Ubuntu Appreciation

There are so many people in Ubuntu who do such marvelous work all the time. I’d like to thank every one of you wonderful hard working bunnies.

My special shout out has to go to a tour-de-force in Ubuntu passion, stead fast community support and on going involvement in any and all LoCo teams she’s within ten miles of. Of course I’m talking about Elizabeth Krumbach (pleia2). Thank you pleia2 for your wonderful involvement and may we benifit from your wisdom for many years to come.

Note: I know I’m not terribly good at capturing people yet, but with practice I can get better, if you’d like to be a test model, send me a message and I will sketch away.

Ubuntu’s Adoption Curve, Past and Present

We’re about to embark on a new cycle and with that comes the hopes of many that the Perfect LTS can be a really good break through release. I was reading a comment by the ever ready Jeff Spaleta over on Mark Shuttleworth’s Blog. His assertion was that Ubuntu has been loosing people according to the Wikimedia web stats data, so I decided to put this to the test.

A warning to those new to web stats: they can be unreliable and not very scientific, there could be many reasons for the following data, in addition this is a limited data sample using data from people’s browsers who visit wikipedia.

Taking data just for Ubuntu in the months just previous to a new release. So March and September of each year to give lagards 5 months to upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu, I put together the data to compare the past 4 releases and over their in context previous stats: Download PDF Here Spreedsheet Here

Jeff politely says “Ubuntu has been trending downward”, but to me over the cadence of the release it looks worse.

The other interesting comparison and the reason for the graph is the percentage of users upgrading to the next release. You can see 66% upgraded to Karmic while 18% stayed behind on Jaunty. For the LTS release Lucid we get a strong 69% upgrade while 15% stayed put, Maverick was still quite strong even coming after an LTS release with 42% of users upgrading and 41% staying with the LTS as expected. But with Natty we have a huge tumble to 13% of users upgrading and 21% staying with the pre-unity 10.10 release as well as 49% of remaining users sticking to the LTS release.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, what do you think we should talk about at UDS to try and pick up the adoption a bit and get Ubuntu on track for world domination? Are we failing and should we just pack up and install Android? Your thoughts as always below…

Update: Thanks to the comments about the Firefox user string, it does appear as if 11.04 was the start of the great Mozilla bleaching, removing any identifying marks from the browser agent. So all those identified as using Ubuntu 11.04 are actually using Chromium or one of the other browsers. The last data point is impossible to gauge now and it’s probably not that low. Still an estimated 15% of users aren’t using Firefox, not bad.

Ubuntu Broke so Now I Use Windows

This season has not been a happy one for advocates, I’m seeing a marked increase in Ubuntu rejections from non-technical users. Problems range from random crashes, freezing, graphics problems, too slow and usb devices becoming corrupt.

It’s not so bad when people move away from Ubuntu and move to Fedora or Debian, but it breaks my heart when people move to Windows XP or 7. Hey they gave Ubuntu a go right? But we couldn’t keep them.

Is anyone else doing more fire-fighting with instability issues in Ubuntu? I know all of my computers have issues with Ubuntu, unresolved, although I can cope or fix them as they come up. Not something everyone can do. It worries me because Ubuntu was our fresh brand, to try and get out there and if we bugger it up we’ll have to make a whole new brand to get away from bad experiences people have had.


Concept Advert: Organic Software

Playing with concepts, words and tag lines with the keen Charlene from the Vancouver LoCo team. We’ve come up with this advert targeted specifically for Farmer’s Markets.

The brief asked to use some of the tag lines and terms which have been successful in the past as well as attempting to invoke questions in the reader so they are prompted to ask and become more interested in exactly what all this free and open source stuff is.

We reused some sembrandolibertad.org.ar graphics as well to give it a nice family feel. I wanted to match the similar styles found in earthy crunchy markets.

If this is successful as a target, then I could try using these at other earthy crunchy shops. You know the kind, with herbs, buckets of flour and great cheese.

Update: Updated evil computer to be more friendly, rounded and smiling and link to svg added. Licensed as Creative Commons, Attribution, Share Alike.

Thoughts or ideas? Comment below.

Ubuntu Contributor Harmony

I have made no bones about my opposition to unpaid copyright assignment in any quarter. Least understandable was the old Canonical contributors agreement, Mark wrote another of his personal defences in his blog on Friday; of what I consider to be unreasonable and assumptive. But this isn’t about that blog post.

Only just today I have noticed that the Canonical contributor agreement has changed from a copyright assignment to a broad license. Creators get to keep their copyright and Canonical doesn’t have it’s hands tied by the GPL. I’m not sure how long it’s been this way, but I am happy to see it has changed.

Balancing this difficult policy with the views and feelings of the wider community is an unenvious job, various people in a number of different Free Software communities try their best to get solid legal frameworks in place, while maintaining the rights of contributors with the need to keep things protected in the open.

I’m certainly happier to contribute under the harmony agreement, than I was under the old CA. Even though this does permit Canonical to make proprietary versions of the software. The main factor there being that their reputation would be shredded so quickly as to damage the very fabric of the community endeavour.

What are your thoughts?

Packaging: Need Help!

I haven’t had much time to blog about interesting things, sorry guys. But I did want to take an opportunity to share a problem I’m having.

I make software, and I make it for people. I’ve driven by people’s needs. So I tend to make lots of smaller things to fix certain problems or do something interesting on a small scale. The difficulty I’m having is with packaging and getting packages into Debian and thus into Ubuntu. I make lots of PPAs and they seem to work for users who are interested in getting what I do directly from me. But…

I feel that as the developer, designer, QA and possibly only user; that to do all the work on the packaging and being the sponsor in the upload process would deny my projects much needed oversight, not to mention being tiresome.

If you check out my launchpad list of code branches, I have A LOT of really awesome code which isn’t in the Ubuntu archive. I have a lot of interesting and useful tools which should be available to all kinds of people and just aren’t. The reason why all these code branches have failed to move anywhere is because I’m not good at asking for help on packaging and when I do I ask the wrong people. Despite on a number of projects being asked by users to get packages into Ubuntu, the answer is simply: I can’t do it myself and I need help.

If you know how to get code into Ubuntu _without_ having to be the packager and Debian maintainer: let me know you thoughts, as always below.

Inner City Boston Ubuntu Hour 2

Today was the second Inner City Ubuntu Hour, myself, Dave Hunt and Ralph DeGenero met at Winter Street and Tremont on this beautiful july forth weekend to talk geek about Ubuntu.

First stop we went to Starbucks to get some drinks and use up Rio’s free drink card. Then onwards to have some food at Pho Pasture in Boston’s China Town. We talked about the etymology of language and lots of various geeky subjects. The main event followed:

We took the T (train) to Andrew Sq. and walked over to the Mary Ellen Community Center. I showed off the computer lab with full Ubuntu machines and how the network was administered and kept in sync. Particularly interesting was the way the package syncing worked and the new user registration gdm. You can see a video of me demonstrating the user registration system here.

I also have a set of scripts to notify users and track their session times using libnotify and app-indicators. You can check out the client and server scripts here and the session manager here (unfinished).

We tested the Orca screen reader and attempted to upgrade it for the lab to 3.1, but the new versions are having trouble with Maverick at the moment. So they were quickly downgraded.

With that, we ended to Ubuntu Hour which was extended into over time to show off some really cool stuff.