Team Informational Messages
Karmic reactions and introductions
Hey everyone! Thanks to everyone who made it out to our St. Paul
release event on Saturday - it was a blast! For those who weren't
able to attend, we had probably 40 or so people show up throughout the
day, some upgrading or installing, some taking a first or second look
at Ubuntu, and some coming for support (we had a couple of driver
questions - props to the guys who knew how to handle them). There was
a local mirror on hand so things went quickly (it worked!), David
Siegel of Canonical did show up (after some initial trouble getting
there) and gave a great talk on the One Hundred Papercuts project and
the Gnome-Do launcher, and there were donuts in the morning and pizza
in the afternoon. I saw a number of familiar faces as well as quite a
few new ones, which is exactly what we want, so let's continue that
trend! I saw at least one person with a camera - feel free to share
any photos if you have them.
With the release of Karmic, we officially enter the period known as
the "Lucid Development Cycle", which is the six-month period between
Karmic release and Lucid release. Of course, the first few weeks of
this are actually fairly focused on Karmic, and then things start to
shift at various levels as we move along.
This first week has two main aspects:
1) What are your reactions to Karmic? Any favorite new features?
How's it running on your machines? Forums, IRC channels, and mailing
lists are usually filled with people describing their first
impressions of the new release, and this is good, as it provides an
opportunity to answer any questions that arise and get a sense of
direction for where the next release should go.
2) Ubuntu Open Week! For those who don't know, UOW is a one-week
event consisting of a bunch of one-hour sessions given on IRC on
various topics, intended as an opportunity to road-test the Ubuntu
community for newcomers, offer chance to be exposed to more aspects of
it for those who have been around a little while but haven't gotten
very involved yet, and learn about particular topics that anyone may
be interested in. For instance, this morning had sessions "How to be
your neighbor's Ubuntu guru" and the "Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter".
Coming up in a few minutes is a session on "Reporting Bugs", and at
4:00 will be "Running a FOSS Event" - both great things for our group.
To see these and the plans for the rest of the week, as well as
information on how to attend a session and logs of previous ones,
check out https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuOpenWeek - see you in
As many of you know, at the two recent release events I handed out a
survey intended to gauge people's interest areas, experience, and a few
other things. I've read through all of those, and would now like to
share the results with you. My thinking was that we could use this
information to help guide the direction of this group over the coming
months. I realize that it's not as good as it could be, since only
people who attended an event took it and some of the questions could
have been better, but it's a start, and gives feedback for future
surveys as well. By all means don't consider this survey "closed" - if
you have any thoughts / responses / reactions / input to give, this is
precisely the time to do it. This should be a conversation provoker,
not just a bunch of numbers.
I'd like to start with overall observations, and then I'll have more of
the raw data below. In terms of how people heard about the event, the
largest single factor was word of mouth, while the largest group of ways
was mailing lists. The vast majority thought the locations were good,
with the remaining giving a moderate/neutral rating - nobody thought
they were outright bad.
Most of our group is moderate in terms of experience level. There are a
handful of Linux professionals around, but most people are just home
users who can do their usual tasks or a little bit more than that.
Considering that these events probably had more technical users than a
representative sample, it's probably safe to assume that overall we have
even more new users than the survey reflects. Apart from skill level,
even more people reported being new to the group, even if they weren't
new to the software.
Most people are not already involved in the greater Ubuntu / open source
community ecosystem, but at the same time many would like to be, but
just aren't sure how to get involved. Additionally, quite a few people
aren't really sure what that means, or even what this group really is.
We'll definitely be revisiting that point.
On the question about what we could have done better in retrospect,
answers were very much about awareness, understanding, and activity
level. This is related to the previous point, and also something I hope
we can address big-time.
People like events. Many expressed interest in attending future ones,
organizing, running, giving presentations at, etc. Additionally, word
of mouth is powerfully present not only in getting people to these
events, but also in what they want to do to get others there.
- Tony Yarusso
Now, some data:
"How did you hear about this event? About Ubuntu Minnesota? Have you
been to one of these before?"
Word of Mouth: 10
Penguins Unbound: 5
LoCo ML: 3
Google Calendar: 2
Search Engine: 2
Community web site: 1
Mentioned having no prior knowledge of Ubuntu Minnesota: 4
"What did you think of this location? Was it easy to find / get to /
Notes: Could use an explanation / sign right at the door / front desk,
St. Paul event was slightly inconvenient for people from SE suburbs and
"Are you in / aware of any other groups in the area that may have others
interested in Ubuntu? Which?"
UMN Transhumanist Club
(For schools, teachers as well as students)
"How would you describe your level of experience with Ubuntu / Linux in
First time I've seen it: 1
Just installed, getting acquainted: 2
Reasonably familiar: 14
I can do some advanced things: 7
Seasoned expert: 10
I wrote a lot of it: 0
"What do you find most interesting about the Ubuntu community? What
draws you to it?"
Philosophy / open source: 9
Sharing / helping /friendly / easy to get involved: 11
Ease of use: 3
Different / creative: 2
Technical aspects: 5
"Are you already involved in the broader Ubuntu/FLOSS community beyond
this LoCo? If so, how?"
User groups: 2
Bug reports / triage: 2
"What is something you have always wanted to learn how to do with
Ubuntu, but haven't yet because you need someone else to walk you
through it or it would just be more fun to do with others?"
Programming in Python
Home audio server/ / streaming / media center
Hardware purchasing decisions (for compatibility)
Various individual applications
Setting up a Java development environment
Dealing with driver issues
Offline GMail copy
"What's something you wish you knew more about relating to Ubuntu, Free
software, or computers?"
Commercial involvement / contributions to Open Source
Future of Linux
How to find people involved with Ubuntu, etc. - networking strategies
Inner workings, computer theory and basics
The structure of the Ubuntu community and how it all works
Keeping documentation up to date
Other types of Free software - what's available?
Audio file management / editing
Switching from other operating systems to Linux, dealing with issues
along the way
Local entrepreneurial opportunities
OpenOffice.org - how to get involved, is there a user group for that
Distributed version control
"In what ways have you wanted to help with the Ubuntu Minnesota LoCo
team, but haven't found the time yet? What would make it easier for you
to contribute in that way?"
Word of Mouth advocacy
Encouraging government support and awareness
Social connections and opportunities awareness
Giving presentations (many responses)
Attending more events
Being able to work on my own schedule
Need to learn things first before using / teaching them
Knowing what others are interesting in learning about
Having more events
"Looking back on the last 6 months, what's something you wish we as a
team and you personally had done differently to help the team grow
better / faster / stronger / more absurdly awesome?"
Regular communications (not just around release time)
More awareness of the group
"Mark all of the following that you would be interested in learning
about / participating in:" (Sorted by responses in this list)
Talking to friends and family about Ubuntu: 13
Providing user support: 11
Running a release party: 10
Talking to schools about Free software in education: 10
Running a casual social event of Ubuntu enthusiasts: 10
Encouraging government to support open formats, open standards, and open
Running an installfest apart from a release party: 8
Work with libraries to offer information on and/or use Free software: 8
Reporting, triaging, and following up on bugs: 7
Give a presentation at a LoCo event: 7
Present / run a booth about Ubuntu at another organization's event /
Writing / proofreading documentation: 6
Building / contributing to the team web site: 6
Packaging software and adding it to the repositories: 6
Communicate with other organizations, associations, and clubs about
Aid public awareness through passive visibility: 4
Encouraging local businesses to support and/or sell Ubuntu: 4
Contacting media outlets about Free software, giving interviews, writing
Drafting marketing / advocacy materials: 3
"Broadly, what types of Ubuntu usage are you interested in?"
Home desktop: 26
Home server: 18
Business desktop: 9
Enterprise server: 10
Media center: 12
Game console: 5
(Write-In) Netbook: 2
"If you were the one writing this survey, what is one question you would
add to it, and what would your answer to that question be?"
Name & contact info (I wasn't sure if people would rather be anonymous
or not - seems more people actually wanted to say who they are.)
Experience with other distros / communities
Last edited by tonyyarusso; January 26th, 2010 at 04:33 PM.
Over the last few days plane after plane has been landing in Dallas,
TX filled with kernel hackers, usability experts, package maintainers,
artists, security experts, community organizers, applications
programmers, and more. Is this some new secret government project
underway? A scientific conference to build robots to colonize Mars?
A comic book show? No, it's the biannual Ubuntu Developer Summit!
This is when people of all stripes from the Ubuntu community gather
and spend a week planning and outlining the work for the next release.
Every six months, right after a new Ubuntu release comes out (in this
case, Karmic), work quickly starts on the next one (Lucid). For this,
a series of "blueprints" are proposed, reviewed, discussed, revised,
and some accepted relating to various aspects of how both the
operating system and the community will be changed over the following
six month period (known as a development cycle). You can view the
schedule for what things are being discussed in Dallas this week at
http://summit.ubuntu.com/uds-l/ . For those of us who are still here
at home rather than in Dallas, it turns out that we can still
participate in the discussions - part of being an open community and
having community-developed software means nobody is excluded from
these decisions, so you can follow along and give your two cents
worth. For that, the wiki page at
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UDS-L/RemoteParticipation explains how to
listen in via Icecast, help edit roadmap documents with Gobby, and
discuss on IRC.
In addition to the Ubuntu community as a whole doing planning this
week, it is also time for our LoCo to start discussing and planning
out our game plan for the next six months. There is a rather
excellent article that I would strongly encourage everyone to read
posted on the Fridge at http://fridge.ubuntu.com/node/1937 by Jono
Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager. It outlines the basic process
for release cycle roadmaps in a manner specific to Local Community
Teams, and how to successfully help your team grow. As noted in that
article, I have created a wiki page at
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Roadmaps/Lucid/MinnesotaTeam that will serve
as our roadmap document. Using the information from the survey I sent
out in a past e-mail, your own preferences, knowledge, and
opportunities, it is now everyone's time to discuss and fill in that
roadmap so we can make this release cycle awesome for Minnesota!
So everybody, weigh in!
Last edited by tonyyarusso; January 26th, 2010 at 04:33 PM.
What is Ubuntu Minnesota?
One of the things that became apparent in our recent survey is that
there are a significant number of people who aren't really sure what
"Ubuntu Minnesota" or a "LoCo" actually are, so this week I will
attempt to clarify those points and a few others. Since this also
involves our relationships with the greater Linux community locally,
I'm copying the Minnesota LUGs I'm aware of on this mailing as well.
First, what is Ubuntu Minnesota?
In short, it is the LoCo for the state of Minnesota, which leads to:
What the heck is a LoCo?
LoCo is short for Local Community, a geographically-based team of
Ubuntu users, developers, and enthusiasts for mutual support,
collaboration, socializing, and advocacy. Worldwide these groups work
together for things like throwing events (whether they be social
meet-and-greets, installfests, bug jams, conferences, talks, or
whatever), working on localization of Ubuntu for their area (language
translation, theming, topical wallpaper, etc.), coordinating local
advocacy and awareness and providing a point of contact for new users
in the area looking for people who share their interest, providing
support when the purely online global channels aren't as effective,
and whatever other cool projects they come up with.
How is a LoCo different from a LUG?
First, I must stress that they are not mutually exclusive - it is
highly encouraged to be a member of both and for the two groups to
work together where appropriate. That said, there are two main
differences. First, an Ubuntu LoCo is focused on a particular Linux
distribution, Ubuntu, while a LUG is usually much broader in scope.
This means that our members can also act as "representatives" of sorts
for the distribution when working with a LUG - perhaps there's an
Ubuntu expert at the LUG meeting to help with support, or someone with
an understanding of the community who can help someone get involved.
We're not here to "convert" anyone whose already using Linux just
because they use a different distro, but we are here to answer
questions and help them try Ubuntu if they're interested, and in turn
the LUG can provide broader exposure to other things for our members,
etc. Second, a LUG is normally organized on a city-wide basis, or
perhaps a metropolitan area, while LoCos are broader in geographical
scope. In most of the world LoCos are organized at the national
level, while in the US they're on the state level. While we of course
will be doing some things on smaller scales (in-person events for
instance), communication and collaboration happens all-together for
the state. Thus one LoCo will find itself working with multiple LUGs
(I know of four, with varying activity levels). Ideally, each LUG
would also be working with multiple things like a LoCo, for different
distributions, but I'm not yet aware of such a thing for other distros
within Minnesota - please let me know if you are.
What does it mean to be a "member" of Ubuntu Minnesota?
Essentially, just that you are a person who uses or is interested in
Ubuntu residing in (or near) Minnesota. There is no formal
requirements or approval process (not to be confused with Ubuntu
"Membership", which is a recognition of contributions). All that is
needed to be part of our team is to say you want to. That said, in
order to do so effectively you will want to be "in the loop" with what
we're doing, and the two steps for that are to a) add yourself to the
Launchpad group, found at https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-minnesota
(remember to set your location so you can show up on the map and
assist local planning!), and subscribe to the mailing list (which is
where this is going - for LUG people, the info is at
https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-us-mn). From there,
just start participating in whatever way you find interesting! I hope
in future e-mails to make more clear what channels and opportunities
are available for those who don't know, but if there's something
specific you want to know about, just ask!
Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone is an equal part of
this team. My title is "Team Contact", and on Launchpad and such,
"administrator", but that is explicitly not "dictator" or anything
like that. My role is to serve as a central contact point and to
provide direction and such for the team, but YOU are the team. If you
think there should be a social event in Northfield, organize and
announce it! If you want an installfest in Bemidji, make it happen!
If you want to distribute Ubuntu CDs at a local school, go ahead! You
don't need to "ask permission" or anything to do something in this
team - the only rules are to abide by the Ubuntu Code of Conduct
(http://www.ubuntu.com/community/conduct/), which basically means
things should be appropriate, legal, and respectful. On the other
hand, by all means do communicate with others on the team about what
you want to do, get others involved in your project, and ask for
advice if you need it, etc.
Hopefully that answers a few questions about what this group is all
about, but I'm sure there are more, so bring 'em on!
What is the current state of this LoCo?
So now that we know what a LoCo is, and that we have one, where do
things stand for Ubuntu Minnesota? What are the available resources,
past/present activities, membership levels, etc.?
First off, this group is a little over two years old, having been
started in August of 2007. Things have gone in fits and starts since
then, but are only now settling into a more regular pattern. It's up
to you to keep that momentum going! In terms of on-paper numbers,
there are currently 127 people subscribed to this mailing list, 76
members on the Launchpad team, and we hover around 15 people on the
IRC channel. For comparison, that Launchpad number is similar to
Wisconsin, a little under half that of Illinois and Michigan, and 5
times that of South Dakota.
Events so far have consisted entirely of release parties every six
months, which have been held for quite some time in the Twin Cities,
and the first one outstate happening for Karmic in Duluth/Superior.
While this is nice, once every six months and only in part of the
state isn't really enough to foster community among us, so there are
three goals for the upcoming months:
1) Regular IRC (online) meetings/gatherings. These are handy as they
give us a specific time for everyone to come together and chat in a
way that transcends all of our geographical limitations. Some of the
time will be discussing projects and goals, while the rest of the time
will be getting to know each other and talking about what people find
interesting that draws us together in Ubuntu. Successful teams have
IRC meetings on a regular basis, usually once per month. I am
therefore proposing that we start such a schedule, with the initial
plan being to shoot for the first Monday of the month (and seeing how
that works for people), at 7:00 PM Central Time. That makes the first
such meeting NEXT WEEK, on Monday December 7th, from 7:00 - 8:00 PM in
#ubuntu-us-mn on Freenode. You can participate through your favorite
client or just by visiting
in your web browser.
2) In-person events outside of the usual April/October release
events. These don't need to be big and formal - just tell people
you'd like to hang out, and pick a time and place. I'll be offering
some more suggestions for such things in future e-mails, but go ahead
and just start planning your own whenever you can! Someone on IRC
suggested that going bowling would be fun, and that should be easy to
pull together in any part of the state. I'd totally be in for that
3) When Lucid release comes around in April, I'd love to see at least
5 release events - one for each part of the state: East Metro, West
Metro, Northeast, Northwest, and South. Start thinking about whether
you could help organize one for your region now, and we'll revisit
this in a future thread as well.
For available resources and fora, we have just about everything, but
they are admittedly a bit scattered. One of the major goals of our
under-construction web site (http://ubuntu-minnesota.org/) is to
centralize a list of these and make stuff easier to find. Let myself
or Caleb (Takyoji) know if you'd be interested in helping with that
project. In the meantime, here's a list of everything available to
This mailing list - https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-us-mn
The Launchpad team - https://edge.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-minnesota
The Launchpad project -
https://edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu-minnesota-projects (for Blueprints,
Bazaar branches, and other stuff we'll cover more later)
The wiki section - https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MinnesotaTeam
The forums - http://minnesota.ubuntuforums.org/
The IRC channel - #ubuntu-us-mn on Freenode /
Our Roadmap document - https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Roadmaps/Lucid/MinnesotaTeam
Our Google Calendar -
I know that list is a bit overwhelming, so please ask about any of
those that you're not sure what they're for - it gets a bit murky at
As far as general activity, you can see from your inboxes that this
list doesn't have a great deal of traffic yet. The IRC channel is
similar. What will really help this team to get off the ground and
become awesome like some others is for our community to start
*communing* - that is, talk! Write an e-mail, come on IRC, or post to
the forums! These things aren't just for support problems or planning
and announcements - they're for you to interact with your fellow
Ubuntu users in the state of Minnesota, and enjoy all that that