From the beginning of the Ubuntu project the Ubuntu community has discussed, designed, and planned each release of Ubuntu at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS), which happens every six months at the beginning of a new release cycle.
The event, organized and funded by Canonical, is designed to get the brightest minds in the Ubuntu community together and develop a rigorous set of blueprints and work items for the forthcoming release of Ubuntu. These blueprints are tracked openly in Launchpad and work items tracked openly at http://status.ubuntu.com.
UDS has had a long culture of openness and transparency, including remote participation features, but Canonical wants to continue improving and refining the openness and accessibility of the event. Furthermore, we also want to open the opportunity for those to participate who cannot travel physically to the event, particularly those who can bring specialist experience and expertise across the convergent goals of Ubuntu across the client and cloud orchestration in the server. Finally with the change and evolution of Ubuntu and the increasing diversity of experience joining the Ubuntu community, we want to be able to have community-wide discussions more often than every six months.
With these goals in mind the Ubuntu Developer Summit is transitioning over to an online event that takes place for two days every three months, and driven by live video discussion sessions, complete with integrated discussion, note-taking, and harnessing social media. This online event will replace future physical UDSs, including the event originally planned in Oakland, California in May 2013.
In the new online format the event will make extensive use of Google+ Hangouts On Air split across four channels, Client, Server & Cloud, Community, and App Developers, with each channel having two video streams totalling 8 potential concurrent UDS topics. UDS sessions will be spread across these channels with integrated IRC, Etherpad, Social Media sharing, and links to blueprints and specs.
As with the physical UDS, the event will also include keynotes, plenary sessions and lightning talks; providing a great online venue for planning the future of Ubuntu as well as delivering news, education, demos and other related material. As with the physical UDS, the new online format is open to all to participate as a contributor or viewer, and we are confident that the online format will open up UDS to more and more people around the world.
The new format of UDS provides an enhanced level of openness and transparency that is optimized for online participants. Unlike the physical UDS where a portion of the agenda is recorded in video form, every session in the new UDS format will be recorded and available from the schedule. Likewise, with the format of the event being online, the audio and video quality of the online experience should be much improved compared to recording a physical room of people with a single microphone and camera and variable sound levels. The full set of recordings will also make reviewing past sessions easier and make it easier for the press, enthusiasts, partners and others to review the details of the discussions.
The event will continue to be scheduled at http://summit.ubuntu.com and due to the lighter nature of organizing an online event as opposed to a physical event, the new UDS format will be scheduled approximately every three months (as opposed to every six months). This will provide an increased level of participation and discussion around how we create and build Ubuntu across the desktop, devices and cloud.
With the fantastic level of interest in the recent phone and tablet announcements, we decided that we couldn’t wait until May to run this new format for UDS, so the first online UDS will be taking place next week from 5th – 6th March 2013 from
4pm 2pm UTC – 10pm 8pm UTC and the next event will take place around the same time as the originally scheduled physical UDS in Oakland; we will confirm the dates soon. Canonical will review the success of the next two online events and then then assess whether to continue the online format. We look forward to seeing you at the inaugural online UDS next week!
From Jono Bacon.