Regional Membership Board nominations

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

One of the most important things we do in Ubuntu is recognize the contributions of fantastic participants across the wide range of activities that make up something as broad as Ubuntu.

We have the guiding principle that we should be able to recognize the merits of any kind of contribution, coming from any part of the globe. Whether someone is spending time helping people on IRC, or answering questions in the Forums, or translating Ubuntu into Amharic, or leading local events to raise awareness of Ubuntu, or leading a team that deploy Ubuntu in schools, or building Ubuntu based virtual machines on EC2, or fixing bugs, or triaging bugs, or filing really good bug reports….. contributions of all forms make Ubuntu more useful to a broader audience, and so we set out to recognize them with Membership.

The actual decisions are taken by the Regional Membership Boards. We set up three of them to cover the America’s, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), and Asia-Pacific. People who are seeking membership present their work to the RMB’s, who confer membership on those who they believe have made a “substantial, and sustained” contribution, in any field. We also allow specialist leadership teams to confer membership for contributions in their fields, on the basis that they may have more insight into the dynamics of that particular work.

The RMB’s play a big role in sustaining the culture of Ubuntu, in who and what they recognize and in the advice that they offer applicants.

In order to keep the RMB’s fresh, we renew the membership of the RMB’s on a regular basis. Folks stand for a term, and we seek nominations regularly. Like now 🙂

We’re seeking nominations to all three Regional Membership Boards. Ideal candidates have a track record good judgment – and a willingness to support positive contributions matched only by their willingness NOT to be drawn into supporting factions, personalities and cabals. In any community of scale (and Ubuntu is at a larger scale than most) there will always be people making fascinating and unexpected (and hard to evaluate) contributions, as well as people who want to further their own ambitions at the expense of others. Being able to tell the difference, and recognizing those who are going to continue to raise the bar for Ubuntu, is a skill.

If you know someone who does, please seek their assent to nominate them for their Regional Membership Board. You can chat with dholbach on IRC, or mail the RMB’s for further information.

The mails from RMB’s announcing new members are one of the most interesting kinds “pulse” for the project – who’s doing what, where. So I’d like to thank the folks who have lead the RMB’s over the past cycle, and say again how much I appreciate their work!

2 Responses to “Regional Membership Board nominations”

  1. Melvin Carvalho Says:

    I really like the use of the karma system in launchpad, as a rewards system, to augment the process you outline. But I think it may be possible to do even better. While karma can never fully capture exactly a contribution, it may be able to play an important role in the economics of open source.

    I think the ‘economics of free’ is a fascinating topic, at times contrary, that more often than not, turn established economic norms on their heads.

    While some may view wealth as what they collect and store, others may see it measured by what they give. A dividend to the planet, if you will.

    Let’s imagine the invisible hand that drives behavior is no longer cash, but instead a contribution and karma system. Following this kind of thought experiment leads to some interesting consequences. At the end of the day our species has evolved and thrived, through the ages, not only due to some great leadership, but also through an overriding instinct for unbridled cooperation.

    If the notion of doing something for karmic endeavor, can be the oil in the machine of action and reaction, the same paradigm could be applied to specific fields, in particular, open source software.

    Case in point, I have a great open source project that needs some work, to realize its full potential. I decide that I want to issue 100,000 karma ‘units’ which will take my project to a new level of usefulness. Karma is now handed out in rough accordance with the project goals. Now let’s say that the project becomes one day very successful, due to the pleasure/utility it gives people, and then starts to generate revenue. The karmic thing to do would be for the project to use some of that revenue to put in a bids back into an open market and offer to buy back the karma it issued. In effect, we’ve done an IPO, and created a secondary market. We’ve also created an economy where the workers produce something, and the users pay for that work at a later date.

    So what’s my point? I think it is a great idea to reward contributions, in all the ways we do today, but also perhaps with a more global form of launchpad karma. Exchangeable, usable, attributable, and with cross pollination across geographical boundaries, as well as project borders. Perhaps this kind of evolution can motor the age old dynamics of contributions, rewards and acknowledgments to a yet higher level.

    Perhaps some food for thought … 🙂

  2. Anorion Says:

    With all the focus on netbooks (and rightly so!) it would be really nice if all of the wireless features of most popular netbooks worked out of the box in the next release. Bugs have been reported concerning WPA2 support on the eee PC 901 and 1000x series since 8.10, and remain in the brand new LL release. This is a huge showstopper for almost anyone who uses a netbook on a college campus, in an office, or a hospital.