Becoming a user in the community instead of a contributer

In a blog post from UDS, Charles Profitt writes about how the Ubuntu community is evolving and changing as it grows more popular and becomes perhaps “mainstream.”  He talks about how “new members of our community come from a different culture; they are used to faceless corporations ignoring them unless they act rude and obnoxious.”  And I would like to disagree with him on this.

I think more and more people are using Ubuntu who just want to use Ubuntu and don’t really care about giving back to the project.  In fact I am quickly becoming one of those members of the community.  When I first joined the Ubuntu project during the Warty Warthog release it was because I was looking for a way to give back to a project.  I spent my days as the computer guy for a private company doing everything from password resets and unjamming printers to more technical things like server administration.  I was looking for a way to challenge myself and learn something new during the evening hours and to give back some how to a community of people.
I have found over the releases that more and more I just want to use a piece of technology that just works and meets my needs without having to tinker with the little bits and pieces.  The GREAT news is that 90% of the time Ubuntu works for my personal computing needs.  Granted professionally I have had some problems using Ubuntu in my day to day needs but that’s a whole different story.
Soon I maybe joining the group of “users” who don’t contribute back to the community as much as others do, but it’s not because I’m used to corporations ignoring me, its because I’ve finally found a way to get things done the way I want to get them done.

6 thoughts on “Becoming a user in the community instead of a contributer

  1. Jonathan:

    I apologize for not being more clear in my initial post. The quoted text:

    “Some of the new members of our community come from a different culture; they are used to faceless corporations ignoring them unless they act rude and obnoxious.” was meant to address the issue we have had with user who get mad about issues they have because they are not used to an open, welcoming and responsive community. My concern was that the community would push these people away or segregate them in to a group of ‘lesser’. My personal thoughts, apparently poorly expressed, was that we must be a welcoming community. Ubuntu users are members of our community regardless of their desire to contribute or not.

    I hope I have now made my thoughts a bit more clear.

  2. Charles,

    Thanks for the clarification. Maybe my post was as well thought out either. But I think we need to realize the Ubuntu Community is changing to have more “users” in it and not always being developers/contrbuters

    Ubuntu is a great product and from a personal point of view, meets my needs so I can become a user and consume the great product you all have done

    • Would you consider funding some development of Ubuntu instead?

      Because the one problem with a reduction of producers and an increase of users is that the system is unsustainable no matter how efficient we can become at making software. And sooner of later your great technical experience will fail because of lack of investment from the user community.

      Or worse, development follows the money and does what corporations want and not what users want.

  3. Hi Jonathon,
    I always felt that there are more than one way to contribute to a project. Contribution does not always mean submitting code of fixing bugs. Even advocacy, testing, trying to reproduce bugs and helping the developers, helping your fellow ubuntu users is also a great way to contribute.

    There are times high and low in our life when we don’t get any time to work on it. It is not a time for which we should be ashamed of ourselves. It is also important to make sure your personal life, professional career and financial situation is sound. It would be good if we can balance all of them.

  4. @Martin,

    I would probably consider a way to donate/contribute money to a free open source project

    @Manish,
    A lot of what you are saying is still contriubting to the project… What I am arguing is the community is changing to allow or even have people who just want to use the computer they bought and really don’t care about reporting bugs, etc…

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