It would seem this is the year of the Linux desktop community, the indomitable Jono Bacon community manager for Ubuntu has released his book entitled The Art Of Community giving us all an insight into what he does and how he does it. Also Brent McConnell community manager for Novell has blogged his thoughts; How To Attract and Keep Users which is pretty much in the same vein as Jono’s book.
From my own point of view I’ve seen the Linux Community as a whole make huge strides in terms of change in the last couple of years. When I made my first tentative steps in this new fangled OSS stuff around eight years ago attitudes was very different to how they are today Flame Wars was pretty much an every day occurrence Draw Bridge mentality purveyed most mailing lists, “I know, you don’t, go and find out like I did” which in fact is a translation of RTFM (Read The F’ing Man page) it was pretty frightening for anyone new to the community let alone the software. I often wonder how many would-be users we have lost over the years due to arrogance and bigotry? Its easy to be nostalgic “Oh back in the good old days …...” but honestly there wasn’t much goodness in the old days ‘I was there‘ Networking was horrible, Internet if you was lucky, Sound was rubbish and people threatening to ban you for constantly asking for help or telling you to push off and look on Google. All that seemed to change about two years ago now most communities are friendly and supportive and the possibilities for ‘contributing’ has increased ten fold, everything from Release Party’s, to simple blog posts I myself always used to say “If you are a user then you are contributing” and that still holds true today.
As most people know I’m an Arch Linux and openSUSE user and I love them both but I must say, like it or loath it, you have to take your hat off to the Ubuntu community they really are setting the standard when it comes to user involvement and community spirit.