Ubuntu Developer Summits Now Online and Every Three Months

Stefano Rivera stefanor at ubuntu.com
Thu Feb 28 12:03:55 UTC 2013

> and for community members who have been caught off-guard and aren't
> able to participate this time, they'll still be able to get the videos
> of the discussions online, and three months from now be in a position
> to participate on an even footing just like they would have otherwise.

I don't know about you, but I have a huge backlog of conference talk
videos on my laptop that keep waiting for me to find time to watch them.
Most end up being deleted first.

But I guess things that I *really* want to see, I'll find time for. And
then be really irritated that I can't join the discussion because it's
already over...

> This isn't going to be a perfect, drop-in replacement for our previous
> approach to UDS; there are certainly some trade-offs.  But I'm not convinced
> that participation from Asia is actually one of them.

> Setting aside the fact that in this case there's very short notice,
> why would it be any easier to take off a week, hop on a plane, deal
> with jet lag and attend UDS in person, than to take off two days, have
> a couple of late nights, and attend sessions remotely?  The latter
> option scales a lot better, takes /less/ time out of people's lives,
> and I'm sure it gets a lot fewer people sick with the UbuFlu.

I don't need to take time off from work for technical conferences (I
guess I'm lucky there), but it also means for those two days, my
concentration isn't on Ubuntu. It's on normal work stuff, because UDS
won't really interfere with my work day (other than sleep deprivation).

In my past experience of remote participation, it's far too easy to get
distracted (other people around you don't really understand "I'm at a
conference" when you aren't physically there). Having any reasonable
discussion on IRC sucks, and you don't get the out-of-band discussion at
the bar later that night. Sometimes that bar discussion results in
another session being scheduled for the next day.

We don't get to meet the new community members in person. It's amazing
how much it changes one's relationship with someone, when you meet them
in person. I suspect this will have a big affect on the community over
time (but not so much in the short term).

I'm going to miss UDS. And it'll undoubtedly affect my contributions to
Ubuntu, although what the affects are will remain to be seen...

Hope to see some of you at DebConf, and I guess I'd better get myself to
EuroPython (IIRC the talk submission deadline is soon).

> I know that Google Hangouts include various "low bandwidth" tweaks.  Do you
> happen to have any experience with these, to know how well they work / what
> the real minimum bandwidth requirements are for participating?  I suspect
> that, in practice, it's not so different from what's required in order to be
> able to participate effectively in other aspects of Ubuntu development, but
> possibly it would be worth testing this before next week.

I have days where YouTube is unusable, but I have a full Debian+Ubuntu
mirror at home. The mirror can even be a week or two out of date without
significantly affecting my ability to contribute.

So no, decent bandwidth has less effect on ability to participate than
you'd imagine.


Stefano Rivera
  H: +27 21 461 1230 C: +27 72 419 8559

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