In history there are several examples of communities growing and becoming stronger after going through a period of upheaval after assimilating a new culture. Ubuntu has made huge efforts to avoid exclusion by stressing that there is not a difference between ‘Canonical’ or ‘Community’ at UDS. At my first UDS I was gently corrected for saying “I am just community”. The exchange left me impressed with the openness of the environment I had become involved in. I was not being segregated in to a group of ‘lesser’ and others were not being ‘elevated’ to a group of ‘better’.
When Ubuntu started the ‘community’ was composed of technically savvy users and developers. These groups had the capacity to become involved in the open source community of Ubuntu and contribute to the project in a standard manner. With Ubuntu now reaching the stage of its life in which the community now included non-technical users there is a new issue arising. It became apparent in today’s community round table; “how do we get them (new users) involved?” There is an expectation that the community should be involved. There are complaints on the recent Ubuntu Member survey about people who complain but do not contribute. Does this imply that Ubuntu Users that do not contribute are ‘lesser’? Are we, as a community, in danger of segregation? This is not a path any of us want to go down, so I suspect most have not thought about things from this perspective.
The Ubuntu Community is changing. We do not have to change our core culture; there is no reason to become another faceless corporation. Some of the new members of our community come from a different culture; they are used to faceless corporations ignoring them unless they act rude and obnoxious. Let us practice Ubuntu and welcome them, feed them, entertain them and give them a place to sleep. Let us not push them off to the fringe, and ignore them.
Let us embrace them for who they are and help them understand our community. Let us not place expectations on them that are unrealistic.