Free Trader Beowulf

Supporting Free and Open Source Software

Jam Jam… Ubuntu Global Jam… Waterloo

No! Not the Battle of Waterloo. Not the Abba song. We are talking Jammin’ at Waterloo, Canada. Home of the University of Waterloo. Today I interviewed dscassel of the Canadian Loco Team about holding an Ubuntu Global Jam in the hopes of inspiring others to ‘Jorge Castro It!’

<cprofitt> Q: How many global jam events have you planned and executed?
<dscassel> Lessee…  I think the first one was for 10.04…  I’ve done every one since then, except one.  So that’s… 3
<dscassel> And now 12.04.


<cprofitt> Q: What is your background?
<dscassel> Professionally or culturally?
<dscassel> I’m a software developer…
<cprofitt> both
<dscassel> And Canadian, from Ontario. English-speaking.
<cprofitt> I think English speaking Canadians from Ontario rock!!
<dscassel> Yes!!
<cprofitt> though I happen to be biased.
<dscassel> heh.
<dscassel> Which isn’t saying anything against the excellent Ubuntu Quebec folks, for example.
<cprofitt> Yes, all Canadian rock!!
<dscassel> So yeah, I’m living in Waterloo and working for an evil, proprietary software company. But hey, it pays the bills.
<dscassel> (and actually they’re very nice for an evil, proprietary software company)
<dscassel> Also, in my spare time, I help run the local hackerspace, Kwartzlab.
<cprofitt> that is a pretty full background!


<cprofitt> Q: What made you interested in planning and hosting Ubuntu events?
<dscassel> Well, I like Ubuntu!
<dscassel> I got into it because there was a guy who was hosting a Windows 7 release party at Kwartzlab in 2009.
<dscassel> So, of course, I needed to host an Ubuntu release party.  Which was much cooler, naturally.
<cprofitt> ah, yes I remember that ad campaign…
<dscassel> I met Ralph Janke (txwikinger) because he was running an Ubuntu booth at the 2009 Ontario GNU/Linux Fest and was looking for volunteers.  I went to drop hand out flyers for my release parties.
* cprofitt nods
<dscassel> We decided Kwartzlab would be an excellent place to start running Global Jams.  And since he’s a bug triage expert, it worked out really well.


<cprofitt> Q: Will you be adding less technical jam tasks (like art, documentation, etc) to this cycles jam?
<dscassel> I haven’t been able to convince my artist friends to come out yet.
<dscassel> But one of the main things we do every cycle is install and hardware testing.  And pretty much everybody can do that.
* cprofitt nods
<dscassel> If they don’t have a computer of their own, we have a bunch at Kwartzlab they can try.


<cprofitt> Q: What about testing now that testing can be done from a CD or memory stick?
<dscassel> Yeah, absolutely.  That alleviates fears that running a beta will break their systems.  And it means their hardware gets tested, which will hopefully help them avoid problems after the release.
<cprofitt> and they can help send their results to the friendly database now
<cprofitt> https://friendly.ubuntu.com/
<dscassel> Yup.  Posting bugs can be a bit of a hurdle for people, although we have plenty of people to help out there if need be.


<cprofitt> Q: What is the most difficult hurdle to hosting a global jam?
<dscassel> For us, since we have the venue already, it’s finding an activity that everyone can participate in so nobody gets bored and comes away with a bad experience.  Over the last few cycles we’ve fallen back on hardware testing…
<dscassel> We’ve tried to get a bit more ambitious, attempting a development hackathon, for example.
<dscassel> The result of that was only two or three people working on programming while most of the people weren’t all that interested, or didn’t feel they could contribute.
<dscassel> But they can always load up the iso, or triage some bugs.
<dscassel> It just feels like less of a group activity then, if people are doing different things.
* cprofitt nods
<cprofitt> I agree with that… in my events I try to have three threads
<cprofitt> development, technical (testing and the like) and more social – art, documentation, etc
<dscassel> Not a bad idea.
<cprofitt> thanks


<cprofitt> Q: What suggestions do you have for someone trying to get a global jam started in his/her area?
<dscassel> Just get started.
<dscassel> Really, it’s not that hard.
<dscassel> You just need a venue and something for people to do.
<dscassel> Burn some CDs or bring some USB sticks, and you’ve got that.
<dscassel> For a venue, a coffee shop will do, most of the time.  Although if you have a hackerspace, college, or a community centre (with wifi) in your area, that will probably work better.
<dscassel> If you’re just trying to build a community, I’d recommend an Ubuntu Hour or release party first, but I’ve talked to plenty of people who are more interested and see more value in joining the Jam.
<cprofitt> dscassel I truly appreciate your time and your sage advice. I hope your global jam goes well and the answers you have given inspire people to ‘just do it’ in their area.
<dscassel> Thanks, Charles. Any time.
<cprofitt> have a great weekend

It appears amazingly easy and immensely rewarding to hold an Ubuntu Global Jam.

  1. Get a venue
  2. Let people know about the event (loco.ubuntu.com, fliers, mailing list, etc)
  3. Have things for people of all backgrounds to do (don’t forget art!!)

resources:

3 comments on “Jam Jam… Ubuntu Global Jam… Waterloo

  1. Pingback: Jam Jam… Ubuntu Global Jam… Waterloo « Free Trader Beowulf | Linux Blog

  2. txwikinger
    February 18, 2012

    Reblogged this on txwikinger's blog.

  3. Pingback: Ubuntu Global Jam this Saturday! at the flying squirrel

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2012 by in FOSS, Linux, Ubuntu.
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