Canonical Supplies New Tools for Linux Evangelists
Ubuntu may not quite be a religion, but it has its committed evangelists all the same. And now, Canonical has made their jobs easier with the release of an official “Ubuntu Advocacy Development Kit.” Will Ubuntu fans soon be showing up on your doorstep, asking you to convert? Probably not, but the move is an interesting endeavor nonetheless.
As Jono Bacon, official “community manager” for the Ubuntu world, explained recently on his blog, he and others conceptualized the Advocacy Development Kit as “everything you need to get started spreading the word about Ubuntu.” That includes posters, tips on evangelizing Ubuntu as a platform and instructions for forming and administering LoCo Teams, the groups of Ubuntu enthusiasts organized at the local level.
A few days ago, the kit became available as a PPA, which means it can be “installed” via the Ubuntu Software Center and then loaded (via the Web browser) by searching in the Dash of Ubuntu’s Unity interface. To me, it seems a little strange to distribute the kit in this way, since it’s mostly just a set of simple files that could be just as easily downloaded directly through a Web browser, but perhaps Bacon and his team have their reasons for preferring the PPA method.
At the moment, the kit’s content remains pretty sparse, and it doesn’t seem to contain anything that’s not already available from other Ubuntu channels. But it does amalgamate some artwork–including various iterations of the Ubuntu logo and DVD cover graphics–into a single location. It also contains links to the Ask Ubuntu online support forum, which is interesting because as far as I can tell, Ask Ubuntu is a third-party resource owned by Stack Exchange and, unlike the alternative support site UbuntuForums.org, it has no official affiliation with Canonical.
Meanwhile, the most noticeable component of the kit are relatively detailed instructions (mostly copied from the Ubuntu Wiki, it seems) on joining or creating a LoCo Team, which seems to be the kit’s central focus. For Canonical, then–or the part of it that Bacon and the other developers behind the kit represent, at least–forging a stronger Ubuntu community at the local level is thus apparently a major goal. In a way, that focus harkens back to an earlier era of computing, before the Internet made local connections less relevant and organization at the physical as well as virtual level was vital for movements such as open source.
It’s hard to envision the kit becoming a vital resource at this point in making Ubuntu LoCo Teams “ubiquitous” (to borrow Bacon’s adjective), given that the content remains quite minimal and unoriginal. But if nothing else, this is a call for reinvigorating enthusiasm for the open source operating system at the grass-roots level, which may be exactly what Ubuntu needs as other Linux distributions, such as Linux Mint, challenge it for market share and Canonical’s endeavors in areas including tablets stray further and further away from the traditional desktop Linux platform.