Torstens Blog

Virtuelles Tagebuch von Torsten Franz


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My first six months at the Ubuntu Community Council

Six months ago I was elected to the Ubuntu Community Council. After the first month, I wrote a text about how I experienced the first month. Time flies and now six months have already passed.

In the first few months we have been able to fill some of the councils and boards that needed to be refilled in the community. But even where this has not been possible, we have initiated new ways to ensure that we move forward on the issues. One example is the LoCo Council, which could not be filled again, but we found people who were given the task of rethinking this council and proposing new structures. This process of evaluating and rethinking this area will take some time.

There are some issues that we have on the agenda at the moment. Some of these are general issues related to the community, but some affects individual members of the community or where there are problems.

For some topics, we quickly realised that it makes sense to have contact persons at Canonical who can advance these topics. We were very pleased to find Monica Ayhens-Madon and Rhys Davies, two employees at Canonical, who support us in bringing topics into the organisation and also implement tasks. One consequence of this has been the reactivation of the Community Team at Canonical.

One topic that we have also come across, through the staffing of the board and the update of the benefits that you get as a member, is the Ubuntu Membership. At this point I would like to advertise the community and to show your community connection with Ubuntu through a membership. If you want to do this and know what benefits you are entitled to, you can read about it in the Ubuntu Wiki.

There are still enough construction sites, but structurally we are already on the right track again. Since the topics are dealt with in our free time and everyone on the Community Council has other things to do, topics sometimes drag on a bit. Sometimes I’m a bit impatient, but I’m getting better at it.

After six months, I can see that we as a Community Council have laid many building blocks and have already had some discussions where we have different approaches and thus also very different ideas. This is good for the community and leads to the different positions and opinions finding their way into the community.

You can read about our public meetings in the Community Hub. There is also the possibility, when we call for topics for our meetings, to bring in topics that we should look at in the Council, because this is important for the cooperation of the community.

If you want to get involved in discussions about the community, you can do so at the Community Hub. You can also send us an email to the mailing list community-council at lists.ubuntu.com if you have a community topic on your mind. If you want to contact me: you can do so by commenting, via Twitter or sending a mail to me: torsten.franz at ubuntu.com


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I love free software

Today is „I love Free Software Day“. And I also love free software for many reasons. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributes to free software. This happens in many different ways. Some write this software, some make sure that it is understandable, some bring this into the different languages, some support the use of the software and so on. They all contribute to making free software better.

Thank you for that and let’s continue to build on this great success.


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Find new ways

Sometimes it is time to critically question things and look for new ways. This is what we as the Ubuntu Community Council have initiated with the existing Local Communities (LoCo) project.

The LoCos have been an integral part of the Ubuntu family since almost the beginning of Ubuntu. The aim of the LoCos is that people who are involved with Ubuntu find contact persons and like-minded people in their area, so that they are included in the Ubuntu community and also get help with possible questions or problems with Ubuntu. It is also the aim that these local units fill Ubuntu with life and organise events. In the past years they have been an important institution in building the community around Ubuntu.

Last year, we at the newly elected Community Council wanted to re-staff the international council that oversees this LoCo and called for nominations. Unfortunately, there were not enough candidates so that we could re-staff this council.

We thought about what we could do to bring new momentum to this community issue. We came up with the idea of setting up a committee with members from all continents to see how we can change, improve or even completely change the concept. It is expressly desired that we break out of the existing Ubuntu cosmos and look elsewhere and analyse what good accents others have in their community and how we can perhaps learn something from them. The idea of the Local Communities Research Committee (LCRC) was born, which is supposed to reinvent the LoCos. The whole idea can be found on the Community Hub.

I would be very happy if committed Ubuntu members would like to take on this task and contribute to this LCRC, thus improving Ubuntu and shaping the structures for the future. Actually, there is nothing standing in our way, but of course we have to get going. We accept applications at the mail address community-council at lists.ubuntu.com.


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Ubuntu life in 2020

The year 2020 was quite extraordinary, because a lot of things developed quite differently from how they were supposed to because of the Covid-19 crisis. Even though a lot of things happen virtually at Ubuntu, it also had an impact on my Ubuntu life.

Every year I attend a few trade fairs to present Ubuntu and/or give talks. In 2020, this only took place virtually and in a very limited way for me. In March, the Chemnitzer Linuxtage were cancelled and one fair after the other was cancelled.

In my home town I go to a Fablab where we also work on Ubuntu. After the meetings in January and February, this was also cancelled. Now and then this still took place virtually, but somehow it didn’t create the same atmosphere as when we met in real life.

With the team members of the German-speaking Ubuntu forum (ubuntuusers.de) we organise a team meeting every year, which is always very funny and partly productive. In 2020 it had to be cancelled. Since I have also reduced my other contacts to help contain the virus, I have only met two people from the Ubuntu environment in real life since March.

But, of course, Ubuntu life was also progressing in 2020. The whole year I had the responsibility as project leader for ubuntuusers.de in a three man team and had some issues to deal with there. In „ubuntu Deutschland e.V.“ I am the chairman and had to take care of tax benefits again this year, which we were able to do successfully.

I also deal with translations in Ubuntu, namely into German. There are always ups and downs here and things don’t always go well. At the beginning of the year, we were at 86.71 per cent with the German Ubuntu translations. One year later, we are now at 86.33 per cent. Okay, a little bit less, but overall almost at the same level. By the way, this means that the German translation in Ubuntu was and still is number 2. Only in Ukrainian has Ubuntu been translated more so far. Perhaps becoming number 1 is once again a goal we can tackle in 2021.

In 2020, my LoCo has also lost its verified status. This is mainly due to the fact that there was no longer a LoCo Council and therefore no application was written. However, there have now been a few movements, so that we can also tackle this at the beginning of 2021. I also had a hand in these movements. In October, I stood for election to the Community Council and was also elected to this board. In the last two months, I was able to move a few issues forward and clean up the mess.

In Ubuntu we say: I am because we are. This saying has been very interesting in 2020, because many of my work colleagues and friends have focused on exactly one part of it: what I do has an effect on my fellow human beings and vice versa. Perhaps we can also develop this approach socially and see this not only in the crisis, but also in life as a whole.

Now there is only one thing left for me to say: Happy New Year 2021.


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My first month at the Ubuntu Community Council

In the last few weeks I have been asked by many people what topics we have in the Community Council and what we are doing. After a month in the Council, I want to give a first insight into what happened in the early days and what has been on my mind. Of course, these are all subjective impressions and I am not speaking here from the perspective of the Community Council, but from my own perspective.

In the beginning, of course, we had to deal with organisational issues. These include ensuring that everyone is included in the Community Council’s communication channels. There are two main channels that we use. On the one hand, we have a team channel on IRC on Freenode to exchange ideas. The channel has the advantage that you can ask the others small questions and have a relaxed chat. To reach everyone in the Council, we have set up the mailing list: community-council at lists.ubuntu.com

No, I haven’t yet managed to read through all the documents and threads that deal with the Community Council or how to make the community more active again. But I have already read a lot in the first month on the Community Hub and on mailing lists to get different impressions. I can only encourage everyone to get involved with constructive ideas and help us to improve the community of Ubuntu.

I haven’t worked on an international board since 2017 and had completely forgotten one topic that is more complex than national teams: the different timezones. But after a short time we managed to find a date where we all can basically do it and we had our public meeting of the council. This took place twice and the second time we all managed to attend. The minutes of the meetings are publicly available: 1st Meeting and 2nd Meeting. We have decided that we will hold the meeting twice a month.

The Community Council had not been active for a year now, so there had been further problems with filling positions that are dependent on the Community Council. So we had to tackle these issues as soon as possible. In the case of the Membership Board, we extended the existing memberships for a period of time after consultation with the members concerned, so that the ability to work would not be affected. After that, we launched a call for new candidates to join the Board. The result of this call was that sufficient candidates were found and we can fill this board again. Soon the new members will be selected and announced by us.

A somewhat more difficult issue proved to be the Local Community (LoCo) Council. Like the Community Council, this one had not been staffed for some time, and as a result some local communities have fallen out of the approved status, even though they applied for it. Here we have also launched a call for a new LoCo Council. But even though the pain seemed to be big there, not enough candidates were found, so that we were able to fill this council and fill it with life. After a discussion on how to deal with the situation, we decided to take a step back and look at why we got into this situation and what the needs of the existing local communities are (see the log of our second meeting). This will be the subject of a Committee that we will set up. This way we will discuss a basic framework of the community of Ubuntu and see what new ways we as a community can go about it.

As further topics we have started the discussion about our understanding of the work of the Community Council and how we want to work. One of the results was that we want to use Launchpad in the future to manage our tasks. As another board was threatened with membership expiring, we at the Technical Board extended the membership of members until the end of the year. This will allow us to start the process for a new election there.

All in all, there are more exciting topics to come in the community on Ubuntu in the near future. Are the structures currently so suitable for the community? There is no community team at Canonical at the moment and the future cooperation between Canonical and the community has not yet been clarified. These all seem to me to be very exciting topics and I’m happy that we are able to work on it together.

If you want to get involved in discussions about the community, you can do so at the Community Hub. You can also send us an email to the mailing list above if you have a community topic on your mind. If you want to contact me: you can do so by commenting, via Twitter or sending a mail to me: torsten.franz at ubuntu.com


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Übersetzungen für Ubuntu

Bei den Übersetzungen für das Betriebssystem Ubuntu kann jede Person mitmachen und somit auch was beitragen. Voraussetzung: man kann englich und deutsch.

Manchmal lässt sich aber in launchpad nicht immer überblicken, was zu tun ist. Für die Beschreibungen der einzelnen Pakete gibt es dafür ein webbasiertes Tool, was einem ein bisschen mehr Übersicht bietet: nightmonkey.

 


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UbuCon in Heidelberg

IMAG0109At the last weekend we organized the german-speaking conference UbuCon. In this year we had 160 visitors. I think the most people at the Ubucon have a lots of fun and have learned many technical and human things.

There were many sessions with very different topics for beginners, normal users, admins and geeks. There were workshops to Gimp, Inscape, Django or Blender. The talks has topics like HTML5-Apps, Raspberry Pi, ownCloud, KDE or OpenStack.

A very interesting topic was about the Ubuntu Touch system. We get two Nexus4 phones from Canonical to present Ubuntu Touch.  On Friday we made a hands on. On Sunday we made a talk about Ubuntu Touch.

We get many feedback from the visitors. Nearly all feedback is very positive and many have one or two points to do better for the next UbuCon in the next year.

In this year we get many merchandize from Canonical. Thanks about that.

And there was a lot of food for all visitors. The cake on the picture is only a little impression. 🙂

ubucon13_pausenraum
Picture made by Mathias Menzer


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Ubucon 2013 in Heidelberg

Die nächste Ubucon findet in Heidelberg vom 11. bis zum 13. Oktober statt. Hierzu wurde jetzt das Programm veröffentlicht. Ich werde bei der Ubucon vor allem wieder dabei sein, um nette Bekannte und Freunde zu sehen oder auch neue kennenzulernen. Ein paar Vorträge werde ich mir auch anhören. Das Programm hat wirklich einige Themen, die sehr viel versprechend klingen. Sei es jetzt über die Community KDE, ownCloud, Ubuntu Touch oder Open Data.

Ich werde auch wieder etwas zur Ubucon anbieten. Zum einen bereite ich das „Meet the ubuntuusers.de Team“ Treffen vor. Da wird es einen kleinen inhaltlichen Input geben und dann eine Unterhaltung mit Usern und Teammitgliedern von ubuntuusers.de. Die weitere Diskussionsrunde, die ich anbiete, hat mit dem LoCo Team zu tun. Ich möchte erklären was das ist, wie es funktioniert und dann hoffe ich darauf, dass nicht nur ich Ideen für die Zukunft präsentieren kann, sondern auch andere sagen, was sie rund um Ubuntu alles machen möchten. Spontaner Input ist da auch gern gesehen.

Anmelden kann man sich auf der Webseite der Veranstalter. Vielleicht sehen wir uns ja – auf der Ubucon 2013.