Joined the Club

The Ubuntu As of yesterday, I have became a full-fledged Ubuntu member!

Ubuntu is the Linux-based operating system I use on my desktop at home and at work, and in fact I’m also using it to serve up this web site. I’ve been running for a year now, and started to become active in helping with development of the software, and with technical support, in August of last year. Being an Ubuntu member, though, will mean that I have a vote in the governance of the project. 🙂

Becoming an Ubuntu member isn’t so simple a matter as adding your name to some list. Official membership is given only to people who have demonstrated ongoing and significant contribution to the Ubuntu community. This could be helping to triage or to fix bugs, contributing artwork or documentation, offering help to users with technical difficulties, or actively advocating Ubuntu in your local community.

In order to become members, applicants need to appear before the Community Council, and concretely demonstrate that they have been and will continue to be a significant asset to the Ubuntu community. This pretty much means that you need to have been documenting anything important that you’ve been doing on your page in the Ubuntu community wiki (here’s my wiki page), so that you can point them at it, along with your launchpad page if your contributions tend to be related to bug fixing or triage. The Community Council is the small group of the community leaders who are directly responsible for the directions Ubuntu takes as a project. At this moment, there are only four members in the council (this is probably going to double very soon).

After successfully surviving the council’s scrutiny, you are then rewarded with:

  • an official email address (mine will be, but it won’t be set up yet for maybe a week);
  • the right to print and distribute official Ubuntu business cards; 🙂
  • a snazzy ubuntu/members/yourname hostname cloak for your IRC communications on; and, of course,
  • a vote in community government decisions!

The main reason I’m excited about obtaining membership, though, is that it’s the first step towards becoming an Ubuntu developer, something I’m currently pursuing. Being a developer means I can upload packages to the Ubuntu software repositories (that is, upload new software or new versions of software that will become part of the Ubuntu operating system—currently, I need to have a sponsor upload for me), and will require ademonstrated ability to package software for the system, which can be fairly complex sometimes. I already have some experience in this regard, as I have packaged fixes to existing software already (such as this package I improved); but I will need to do a good deal more.

Update: my address is now working! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Joined the Club

  1. Micah Post author

    Yeah! …like you, I had been a longtime Red Hat user… but there had always been things that I wasn’t quite satisfied with—especially the packaging.

    In my early days, I used to shun packaging, and revel in the freedom to configure, compile and install everything by source. At one point, I even did the Linux From Scratch thing, bootstrapping my entire GNU/Linux system from source (I recommend that as a great way to force yourself to really get to know how the OS works).

    Of course, this meant installing stuff could potentially take a while (Anyone who’s compiled X—and then discovered a problem and had to recompile from scratch—feels my pain), and these days I don’t have the patience/exuberance necessary to choose this over packaged binaries. But the real headaches come when you have complex software whose interoperation with other software is just broken. It is then that you begin to comprehend why it’s a good idea to let someone else do the whole package-up-a-Linux-distro thing.

    I installed Debian on my work computer when I started my job at Barracuda Networks, and then sometime later decided to try Ubuntu, for no particular reason other than that it was getting a good deal of publicity (and was a Debian derivative).

    To me, there aren’t a ton of advantages to Ubuntu over Debain (and small wonder, as they tend to let most packages get into Debian first before importing them, themselves, since it adds up to a lot less maintenance work); the main thing is that Ubuntu has a very clear dedication to making the desktop user experience as absolutely painless—enjoyable, even!—as possible, and they’ve clearly made impressive strides in this area. Also, the Ubuntu community is one of the best large FLOSS communities I’ve ever participated in; and something about its style and friendliness began to motivate me to get involved almost as soon as I encountered it. 🙂

    …I love that you and I both ended up “growing up” to become Linux hackers 🙂

Comments are closed.