The topic of Debian forks has come up a lot recently, and as time goes on I've actually started considering the matter seriously: How would you fork Debian?
The biggest stumbling block is that the Debian distribution contains thousands of packages, which are maintained by thousands of developers. A small team has virtually no hope of keeping up to date, importing changes, dealing with bug-reports, etc. Instead you have to pick your battle and decide what you care about.
This is why Ubuntu split things into "main" and "universe". Because this way they didn't have to deal with bug reports - instead they could just say "Try again in six months. Stuff from that repository isn't supported. Sorry!"
So if you were going to split the Debian project into "supported" and "unsupported" what would you use as the dividing line? I think the only sensible approach would be :
On that basis you'd immediately drop the support burden of GNOME, KDE, Firefox, Xine, etc. All the big, complex, and user-friendly stuff would just get thrown away. What you'd end up with would be a Debian-Server fork, or derivative.
Things you'd package and care about would include:
Would that be a useful split? I suspect it would. It would also be manageable by a reasonably small team.
That split would also mean if you were keen on dropping any particular init-system you'd not have an unduly difficult job - your server wouldn't be running GNOME, for example.
Of course if you're thinking of integrating a kernel and server-only stuff then you might instead prefer a BSD-based distribution. But if you did that you'd miss out on Docker. Hrm.
I just bought a Pebble - it's great!
I'd been toying with the idea of buying a wristwatch for several months. My main reason was that I'd noticed I'd fallen into the following pattern:
I have a friend who owns a Pebble and after quizzing him about it, I decided that might help me achieve an even better goal: to dramatically reduce the amount of time I spend looking at my phone altogether.
After a week with my new Pebble, I'd say it's going well. The watch receives notifications from my phone so whenever an email arrives, I can quickly glance at my watch to decide whether I need to bother reading it now (most of the time, not). Despite requiring that my phone's bluetooth be switched on all the time, I've noticed that the battery has lasted slightly longer than normal - the Android battery usage charts tell me that's because of the reduced amount of screen usage.
My favourite thing about the Pebble is how hackable it is. The SDK is pretty good and simple to use. It's only been a week and I've already written, three, watch faces. The latest of which has resulted in a few emails from people saying how much they liked it :)
In unrelated news - OR IS IT?! - I had a panic attack the other day for the first time in over a year :S I managed to keep on top of it as I know what to do now, but the effects lasted for much longer than on previous occasions; I didn't feel alright until 10am the following day - 17 hours after it started. I still don't feel quite right.
Does anyone reading have any experience of panic attacks and whether it's worth seeing a doctor? I get them very rarely and I can make my way through them without help now but they leave me feeling awful for hours afterwards when they do happen. I'm not interested in taking regular meds to prevent them when they occur but I would be interested to know if there's something that could halt an attack when it starts or at least reduce the after-effects.
I don't really know what brought this one on but I rarely do. Caffeine seems to be a trigger (and I'd drunk a few teas and coffees that day) but it can't be a trigger on its own as I've drunk that much caffeine on other occasions and been fine.
Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog up to 16 June 2014
Attempt to pass homeopathy off as credible by combining it with empirically valid medicine.
We woke to continual thunder.
I think it is time to leave the country.
It seems Mozilla is targeting emerging markets and developing nations with $25 cell phones. This is tremendous news, and an admirable focus for Mozilla, but it is not without risk.
Bringing simple, accessible technology to these markets can have a profound impact. As an example, in 2001, 134 million Nigerians shared 500,000 land-lines (as covered by Jack Ewing in Businessweek back in 2007). That year the government started encouraging wireless market competition and by 2007 Nigeria had 30 million cellular subscribers.
This generated market competition and better products, but more importantly, we have seen time and time again that access to technology such as cell phones improves education, provides opportunities for people to start small businesses, and in many cases is a contributing factor for bringing people out of poverty.
So, cell phones are having a profound impact in these nations, but the question is, will it work with FirefoxOS?
I am not sure.
In Mozilla’s defence, they have done an admirable job with FirefoxOS. They have built a powerful platform, based on open web technology, and they lined up a raft of carriers to launch with. They have a strong brand, an active and passionate community, and like so many other success stories, they already have a popular existing product (their browser) to get them into meetings and headlines.
Success though is judged by many different factors, and having a raft of carriers and products on the market is not enough. If they ship in volume but get high return rates, it could kill them, as is common for many new product launches.
What I don’t know is whether this volume/return-rate balance plays such a critical role in developing markets. I would imagine that return rates could be higher (such as someone who has never used a cell phone before taking it back because it is just too alien to them). On the other hand, I wonder if those consumers there are willing to put up with more quirks just to get access to the cell network and potentially the Internet.
What seems clear to me is that success here has little to do with the elegance or design of FirefoxOS (or any other product for that matter). It is instead about delivering incredibly dependable hardware. In developing nations people have less access to energy (for charging devices) and have to work harder to obtain it, and have lower access to support resources for how to use new technology. As such, it really needs to just work. This factor, I imagine, is going to be more outside of Mozilla’s hands.
So, in a nutshell, if the $25 phones fail to meet expectations, it may not be Mozilla’s fault. Likewise, if they are successful, it may not be to their credit.
I am a firm believer in building strong and empowered communities. We are in an age of a community management renaissance in which we are defining repeatable best practice that can be applied many different types of communities, whether internal to companies, external to volunteers, or a mix of both.
I have been working to further this growth in community management via my books, The Art of Community and Dealing With Disrespect, the Community Leadership Summit, the Community Leadership Forum, and delivering training to our next generation of community managers and leaders.
Last year I ran my first community management training course, and it was very positively received. I am delighted to announce that I will be running an updated training course at three events over the coming months.OSCON
On Sunday 20th July 2014 I will be presenting the course at the OSCON conference in Portland, Oregon. This is a tutorial, so you will need to purchase a tutorial ticket to attend. Attendance is limited, so be sure to get to the class early on the day to reserve a seat!
Firstly, on Fri 22nd August 2014 I will be presenting the course at LinuxCon North America in Chicago, Illinois and then on Thurs Oct 16th 2014 I will deliver the training at LinuxCon Europe in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Tickets are $300 for the day’s training. This is a steal; I usually charge $2500+/day when delivering the training as part of a consultancy arrangement. Thanks to the Linux Foundation for making this available at an affordable rate.
Space is limited, so go and register ASAP:
So what is in the training course?
My goal with each training day is to discuss how to build and grow a community, including building collaborative workflows, defining a governance structure, planning, marketing, and evaluating effectiveness. The day is packed with Q&A, discussion, and I encourage my students to raise questions, challenge me, and explore ways of optimizing their communities. This is not a sit-down-and-listen-to-a-teacher-drone on kind of session; it is interactive and designed to spark discussion.
The day is mapped out like this:
I will warn you; it is an exhausting day, but ultimately rewarding. It covers a lot of ground in a short period of time, and then you can follow with further discussion of these and other topics on our Community Leadership discussion forum.
I hope to see you there!
Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog up to 04 June 2014
Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog up to 01 June 2014
I just want to say how touched I have been by the response. The comments, social media posts, emails, and calls from you have been so kind and supportive. You are all good people, and I am going to miss every single one of you.
The reason why I have devoted my life to understanding communities is that I believe communities bring out the best in people, and all of you are a perfect example of that. I cannot express just how much I appreciate it.
Over the course of the next few weeks my replacement will be sourced and announced. and in the interim my team (Daniel Holbach, Michael Hall, David Planella, Nicholas Skaggs, Alan Pope) will take over my duties. Everything has been transitioned over, and remember, the weekly Q&As will continue at 6pm UTC every Tuesday on Ubuntu On Air with my team filling in for me. As ever, any and all Ubuntu questions are welcome!
Of course, I will still be around. I am going to continue to be a member of the Ubuntu community and an avid Ubuntu user, tester, and supporter. I will continue to be on IRC, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I will continue to do Bad Voltage, and I have a busy schedule at the Community Leadership Summit, OSCON, and more. I am also going to continue to have my own Q&A session every week where you can ask questions about my perspectives on Ubuntu, Canonical, community management, XPRIZE, and more; I will announce this soon.
Ubuntu has a tremendous future ahead of it, built on the hard work and passion of a global community. We are only just getting started with a new era of Ubuntu convergence and cloud orchestration and while I will miss being there in an official capacity, I am just thankful that I can continue to be along for the ride in the very community I played a part in building.
I now have a few weeks off and then my new adventure begins. Stay tuned.
As many of you will know, I organize an event every year called the Community Leadership Summit. The event brings together community leaders, organizers and managers and the projects and organizations that are interested in growing and empowering a strong community.
The event pulls together these leading minds in community management, relations and online collaboration to discuss, debate and continue to refine the art of building an effective and capable community.
The event is taking place on 18 – 19 July 2014 in Portland, Oregon. I hope to see you all there, it is going to be a fantastic CLS this year!
I also have a few other things to share too…Community Leadership Forum
My goal as a community manager is to help contribute to the growth of the community management profession. I started this journey by publishing The Art of Community and ensuring it is available freely as well as in stores. I then set up the Community Leadership Summit as just discussed, and now I am keen to put together a central community for community management and leadership discussion.
As such, I am proud to launch the new Community Leadership Forum for discussing topics that relate to community management, as well as topics for discussion at the Community Leadership Summit event each year. The forum is designed to be a great place for sharing and learning tips and techniques, getting to know other community leaders, and having fun.
Be sure to go and sign up!Speaking Events and Training
I also wanted to share that I will be at OSCON this year and I will be giving a presentation called Dealing With Disrespect that is based upon my free book of the same name for managing complex communications.
This is the summary of the talk:
In this new presentation from Jono Bacon, author of The Art of Community, founder of the Community Leadership Summit, and Ubuntu Community Manager, he discusses how to process, interpret, and manage rude, disrespectful, and non-constructive feedback in communities so the constructive criticism gets through but the hate doesn’t.
The presentation covers the three different categories of communications, how we evaluate and assess different attributes in each communication, the factors that influence all of our communications, and how to put in place a set of golden rules for handling feedback and putting it in perspective.
If you personally or your community has suffered rudeness, trolling, and disrespect, this presentation is designed to help.
This presentation is on Wed 23rd July at 2.30pm in E144.
In addition to this I will also be providing a full day of community management training at OSCON on Sunday 20th July in D135.
Lots of fun things ahead and I hope to see you there!
This event will be held on Saturday 7th June 2014 between 9am and 5pm at The Studio Venue Company Ltd., 7 Cannon Street, Birmingham B2 5EP.
All the details can be found at http://www.flossuk.org/Events/BarcampBirmingham2014
I hope to see you there.
After nearly eight years of service at Canonical, I will be stepping down as the Ubuntu Community Manager and leaving my fellow warthogs at Canonical on 29th May 2014.
I have always been passionate about two things in my life. Firstly, I want to go to work every day and feel that my efforts are having a wider impact on the world. Secondly, I believe that community and collaboration is at the core what makes us human and what drives us to create beautiful things.
Canonical has provided room for me to explore both of these areas in droves. Free Software is an undeniable power for good in making technology accessible to all. Ubuntu has been at the forefront of this; focusing on simplicity, elegance, and ease of use to make technology as accessible and widely available as possible. Canonical and the Ubuntu Community has also provided an environment in which I could explore the many facets of community building, leadership, and growth…trying lots of ideas, learning from what worked and what didn’t, and evolving what we do.
This has resulted in me having the opportunity to learn from great people, in fun and challenging situations, and to further the art and science of building great communities.A new chapter
…and this is where a new chapter in my life opens.
Recently I was presented with the opportunity to go and work at the XPRIZE Foundation.
For those of you unfamiliar with XPRIZE, their focus is to solve the major problems facing humanity. This work is delivered by incentivized competitions to solve these grand challenges.
This started with the $10million Ansari XPRIZE that spawned the commercial space-flight industry. Other examples include the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE (to create an affordable handheld device to diagnose health issues), the Google Lunar XPRIZE (to achieve the safe landing of a private craft on the surface of the moon), the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE (improving our understanding of ocean acidification), and the A.I XPRIZE (create the first A.I. to walk or roll out on stage and present a TED Talk so compelling that it commands a standing ovation).
XPRIZE is an organization with significant ideas and ambitions to have a profound impact on the world. If you want to get a better feel for this, I recommend you watch this video by founder, Peter Diamandis; it is tremendously inspiring.
Peter believes that competition is in our DNA. I believe that collaboration and community is in our DNA. As you can imagine, these concepts are complimentary to each other and this is why I feel like this such a natural fit for me.
As such, I will be joining XPRIZE as Senior Director of Community. I will be there to look at the full breadth of what XPRIZE does and inject community and collaboration into the many different layers from how the prizes are picked, how teams are formed, how R&D is created, how technologies go into production, and more. I am tremendously excited about the opportunity.Difficult decisions
Although XPRIZE is an exciting (if unknown) road forward, leaving Canonical is bittersweet.
To put this in starker terms, Canonical quite literally changed my life. It helped to transform my career from a position of observation of communities to one of structured best practice. It helped me to think differently, challenge myself, and be open to being challenged by others. It afforded me the opportunity to travel the world, meet incredible people, see incredible things, and ultimately led me to meet my wife, Erica, who has become the corner-stone of our family. This was never a job, it was a way of life, and Canonical provided every ounce of support in helping me to achieve what I did here and to be the best that I could be.
Working with the Ubuntu community has not just been a privilege, it has been a pleasure. One of the many reasons why I love what I do is that I am exposed to so many incredible people, minds, and ideas, and the Ubuntu community is a text-book definition of what makes community so powerful and such an agent for making the world a better place. I will be forever thankful for not just the opportunity to meet so many different members of the global Ubuntu family, but to also continue these many friendships into my next endeavour.
Now, some of you reading this may be concerned by this move. Some of you may be worried that my departure is due to a negative experience at Canonical, or that the community is somehow less important than it used to be. I want to be very clear in responding to this.
I am not leaving Canonical due to annoyance, frustration, bureaucracy, lack of support or anything else negative. I have a wonderful relationship with Mark Shuttleworth, Jane Silber, Rick Spencer and the other executives. I have a great relationship with my peers and my team, and I love going to work every single day. These people are not just colleagues, they are friends. I have long said I have the very best job in community management and I feel as strong about that today as I did when I joined.
I am not leaving Canonical due to problems, I am moving on to a new opportunity at XPRIZE. I actually wasn’t looking for a move; I was quite content in my role at Canonical, but XPRIZE came out of nowhere, and it felt like a good next step to move forward to.
Likewise, I can assure you that the relationship with community at Canonical has not changed at all. Mark Shuttleworth and the rest of the leadership team are passionate about our community and they are intimately aware that our community is critical to the success of Ubuntu.
I believe in Ubuntu as much as I did when I joined. I have long talked about how Free Software and Open Source is only truly game-changing if the technology is simple, powerful, and accessible. Ubuntu is the very best place to get Open Source across the desktop, cloud, and now the mobile space too. Canonical has hired a phenomenal team over the years to drive this, and we are seeing the fruits of this success. I look forward to seeing this story unfold more and more and seeing Canonical achieve wider and wider ambitions.
Before I wrap up, I just want to offer some thanks to Mark Shuttleworth, Jane Silber, Rick Spencer, my team, my peers in the Ubuntu Engineering Management Team, my fellow warthogs at Canonical, and everyone in the Ubuntu community for being so supportive over the years. You all helped me turn my dream into a reality and help me become the person I am today.
I also want to say a special thank-you to Mark who gave me a shot in 2006 and has been a constant beacon of support and inspiration for so many years. I consider Mark a mentor, but more importantly a friend.
We have taken on some tough challenges over the years in Ubuntu, challenges that were necessary for us to grow. I have never questioned Mark’s commitment to our values and our success as a project once, and I am thankful for him to lead Ubuntu towards success; successful projects need leaders who can constantly ask new questions and explore new territory.You don’t get rid of me that easily
Now, I won’t actually be going anywhere. I will still be hanging out on IRC, posting on my social media networks, still responding to email, and will continue to do Bad Voltage and run the Community Leadership Summit. I will continue to be an Ubuntu Member, to use Ubuntu on my desktop and server, and continue to post about and share my thoughts about where Ubuntu is moving forward. I am looking forward in many ways to experiencing the true Ubuntu community experience now I will be on the other side of the garden.
As I step out of my position at Canonical, I am hugely proud of the accomplishments of my team (Daniel Holbach, David Planella, Michael Hall, Nicholas Skaggs, Alan Pope (and alumni, Jorge Castro, Kyle Nitzsche, Ahmed Kamal)). I can’t think of a better group of people to continue to help our community to do great work and be successful.
To wrap things up, I will be doing my very last Q&A session on Tuesday 27th May 2014 at 6pm UTC on Ubuntu On Air – I hope to see you all there!
So, here is to fun and fond memories, and here is to a new set of challenges helping to create a a better world with XPRIZE. Thanks!