Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph

Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day

Often times, Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day sneaks up on me and I don’t have an opportunity to do a full blog post. This time I was able to spend several days reflecting on who has had an impact on my experience this year, and while the list is longer than I can include here (thanks everyone), there are some key people who I do need to thank.

José Antonio Rey

If you’ve been involved with Ubuntu for any length of time, you know José. He’s done extraordinary work as a volunteer across various areas in Ubuntu, but this year I got to know him just a little bit better. He and his father picked me up from the airport in Lima, Peru when visited his home country for UbuCon Latinoamérica back in August. In the midst of preparing for a conference, he also played tour guide my first day as we traveled the city to pick up shirts for the conference and then took time to have lunch at one of the best ceviche places in town. I felt incredibly welcome as he introduced me to staff and volunteers and checked on me throughout the conference to make sure I had what I needed. Excellent conference with incredible support, thank you José!

Naudy Urquiola

I met Naudy at UbuCon Latinoamérica, and I’m so glad I did. He made the trip from Venezuela to join us all, and I quickly learned how passionate and dedicated to Ubuntu he was. When he introduced himself he handed me a Venezuelan flag, which hung off my backpack for the rest of the conference. Throughout the event he took photos and has been sharing them since, along with other great Ubuntu tidbits that he’s excited about, a constant reminder of the great time we all had. Thanks for being such an inspirational volunteer, Naudy!

Naudy, me, Jose

Richard Gaskin

For the past several years Richard has led UbuCon at the Southern California Linux Expo, rounding up a great list of speakers for each event and making sure everything goes smoothly. This year I’m proud to say it’s turning into an even bigger event, as the UbuCon Summit. He’s also got a great Google+ feed. But for this post, I want to call out that he reminds me why we’re all here. It can become easy to get burnt out as a volunteer on open source, feel uninspired and tired. During my last one-on-one call with Richard, his enthusiasm around Ubuntu for enabling us to accomplish great things brought back my energy. Thanks to Ubuntu I’m able to work with Partimus and Computer Reach to bring computers to people at home and around the world. Passion for bringing technology to people who lack access is one of the reasons I wake up in the morning. Thanks to Richard for reminding me of this.

Laura Czajkowski, Michael Hall, David Planella and Jono Bacon

What happens when you lock 5 community managers in a convention center for three days to discuss hard problems in our community? We laugh, we cry, we come up with solid plans moving forward! I wrote about the outcome of our discussions from the Community Leadership Summit in July here, but beyond the raw data dump provided there, I was able to connect on a very personal level with each of them. Whether it was over a conference table or over a beer, we were able to be honest with each other to discuss hard problems and still come out friends. No blame, no accusations, just listening, talking and more listening. Thank you all, it’s an honor to work with you.

Laura, David, Michael and me (Jono took the picture!)

Paul White

For the past several years, Paul White has been my right hand man with the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. If you enjoy reading the newsletter, you should thank him as well. As I’ve traveled a lot this year and worked on my next book, he’s been keeping the newsletter going, from writing summaries to collecting links, with me just swinging in to review, make sure all the ducks are lined up and that the release goes out on time. It’s often thankless work with only a small team (obligatory reminder that we always need more help, see here and/or email editor.ubuntu.news@ubuntu.com to learn more). Thank you Paul for your work this year.

Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller is the Fedora Project Lead, we were introduced last week at LISA15 by Ben Cotton in an amusing Twitter exchange. He may seem like an interesting choice for an Ubuntu appreciation blog post, but this is your annual reminder that as members of Linux distribution communities, we’re all in this together. In the 20 or so minutes we spoke during a break between sessions, we were able to dive right into discussing leadership and community, understanding each others jokes and pain points. I appreciate him today because his ability to listen and insights have enriched my experience in Ubuntu by bringing in a valuable outside perspective and making me feel like we’re not in this alone. Thanks mattdm!

Matt holds my very X/Ubuntu laptop, I hold a Fedora sticker


If you’re reading this, you probably care about Ubuntu. Thank you for caring. I’d like to send you a holiday card!

20 November 2015 17:15:20


Svetlana Belkin

Rebooting Three OSF Projects


I’m working on rebooting three Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework since I still think that these can help the community:

If anyone is willing to help me please reply to the respective topic that you want to help for or e-mail me at belkinsa@ubuntu.com.

Thank you!

19 November 2015 16:00:25

Miriam Ruiz

Projects, Conflicts and Emotions

The Debian Project includes many people, groups and teams with different goals, priorities and ways of doing things. Diversity is a good thing, and the results of the continuous interaction, cooperation and competition among different points of view and components make up a successful developing framework both in Debian and in other Free / Libre / Open Source Software communities.

The cost of this evolutionary paradigm is that sometimes there are subprojects that might have been extremely successful and useful that are surpassed by newer approaches, or that have to compete with alternative approaches that were not there before, and which might pursue different goals or have a different way of doing things that their developers find preferable in terms of modularity, scalability, stability, maintenance, aesthetics or any other reason.

Whenever this happens, the emotional impact on the person or group of people that are behind the established component (or process, or organizational structure), that is being questioned and put under test by the newer approach can be important, particularly when they have invested a lot of time and effort and a considerable amount of emotional energy doing a great job for many years. Something they should be thanked for.

This might be particularly hard when -for whatever reason- the communication between both teams is not too fluent or constant, and sometimes the author or authors of the solution that was considered mainstream until then might feel left out and their territory stolen. As generally development teams and technical people in the Free / Libre / Open Source world are more focused on results than on relationships, projects are generally not too good at managing this (emotional, relational) situations, even though they (we) are gradually learning and improving.

What has happened with the Debian Live Project is indeed a hurtful situation, even though it’s probably an unavoidable one. The Debian Live Project has done a great job for many years and it is sad to see it dying abruptly. A new competing approach is on its way with a different set of priorities and different way of doing things, and all that can be done at the moment is to thank Daniel for all his work, as well as everyone who has made the Debian Live Project successful for so many years, also thank the people who are investing their time and effort in developing something that might be even better. Lets wait and see.

Source of the image: Conflict Modes and Managerial Styles by Ed Batista

19 November 2015 12:09:59


Svetlana Belkin

Where’s Me Support?!

Over the two (2+) plus years, I started many projects within the Open * communities that I’m apart of. Most of these projects I started were meant to be worked on with two or more people (including me, of course) but I never had luck in getting anyone to work together with me. Okay, once it has succeeded and two (2) or three (3) times, it was close but still failed. That one time when it succeeded happened because I was on the Membership Board where the members had to be committed.

Because many projects meant for collaboration failed that means either that the communities don’t have enough people willing to work with me (or on anything!) (or a time commitment) or I have networking issues. The latter is within my control and the earlier is one of the problems that most of the Open * communities face.

Lacking support and the feeling of not getting things done over these two plus years is making me to lose motivation to volunteer within these communities. In fact, some of this has already affected four teams within the Ubuntu Community: Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Ohio, Ubuntu Leadership Team, and Ubuntu Scientists and no news or any activity is shown. As for others, I’m close in removing myself from the communities, something that I don’t want to do and this is why I wrote this. It’s to answer my question of: Where’s my support?! (“me” in the title, but it’s for the lightheartedness that this post needs) I know of a few that maybe feeling this also.

As a thought, as I wrote this post, is what if I worked on a site that could serve as a volunteer board for projects within the Open * communities. Something like “Find a Task” started by Mozilla (I think) and brought over to the Ubuntu Community by Ian W, but maybe as a Discourse forum or Stack Exchange. The only problem that I will face is, again, support for people who want to post and to read. I had issues getting Open Science groups/bloggers/people to add their blog’s feed to Planet Open Science hosted by OKFN’s Open Science But that might be different if it will have almost all types of Open * movements will be represented. Who knows.

Readers, please don’t worry, as this post is written during the CC election in the Ubuntu Community, it will not affect my will to run for a chair. In fact, I think, being in the CC could help me to learn to deal with this issue if others are facing this but they are afraid to talk about in public.

I really, really don’t want to leave any of the Open Communities because of lack of support and I hope some of you can understand and help me. I would like your feedback/comments/advice on this one.

Thank you.

P.S. If this sounded like a rant, sorry, I had to get it out.

17 November 2015 14:13:24