Leading Utopia

My leading experiences in open-source/nonprofit projects

Lubuntu Released — 23 de April de 2015

Lubuntu Released

Hello readers,

After so much time preparing the release, it finally happened. Lubuntu Vivid Vervet 15.04 is live and it was release during this afternoon, and it all went peacefully and successfully.  The job was semi-done, due to my previous anticipation. Hence, I pretty much did all of the to-do list in mid-February/March, allowing us to focus solely in the development and coordination of all teams.

To be honest, at the time I felt it would be easier. It was not. In some days before, I was constantly checking the release notes, links and links to older versions. It was not an easy task, even though I did a lot of things beforehand – My conclusion is that I should always do it, regardless of the release genre. As I said before, the next can easily become very difficult, so then I really need to prepare the pages beforehand.

In my perspective is a very interesting job and it does allow you to connect with all teams simultaneously, which is great and a necessary task, unless you want a release without its notes. Overall, super fun, but very complicated task. And, sometimes, very unappreciated.

Oh well, Lubuntu Manual – it is your turn!

Thank you for reading.
Gustavo Silva

Lubuntu Manual — 10 de April de 2015

Lubuntu Manual

Hi all,

One of the things that I most wanted to do for Lubuntu was to create the distribution manual, a similar PDF file as the Ubuntu Manual, whereas one can find several different instructions to get things running normally with Lubuntu. However, setting this thing up has not been an easy task. That is why I decided to post this here.

Initially, I was convinced that I would have to write everything by myself, but at least I had Ubuntu’s version to get some inspiration. Eventually, I’ve crossed over Ubuntu’s Launchpad page , where I observed how they do their Manual. So my first thought was… What the hell is this? Why is this used?
But, one can easily understand why this type of setting is very important, specially when we are collaborating in a worldwide basis. Creating a single .TeX file would make it tougher to collaborate simultaneously, while we would have to have it hosted somewhere. Well, there are many other reasons, but they all lead to the same result: It is not beneficial to the project. Hence, I had to come up with something similar to the Lubuntu’s version.

Launchpad contemplates a neat integration with Bazaar, even though that tool is not as powerful as GitHub. Oh damn, Git is pretty cool. Well, the effects are the same, but I really didn’t like Bazaar. However, in order to properly contribute to the open source community, I had to opt for Bazaar (bzr). Bzr allows one to contribute to another branch if need, while Github wouldn’t. Nevertheless, the baby is born. The project is also hosted on Github, just in case. Here’s how it should look like:

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This setup is divided into different sections, where each folder contains its section, in a TeX file. This is way more scalable than my initial idea. As long as I don’t delete the project, anyone can collaborate. And I assume I can delegate my owner’s rights to someone else, if I eventually cannot contribute to the project any more. This is not a final version. This is a very raw draft. Oh, and of course that the GitHub project will be simultaneously updated as well, in case anyone from GitHub decides to contribute.

Even though this is not a priority task, it is something that will take a while to do – hence, I need help. But I am super excited and happy for this. Finally overcame my “fear” of GitHub and similar platforms, and also learnt new things, thanks to this. How great can that be?

Thank you for reading.
Gustavo Silva

Fresh (re-)start — 9 de April de 2015

Fresh (re-)start

Hello everyone,

Again, it has been a long time since I last posted something here. Well, and unfortunately again, there has not been much to talk about. Only bad things.
Therefore, this post will be dedicated to explain certain things and a recap of everything that has happened over the past 2-3 months.

In regard to Lubuntu’s Wiki, I am still the team leader and I am still collaborating for that. The release is coming and everything is prepared. There is major decision to be made, but that will cause more changes on other teams. Rest assured, that will not cause this team to collapse.
But, good thing that I have already prepared the release. The only thing that is left to do is actually converting all draft pages to official ones. So I got that running for this team.

However, doing this job alone has costed me a lot of time and I haven’t managed to do everything I wish I could have done so far. There is a lot of things that I’d like to do for Lubuntu. For instance, the creation of the official Lubuntu Manual[1], but that requires a huge load of time. It is a long-lasting task, indeed, and I will definitely start doing it after the release. Hopefully my RL will allow me such thing.

In regard to the blog itself, I think I will also start talking about my contribution to Phonebloks, something that start in the end of last year. I found out about Phonebloks in its early beginnings but never got the chance to actually meet the guys. Well, I finally managed to reach them and succeeded to get involved.
Phonebloks is an intermediate between the electronic industry and consumers. We do not want to build phones or any sort of hardware. Instead, we are trying to inspire all firms that are producing these type of hardware to go modular, a concept introduced by Dave Hakkens, the founder of Phonebloks. There is a lot you can learn about the concept, idea and what we are doing in the website. You can even participate in our community, if you are interested!

Why can this be relevant to the blog? Well, even though I am not leading a team in this case, it also involves a non-profit project. It also has a huge load of different challenges that could be “easily” surpassed if we had a different set of resources. Our motivation here comes from the heart and desire to see this concept actually working and in place. It has evolved significantly since 2013, when Dave posted the first ever video about it.[2]

My work here is to take care of any partner-related issue and keep finding more. This role is indeed necessary for Phonebloks, since our mission is to inspire the industry, and what better than getting them closer to us, as partners? In fact, our partners have immediate feedback from possible-clients, since we have both sides of the market within our range. That is what we do.
But, you are already imagining how hard this is. This type of R&D investments has a lot of implications for huge corporations. Of course they do not accept this partners idea that easily and most of the times they are just developing things on their own. But we keep trying. We actually are trying several strategies to reach them and I am thinking about changing the way that companies can get involved with us, making things more appealing to them.

But, this is something that I will keep mentioning about in a (preferable) short future.

See you soon,


[1] – A similar document to the Ubuntu Official Manual.
[2] – And you should see the the first year video as well.

Thank you for reading.
Gustavo Silva

Updating the thing — 17 de March de 2015

Updating the thing

So, it has been a (very) long time since I last posted something on this blog, in regard to these two affairs.  Well, there is two reasons to explain such: First, haven’t got much time, to be honest. Secondly, there has not been much going on, unfortunately.

However, I have got some things to mention. In regard to Lubuntu’s Wiki, we were able to deliver a small restructuring of its pages map. We also created some internal pages, where teams can now create their own drafts or even just drop information for later use.
This idea came up while we were dealing with a point release. First of all, we needed to create a step-by-step to-do list for this team, which I did, based on what was needed to be done for this release. Then I have realized it was useful if teams could have their information ready. This would allow us to simply organize information more appropriately. It was a positive month for us. Now we are waiting patiently for the next release, on April. Oh yes, that will be extremely tough, specially when we lack human resources and some of the guys already mentioned they will not be around!!

Things haven’t been so bright in Open Economics. It was not easy to find some projects to get it running again and we are still lacking people’s activity. It is crucial to do so if we ever want to get more people involved. Nobody will fill enthusiasm to get involved in something that doesn’t work, right?
After losing a potential project due to lack of people, I allowed everyone to pick a topic. It seems the Oil Industry is something they are keen on, thus we moved forward. Once again, it was not easy to schedule a meeting, and people forced me to just say a time/date. Hence, we had 3 people around. However, it was highly productive! We managed to explore what we wanted to do and what could we do, always considering the resources we have – proper management, oh yeah!
So, we basically have everything set up, but we need people (again) to run it. But I am not too concerned with that. It is an exploratory analysis and I am sure we will be able to do something more with it than what was planned. On the other hand, there were some internal issues that were bothering me severely. I finally got access to the mailing list, but nobody was able to send anything to the list because they forgot to give me the password – and it took them almost a week to give it to me.

To summarize, motivating people is a very exciting, but extremely difficult challenge. Without having the main motivator to play with (money), things get even harder and that reflects people’s attitude and posture towards doing something for free.
Hopefully things will run smoother in the next couple of weeks. And that will allow me to post more updates frequently, something that I really want to do.

Thank you for reading.
Gustavo Silva

Lubuntu’s Wiki – Future huge challenge — 2 de February de 2015

Lubuntu’s Wiki – Future huge challenge

A week has passed by and most of the next release needs are done.

For now, of course. On the release day, what we need to do is to pass on our drafts to the official page. Currently, we use a simple system of adding a +1 or DRAFT after the page’s URL and then we simply prepare all links and information to the following release/update. Later, we need to make these pages official – Therefore, we just replace the content and remove those +1 pages.

However, one of my intentions was to rebuild our Wiki structure, in order to make it more readable, easy to use and useful, either for power users, or new comers. That is what is next, and the huge challenge. It consists of designing our current structure, either on paper or using other tools (I’m aiming at you, Google Drawings) just to have an idea. Later, we must think of its structure and how can we improve it. After the release, we will then proceed to rebuild our structure as the group decides. Of course, all these discussions will proceed to our Launchpad page and our mailing list. It will probably go to our Mailing List because it makes the job easier. I will leave the Launchpad page to coordinate the group’s efforts to make it happen.

I decided to post this article here because this is part of leading such team. The purpose of the blog is not to make it my personal diary about both of these projects, but also to create a repository of a leader’s thoughts, in open-source/nonprofit projects. These are tasks that may not occur frequently too. In my opinion, leading these type of projects is quite challenging and, thus, it makes sense to have someone reporting his/her experience, making it educational for someone else.

Thank you for reading.
Gustavo Silva