubuntu-AR y Ubuntu-UY, grupos locales de Ubuntu para Argentina y Uruguay, convocan a miembros de
la comunidad de software libre internacional y de otros grupos locales de Ubuntu en Latinoamerica a presentar propuestas de charlas para la conferencia anual sobre Ubuntu de Latinoamerica, UbuConLA 2012.

 

Qué es UbuConLA ?

Un acontecimiento internacional, anual e itinerante para Latinoamerica surgido a partir de una idea común entre miembros de los grupos comunitarios locales de Ubuntu en Argentina y Uruguay, con los siguientes objetivos:

  • Difundir la capacidad y experiencias logradas en ambientes empresariales por especialistas de Latinoamérica en proyectos y contextos de diversas características
  • Mostrar el grado de madurez alcanzado por Ubuntu GNU/Linux y los profesionales que trabajan con él en ambientes empresariales, ya sea tanto como consultores como también usuarios y responsables de áreas de sistemas
  • Integrar técnica y socialmente a usuarios y especialistas de Latinoamérica, tanto sea para adquisición de nuevos conocimientos y habilidades como también para aprovechar y/o generar oportunidades de negocios en la región
  • Difundir el espíritu “Ubuntu” de la comunidad Latinoamericana
  • Institucionalizar UbuConLA como “El Acontecimiento Ubuntu” anual para Latinoamerica.

Próximas sedes: 2013 – Montevideo, Uruguay. 2014 – Colombia

Dónde, cuándo y cómo

La conferencia se realizará los dias 1 y 2 de Junio 2012 en la sede de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires de la Universidad Austral, en  Argentina.

El autor de cada conferencia seleccionada deberá participar presencialmente como orador en el acontecimiento.

Podrán participar como máximo 3 autores por conferencia, que deberá ser expuesta en Español.

Las propuestas deben ser enviadas via e-mail en texto plano con archivo adjunto, en alguno de los formatos indicados más abajo, a ubuconla@gmail.com con la etiqueta [CFC] y a continuación el título de la conferencia a proponer en el Asunto del mensaje.

Las propuestas serán recibidas hasta el día 1 de Mayo 2012 inclusive.

Orientación

El día viernes será dedicado a empresas y profesionales con una disposición de 3 tracks presentándose en paralelo:

  • Track 1: Casos de exito: por qué funcionó la migracion/proyecto – Características del contexto – Consideraciones previas para minimizar riesgos de fracaso
  • Track 2: Cómo migrar a Ubuntu en empresas – Metodologías y mejores prácticas aplicadas – Cuándo y por qué usar Ubuntu en PyMES
  • Track 3: Soporte corporativo para Ubuntu – Tengo un problema, y ahora qué hago ? – Alternativas locales de soporte

El día sábado estará orientado a entusiastas y comunidad en general, también con 3 tracks presentándose en paralelo:

  • Track 1: Casos de exito: Comunitarios
  • Track 2: Principiantes – Qué es Ubuntu? – Cómo instalar Ubuntu – Instalé Ubuntu, y ahora? – Migrando de Windows a Ubuntu – Participando en la comunidad (Introducción) – Charlas relámpago (5 minutos)
  • Track 3: Usuarios experimentados – Personalizaciones – Ubuntu Server – Unity, por qué? – Cómo reportar bugs en Ubuntu – Ubuntu TV/Android – Charlas relámpago (5 minutos) – Otros temas de software libre – comunidad relacionados con Ubuntu

Condiciones

Las propuestas deberán contener la siguiente información:

  • Título
  • Autor – Nombre completo
  • Organización a la que pertenece/representa
  • Lugar de residencia
  • Extracto/síntesis biográfica del autor
  • Teléfono y dirección de correo electrónico de contacto
  • Track en el cual quiere presentar su exposición
  • Tipo (taller ó charla)
  • Descripción (resumen o esquema que permita evaluar su calidad y punto de vista)
  • Duración estimada (las charlas son generalmente de 25 minutos)
  • Requisitos/recursos necesarios (Equipos Multimedia, Sala de máquinas, equipo de sonido, etc)
  • Nivel (básico, intermedio, avanzado)
  • Destinatarios (Sociedad, Empresas, Técnica)
  • Conocimientos previos de la audiencia.

Una vez evaluada la propuesta, se les informará a los autores el resultado de la selección por las vía de contacto facilitadas.

Formato para las Presentaciones

Formatos aceptados

  • ODT (LibreOffice y equivalentes)
  • HTML standard
  • PDF
  • Texto plano

Licencia

Deberá especificarse una licencia para las presentaciones que permita a los organizadores distribuir el materia libremente.  Cualquier consulta sobre este tema pueden canalizarla via ubuconla@gmail.com.

Agradecemos la difusión de este llamado y del acontecimiento en sí.

www.ubuconla.org

Support open source games, donate to 0 A.D.

0 A.D. is an awesome cross-platform game that is fun, has stunning graphics and is completely open source.
There’s even a PPA for Ubuntu.
It works wonderfully on both my laptops.

They are looking for a round of donations to pay for some more development work, and as of this moment they’re $634 USD short. I’ve just sent $50 their way.
If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, please send some money their way. Or maybe you want to get into some development work, they have detailed instructions on how to do just that!

Calling all Ubuntu power users: Upgrade to Ubuntu Precise Pangolin today!

It may of been a bit below the radar, but it was announced that for 12.04 LTS, there would be an improved focus on stability throughout the whole development cycle so more people could use it early on and catch problems with more time to fix them. There’s a specific team dedicated to making this happen for all subsequent releases from now on.

This release is probably the most important of them all. We’re releasing an LTS that will be supported for 5 years, that means it’ll be around until 2017!
Different people will help out in making it awesome in different ways, but one we can all help with is upgrading to Precise today. And I do mean today. I’ve upgraded all my computers, including my work laptop and it’s all generally running smoother than 11.10. And if it isn’t, file a bug with the relevant information, that’s what you upgraded for  🙂

So if you’ve been unsure about upgrading, please take the plunge and help out in making 12.04 a rock-solid release.

Ubuntu members over time

During the Community Council meeting yesterday we were talking about the general health and excitement levels of the community, and whether we were loosing a lot of members. I had a vague memory of us (Canonical) having an internal graph of number of members on the ~ubuntumember team, and I dug it up to see what story it told. As it turns out, it’s a very positive and healthy one \o/
Here’s the graph of number of Ubuntu members over time (there’s no data prior to Sept 2007):

Ubuntu member growth

Note that the curve starts to really go up around May of 2008, that’s when the membership boards took over member approvals from the Community Council.

Community Council

So, it seems my nomination to the Community Council has been accepted  \o/   It caught me a bit by surprise, so I’m struggling to add information to my wiki page again (it’s been 4 years since I last touched it!).
The current list of nominees is awesome, so I’m very happy that no matter what the results are it’s going to be a great board.

I wanted to share why I’d like to fill this position at this point in time with everybody so you know what you’re voting for  🙂

My main concern right now is the decrease in motivation I’ve seen in some places in the community, which is counter-intuitive because there’s more to do today than ever.
I’d like to get to the bottom of why this is happening and turn it around. I want to find new, exciting and clearly articulated goals for us to achieve and continue working on all the delicate balances we have between upstreams, Canonical, and Ubuntu.

I’d also like to find ways to more clearly document the different uses people have for Ubuntu and make sure either the default install is addressing them, or when impossible, communities are formed around spinning off the needed changes into its own thing to keep people productive and happy.

These are ambitious and hard things to do, but that’s the case for most things worth doing.

 

P.S. I’m going to be on a plane from London to Buenos Aires when the results get announced!

Ubuntu One Files for Android released!

After a long and interesting journey, today we’ve released Ubuntu One Files for Android.

The app started being developed by Michał Karnicki as a Google Summer of Code project, and he did such a fantastic job at it that we hired him on full time and teamed him up Chad Miller to end up releasing a fantastically polished app. It got immediately featured in the press!
It was built on top of our public APIs, documented here: https://one.ubuntu.com/developer/

Besides it letting you access all your files stored in Ubuntu One, it has a very cool feature to auto-sync all the pictures on your phone, having an instant backup of them, and a convenient place to share them!

I’m super proud of the work we put out.

Also, as with all the rest of our clients, it’s open source and you can get it in Launchpad

Thunderbird will be default in Oneiric (11.10), maybe

A very healthy and civilised session about switching to Thunderbird by default just ended here in the Ubuntu Developer Summit, and the outcome was that if the Thunderbird developers manage to do some needed work (to be defined) by a certain time in our cycle (to be defined), we will ship Oneiric and more importantly, the 12.04 LTS with Thunderbird by default.

The bits I can remember that need to be done are:
– Evolution data server integration
– Tighter integration with Unity
– Shrink the size of the overall application so it fits in the CD
– A good upgrade story
– Migration plan for Evolution users

We will also make sure it ships with integration with contacts in Ubuntu One, thanks to James Tait’s head start with the Hedera project.

I’m a big fan of Thunderbird, so I’ll be doing my best to help them achieve their goals  🙂