Notes by Stephen Michael Kellat
Posts tagged as community

Looking Lovely In Pictures

2014-12-17 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as community

As leader for Ubuntu Ohio, I wind up facing unusual issues. One of them is Citizenfour. What makes it worse is where the film is being screened.

In general, if you want to hit the population centers for the state you have three communities to hit. Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati are your target areas to hit. The only screenings we have are in Dayton, Columbus, and Oberlin. One for three is good in terms of targeting population centers, I suppose.

I understand the film is controversial and not something mainstream theaters would take. Notwithstanding its controversial nature, surely even the Cleveland Institute of Art's Cinematheque could have shown it. For too many members of the community, these screenings are in unusual locations.

Oberlin is interesting as it is home to a college which is known for leftist politics and also for being where writer/actress Lena Dunham pursued studies. Oberlin has a 2013 population estimate of only 8,390. For as distant as Ashtabula City may seem to other members of our community, it is far larger with a 2013 census estimate of 18,673. Ashtabula County, in contrast to just Ashtabula City, is estimated as of 2013 to have a population of 99,811.

For some in the community this may be a great film to watch, I guess. Considering that it is actually closer for me to cross the stateline into Pennsylvania to drive south to Pittsburgh for the showing there we have a problem. These are ridiculous distances to travel round-trip to watch a 144 minute film.

Now, having said this, I did have an opportunity to think about how we could build from this for the Ubuntu realm in the United States of America. A company known as Fathom Events is available that provides live simulcasts in a broad range of movie theaters across the country. The team known as RiffTrax has done multiple live events carried nation-wide through them.

I have a proposition that could be neat if there was the money available to do it. For a Global Jam or other event, could we stage a live event through that in lieu of using Ubuntu On-Air or The link to Fathom above mentions what theaters are participants and the list shows that, unfortunately, this would be something restricted to the USA. There is a UFC event coming up as well as a Metropolitan Opera event live simulcast.

We might not be able to implement this for the 15.04 cycle but it is certainly something to think about for the future. Who would want to see Mark Shuttleworth, Michael Hall, Rick Spencer, and others live on an actual-sized cinema screen talking about cool things?

Ruminating on Black Friday

2014-11-28 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as community

Today is a special day for retailers in the United States of America. Black Friday is a day when retailers traditionally got their sales into the positive for the year (otherwise known as the black from accounting lingo). Many shoppers will be seeking great buys. Having worked in retail as a salesman in consumer electronics retail I will not be venturing out into the madness unless some unforeseen emergency arises.

Something important will be missing as shoppers swarm stores. There won't be installation media for any flavor of Ubuntu. There won't be any Ubuntu Phone or Ubuntu Touch devices on the shelves for purchase. There won't be anything audacious like a scaled down version of the Orange Box demonstrator of Metal As A Service that people could buy to build their own in-home "dark" infrastructure.

This isn't the year when we have something customer-facing in mass market retail. We need to get something out there soon. Our story is one to be shared with the average consumer.

Entering the Linux realm should not be a treasure hunt. We've moved a long way from the 20+ floppy disks for Slackware. We're not totally there yet for the consumer except in two very, very limited cases.

Thanksgiving Note

2014-11-27 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as community

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States of America. My Canadian relations may quibble over the month Thanksgiving actually takes place in but it is in fact happening today in the United States of America. I'm off enjoying the holiday but this blog post like most this week should have been automatically posted. If you need to reach me about community/governance matters, today is probably not a good day to try.

Pondering Contingencies

2014-11-26 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as community

Preparedness is an odd topic. As people in the United States might have recalled from last week, snow abounded in certain parts of the country. Although not located in the New York State community of Buffalo, I am located down the Lake Erie shoreline in Ashtabula. I too am seasonally afflicted with Lake Effect Snow Storms.

Heck, I have even seen Thunder Snow!

Following the major snow, I got to see "High Wind Warning". That was not fun as it did lead to a blackout. The various UPS units around the house started screaming. Once that happened I had multiple systems to shut down. The Xubuntu meeting log this week even shows me shutting down things while departing mid-way. As you might imagine, overhead electrical lines do not play nicely with 50 mile per hour wind gusts.

When using a computer, you never truly have an ideal environment for the bare metal to operate in. Although contemporary life leaves the impression that electricity and broadband service should be constant let alone stable, bad things do happen. I already have multiple UPS units scattered around as it is.

Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Secretary of Defense, had a saying that fits:

As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.

I live in what is termed by our census officials a "Micropolitan Statistical Area" compared to a "Metropolitan Statistical Area" so I know it is small. I know our infrastructure is not the greatest. Planning ahead means being ready to be without electricity for an extended period of time here.

While the Buffalo Bills football team had to move their home game to Detroit due to their stadium filling with snow, imagine the flooding aftermath that may happen when that snow melts. Extreme cases like that are hard to plan for but at least the game is going to happen somewhere. What contingencies have you at least thought about working around?

Verifying Verification

2014-11-25 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as community

Please remember that this is written by myself alone. Any reference to "we" below either refers to the five human beings that currently comprise the LoCo Council that I am part of or to the Ubuntu Realm in general. I apologize for any difficulties or consternation caused.

From the perspective of a community team, it can seem daunting when a "case management" bug is imposed relative to Verification or Re-Verification of a team. Many people wonder what that may mean. It might seem like a lot of work. It truly isn't.

In the Verification process, LoCo Council is checking to see if a community team has taken care of setting up some bare minimums. There is a basic expectation of some baseline things that all community teams should possess. Those items include:

Some things that are useful to mention in a write-up to the LoCo Council include but are not limited to:

This doesn't have to be a magnum opus of literary works. An application for this does not even need copious pictures. What the Council needs are just the facts so that members of the Council can look at a glance to review where your community stands. From there we end up asking what your community's needs are and how the Council might assist you. If you've taken over three hours to put together the application, you may have possibly put too much effort into it. It is meant to be a quick process instead of a major high-stakes presentation.

We have only a fraction of community teams checked out to show that they in fact have baseline items set up. We could increase that in this cycle to be much better. There is a page on the wiki with links to a template for building your teams own application. If your team isn't currently verified, you can write to the Council at to set up a time and date when the Council can consider such.


2014-11-24 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as community

Once the blog post by Jono Bacon hit about seeking a reboot in community governance, multiple threads bloomed in several directions. Things have wandered away from the original topic of governance structures to hit more vague, more general issues. To an extent I metaphorically keep biting my tongue about saying much more in the thread.

I do know that I have put forward the notion that we attempt an export to EPUB format of the xubuntu-docs package documentation. This, in part, is to help potentially ease a threshold for access. With the e-reader devices that do exist you could access the documentation on a separate device to read while you sit at the computer. This is only meant as an exploratory experimental notion rather than a commitment to ship.

In light of the feedback complaining about how DocBook can be difficult to address, sometimes it can be appropriate to test some of its power and show it off. DocBook has quite a lot of power to it if you have the ability to leverage it. With the variety of ways it can be exported into other formats than just the HTML files we already see shipped in Xubuntu, we can test new ways of shipping.

To the outsider, many of the processes used in creation of the various flavors of Ubuntu may seem like they can be simplified as they seem unnecessarily complicated. In some cases, we have excess power and flexibility built in for future expansion. In the times between Long Term Support releases we may need to take the time to show those who wish to join the community the power of our toolsets and what we can do with them.

Checking Links Post-Snow

2014-11-23 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as community

There may have been a ton of snowfall in the Lake Erie shore region susceptible to "Lake Effect" over the past week. We have had some warming up.

Thankfully we haven't had infrastructure failures. There had been some fears of that. A week has come to a close and a new one is to begin.