I want to add my two cents and say I really do not think that the Ubuntu Community has suffered from a lack of leadership and good governance, both separate things. I think Jonathan Carter (Highvoltage) really nailed it when he said this in the Community Council meeting “if you visit a canonical page on community and how to get involved, it’s *full* of whatever’s important to canonical right now” and he went on to add some examples on where Canonical has in the past just made important decisions without input from Community and pointed out there are even more recent examples he could offer.
So the real issue is if the Ubuntu Community wants to tackle it is not leadership or governance because we have brilliant leaders and members of governance but instead it is making contributors feel like they are stakeholders again and kept in the loop. Mind you, the Canonical Community Team has repeatedly promised to help Canonical employees get better at keeping the community in the loop even promising such at UDS-P but my experience has been they never really got better.
Finally, I think an Ubuntu Foundation is still a great idea and could create some harmony between Canonical’s commercial interests and the community interests of the project. Projects that have had companies controlling the project have never had great success at sustaining a community because the commercial interests always win at the end of the day.
Something needs to be done otherwise there will be a continued decline in participation in Ubuntu. Let me say the only reason Ubuntu Membership has not had the same downtrend as UDS participation and governance participation is because you do not need to be re-vetted to be an Ubuntu Member. We have folks who are Ubuntu members who have not been on IRC, Mailing List or anywhere in the project in years but are still members. The reality is that if we just looked at contributions, the actual amount of contributors today is far less than the member rolls represent.