Scaling Up

Since I got back a week ago from UDS in Orlando I took a few days off work and will be off Monday and Tuesday this week too (I will still be around, I am just taking a few days to work on The Art of Community 2nd Edition).

I have a big list of blog entries that I want to write to follow up on much of the work that happened at UDS. As such, please bear with me as I get this content online over the next few weeks. Some of this is specific to certain projects and some of it is more general to the community, our culture, and how we can make Ubuntu a fun, exciting, and rewarding place to be. I will also be presenting the focus and roadmap for the Canonical Community Team soon to ensure everyone can see where the team will be focusing.

I want to frame these blog entries around a set of core themes that we as a community highlighted in our sessions at UDS as areas that we all feel are valuable areas of focus. This set of areas were finalized on the Friday in the Community Roundtable session after a busy week of discussions throughout various sessions, round-tables, and the Leadership Mini Summit:

  • Success – create an approachable and nurturing environment to help our community to contribute and be successful.
  • Constructive – create an environment of constructive criticism, and protect it against anti-social and un-constructive behavior.
  • Appreciate – create an environment of gratitude and appreciation.
  • Leaders – support and motivate our leaders and governors to be successful to deliver leadership that furthers Ubuntu and the community.
  • Everyone – create and share opportunities for all skills and skill levels to help everyone make Ubuntu successful.

I am not a big fan of initialism, but the above does rather neatly map to ‘SCALE’ which is what much of our community is focusing on; growing our contributor-base as we work to get Ubuntu to 200 million users. The above outcomes are a combination of what people find motivating about participating in Ubuntu (e.g. a feeling of success, enjoying being thanked for your work, helping others), what many feel we need more of (e.g. empowering our leaders, providing opportunity for everyone to participate), and dealing with what people find de-motivating (un-constructive criticism and bickering).

I will follow up over the next week with these further posts summarizing much of the ideas and work discussed at UDS about how we can accomplish these outcomes more and more in the 12.04 cycle. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas, projects, and approaches about how we can accomplish some SCALE. :-)

  • Hilton
  • Hilton
  • Alex Lourie

    Hey Jono

    I had a talk with a friend of mine, who’s been a high-level exec in few companies, started a couple of his own, and is a very knowledgeable all-around person.

    Couple of years ago he switched his desktops and laptops from CentOS to Ubuntu and was quite happy about the progress he automatically got. But now he’s not a happy bunny. He believes that Ubuntu is currently in a very bad state, and here are the problems he sees:

    1. Unity is a disaster. This could be argued for ages as a subjective point of view, but he believes that dropping such a convenient workspace as Gnome2 is a problem, especially for advanced users that don’t mess with the system but work with it. Additionally, he thinks that Unity has no attraction for the businesses as their main desktop.
    2. Bugs that are coming into the system with each release. I argued that most bugs are getting fixed, and he agrees, but he maintains that the same amount of new bugs is being introduced in a new release, so this is either a status-quo with the same amount of annoying problems, or it is deteriorating, as some old bugs are still unfixed and new ones are coming in, so there’s a positive influx of new problems. He feels that each new release is more buggy than the previous one.
    3. He doesn’t understand the future for Ubuntu. Is it around a desktop? Is it a server-oriented? Will the desktop and underlining infrastructure stay without a major change for long? He doesn’t publish his own software for Ubuntu for this reason – he doesn’t trust Canonical that Ubuntu and the platform that he builds upon for will stay there for the next few years, and his app will continue to work as he intended.
    4. He understands that many of the problems are not specific to Ubuntu, but generic in Linux space (such was my argument with Gnome), so he has problem with Linux desktop in general as well. But as Ubuntu is the system he uses, there go main complaints.

    I’m saying all this to demonstrate that there’s a large audience of unhappy people with Linux in general, and Ubuntu specifically. I’d love to hear from him in couple of years that “Wow, this release is great!”, but it seems a long way till that happens.

    All this is important when you talking about scaling. If such users are not content with the system, their families and acquaintances will also never try it, which could lead to a problem with growing userbase. It is important that this kind of advanced users is happy with what they get.