[ubuntu-us-mn] Lucid Development Cycle, Week 2: Survey Results

Tony Yarusso tonyyarusso at gmail.com
Wed Nov 11 04:29:52 GMT 2009

As many of you know, at the two recent release events I handed out a
survey intended to gauge people's interest areas, experience, and a few
other things.  I've read through all of those, and would now like to
share the results with you.  My thinking was that we could use this
information to help guide the direction of this group over the coming
months.  I realize that it's not as good as it could be, since only
people who attended an event took it and some of the questions could
have been better, but it's a start, and gives feedback for future
surveys as well.  By all means don't consider this survey "closed" - if
you have any thoughts / responses / reactions / input to give, this is
precisely the time to do it.  This should be a conversation provoker,
not just a bunch of numbers.

I'd like to start with overall observations, and then I'll have more of
the raw data below.  In terms of how people heard about the event, the
largest single factor was word of mouth, while the largest group of ways
was mailing lists.  The vast majority thought the locations were good,
with the remaining giving a moderate/neutral rating - nobody thought
they were outright bad.

Most of our group is moderate in terms of experience level.  There are a
handful of Linux professionals around, but most people are just home
users who can do their usual tasks or a little bit more than that.
Considering that these events probably had more technical users than a
representative sample, it's probably safe to assume that overall we have
even more new users than the survey reflects.  Apart from skill level,
even more people reported being new to the group, even if they weren't
new to the software.

Most people are not already involved in the greater Ubuntu / open source
community ecosystem, but at the same time many would like to be, but
just aren't sure how to get involved.  Additionally, quite a few people
aren't really sure what that means, or even what this group really is.
We'll definitely be revisiting that point.

On the question about what we could have done better in retrospect,
answers were very much about awareness, understanding, and activity
level.  This is related to the previous point, and also something I hope
we can address big-time.

People like events.  Many expressed interest in attending future ones,
organizing, running, giving presentations at, etc.  Additionally, word
of mouth is powerfully present not only in getting people to these
events, but also in what they want to do to get others there.

 - Tony Yarusso


Now, some data:

"How did you hear about this event?  About Ubuntu Minnesota?  Have you
been to one of these before?"
Word of Mouth: 10
Penguins Unbound: 5
LoCo ML: 3
Google Calendar: 2
IRC: 2
Search Engine: 2
Community web site: 1
Mentioned having no prior knowledge of Ubuntu Minnesota: 4

"What did you think of this location?  Was it easy to find / get to /
Good: 25
Moderate/neutral: 7
Bad: 0
Notes: Could use an explanation / sign right at the door / front desk,
St. Paul event was slightly inconvenient for people from SE suburbs and
western Wisconsin.

"Are you in / aware of any other groups in the area that may have others
interested in Ubuntu?  Which?"
High schools
University students
UMN Transhumanist Club
Elementary schools
(For schools, teachers as well as students)

"How would you describe your level of experience with Ubuntu / Linux in
First time I've seen it: 1
Just installed, getting acquainted: 2
Reasonably familiar: 14
I can do some advanced things: 7
Seasoned expert: 10
I wrote a lot of it: 0

"What do you find most interesting about the Ubuntu community?  What
draws you to it?"
Philosophy / open source: 9
Sharing / helping /friendly / easy to get involved: 11
Ease of use: 3
Different / creative: 2
Documentation: 3
Technical aspects: 5

"Are you already involved in the broader Ubuntu/FLOSS community beyond
this LoCo?  If so, how?"
No: 15
Slightly/unqualified: 7
Packaging: 1
User groups: 2
Bug reports / triage: 2
Documentation: 2
IRC: 1

"What is something you have always wanted to learn how to do with
Ubuntu, but haven't yet because you need someone else to walk you
through it or it would just be more fun to do with others?"
Programming in Python
Distro customization
Home audio server/ / streaming / media center
Enterprise networking
Home server
Google Earth
Pulseaudio configuration
Hardware purchasing decisions (for compatibility)
Various individual applications
Photo editing
Setting up a Java development environment
Dealing with driver issues
Offline GMail copy

"What's something you wish you knew more about relating to Ubuntu, Free
software, or computers?"
Commercial involvement / contributions to Open Source
Future of Linux
How to find people involved with Ubuntu, etc. - networking strategies
PC hardware
Inner workings, computer theory and basics
The structure of the Ubuntu community and how it all works
Keeping documentation up to date
Other types of Free software - what's available?
Java development
Photo editing
Audio file management / editing
Switching from other operating systems to Linux, dealing with issues
along the way
Local entrepreneurial opportunities
OpenOffice.org - how to get involved, is there a user group for that
Distributed version control

"In what ways have you wanted to help with the Ubuntu Minnesota LoCo
team, but haven't found the time yet?  What would make it easier for you
to contribute in that way?"
Word of Mouth advocacy
Encouraging government support and awareness
Social connections and opportunities awareness
Giving presentations (many responses)
Attending more events
Contributing artwork
Being able to work on my own schedule
Need to learn things first before using / teaching them
Knowing what others are interesting in learning about
Having more events

"Looking back on the last 6 months, what's something you wish we as a
team and you personally had done differently to help the team grow
better / faster / stronger / more absurdly awesome?"
More events
Regular communications (not just around release time)
More publicity
More awareness of the group

"Mark all of the following that you would be interested in learning
about / participating in:"  (Sorted by responses in this list)
Talking to friends and family about Ubuntu: 13
Providing user support: 11
Running a release party: 10
Talking to schools about Free software in education: 10
Running a casual social event of Ubuntu enthusiasts: 10
Encouraging government to support open formats, open standards, and open
source: 8
Running an installfest apart from a release party: 8
Work with libraries to offer information on and/or use Free software: 8
Reporting, triaging, and following up on bugs: 7
Give a presentation at a LoCo event: 7
Present / run a booth about Ubuntu at another organization's event /
conference: 7
Writing / proofreading documentation: 6
Building / contributing to the team web site: 6
Packaging software and adding it to the repositories: 6
Communicate with other organizations, associations, and clubs about
Ubuntu: 5
Aid public awareness through passive visibility: 4
Encouraging local businesses to support and/or sell Ubuntu: 4
Contacting media outlets about Free software, giving interviews, writing
letters: 4
Drafting marketing / advocacy materials: 3

"Broadly, what types of Ubuntu usage are you interested in?"
Home desktop: 26
Home server: 18
Business desktop: 9
Enterprise server: 10
Media center: 12
Game console: 5
(Write-In) Netbook: 2

"If you were the one writing this survey, what is one question you would
add to it, and what would your answer to that question be?"
Name & contact info (I wasn't sure if people would rather be anonymous
or not - seems more people actually wanted to say who they are.)
Experience with other distros / communities

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