The State of the LoCo

LoCo MapLast week I reached out to every individual listed as an Admin Contact for an unapproved LoCo in North America with the hope of engaging fellow LoCo Leaders and see if they were interested in any mentorship or wanted any resources to further their advocacy of Ubuntu in their respective communities.

To be honest I had no idea what kind of reaction I would get and to be honest the response has been minimal and of the few responses I did get they were not very positive in fact the tone of the responses seemed to be consistently disappointing.

I want to quote some troubling parts I got from various LoCo’s:

“I think it would really help if Canonical promoted Ubuntu by sending me some Ubuntu CD’s I can distribute”

“The [Redacted] team doesn’t really want to be approved any more. The process of exhibiting events was always superficial and subjective.”

“All the projects that we continue to run here in [Redacted] happen thanks to our efforts to distance ourselves from the Ubuntu hub.”

“The figureheads that lead the loco community make promoting Ubuntu a difficult process that many consider not worth our time”

“As in the problems we had faced, I think it’s mostly bad organization, unclear goals and lack of leadership energy.”

“There was little interest in a sustained local community and I found it hard to get any help from the greater community”


As you can see the responses were not very positive and I wonder what kind of responses might have come if each unapproved LoCo had actually responded. I further wonder how many are totally defunct but more importantly I wonder how these issues can be addressed and how we can make the community and loco process a but more inclusive and friendly after all we are trying to encourage and promote the community.

I do want to point out that for Ubuntu US Teams at the very least there is a group of volunteers who are willing to Mentor teams and share ideas to be successful. I would also invite those who feel they do not have a stake in the community to get on irc and perhaps join #ubuntu-locoteams or #ubuntu-community-team on Freenode and ask about opportunities to get involved more deeply in the community.

Feel free to also discuss ideas in the comments below to improve the LoCo Teams process so that our LoCo Teams are not feeling fragmented from the community or better yet wanting to be fragmented.

Some ideas for improving the process I have are:

  • Improve Mentoring of LoCo’s
  • Better Engagement with Unapproved LoCo’s
  • Follow Up’s and Health Check’s of LoCo’s that are Declined Approval
  • Facilitate a Library of Resources for LoCo’s including a Leadership Document




  1. says

    I don’t recall being contacted, so I’m not sure if by the data you used I was listed for NE or the previous team contact was. ‘course, my life’s been pretty busy and rough these days so if he took the position back that’s fine, but I don’t understand that to be the situation. I need a system whereby I can do some team contact things but make it clear that someone with more passion, time, and money should really take the position from or share it with me. I’m more of an evangelist than an actual leader. Not sure if I’ll be alerted to responses to this, email maybe?

    • says

      Hi Ethan,

      Some Admin Contacts do not provide any e-mail on Launchpad and for those contacts in specific I did not send messages via Launchpad… Could you have your e-mail private on LP even for those logged in?

      • says

        Dave made me TC a couple years ago now.. It’s hard for me to know where all i have to put different information, i’m used to the google approach, change it in one spot, updated everywhere. Seems there’s a lot of different documents that aren’t semantically linked in ubuntu wikis and other loco resources, i get confused. Course, i haven’t messed with it for a while now.

        • says

          I understand getting confused about all the various resources out there and I to wish it was all tied into a single dashboard. Do you think it would be good to have a directory of sorts with links to all the resources?

  2. Lani says

    The Loco program is a bit of a mess because people are working hard to promote Ubuntu but still get rejected the procedures for loco council need to be fixed. Of any open source project Ubuntu makes it the hardest to promote and get resources.

  3. says

    You cannot build and grow a community that is constantly ignored and regarded as “not our target market”.
    Canonical is building an OS that is completely different from the Ubuntu community. The community is only useful to them for free advertisement, beta testers and bug fixers.

      • says

        I’m unsure that fragmenting is the solution. This post was intended to seek suggestions and ideas on how to get unapproved LoCo’s on track for approval and help them grow not to produce ideas to create a new community or distro.

        I think improving processes is the most important thing we can do and also making sure LoCo’s have good resources and leadership documentation.

    • says

      I don’t think that’s necessarily a fair complaint since so many people use Ubuntu. I was hoping for constructive ideas, suggestions and questions about the process and LoCo’s in general. Like what could be improved? Do people need mentorship? Is there more documentation needed?

  4. Elizabeth Krumbach says

    I brought this post up with some fellow Community Council members yesterday and Mark had an interesting point: Running a LoCo is hard work.

    The ideas you have for improving the process are great, but I think we need to be mindful to focus on the teams who have motivated people who really want to move forward on this. Make sure they have the resources and information they need to succeed.

    • says

      While I agree focusing our attention on motivated people is important since we only have so much to humanly give… I also think its important to focus on under-served teams that may not lack motivation but instead just don’t feel engaged.

      Running a LoCo is hard work and I don’t think we should expect people to just magically get the the “bug” and want to do this work. They need to be led and inspired and given the resources.

      Various branches of our community do exactly this for example the Development branch has the Development Advisory Team which reaches out to every single person who commits even the smallest tidbit of code because they aim to grow those contributions.

      The Juju Charmers group is no different there is a lot of peer recognition and the resources are readily offered up in a manner that is effective and causes growth.

      If we look at examples from outside of our community of projects or communities that are growing they use some of the very same methods because at the end of the day all contributors are important not just the ones that are at a level of motivation we can see in plain sight.

      • Elizabeth Krumbach says

        Absolutely, if not being engaged is the problem we should help :)

        I just don’t think we should see failure where it doesn’t exist. We should celebrate teams who are successful and encourage ones who are trying. Crusades to make every state in the US have an active team have always ended badly because the active volunteers who want to do this simply don’t exist everywhere.

    • Lani says

      So teams that are not as motivated as others in they eyes of the council should be left out?

      • Elizabeth Krumbach says

        Left out how? I think we should help and encourage everyone who seeks help! :)

        But trying to help teams who simply don’t have members who have motivation or availability to run a team is tilting at windmills.

  5. epikvision says

    Mentoring would be very useful. In my Pasadena LoCo team, we like to discuss the current Linux trends and share beginner tips with each other. But I sometimes wish that the group works on teaching each other about some of Ubuntu processes, like bug reporting, packaging, testing, etc.

  6. Scott K says

    At least one of the teams listed is no longer an Ubuntu LoCo. The Maryland team has rebranded itself “Open Source Maryland” to both distance itself from Ubuntu and give it more breadth.