Yes, I did that

May 20, 2014

No, I have not lost my mind (assuming I had one in the first place). No, I have neither had a change of heart nor have I turned my coat traitorously in doing what I’m about to tell you.

But yes, I applied on the Canonical web site to replace Jono Bacon as Ubuntu’s Community Leader. Now while I wait for the laughter to die down, and while quite possibly Mark Shuttleworth is laughing himself into a new pair of underwear somewhere on the Isle of Man, I should say that I am serious about my qualifications for this position, as outlined in my resume and cover letter.

No one realizes more than I do that I would need a massive cold front to move into hell rather quickly, freezing it over and providing ideal ski conditions, before I have anything resembling a remote chance for the distant possibility of being mildly considered for this stellar position. I get that, and despite the fact there are others who are qualified who might have an advantage in loyalty to Ubuntu and Canonical, I don’t think my qualifications pale in the least.

But as someone who has praised Ubuntu/Canonical when it was warranted, and pointed out the multiplicity of flaws when they’ve raised their ugly heads, I can say that — agree or not — I have always been honest in my commentary and observations about the distro and its community. Frankly, I don’t care that some consider me a pariah — that for years I’ve been considered by some like the evil wrestler playing havoc on the heroic fan favorite in the ring — because I live to a higher standard that Polonius eloquently nailed in “Hamlet” when he said the following:

“This, above all: to thine own self be true.”

So I don’t find it ironic or hypocritical that I’m applying. Nor do I find it hyperbolic when I say that my qualifications clearly meet and exceed the position being vacated by Jono Bacon. My sincere hope is that the next Ubuntu Community Leader adequately fills Bacon’s humongous shoes — who I think could do that, other than me, follows — and Canonical would be well advised to look outside its ivory tower (and, by the way, it could do worse in not hiring me). I am not a yes-man, and my guess is that Bacon and Mark Shuttleworth are surrounded by them already.

But enough about me.

Jono Bacon’s departure leaves a fairly significant vacuum and there are a few people who, off the top of my head, would excel at this.

If I were Mark Shuttleworth — and he and the Ubuntu Community no doubt regularly breathe a huge sigh of relief that I’m not (as do I, believe me) — I would pay a king’s ransom to Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph, who would absolutely nail it if her community work over the last several years is any indication. She is seemingly tireless in her advocacy and her ubiquity when it comes to being a mainstay at just about every Linux/FOSS event — large or small, whether as a keynoter or a speaker, a booth staffer, or even a speaker to smaller groups — is unparalleled. However, in talking with her this morning, she said she’s happy on the software side of things and wants to stay put.

Pity. Elizabeth has a uniting presence which would serve Ubuntu well during transitional, and arguably difficult, times.

My next draft choice would be Nathan Haines, whom I have known for years and who has been an eloquent advocate and steady leader in the California LoCo for quite some time. Nathan and I have sparred, locked horns, and debated many FOSS/Ubuntu issues over the years, and while we may not ultimately sway each other in the end, he has always been civil and smart in his arguments, and he understands a concept — lost on many — that people can disagree without being disagreeable. There are few in FOSS for which I have as much respect as I do for Nathan, and his leadership skills are top-notch.

Another name that keeps coming up is Mark Terranova. Many might consider Mark as FOSS’s “court jester,” and not being above putting on the Linux penguin suit or the “Beefy Miracle” hot dog suit in the cause of promoting FOSS clearly shows there is no one more passionate than Mark in promoting the open source ideal, both inside and outside the digital realm. What many don’t know about Mark is that he also possesses a wealth of organizational talent to go along with an above-average eloquence behind the podium. Mark’s advocacy has stretched across a matrix of different distros, and that would be a plus in this case.

Chances are Canonical will be hiring from within to fill Jono’s position. My fondest hope is that they pick someone from the wider community, rather than pick someone from the “Inner Party,” to invoke Orwell. I am hoping Nathan and Mark have both applied, and I hope Nathan and Mark are being considered.

And I hope they even pause from laughter momentarily to consider the guy who browbeats them into living up to the lofty FOSS ideal. I would certainly appreciate that.

Oh, before I forget: Here are the hashtags — #TeamMark for discussion about Mark Terranova being Ubuntu’s Community Leader; #NathanTheNewJono for Nathan Haines getting the post; and #TeamLarry for yours truly.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy, Fosstafarian, Larry the Korora Guy, and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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  1. Colonel Panik
    May 20, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    This is another kind of something else.

    Jono was good in that gig, tough boots to fill.
    Liz or MarkDude would be good choices or Steve Buscemi.
    I don’t think the independence of The Free Software Guy would be a good fit.
    Wait… I mean it would be good for Canonabuntu but not so good for the FSG

    Who ever slips me $10 will get my vote.

    • May 20, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Sadly, the only vote that counts is Mark Shuttleworth’s, though I’d gladly slip you $10 if you need it, Colonel 🙂 And I know I’m not exactly his favorite. It’s OK. Now Steve Buscemi . . . .

  2. May 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    That job listing is actually not for Jonos old job notice it says “Reports to Community Manager”.

    Jono mentioned someone from his team will be promoted. That role would probably fill the spot of the person who gets promoted.

    • May 21, 2014 at 6:46 am

      So noted. Regardless, the point stands that thoughtful companies hire the best people whether it’s inside or outside their walls because their priority is quality and the good of the company. And then some companies hire the person with the best set of kneepads because their priority is control, real or imagined.

  3. May 22, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Umm? You didn’t apply on-line to replace Jono.
    A. The UCM role has not been advertised yet.
    B. The only relevant role is the Ubuntu Community Liaison role and that reports to the Ubuntu Community Manager.

  4. May 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Well, Peter, Ben Kerensa beat you to it. See my response to him so I can avoid retyping it.

  5. May 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Larry, we’ve all probably screwed the pooch on this one …

    • May 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      How do you figure?

  6. May 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    What about @popey? I’m thinking they might want somebody located in the U.K.

    • May 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      He’d be good. I still think they need someone here, and that’s why my money’s still on Nathan.

  7. May 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Although Jono would be almost impossible to replace I can think of few people who would do a better job than Nathan Haines. He is motivated, cares, works well with others, believes in what Ubuntu is about, can travel, is articulate and community oriented. I think Liz Krumbah would do an excellant job also, but I get the impression that Nathan would be able to travel more often? It is hard, and I am glad I don’t have to make such a decision because they are both such great people. I do have to lean more toward Nathan though, only because I know him best. He would give it 110% and Ubuntu would never be the same because of the deep and quiet comittment he has.

  1. May 25, 2014 at 8:52 am
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