In all of these projects, communication and trust are paramount. Dialog which fosters creativity and progress is only possible when people enlarge their trust in one another. Along the way to the highest trust levels, many barriers will come down, as people allow them. Sometimes these barriers are invisible, until someone points them out.
I thought I'd seen a cartoon illustrating this story, but a web search tells me it's a story by David Foster Wallace:
Two young fish meet an older fish, who asks them “How’s the water?” The younger fish look at each other and say, “What the hell is water?”I was reminded of this story recently while observing the various reactions to the removal of the Community link on Ubuntu.com, the portal to the Ubuntu project. The link is coming back, so I'm not complaining. However, what I've noticed is that most of the people discussing the issue seem to be talking past the folks they are hoping to connect with. The emotions expressed range from puzzlement, to shock and outrage, with little understanding on the other "side" on the perceptions causing these reactions.
So how is the water? To me, the drama played out completely predictably, because any time you have one company selling a product, and volunteers working in that same project, you will have class issues, and class is like the water fish swim in. People are often not aware of it, and thus have difficulty dealing with their emotions around it, because they have been taught to ignore it, or even that it doesn't exist. So when the designers removed the link, it was felt as a slap to the face of community members, while the designers see it as just a step to a clean, functional design. The conversation about this change at the recent vUDS clearly betrays this lack of understanding of the other on all sides. http://summit.ubuntu.com/uds-1305/meeting/21740/community-1305-ubuntu-website-planning/
There is no such thing as a culture without class. There are always power imbalances, and privileges. However, that doesn't mean that class is the death of the Ubuntu project, or that volunteers and companies can't happily co-exist. They can, but the fact of class must be acknowledged, and those with privilege and power must realize what they have, and use them on behalf of the project.
A healthy culture has hierarchy, but not one based on domination. In fact, in FOSS that is part of what we are attempting to dislodge, right? We want our hierarchies to be constructed for function, not to rule over us. For instance, those who demonstrate their skill in packaging or coding are given the right to upload to the repositories. And those who grant them that right are those who already have built their reputations by using their skill and trustworthiness in that domain.
Recently there has been a breakdown -- or an apparent breakdown -- in that hierarchy of function in Ubuntu. And I think that both those inside Canonical and those outside, perceive that the other is the one causing that break. So, some repair is needed.
All of our differences can be overcome as we build (or re-build) trust. However, all sides of the issue will need to think about, process emotion about, and finally discuss openly what has gone on. The replacement of the Community link alone will not mend this breach, nor will brief virtual UDS sessions. In fact, I think the lack of in-person face-to-face interaction is allowing this divide to grow.
Folks, we don't want resentment and suspicion to grow, so we are all going to need to work on this if the Ubuntu project is going to continue to thrive as a free software enterprise. In my opinion, thinking about and discussing class issues are fundamental to that effort.
This blog appears on the Linuxchix, KDE and Ubuntu planets, and these issues of class appear in all teams. Health and progress are the goal, and honest dialog is the means. I propose we look one another in the eye and start a conversation. These are difficult dialogs, but our health is at stake.
RT @t_grote: The great #FreeSoftware add-on for Canon #DSLR cameras Magic Lantern @autoexec_bin will be presented at @linuxtag http://t.co/…
RT @ProphecyEnt: GINGER BEER RIDDIM- EL Carnicero ft Mista Chatman @djcollage ❂♢♪ http://t.co/SvzAvLsn3y ♪♢❂@ProphecyEnt #Promo|#Ad : http:…
GINGER BEER RIDDIM- EL Carnicero ft Mista Chatman @djcollage ❂♢♪ http://t.co/SvzAvLsn3y ♪♢❂@ProphecyEnt #Promo|#Ad : http://t.co/Hv71nUWR19
For each Ubuntu release I spend a little time finding a toy or other representation of the codename animal to use at booths, Ubuntu Hours and other events. I wrote about Quetzals and Pangolins here and you may have seen Raring here.
When the salamander came up I was confident that a toy would be easy to find, and indeed they were! Even better, I found that the World Wildlife Fund offers a $50 Hellbender Salamander Adoption Kit that ships with 2 plush salamanders! Mine arrived yesterday, I’ll be keeping one to use at our events and will find a way to give away the other (perhaps as part of the Ubuntu Women contest we’re planning? Or at some LoCo event?).
Event decoration + helping to save the actual animal, hooray!
Oh, and it is a release late, but while I was in Mérida, Mexico we stopped in to Miniaturas where I picked up some adorable quetzal earrings:
I think I’ll wear them to our San Francisco Ubuntu Hour on June 12th, and bring along the salamander!
Globaleaks 0.2 Alpha is out.
Globaleaks is an open source project aimed at creating a worldwide, anonymous, censorship-resistant, distributed whistle-blowing platform. It enables organizations interested in running whistle-blowing initiatives to setup their own safe zone, where whistle-blowers and recipients can exchange data.
2 Years ago I helped out with the development of Globaleaks 0.1. And although I am not active anymore, I really support the initiative behind it. Now with the HERMES Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights backing it up, it has grown a lot and shaped up to be a very organized and thought through project.
- Full rewrite
- More flexible and extensible
- Linux ready-made system and network hardened installation
- Written in python using twisted
- New Frontend
Try it out:
Try out the demo. It is pretty straight forward.
As young project, Globaleaks can use some help fixing bugs. Just head to the wiki and read through it. It is pretty straight forward, and explains the modules, security concepts and set up instructions.
Globaleaks already has Debian and Ubuntu ready packages. An easy way to help out is to set up a PPA for us on Launchpad.
Get in touch:
You can contact the Globaleaks team at info () globaleaks org or on IRC on #globaleaks at irc.oftc.net
Here are some screenshots of the new frontend
Poppin Rubberbandz @JCoupeHD via @Vonda3D ♠ http://t.co/8iGlIkC2rY ♠ @ProphecyEnt #HipHop #Promo | #Ad : http://t.co/Hv71nUWR19
RT @pnlug: Vi diciamo noi Cos'è Linux http://t.co/8MVJp1UR3w sul nostro sito dell'associazione #pnlug #linux #freesoftware #pordenone
Vi diciamo noi Cos'è Linux http://t.co/8MVJp1UR3w sul nostro sito dell'associazione #pnlug #linux #freesoftware #pordenone
As I’ve mentioned before, the 2013 Kubuntu Council elections are underway. You’ve got just over two days left to vote, so if you’ve been procrastinating, mission accomplished, now go vote.