Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Some random thoughts on contributing to Ubuntu

I thought I would put together some random but not totally unrelated thoughts about contributing to Ubuntu, something which I've done for almost six years now. For various reasons I've decided to stop being a contributor as part of an organised group or team and contribute to Ubuntu at my own pace as and when I decide I want to. I also have several long neglected interests to which I now wish to devote more time especially at weekends.

As of late I've mainly been involved with ISO testing for various Ubuntu flavours and contributing to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. My contributions to the former have unfortunately attracted some criticism as not being as useful as they could have been while my contributions to 123 issues of the newsletter helped in its release each week by a very small team that has seen an ever decreasing number of regular volunteers. Elizabeth could really do with some help right now!

Please contributors, if you offer to help a team then please be realistic and honest about the amount of help you are prepared to give as others may be depending on your contributions no matter how small they might be. Many hands make light work!

I don't see the granting of an Ubuntu Membership as a trophy to be won before moving on to something else forgetting everything 'Ubuntu' so I'm sticking around but I'm also looking for different ways to contribute. I'll continue to promote Ubuntu and its various flavours with occasional posts on this blog and at the Ubuntu Forums. I'll still report or investigate bugs as I find them and test ISOs from time to time especially alpha and beta releases for the flavours that decode to participate.

When I got my Ubuntu Membership on 8th January 2015 there were 751 existing members. Launchpad now shows just 739. I would have hoped for at least a small increase. Is an Ubuntu Membership not something that today's contributors want to acquire?

At the end of the last Ubuntu Online Summit [UOS] there was a session entitled Growing new community members. The etherpad notes for the session made reference to "retaining bored/burnt-out volunteers and re-energizing them" but the subject wasn't even discussed. There's a lot of emphasis these days on recruiting new members to the community while existing members can walk away unnoticed until someone realises that they're no longer around. I hope this issue gets at least a few minutes of discussion time at the next UOS to be held in May as it looks like I may now have fallen into that category.

Anyway, if you've got this far then thanks for reading.