Ubuntu Gaming Team

Emmet Hikory persia at ubuntu.com
Tue Apr 28 07:07:39 UTC 2009

Martin Owens wrote:
>> Some confusion maybe seen from the naming, but I see no real issue. The
>> team members who wish too can look at and work with more specific Ubuntu
>> issues and act as a conduit between the teams of both distributions to
>> make things better. Many teams work in this way and I see no real
>> competition or massive problems and a hopeful flow of information would
>> only be productive.
> So long as you can join their mailing list and give the enough homage,
> I'm sure you can avoid political rumblings.
> It would be good to be able to join interested people from Ubuntu
> communities to interested groups in Debian without fear that the people
> will get caught in a "war".

    Something is unclear here.

    The "Debian Games Team" consists of Debian Developers, Ubuntu
Developers, and other interested parties, and spends a fair bit of time
working on games for *both* Debian and Ubuntu.  There is no separation
that involves coordination between groups, no need to "involve" Debian
groups, and little value to a "conduit".

    The history of this team includes the previous definition of an
Ubuntu Games Team that spent time maintaining games in Ubuntu.  After
some discussion, it seemed sensible to pool efforts, and the Ubuntu team
was merged with the Debian team.  As the vast majority of the work needs
to be uploaded for both distributions, and Ubuntu has a mechanism to
accept an upload prepared for Debian (where Debian has no corresponding
means to accept an upload prepared for Ubuntu), the resulting changes
are nearly always uploaded to Debian directly (although there are some
exceptions due to differences in freeze cycles between the
distributions, etc.), and all are tracked in a common revision control
system.  Work is done to add new games, fix bugs (reported against both
Debian and Ubuntu), and improve the user experience in installing,
using, and configuring games.

    So, based on the announcement (1), I see three areas that the
proposed new team intends to carry on activities.

A: Work to generally improve the state of Free and Open-Source games and
the infrastructure to support game development.

    This work is probably best done in association with the Freedesktop
Games team (2), and if interested people work directly as part this
team, rather than as a separate "Ubuntu Gaming Team", they should be
able to attract a wider following, collaborating directly with many
parties, rather than restricting themselves to users of a single

B: Work to improve the state of games in Ubuntu

    As noted above, there is an existing team to accomplish this, and
having yet another team just leads to confusion.  Anyone who wishes to
help fix bugs, coordinate with upstreams, or get more games into Ubuntu
ought pursue joining the Debian Games team (3).  There was a previous
effort to create an Ubuntu-specific team, and the experience of all
those involved was that it was far superior to drop that team and
collaborate with Debian.

C: Use of the improvements above to drive advocacy efforts

    Without the work above (which is better done as part of the groups
listed, rather than in cooperation with them (there is no coordination
overhead if there is no distinction), there's not much to do here.  As
the work above proceeds, I don't see significant value in restricting
such advocacy efforts to a subset of the general Ubuntu Marketing team
(4): it makes more sense to drive a combined message including all the
potential advantages, and again, reduces any coordination overhead if
there is not team separation that requires coordination.

    So, I'll also ask for either the renaming or abolishment of the
mooted "Ubuntu Gaming Team".  Yes, there is a lot of work to do to
improve the state of gaming in Ubuntu, but there is significantly more
scope for progress by working with the existing groups that have
identical goals, a high risk of communication loss by creating a
separate team that then requires coordination and extra communication
paths, some risk of alienating those already engaged in the work by not
including them from the outset (or even discussing the potential
creation of the team with them), and potential for confusion to both new
contributors and end-users who may then not be sure of the appropriate
contact with questions (as most things in areas A and B above would be
better asked to the existing teams).

    Now it may be that the existing teams would benefit from
documentation assistance to make the nature of the work done more clear,
in which case I'd encourage those prepared to document the current state
of things, and better highlight best practices and procedures for
further progress to contact the XDG-games team, the Debian Games team ,
or the Ubuntu Marketing team with proposals for documentation changes to
meet the desired goals.

1: http://pinstack.blogspot.com/2009/04/announcing-ubuntu-gaming-team.html
2: http://freedesktop.org/wiki/Games/
3: http://wiki.debian.org/Games
4: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MarketingTeam


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