Looking Ahead: Xubuntu Feisty+1, Part 1

Cody Somerville cody.somerville at gmail.com
Wed Mar 28 14:31:25 UTC 2007

Hello Everyone,

I'd really like to thank everyone for being so supportive while I've been in
the hospital. Everyone has done an amazing job and I really regret not being
around during such a critical part of the release cycle. However, I want to
let you know that I'm pumped for Feisty+1 release cycle and I've taken some
time out of my busy schedule (haha, I joke, I joke) to write out some
thoughts about Xubuntu and what we can do to improve the distribution and
it's community for the next release cycle. As I'm sure you already know, I'm
always open and happy to get feedback (it lets me know that people actually
read my ramblings, haha) – so, please, feel free to discuss, tear apart, and
dissect the following mumble jumble of thoughts and ideas.

In this e-mail, I'll be tackling the social/community issues. My next e-mail
will be tackling development related issues.

== Marketing ==

Xubuntu Marketing is lacking attention right now. I think the first step to
remedying this issue is to find a volunteer who is interested in taking
charge of Marketing for Xubuntu. This person would need to be confident in
communicating with the public (of course), creative, not afraid to get their
hands dirty, an excellent team-worker, and all that good stuff. The
individual would need to be a person who doesn't need someone to hold their
hand. They would need to be able to take charge and start initiatives (like
Jim has with the testing team).

Once we get a person filling this role, they would want to get very comfy
with the ubuntu-marketing team (if they haven't already) to allow us to hook
into Ubuntu marketing initiatives (ie. Avoid duplicating efforts,
joint-initiatives, etc.).

They'd have to brainstorm with the community for sure about things such as
"How do we want to market Xubuntu?", "Do we want to try and give Xubuntu an
appeal to the commercial market?".

Their first project might be working with our resident artist to make some
artwork which people can use to represent their Xubuntu pride on their
websites and blogs. From there, the sky is the limit. :)

Oh, and of course they would help write release announcements, etc. etc.

== Documentation ==

Documentation is an interesting creature. We had some pretty lofty goals for
Feisty documentation which we didn't meet but we did do a million times
better then Edgy (which used the documentation from Dapper unmodified).

As for Feisty+1, I think that with a bit of leadership, our documentation
could easily become stellar. There seems to be several individuals
interested in assisting with Documentation but more direction is needed for
these people's interest to be actualized into hard work <g>. If there is
anyone interested in taking the initiative to take a leadership position in
the Xubuntu documentation effort, feel free to let me know and we can see
about accelerating the process of getting you svn commit access.

Question: What needs to be done for Documentation?

Answer: A lot but it can't be articulated in a few words. We need to ask
ourselves questions like "What information would users most likely find
helpful? What do we know can be tricky about a certain default program? How
would I go about instructing a friend to do a task like setting up the
printer or installing new software?".

We also need to apply the topic-based help specification to our
documentation which means major restructuring.

It would most likely also be beneficial to give the look and feel of the
documentation an update.

We might also consider different Xubuntu specific guides we could offer such
as a migration guide (Ubuntu offers one).

== ISO Testing ==
I think Jim is doing an AMAZING job with this. He is the perfect example of
an excellent Open Source Leader!

So, what is this section about? Well, maybe we should discuss what testing
team will do after the final release of Feisty. Maybe they could continue to
do QA testing of Xubuntu packages and daily builds? What are your thoughts

== Support ==

I think it would be interesting if we could get some sort of
community-focused effort on providing support on IRC and Launchpad Support
Requests. I know a lot of people already do this regularly but I think they
deserve recognizability for their awesome efforts. Maybe we could form a
xubuntu-support team on launchpad? I know we need to be careful when
creating groups to avoid making a mess of things but I also think that by
being a member of a team helps make helping out more fun and also offers the
benefit of raising awareness of the dedicated effort.

Jani likes to help out in the IRC #xubuntu chatroom regularly. VS John is a
member of the Xubuntu support team and makes an active effort as a member of
that team to provide support on IRC and on Launchpad.

== Bug Triage ==

Bug Triage is very important but can be harder to get involved with because,
IMHO, it is a skill you have to learn. Luckily, it is very easy to learn and
there is lots of documentation to refer to that is ubuntu-flavor unspecific.
The best part is that if you do something wrong, some will let you know and
correct it for you. :)
Do I think we need an xubuntu-bugsquad team? Even though you might focus on
Xubuntu bugs at first, you'll soon get so proficient at bug triage that
you'll want to help out with all the packages (don't let the karma bug
consume you though!). However, maybe the logic I used above still applies
here and other people might feel an xubuntu-bugsquad (as a member of the
ubuntu-bugsquad team) team would be a good idea. The question is: How do get
people to help triage bugs AND continue to work at it? Maybe instead of a
team to help promote it, a weekly bug report/summary for Xubuntu would be
helpful. Maybe we could get some sort of competition going? What other ideas
can we brainstorm?

== Website ==

The Ubuntu website has just migrated to Drupal and apparently the web
engineers responsible are going to make the Drupal theme available. Lucky
us, we use Drupal too! I think it would be a good idea to consider adapting
the theme (ie. Changing colors, etc.) and using it for the Xubuntu website.

If we don't go down this road, then I think we need to look at spicing up
our theme anyhow and rewriting parts of the website to be more helpful and
more professional.

We need more brainstorming! :)

== Mailing List ==

In this release cycle, we created a new mailing list called xubuntu-users
for Xubuntu User Support and Discussion. I think it would be hard to argue
that this hasn't been a huge success.

At this time I don't think we need anymore mailing lists but I'd still like
to hear from people about this issue.

== IRC Channels ==

Several weeks before I disappeared off the face of the earth, there was some
trouble brewing in ubuntu-irc team. Before the incident, I was the contact
for the Xubuntu channel namespace. Long story short, I'm no longer the
contact and there is no one in the Xubuntu community currently filling this
position. However, I think that it is important that the xubuntu namespace
be under xubuntu community control. However, since I've been in the
hospital, I haven't had the chance to resolve this issue. I'm not sure what
will be required to resolve the issue but if it does require going before
the CC, I'd want the support of the Xubuntu community. If the Xubuntu
community feels that I'm "unfit" to fill the position, then I'd ask that we
select someone within the Xubuntu community to be my successor.

== Getting Involved ==

I've already tackled this for specific groups but I think we should evaluate
how we can improve the process of "getting involved" in regards to the
entire project. I know from personal experience that sometimes the hardest
part of getting involved in what you want to get involved with is getting in
contact with the right person. Maybe some sort of "contacts" page would be
Any other ideas?

== Meetings ==

I think it would be nice if Jani could show up to these. ;)

I would also like to see these meetings become more productive. How do you
think we can accomplish this?

== Xubuntu Council ==

This has been brought up before and as our project grows we should,
naturally, discuss it again. It would be hard to argue that Xubuntu has not
grown in size over the last six months and hence I'd like to propose that we
discuss this more formally. Direction is VERY important – even in Open
Source Projects – and I think this would assist in making "getting involved"
easier which is critical to the success of Xubuntu at this point.

Is an Xubuntu Council similar to the Edubuntu and Kubuntu Councils required?

Please refrain from discussing who might be on the council or what the exact
mandate of the council would be. I think it is first important to simply
discuss if it is required at this point and time or not.

== Conclusion ==

I've *lightly* touched in this e-mail on several important social/community
topics. Hopefully it will spark discussion that will be productive and
meaningful. I'd encourage you to discuss the points I've brought up here in
IRC and then try to be as comprehensive as possible with your e-mail
replies. :)

Thank you for your time (please excuse my typos),

Cody A.W. Somerville
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