[Ubuntu-ZW] Ubuntu-Africa

Kalpesh Thaker luminary06 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 09:24:15 UTC 2015

Ok, i've had a quick read through.... i believe i can summarise in one
quote why IRC never worked for us a Zim LoCo:

"[19:03:54] <otenh> Guys u are going too fast for me to keep up"


anyway, i gather from some of the comments, that this is basically what we
tried to do in 2008, when the LoCo was first launched in Zim. in summary:

- to try and gather momentum in promoting Ubuntu,
- figuring out who was interested in the initiative
- try and push Ubuntu into the corporate space, and use case studies as
examples of how successful ubuntu can be in that scenario
- promote ubuntu as a great "free" alternative to proprietary OS's

thats just a basic run through of the objectives that we set out when the
LoCo was first launched. and i find similar patterns in the IRC minutes of
the Ubuntu-africa initiative.

Now, i'd like to share some insight into the main reason why the LoCo fell
over, and why i feel that trying to revive the LoCo in any form
(specifically in Zimbabwe) may not work going forward. I may be a little
outspoken, but i'll try and be objective with everything.

- While the LoCo team promoted Ubuntu primarily, as the years progressed
(2010-present) we noticed a trend of new distro's popping up that built on
the concept of Ubuntu as an OS and often improved the overall end user
experience. Distro's such as Mint, Debian, openSUSE, now became serious
competition for Ubuntu as an OS.

- We first realised this around 2010 (i think) at the last ICT show we did
which was hosted at the showgrounds in Harare, where we had various people
come along to say that Mint was overall a better experience for end users.
At that point in time, alot of us were die hard Ubuntu/Kubuntu users, and
were not exposed to the other distro's much. Out of curiosity, after the
ICT show, some of us went home and tried out Mint, and in the end most of
us concurred that after using Mint for a while, that it was honestly a
better alternative to the end user than Ubuntu.

- Faced with this new reality, we honestly felt that Ubuntu as a platform
was NOT something we felt we could promote objectively or honestly, because
clearly better alternatives were now available. Well seasoned linux users
who were team members felt that Ubuntu just wasnt good enough to focus on
solely in Zimbabwe, and this created divisions within the team.

- Distrowatch.com backed up this feeling too, where Mint became the top
ranked distro (and still is at #1).

[19:07:56] ACCEPTED: Official Membership is a good way to highlight and
thank the people who are doing good work for Ubuntu as a whole (inetpro)

As a LoCo team, we did serious research into becoming an "official" LoCo.
frankly, the requirements were crazy for Zimbabwe standards, and no matter
how much work we did, we would not be able to reach "official" status due
to the limited resources we had. We ran primarily on donations (in which
LoCo team members donated 90% of everything themselves). Sponsorship from
companies etc brought us into a world of politics, and instead of
supporting us and the cause overall, sponsors would often dictate the
direction the team went in... and how we could do things. i wont elaborate
on this anymore...but there were always strings attached to everything.
Alot of people used the exposure of the LoCo team as a platform to launch
their own businesses and when that happened, the team was left high and dry.

Anyway, for the 5 years of hard work and effort that the team put, and all
the money and resources donated by team members, when we approached the
committee thats in charge of LoCo team approval, we were told that our
input had not reached their requirements (not having an IRC channel was on
of them). This being Zimbabwe, clearly a unique place with its own
environmental challenges.. as a LoCo in such trying times we managed to do
some amazing things. But Canonical and the Ubuntu community could not waive
certain requirements that would've given the LoCo team resources to promote
THEIR product due their own standards and ideals from being active in
countries where the world works properly.

As we move into 2015, i believe canonical are trying to push their OS onto
mobile devices etc, so that is what i believe is the main factor in
reviving LoCo teams again. I personally feel Ubuntu as an OS lost the
meaning of 'Ubuntu' a long time ago, and now is just really another
irrelevant linux distro on the desktop side of things being run by a
corporate that needs to meet revenue targets.

The problems i see going forward are that people have too much of a choice
nowdays. whether its an OS for a PC or a mobile, there is far too much
competition. a troublefree experience and a good app ecosystem often
determines how long a person STAYS on a OS.

Ubuntu at the moment, i dont think fairs very well with more established
alternatives that are available out there.  With Windows 10 now being a
free upgrade, trying to convince people today to move to Ubuntu will be a
HUGE challenge. I have it on good authority that a cracked version of
windows 7, when using the official windows 10 upgrade system, still
activates as a genuine copy of windows 10.

The mobile space is a similar.. the big 3, Windows, IOS and Android....
we've all used these OS's, and i seriously wonder why anyone would move
from something that is so tried and trusted to Ubuntu which is really still
an infant?

Ubuntu users in general are now a serious minority...and there are good
reasons for it. I still have dual screen issues every now with my Kubuntu
desktop (trusty). i still have to go in and modify config files manually to
get certain things to work... and i've often spent alot of time 'trawling'
through the ubuntu forums. i can do this, and i dont mind doing this...
because this is how i learn about Linux as an OS.. however for your average
joe. when things break, dont work as expected, or if the user doesnt know
how to do something.. the machine gets formatted and replaced with windows.

This is the reality, and we had seen this within the LoCo team for years.
the argument of Ubuntu being free software is no longer relevant, as there
are better free alternatives out there. for mobiles, cyanogenmod is a very
popular distro that has a huge community of users which has a very robust
dev and forum environment.

While im all for "getting the band back together", i just dont think its
realistic at this point in time. with easily availble (and cheap) chinese
devices, which come preloaded with an OS.. it will be extremely difficult
to get the Ubuntu momentum going.

Another interesting fact, as an example, try and use a search engine to
find out how to install whatsapp on Ubuntu phone and touch,
now read through it and imagine your non technical family trying to do this
without your help. interesting right?

Anyway, Orion.. these are my thoughts on the topic... it may have turned
into a rant, but i've tried to provide some context into why i dont think
this would work. on another note, IRC is not a good idea to meet
locally.... trust me, you'll get better response via email communication on
this mailing list. so maybe consider using this mailing list for local
communication on this topic, then draw up your own minutes that can be used
when meeting on IRC with the ubuntu-africa meetings?

cheers for now,


On Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 9:40 AM, Kalpesh Thaker <luminary06 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Orion,
> thanks for that i'll have a look at the minutes and revert asap.
> kalpesh
> On Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 9:28 AM, O. Sinclair <o.sinclair at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> for those who did not attend here are minutes:
>> it was my first IRC meeting so a bit "confusing" but interesting.
>> on the sidelines of it we discussed what Zimbabwe LoCo can do to "reboot".
>> my suggestion is an irc meet of our own. Main agenda basically (read the
>> minutes):
>> 1 make Zimbabwe Ubuntu more visible on various social media
>> 2. update local website
>> 3. any other issues
>> Does this sound like a way forward, is there enough interest still in
>> the community?
>> Kind regards,
>> Sinclair
>> On 27/07/2015 07:55, craig wrote:
>> > Morning all ,
>> >
>> > Just a reminder for the  Ubuntu-Africa IRC   #ubuntu-africa  meeting on
>> > Wed 29th July at 8.30pm.
>> >
>> >
>> > Regards
>> >
>> > Craig
>> >
>> >
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