10 August 2006

What's New at Ubuntu

You don't have to be Nostradamus to predict that Ubuntu is well on the way to joining the front rank of distros, along with Red Hat and SuSE. By that I mean not just that it is popular - as the Distrowatch rankings already show - but that it is, or will be, fully capable of satisfying enterprise users too. In part this is a technical issue, but it's also cultural too: Ubuntu is consistently one of the most interesting in terms of how it is approaching the whole process of creating a distribution.

The latest proof of this is the appointment of a "community manager". As Ubuntu's founder and main sponsor Mark Shuttleworth explains, this post is

"uniquely Ubuntu" in that it brings together professional management with community integration. This job has been created to help the huge Ubuntu community gain traction, creating structure where appropriate, identifying the folks who are making the best and most consistent contributions and empowering them to get more of their visions, ideas and aspirations delivered as part of Ubuntu - release by release.

It’s unusual in that it’s a community position that is not an advocacy position. It’s a management position. Our community in Ubuntu is amazingly professional in its aspirations - folks want to participate in every aspect of the distribution, from marketing to artwork to sounds to governance and beyond. And we welcome that because it means we share the ownership of the project with a remarkably diverse and mature team. In the past six months I’ve noticed a number of people joining and having an impact who are mature professionals with great day jobs and a limited ability to contribute in terms of time - but a strong desire to be part of “this phenomenon called Ubuntu”. The job of the community manager will be to make it possible for these folks to have an amplified impact despite having time constraints on their ability to participate.

The job has been given to fellow Brit Jono Bacon, and I wish him well in what sounds like an interesting challenge. (Via DesktopLinux.com.)

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