OpenRespect My Criticism?

Posted in Free and Open Source Software, Ubuntu on November 15th, 2010 by doctormo

I was reading last week the new OpenRespect website by Jono Bacon, where he is attempting to create a set of standard communication self applying rules to how we all can criticise respectfully each other’s opinions.

Today I read an interesting blog post about Did UbuntuJono disrespect fedora. The interesting part is not the article which is based on an error of timing and judgement, but instead the comments which seem to fall into three categories:

  • Destructive – Anything to do with Ubuntu or Canonical is obviously Hitler related.
  • Counteractive – Anything Ubuntu related is obviously Ghandi related.
  • Jef Spaleta – The only person who can be critical and still talk sense it seems.

When you have a vested interest in getting dissenting views silenced..and want to accomplish that as respectfully as possible…the information at is a wonderfully excellent resource…written by someone who needs to do that day in and day out as a “community manager” working for a corporate entity who doesn’t really want people rocking the boat with regard to questioning corporate policy. – Jef read whole comment here

Canonical does seem to have a strong position on not rocking the boat, but we can do a little experiment to see what will happen when I make a list of my current disagreements and how I think the community can resolve them by rocking the boat:

Underinvestment in Plumbing – It’s true that very few companies are investing in the Free Desktop plumbing. Well a little, but it’s not a lot considering how much is being invested elsewhere. There isn’t a lot the community can do, Canonical and Mark are free to invest in whatever they like. But being critical of Canonical’s investment in plumbing and upstream plumbing especially is appropriate since a lot of technical user problems in Ubuntu are directly traceable to this underinvestment.

Weak Technical Board – Mark is the man and where once he was a Benevolent Dictator for Life, the person who could come in and break tied or tired argument; not any more. the position in a number of communities has morphed into plain dictatorship. And that perhaps is because of the weakness of the technical board and the fact that there is no resolution board for user experience and design. What we end up with is a whole bunch of employees who can’t tell Mark he’s wrong and a community who is denied the opportunity. End result is contributor dissatisfaction and a melting meritocracy. My advice is to question vigorously everything that seems to be pre-made decisions and champion community everywhere, refuse to engage in activities such as testing when decisions are dictated.

Antisocial Contributors Agreement – This really does boil down to a cultural problem, Canonical as an Upstream (ayatana etc) do not believe hand on heart in Free and Open Source. Because if they did, there would be no issue with accepting patches from anyone. This is a really big issue that sticks in the craw of many Open Source advocates. My best advice is that upstream should consider all Ayatana projects objectively and fork all code that seems attractive, create new repositories and encourage downstream contributors to contribute to the fork instead. I see no difference between what Sun/Oracle are doing with and the Ayatana projects at Canonical, and I see no other remedy at this time.

So, the question is, does my boat rocking constitute disrespect at all? Do I have my facts wrong or is my view out of step? Your comments are welcome:

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Ever Wondered WTF Gnome vs Ubuntu?

Posted in Free and Open Source Software, Ubuntu on November 12th, 2010 by doctormo

This post will either go one of two ways, either people will get more irritated or it will shed some light on why seemingly rational people keep on doing seemingly irrational things.

From near as best I can tell, we look like this:

Your agreement may vary, post below (politely) if you do or don’t agree with my graphic.

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Community Team Visual Spectacular

Posted in Doctor's Art, Sociology, Ubuntu on October 7th, 2010 by doctormo

You can see here a fantastic map of the Ubuntu community team and how they communicate with each other on IRC to organise the events, talk about problems and socialise.

I’ve developed a method for processing irc logs and generating communication graphs. It would be fairly easy to develop a similar graph for any other irc channel to see relationships.

There are some improvements still to be made in the visualisation, but I’m happy with this so far. Enough to put it to one side and work on other things.

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Alternative UDS Accommodation

Posted in Events, Ubuntu on September 16th, 2010 by doctormo

After some research and discussion we’ve put together a plan to get much cheaper, closer and nicer accommodation for everyone who wants to come to UDS. the price is about ~$350 for the whole 6 days for your own room and about $180 if you want to share your room.

Wiki Page with full details

As before, please email me if you would like to participate.

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How to Ask for Translations

Posted in Art and Creation, Ubuntu on July 26th, 2010 by doctormo

Thanks to seven translators who were able to write po based translations and some new heavily artillery svg building scripts to manage it all, I’m pleased to blog about the French, Czech, Serbian and Thai language translations of the short “How to Ask Smart Questions” guide.

Update: Added German, Polish and Hebrew.

This should open it up to more readers. More translations are welcome, but only if you can edit po text file, if you’d like to learn then please do get in touch.

Translators get in touch!

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Asking Smart Questions

Posted in Art and Creation, Guides and HowTos, Sociology, Ubuntu on July 23rd, 2010 by doctormo

I’ve you’ve ever struggled to get the support answers you need from the Ubuntu community, this guide may help you, it’s a pdf download, don’t forget to favourite if you can:

Revision 05, 2010-07-23: Download Directly, Sources

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Posted in Ubuntu on July 19th, 2010 by doctormo

I’m an Ubuntu and FOSS kinda guy, I’m not happy with software that isn’t FOSS and I don’t find any sense in proprietisation of code. Having said that there are times when I must be a little more considered and not simply shun an entire site because it’s not foss.

Heaven known that deviantArt is a very proprietary and confused places to know. Bad copyright advice, no public domain option, admins that consistently ignore open formats like png and svg. FOSS Software isn’t promoted at all in any way. So why in Slartibartfast’s fjords would I want to hang my coat over there?

Well no matter what I do there _will_ be artists over there who use Ubuntu, people who may need help with wacom tablets, upgrades or finding help. There will be people who use Windows or Mac but don’t have FOSS tools yet or perhaps wouldn’t do better with Ubuntu instead. There are artists who’d love to get involved with the wider community but for what ever reason are disconnected by social chance.

One of my personal victories is bringing to the winder community the translation of the Ubunchu manga. I even got interviewed on the BBC Blogs Radio show about it. It wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t have been keeping an eye on other social circles, if I hadn’t have seen Seotch-san’s original cover on deviantArt.

So I fully support the motion to open a StackExchange Ubuntu location, we need people who are willing to use and support the site. I guess there are about 2,000 people who view the planet during the week and yet there are only 500 people needed for the motion to carry.

If your not there yet, go here and add yourself. The more social circles that have Ubuntu representation the better.

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Don’t Rationalise

Posted in Sociology, Ubuntu on June 18th, 2010 by doctormo

Continuing at a tangent from yesterday’s blog post about design I wanted to quickly address a problem with non-material contributions (i.e. vocal and political contributions) as opposed to programming, design, support, education or any of the other thousands of material contributions in the community ecosystem.

The default seems to be that between weakly relational members of the community we organise ourselves with three tactics: knowing the best people, shouting the loudest and have the most convincing argument.

If your voice isn’t being heard then perhaps it’s because we have far to many rambling personalities posting huge emails to mailing lists or huge posts using complex words like ‘polemic’ several times.

But if all your trying to do is communicate what you want from the computer, what you really aspire to have in the design of the software then it’s best to keep it short and sweet. I don’t think we always need to rationalise our desires and make essays out of them.

Some people do this: “I’d like to see the window buttons on the right again because it would make my life easier.”

Your aspirations?

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Design in Canonical

Posted in Ubuntu on May 11th, 2010 by doctormo

Something of an unknown change in the way Canonical does design is the new site for the Canonical design team to blog about and start the conversation about design decisions that are made and discussed. this goes along with the Ayatana irc room and mailing lists.

I’ve been very pleased with the blog posts on the new design team and I think they’re learning to have a constructive conversation where people can have their say, so long as the conversation is constructive and it doesn’t devolve into flame wars.

There has been mistakes made and I’ve been one people complaining and trying to work out what went wrong with the way the process worked. Button and branding changes just days before the UI freeze with very limited prior involvement from the community certainly is a way to fan the flames of resistance to changes.

What are your thoughts?

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LoCo: Keep Things Open

Posted in Events, Local Community, Ubuntu on February 1st, 2010 by doctormo

Recently I learned that an event we’d tentatively been expecting to attend as a group, didn’t happen. But all was quiet and as leader I’d assumed that the organisers has decided that the event couldn’t be run properly so had dropped the idea. but the problem was that we didn’t know.

The problem it turned out was a series of private emails between the two principle organisers who had managed to cross wires and misunderstand each other. Add in complexities of personal histories and the fact that they’ve never met in person and we ended up will a killed event.

So my thoughts were, should the organisation communication have been held in public, on the mailing list? Should that be a standard part of the procedure?

At least if it’s going on in the light of the list’s mailing list we can identify potential conflicts and attempt to defuse problems. If things do explode, then we’d be on hand to help pick up the pieces and salave what we could.


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