donation to flavours in 2012

Jono Bacon jono at
Tue May 19 05:53:35 UTC 2015

On 14 May 2015 at 04:29, Jonathan Riddell <jr at> wrote:
> In October 2012 a donation form was added to the download page on
>  Despite being on one of the options for
> donations was for "better support for flavours"
> At the time Canonical had withdrawn much of its support for Kubuntu on
> a perfectly understandable desire to make some money and had promised
> the usual resources for all flavours, ubuntu archives, release team,
> servers etc.
> Kubuntu never saw any of this money.  Did anyone from other flavours
> see any better support beyond what was already established?  Ubuntu
> Gnome was added in the 13.04 release but I doubt that added any
> significant costs to what was already allocated.

Kubuntu *has* seen some of this money: you yourself have made multiple
requests over the years of which I believe the vast majority were
funded. Other Kubuntu contributors have been funded to.

> At some point I mentioned this to a journalist and I got a lot of
> criticism for doing so despite it not being my responsibility to deal
> with Canonical's finances. There is a really worrying tendency in the
> Ubuntu community for the community teams to make people feel bad for
> pointing out problems rather than saying thanks for pointing them out
> and dealing with them.
> In June the form was changed to now collect for "community projects"
> and a form was put up to apply for this money
> Despite being on the final donation goes to Canonical and
> decisions on this community fund are taken by Canonical's community
> team which has said it otherwise isn't involved with Ubuntu community
> teams outwith the ones Canonical is interested in.  Does anyone agree
> this seems a mismatched setup?

Not really.

Canonical is not a charity. It provides an option for people to
contribute towards the community and Canonical has put in place a set
of people it trusts to manage those funds appropriately. This was me
supported by Michelle, and now is David Planella and his team,
supported by Michelle.

I trust all those people to make the right decisions when people ask
for funding. To be honest, the bar is pretty low...unless someone
wants money that won't benefit the wider Ubuntu (inc. flavors)
project, or wants money for their own personal benefit, most things
got (and I presume still do get) funded.

It makes sense for Canonical to make those decisions as saying no is
tough in a volunteer setting, particularly when money is involved.
Also, Canonical takes care of all the boring taxes and paperwork stuff
that is associated with a fund such as this.

>From my experience, most people have been pretty satisfied with this
donations programme. I just wish more people asked for funding. :-)

> I had always assumed this community fund included the money collected
> for "better support of flavours" from oct 2012 to june 2013, but
> recently Michael commented that it didn't. On further queries he has
> confirmed that money was simply held by Canonical for existing use and
> not for "better support of flavours".  This seems very serious to me,
> if you collect money for a use that you then don't use it for that is
> quite a breach of trust with our users.  I'd welcome any suggestions
> on what to do about it.

I agree. If Canonical received those funds for the purpose people
pledged it for (e.g. the better support flavors), the money *should*
be used for that purpose. If that money goes to, for the sake of
example, paying staff salaries unrelated to flavors, then I think this
would be a misuse of the money.

Now, I don't know how the money has been used since I left Canonical
(it was always used on funding requests when I was there), so we
shouldn't assume ill will, but I agree that the existing funds pledges
should support the areas listed.

Now, I do want to be clear about something here, because some previous
postings from you and others have at times I think misunderstood the
goal of the donations. The donations fund was *never* intended to
write a blank check to people or flavors - it has been and always will
be (I suspect) administered by Canonical to provide a fund that can be
utilized for community-related business.

The thing business involves a lot. This isn't
just the obvious things like sending people hardware to port Ubuntu to
or paying for costs when LoCo teams exhibit...there are lots of other
things that benefit the community...buildds, servers, archives etc.
There is a chance the money may be going there. I don't know.

> Unfortunately the Ubuntu Community Council who should be tasked with
> dealing with this sort of problem would rather I let it drop, should
> I?

I don't think the CC want you to drop problems, I think that instead,
some of us get tired of the approach in which you present and try to
solve issues. You are at times extremely antagonistic and negative,
and the CC (and the wider Ubuntu community, I think) prefer to take a
more positive and constructive approach at solving problems.

Jonathan, I think you *should* be raising problems you see in the is important...but I would just temper it with a little
more balance and less flame. Let's not assume the worst in people and
instead take a more constructive approach. I think if you do that you
may find that people want to help you solve problems as opposed to
feeling antagonized by some of your comments.

Sorry if this sounds blunt, but I have always liked you and I think
the work you do is important, and I want you to be successful, but I
think you might want to adjust your approach a little bit. This
doesn't mean compromising on your problems, just adjusting how you
engage around them.


> Jonathan
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