Sunday, January 3, 2010

A reflection on 2009 and a Look at 2010 - :-D

I was looking back over my shoulder at 2009 and turned to face 2010 and realized - WOW!

I started going back through by blog posts and personal journal entries to see how to summarize 2009 - in a word - BUSY!

Here is some of the highlights and reflections on 2009 and my adventures in Ubuntu.

I decided that I finally wanted to make the transition from Mac to Linux. What fueled the change - and intrepid CD and an Ubuntu T-shirt that read, "Linux for Human Beings". I sorta laughed when my husband came home from a Sprint in the UK and said. "I have something for you." I looked at the CD and the Shirt and said, "yeah right". However, I had wanted to use Linux for years, but *always* without fail had to turn to my husband to fix things and help me, so I tended to always fall back to the Operating System I was the most familiar with. While my husband was busy working on various Linux distributions , I was moving slowly from DOS to Windows to Mac, then in Feb 2009 landed pretty smoothly into a Linux distro I could feel comfortable with - Ubuntu. I haven't looked back, every once in a while I brush off the Mac, and use it for something. I don't dislike Mac, I just like using Ubuntu better.

I started blogging about this transition into the world of Ubuntu, and the community that supports it. Though I had been blogging about family events, it was far from anything even remotely technical. The point that seemed very hard for people to understand until they actually meet and talk to my husband and I, was that I wanted to do this on my own and he stayed out of it and I got to figure things out. I wanted to find my own way through the community. So my involvement is for the most part very separate, with very little overlap. A really empowering moment - I can use Ubuntu, and I don't have to ask him (my husband) for help. There is a community out there for that, and I set out to learn and become involved and contribute to and in what I saw demonstrated as a very welcoming, helpful, and inclusive community.

But I couldn't stop with just one transition, while I was busy learning about the Ubuntu and Open Source Communities, events, personalities, teams, projects, IRC, mailing lists, forums, we as a family were planning a major move back to my home town. I was moving back home almost 20 years to the date I left to join the Army in 1989. So in June, after the kids got out of school we packed up the house and moved. We began very heavy renovations on the house as well. (Still a work in progress).

Between packing boxes and Ubuntu, there was a host of other activities that were happening in conjunction, I was also busy being a stay at home mom, wife, I was busy with classes I was taking as well as a few I was volunteering to teach, another new opportunity to grow and learn presented itself. I was invited to review a new book on Community. I didn't know what to expect exactly in this process. I learned deadlines are my friend, and that the view I had of the concepts that applied to Open Source communities were the same that applied to most all the volunteer communities I had been given the opportunity to support, give to, as well as learn from in the past. (Thanks Jono! The Art of Community - check it out) This was really exciting and at times a bit demanding, but so worth it!

As I was busy learning about all the Open Source Conferences, Fests, Summits, and other various meetings a person could attend. I decided I would attend them and as long as I was going should get involved in them where I could. Figuring to attend these events as a Ubuntu Local Community Team member, and work a booth. Then there were opportunities to have impromptu talks called BoFs or Birds of a Feather sessions. I thought what the heck I'll try that as well. Southeast Linux Fest was my inaugural fest, and I loved it. From there it was on to Community Leadership Summit, OSCON, Atlanta Linux Fest, Ohio Linux Fest, Ubuntu Release Parties and the highlight of events and participation was attending Ubuntu Developer Summit as a sponsored contributor.

Amongst all this, I was learning about Ubuntu Membership and the oh so wonderful world of wiki's. I was encouraged to create a wiki, and start adding the things I was working on in the Ubuntu and Open Source Communities to that wiki. I learned that in the Ubuntu Community you don't have to hack code to be a contributor. I often referred to myself as an non-technical end user (NTUE (pronouced like IN-TO) for short). I got tired of typing non-technical end-user and went looking for an acronym, I couldn't find one so decided that people create stuff every day and thus was born the NTEU (IN-TO). I looked at myself as someone who was "in-to" Ubuntu but did not really want to hack code, at the end of the day I really just wanted my computer to work. (however, now, I am beginning to enjoy seeing the ends and outs of how things work, finding out the processes, and contributing and/or learning how to contribute to new areas of the Ubuntu Project - it is all somewhat amazing)

It was about this time the reality that I was transitioning into another decade in my life happened. The milestone of making it through my 30's, and smiling into my 40's hit me. Though 40 did not hit me like truck like my 30's did; it was quite the contrary, 40 seemed like an absolute perfect number to me. I went to London to celebrate my birthday, while there I got to meet many of the Canonical staff that help to make the Ubuntu Project, the Linux distribution I am enjoying using and contributing to. The joy of being in London for not only my birthday, but the fact that the release of Ubuntu 9.10 was being released on my birthday, made my celebration even sweeter.

Somewhere amongst all the movement, and transitions, Rikki Kite, of Linux Pro Magazine, found my blog, and wrote about it. Rikki soon become a mentor on many levels outside the Ubuntu Community. It was pretty amazing to see that Rikki is highlighting women in Open Source and all the contributions women all over the FOSS world were making. I was telling my husband that I wanted to "do something", maybe even go back to the corporate world. It was during OSCON, that I got to help staff the Linux Pro Magazine Booth, and I loved it. There is something great about meeting new people, and talking to them about a magazine I enjoy. During 2009 Linux New Media launched a new Magazine, Ubuntu User, and Ubuntu User Website and in October I was given the opportunity to see if I would like to Blog for them about entry points and ways to get involved in the Ubuntu Community. I am still learning and working my way through this process, but I am really looking forward to You-In-Ubuntu 2010.

Some of the other highlights of 2009 for me was helping plan the Atlanta Linux Fest and the Ubucon, helping with the Community Leadership Summit, pitching and beginning the process of an annual Ubuntu User Conference as well as working on the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Ubuntu Women Interview Series for Full Circle Magazine, as well as Ubuntu Open Week. Also contributing articles to the US Teams website, becoming involved in The NC LoCo team, as well as The Ubuntu Women Project.

Time flies when you are having fun and 2009 definitely flew by. :-)

Thanks everyone who made my 1st year (Feb 2010) in Ubuntu such a great experience and success. The Ubuntu Community and the people who encourage, challenge, and inspire me to look around, share, inquire, contribute, and just be me, are such a source of energy, excitement and enthusiasm. I hope in 2010, I give back to the Ubuntu and greater FOSS communities as much as you all have given and shown me. I know this is just the beginning as there is so much more to learn and be part of. I say it all the time - Community Rocks!!

What does 2010 look like - Amazing! I have no idea what will be in store, but looking over my shoulder at 2009, I can only imagine what 2010 will bring. There are events to attend (and plan), people to meet, stories to write, blogs to post, and contributions to make - as the Ubuntu Project and Community is an every evolving and growing work in progress, so am I. Here's to an incredible 2010 for all!! :-D \O/