Ubuntu Global Bug Jam and the value of face-to-face time

Well, this weekend the Global Ubuntu Bugjam kicks off, with Bug Jams happening all around the world including Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Perú, Puerto Rico, California, Chicago, Michigan, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, Portland, Seattle, Venezuela, India, Thailand, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

I am hugely proud of everyone involved in organising their local bug jams as part of the wider global bug jam, and I am really proud of my good friend and compadre, Daniel Holbach for pulling many of these threads together to coordinate everything. You folks are gonna have a blast this weekend – getting together, fixing bugs, having a great time and helping free software. Kick arse. :)

You may have noticed that we tend to harp on quite a lot about Bug Jams and Packaging Jams. Part of the reason for this is that we really firmly believe in onsite learning. Every release cycle I sit down with the team and we assess the entire timeline of contributor interaction – we look at what happens from when someone expresses an interest in contributing to Ubuntu, right up to them being a core contributor. We try to assess and map the different types of interaction that occur between these two points and use this as a basis for building strong community. A key element here is self education – helping the community to educate themselves in different ways. This not only involves skills education but also process education – helping our community get a good idea of how things work. This is why Bug Jams are so good – they help people get used to fixing bugs and watching other people fixing bugs. Packaging jams are more about skills education – showing people how they can package up applications for Ubuntu, and how it works.

The simple fact is that getting people in the same room to do something is a lot more fun than not being in the same room. Add to that mix a supply of drinks and snacks, and it is a recipe for a good time and a sure-fire formula for helping free software rock the world that little bit more. It is tempting to assume that because we are all so used to online collaboration that we should just expect it in all forms of collaboration and discount the benefits of face-to-face time. Generating some face-to-face time is important not only because it helps people more visibly interact – hovering over computers, pointing, drawing things on pieces of paper and chatting, but it also gives people a chance to reconnect important bonds. People, lets not forget we are people, and we love to hang out, be it in a pub, a restaurant, a conference or a bug jam. With over 170 Ubuntu LoCo Teams, we have a huge amount of hanging out potential. :)

So, my Ubuntu friends, have a wonderful time this weekend, kick the arse of some of those pesky bugs, and do let me know how you enjoy your bug jams – I look forward to hearing your stories. :)