Hiring Edubuntu Staff

David Groos djgroos at gmail.com
Sun Jul 26 04:30:59 BST 2009

Jordan, I really appreciate your focus on community and working on growing
it.  As I believe Lns. once said, the thing special about Edubuntu isn't the
software but the community.  I've learned a lot about the history of
Edubuntu and the community which uses it and has developed it.  To grow a
community one must know the community and while there may be a few people
here who do know all, is there a page, a single page, with an overview of
the different categories of community members, who they are, their needs,
strengths and knowledge?

I've watched these many dozens of e-mails these last few days, pondering my
role in it all.  Still not sure but as a teacher one of my strengths is
organizing information, 'scaffolding' learning and growing communities.
So... I propose that we need to increase our arsenal of supportive
software.  Really, the main collaborative tools of this community are a
wiki, list server, and launchpad, right?  We need tools with additional
affordances.  Googledocs is great with it's wysiwyg editor, simultaneous
editing, easy sharing and versioning.  I recommend we use this googledoc:
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgschn8x_11gtf4ddgc to create an easily
editable page to provide an overview of the people who make up the
community.  I'd like to 'share' this document so all members of the edubuntu
community can edit the document.  If you would like to edit it, e-mail me
and I'll share it with the e-mail you give me.

Yours in Education,


On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 6:54 PM, Jordan Mantha <laserjock at ubuntu.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 3:05 PM, R. Scott Belford<scott at hosef.org> wrote:
> > For what it is worth, it is now nearly a year since I tracked down
> > every key Canonical employee I could find at Linuxworld 2008, both at
> > the conference and at after-hours events, to communicate two messages:
> > the state of Edubuntu and its User community was having an *adverse*
> > *impact* on the adoption of gnu/linux in education, particularly in
> > thin-client environments,and that two people should be hired - Gavin
> > and Asmo.  As Ace observed, he actually thought Gavin worked for
> > Canonical.  I used to think so, too.  Asmo has been instrumental at
> > greeting and inspiring new users and help-seekers on this list, and he
> > likes Frank Zappa.
> Gavin and Asmo are both great guys and I would love to see people like
> them employed to work on Edubuntu. However, Mark Shuttleworth has
> indicated to me that Canonical will not be employing anybody to work
> on Edubuntu for the foreseeable future so I think any paid developers
> are going to have to come from some other source. Edubuntu hasn't had
> a paid developer in over a year and it has shown.
> The state of Edubuntu for the last year or so hasn't been that great.
> I don't think anybody involved with the project would disagree. The
> problem has been that every attempt to get development rebooted has
> not gone so well. I don't expect every Edubuntu user to be a bug
> filer, doc writer, packager, etc. but *some* people in the community
> needs to step up to make things happen. There are way more good ideas
> than hands to implement them.
> There seems to be this eternal struggle between Edubuntu users and
> developers. Edubuntu users are frustrated with how slow development
> goes and how bugs/issues critical to them are not being addressed.
> They feel like their voices are not being heard and that perhaps
> developers just don't understand their situation. Perhaps they feel
> that Edubuntu's full potential is not being realized, especially if
> they've invested a lot of time, effort, and reputation in Edubuntu.
> In contrast, Edubuntu developers see day after day where Edubuntu
> could be improved, where cracks are showing, and where new features
> could be developed but feel powerless to actually do anything about
> it. They are frustrated to see the same complaints time and time
> again. They are demotivated when 19 out of 20 times when a user comes
> to them it is to report a problem, complain about Edubuntu, or even
> attack the quality of their work. They may feel that users
> misunderstand that resources are the limiting factor, not a lack of
> recognition of problem or the desire to fix them. And when they try to
> inspire the user community to contribute towards fixing those problems
> that they are bringing they are met with a lackluster response.
> So the question that has been racking my mind for the last two years
> or so is, how do we take these two populations of people who have a
> lot of negative perceptions towards each other and towards Edubuntu
> and turn them into a fun, functional, and productive community that is
> well-placed to be a dominate force for bringing the best open source
> has to offer to the world-wide educational community?
> Obviously I don't have a good answer to this as I've spent countless
> hours working on and in the Edubuntu community of the last few years
> and it has not really improved. I do have a few thoughts about what
> possible solutions might look like though. I think there are both
> technical and social solutions that could be involved:
>  * evaluation of the current state of Edubuntu, what are its current
> strengths and weaknesses?
>  * finish the Edubuntu Strategy Document, but maybe trying to involve
> the user community more.
>  * perhaps going further and develop a roadmap that outlines
> specific, actionable steps for the next couple releases that
> emphasizes regaining ground in terms of quality and community
> development.
>  * analysis of the current development processes and especially the
> barriers to entry for contribution. Some barrier will always exist but
> we should try to remove unnecessary ones
>  * assess the user < -- > developer communication channels to see if
> a big disconnect exists
>  * encourage a positive, respectful, and constructive community.
> Basically, if all you say is negative you end up just being a grumpy
> negative person. If users can learn to trust that developers do indeed
> want to do the best by their users and if developers can take a step
> back and put themselves in the user's shoes for a bit I think we'd all
> be better off. It's not like we're all running around yelling at each
> other 24x7 but I think we could maybe try to improve the tone on the
> mailing lists and IRC.
>  * encourage leadership and taking ownership of Edubuntu tasks
>  * develop decent documentation and procedures for handling drive-by
> contributions
> I'm sure there are many others but that's what came from the top of my
> mind.
> > Some of the Canonical staff who received my message last year are on
> > this list.  I hope that someone is listening.
> They might be, but there's not a lot Canonical staff can really do at
> this point.
> > Oh, and for the record, Most Schools Block IRC Making it an Impossible
> > Communication Venue for Teachers Needing Support.
> >
> > With Aloha and Respect and an Undying Passion for the Adoption of FOSS
> > in the the K12 Environment
> >
> > --scott
> >
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