Friday, March 1, 2013

Ubuntu Advocacy and Changing Times

By Guest Writer +Benjamin Kerensa

For a few years now, I have been pretty outspoken as an Ubuntu advocate. Although lately I have been critical of some decisions made regarding Ubuntu, I am still an ardent supporter of the project and the community that comes together to make Ubuntu what it is.

Official Ubuntu circle with wordmark. Replace ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


For me, Ubuntu is much more than just an operating system. It is a community that strives to be inclusive to people from every walk of life while bringing them together to celebrate open source in the form of a crisp desktop that is a true citizen among its proprietary competitors all while offering a variety of community flavors, cloud magic (Juju), and now the ever popular mobile platforms.

One common theme among open source projects, even Ubuntu, is that despite our common passion for the project, we are all individuals who are assertive and dogmatic in our opinions and we may not always agree but our debate is always with the best intentions in mind.

A Changing Project

The last two years for Ubuntu have been very challenging because the project is evolving in so many ways. Our desktop is becoming more productivity focused with the wonderful HUD. The desktop is bringing more information to the users through lenses and scopes. Despite controversy and privacy concerns, the lenses and scopes are becoming more and more refined with better control for the end-user.

Ubuntu is going mobile which is a significant step for not only Canonical but for the community. Although we’re still taking the first steps in this new direction, the future for Ubuntu Touch appears to be filled with potential. It is my belief that at some point we will see Ubuntu Touch right up there with Firefox OS on devices and being offered to users worldwide and that will be great.

English: Picture from Ubuntu Developer Summit ...
English: Picture from Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric on Budapest, Hungary Español: Fotografía del Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric en Budapest, Hungría (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Going Virtual with the Ubuntu Developer Summit

I’m disappointed in the decision to go virtual with the Ubuntu Developer Summit and I share the same concerns as many fellow contributors have aired not only on their blogs but also on IRC and Ubuntu Mailing Lists. I think their is a great feeling to be able to come and physically meet with fellow contributors which creates cohesion that cannot be replicated virtually.

If we are to stick with the virtual format it is my hope that the community could come together and fundraise a community driven physical event much like DebConf or Pycon perhaps annually or bi-annually.


English: The Ubuntu One logo. Español: El logo...
English: The Ubuntu One logo. Español: El logo de Ubuntu One. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was an early pioneer when it came to my adoption of Ubuntu in the Cloud, being one of the first Juju Charm writers thanks to the great encouragement and advocacy that Jorge Castro was doing early on in promoting Juju. I really enjoy how widely adopted Ubuntu is in the Cloud and its great to see the Juju Charm store grow to such a great number of available apps ready to be deployed into the Cloud.

One thing I am excitedly waiting for is the unprovider, which will allow deployment of apps with Juju on Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers.

Real Advocacy

Lately, I have had people ask me how I can be so critical and outspoken about things I dislike in Ubuntu yet at the same time still promote it, contribute to it and advocate its use. 

"The simple answer is that I feel a true advocate doesn’t seek to toe the line and pretend to be happy about everything. A real advocate defends privacy, community values and user choice."

Other Projects

I have now been feverishly leading the Ubuntu Oregon local community and its been a great experience and a lot of work. I announced my plans to step down from that role later this year so that I can focus more of my time on Ubuntu Development while also allocating more of my time to personal projects and things in the Mozilla and Debian Communities.

I still love Ubuntu but I’m hoping to balance my contributions a bit more and reduce any opportunity for burnout. I’m also looking forward to continuing to contribute as a Community Manager for OpenPhoto and promote the recently re-branded hosted version of OpenPhoto which is called Trovebox.

I hope all of you will stay tuned to me on social media and my blog and also the projects I contribute to because 2013 is already starting off great and it can only get better.

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