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.



I think this is totally stupid. Just like releasing a distro with broken wireless.

What is with these comments?

What is with all the negative comments? Not to make light of it, but the benefits are nothing to "work for". If you are a community member that really believes in the vision of Ubuntu and enjoys making contributions to their community there are ways they will help you keep doing what you are doing. Sure, you could say it is a gold star, but take it at face value. Contributions re already rated and karma can be earned, but karma itself doesn't get you anything. People can just see that you have been an active participant. Membership just has a level of formality to it. One should always be polite in the forums, of curse, but if you ask a question and a member responds asking you do do a little work to help them diagnose the problem there is a bit of certainty there that they are not just guessing at things that might fix the problem, but have some experience and really believe that they can quickly get you to a quality solution.

Membership is not a reward so much as a recognition, but at the same time in the loud universe of many community members that make many contributions, feel proud if you are nominated or accepted as a member. Don't feel bad if you are not a member, and honestly, my advice, do not work for it. If you learn by helping people on the forums, or you are a developer, or you host regular install fests and one day you happen to notice you have made a few thousand posts, or you are having your first anniversary of your weekly install fest at your school / university, or someone says "So, do you work for Ubuntu, why do you do this?", then consider sharing your contributions in a wiki page and apply for membership. No big deal.

If you had a big popular ubuntu club, how nice might it be to formalize your position having an @ubuntu.com email address for communication? It's not like you get a free t-shirt and laptop bag and a special we love you more birthday and holiday card from Mark.

Anyway, nice article, and thanks for the pleasant reminder. Sorry it had to be marked with flaimbait by trolls. Guess people express their boredom differently.

Ubuntu membership is not new

They are just describing the membership process, and I think Nathan does a good job of that.

Whether or not you want to become a member is entirely up to you. There are some regular, sustained contributors who choose not to apply for membership because they don't want to be tied to any one particular distro.

The option is there for those who see it as a perk, though.

And it continues

The six-month death march.

I did Ubuntu for three years and realized three things:

1) Launchpad is it's own worst bug/enemy
2) Six month releases break more things than they fix
3) All those "great " apps are completely available in Windows(TM) (e.g., Scribus, Geany, OO, Audacity, FileZilla, Firefox, Inkscape)

And BTW, this form is horrible, the captcha is unreadable and there's no way to regenerate a new captcha. This is EXACTLY the half-ass crap I remember Ubuntu being.

This may be new for many users

Many of you may have heard about Ubuntu membership from the very beginning but there still are people who are excited by knowing this for the first time. @ubuntu.com email address, wow!

Not only Ubuntu Blog

Great. Another "Gold Member Plan"

Are you guys serious? How does this match up with the "ubuntu philosophy?" I suppose you've translated the significance of being an "Ubuntu User" to all your purported distro languages, just to give everyone a fair chance.

Any fool can interpret this as "Let's stratify the ubuntu community because we value some of our users more than others."

Give me a break.

really now....

Perhaps this would work in a 6th grade middle school class but.... I have to ask... is the wind in the sails of Ubuntu slowing down that much that they have to bribe people to contribute?

Just like putting out a distro (8.04) with broken wireless but beautiful compiz glitz I still think you guys are not doing it right.

This is not new

Why is this article talking about Ubuntu Membership like it's something new? I've been an official member for going on 2 years now. I'm pretty sure membership has been around for double that.


I probably would have chased after this a few years ago (I was one of the first to brainstorm, and created my forum account in 2005), but as I gained experience with Ubuntu I've realized how immature the community is and have since lost interest.

Ubuntu "Membership"? .. Meh

Follow along as Ubuntu enthusiast and Community organizer Amber Graner helps put the "You" in Ubuntu.

Amber Graner is an active Ubuntu community member and organizer who encourages everyone around her to participate, support, and learn about Ubuntu and Open Source. With a smile and a sense of humor, Amber reminds people that there is a place for everyone in the Ubuntu community – regardless of technical skill level (or lack thereof). She is constantly looking for people, places, and events within the Ubuntu community that help inspire Ubuntu users to participate actively within the Ubuntu community. Email Amber at amber AT ubuntu-user DOT com.


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