Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: The Saga of Amber and Ubuntu

Part 27

Community V. "Community"

Here's my bump in the road...I am sure it can be fixed I am just not sure how.

I said when I started I was going to point out what I thought was "the good, the bad, and the ugly", from me the novice average user Linux person (with the understanding I don't know the why behind things, but only what I see and use)

I also mentioned in an earlier post, I learned about the Ubuntu Brainstorm. For me the average end user, it seems like a gaggle. Meaning I could not readily see which ideas were being implemented (as some of the ideas are implementing changes in things I'm not familiar with) However, there are thousand's of ideas and in some cases thousands of votes. The wiki page does tell you some info, but the ideas aren't commented that they have been implemented on the Brainstorm page.

The things I had trouble with is when I searched the Brainstorm site was how do I (or any average user) know, (since it is for average users to leave comments on):

1)what has been implemented (siting Version it was implemented in and thus keeping people from adding comments and time on something already in place),
Move it to a Brainsorm place: ideas implemented.

2)what can't be done, because it is out of Ubuntu/Canonical's hands due to 3rd Party constraints, why can't a comment be made as to the why not and move to a Brainstorm Place: Ideas we can't do yet (Voting and commenting can still continue)

3) What won't be done and why. Move to a Brainstorm Place: Won't be done and why.

4) What might be considered at a later date. Move to A Brainstorm Place: under consideration and voting and commenting can still continue.

I talked to people about the Communities and what that does that mean to the average/novice Linux user? Community means those who are any combination of the following: advocates, users, contributors and developers.

However, in just 4 weeks I am getting the impression that when it comes to having input on a new releases that "Community" means contributors and developers only. That only technical people's ideas and contributions are the only thing taken into consideration. The only input the average user has is to go to brainstorm. Here's the wiki for Brainstorm.

So Ubuntu says we want all the Community to participate in our developments yet, what they are really saying is we only value the opinions of the "Community" (developers and technical contributors)

I am sure the idea of allowing non-technical users to say "hey this is what I would like and why" letting them ask questions and have someone explain in terms the average user/Novice user can comprehend is a new maybe out of the box idea. (We are not stupid, it's just like learning a new language it takes time) However, if you are marketing to the average user, then the average users opinion should be taken under consideration.

I am NOT saying that the Channel Communities see it that way. I guess what I am saying is those who make the decisions on these Linux distro's "talk the talk", but I am not satisfied that they "walk the walk"

Please don't come back and say "hey you've only used this for 4 weeks, what do you have to say, translated what can you contribute? Newbie."
Sometimes it is the new person that will see things others don't. Asks the questions that people who have been "doing it that way forever", don't ever think about. You know "written for and by techies" seems to stand true.

I am not saying this for me alone, but if there are over 8 million Ubuntu users then they all aren't developers or technical people, they can't be. What happens when more and more (and it will happen, because ubuntu is easy) average users decide to go the way of Ubuntu, they realize that all the literature they read says "there is a place for you regardless of you technical knowledge", you get pointed to a direction, only to realize that even though you are a quick learner you need a little more help. Only to be pointed back to Brainstorm with a note that we might think what you have to say is important. However; if you were more technical you could contribute more then we could take what you have to say more serious. See how circular this is.

I for one like the ease of Ubuntu and I like the Community as it is intended to be for everyone. The Channels such as #Ubuntu-Women are great. I watch in some of the other channels because I am learning a process.

When I mentioned that the Linux OS you choose comes with a community and this is a great thing because you can contribute. I meant it. However, for people like me I am getting the feeling from "community" that it's the "oh that's nice, how sweet you have transitioned to Linux (any distro), yet thinking "oh jeez, here's another newbie we have to deal with."

I am not saying this and then walking away. When I a was in the Hospitality industry above almost every door in the "back of the house" (the part of the hotel you don't see) was a sign that said, "90% of most people won't complain, they just won't come back." Meaning the people who care and take the time to comment, want to see the hotel improve and they want to come back because they expect you to work on whatever their issue was. If you can't fix because it is out of your control you let them know and give them the channel they need to go to to help you fix the problem, and do what you can to make their stay more satisfying. I said that to say: I want to stay with Linux, Ubuntu is just the flavor right now, so I mention this to say I am sure I am not the only one feeling this way, and I am willing to learn and help where ever I can, but do I need to be more than an average user? That's the feeling I am getting.

Anyone else every feel this way? Just curious...

Here's an example:

http://www.ubuntu.com/news/spotlight/uds Look at What the Ubuntu Developer Summit Is "Is open to the Public" then look in Who Should Attend "It's not for end users...." So it's open to the pubic of developers, or did I get it wrong? So for the end user like me it feels like Mac and Windows, "hey you get what we give you, have fun." I am sure this is not the feeling that any distro of Linux wants the average end user to walk away feeling.

I bring this up, to invoke discussion and find ways to make the user community's voice heard in the direction of all Linux Distributions.