We Need to Talk About Ubuntu Desktop and Community

Hello everybody, how are you?

First of all I’d like to say that, a lot of things are going on right now, but despite this I strongly believe that we are on the right path so that Ubuntu can re-approach the community and can regain the focus on the desktop in the future. I ask you a special favor to read to the end to understand what I am going to talk about here now.

New Community Twitter Account and 7 Days of Polls

Based on one of the proposals to change Ubuntu’s current situation, I and some other people from the community have opened a Twitter account with the goal of generating content, spreading the word about what we are doing, and bringing Ubuntu closer to the community by focusing on generating desktop-related content and asking for feedback about every part of the system and the releases that have been made at in now.

You can follow the new account by clicking here on this link: Ubuntu Community

Along with opening this new account, for one week we did 7 Days of Polls, where we left 11 questions for members to vote on and leave their opinions about Ubuntu. Based on @madhens recommendation, I’m bringing them here to the Discourse site so you can also vote and leave your feedback.

The questions and polls are:

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 1 - What do you think about the LTS and semiannual releases of the distro?
  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Bad
  • Terrible

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 2 - What problems are you having with the recent semiannual version and with the LTS version?
  • Drivers and Hardware
  • System Applications
  • Kernel / Software Problems
  • No Problem

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 3 - What is your opinion about the GNOME Shell used in the main version of Ubuntu?
  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Bad
  • Terrible

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 4 - What is your opinion about Snap format applications?
  • They are great
  • They need optimization
  • They lock during use
  • I can’t use them

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 5 - In your opinion, should Ubuntu return to Unity 7?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Depends on what happens

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 6 - What is your opinion about the official flavors and remixes of the Ubuntu family?
  • They are excellent
  • They are very good
  • They are bad
  • They are terrible

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 7 - What do you think about the idea of the Ubuntu website being translated into more languages?
  • It’s a great idea
  • It’s a good idea
  • It’s a bad idea
  • It’s a very bad idea

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 8 - Do you wish there were more local Ubuntu Podcasts available to the community?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Depends on who does it

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 9 - In your opinion, should Ubuntu adopt Flatpak as the default universal application format?
  • Yes
  • No
  • I prefer to use Deb
  • I prefer to use Snap

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 10 - Would you use Ubuntu Touch, currently maintained by UBPorts as the default mobile operating system?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Depends on device
  • Depends on the apps

0 voters

:four_leaf_clover: Poll 11 - What would you like to see in Ubuntu for the next version?
  • New features in GNOME
  • Greater stability
  • More native functions
  • Visual changes

0 voters

At the end of this post besides voting, leave your opinion about Ubuntu so that I and all the other members can read it.

On Twitter these polls got the following results:

Results of Poll 1 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 2 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 3 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 4 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 5 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 6 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 7 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 8 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 9 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 10 on Twitter:

Results of Poll 11 on Twitter:

Ubuntu’s Network of Channels and Groups on Telegram

Currently the community is maintaining the Ubuntu channels and groups on Telegram, which members can follow what we are doing and ask for support. The active channels and groups are:

These are the main ones, some of them have off-topic groups and announcement channels, which are linked to these main groups that I put just above. I decided not to put the links to the local communities because there is a problem related to them that needs to be discussed in a deeper and broader way.

The Final Goals of this Post

I would like to say that, I understand that Canonical is a company that aims to generate profit and revenue, but I believe that the community and the focus on the desktop are also important, once Ubuntu reaches the end user, if he feels good within the community and is welcomed, he can in the future be a customer of the company and bring with him more users, thus spreading Ubuntu to more people.

Regarding the main community, I have talked to some members about the idea of setting up a new team made up of community members with the goal of being a base to help flavors, remixes and other community projects, but we don’t know if the Ubuntu Foundation is still active or not.
I came up with this idea precisely in order to be able to concentrate efforts in a unified team and make it possible to admit new members to these projects.

Regarding the local communities, there are some problems that I will list that need to be discussed:

  • Lack of welcome and necessary attention to users at the moment they join.

  • Lack of incentive to generate local content for users (this includes digital media and audio and video content).

  • Toxicity

  • Lack of incentive for members to contribute to the development and provision of community support for the main release, flavors and remixes.

Believe me, many members who are no longer part of the Ubuntu community still believe that there is hope for better days, both for the main version, as well as for the flavors and remixes of the system. We urgently need to sit down to talk about this and other issues if Ubuntu is to regain its reputation in the Linux community at large and reach more places.

Ubuntu needs you, the flavors and remixes need your help too.

Thank you for reading to the end. I look forward to receiving feedback from all of you.

12 Likes

DISCLAIMER: This post does NOT reflect the opinion of the Ubuntu Community Council or any other governance body of Ubuntu or any flavor specific leadership roles I have - this is my personal opinion as another community member and my personal thoughts, and should be read and considered with this in mind.

Forgive me for being nitpicky, but… it really seems here that you’re intertwining two completely separate things together:

  • Your ‘desktop purist’ perspective
  • Community Building

These two do not go hand in hand, and need to be separate things when you make posts like this.

Now for other concerns:

but we don’t know if the Ubuntu Foundation is still active or not.

I think you need to be more specific here - I don’t think there was ever a foundation made for Ubuntu specifically, it was a general ‘community’ concept rather than a foundation officially.

“There are some problems”…

Lack of welcome and necessary attention to users at the moment they join.

I think you’re going to have to be more specific here - “necessary attention” is vague and unable to be quantified - everyone has different levels of ‘attention’ they need for various things, and you can see this type of thing at the Ask Ubuntu site. Many people just post the same questions others have that are identical and ‘discount’ older solutions as valid because “oh it was for an older release” over on Ask Ubuntu, which gets frowned upon. If you base your assessment solely on these things, then you and I have a very different opinion of “welcome and necessary attention”.

Lack of incentive to generate local content for users (this includes digital media and audio and video content).

Valid, but simply saying “this is a problem” doesn’t present a solution, and to be fair I’m not sure what ‘incentive’ would be gained other than ‘giving back to the community’. Any tangible incentive other than that would be… difficult to quantify or provide from the Community aspect, I believe.

Lack of incentive for members to contribute to the development and provision of community support for the main release, flavors and remixes.

(This is out of order, I know)
I think we have to be careful how we tread here with your assessment of ‘incentive’. Like with ‘generate local content’, you have to be able to quantify what you mean here, and we don’t have any type of assessment or metric of this.

Consider the flavors - Lubuntu runs its own Discourse for support, and is extremely responsive to bug submissions, support requests, etc. on its Telegram, IRC, and Discourse (as well as on Ask Ubuntu) as they have the dedication. (disclaimer: I’m on the Lubuntu Council and oversee all the infrastructure the Lubuntu team runs, including their Discourse, and I see levels of activity there that do not support your claim here).

In the wider Ubuntu and flavors community, I think you need to have a better focus on the teams driving this - I see tons of people who do testing without any reason to do so for various flavors and each flavors’ teams who are dedicated to keeping the release functional and meeting expectations are doing exceptional testing and work for the various releases. I don’t see a ‘lack of incentive’ as a problem here, more as a ‘lack of willingness’ being the problem. The incentive for such contributions is ‘making sure the flavor remains operational and is ready to go for each release’, not any other tangible incentives.

Toxicity

This one I think you really need to be specific about. Sure, some areas may be toxic, and there may be toxic users who are problems overall, but if you’re not careful, then anyone disagreeing with your personal opinion on something can be classified as ‘toxic’ by you but not the Community just because they’re stating their opinion. Without being more specific what types of toxic behavior you’re referring to, etc. and solutions for toxicity (and, for the record, social media will ALWAYS have toxic people so we can’t just say “the community is toxic” when it’s specific individuals and not groups being overly toxic) this is an unquantifiable talking point. (This also applies to this post - some will consider your ‘desktop purist’ and ‘Go back to Unity!’ focal points on your votes in this post as “toxic behavior” as well, so you need to reexamine your own post with the “Split the ‘desktop purist’ opinions and Community Building goals completely from each other” mindset I suggested above.)

And while I agree there are individual people who are toxic towards Ubuntu because of past things, the Ubuntu Community at large is not “toxic” except for maybe a few individuals.

2 Likes

Hello Thomas and @ubunteiro-feliz! Thank you for the post and for the reply. I’ll add my own comments to you both here.

First, I think it is good to keep feedback about community contribution and the desktop separate. Maybe I’m selfish and want more ideas and action for community guides, but in a different post, the comments on the desktop drowned out any discussion of the community. For example, instead of arguing if Unity should be default (which will likely not happen), the future contributor could join the Ubuntu Unity Remix project.

I am going to disagree with you partially, Thomas, on recognition and incentives. While I am very grateful that our volunteers contribute just because they want to improve Ubuntu and its flavors, we should have some sort of recognition. AskUbuntu has badges and reputation, which is fantastic. We should think about meaningful ways we could recognize the work people do and the time and effort they donate, especially for things that can’t be measured by Launchpad karma or the ISO tracker, or any other metrics. I am working with marketing to start with working on a physical incentive program, though it will likely be small at first.

I also think building up a culture of informal mentoring, along with incentives, will help welcome new contributors and give them the resources and boost they need to start contributing at the beginning of their journey. Better onboarding documentation, and something like a ‘good first task’ list will also help. And building a framework the entire community can use to bootstrap contribution and onboarding - and given new contributors an overview of the entire Ubuntu project, including remixes and flavors, will show our community might be smaller than it was, but it’s still active in some places. And we want to keep that activity going and help it grow.

@ubunteiro-feliz if you feel comfortable sharing your uncomfortable or negative experiences, please feel free to share them, in this post or privately. We want everyone to feel welcome and respected, and I recognize that one person’s experience might not be everyone’s experience.

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Opinion: I see a lot of agreement here.

Suggestion: Before getting into metrics and systems and incentives, try working with plain old verbal shout-outs from Team Leads first. Teams should have a fair idea of what’s getting done, who their recent stars are, who is new, and who has dropped away.

And it makes an fairly obvious line of discussion for @madhens during office hours with Team X or Team Y. “It looks like you have some really great volunteers doing some amazing work…”

If a habit of verbal recognition is in place, I think team leads will themselves push for the next step and start asking to send swag.

3 Likes

I have to re-re-read this thread before I can form a opinion, because there is a lot of things to digest here. But, there are two things I am surprised with, and, frankly, a bit unconfortable with :

  • Your twitter account is called Ubuntu Community. I think this is wrong, your group does not represent the ubuntu community as a whole, even if that is your goal. In my mind, the Ubuntu Community twitter account would be something managed by Canonical. Maybe you should find a better name ?

  • And while on the Twitter subject, your handle is ubuntudesktop. Again, I think this is misleading, as it can imply this is the account for the Ubuntu Desktop team. Not to mention the fact that the handle is not in line with the account name.

I know it’s hard to find good names and good handles, and you probably didn’t intend to mislead anyone. But I really think that if you want to be successfull in your endeavour, you need to address those points.

At least that’s my opinion. And now I’m going to re-read this thread !.

4 Likes

Oh, I like that! A sort of weekly or monthly ‘shout out’ gathered from team/flavour/remix leads. Improving the format of the office hours is on the team (aka my) roadmap for the next six months, and this would be a really meaningful segment to have - and a solid foundation for building things out.

I think the way the Fedora project has an official Fedora Twitter account, and a separate community-managed account, is potentially a good model, and there’s more info at this page here.

Though it seems like this discussion is pointing out that having a community presence in our social media would be beneficial, but is something that needs careful thinking and planning. Right now, we can signal boost community posts from the official Twitter account - and this is something that I can and should improve. But a dedicated account that would highlight community stories, notable and rising contributors, and boost calls for participation - and, you know, have a good gif game - it seems like this could be valuable, and it seems this is why @ubunteiro-feliz started the account and why so many flocked to it. We know the demand is there - let’s take this momentum and find the best, most representative, and most sustainable way to fill it.

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the concerns here are understandable, the name was intended to indicate that it is managed solely by the community, i would say if more members of the community need access to it in order for it to “represent the community” that can be granted

the @ubuntudesktop handle is meant to focus that the posts by that account is focused on the desktop. perhaps a better name would be “ubuntu desktop community” or such

finally it is clearly noted in that accounts descripted that it is managed by the community, if that can be done more clearly that can be improved

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Hello @teward and @yannick-mauray.

I am not a native English speaker and used a translator to be able to put everything I wanted to talk to you, so I admit that I made some mistakes and could not express myself well when presenting them here, but despite this, it does not invalidate the final goals that I wrote in this post. As I said in Telegram, when I said that the focus on the desktop needs to be resumed, I did not mean that Unity returns to Ubuntu, I say did meant to develop actions that involve the desktop as one of the foundations of Ubuntu, either through digital media, improved community support, new incentives for participation, among others.

And yes, I know that not all of the community is toxic, that’s why I said I expressed myself badly here because of the translation I did via Deepl.

In relation to the community account (Ubuntu Community), according to what was said by @madhens and @fuseteam , I opened this account with the goal of giving focus on the desktop, disclose projects run by the community, give focus to the official flavors and remixes, approaching of the community and build a structure that does not need to be 100% dependent on Canonical. In the description of the Twitter account, there is a very clear explanation that the account is administered and managed by the community, where it is said that the official account managed by Canonical can be accessed by the username of the official Ubuntu account: ̇

Regarding the administration and management of the community account, it is no problem with me to grant access to more people from the community, as long as they come to me and ask for permission, just like Rudra (@rs2009) , Joshua (@itzswirlz) , Tobiyo (@fuseteam) and Ricky did.

I don’t think broader access to the twitter account is what was being advocated.
The concern raised is about representation, not access.

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I would gently suggest that an account named “Ubuntu Community” implies that it represents the views of the Ubuntu Community Council. I think that’s not what you intended. A different name might be less confusing.

Alternately, if you did intend to create a new venue for the Community Council to express itself, it seems like a subject for the next CC meeting.

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Yes, exactly that.

I do think this initiative is interesting and should continue, I do not think it should do so under that current name. It’s confusing for the users. And honestly, nobody reads those Twitter profiles.

If I see something tweeted by « Ubuntu Community », my first reaction will be that it comes from @madhens.

And for clarity sake please have the name of the Twitter account be the same as the handle, or at least something similar : Ubuntu Community and ubuntudesktop, that’s just not right.

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let me put myself in the right context; i’m fuseteam on telegram i’m known as Tobiyo Kuujikai. I’m one of the many that have access to that account and i’ve been talking with allan (also known as @ubunteiro-feliz) about the name. As Allan doesn’t speak english natively but portuguese, i’ve been talking with him to try and get his intention out correctly.

this is the goal of the account:
the account is managed by members of the community, focuses on community projects and the Ubuntu desktop in general, it also gathers feedback from the community

with that in mind can we get suggestions for a better name that would convey this probably?

on telegram we’ve seen suggestions as “Ubuntu Friends” “Ubuntu Desktop Friends” “Friend of Ubuntu Desktop”

we also keep the possibility open for it to be a venue for the Ubuntu community council to express itself, what is the correct way to get in contact with them? i feel like the eventual new name should both be conveying the actual intention of the account but should also be chosen with all the “stakeholders” in mind

the current name handle combination was chosen in collaboration with @madhens, she has been aware of this account from the beginning. admittedly it was not carefully chosen, it Monica was tired from all her other work and it somewhat quickly done.
Even now Allan is all too eager to change the name so we can move on to discuss the results of the actual polls that were held on twitter, and how we can improve the Ubuntu Community. But in my opinion in order to not have a repeat of the same thing we have to do this probably; with proper feedback and with everyone that should (eventually) have access/control in mind or in the discussion.

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@fuseteam,

Thank you for taking a few minutes to clarify!

I think it’s a great idea, and I wish it all the best.

Data point: The Debian Publicity team has seemingly rejected wider social media engagement, except for major announcements. For communication with Debian participants, they use different methods. See their Debconf Presentation. I’m NOT saying your approach is wrong; merely providing more context. Some of their ideas might apply, some might not.

Suggestion: Administering the “many that have access to the account” will be easy and transparent if you use a Launchpad Team for purpose. The transparency part is important.

Suggestion: To reach out to the CC, start with Community Council Meeting Agendas & Schedule.

Opinion: The three suggestions you listed are all good, and seem clear that they don’t represent official views of the CC. Other good synonyms for “Friend” might work, too (booster, buddy, etc.)

Suggestion: Before settling upon a name, consider running a poll here or getting feedback from more non-english speakers to avoid an unfortunate homonym or an unintended joke in another language.

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awesome thanks for suggestions and opinions ian! :+1:
i personally agree with them all. we especially need more make this more transparent. we already have a wiki page at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuCommunityTwitter and i agree it should be updated

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Thanks again for your suggestions, especially coming from a fellow community member. I agree that being as transparent as possible is important, and a Launchpad Team, in combination with the Wiki page that @fuseteam has created, is a step in the right direction!

I also like the name suggestions with ‘friends’ or words like that. Not only does it make the unofficial aspect clearer, it has a very nice feeling to it.

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quick dislaimer: i did not create wiki page, that’s the handy work of @rs2009

Hi @fuseteam, thanks for all that clarification and trying to break the language barriere ! I, too, like the idea of having “Friend(s)” in the name. That would clarify everything.

Given all you guys have said earlier about the goal of that initiative, I think “Ubuntu Desktop Friends” is a good choice, but as it was suggested earlier, running a poll can be usefull.

Keep up the good work, this is a good initiative with good intentions, let’s all work together to make it stand up !

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Hi folks, I’ve read everything you’ve posted here and well, I’m launching here now the poll for you to choose the new Twitter account name, your participation is important:

What name would you like to give the Ubuntu Community Twitter account (@ubuntudesktop) to use from now on?
  • Amigos Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu Friends
  • Ubuntu Circle
  • Ubuntu Booster
  • Ubuntu Buddies
  • Ubuntu Desktop Friends

0 voters

Voting is being realized here, on Telegram, and on Twitter.

After collating the results from all the polls on twitter, telegram and discourse in t.me/ubuntuofftopic the new name for the twitter account has become Ubuntu Friends

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