Ubuntu Community Council Elections

Free Software, Politics 5 Comments »

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Election Time

It’s Ubuntu Community Council election time!

From the voting page (You should’ve received a link if you’re an Ubuntu member):

The Council is responsible for community governance. They are the ultimate arbiter of community disputes, and they nominate candidates for leadership in key positions across the entire project. In selecting your candidates, please consider their ability to act in an independent fashion and exercise good judgement of character, values and tone. We have an enormous community now that spans many different media, regions, technologies and interests. The CC cannot include a representative of every constituency, so members of the CC need to be able to represent the interests of many different groups.

The Candidates

We have a very strong selection of candidates. They are:

How I’m Voting

I firstly read through each candidate’s wiki page. Some had quite sparse information on their wiki pages and websites, while some have either a decent wiki page or link to a page where you can find out more about them. Some of them have also added a paragraph on their wiki page explaining why they are standing for the CC. There are two candidates that I haven’t ever worked with, interacted or met before so I had to rely on their wikis/websites/launchpad-profiles more than the others.


The ballot above is what the default looks like, default values are at 12 so you have to purposely promote the candidates that you want to vote in.

I gave a “1″ ranking to the candidates I absolutely wanted to see in the Community Council. A “2″ for those who I’d really like to be in there, but if they’re not it will be ok, and a “3″ to “6″ for the rest. They’re all good candidates and I didn’t specifically want to vote against anyone. 12 Rankings feel like a bit too much for 7 candidates, especially considering that there’s just 7 candidates and that you’ll probably put some of them on the same ranking level (not sure where I got that idea, there are indeed 12 candidates). The voting statistics will be made public after the election (although all voting will remain anonymous), so I’m interested in seeing how people are going to cast their votes.

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UDS Sessions attended today

Free Software, Games, Jonathan, Politics 2 Comments »

The sessions are quite short, most of them just under an hour which works quite well, most sessions have follow-up sessions planned. Refer to http://summit.ubuntu.com/uds-karmic/ for further details.

Improving LoCo Team Events

This was the first session I attended today. We discussed package and bug jams and how it could be improved. Also the possibility of introducing marketing jams where users would get together to produce local marketing content such as posters, CD covers, etc in local languages. A requirement was identified for a Facebook-like events engine. Currently loco-teams are finding Facebook a handy tool for this, and something similar may be included in Launchpad for all Ubuntu related events based on the current sprints scheduler. The community directory is 98% complete, Jono will provide us with more details soon when it’s just about complete.

Refocusing The Ubuntu Spirit

This was mostly a discussion that went into various different directions. The Ubuntu Code of Conduct came up and it was discussed how new users sometimes are a bit too diligent trying to enforce it on everyone else in the community. It was agreed that the CoC is a guideline on how people should conduct themselves and that it shouldn’t be used to through books at people, so to speak. Keeping users and developers motivated was also discussed, and the possibility of some kind of showcase of success stories from users around the world.

Free Culture in Ubuntu

Getting free culture on the Ubuntu discs is hard due to the lack of free space. Free culture could be provided in Ubuntu via links and default subscriptions in Firefox, Liferea, Miro etc.

Tutorial on Upstart and How to Convert to it

Scott James Remnant did an introduction on Upstart. Upstart replaces Init on Ubuntu and migration for all init scripts to Upstart is planned for Karmic. Upstart is quite nifty and replaces lots of duplicate and error-prone work that package maintainers had to implement in init before. You can specify environment variables or put entire scripts into the sections before, during and after a process is started. Upstart also keeps an eye on the list of PID’s that it spawned and won’t break when a user does something like execute “apache2ctl stop”.

Meet Your Users

This was a workshop/discussion about personas, archetypes and stereotypes and how personas are used to define the edges of our user universe. We wrote down who we think our users are and they were posted up the board and sorted in to different groups. I think this was the first BoF I’ve ever attended that was led by a women. Speaking of which, there are much more women attending this UDS than previously. One of the results seem to be that there’s some more attention given to some of the more softer issues in Ubuntu. Hopefully it also means that our community has built a good reputation of being welcomming and mature.

Edubuntu Session Tomorrow

Tomorrow at 9:00 UTC (11:00 in Barcelona) we’re having the Edubuntu session where we’ll discuss the Edubuntu stategy document, it’s been in draft for a while and we will hopefully have it finilized very soon (maube even tomorrow if we’re lucky). Some people couldn’t make it, so we’ll try to keep #edubuntu in sync with discussions if the Internet holds up.

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SA Elections 2009

Free Software, Jonathan, Politics 3 Comments »

The Contenders

Today is the national and provincial elections in South Africa. I just made my vote, and it’s the first time I ever voted. It was supposed to be the second time I voted. I didn’t vote last time, not because of apathy so much as that I knew it wouldn’t have made so much of a difference who I voted for.

This year it’s quite different, the ruling ANC party has a break-away faction called COPE, and it’s quite possible that the ANC might not get a majority (2/3rds) vote. The DA has also gained lots of momentum since the last elections, and it’s quite possible that they may win the provincial elections in the Western Cape province. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m not a fan of the ANC. While they have done a lot for our country that I will always be grateful for, I am also disgusted at what it has become and how it is run. Their leader, who will most probably be our president, is immoral and corrupt, and I won’t support him or his party. The question I’ve been wondering about the last 6 months or so is who will I vote for? Our parties are mostly lame and petty. The reasons they give in their campaigns to vote for them are things like “Vote for us so that we can win!” and “Vote for us so that the other parties won’t win!” or “A brighter future for all!”. All vague and boring, they mostly haven’t really provided any good reasons to vote for them.

My Choice

I considered voting COPE for a while, being fresh and new and being low baggage. The problem is that I couldn’t really find enough supporting reasons to vote for them, so I looked at the ID. ID actually looks ok, and I like Patricia de Lille (even though she can be a bit of a freedom hater at times). I like her passion and she seems to really care for the poor people in our country. The problem is that it more or less ends there, the ID’s mission seems mostly to give free shit like medicine and schooling to poor people. Not bad at all, but we need a bigger plan than that for our country. I ended up not voting for them, but if they do some more work and planning into what they’ll do for our country (whether elected or not), I might end up voting for them in the future. I came across the NOPE website which isn’t really a political party, but if they were I’d probably vote for them. I didn’t want to vote for the DA because there’s this general stigma that if you’re black you vote ANC and if you’re white you vote DA. I also can’t relate to Helen Zille much at all, I think she needs to do more to reach out to the youth. I’m also apposed to all the religious parties, religion and politics shouldn’t be mixed.

I did end up voting DA for the following reasons:

  • They promise not to form a coalition with the ANC or other ANC coalitions, so when you vote DA, you know your vote stays there
  • Hellen Zille (the leader of the D.A) have been running Cape Town very well, and I think the DA will do a much better job of running the Western Cape province if they win the provincial elections.
  • The DA is pretty much the only party that has a chance of beating the ANC in the Western Cape, I absolutely HATE the notion of voting for someone just because they have the best chance of winning, but in this case I do think that it makes sense to do so

CLUG Discussions

On the CLUG IRC channel and last night at the commitee meeting we’ve been talking about what the different parties run as web servers, content management systems, etc. I thought I’d post a summary, according to what Netcraft says.

Most parties also require you to add a www. to their subdomain, someone should point them to no-www.


  • Web Server: Apache/2.2.9 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.2.6-2ubuntu4.1 with Suhosin-Patch mod_ssl/2.2.9 OpenSSL/0.9.8g.
  • CMS: Custom/static PHP.
  • Requires WWW: Yes.


  • Web Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  • CMS: Custom/static ASP.
  • Requries WWW: Yes.


  • Web Server: Apache/1.3.34 (Debian) mod_auth_pam/1.1.1 mod_gzip/ PHP/4.4.4-8+etch6 mod_ssl/2.8.25 OpenSSL/0.9.8c mod_perl/1.29 mod_jk/1.2.18 AuthMySQL/4.3.9-2 FrontPage/
  • CMS: Custom/static HTML.
  • Requries WWW:No, but it redirects you to the www. subdomain.


  • Web Server: Zope/(Zope 2.9.7-final, python 2.4.4, linux2) ZServer/1.1
  • CMS: Plone
  • Requries WWW:No.

Stefano pointed out last night that most of the parties are outsourcing their web work. I still think it’s interesting to see what they are running. If it counted for anything then the ID would probably win.

Leaving the Country?

Some people have said that they’re leaving the country if Zuma becomes president and if the ANC wins in the Western Cape and if the ANC gains majority rule. I think South Africa is a great country, and I don’t have plans to leave any time soon. You do have to ask yourself at some point though “How bad to things need to get before I should leave?”. I’ve been spending lots of time in Gauteng over the last year. If things get as bad in the Western Cape as it is in Gauteng at the moment, then I will consider leaving. Not a clue where too though, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather want to live.

Starting a political party?

I’ve been thinking of starting a political party for years now (since I was 17 or so). Back then I thought of going into politics when I’m 50 years old or older. When the last elections came and gone, I started thinking of starting my own political party a bit earlier, maybe closer to 30. I’ll be doing some research and if I actually do decide to start something for the next elections, I’ll start doing something about it in the first 6 months of next year. I was talking to an old friend at the voting stations this morning and he was asking me how I’d pay for the start-up and compaign fees. Previous years I thought that I’d save up the money and pay for as much of it as I can, but now I think that if I can’t even gather enough people to raise some funds for running the campaign, then I probably shouldn’t go into politics in the first place.

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It’s our turn now

Jonathan, Politics No Comments »

The US elections is now history, it’s over, a president has been elected and sworn in.

Next up, is probably the most important democratic election in South Africa since the very first democratic elections in 1994. We’ll have many new parties to choose from in this election, by some reports more than a 100. One of the most important new-commers of course, is the COPE party, a breakaway faction of the current ruling ANC.

I haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for yet, although I know who I’m definitely not voting for, but that’s another post on it’s own.

What I want to emphasise now is that you should go register to vote, if you haven’t done so. The last opportunity to register is on the 7th and 8th of February.

Please do the following:

  • Ask your friends if they have registered
  • Offer to go to their houses and wake them up on registration weekend and to take them to a registration office
  • I’ve slammed together a really quick register-to-vote banner that I’m putting on my blog, feel free to do the same. You can get an svg version here.


    All around the world, the youth are becomming more interested in politics and taking action in improving the state of their country and their future. It’s now our turn, the youth of South Africa, to show the world what we’re made of.

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    Free Software, Jonathan, Politics 15 Comments »

    Today is George W. Bush‘s last day as president of the United States of America. *sigh of relief*

    Not only that, be we’re getting a U.S. president that actually promotes things like hope and volunteerism. Some sceptical people have said things like “he’s just a politician, he’ll say anything that will get him into office!”. Even if that was the case, I can’t remember when last I heard a politician talk that could even pretend to care as much as he does. I’m really happy about his inauguration.

    Barack Obama

    Aparently you’ll need Silverlight to view the inauguration online, although Paul Sladen has posted what could be used as a possible workaround for Linux users. I think I’ll just stick to good old T.V.

    UPATE: You can now watch it using Moonlight

    Apparently there are already bets going around on which words Obama might be using during the inauguration.

    I’m a bit bet-shy at the moment, I lost a bet to Morgan Collett last month, I said Debian Lenny would be released before the end of December 2008. I knew it was a bit of a risky bet though :)

    Today also happens to be Martin Luther King Jr Day, a public holiday in the US. In about 20 minutes from now (17:00 UTC), CNN will be broadcasting his famous “I have a Dream” speach.

    (Images from Wikipedia)

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    D.A. inspired by Obama campaign logo?

    Politics 4 Comments »

    I just saw the new Democratic Alliance’s (South African Political Party) new logo. Is it just me, or does it look very familiar?

    dalogo obama08_thumblogo200

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    Free Software, Politics, Project Mayhem 5 Comments »

    Or alternatively titled, “Yes you did”. Thank you America, this was a great speech to wake up to. I hope that it’s just the start of many great things to come.

    PS: On CNN they just interviewed a political analyst (didn’t catch his name but I’ll try to get the video), who talked about the Cathedral and Bazaar, and he talked about the Open Source movement and compared Obama to it!

    UPDATE: Thanks to Meneer R who provided the link to the YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-4afdMalVA

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