Improving Community Health: Community Concerns

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.



Okay, time to install Manjaro

There were way more than just two people doing Community Management. Jono led the team, and had Jorge, Daniel, David Michael, Nick, Myself and others at various points under him, all of which had at some point had the title Community Manager.

There’s a few of us who still do some community management work - a little behind the scenes - a little up front - but it’s currently not our primary role. Most of the team either left Canonical to embark on other adventures (as it normal for working people) and some moved on inside Canonical to other roles which were identified as required by our employer.

@wxl suggested it could be a non-Canonical role. That’s effectively what half the Community Council was. The members were voted on by the Ubuntu Members. Unfortunately in the most recent cohort of the CC, some of those elected individuals lost interest and stopped attending meetings or replying to requests for help. The CC never really had a good means to kick ineffective people out. So it essentially withered and died.

A reboot would be a good idea.


It is very encouraging to see all the people here contributing to the discussion about how the Ubuntu Community can be revitalised. As someone who has contributed to Ubuntu Community management, albeit part-time, I do agree that we can do better.

Canonical will be dedicating time and people to the Ubuntu Community in the New Year. I think it would be useful to have a video call with anyone interested in moving things forward in early January 2020, as the holiday season upon us. We’d like to hear your concerns and suggestions and then collaborate on a plan of action.

How does that sound?


I don’t see the relation between those things. Community participation, was already dropping before. Years ago it was already hard to get a new LoCo Council, fewer and fewer people have been applying for Ubuntu Member, and I see some leaving the community, way before the switch back to GNOME.

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To many of those that use Ubuntu, Unity was the extremely representative of what Ubuntu was. Unity was distinctive and recognizable to a scale I dare to say no other DE ever achieved. However I agree with you that the community wasn’t abandoned, there was a clear effort to make the switch back to GNOME as painless as possible for Unity users, and as an Unity lover, that is using GNOME on the recent installations of Ubuntu Desktop, but that still writing this from an older Xenial installation with Unit, I do appreciate all the effort that was put into that. Also some support was given to those community members that wanted to do an Unity Remix (unfortunately so far without enough progress).


Regarding the Code of Conduct, I just want to make a side comment that on Ubucon Europe 2019, there was a session regarding the Code of Conduct. Some people have the opinion that we need to improve the CoC to make it more suitable to current and broader needs. We recorded the session, but the video is not public yet, but I hope we will have it shortly and I’ll link it back here.

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And, that sealed it. :wink:

Wouldn’t have happened without @dale-f-beaudoin and @khurshid-alam.

I do 100% agree with you on this. We also need to make user more aware of its existence, I do see a lot of people searching for help on places like facebook, and getting awful responses. AskUbuntu has mechanisms that give prominence to good responses.

My point is that I do agree that there are issues, I just see them differently from you, and that’s fair we don’t have to agree on everything.

Everyone sees things differently from each other. But, a community would stay, if the goal is the same. Ubuntu 16.04 is coming to end in April 2021, btw.