There are a couple more job postings up on the Ubuntu employment page, and I thought I would blog about some of them in particular because they demonstrate what I hope will be a role model for the synthesis of paid, professional work and the best of free software volunteerism.

Today I’ll focus on just the one position:

The Ubuntu Community Manager opening is “uniquely Ubuntu” in that it brings together professional management with community integration. This job has been created to help the huge Ubuntu community gain traction, creating structure where appropriate, identifying the folks who are making the best and most consistent contributions and empowering them to get more of their visions, ideas and aspirations delivered as part of Ubuntu – release by release.

It’s unusual in that it’s a community position that is not an advocacy position. It’s a management position. Our community in Ubuntu is amazingly professional in its aspirations – folks want to participate in every aspect of the distribution, from marketing to artwork to sounds to governance and beyond. And we welcome that because it means we share the ownership of the project with a remarkably diverse and mature team. In the past six months I’ve noticed a number of people joining and having an impact who are mature professionals with great day jobs and a limited ability to contribute in terms of time – but a strong desire to be part of “this phenomenon called Ubuntu”. The job of the community manager will be to make it possible for these folks to have an amplified impact despite having time constraints on their ability to participate.

Partly that means bringing the principles, practices and real world experience of traditional management to community initiatives. Making sure that teams meet regularly if there is stuff on the boil, that they communicate to the rest of the project where needed, that the right people are empowered to take decisions in the team and that great work which is done by that team is recognised and incorporated in appropriate ways elsewhere. It’s a management position in that it will involve meetings, oversight, guidance, coordination, judgement, sensitivity and awareness of everything that is going on. It requires the extra gift of knowing how to work effectively with enthusiastic volunteers, and how to translate that energy into a real outcome that expresses what the community wants to do in a way that is consistent with the broader goals of the project.

I’m really pleased at how many of the informal Ubuntu teams are starting to get formalised and professionalised. In the art team, for example, we are in the process of appointing an Art Council, which will report to the Ubuntu Community Council. And we have appointed “artists in chief” for Edgy for both Ubuntu and Kubuntu, so everybody knows where the buck stops for the default artwork in those releases. As a result we have real professional experience signing up and contributing, and I’m excited to see what that turns into for Edgy artwork. The “artist in chief” appointments are for Edgy only so the idea is to give other community contributors a chance to hold those reins with each subsequent release.

This effort is already paying off, with clear plans, deadlines and processes in place for the Edgy artwork which are consistent with how the rest of the distro is run, and which give everyone a clear idea of what to focus on at each stage of the process. It’s looking very cool.

We can’t provide active management and guidance for every community initiative (and as Jane Silber pointed out to me today, we don’t have to – in many cases the Ubuntu community has done a superb job of “getting real and getting professional”, which is better than having someone external to the team create structure and process). But for a couple of our largest community areas, having a great person to lead, provide consistency and an interface to the core team will be a big help.

I’d love to think that someone with a job at a top law firm could feel they could devote some volunteer time to the project – similarly for marketing professionals, translators, artists, engineers and others. They will only do so if they feel that the project is very smoothly run, that they can be productive and make a real impact very quickly. They need to know where to go, what to focus on, and how to deliver their contribution in a way that can be integrated with a minimum of fuss. The job of the community manager is to ensure that the WHOLE community is well governed, well structured, and running effectively with a good idea of how it fits into the rest of the project. It’s a really unique job.

20 comments:

  1. AndrewLG says: (permalink)
    July 4th, 2006 at 3:33 am

    Dear Mark,

    I’m impressed with the clarity and consistency the Ubuntu philosophy is being materialized! I want to thank you for your efforts in making this world a little bit better.. and I think this is what its all about: for Each One of us to give the best of ourselves for the rest of humanity.. meaning one self’s best: “what one is best at”!

    Before I even knew about this project, I wrote some phrases that at least in my opinion match pretty well with Ubuntu’s Ph. I don’t speak English natively, but I wanted to share them with all, please bother in pointing out my grammar mistakes!.. It surely needs polishing! and as I release it as part of the public domain, you or anyone can edit it, and improve it ;) (please mail me if you don’t understand something!)

    —————————————–

    Some could say I have a problem.. (and a serious one!)

    But I say it’s an opportunity: I want to save the world.

    Please don’t be scared! Don’t close this page, I’m not THAT crazy!

    I truly think I have to, because if I don’t… who will?
    Who will do what he can’t even understand?
    Who will continue humanity’s legacy, if he’s always thinking on how to take advantage of others, if he doesn’t really gets why he is here?

    I understand perfectly well what I have to do. I have a profound feeling that some things have to change in our society, and I hope I can focus myself as to be able to provide my little sand granule for this change to be.

    I surely can’t save the world by myself.. but that was never my intention… ;)

    My Motto is (and I hope it isn’t copyrighted!):

    If I give you a coin, and you give me a coin, we both go home with one coin.

    BUT, if I give you an idea, and you give me an idea, we both go home with TWO ideas!

    Are you getting the IDEA?…

    For instance:

    If we see our ideas as potentially immense (this would be megalomaniac, but it’s alright), and at the same time we have social awareness, we can understand this concept as the best way to save the world, because for each idea that is introduced into this system, the potential for it to be taken into action is correlated with the amount of people that are conscious of, developing and sharing it (a sort of P2P of ideas..), and in the end if the idea wasn’t that grate, its alright, but if it WAS grate.. we surely got all the juice out of it!

    In the other perspective, if we see our ideas as insignificant, we don’t think we can change much with them, and thus, in a closed system we wouldn’t traduce them into actions. But even if they are insignificant for one person (that is: this person doesn’t see a benefit for his action directly), it would still be making an important (at least by number) difference in an open system. And this is why if this person collaborates, he will be making the DIFFERENCE..

    A small step for a man…

    a huge one for humanity!

    —————————————–

    That’s how it starts, but I don’t want to fill your blog with my ideas.. I just wanted to state how real is Ubuntu taking this into practice, for example with the art policy! it’s excelent that real artists can contribute, as well as it would be excelent if a Top Firm Lawyer could too ;)!

    Best regards, and please continue in this track!

    be happy,
    AndrewLG

  2. Mario Diaz Laguardia says: (permalink)
    July 4th, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    Nowadays information technology is not only about infrastructure. It is also -and perhaps mainly- about human interaction and that’s something we are witnessing with Web 2.0 and the social net. It is also the core of the effort for bridging the digital divide. FOSS movement has made an important contribution in terms of software development and people interaction for solving problems. The new positions opened by Canonical could be the first steps for innovation in management. New style is required in order to amplify and coordinate the voices and desires of the community with one clear goal on our minds: develop and share the tools for solving our problems with “UBUNTU”[1]

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx0qGJCm-qU&search=nelson%20mandela%20ubuntu

  3. buntudot.org » Canonical Now Hiring!!! says: (permalink)
    July 4th, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    [...] Yes, you heard, or seen right. Canonical is currently looking for a few good men or women. There are a few different jobs posted on the Ubuntu Jobs page, but Mark Shuttleworth has blogged about one job in particular. Ubuntu Community Manager, is an opening that is “uniquely Ubuntu” in that it brings together professional management with community integration. Interested parties should apply. This could be your big chance on helping Ubuntu!!! [...]

  4. Mark "port7" Johnson says: (permalink)
    July 4th, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    This is great news and as I have blogged about myself in the past shows that both Open Source and Ubuntu is maturing quickly.

    You are right though, working in IT Managment myself I know how important the appearance of professionalisim is, it gives IT decision makers the warm fuzzies they want and need. Yet the depth of talent, enthusiasim, inovation and quality of the Open Source community is something that IT PLC can only really aspire to. This role seems to be the right direction marrying the 2 worlds!

    P.S. I did apply ;-)

  5. Sukrit D says: (permalink)
    July 5th, 2006 at 10:42 am

    I am a big fan and a very satisfied user. I am very glad that Ubuntu is hiring. I would love the opporunity to work for an organization involved with something as wonderful as Ubuntu. It’s not just about the technology, but about the community feeling that has people rallying around Ubuntu that makes me want to work with you guys.

    Kudos to the entire Ubuntu team for coming out with a damn good release in Dapper Drake.

    Have mailed the address mentioned on the employment page. Hoping to at least get a reply…

    Cheers,
    Sukrit.D.

  6. Mike S says: (permalink)
    July 6th, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    Very interesting idea – OSS getting more professional without needing to get proprietary! Would these positions be full time or part-time?

  7. Edward Murrell says: (permalink)
    July 7th, 2006 at 2:21 am

    Out of curiosity, I find it interesting that the System Administrator position is still there from April. Is this because no one has applied?
    It’s the kind of job I’d love to do, except that a) I probably don’t quite fit the criteria (15 machines probably doesn’t count as ‘lots’, and all my scripting work has been perl or php rather than python), and b) I’m currently in New Zealand – although quite willing to move.

  8. Anonymous says: (permalink)
    July 7th, 2006 at 11:27 am

    Are Catholics welcome to work at Canonical? According to Jordi Mallach’s posting on the Planet Ubuntu web site, the Pope is unwelcome in his city. Is this the image of Canonical and Ubuntu you want projected around the world?

  9. Elamathi says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    I am happy that Ubuntu has taken this initiative. A suggestion from me. If you can announce the appointment of
    persons who can find opportunities to popularise Ubuntu in various countries.
    They need not to be supported finacially. We are ready if the Ubuntu gives technical and other related supports
    except financial. For instance, CDs, documentation, help pages for developing programmes and so on.
    If these things are given, you can promote ubuntu like anything. This concept can be developed further.

  10. Lloyd D Budd says: (permalink)
    July 15th, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    I notice that the job is no longer listed on the site. Does this mean the position has been filled? I have not been able to find an announcement on a blog or on a mailing list? Will people that applied be notified the position has been filled?

    Slightly tanguent I am looking for a calendar of upcoming Ubuntu events and milestones, but have not been able to find one.

  11. Jon says: (permalink)
    July 27th, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    I think the legal community for Ubuntu is best kept to GNU. It is regularly scrutinized and has a high contribution rate.
    If you created a schism between Ubuntu and GNU it would throw most of the Ubuntu initiative (from a legal stance) into neutral.
    An ubuntu legal initiative is essentially a GNU issues. Of course unless it’s branding or trademark issue, the code-base legal concerns are best left to GNU.

    This infrastructure exists, check it out at http://www.gnu.org/provide.html. No reason to re-invent the wheel.

    The purpose of the Community Mgr would be to drive the 3 C’s (Code, Creative & Content) that is uniquely Ubuntu. To foster innovation within the current contributer base of Ubuntu and to drive new contributers to Ubuntu.

    I could be wrong though, happens all the time :)

  12. jonobacon@home » Goodbye OpenAdvantage, hello Canonical says: (permalink)
    August 8th, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    [...] So, onto the Ubuntu role. Some of you may have seen Mark’s blog post about the position. It is an interesting and challenging role, and one I am ready for. For the last eight years I have worked in a number of different communities, developing community relations and working to understand, rationalise and manage the different aspects of community effectively. Most recently I have been doing this with the Jokosher project, and we have an awesome community with a strong culture and direction. [...]

  13. ubuntu_demon’s blog » Ubuntu Community Manager appointed says: (permalink)
    August 8th, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    [...] Long-time free software advocate, LugRadio presenter and beardless wonder Jono Bacon has joined Canonical as Ubuntu Community Manager. So, what’s all that about? Mark Shuttleworth described it as: [...]

  14. Open Source Advocacy with Reverend Ted » Congratulations to Brother Jono says: (permalink)
    August 8th, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    [...] Brother Bacon has recently accepted a position as community manager for Ubuntu. His description details a lot of focus on the developer side of community, which is very different from my role at Novell. Jono is an outstanding person for the job, and I think the Ubuntu community very fortunate to have him, so I also congratulate Canonical on a fine choice. [...]

  15. Cyphase says: (permalink)
    August 9th, 2006 at 8:26 am

    In case you haven’t heard, the Community Manager position has been filled by Jono Bacon. More info at the following links.

    http://fridge.ubuntu.com/node/487
    http://www.jonobacon.org/?p=737

  16. QµiÐâM » Ubuntu ya tiene un Community Manager says: (permalink)
    August 10th, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    [...] Hace unas semanas Mark Shuttleworth publico en su blog algunas oportunidades de empleo con canonical, uno de los cargos que se estaban ofreciendo era el de “Community Manager”, consiste en la persona que se encargara de atender la gran comunidad que posee ubuntu, textualmente dice asi: “This job has been created to help the huge Ubuntu community gain traction, creating structure where appropriate, identifying the folks who are making the best and most consistent contributions and empowering them to get more of their visions, ideas and aspirations delivered as part of Ubuntu – release by release” [...]

  17. Absolute Beginner Talk » Blog Archive » Ubuntu has a new community manager says: (permalink)
    August 22nd, 2006 at 6:21 am

    [...] So, onto the Ubuntu role. Some of you may have seen Mark’s blog post about the position. It is an interesting and challenging role, and one I am ready for. For the last eight years I have worked in a number of different communities, developing community relations and working to understand, rationalise and manage the different aspects of community effectively. Most recently I have been doing this with the Jokosher project, and we have an awesome community with a strong culture and direction. [...]

  18. Lynoure Braakman says: (permalink)
    August 26th, 2006 at 10:10 am

    BTW, it would be great if in the future all the applicants who didn’t get the job would be emailed about the selection process being over. (No, this wasn’t the job I applied for)

  19. Neal McBurnett says: (permalink)
    February 12th, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    An Ubuntu Calendar of Events is currently maintained as part of “The Fridge”. See monthly and daily lists at e.g. http://fridge.ubuntu.com/event and the iCal feed: http://fridge.ubuntu.com/event/ical/all/all

    See also https://wiki.ubuntu.com/FeistyReleaseSchedule

    I’d love to see an RSS feed for it in chronological order.

  20. Discussion 3/3: Openmoko Community Manager position? | Risto H. Kurppa says: (permalink)
    October 11th, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    [...] When I first read about the Community Manager position I, like David Roetzel thought of Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager working for Canonical. Here’s something to help you understand what might be required from a community manager and where to start when working with the community: The Ubuntu Community Manager opening is “uniquely Ubuntu” in that it brings together professional management with community integration. This job has been created to help the huge Ubuntu community gain traction, creating structure where appropriate, identifying the folks who are making the best and most consistent contributions and empowering them to get more of their visions, ideas and aspirations delivered as part of Ubuntu – release by release. (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/47) [...]