[Ubuntu-US-CA] Our Shared LoCo Team Identity

James Tatum jtatum at gmail.com
Wed Dec 22 04:10:40 UTC 2010

On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 6:36 PM, Grant Bowman <grantbow at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> Going back to some conversations I have had with newcomers to
> understanding our team, sometimes I have tried to say I am with
> "Ubuntu California." What some newcomers hear when I say something
> like this (I have tried several ways of stating it) is that I am a
> Canonical employee. When I try to correct the assumptions they make I
> often get looks of suspicion as if I have tried to intentionally
> mislead them.  My intentions were not to mislead. This is why I
> believe using the term "Ubuntu California" has been harmful in
> representing our team.
> By far the most commonly used resources of our team are the mail list
> and IRC channel, both of which are (now) named ubuntu-us-ca.  I
> recommend the use of this name for all online presences with whatever
> additional pointers may also be used to direct traffic to our team
> resources.  Consistently using the same identifiers for our team
> resources will reduce errors and confusion.

Is your proposal that we introduce ourselves to newcomers as being
with ubuntu-us-ca?

I understand what you're saying about the public. I've gotten that
same assumption. I think it derives from people's model of software

Here's a guy talking to me about Windows - he works for Microsoft.
She's talking to me about Norton Antivirus - she works for Symantec.
They're talking to me about Ubuntu - they work for Ubuntu.

Outside of the free software world, the advocacy groups for software
are dwarfed by the commercial/paid advocacy efforts by the
representative company. This mental model is not unreasonable for
proprietary software but it is a difference (to some people, a key
difference, and to others, an irrelevant detail). To change that
perception, we would have to introduce ourselves as a loosely
affiliated volunteer advocacy organization.

I think the other points in your email allude to the problem in
changing just that perspective: a member of the public assuming you
"work for Ubuntu" would also assume that "Ubuntu is written by Ubuntu
employees." The relationships of Linux, Gnome, Python, GNU, upstream,
DDs, DMs, MOTUs, Canonical, and the community are all things which
someone who knows anything about proprietary software but not free
software would have incorrect perceptions about. The loco issue is a
small part of a very large issue with no easy answers.

As for the team, consistency is good. As you point out, we're not
alone in our inconsistency. I can't think of a single loco with a
unified identity. I suppose we could go through that list of URLs in
your email and change everything to Ubuntu-us-ca. Personally I don't
think it's a great URL. As a nerd, the hierarchy appeals - Ubuntu at
the top of the tree, then the whole US, then CA, with dot org being
the logical TLD (although I suppose it would be even cooler to have
ca.us.ubuntu.org). But in terms of what someone would remember if you
told them on an elevator, ubuntu dash california dot org has a better

Incidentally, googling [ubuntu california], [ubuntu-us-ca], or even
[california team] all get you to us. I think that's pretty cool even
if we are inconsistent about what we call ourselves.

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