Improving Community Health: Community Concerns

LP is another thing that should be addressed. LP is old, out-fashioned and uses its own version control software, which is not that great and git is the standard. That just increases the barriers to contribute to anything in LP.
The eternal argument is that no one can build a better one or implement features to improve it. I know we cannot simply move to GitHub or GitLab but LP drives people away with its utterly non-practical interface. Still, LP is a problem in my perspective.

The topic of fixing the community is huge. My conclusion is that there are too many issues to address simultaneously, which require a strong leadership with strong, reliable ideas and that the majority of the community accepts. Like many companies do in these days (Facebook is a good example in this case, with all the ReactJs and Redux people), perhaps its time for Canonical to hire a community lead to engage, handle and address most of these issues and have enough power to design, propose and aid implementing any solutions that are needed. Obviously this person will in turn need more people to work closely with him/her, so I am not sure how feasible this is.
My concern is that most of the current problems cannot be resolved by the community alone, the reason being our lack of ability to do so. As wxl suggested, most ideas require waiting for Canonical to do/approve/fix something, or build our own solution which will lead to more diversity, again.

Thank you everyone who has shared their concerns as well and thanks for trying to find a solution. Hope we get it all sorted soon and start implementing ideas to improve our community :+1::pray:


A technical solution (having only one flavor) is unlikely to fix a community problem, especially when, as I said before the flavors have existed since the beginning. Lubuntu’s existence or the lack of Unity is not why the Community Council is gone. Also, I note that @chanath is an Ubuntu Unity contributor (not even officially an Ubuntu thing, not unlike the Cinnamon Remix which is having a lively discussion on this very forum) but yet here we are all coming together to try to solve a problem with our shared community. Finally, the distros mentioned all provide different DEs which means there’s a different face to the OS, which was the previously mentioned complaint. Again, the discussion of fragmentation is silly.

Launchpad works with Git. I wouldn’t mind us using GitLab but LP does the trick mostly.

My people-friendly solution to wiki profiles was to put them in the profile section of your Launchpad account. No version control or terminal interface required. Just go to your account, click the edit button, enter some text, hit the save button. You’ve probably already done this.

Those things, though, are technical concerns. Let’s focus on the original topic: the community.

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That could work but how would it be used when one applies to Membership? Or is this a topic that needs to rethought also?

What’s needed for membership is information, i.e. text. It will work on Launchpad.

Yes, we can divide these issues in his own thread or wait until we have a community council and discuss these issues one by one.

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I test many “flavours” and also I have “Frankenstein” systems, based on Ubuntu, even have a clean Openbox system. I am the first to test Lubuntu and give a feedback, when you asked.

I also have Gnome on pure Arch, Fedora, OpenSuse Tumbleweed and Ubuntu default on bare metal, so when I say “the default” is just one of many, I know what I am saying. One should really read OpenSuse’s Wiki(s)!


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Well, without writing a book, how about an example:

Years ago as a teenager, I was a in a video-production club. One of our key members was a sweet grandmother. She had the perfect skill set to run a phone tree and scrape up a crew, smooth the ruffled feathers of a host or talent, and was a lot of fun sharing pizza with afterwards. She was rubbish on the equipment - she wasn’t a camera operator or technical director or editor. She didn’t produce, she didn’t manage, she didn’t lead. But she was vital to our successful projects and fun.

In Ubuntu today (it’s changed over time), I currently see two main problems:

  1. Most of the teams that I follow don’t seem to have a clear idea of how they want to do outreach and recruitment, soft-handoff new recruits to a mentor, ensure a positive first experience, help recruits up the skills-chain, provide recognition, and follow-up (attempt to recover or exit-interview) drop-outs. I don’t see those tasks as optional extra work - to me they are essential elements of a healthy team.

  2. I don’t see us recruiting or retaining folks who enjoy doing those teambuilding elements as their primary contribution. For those of us who have already found a way to contribute that we enjoy, less-enjoyable teambuilding tasks are a very-understandable lower priority.

I have seen other clubs, both local and remote, with seemingly-similar problems: Recruiting new participants, meeting goals, holding meetings worth the bother of attending, thanking the folks who do most of the work, and properly saying farewell-for-now to folks who depart.

I have also seen other clubs run very well - I know a book club that people want to join because one member loves to organize it and keep it interesting…she just doesn’t want to pick the book nor use her own house for the club meeting.


It is not enough producing a distro that “might” get installed in some device, but also whether it will be installed in the given device …(brand name, type, etc) computer/laptop/tablet.

There should be a section here (and/or in Ubuntu wiki), where users can write about it and discuss what works, what won’t. That section should be given equal or more visibility than the download page, and linked to it. The people, who’d experimenting on Linux to download it to see how it works in live mode are doing that on device that’s made for another OS platform.

The newcomers (youngsters) are needed most to create and uphold a community, than the oldsters. The oldsters are usually sold to Linux, joining in when it was young and struggling. But also, we are the depleting kind.

Hardware support lists have been tried before - HardwareSupport - Ubuntu Wiki (Ubuntu Ready) which will narrow down to more specific types of devices, then brands, or it’s successor

This was done back when the wiki was open (not locked down because of spam & destruction of data) yet few people added hardware to it.

I like the idea, but I doubt it’ll get much information added.

Also I looked up one model (dell optiplex 755 desktop) on it, found a reference for it there (it worked on 12.04 amd64 :slight_smile: ), but I’ve had multiple boxes with that model number, and know that one model dell came with at least 5 possible motherboards over the life of that product (thus components vary on the one model). Dell/HP/Lenovo deal with the varying hardware via Service Tag codes, but that’s complexity users don’t want to deal with or may miss. That page dealt with it pretty well. but it’s detail that could be missed by end-users (the one 755 in the list on that page did match my 755s audio & ethernet wise, but differs video wise to those listed in my QA-test lists [boxes I use in my QA-testing])

Mods: please delete this post if off-topic

I had mentioned earlier how the lack of a Community Manager has negatively impacted us. That’s sort of what I felt the role accomplished. At the very least, that person always seemed to be trying to gather people together and push community involvement.

I know that in Lubuntu we have achieved success primarily by doing the exact things you were talking about doing. We don’t currently have someone fulfilling this role (right now a bunch of us are involved in the process) but I can see the need to have someone.

And indeed, every team should have such a role, with the “main” Community Manager providing guidance and best practices to their counterparts within teams.

So I propose two things:

  1. The Community Manager should be a central role of our governance structure. It should be as key as the Community Council and should be someone voted on by all of Ubuntu Members. They should work to build and maintain the Community Managers distributed through teams. They should also work to build and maintain documentation that those Community Managers can use to further their efforts to build their team membership. Finally, they should conceive of some event(s) to build community. Something in the same spirit as UDS or LoCos, but with more impact.
  2. We should start working on buidling the basics of that Community Management documentation right now. Perhaps it would be wise to consult past Community Managers to see what they would suggest.

It is interesting to notice the last devices in that, 2005 and 2007!
I still maintain that those, who come to Linux these days are those, who want to experiment, not the main batch of computer users. To get more people to experiment, Ubuntu/community has to show that Ubuntu can be installed in a given device.

It is practically 2020.

(There’s an interesting comment in Distrowatch today, comment #21, asking what can a Linux distro do with certain new laptops? These laptops (1st laptop , 2nd laptop) have innovative touchpads. Ah, btw, I see the same question asked here, without getting any replies.)

Let’s create a Launchpad team named “Hardware testers”. Then edit the wiki to say “email the hardware testers’s team to help us gather more data”.

So true, but here is the flip-side to the question. We had two already two of them and they in a way moved away from that role. I don’t recall why Jono left but Alan moved into another position. The issue is retention.

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One way to ensure we keep the role: make it a part of our governance structure rather than a job at Canonical.


Just as I thought.
We are talking about a proverbial desktop. How do we create a community around that? Only for geeky and those, who like to experiment?

The geeky should help the non-geeky to be part of the community.


That would be the best solution, I think I may of said that when I replied to @popey’s post. I may of used liaison as the term.

Thank you @belkinsa for starting this discussion. I chime in here because @wxl touchs many of the points I would make. So many times in my “ubuntu career” initiatives that seemed ongoing and successful were pulled back or stopped by “leadership” of some sort. The first time was when the successful Pacific Northwest loco was split into 3 in spite of prolonged and loud protest. All three are pretty much dead, although many of us continue to contribute. The leaders of PNW however, moved on. There are other more sticky and complicated things I could bring up but I think they are better left to the past.

Canonical and @sabdlf should decide to fish or cut bait. If they want to support the Ubuntu Project then they should do it; if not, finally fund the Ubuntu Foundation and step away from it. Right now, their equivocal stance leaves everyone wondering where they stand. When “unofficial community council” seems like a good idea, something is wrong. Just because things worked well in the past does not mean that we have to keep doing them. Tradition can give strength and also can imprison.