Edubuntu makeover

I haven’t been involved with Edubuntu development for a year now. While I miss the work and especially the great people, I’ve come to see that the project is in great hands (better than mine for sure). Edubuntu made some really important strides in 10.04 with the enhancements made to the DVD installer and live system. One of the neat things that has happened a little more recently was a complete revamping of the edubuntu.org website. The work was done by Edubuntu community members Jonathan Carter and Stéphane Graber.

Besides being very slick and in-line with the main Ubuntu website, the new edubuntu.org is much more community oriented. There are social network badges on the right side to link users to Edubuntu resources on Facebook, YouTube, Identi.ca, Twitter. On the left side there is a widget with the latest Edububtu project status updates on Identi.ca.

Overall, I think the new site is much more social and connected to its users. I think it will make the website quite a bit more useful to users and for those wanting to learn more about Edubuntu. From what I hear there might be some more content coming. I’m excited to see what’s next.

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update and tidbits

It’s been a while since I blogged last, time for a brain dump.

Edubuntu

The newly elected Edubuntu Council is kicking of the Lucid Lynx cycle. They are scheduling a bunch of focused work days to look at bugs, the wiki, the website, docs, etc. It should be pretty productive and I wish them well on their endeavor to make Edubuntu 10.04 a solid educational OS. Check out the meeting minutes for more info if you’re interested. There is going to be a Bug Day on the 12th and the wonderful HedgeMage has come up with an outstanding redesign of the Edubuntu website (see here and here) .

No Longer a Developer

As much as I have loved working on Ubuntu, real life has been such that I haven’t had time to really keep up with development policies and practices. Ubuntu is a huge project and so it takes a fair amount of effort/time to keep up with. With my chemistry carrier actually going somewhere I don’t see for the foreseeable future that I’ll have enough time to keep up. Since I don’t like the idea of staying in Launchpad groups I’m not actually involved with I decided last week to deactivate from the Ubuntu Core Developers team. Instead, with what little time I have to devote to FLOSS I’m going to be working on small, upstream projects where I don’t have so much to keep up with. Recently I took over the development of Plotdrop (a GNOME frontend to the graphing program, gnuplot) from John Spray. I’ve also been working on a few patches to GChemUtils (awesome set of chemistry GTK libraries and programs) and gnome system tools (specifically on users-admin).

Politics

Some people might find this utterly boring so I put it last but I’m a bit of a political junkie. So in 2004 after I moved to Nevada to go to grad school my party won the presidential election but lost the senate race. Now I’ve recently moved to Massachusetts and my party lost the last presidential election and there is a senate race in just a couple weeks. I wonder if the trend (win one, lose one) will hold and we win a crucial senate seat. It’s certainly a long shot in Massachusetts, but who knows, stranger things have happened. 🙂 It’s a least some motivation to get to the polls.

MIT Global Jam

Tonight I went to my first Ubuntu Global Jam event. It was held at MIT (awesome!) in the Stata Center. First of all, as a chemist I was thrilled to be on the MIT campus. I often considered applying there as an undergrad but decided to stay on the West Coast. The Stata Center didn’t disappoint. Secondly, this was the first time since moving to the Boston area a month ago that I actually got into the city (yeah, technically Cambridge, but close enough). I took the Boston metro for the first time, which worked out pretty well.

Finally, I was able to get ~20 Edubuntu bugs squashed and seven packages completely triaged. I also sponsored an upload for one of the Jam attendees. All-in-all, it was a productive time and definitely worth the trip. I especially want to give a big shout-out to the MIT SIPB (Student Information Processing Board) for hosting the event. The pizza was very excellent.

Edubuntu Meeting Minutes

The meeting was well attended with lots of new people (awesome!), attendees included:
bencrisford, nestor, Timequeezer, abruptus, Svenstaro, Lns, LaserJock, asanchez, pygi, Ahmuck, davidgroos, alkisg, jt4sugar, nubae, and some stragglers.

Agenda Item: Lns / nubae – Are they in Edubuntu-members yet?

Due to having only 2 out of 5 Edubuntu Council members still available, it is necessary to reestablish the Council, which is tasked with approval of new members. The Ubuntu Community Council, who has delegated the membership approval to the Edubuntu Council, should be consulted.

Action: LaserJock will send email to edubuntu-devel and Ubuntu Community Council to figure out how to reestablish the EC

Agenda Item: How to effectively advocate/market Edubuntu to schools/school districts

Because the future of what Edubuntu will look like is still in process it is difficult to have a specific discussion on potential marketing and advocacy initiatives. However the idea of collaborating with the Ubuntu Students team was brought up as a general strategy.

Action Item: bencrisford is to email edubuntu-devel with more details for the idea of working with the Ubuntu Students team on marketing

Agenda Item: How teams will be structured in future.

There are currently 14 non-LoCo Launchpad teams related to Edubuntu. Many of the teams are no longer in use or are owned by people who have left the project. A review needs to be done on the teams, and evaluation of what teams are still needed, and work with Launchpad administrators to do the cleanup. It was suggested by nubae to look at how Sugar has organized their teams.

Action Item: Lns will spearhead the Launchpad team cleanup process

Agenda Item: Attracting developers/contributors to the Edubuntu project.

There was a lot of discussion about the lack of developers and contributors in Edubuntu. There were lots of suggestions including:

  • demo videos to show potential contributors what kind of things are available
  • getting Ubuntu Students involved
  • something like Google Summer of Code, but for Edubuntu/Education
  • having more specific objectives and tasks for people to do
  • better documentation
  • mentoring

Action Item: pygi to start thread on edubuntu-devel about building the developer community
Action Item: bencrisford to look into collaboration opportunities with the Ubuntu Learning project

At the end of the meeting there was a general discussion of where Edubuntu is heading and how to move it forward. A major concern is that having Edubuntu as an add-on CD to Ubuntu has been a detriment to users and caused a decrease in interest and users. Anecdotal evidence indicates that a single installation medium is very desirable. Everyone was also encouraged to read the draft Strategy Document and comment on it.

Action Item: nubae and alkisg to look into the possibility of going back to single install disk/media

P.S. The raw log is available. The meeting starts at 19:00

Future of Edubuntu meeting

Tomorrow (Friday the 22nd) the education community in Ubuntu will be gathering at 18:00 UTC in the #edubuntu channel on the freenode IRC network.

The topic will be if or how to move the Edubuntu community forward towards Karmic and beyond. The Edubuntu community has had a rough go of it for the last year or so but it looks like some “fresh blood” is wanting to re-energize the project and get Edubuntu back to being a leader in the educational Linux market.

If you’re a K12 educator, an educational app developer, school IT adminstrator, or an Ubuntu developer/contributor who is interested in Ubuntu for education and/or young kids please drop by the meeting. The possibilities are pretty wide open and community is seeking input, feedback, and contributions of all kinds.