I was really saddened to see Jono Bacon’s post today because it really seems like he still doesn’t get the Ubuntu Community that he managed for years. In fact, the things he is talking about are problems that the Community Council and Governance Boards really have no influence over because Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth limit the Community’s ability to participate in those kind of issues.
As such, we need to look to our leadership…the Community Council, the Technical Board, and the sub-councils for inspiration and leadership.
We need for Canonical to start caring about Community again and investing in things like a physical Ubuntu Developer Summit for contributors to come together and have a really valuable event where they can do work and build relationships that really cannot be built over Google Hangout or IRC alone.
We need these boards to not be reactive but to be proactive…to constantly observe the landscape of the Ubuntu community…the opportunities and the challenges, and to proactively capitalize on protecting the community from risk while opening up opportunity to everyone.
If this is what we need, then Canonical and Mark need to make it so Community Members and Ubuntu Governance have some real say in the project. Sure, right now the Governance Boards can give advice to Canonical or Mark but it should be more than advice. There should be a scenario where the Contributors and Governance are stakeholders.
I will add that one Ubuntu Community Council’s members remark to Jono on IRC about his blog post really made the most sense:
the board have no power to be inspirational and forging new directions, Canonical does
I really like that this council member spoke up on this and I agree with that assessment of things.
I am sure this post may offend some members of these boards, but it is not mean’t too. This is not a reflection of the current staffing, this is a reflection of the charter and purpose of these boards. Our current board members do excellent work with good and strong intentions, but within that current charter. We need to change that charter though, staff appropriately, and build an inspirational network of leaders that sets everyone in this great community up for success. This, I believe will transform Ubuntu into a new world of potential, a level of potential I have always passionately believed in.
Honestly, if this is the way Jono felt then I think he should have been going to bat for the Community and Ubuntu Governance when he was Community Manager because right now the Community and Governance cannot be inspirational leaders because Canonical controls the future of Ubuntu and the Community Council, Governance Boards and Ubuntu Members have very little say in the direction of the project.
I encourage folks to go read Jono’s post and share your thoughts with him but also read the comments in his blog post from current and former members of Ubuntu’s Governance and contributors to Ubuntu. In closing I would like to also applaud the work of the current and former Community Councils and Governance Boards you all do great work!