Ubuntu-au Obsolete? or needing a revamp?

Dave Hall dave.hall at skwashd.com
Thu Sep 3 14:19:00 BST 2009

Hi Scott,

On Thu, 2009-09-03 at 17:18 +1000, Scott Evans wrote:
> Is it still fair to say that Australia still has an "active" ubuntu
> team?
> It seems that the proposed monthly meeting have failed, if a call for
> help goes out on #ubuntu-au it generally goes unanswered as the person
> doing the asking is in need of a quick answer and possibly leaves
> assuming no-one wants to help them.

I look at the list every day or so depending on work demands.  I
currently subscribe to about 30 lists of varying traffic levels.

I have been a Linux desktop user for many years - I run warty on my 2nd
desktop :)

Supporting Linux desktops isn't easy, each person's setup is different.
Look at Rob's recent thread on his vodafone HSDPA modem.  I have a fair
bit of experience using 3G modems with Linux, I am about to by my 7th
modem, and sign my 6th contract.  If he had have email another week I
may not have had time to put the effort in.

Lets look at the "quick answer" issue for a minute.  Most users pay
nothing for ubuntu.  They pay around $200 for a copy of Windows on a new
PC.  with either option there is no offer of free support.  If people
want a quick answer, they can always pay for one.  

I am a big user of FOSS.  If I want an SLA, I buy the commercial*
version, or pay for a support contract.  At the same time, I know where
to find a lot of info, so when I can I "spend" my time, not cash on
getting support.

On a few occassions I have had beer delivered to people on the other
side of the world after getting help with critical issues.

The software is free as in freedom (and beer too), but the support isn't
included, that is a bonus.

Note: * commercial doesn't mean proprietary.  In some cases it does, but
there is loads of commercial open source out there too.

> What I'm hoping to achieve here is constructive comments/criticism of
> the current state of ubuntu-au and hopefully get some activity
> happening again... (may just be banging my head against a brick wall!)

Go for it.  But have a clear plan on what _you_ plan to do for the
community.  Don't do something expecting there to be a bunch of others
with the same motivations and time as you.  If others don't jump on
board, it doesn't mean they think you are wrong, hate you etc etc, they
may have more important things to do or lack the technical skills etc.

> Currently the ubuntu-au mailing list averages about 25-75 spam emails
> a day! and it's rare to see a valid request (from mirrored sources of
> this list) also they are generally requests for help. I realise that
> not everyone is at their PC 24/7 or active on IRC but if I was asked
> as to the current involvement of ubuntu-au I'd be hard pressed to give
> an  truthful answer to it meaning as currently it achieves very little
> (IMHO)
> So please bring forth a plethora of suggestion/ideas & comments... 
> I am but one... as many we are a community...  lets make it "happen"

I will contribute when I have time, but I have very little time
available this month.  My "community" time this month will be spent
converting the local community run internet cafe from windows to ubuntu
- well most of the machines.  I will also be launching the drupal
powered community website - http://newstead.vic.au.  Finally I will
rolling out a free wifi network in the CBD of my town.  

October will mostly be spent travelling for business.  Somewhere in
there I need to make time for my family.  Explaining to yet another
person that the < $100 inkjet printer they bought is a useless
winprinter isn't even on the radar.

I hope you are still reading to here.  I have been involved in FOSS
projects for almost 10 years.  I hate to see people with energy get
discouraged, we need fresh faces, new blood, different directions.  At
the same time, you should be stepping up to do something, not stepping
up to tell others what to do.  Be brave, take the jump.  See where you
end up.  I wish you the best.  Be prepared to put in the hard yards.



PS Please consider dropping the 2 images from your signature and using
plain text for the list, that would bring your ~40k message down to
<4k :)

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