The next Ubuntu Developer Summit is coming up next week (27-29 August 2013) and you can already see a nice set of topics coming together in Launchpad. The schedule will, as always, be available at summit.ubuntu.com.
Jono Bacon and I are going to be track leads for the Community track, so I wanted to send out an invitation to get topics in, especially for bits concerning the Community track. If you are a team lead and had feedback from your team or you want to bring up a discussion topic where you are interested to help out with, check out our docs on how to submit a session for UDS. Please note: this is not a game of “this is what I think somebody should discuss and do for me”, so if you plan to bring up a session topic, be prepared, have a good idea of what might be on the agenda, reach out to people who might be interested in the topic, so you have a good set of participants and contributors to the project available.
If you just want to attend and listen in and contribute to sessions on the schedule, you can just do that as well, check out uds.ubuntu.com which has all the information on how to tune in. Register here. Can’t wait to see you all next week!
Our UDS in Copenhagen was the busiest for me ever, but I enjoyed it a lot. There was heaps of energy, good ideas and many good conclusions for the Raring cycle. One thing I really enjoyed was the Leadership Mini-Summit.
We had it at UDSes two times before and what I feel we did better this time around was that we had more concrete examples of Ubuntu teams, their leadership and the challenges we face. It gave us a great opportunity to be together, brainstorm and learn from each other.
I volunteered to give a brief summary for all those who could not attend this time around. The following points are all based on my memory and our notes of the event. Lots of other brief conversations happened there as well.
- Actively training successors: we discussed a number of interesting experiences in teams and found that some teams had problems finding successors, especially in teams where leadership had been in the same hands for a longer time. We found that when the structures of new team, where things are more open and free-form, slowly moved towards more structure and more processes this might lead to the feeling that things are tedious to main and some fatigue.
Somebody noted that when finding new leadership and key people in the team, that it’s important to note who has a special skill (maybe presenting or organising or just a special interest), and even if they are a bit reluctant in the beginning, give them lots of positive encouragement and form a personal relationship with them. Their interests are obviously important too.
Another point mentioned was that sometimes it’s necessary and important to scale back activities if necessary. Also to harness volunteer energy when it’s there.
Some mentioned that they had been in touch with a new class of contributors: users who need more of a framework, more instructions and were generally less self-starting. Others mentioned they had met people who had misconceptions about involvement in Ubuntu, that there are requirements or they need to be “allowed to” work on something rather than just jumping in. We should definitely encourage these people to get involved. As leaders in the community we should strive to empower others to do things like give the presentations at their events rather than inviting us to do them.
It’s also important to always provide lists of opportunities (a TODO list basically).
- Milestones and mid-cycle check points for community projects.
Some team members found this very useful in watching their team projects progress during the cycle. Most technical teams use work items and blueprints which through our infrastructure are used very well. In less technical teams they are used much less.
What everybody agreed on was that they’d try to get more team reports and use work items as well.
- Ubuntu Member “incubator”.
Some noticed a concern around great contributors who for reasons of their own didn’t want to apply for Ubuntu membership. Sometimes it was lack of knowledge about it, others said they didn’t know why and other just didn’t feel they were ready yet, although they clearly were.
We will review our Membership documentation to make it clearer what Ubuntu membership is there for and how it is important.
There were also some related discussions about how some members were just interested in becoming members and then dropped their activities. Discussions around this did not come to any conclusions though.
- How to respond to “How can I get involved?”
Some teams mentioned they had had great results with one-to-one mentoring, other teams said they were overwhelmed by requests for 1-on-1 mentoring. Everybody agreed that it was important to not drown potential new contributors with “walls of text”, but that for more diverse projects a simple flow chart could help to explore interests. In there it would be important to define “requirements” for the involvement, but to be encouraging at the same time.
Some work will go into a proof-of-concept flow-chart which then could then be re-used and translated.
- Some good ideas for LoCos in general. (These ideas turned up in various discussions.)
One team had a meeting where lots of people had lots of ideas, but no concrete outcomes or plans of action. Some said that it’d help to categorise the ideas and try to group people into teams who could then collaborate and present their work the next time.
In another part of the conversation we talked about “official events” and “big events”. Everybody agreed that it’d help to generally try to also encourage small, fun events, like Ubuntu Hours for example.
Although there were conflicting views on how to organise a big LoCo in general, everybody agreed that it was important to encourage a feeling of one team, no matter which part of the state/country the contributors are from.
Many other topics were discussed as well and it was great to see how we, once we sat together, solve problems together and inspire/help each other. Thanks a lot everyone for turning up.
The work items we agreed on were:
- Daniel to write a blog post about the Leadership Mini-Summit.
- Alan to draft proof-of-concept workflow diagram to visualise activities in a team. Daniel to help publicise it and get feedback.
- José to edit the Question2Answer template and ask to get localized version of a Q&A system.
- Daniel to add flavour teams to CC checkup schedule and mail CC list about the idea to reach out to regularly teams to check in how they’re doing.
- Chris to check into automating the team reports by way of the LoCo Team Portal, and try and get it implemented. Pasi to work on a proof-of-concept for a simple website for sending and gathering team reports easily.
- Daniel to bring up the idea of creating a mailing list for the broader community (we can use it for announcements).
- Laura to mail all councils/boards who can approve members to notify the CC about new members.
- Joel to review https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Membership and send suggestion to CC.
Thanks again and good work everyone!
For me this Ubuntu Developer Summit (http://uds.ubuntu.com) is going to be very special. As always I look forward to meet all you great people again – it’s like meeting “the other party family” again.
A number of development-related sessions are on my list as always and they are going to be very interesting.
We are going to kick off with Ubuntu Development Videos, a session where we’ll discuss how to update our Ubuntu Development videos. This is long overdue, and it might be especially interesting, because I received this very special request on IRC:
<bobweaver> dholbach, if you or others make video tutorial of how to package a updated one I will make video of me shaving my head
Let’s make it happen together! 😀
The next question we’re going to ask ourselves is “What new devs should be doing“. We had some success in the last cycle with proposing a number of categorised tasks to new contributors. Let’s build on that and figure out how we can tell new contributors which tasks they can focus on to have a seamless experience which eases them into our community.
In the last cycles it has become a tradition to look at our Packaging Guide and figure out how to improve it. We are very glad to have received countless fantastic contributions in the last few cycles. This puts us into a great position to provide newcomers with help and with expert up-to-date articles. Here we’ll talk about phasing out the old packaging guide and how to improve our support for translations.
The Developer Advisory Team is alive and kicking and has reached out to many new contributors the last cycle. Still there’s a bunch of things we can improve further. If we want to welcome new folks with open arms and get the best out of their feedback, we need a strong DAT. Help us out.
One thing which never failed to inspire me was whenever work of new contributors was showcased. It’s important because we not only want to show our gratitude by showing off great work done by new people, but also to show others that doing Ubuntu development is no crazy rocket science.
New Exciting Stuff
Readers of my blog have probably figured out by now that I got interested in Automated Testing recently. Personally I think it’s one of the best way to be involved in Ubuntu development, because you essentially ensure (theoretically forever) that a given piece of functionality works. To define how we are going to get more people involved in this initiative, let’s meet at the “Automated Testing Community” session.
Also stay tuned for another special announcement with regard to this. 😀
The Community Track
As Jono is busy becoming a father, (All the best man! Big hugs from here!) I will take care of business at Copenhagen and lead the Community track. We have many many exciting things lined up. The Community Roundtables with huge amounts of interesting topics. And sessions about Ubuntu IRC, Ask Ubuntu, juju, translations, Edubuntu, Lubuntu, the Ubuntu Youth team, Ubuntu Accomplishments, more juju, Ubuntu TV, the Ubuntu Data Mining project, the Debian healthcheck, Ubuntu on Air sessions, the Ubuntu Women team, Xubuntu and many other presentations, discussions and meetings. You can very easily see: the Community Track is where it’s at!
One thing I’d like to highlight is the Ubuntu Leadership Mini-Summit because I feel it’s critical to our success as the Ubuntu project that we figure out how we can lead our respective areas of the community efficiently and learn from each other. Drop by and let’s talk.
You can already see: this UDS is going to be quite busy for me, but it’s also clear that it will kick arse. 🙂
It’s time for some Ubuntu Development Events for those of you who are raring to go get started for 13.04 development.
We will be starting the fun today at 13:00 UTC with Ubuntu Open Week. Luckily I still managed to book a double session, so we’ll have plenty of time to get you started and introduced to Development team and what we do.
The Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) will be happening form 29th October to 1st November in Copenhagen and we will have some workshops there as well. If you’re in town, make sure you drop by. Watch the Packaging Guide User Testing and the Get Started with Ubuntu Development workshops. For us it will be great to see how people use the Packaging Guide and what we need to fix. For you it will be great to have people around who are going to help you if you should get stuck. Also it will be a great time to catch up and get to know each other. Thanks a lot to Benjamin Drung (and others) who are going to help with these events.
There will be plenty more activity at UDS which I’ll blog about soon too. 🙂
… for planning things, but also for getting things done.
In-between sessions I had discussions with many many folks and I’m happy to say there was renewed and much interest in the Packaging Guide.
Heroes like Andrew Starr-Bochicchio, Leo Iannacone, Joseph Mills and others have contributed suggestions, code, ideas and text bits to improve the packaging guide, and that’s on top of what was discussed in the session we had.
During the session we identified a number of areas of focus. In no particular order, there’s:
- Include the Packaging Guide in Ubuntu
- Translate it in as many languages as possible
- Merge the Wiki documentation into the guide
- Do user-testing of the guide
- Do an editorial review of all the content
Also in many other sessions, the Packaging Guide was usually deemed the best place to educate new contributors about how things work, which is great.
What happened this week (outside of sessions) already was:
- Andrew trimmed down our CSS usage a lot.
- Andrew reviewed debian/copyright, so we get closer to get it into Ubuntu.
- Leo worked on nice new side-bar.
- I split up the package into various variants of the guide.
- I removed some embedded java script bits.
- …and lots more.
This level of activity is fascinating and bodes well for a great 12.10 cycle.
What I love most about the guide is that everybody can help us if you have just a little bit of interest in Ubuntu Development. Let’s have a quick look at some bugs you could help out with, if you’re interested.
Here’s some ‘bitesize’ bugs, I hope we can you interest in:
Update: I forgot to mention John Kim, who has contributed a bunch of bug reports with his experience. Great work, John!