Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Ubuntu Community

By now you may have noticed a theme that permeates the Ubuntu project on several levels. The history of free software and open source is one of a profoundly effective community. Similarly, in building a GNU/Linux distribution, the Ubuntu community has tried to focus on an ecosystem model—an organization of organizations—in other words, a community. Even the definition of ubuntu is one that revolves around people interacting in a community.

It comes as no surprise then that an “internal” community plays heavily into the way that the Ubuntu distribution is created. While the Ubuntu 4.10 version (Warty Warthog) was primarily built by a small number of people, Ubuntu achieved widespread success only through contributions by a much larger group that included programmers, documentation writers, volunteer support staff, and users. While Canonical employs a core group of several dozen active contributors to Ubuntu, the distribution has, from day one, encouraged and incorporated contributions from anyone in the community, and rewards and recognizes contributions by all. Rather than taking center stage, paid contributors are not employed by the Ubuntu project—instead they are employed by Canonical, Ltd. These employees are treated simply as another set of community members. They must apply for membership in the Ubuntu community and have their contributions recognized in the same way as anyone else. All nonbusinessrelated communication about the Ubuntu project occurs in public and in the community. Volunteer community members occupy a majority of the seats on the two most important governing boards of the Ubuntu project: the Technical Board, which oversees all technical matters, and the Community Council, which approves new Ubuntu members and resolves disputes. Seats on both boards are approved by the relevant community groups, developers for the Technical Board and Ubuntu members for the Community Council.

In order to harness and encourage the contributions of its community, Ubuntu strives to balance the important role that Canonical plays with the value of empowering individuals in the community. The Ubuntu project is based on a fundamental belief that great software is built, supported, and maintained only in a strong relationship with the individuals who use the software. In this way, by fostering and supporting a vibrant community, Ubuntu can achieve much more than it could through paid development alone. The people on the project believe that while the contributions of Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth have provided an important catalyst for the processes that have built Ubuntu, it is the community that brought the distribution its success to date. The project members believe that it is only through increasing reliance on the community that the project’s success will continue to grow. We won’t outspend the proprietary software industry. As a community, though, we are very much more than Microsoft and its allies can afford.

Source of Information : Prentice Hall The official Ubuntu Book 5th Edition 2010   
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