Hi Reddit!

Delighted to be back for another AMA!

Proof: http://www.jonobacon.org/about/ (see the top of the page) and https://twitter.com/jonobacon/status/422784298643501056

Happy to answer questions about anything...community management, Ubuntu, Open Source, podcasting, music...let's have some fun!

For those of you who don't know me, a summary of my background (the details are on http://www.jonobacon.org/about/):

I am a professional community manager and I have been actively working to explore and grow the profession of community management and how we build collaborative communities.

By day I work at Canonical at the Ubuntu Community Manager (since 2006), running a team of community managers who work across a large global community of contributors. I also run a consulting practice that consults to build internal and external communities in large organizations (e.g. Deutsche Bank, Intel, Sony Mobile, SAP...). My work here affords me an opportunity to explore different models of community management, governance, and working together, and the balance between volunteers and commercial interests.

I share much of the output of this work in my writing and speaking. I wrote The Art of Community by O'Reilly (http://artofcommunityonline.org/), now in its second edition, founded the main annual event for community leaders, the Community Leadership Summit (http://communityleadershipsummit.com/) (taking place this year on the 18th/19th July in Portland), and I speak at conferences about community management (e.g. .se Days, OSCON, Engadget Expand, FISL...) about the evolution of the profession, and the art and science of building things together.

Outside of work I have been podcasting for years in shows that relate to communities and Open Source. I co-founded LugRadio (http://lugradio.org/) that ran for four years, then Shot Of Jaq (http://www.kryogenix.org/shotofjaq.html), and recently started a podcast about technology, Open Source, politics, gaming and more called Bad Voltage (http://badvoltage.org/).

Community has also infected by other hobbies. I have been playing in metal bands since I was 16, and everything I have ever recorded and released was made available under a Creative Commons licensed. My last band, Severed Fifth, entirely crowd-funded our album, and the full archive of my work is at http://www.jonobacon.org/creative/

Ask away, friends. :-)

UPDATE: Thanks for a fun AMA, see you next time!

Comments: 629 • Responses: 137  • Date: 

lemabu47 karma


jonobacon80 karma

Sorry, this is a long answer.

This is something I have wrestled with too, and something I have explored different methods of trying to fix. Rather unsurprisingly, there is no silver bullet.

Communities are something of a double-edged sword. On one hand it never ceases to amaze me how selfless people can be in building something that benefits the wider community. Open Source is a beautiful example of that; people commit hours of their time to creating something that others will enjoy too. On the flip side, it never ceases to amaze me how hateful, rude, and disrespectful some people can be.

This is something that afflicts Open Source but is not unique to it. Just take a look at many YouTube comments, some unfortunate Reddit threads, website comment boxes, tweets, IRC discussions, mailing list flamewars etc. This is more widely an issue with how people communicate online.

Most typically the people who are hateful use their hate as a method of coping with a situation they don't like because they don't possess the skills to solve problems in a more structured manner. When people lack constructive problem-solving or debating skills, and you remove body-language from the mix and a sense of accountability of their actions (due to anonymous accounts), people often act like dicks because it is the easy way out. In other words: if someone is hateful, they have exhausted the value they can bring, and are not worth listening to anyway.

Now let me clear: this does not mean we should ignore direct, pointed feedback that is uncomfortable to hear. I always welcome very direct discussions...these are often our most defining moments, but when it descends into hate, it is clear that the commentator has little value to bring to the discussion and our efforts are better spent elsewhere.

Where this does affect Open Source is more specifically with entitlement. There are some people who discover Open Source and the mechanics of community-led development and they feel this entitles them to a vote or say in how it evolves. This just isn't the case.

Open Source is rarely a democracy...it is a meritocracy in which good contributions grow a reputation that in turn affects decision-making. Invariably the majority of hate comes from people who are passionate about using Open Source, but rarely contribute to the core projects (in coding, docs, advocacy or other traditional routes), and who treat the Open Source community like People magazine and love to get embroiled in the gossip, and inter-project spats. This is a total waste of time and a distraction, whichever side of the fence you sit. It is almost as if some people treat Open Source like a MMORPG in which you get XP for arguing with others over how pure of a Free Software fan you are. I would rather play a game that is actually fun (Battlefield 4 FTW!).

In terms of the solution, it has to be multi-faceted. I have tried codes of conduct, anti-harassment policies, different governances models, etc, but these traditional methods depend on people following pre-defined rules. As such, we need to grow a culture in which anti-social behavior is essentially downvoted in reddit terms, and this requires leaders and core contributors to behave in a professional and engaging manner, and backed up with suitable moderation. Communities with anti-social leaders often result in anti-social sub-communities.

I also believe that part of the solution is helping people to be able to deal with and cope with hateful commentary and put it in perspective (just because you read it, doesn't mean it is true), and I am working on something right now to support this side of the problem.

PjotrOrial6 karma

Open Source like a MMORPG

There are also open source MMORPG, checkout themanaworld.org :) I have been a contributor some time ago. :)

jonobacon4 karma


hexacat24 karma

What's your opinion on truly free software such of RMS? Obviously it's not something you've integrated into Ubuntu but I think privacy is what pushed me to switch to be fully free...

It kind of makes me wonder what the point of pushing open source to the general public is if you don't receive the full benefits of it besides the monetary aspect of not supporting monopolies - which I fully agree with. Of course the Amazon integration kind of points in what direction it may go...

jonobacon42 karma

Like anything in life, it is a balance.

I have tremendous respect for RMS and the efforts of the FSF. They provide a good guiding path for what truly free looks like. I think it is important though to remember that they are one extreme side of where the pendulum can swing, with a traditional proprietary software company on the other side.

The challenge with fully free within those definitions is that the user experience often isn't there. Certain hardware doesn't work without binary blobs, certain codecs are required to play media, etc etc.

I believe the best approach is to aim to build a fully Free Software platform within the definition of the FSF, but also accept that we will need to make some trade-offs in some areas, but to limit those areas and to focus on the right areas with Free Software.

What saddens me about the more extreme FSF-orientated focus is that I believe more people could enjoy the benefits of a 99% Free Software system if we compromise on the 1%, but in the eyes on the FSF that 1% is a deal-breaker. This is why Ubuntu is not a recommended distribution from them. We can have more people enjoy the benefits of Free Software if we make this trade-off, which is what we do in Ubuntu.

But this is the nature of being an extreme...the FSF provide solid guiding path of what purity looks like, and we use them as one component in building something that is designed to have mass adoption with Free Software principles.

HumbleBeaver21 karma

In your personal opinion (and I will be compelled to give mine) what is the biggest "Why haven't we fixed this yet!" irritation you have for Ubuntu on the desktop? Not talking about lack of this kind of application or what have you, but just day to day irritations.

jonobacon18 karma

Hah, great question!

When I plug my monitor in to my laptop I get weird glitchy low-res video, and then when I open the Control Center it is fixes it.

Minor irritation, but a bit annoying.

zelllooooooo18 karma

Seriously...is that your real last name?

jonobacon15 karma


BeerIsFine18 karma

After NSA behaviours towards Internet privacy were revealed by Snowden, you, as a person in a very influencing open source community, do you feel open source software/ideas have gained more respect/given more attention? How?

jonobacon25 karma

Awesome question, and awesome username. :-)

I think the NSA revelations have shaken up attitudes to privacy and data, but I think Snowden was just another contributor to a longer line of concerns.

Such concerns include Facebook and other social media privacy concerns, big hacks such as the Sony Playstation hack a while back, more and more productivity services living in the cloud (e.g. Google Docs), and more. We are increasingly heading to a world where applications and data is all served externally, which is fine when the trust model is there, but the NSA revelations demonstrated clearly that the trust model isn't there and this is resulting in paranoia and a feeling that everything is world-readable by the government, which I don't think is true.

I think this is going to result in a new world where encryption and enhanced security is a core requirement as opposed to something that only privacy dorks care about. Open Source is the best place to perform this work as the code can be publicly audited.

balrogath18 karma

Has Canonical been working with Valve on projects such as Steam for Linux (as Ubuntu is the only supported distro), Steam OS, etc?

What's your favorite desktop environment (if Unity, what is your second favorite)?

Is 2014 the year of the Linux Desktop?

jonobacon22 karma

Yes, we worked with Valve with Steam for Linux. They came to us expressing an interest to bring Steam to Linux and we worked with them to resolve some outstanding technical issues in the platform to run Steam. We also explained different aspects of the Open Source model. Valve are a great bunch of people doing great work.

My fave desktop is indeed Unity as I like my desktop to blend into the background so I can focus on content, but as a second-place I would say GNOME 2.x.

I would not want to suggest that any given year is the year of the Linux desktop (who would? :-)), but I think 2014 is going to be a defining year for Ubuntu and our convergence strategy.

SomePerson2416 karma

Jono: You have blogged in the past slamming people like Richard Stallman and your boss Mark Shuttleworth has called people who disagree with Canonical the Open Source Tea Party. Why has vitriol become a way of responding to people who disagree with Canonical?

Do you think Canonical could benefit from a PR person who could more profesionally respond to things.

jonobacon34 karma

Hey, good question.

I screwed up with the RMS thing. I should never have called him childish...it was a potshot. I still hugely disagree with his notion that it is "spyware"...which I also think is a potshot, but irrespective, I should not have degraded him by calling him childish.

I screwed up and I apologized. I am a human being and not perfect.

I don't think we need a PR person; I think we have things generally well taken care of. People screw up, that happens sometimes.

Zahne197716 karma

What are your feelings on Mint? Also, is there anything you can do to rough up Netflix to add Linux support?

jonobacon15 karma

I love Mint. I think they are doing a great job, and it is awesome to see another Free Software platform doing well.

tehingo14 karma

There are no UDSs anymore, only vUDSs.

As a community manager, does this make you concerned? How important do you think real-world interaction between developers is?

It would be great if you could elaborate on whether there were any reasons but financial ones to discontinue the UDS. Will they ever come back?

jonobacon21 karma

This was a tough decision, with no perfect solution. Let me explain.

When I joined Canonical UDSs were small and focused; around 100 people, a limited set of tracks, working on two things, a desktop and a server, built from taking bits of upstream and assembling them into Ubuntu.

Our last in-person UDS was 600+ people with Ubuntu on desktop, phone, TV, tablet, server, and cloud, with a range of upstreams many of which we drive, complete with engineers, partners, marketing folks and more.

The core format of UDS had not changed, but the practical output of those discussion sessions really started struggling with the size of the event. This output combined with the fact that Ubuntu cost a fortune to put on, meant that we had an event that expensive and didn't get the level of output that we used to have.

This was further complicated by the fact that if you were not at UDS you were in the dark; it depended on attendees making notes and updating blueprints, which had variable results.

As such, Mark (Shuttleworth) and the other execs had the idea of running the event online. I was tasked with coming up with a new format online, which is what you see today. So far the online format has worked well in terns of discussing direction and formulating plans, but obviously the social component of getting together physically is sorely missing.

We agreed to do two events and then I would present a report to the execs to see how well it was going. My report suggested that the online events are good for check-pointing progress and re-evaluating plans, but they lack the social piece and it is a stark limitation.

We explored methods of doing a smaller UDS, but to have all the right people there was simply not doable...at a minimum it would be 200 - 300 people, and we would have some of the similar issue that we are seeking to solve.

I think we will do another UDS in person at some point, but I suspect it will be a different format and style to what we used to have. I think our focus is better spent on planning openly and transparently on a day to day manner.

tehingo4 karma

Thanks, that actually makes the decision very understandable to me. Hopefully we can see UDS back in another format, and maybe with a shorter frequency, some time in the future.

The only problem would be that it will most likely not be possible for the community to attend. Might it be an idea to host something like a global Ubuntu conference bi-annually or so, with a financial model that is not entirely relying on Canonical?

jonobacon8 karma


NorbitGorbit13 karma

besides ubuntu what other distros are you excited by?

jonobacon42 karma

I love the work Fedora do. They are a great bunch of people who maintain a great distro. I think it is different to Ubuntu and more along the lines of a traditional Linux distro, but I think they serve that really well.

I also like how the Elementary folks are evolving their distro and their focus on design.

Of course, nothing, not even Ubuntu, compares to Rebecca Black Linux.

doc_oclops13 karma

How can an aspiring independent developer make money from open source?

jonobacon27 karma

Make an awesome app and sell it in an app store. Make the code available, but sell it anyway. If people like it, they will buy it.

zelllooooooo3 karma

Can you point me in the direction of the quickest way to hit the ground running with Ubuntu app development?

jonobacon12 karma

http://developer.ubuntu.com - write a QML app. :-)

tehingo12 karma

Looking forward to Unity 8 on the desktop!

How confident are you that we will see it by 14.10? Will it be on par with the features of 13.10, or will we be missing any?

jonobacon16 karma

Glad you are excited...I am too. :-)

I am reasonably confident. I think 15.04 is likely though.

I expect the acceptable criteria is feature-parity, so it should work like 14.04.

makinitnl12 karma

Are there any plans to proceed with the Ubuntu Edge phone project in another way after its crowdfunding didn't succeed?

jonobacon19 karma

Great question!

We don't have any plans to put the Ubuntu Edge into production. I am supportive of this: I think it would tie Canonical up in knots delivering a very specific device rather than focusing our efforts on making Ubuntu work well for other OEMs who can ship it.

The Ubuntu Edge was really helpful though. It directly triggered a set of discussions from various OEMs and Carriers who were blown away by the support in the community and press for the device.

But damn, I would love an Edge. Beyond the brick that I have in my office that we used to show the hardware design.

tehingo5 karma

In hindsight, do you think there is any way you could have made the campaign a success, or at least more successful?

jonobacon10 karma

I don't think there was. It is an astonishingly ambitious goal. Mr Shuttleworth likes to dream big... :-)

One change I would make is to figure out a way to have the $650 pledges for longer. The flip-flopping of the price did affect things I think, but if we didn't make that mistake I don't think we would have the target.

ab4rl111 karma

Does Canonical still employ anyone to still work on Compiz or is all effort being directed toward Mir now?

jonobacon18 karma

We have a limited number of staff members who maintain the Compiz/Unity 7 combo, but that work is in maintenance mode as we work to converge the desktop in Unity 8 and Mir. When we switch over to the new codebase, Unity 7 and Compiz will be retired when the support period ends.

CameronNemo11 karma

Have you ever had to defend decisions you did not agree with, or want to criticize decisions that you could not criticize? How did you handle those situations?

jonobacon17 karma

There have been times when I have been disappointed that Canonical did something, and I have shared my disappointment pretty sternly to the necessary parties. This has usually been when someone else has made a dumb mistake or not taking due course in how we handle something.

In terms of policy and practice I agree with pretty much everything we do...if I didn't I would leave. I am not going to work for someone that I think is taking us down a rabbit hole.

What I am not in the business of doing...is going out and publicly condemning either Canonical, our competitors, or vocal members of our community. Shaming doesn't get anyone anywhere...I would prefer to talk to the people involved directly to find solutions.

bkerensa10 karma

Will you're team do another work marathon for charity this year?

jonobacon4 karma

Would love to. We started talking about it last week. :-)

HCrikki9 karma

What does Canonical know about why Valve ditched Ubuntu as a base for SteamOS that they're not telling? After the close cooperation with Canonical, it's impossible there was no communication about any differences both might have had, much less after the change was final.

jonobacon14 karma

Canonical made an offer to Valve for how we could assist with the engineering and Valve decided to do this in-house. I am not sure of the specific reasons why. They are a very engineering centric company, so they may well have felt it was better invest their staff in it rather than it be an outsourced cost.

AlanBell9 karma

Can you describe the person who will buy an Ubuntu Phone? Who is the ideal customer?

jonobacon11 karma

Mr Bell! :-)

I think the ideal customer today is someone who wants a dependable device but does not require a large catalogue of specific apps (as we don't have many of them yet).

There is a short-term and longer-term set of goals, I think though.

Longer-term we would love to see the major OEM/Carriers shipping Ubuntu handsets. This is a long road though with many components, and I would be surprised if we see anything like this before 2015. When the major OEMs/Carriers ship, this is when many of the ISVs will be on-board too.

In the shorter-term there are smaller OEMs who serve a smaller region who see great opportunity in Ubuntu, and their costs and risk are smaller for them to trial a device. This is where we will likely see the first handsets shipping.

My hope is that when one of these smaller OEMs ships and Ubuntu handset that it sells well and it sends a strong message to other OEMs too.

tehingo10 karma

Why no stronger focus on the enterprise market? Delivering a full Linux distro to the phone, I could imagine that you can easily offer a system that is extremely interesting to companies. You will be able to offer a level of security that no one else can offer.

In light of the recent NSA revelations this point becomes ever more important to industry.

jonobacon14 karma

We are focusing on the enterprise market. A phone that runs Ubuntu for phones and can also run a business desktop is valuable in an enterprise setting.

Sjoerdb931 karma

The thing holding me back from trying it out is the lack of WhatsApp support. People don't do text messages anymore in the Netherlands, almost everything is done on Whatsapp. (It's more convenient, due to group conversations, you can send all sorts of media, and a text message quickly costs 15-20 cents, where Whatsapp costs 80 cents a year)

If you ever get Whatsapp far enough to support Ubuntu Touch, I will definitely give it a go on my Galaxy Nexus. (Even though it won't be supported from now) I think it's a thing that's holding a lot of Europeans back to be honest.

jonobacon4 karma

We have reached out to WhatsApp and they can't commit to porting it yet. I suspect when we get handsets shipping this will change things...ISVs typically need volume.

kirby149 karma

How different is the linux developer community compared to the linux user community. I hear a lot of hate but I'm not sure if it is from users or developers or if one leads the other.

jonobacon14 karma

The two are quite different, I think, and I think there are a few reasons.

Firstly, the Linux developer community is significantly populated with professional developers who work on Open Source as their day job. This professionalised nature of their work means they typically have strong problem-solving, collaborative, and communication skills otherwise they wouldn't have been hired. These are people with a TODO list that needs to get done, so they are often very practical in how they approach it.

Many of the user community are hobbyists who don't work professionally in the software industry, and may be students, retired, and work in a different and unrelated industry as their day job. This often means that the user community has less experience working in a collaborative setting (because they don't work in it every day in a professional software setting) and thus there is a different pace and rhythm in how they work.

This is not to diminish the great work in the user and advocacy communities, they just work a little differently.

In terms of the hate, I answered another question along those lines, so take a look at that. :-)

turtleintegral9 karma

What is your opinion on having the Amazon Lens on by default in the Unity desktop? Many people say that such functionality should not be enabled by default in any desktop environment. How would you respond to that?

jonobacon9 karma

There are two sides of this coin:

  • Should it be switched off because of privacy concerns?
  • Should it be switched off because the feature is not interesting or useful?

For the former, I disagree. I think we have adequate privacy considerations to make the feature safe to use for our users. It doesn't meet everyone's expectations, but we have a switch to turn it off for those users.

For the latter, this is up for debate. I personally don't find the feature useful, so if it went away, it wouldn't bother me, but I know others find it useful. I don't find it as useful because the dash is quite constrained in what information it can show.

We are doing some work to enhance the dash to be more flexible, and I think this will benefit future scopes.

t3rnary8 karma


jonobacon14 karma

I assume you mean the desktop lock screen? I think this will be refined when we move to Unity 8 for the desktop.


t3rnary3 karma


jonobacon3 karma


ssssam8 karma

What could be done to make Ubuntu better for creative users (such as musicians like yourself)? Should Canonical be putting effort into creative apps? You once inspired the creation of a simple multitrack audio editor (jokosher), but it seems to be abandoned, do you have hopes to revive it?

jonobacon16 karma

Awesome question!

The challenge with creative apps is very much in the apps and their hardware dependencies. As an example, I use a Mac Pro and Cubase to record my music, not because I hate freedom, but because I would have to compromise artistically to use the current crop of Free Software tools.

I use Cubase which includes a range of features not present in Ardour, I need various VST and VSTi plugins (e.g. Superior Drummer 2.0, various EQs/Compressors), and I use a Focusrite Firewire interface that is not supported in Linux, etc.

I would absolutely love to run the entire thing on Ubuntu, but under the current set of circumstances I can't get what I need. I do have tremendous respect for the Ardour and other teams who are working to change this though and I massively support their work.

As for Jokosher, that was a fun project to hack on, but I think we are better leaving DAW development to people who know what they are doing. :-)

avarisclari8 karma

Are there plans on improving legacy opengl support for the Unity interface? I have a legacy HD card and Unity 3D causes minor issues (slowdown) for it.

jonobacon10 karma

This will improve with Mir and Unity 8.

sadhappyd7 karma

Hi Jono, first off I really respect the work that you do in what seems to often be no win scenarios. Couple questions:

If I recall correctly in your LugRadio days you were critical of SUSE for their development of the SLAB menu for GNOME, I believe the primary criticism being they developed in private and then did a massive code dump publicly. In light of some of the more specific projects focused on by Canonical for Mir or Unity etc do you have a better sense of what SUSE had attempted?

Second, you used to be quite the advocate for GNOME, have you used GNOME shell much at all and do you think there are any features or design ideas that they got right or that you wished were incorporated into Unity?

Third, what are the best features or design aspect of Unity that you believe push Unity to the top in terms of a desktop environment?

Fourth, what are your top 3 death metal bands of all time?

Fifth, do you think digital recording techniques are crowding the death metal scene with sterile, compressed, generic death metal which is lacking compared to the early analogue, Morrisound, Sunlight Studios, Autopsy etc sound of death metal? ;)


jonobacon7 karma

Thanks for the kind words and questions!

  1. Fantastic point and well remembered! I have changed my views since those days. Back then I was of the view that any distribution-specific customizations and refinements were bad for Linux and Free Software. I have sinced changed my mind on this - I think distributions have a good idea of what their community, users, customers, clients, and others need, and those things are not always achievable upstream. We have tried to get some things landed upstream in the past and they have decided not to (which I entirely respect...it is their code-base), and thus I think it is OK for distros to have some control in their own destiny.
  2. I must confess, I haven't used GNOME Shell all that much. I am really proud of the GNOME community in how they have corralled around shell. There was a dim time time before the 3.0 plan was formed and the community struggled...so I think it is great that the team has formed with such focus. The last time I tried it I liked it but it wasn't really my cup of tea, but respect all the efforts going into it.
  3. I think Unity's simplicity is key and the focus on content. It just gets out of the way. This combined with the convergence we are building into Unity 8 and some refinements to the dash make it a solid DE from my perspective.
  4. Cannibal Corpse, Decapitated, Anata. :-)
  5. I do think that death metal is becoming a little sterile in the sound. I remember when Slipnot's first record came out, it had such a bright, surprising punch, and there is so much well produced metal that we lose that punch. They all sound like great records, but I think we might have got a little too used to such great production. :-)

Thanks for the great questions!

sadhappyd2 karma

Thanks for the responses! Follow up on Cannibal Corpse, which era do you prefer, Chris Barnes or George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher?

jonobacon5 karma

Corpsegrinder for sure. Had a beer with him once. Cool guy.

Juufro7 karma

  • What aspects make a good-community manager?
  • How did you progress into becoming one? Were you always a natural leader?

jonobacon12 karma

One of the challenges with the term community manager is that it is a pretty overloaded term.

For some community management is getting more followers on Twitter, for some it is responding to support queries on forums, for some it is a method marketing.

I don't see it that way.

I think a community manager should be responsible for understanding the wider goals and opportunity that is open to a community and ensuring that the community can contribute effectively along those goals. I always break this into four areas that I call the on-ramp:

  1. Building awareness around how people can contribute.
  2. Developing the skills to participate.
  3. Knowing what to work on and areas of priority.
  4. Celebrating good work.

I believe one aspect of community management is striving to get these on-ramps up and running and working well in different parts of your community.

Another part of great community management is building a culture of collaboration (much as that sounds rather buzzwordy). This is encouraging people to solve problems constructively, build strong leadership and governance, always strive to refine and improve community processes etc.

Finally, great community managers challenge the norm. Communities that don't challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zones become stagnant. This also applies to challenging commercial investors too - a big chunk of my job is challenging both the community and Canonical to think differently in how we collaborate and further Ubuntu.

In terms of how I got started, I got interested in Open Source in 1998 and started participating in various communities. I build a UK website for Linux fans called linuxuk.co.uk (now dead), set up a LUG, then the Infopoint project, and then got interested in upstreams (starting with KDE).

I then started writing about Open Source for magazines and then became a full-time journalist. The community side of things always grabbed me more, so I started writing more and more about how to get people excited and interested in contributing.

This led to a job at OpenAdvantage, a government funded Open Source consultancy where we provided free consulting for local companies and people, and this was a great place for me to cut my teeth on bigger communities and managing commercial stakeholders too.

When OA started coming to a close (as all funded projects do), I mailed Mark Shuttleworth (who I knew a little bit from him coming to LugRadio Live to speak) if there was anything at Canonical. He told me there was this job for Ubuntu Community Manager that he was about to open, but "I don't think it is for you, Jono". The more I thought about the job, the more I loved the idea, so I interviewed and got it.

Since then I have continued to participate in other communities outside of work, and just love being in a position where I can contribute to the evolution of community management as a profession. This is why I wrote The Art of Community and founded the Community Leadership Summit.

In terms being a natural leader...I guess I am a leader as I like to gravitate to getting things organized and in shape, but I have lots to learn, like anyone. :-)

DSMcGuire7 karma

How does Canonical feel knowing that Ubuntu TV was beaten to market by FireFox OS even though they had a two year head start?

But really, how did that happen?

jonobacon10 karma

The TV market is complex. It is driven by large hardware companies who are still figuring out the software side of things.

One thing a lot of people don't know about some of these companies is that many of them started out in the traditional hardware space...selling consumer products that required no software other than a BIOS at best, and have had to evolve into becoming software companies too. This ultimately results in software departments who are trying to work in a culture that doesn't really get software. Hardware and software people are quite different beasts.

This is often why the software running on some hardware devices by large organizations is less-than-steller, but these companies know that they need to innovate and grow there.

Now, this opens an interesting market for people like Ubuntu, Firefox, Roku etc to get in there and take care of that side of the equation, but it is a long, long road in organizations that typically want to build things in-house. Firefox is making efforts in that area, and we have Ubuntu TV, but I don't think the game is won by anyone; far from it.

brandoney7 karma

While building a robust ecosystem is essential to the future of an operating environment, I'm concerned about the rapid shift towards cloud computing in proprietary systems like iCloud and Office 365. Email hosting and Internet prices have risen, corporations have taken over some of the most successful OSS projects, governments spy on every packet, unlimited neutral Internet is dying, and cutting communications seem to be the new favorite response to any crisis. Given Ubuntu's original vision, what can it do in the future to ensure everyone has access to computing on their own terms, with any software they choose or develop? What is the long term vision for OpenStack and will it enable small communities to build their own personal and private clouds in the future, or is it just another step in the march towards monetization?

jonobacon9 karma

I already covered the NSA side of things in another question, but Open Source has always been a tremendous place to react with technology. I suspect we will see more and more focus on encryption and privacy across various Open Source projects moving forward.

Right now I don't think impacts Ubuntu greatly, but I think it will affect the cloud apps people run on the cloud (e.g. Wordpress, Discourse, Drupal etc).

ReluctantPirate7 karma

Any thoughts on VNC alternatives now that you guys are developing more of the UI stack (MIR etc)? To put it bluntly, RDP with Windows is the most smooth experience I know of personally.

Ps! I do have a personal server with Ubuntu 13.10 that runs really well and where Vino/VNC is really usefull. :-)

jonobacon3 karma

Currently there are no plans for VNC-like functionality in Mir. That may have changed since I last checked though.

Succubic_Unicorn6 karma

Hey there. I really like my Ubuntu OS. It's been fairly stable, and I've only had to reformat once (and I think that was my fault).

Question - the only problem I have is being unable to watch netflix. When's that going to get fixed? Or, in other words, what do I need to do to fix this?

jonobacon23 karma

The best thing you can do is tell Netflix - they need to know that Ubuntu users want Netflix. Unfortunately, it is somewhat out of our hands.

If they want to bring Netflix to Ubuntu though, I will ensure they get good support from us.

marefin6 karma

Any relation to Kevin Bacon? If so, Bacon Number?

jonobacon8 karma

Hah, the million-dollar question.

Nope, no relation. Would love to meet the guy though. :-)

Foggalong6 karma

Is "quickly" the Ubuntu application creation program still supported? I used it to develop some little projects a while back and was thinking about getting back into it. If not what is the alternative?

jonobacon13 karma

We don't focus on Quickly anymore. We built an entire SDK and developer experience - see http://developer.ubuntu.com

erikaxelsson6 karma

If the community disagree on something, How do ubuntu do for know which way to go? Do they prototype the different ways? Or it is going to a vote direct.

jonobacon11 karma

In most communities code counts. If you create something that actively moves the project forward, it goes in.

macleod24866 karma

How is the push for computer manufactors producing machines pre-installed with Linux going? Or are you going to go the Apple way and just build them yourselves?

jonobacon7 karma

The push has been very successful with Ubuntu, the major OEMs ship Ubuntu. There is always more work to do, but progress is consistent.

We don't plan on making hardware.

vivianjun4 karma

How is the involvement between both companies (manufacturer and Canonical) on this case?

Like, if Dell wants to ship a laptop with Ubuntu, does Canonical provide something to help the compatibility with Dell hardware, or Dell needs to develop something to be "Ubuntu Certified"?

jonobacon5 karma

Using your example, if Dell wants to ship Ubuntu on a new laptop, we will certify it for them. This is the work required to deliver a core Ubuntu experience and ensure all the different hardware and software components work.

hotdogpete3 karma

Can you please give some examples? I recently purchased a new Laptop and wanted to get one with Ubuntu running on it because, quite frankly, I love it but ended up settling for one with Windows. The main reason was the only companies I could find that shipped pre-installed Linux were sort of small niche manufacturers, such as System76, whose products were mostly out of my price range. I settled for a Lenovo Thinkpad because everyone was saying they are pretty friendly with Ubuntu, and the model was certified on the Ubuntu website, and it was in my price range. ($500-700). I live in Canada if that is relevant. P.S. Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this question

jonobacon5 karma

Dell, Acer, Lenovo all ship Ubuntu.

jimhooker5 karma

I'm gonna be that guy: Is there ever going to be another LugRadio Live??

jonobacon6 karma

I would love to do another LugRadio Live. I floated the idea with Aq who was not really into it - he worries that it will seem a bit desperate.

We were also concerned whether we would get the attendance numbers given that we don't have the podcast as a vehicle for it.

We floated a few ideas of maybe having a smaller event but that seemed like a shitty compromize. As such, no plans.

I would love to do another one though. Tell Aq what you think at [email protected] ;-)

In the meantime, check out Bad Voltage at http://www.badvoltage.org :-)

griff5w3 karma

I would love to see monthly lugradio episodes. Listening to you guys piss on each other was fun. No other podcast has been able to properly fill the niche. Oh, and the actually discussion about the topics was pretty good too!

jonobacon3 karma

Thanks for the kind words. LugRadio was huge fun to do.

jdmotta5 karma

What do you think about the Chromebook? Do you think is impacting the Ubuntu clients, do you see it as something positive? It's ubuntu planning something like Chromebook?

jonobacon8 karma

I think that Chromebooks are pretty cool, but speaking personally I just don't think they are very interesting. They feel rather bland to me to use. I prefer a more traditional OS on my devices.

We don't have any current plans to do something similar with Ubuntu.

AlanBell5 karma

If you have an Ubuntu Phone will there be any benefit to having Ubuntu Desktop over Mac/Windows, so will they work better together?

jonobacon10 karma

Currently we are not scoping any fancy integration between Ubuntu devices. The primary integration will be getting content and syncing it Ubuntu One, which syncs across devices.

In the future we want to have synced config management etc.

dnoup5 karma

What is future of unity DE in other distros? currently I don't know any stable pkgs in other distro who support this. I like unity, and like to see it as a general perpose DE like Gnome and KDE.

jonobacon9 karma

This is a better question for those distros.

We built Unity and make sure it is Open Source and we would love to see other distros pick it up.

CameronNemo3 karma

The problem with this is that there is a lot of work to get Unity into other distros. Even environments that only lightly use Unity software (Pantheon, which uses Ayatana indicators and libunity) are hard to get packaged for other distros. As the indicators depend on Upstart being the session init, and Unity 8 is a shift towards a graphics stack that not many other distros or upstreams have shown interest in and have actively fought, do you not see porting Unity to non-Ubuntu environments as a monumental task that is not really feasible enough considering the availability of alternatives?

jonobacon3 karma

Great question...let me explain my thoughts here in more detail.

There is no doubt that Unity is built by its team with Ubuntu's needs in mind. Hence the dependency on upstart and mir. There is also an executive interest in having Unity be something the wider Open Source community can utilize too. We would love to see it in other distributions.

This, I agree, would be a lot of engineering work to get started though to abstract out those pieces to support upstart/systemd as one such example, but as far as I am concerned, if someone is willing to do that work, and the work is within the quality expectations of the team (e.g. well tested and maintained) and it does not impact the performance of Unity, that work should land.

The key point here is that I don't expect Canonical to do this work, I would expect a contributor to do it. Canonical is focused on Ubuntu, which I think is fine, but I would strongly oppose any of our upstreams explicitly rejecting patches to support Unity on other distros if those patches don't compromise Unity on Ubuntu, yet add the opportunity to run Unity elsewhere too. I don't believe this has happened, but if it ever does, please let me know.

belgianguy5 karma

What is - in your opinion - the most underrated app on Ubuntu?

What is Canonical's stance on software patents? Isn't the mobile industry an overly aggressive playing field where anything goes at the moment? E.g. Rockstar Bidco et al.

jonobacon13 karma

Most underrated app in my opinion is SimpleScan.

As for patents, we are anti software patents.

bodangren27 karma

Agreed. I love Simple Scan, especially since when you add an HP network printer, network scan is already set up and doesn't require an extra 300MB of "driver" software.

Here's my questions: On a personal level (not as a rep of Canonical), do you regret that Ubuntu didn't go with QT when they first made Unity (for example, just adopting Unity 2D)? How far behind do you think that writing it as a Compiz extension put you behind?

jonobacon5 karma

I do regret we didn't go with Qt. I was lobbying internally for Qt for a while, so I am pleased we finally made the jump. :-)

Compiz was the best choice at the time. It put us behind, but not critically, I don't think.

bodangren22 karma

Thanks for the honesty. I was publicly pushing, as well, especially for what I felt was important about QT -- the integrated dev tools, which Ubuntu has never had (Quickly, a little, I guess, but that never went as far as I had hoped).

How active do you think Canonical will be in driving QT library development from now on?

jonobacon4 karma

I think we will always be more of a consumer of Qt...we don't have the engineering resources to contribute much to Qt upstream, but we are working to upstream Qt-specific bits we have done. We have a good relationship with upstream.

reidhasguitar2 karma


I love it, but man it leaks memory like it's full of stab wounds.

jonobacon5 karma

Man, I hate memory leaking stab wounds. They suck.

mrx11015 karma

Do you find any correlation between footwear choice and overall personality?

jonobacon9 karma

Flip flops = cool people.

That's it.

p0op2 karma

What about people that wear socks with flip flops?

jonobacon11 karma

That is not cool.

turtleintegral5 karma

It looks like there is an option for Ubuntu to ship with MATE. In the future, will there also be an option for Ubuntu to ship with Mint's Cinnamon desktop?

jonobacon4 karma

I doubt there will be an official option, but availability in the archives post-install makes sense.

Charlie_Lead5 karma

Does it ever make your co-workers laugh when someone says Mr.Bacon?

jonobacon10 karma

It does.

What makes people more is when people think my name is John O'Bacon. That is just ridiculous. :-)

raevol2 karma

Mr. O'Bacon Sir!

jonobacon2 karma


notmyfirstusername5 karma

What's your opinion on tiling window managers? Ever tried them? Any favorites?go xmonad!

jonobacon5 karma

NEver tried them. Doesn't look like my kind of thing. :-)

BR8N035 karma

Which programming languages do you know, and which order did you learn them?

jonobacon9 karma

I started with BASIC, then learned C, then C++, and finally Python. I haven't touched BASIC/C/C++ for years, but I still write Python code.

darrenhoyland3 karma

Are there any plans to let us develop Ubuntu phone apps in python or will we always have to stick with QML and/or C? If so, what do you think of Kivy and would you agree with putting resources towards getting it to support Ubuntu?

jonobacon2 karma

No Python plans...Python doesn't run fast enough on devices. QML (with C++ plugins if needed) and HTML5 are the way to go.

the_Madman5 karma

How many of the graphics drivers improvements made by Valve for SteamOS have already found their way into Ubuntu?

jonobacon4 karma

At this stage I am not sure. I presume driver enhancements will be pushed by the GPU makers, under the pressure of Valve, so I presume they will land in the next releases.

tasuke5 karma

  1. What's your favorite application or technology that is developed by Canonical?

  2. So if I understand this correctly, Unity is going QT right? Any plans for changing the default applications as well, such as the file manager (okay confession, I hate Nautilus :)) or text editor?

  3. Top three favorite books?

  4. Which scopes do you find the most handy?

  5. Favorite feature of Unity

  6. Favorite feature of Ubuntu in general

Hope you don't mind the list...I wouldn't mind if you just answered whichever ones you feel like answering at the moment rather than all of them though :)

jonobacon7 karma

  1. The Ubuntu SDK.
  2. I suspect we will move over to Ubuntu SDK apps for our standard apps, if suitable replacements are built. As an example, there is some great work going on with the file manager.
  3. The Design Of Everyday things by Don Norman, The Cuckoos Egg by Cliff Stoll, and Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir by Dave Mustaine.
  4. Weather, Reference, and Info.
  5. The dash.
  6. The freedom. :-)

BijouWilliams5 karma

Hi Jono! I've had the position of Community Manager thrust upon me just this month at my patient advocacy startup, and I've been frantically reading The Art of Community for inspiration. I'm not working with any software development, but your ideas translate nicely. In your book, you suggest an early step to building a community is identifying how a community can be subdivided into teams. At this point, my company has maybe 5 contributors, but hope for many more. I guess that I could come up with 3-4 likely teams/specialties at this point, but I'm worried about being too rigid and stifling nascent creativity and collaboration. At this early stage, would you generally recommend making up experimental teams just to get the whole idea of teams out there and then set up better/permanent teams later? Or leave everyone on one team until specialties further emerge? I'm also open to other options I haven't yet considered _^

jonobacon4 karma

Great question!

For such a small number of contributors, I recommend you don't divide it up into too rigid teams. Keep things simple, share the same communication channel (e.g. a mailing list), and just ensure everyone is involved in the discussions.

Communities this small have a wonderful advantage of you being able to know everyone and what they are working on and provide guidance. Teams are really required when you get above 30 people or so.

Good luck!

EnsErmac4 karma

Is Canonical ever going to start trying to pump resources into making Linux software better. I am a graphic designer by trade, have been an Ubuntu user in the past and like it very much, but have never been able to fully switch over due to the software in that field being below average. I truly believe with some real resources, Inkscape and Scribus could get there pretty fast.

jonobacon9 karma

We think these are awesome projects, but we have enough on our plate building this convergent platform. I wish we could focus on them, but we don't have the resources. Sorry.

NothingMuchHereToSay4 karma

I'm so excited to buy my first Smartphone with Ubuntu!

Now for the questions, what games do you play on Steam (if you have any)? What is your take on Apple when it comes to them utilizing Open Source software? Do you think Apple has an influence on using OSS? What is your favorite "working" program, like, the work you do that you use on your projects? Is there anything you really dislike or just plain hate about Ubuntu at all?

Were you in the "humanized" Circle of Friends wallpaper back in the days of 8.04? (That was the first time I ever used Linux ever, so maybe it was sooner than 8.04)

jonobacon5 karma

Thanks for the questions!

I don't play games on Steam. I have a Playstation 4 and love Battlefield 4. :-)

I think it is great that Apple uses Open Source. :-)

My fave working program is LibreOffice.

I don't hate anything about Ubuntu, although I wish some members of the Open Source community would demonstrate a bit more empathy and respect sometimes.

I wasn't in the human circle of friends, that was Mark Shuttleworth, James Troup, and Matt Zimmerman (if I remember correctly).

seveas4 karma

What's your opinion on the CentOS / Red Hat collaboration? Will this affect Ubuntu community in any way?

jonobacon3 karma

Answered this elsewhere...it looks good for both CentOS and Red Hat. I don't think this affects Ubuntu at all.

Bowel_Explosion4 karma

You said that Ubuntu would reach total convergence before windows. By total convergence would you like one device to do everything (like a phone with a docking station) or many devices to all run the same Ubuntu.

jonobacon9 karma

I didn't say that, Mark Shuttleworth said that. ;-)

I think he is right though.

We will have a single code-base with phone, tablet, desktop, and TV form-factors working. I think initially this will be reactive to the device that is running, but spinning up a desktop from a phone when a screen is plugged in is not hard work...we already have it.

crshbndct4 karma

Can you tell me in plain English what the benefits of a converged device are to a nerdy Gentoo using type like me, and for a non nerdy type like my mother?

jonobacon6 karma

From a nerdy perspective a converged code-base means we can add features and fix bugs and it benefits all form factors...this helps us to rev quicker.

From your mum's perspective it is a simple experience that works well across different devices, in which your stuff is synced too.

crshbndct4 karma

Thank you, that is a very succint and clear explanation. I did get the mum's perspective, but I wasn't sure how it would work for me. I can see that from a development perspective it makes sense.

You will have to tear my massively overpowered desktop from my cold dead hands :-P . That being said, I am not really a typical use case.

jonobacon5 karma


Your desktop is going to rock with Unity 8, I assure you. :-)

Bowel_Explosion1 karma

In your ideal house, would your phone do everything and be able to be on various screens?

jonobacon3 karma

Not for me. I like things to stay plugged in. But for people with a single device, it would be perfect.

Also, I LOLed at your username. Subtle.

jra_samba_org1 karma

Hear hear !

I'm a Free Software person, not really an "Open Source" advocate, but I think Ubuntu is quite simply the nicest, most user-friendly Linux distro out there.

Not saying this to knock any others down, but to praise Jono and the Ubuntu/Canonical team for getting things right.

My family (immediate and extended) and I all use Ubuntu, and I'm looking forward to trying out the phone/tablet on some of my Google devices once it's 'cooked' enough :-).

jonobacon1 karma

Thanks for the kind words!

edjca4 karma

Whatever happened to Ubuntu for TV? Is it dead?

jonobacon10 karma

It is still alive, but right now our focus is prioritized on phone and tablet (our desktop is also maintained). When the phone and tablet work is done we will converge the desktop and then get to TV.

tehingo3 karma

When the phone and tablet work is done

You think such a project can ever be considered "done" :-)?

jonobacon6 karma

First cut.

Newky4 karma

If not working in Ubuntu, what other line of work could you see yourself?

Do you feel like there will always be an involvement in Open Source Software or would you like to explore other areas?

jonobacon8 karma

Fun question. :-)

My heart and love is for communities, but I can see doing community management and leadership work in non-Open Source communities too. I love Open Source, but I think the challenge elsewhere could be too.

I think the areas of gaming, entertainment, and government could be fun places to work.

Right now though, I have no plans on leaving Ubuntu...there is still lots to be done. :-)

arvvvs4 karma

How would I (a basic CS student) be able to contribute to the world of open source and Ubuntu? How can I get started?

jonobacon9 karma

http://community.ubuntu.com is the best place to start.

If you get stuck with something to do, email me at [email protected] :-)

Thanks for getting involved!

thecosmicfrog5 karma

Download the Ubuntu SDK and get writing apps! It's a piece of cake compared with other SDKs, and one of the most satisfying coding experiences I've had.

jonobacon6 karma

Hells yes!

Billynkid4 karma

Have you and Aq every come to blows? Who would win?

jonobacon7 karma

Of course, I would win as Aq is full of shit most of the time. :-)

We have never had a serious argument, not even close from my memory. One of the reasons why he has been my best friend for fourteen years is that we can really get into a debate without one of us getting in a huff and storming off.

He is an absolutely fantastic guy, and a lot of fun to share a podcast with.

He is still full of shit though. :-)

Smunny4 karma

What are some of your favorite podcasts?

jonobacon4 karma

I don't listen to that many podcasts these days. I do like the Ubuntu UK podcast which I listen to when I can.

I do watch YouTube channels though. I love MASSIVE Network, Epic Meal Time, and FRANKEOnPCIn1080p.

LinuxProg3 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! Here are a few questions:

  1. What is your favourite version of Ubuntu that has ever been released?
  2. What is your perfect breakfast?
  3. What brand of laptop do you use?
  4. And finally, what are your most-used programs?

jonobacon4 karma


  1. 12.04
  2. Reuben with garlic friends covered in cheese and giant coffee.
  3. Thinkpad T520
  4. Firefox, Chromium, LibreOffice, Qt Creator, XChat-GNOME, Skype, GEdit, Terminator.


silxx3 karma

Garlic friends?

jonobacon5 karma

edit: fries.

OneTinSoldier2 karma

... wow number 2 makes me hungry

jonobacon2 karma


tehingo3 karma

Do you like bacon?

If yes, you should watch Epic Meal Time some time. Those crazy Canadians love bacon.

jonobacon4 karma

I love bacon.

Not only that but I am really into BBQ too; I love to smoke pig and cow in all of their delicious forms.

Love Epic Meal Time. Comedy gold!

EU_Peaceful_Power3 karma

What ultra-portable laptop would you advise me (preferably with Ubuntu by default)? Should I get a touchscreen?

jonobacon6 karma

I am not a good person to ask as I go Thinkpad for everything and they look like they were a product of the cold war. Maybe someone else can recommend something more portable. :-)

EU_Peaceful_Power2 karma

Thank you Jono!

jonobacon5 karma

No worries, thanks for the question...sorry I didn't have a better answer!

zoef3 karma

Will Ubuntu start making their own laptops, tablets and phones?

I think that would be the best way forward for Ubuntu, as well as keeping Ubuntu totally open source.

jonobacon4 karma

We are a software company, not a hardware company. I think we are better off leaving the hardware companies to do this and we will focus on building a fantastic platform that they can harness.

zoef1 karma

If you look at the success of the Google Chromebook, then maybe Ubuntu/Canonical should think again.

Things can change very quickly in the wonderful world of IT and companies get left behind very quickly (like Blackberry) when they don't take hints.

jonobacon5 karma

Just because one company is successful, doesn't mean another will be. Success is driven by good ideas and great execution, not copying other successes.

Google can make chromebook successful because they own the service layer...we don't, so it would be a bigger struggle for us.

hillbull3 karma

What alcoholic drink scares you the most when confronted in the bar to take a shot?

jonobacon8 karma

I don't fear alcohol, I embrace it.

Although, one time I was out drinking with Aq and the bar-tender put some liquor in a glass, heated it from underneathe with a lighter, and then completely out of the blue he and another guy grabbed hold of me from across the bar, pulled me forward and made me huff the fumes.

That was weird, and I don't plan on doing that again.

hillbull2 karma

I've seen you wince at jaeger bombs...

And uh, yeah, huffing fumes is kind of weird...

jonobacon6 karma

I have to admit, Jaeger doesn't do it for me like it used to. Fireball is my new poison.

TeNppa2 karma

Fireball has become my favourite drink also! the sweet taste of cinnamon and little hot <3

jonobacon2 karma

Love it, by shot or over ice.

hillbull1 karma

Ah, then next time we're on Bourbon street or in Cambridge, I'll make sure to remember that Jono has turned into a lass and needs girly drinks :)

jonobacon2 karma

Now, steady on. I didn't say I didn't drink Jaeger anymore...let's not get ahead of ourselves. ;-)

MrBenjaminBraddock3 karma

With what has happened with Red Hat, RHEL and the community spin CentOS, are there any such ideas being mooted around in Canonical regarding Linux Mint? If not, is there a possibility such an idea would arise in the compounds of Canonical?

Regardless, what are your thoughts about the development involving the joint forces of CentOS and Red Hat? Do you think such an incident is healthy for Open Source Development as a whole?

jonobacon6 karma

I have not seen any discussion about Mint in a similar vein. I did suggest to Clem that Mint come in as an official Ubuntu flavour, but he was uninterested, which is of course, totally fine.

As to the CentOS thing, it looks like an acquisition to me, and if this works within the spirit of CentOS, that is fantastic. It seems like the CentOS team are fully on-board, so it looks win-win.

Strickschal3 karma

What do you respond to concerns that Canonical might relicense existing open source projects under proprietary licences, regarding it is often said that the Canonical contributor license agreement theoretically made this possible?

jonobacon12 karma

A downside of the CLA is that Canonical could indeed do this, but the original contribution would still be Free Software.

I trust Canonical will make the right judgement call, but I have the benefit of knowing and trusting the people who make these kinds of decisions, which I appreciate others do not have the benefit of.

I think it boils down to what someone is comfortable with a company doing. Speaking personally, my top priority would be there always being a Free Software licensed version of my code, which the current CLA would provide.

diogo_almeida3 karma

What are your plans for Macbook-like trackpad support?

jonobacon4 karma

No idea if there are any plans. Maybe mail [email protected] ?

happycrabeatsthefish3 karma

What do you think of r/linuxmemes

jonobacon3 karma


Not as funny as I was expecting tbh.

happycrabeatsthefish6 karma

We have a rule against funny posts in that sub.

jonobacon7 karma


ePierre3 karma

Is Jokosher (the music editing software) dead and buried?

As you're a podcaster and a musician, what softwares do you use for your music/sound needs? (podcasts, music)

jonobacon3 karma

Unfortunately Jokosher is no longer maintained.

For my music I use a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 Firewire interface, Cubase 7, Superior Drummer 2.0, and various plugins.

motorhead843 karma

Is your first name pronounced like Juneau, the capital of Alaska? If so, you must know bacon very well!

jonobacon6 karma

It is pronounced "John-oh", although most American's get it wrong at first. That's fine though, so long as you don't me Barbara, I don't care how you pronounce it. :-)

tyleregeto3 karma

What is the status of Ubuntu One and Ubuntu Music? The y both seems very stagnet today. The music store is particularly bad in Canada. Any roadmap for these products?

jonobacon3 karma

I am not sure where the Ubuntu One Music Store stands today; as far as I am aware it works as it normally does. The file sync side of things is being actively maintained...I use it every day. :-)

wwdillingham3 karma

Does ubuntu/canonical have a long term commitment to their server release?

jonobacon6 karma


OakTable2 karma

Hey, Jono. Any idea why the internet went out yesterday, or why we haven't really heard anything in any news sources about it? Might you pass a message along to somebody to get that looked into? Thanks.

jonobacon6 karma

I am not sure who I could contact, but I am not really into conspiracy theories. I am sure everything is fine. :-)

tehingo2 karma

Does Canonical operate profitably?

jonobacon10 karma

It depends which bits you are referring to. Canonical has business units in phone, tablet, desktop, TV, server, and cloud. Some are profitable, some are not.

Strickschal2 karma

Will the support for the Nexus 4 also be discontinued? Because, you know, I just recently bought one for the only purpose to install Ubuntu Touch on it.

jonobacon5 karma

The Nexus 4 is our reference hardware. It is what our developers are building the platform with. You can expect it to be supported as a target device for some time to come.

I have one too, so if they discontinue it, they will get a bollocking from me. :-)

Strickschal1 karma

Haha, sounds good.^ Thanks for answering!

jonobacon2 karma

Thanks for the question! :-)

snegtul1 karma

Literally was just announced that several nexus devices will soon no longer supported. So logic follows that once the planned hardware is released, they would have no motivation to keep supporting others.

Prepare to bollock. It's only a matter of time.

jonobacon3 karma

The N4 is unaffected, so no bollocking needed...

snegtul1 karma

yet. =)

jonobacon1 karma

Well it will be superseded at some point...but that's the nature of software. :-)

Strickschal2 karma

Will Ubuntu Touch natively support synchronization with CalDAV and CardDAV? Also, when are we going to see an E-Mail App on Ubuntu Touch?

jonobacon4 karma

Yep, we plan to have support for syncing. It works already in part now under the covers, we just need the UI.

As for an email app, we are looking into that right now...it is a lot of work so we are evaluating our options.

Strickschal1 karma

Nice, syncing with CalDAV and CardDAV will be great.

Regarding the E-Mail App - what are the options?

jonobacon2 karma

Options are either we write an app from scratch or we contract a company to build it. We are evaluating the latter and writing an app will suck up engineering time that is needed elsewhere.

Sutarmekeg2 karma

How many degrees of separation are there between you and Kevin Bacon?

Also, thanks for your work, you really make us users feel a part of a larger community.

jonobacon3 karma

Thanks so much!

No idea how my degrees of separation. Would love to meet the guy someday.

mr_cowboydan2 karma

I need to replace my ageing laptop and smartphone. Will I be able to purchase one Ubuntu superphone to replace both this year ?

jonobacon3 karma

That's the plan. :-)

You can also buy a Nexus 4 today and install Ubuntu for phones on it - http://www.ubuntu.com/phone/install

silxx2 karma

How did the Water Aid project go?

jonobacon5 karma

For the back-ground here - I recorded some acoustic songs for my wife at our anniversary and put them online with the hope that people would like them and want to donate, and that donation go to a charity.

It is at http://www.gofundme.com/rockforwater

It has done "OK" - I would have liked more traction, but either people don't like the music, don't like the charity, don't like spending money, or don't know about the campaign. TBH, I think I could have done a better job promoting it - this all happened at a busy time for me.

bubbibears2 karma

You and Brian BFFL?

jonobacon2 karma


perfectgyroscope2 karma

How well do you feel Canonical/Ubuntu has succeeded in the corporate space?

How is Ubuntu going to compete with (or integrate with) Microsoft administration tools and complete packages such as SCCM for large scale computer management?

jonobacon5 karma

There are a few different corporate spaces:

  • Desktop deployments.
  • Server deployments.
  • Cloud adoption.

In terms of Desktop, Ubuntu has been doing well. It is an active and repeatable source of revenue for Canonical.

On the Server side Ubuntu is running many large data centres, and again is a consistent source of revenue (particularly when tied to Landscape).

On the cloud side Ubuntu is the most popular OS in the cloud, and this is growing with Juju and MAAS.

In terms of MS admin tools, this is not an area that we are focusing on: most current deployments don't block on this and our efforts would be better invested elsewhere.

Bat_turd2 karma


jonobacon4 karma

Programming is a fantastic career to go in to. In many parts of the industry there is shortage of good programmers too.

The key thing is: you have to be flexible. If you code in a language and never go beyond that you will limit your opportunities. Great programmers are great generalists who can write solid, test-driven, reliable code in the best language for the job.

Not sure what you mean by offshoring...

stefanocorona121 karma

Hello Mr Bacon, I love Ubuntu. Seeing that you are a busy man, did your work in your music ever interfere in working at Canonical?

jonobacon2 karma

Fortunately not. My music is a way in which I relax, and fortunately it hasn't affected my normal Ubuntu duties. I don't want to go on tour or anything, so the separation works well.

EU_Peaceful_Power1 karma

Should I get a Nexus phone now in order to install Ubuntu Touch on it or should I rather wait for an Ubuntu phone coming later this year? (So sad the Ubuntu Edge didn't raise as much money as planned…)

jonobacon1 karma

If you are happy to play with in-development software, get a Nexus. Otherwise, wait for a commercial product. :-)

tehingo1 karma

Who would you prefer to fight: 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

jonobacon1 karma

100 duck-sized horses. Mainly because I love tiny horses.

Octav14n1 karma

What news/story about Ubuntu do you remember the most (emotional?!) without news which where a direct response to an action from Canonical.

Something like "xy has decided to use ubuntu"? Or "xy was done using ubuntu"?

jonobacon2 karma

Seeing that Sheldon mentioned Ubuntu in Big Band Theory was pretty memorable. I had a few beers that night.

davidcalle1 karma

What is the plan for Unity8 on the desktop? Will 14.04 support it?

jonobacon2 karma

14.04 won't ship Unity 8 Desktop, it will be 14.10 at the earliest.

chronicdemonic1 karma

Why does Ubuntu 13.10 always crash on my laptop? Sometimes I'm just surfing the web and boom, everything glitches and then i'm logged out.

jonobacon4 karma

Sounds like a bug, I recommend you report it and we can see if we can get it fixed.

PjotrOrial1 karma

Hi Jono, may I ask a question related to technical stuff?

So I was reading up on upstart and systemd lately, and systemd is portrayed to be a technical superior solution. What is the Ubuntu stance with respect to these 2 init systems? I mean currently we're flowing with upstart, but do you think we'll switch maybe in the future? Or rather have upstart as a competitor to systemd and keep it maintained?

The same question would apply to Mir/Wayland. Ubuntu seems to be doing quite a lot of "going its own way", which I appreciate. But how do cope with lost battles such as bazaar/git? git being the de-facto open source distributed version control system, bazaar however is just barely maintained currently, even emacs is switching over currently.

Another question regarding to technical aspects would be this: How do you think the CLA required by Canonical impacts their projects?

jonobacon3 karma

You are absolutely welcome to ask technical questions. :-)

I don't think we will move away from upstart anytime soon. It currently works well in Ubuntu, and was born within the Ubuntu community so there is lots of expertise there to maintain it.

I think it is fine to go your own way and have a strong sense of direction, but to always have a reality check of what makes sense. We don't invest much in bzr these days because we don't need it to do anything it can't already do, and clearly the industry has adopted git as the preferred system. I suspect in future we may end of up supporting git more as it will ultimately be better maintained.

As for the CLA: some people hate CLAs and won't work on any project that has them, which is a shame. Personally, I think those concerns are over-blown. It does affect us though as some people would love to contribute but the CLA is a deal-breaker.

tehingo1 karma

Does Canonical pay well :-)?

How is it to work from home most of the year. Don't you get distracted?

jonobacon6 karma

My team are paid well, and I am happy with my salary. :-)

I love working from home. I am more productive at home than in an office, and I love the perks of being able to see my son (he is 1) during the day (we have a nanny who looks after him at home), being able to listen to metal while I work, and being able to work in jeans and a t-shirt.

I don't get distracted that much as I love what I do. I genuinely look forward to getting up in the morning.

Of course, everyone goes through distracted moments in their career, but this is offset largely in my world with the amount of calls I have to do. I am on the phone all morning every morning (usually G+ Hangouts) and these calls get me pumped up.

Also...and it has to be noted...I hate commuting. My commute is pretty short to my home office. :-)

fagot_hobo1 karma

Bacon, with such a name one can't go wrong on reddit...

Now for my question:

Will Canonical ever come up with the one piece of software I'd like to have: a skype replacement that uses torrent technology to connect, encrypts all traffic and hooks into the default video and audio abstraction layers?

I think if such a project were realised, it would become popular overnight.

How's about making that happen?

jonobacon6 karma

Thanks for the compliments on the name! People do seem to dig it...which was not the case when I was 7 and at school... :-)

Sorry, pal, but I don't think Canonical is going to make what you want. We are busy enough building this big convergence and cloud story, but your ideas would be a great Open Source project.

Anyone else want to work on it?

TwoTailedFox1 karma

What prompted the switch to applications such as Banshee in the standard Ubuntu distribution relatively recently, specifically ones that require Mono?

The reason I ask is that there is a lot of concern among certain FOSS communities that Mono is a Microsoft trojan horse, essentially tainting the FOSS multiverse with patented code; code that Microsoft has left unclarified as to their intent (mostly centering around Windows Forms).

jonobacon3 karma

There is concern in a tiny part of the FLOSS community about Mono, and I think those concerns are unfounded. Our tech board did a review of the legal risk of shipping Mono and the vote was that we are fine to ship it.

PinGUY0 karma

Will we ever see a release for Ubuntu4Android? I know we will need to compile the kernel with LXC support so Ubuntu4Android will work, but there is a eager community that are willing to do the work needed to get Ubuntu4Android finished. And is there any chance of getting the Atrix2 Webtop images released? I know the Webtop images are old now but I do still own the Atrix and would love to be able to play around with the webtop images you developed.

jonobacon5 karma

I would love to see Ubuntu For Android released. I asked about it a while back and there some reasons we couldn't generally distribute it, but I can't remember why: I think something to do with re-distributing binary blobs that would mean the user would need to manually assemble the image.

Starks0 karma

Unity or GNOME Shell?

jonobacon3 karma


teward001-1 karma

As the community manager, I know you probably see a lot of flak about Unity being poor and a lot of other complaints.

But, as the community manager, what is the best advice you can give to someone who does not like Unity and may want to use some other Desktop Environment?

Also, do you have any recommendations of a desktop environment that is in the repositories, or a flavor of Ubuntu, that the "Unity is bad" complainers would be more happy with, maybe something more similar to the pre-Unity environments that used to exist?

jonobacon5 karma

My advise would be to use what you enjoy. :-)

This is one of the reasons why Open Source is awesome; the Ubuntu archive has many different DEs in there that you can use, and we have many flavors (e.g. Kubuntu) that provide alternatives too.