2010: Your Year for Ubuntu Membership!
Comment: Ubuntu membership is not new! It's been around for several years now. This interview is to let those who are new to the Ubuntu Community as well as those who are already contributing know a little more Ubuntu Membership Process.
Happy New Year! I am looking forward to seeing all the places people can contribute to the Ubuntu Project. Today I wanted to take a look about what happens with sustained contribution to the Ubuntu project and what is available to those who actively contribute and take part in the Ubuntu Community.
Maybe you have been thinking about becoming an Ubuntu Member? If so, 2010 can be your year. Let's find out how. I had the opportunity to interview Nathan Handler who lead a session on Ubuntu Membership during the last Ubuntu Open Week. Nathan is a member of the Ubuntu IRCC (Internet Relay Chat Council). Nathan is very versed in the community aspects as he is an active contributor in many areas. Nathan was also feature in the Ubuntu Hall of Fame. Let's get started!
Nathan, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview!
Amber Graner: What is an Ubuntu Member?
Nathan Handler: Ubuntu Members are users who have made substantial and sustained contributions to Ubuntu. These contributions can be in the form of packaging, artwork, answering questions on the forum, participating in a LoCo, or in any way that benefits Ubuntu or the Ubuntu community. Members are entitled to certain privileges, such as an @ubuntu.com email address, the right to carry Ubuntu business cards, and the ability to confirm Ubuntu Community Council nominations.
AG: Why is or is it even important to become and Ubuntu Member?
NH: Ubuntu Membership itself is a lot less important than what it represents. People often set a goal of becoming an Ubuntu Member because they want one of the many benefits that goes along with it. Instead, people should set a goal of making substantial and sustained contributions to Ubuntu. By doing this, the focus shifts from working hard in order to get one of the Membership benefits to working hard in order to make Ubuntu a greater distribution and improve the community, which is a lot more important than being recognized as an Ubuntu Member.
AG: How do you become an Ubuntu Member?
NH: Once you feel your contributions have been substantial and sustained, you should prepare a wiki page detailing all of your contributions. It is also beneficial to ask people you have worked with to add testimonials to your wiki page. These testimonials will allow the governing body that reviews your application to see how well you interact with the community, as well as get a better feel for your contributions. There are several governing bodies in the Ubuntu community that are capable of granting Ubuntu Membership. Most people will acquire Membership from one of the three regional membership boards. However, depending on where you have contributed, you might also receive from the MOTU Council, Kubuntu Council, or Edubuntu Council. These different groups will review your wiki page, as well as any other pages that show your contributions (i.e. your launchpad profile, forum profile, etc). They will then ask you a few questions about your contributions and your plans for the future. Finally, they will vote to determine whether or not you will become an Ubuntu member.
AG: Is it only for Developers ie people who write the code?
NH: Membership is not only for developers. However, packaging and writing code for Ubuntu is one way to become an Ubuntu Member. Ubuntu Membership is granted for people who have contributed to Ubuntu in any form.
AG: Can you define sustained contribution?
NH: Sustained contribution means that submitting one substantial patch or writing one substantial tutorial will not be enough to acquire Ubuntu Membership. These contributions will need to be kept up for an extended period of time. Generally, sustained means at least six months, but it can be shorter than this in certain situations.
AG: How long does it take on average to become and Ubuntu Member?
NH: There is no set length of time that it takes to become an Ubuntu Member. It depends entirely on how much you contribute to Ubuntu and how well you interact with the rest of the community. However, to become an Ubuntu Member, your contributions must be substantial and sustained. It is rare for applications to be accepted from people contributing for less than 6 months. The best way to determine if your contributions have been substantial and sustained is to ask people in the community with whom you have worked.
AG: Thanks again Nathan! You rock!
Do you or someone you know fall into the category of sustained contributions? If so, get those wiki's ready and add your name to the membership meetings and let's add to the Ubuntu Membership Roles. I am so excited about seeing you in Ubuntu in 2010 :-) ! Still have questions about how to become a member? Just leave a comment or shoot me an email: amber AT ubuntu-user DOT com.
For more info on how you can participate in and contribute to Ubuntu, visit: http://www.ubuntu.com/community/participate.