I’ve seen the discussions about the abrupt loss of leadership in the community and this is a sad event. I’m not however entirely surprised. If you have been around the project for some years you will notice that there has been a progression towards divestment in the community for many many years.
The thing that’s most saddening though is that Mark (sabdfl) who has benefited from countless thousands of volunteer hours which are certainly worth millions of dollars didn’t have the respect for the community to even articulate why he has abandoned the community and been silent on the collapse of governance which he played a part in since he after all is the project leader.
What I’ve seen culminate here in a a violation of the very social contracts that this community created and has long honored and Mark isn’t the only responsible but rather all the most recent depart community council members failed to gracefully step down and transition things to new leaders.
As you can see the Ubuntu Community Team started winding down some years ago first with the departure of Jono Bacon and then many of his colleagues who were moved to other functions within Canonical. I’ve seen some of those people at conventions in the past years many of them have now entirely left Canonical and because their employment wouldn’t be risked by talking honestly a couple former Ubuntu Community Team members basically told me Mark no longer felt investing in Community or Desktop was a priority for Canonical and instead is focusing where the profits can be had which is understandable since Canonical is a business but nonetheless is a departure from the community oriented project that Ubuntu has always been.
Anyways it appears Canonical now has two jobs listed which appear to be an America’s and European Community Liaison which appears to be based on the role details a proxy for Mark being involved with the community. Basically it seems Mark wants to hire two people to replace his role in governance and alter the way governance functions.
Job Listing 1: https://canonical.com/careers/2210765
Job Listing 2:
What’s disappointing about this is Mark has nothing engaged the community here and has been silent. He also hasn’t solicited the community for feedback on restoring or even modifying governance. It is apparent that Mark no longer sees much benefit in the community so ultimately he doesn’t feel the community is a partner and doesn’t need to solicit feedback or engage.
If this erosion of investment in the community continues I predict there will eventually be a time in the future where flavors are divested and probably more and more wind down of community investment.
The best thing that could have happened is for Mark to establish a proper Ubuntu Foundation that owns the trademarks and a board with majority canonical staff as members and some seats for the community. This would ensure the community still gets to have a say and can’t just be abandoned or ignored but that’s not the reality of things is it?
Anyways I hope I’m wrong because it’s clear the community has been dying for years. Ubuntu in person events had less and less contributors years ago and it’s evident that as of today there are few community leaders and casual contributors left. Community is the soul of the Ubuntu so divestment and abandonment will only turn Ubuntu into a corporate distro.
The Ubuntu Project deserves better than this.
Former Membership Board Member
Former Ubuntu Developer
Former Ubuntu Doc Team Lead
Former Lead Ubuntu Oregon LoCo
Former Ubuntu Member
Former Kubuntu Member