Confessions of a community member.

I am concerned with the current status of Ubuntu, not because of the tension on the community or the new software being put out. I am concerned because I feel my time and contributions might go to waste and fall on deaf ears. As leader of a LoCo, how do I know if the work I am putting in is even going to matter in two months when 13.04 comes out? Is my work still relevant because it has nothing to do with a cell phone, nothing to do with a display server, and nothing that in any way is a direct profit source for the Canonical.

I just spent the past two days at the online UDS, and though I feel this allowed for greater community participation  I am blatantly aware that the items the community are allowed to work on are not the same that we could work on in 2008 when I first joined the Ubuntu community. We have no say in any core decisions, and I find this unexceptionable.  This is not community, this is hierarchical class system with an almost direct juxtaposition to the Ubuntu I used to know. We are made to be people who are used and abused  and uninformed of the inner workings of the actual Ubuntu system until every other Ubuntu user finds out. How can I go from working at UDS on how to spread Ubuntu when I am just as unaware as any other Ubuntu user out there as to what this Ubuntu is that I have volunteered to spread. Am I still valued?

Come speak at SCALE The Next Generation and have a really good time!

The Southern California Linux Expo will be running a conference called SCALE The Next Generation, and we  are looking for a few more speakers! Just what is SCALE you ask, well it is a great Linux Conference taking place this February in Los Angeles. At this conference we will be offering a chance to let youth involved in Open Source speak on their skills, experiences  and love of what they use and do. Last year was the first year for SCALE to offer a mini conference for youth, and we were presented with many great talks. Such talks were  “Overview of Google Summer of Code” and “Tux Paint Demo” and these were all great presentations.

So now it is 2013 and a new year. We are a year older, and hopefully a year wiser. This year I would like to ask for you help in speaking at SCALE, as I know many of the people reading this are youth themselves, and if you are a youth and reading this, this this means you. You can submit a talk via the instructions at the bottom on this blog post. Make sure to get your talk in by February second at midnight. If you need any assistance with this feel free to email me at and I will help with whatever you need.
If you would like to submit a talk proposal you must have an account on the SCALE website. This can be done by visiting the link below:

Once this is done, follow the instructions on this page to submit the talk:
(Remember to select the youth option for where your talk proposal will go)

Thank you and hope to see you there!

My review of The Official Ubuntu Book (7th Edition)

After reading this book I can say that I have a better understanding on how this Ubuntu operating works. The nice thing about this book compared to other books on Ubuntu that cover how to use Ubuntu, is this books covers not only these topics, but goes over why and how Ubuntu came into being and thoroughly teaches the readers how the Ubuntu community runs and operates. I have seen first hand what happens in the Ubuntu community when a new helpful hand joins and speeds up the Ubuntu development. This books helps people know the option to join is available. This book also goes over how to get your app into the Ubuntu Software center, the app where people install software for their Ubuntu system. Basically this book starts out explaining what Ubuntu is, then moves on to installing it, the command line and running it as a server. but the main selling point in the book is the books ability to comprehensibly show how the Ubuntu community works and this is where other books fall short compared to this book. Highly recommend to people wanting to install Ubuntu, and even someone wanting to help make Ubuntu even better.

My review of A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming (3rd Edition)

I have read this book and can say that it contains a detailed and
thorough explanation of the Linux shell. It starts out with a history
lesson of the GNU/Linux operating system and features a detailed
explanation of how to interact with the shell via editors such as vim
and emacs. Further on, the author discusses scripting languages such as
Perl and Python. I can say that this book has allowed me to be able to
enhance my scripting skills because unlike other command line books, it
goes over programming languages as well, with a complete guide on how to
integrate them into the linux/unix shell. If you noticed how I just
included Unix as well, that is because it will also be helpful to osx
users wanting to ditch their mouse and take back their system as well.
This book has improved my work day in the shell and enhanced my
productivity. I would happily recommend it to anyone looking to improve
their productivity skills in the command line or even learn about the
command line as a beginner.The book can be bought at:

OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook Review

I recently picked up a copy of the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook and must say that as a new user to OpenStack, I feel I have the ability now to get my feet wet with this software and deploy to a cloud of my own (as I did). When reading the book, it shows that the software version is Essex. After reading this book I was able to get a could up and running quickly, and efficiently. This book goes over all key parts and components associated with OpenStack including Nova, Swift, Keystone, Glance, and Horizon. These topics are all covered in their own chapter. Because of OpenStack’s ties with Ubuntu, you will see such topics as Juju and MASS mentioned here as well. Both great tools to run with OpenStack. Because of this book I now have been able to get my technology under control because of this book and can “rock this new cloud thing with ease”. I will be recommending this book to everyone I know interested in OpenStack from now on.

Links to buy this book are found here:

Help run a Ubuntu Open Week Session!!!

I am looking for people who would be willing to give a session lasting one hour during Ubuntu Open Week. What is Ubuntu Open Week you ask? It is is a weeklong (sort of) IRC
event where we have instructors and classes on various topics in

Takes place from Wednesday 2 May – Friday 4 May 2012 on IRC in #ubuntu-classroom and #ubuntu-classroom-chat.

Please visit
Here you can see all about this event and add your name to the schedule if you have a session you would like to do. If you have any questions about the event, feel free to comment below or message me.

We are Ubuntu: My interview with Mike Holstein

In this post I interview Mike Holstein, a man who has helped me with many questions I have asked of him. A great person to get support from in IRC, and an awesome individual as well.
  • What do you do as an individual, outside of the Ubuntu community?

I am a professional musician, and technology enthusiast living in Asheville NC. I have a solo album that was created using only FOSS tools in UbuntuStudio. Check it out here.

I have been using Linux for about 8 years on and off, and full-time for about 5 years. I am mostly rather introverted, though i like talking about technology and music.

  • In what areas have you helped in the Ubuntu and what does this do to better the community as a whole?

I really enjoy helping first-hand in the IRC support channels. I am particularly interested in promoting Ubuntu and UbuntuStudio, and helping new users find resources to get started. When I found the UbuntuStudio IRC channel, it was pretty empty. Now, there is a handful of users who hang there and help others. I think i am good at helping folks find information.

  • What makes you run Ubuntu?

For me, it’s the community. I do really like using Ubuntu and find it fits my needs in almost every way perfectly, but its the people who are working on it and working with each other to make a polished, proffesional and open project that really draws me in. The idea that i can do literally anything i want with the operating system is quite alluring. For me, that means i can do whatever i like, and my imagination is really the only limit. I read once that nothing in Linux is hiding from you, and that is so helpful.

  • What inspired you to join the Ubuntu community?

It’s the open and welcome vibe that everyone in the community seems to have. I find that there is a place for everyone. I find that for me, I get back what I put in. As a contributor, I am able to learn more about what is going on in the development community. That translates to me being able to better support new users as well.

  • Is there anything else you would like to do with Ubuntu that you have not done?

I wish I had more programming skills to contribute. Maybe I can help recruit programmers that can contribute code. I really want to help spread the word and pull new users in by sharing what I like about Ubuntu, and helping them find a place in the community. I would like for projects like UbuntuStudio to be more in the mainstream. I want to continue to push this to into the industry and help users adopt the tools.

  • What do you feel you have to offer and bring to the table that can help Ubuntu?

I am an audio professional, and bring plenty to the table for folks transitioning to UbuntuStudio, or getting started with audio production in Linux. I am quite handy at hands-on troubleshooting, and locating the cause of issues. I can usually talk through hardware issues, and help diagnose them. I am good at finding folks help, and sometimes I can provide that help personally. Other times I can find more appropriate avenues of support for the users.

If you know Mike or have a good story where he has helped you, please comment and share your story.
To get in contact with Mike visit his Launchpad page at

Philip Ballew Can be Contacted at

Follow Philip Ballew on twitter at!/philipballew for up the minute happenings with Philip’s Ubuntu Adventures

Fun at Scale10x

A little more than a week ago, the Southern California Linux Expo took place and it was a great experience. I started off Thursday as I was picked up by the KDE wonder himself David Wonderly, and we drove up from San Diego to get up to the conversation a day before in order for him to help set up. On this Thursday evening, I was able to meet up with other Ubuntu community members such as Elizabeth Krumbach and Mike Basinger. Soon after all the hello’s had passed it was time to get down to business with my speech I was delivering now just two days away. I decided to walk to Denny’s, a quarter-mile away and sit there all night over coffee, making my speech look good. Battling into the night I came out victorious and returned to my room at four am to get three hours of sleep.

The next day, I woke up to quickly get down and get  fully registered so I could receive my speakers badge. 

After I received my badge I set up to help a man named Nathan Haines, who is very active in the California LoCo I am active with, along with my other global Ubuntu commitments. Nathan ran a  mini Ubuntu conference called Ubucon where all day there were presentations about Ubuntu. Here there were many great speeches being ran including a talk by Elizabeth Krumbach about getting involved in Ubuntu. After this we experienced all people in the room (including myself) pass the mike around and discuss their reasons for running Ubuntu. There were many different reasons, some being work and others being because they saw it as a clear choice for a system to run. After this talk took place me and Some of the canonical employees attending the conference all went to lunch, great food! Soon after this we had to get back as Jorge Castro who was at lunch with us, had to go give a talk back at Ubucon on The Power User’s Guide to Unity. Man unity is looking good. It is showing to be the best user interface for my liking. Soon after this experience I went to a session led by Clint Byrum on juju’s and all that this new stuff can do. After meeting this man at the conference, I am amazed by his personality and ability to bring out a complex subject and make it understandable. After the conference was over, I received a free t-shirt from the juju team that I have already worn. Now I went beck to the Ubucon mini conference and went to a session on customizing Unity by  man I met that day named Richard Gaskin. His session was really interesting to me in the fact that It was able to showcase how to customize unity all while being able to stay out of the command line. Something I have never done, when I hack away on unity.After this event I decided to go out to dinner with the rest of my LoCo buddies. What a great time to relax and hang out. I am thrilled by all the bonding we were able to do. I then came back to the hotel and took the night by storm with some other members of the LoCo.

As Saturday came around, I awoke to get down to set up the booth, It was an awesome time as Liz and I got everything we needed ready before everyone else came to see all we had done.

I really feel the booth was awesome! Here I worked on the booth for several hours untill I had to go and work on my speech that I was giving at three in the afternoon. This speech turned out really well from what I can gather. After the speech, I went back to the booth for a short while where I handed out cd’s and talked about Ubuntu to people.Soon after this, the expo closed for the day and we were able to go do some more things for the day. A friend named Brandon and I walked to In N Out with a women who quite impressed me with her skills who worked for Mongo DB. A database I am now using. You can never beat In N Out, There is no better burger. Soon after this had finished and we walked back, I prepared for my next day manning the Scale expo floor.

Sunday morning I awoke to get up as quickly as possible to see all that is happening downstairs, Here I worked the expo floor for several hours, meeting lots of people and getting to know all the many faces that make off the Linux world. As I manned the booth and talked to people I was able to see the many different takes on Ubuntu and all that is offers for people. I was able to talk with all the people helping me to run the booth and getting to see how they help the Ubuntu LoCo as well. After the booth helping took place,.I went to a session on arduino’s lead by a fellow LoCo member Akkana Peck. I am still trying to come up with fun projects to do with my bread boards now that she has inspired me. When her talk was over, I proceeded to head out with a fellow LoCo member Mickey Lyle. If you do not know this person, you should. We then headed back to San Diego where I started to get back to the reality that I was no longer having fun at a Linux expo, but at my dorm room. All is fun while it lasts!!!


Philip Ballew Can be Contacted at

Follow Philip Ballew on twitter at!/philipballew for up the minute happenings with Philip’s Ubuntu Adventures

In this installment of We Are Ubuntu; Community members at large, I interview  Benjamin Kerensa. This indivuidal has, and is doing many great things for Ubuntu . I have worked with him on the Ubuntu-Leadership team and the Ubuntu-Weekely-Newsleter. He resides in Oregon, and runs the LoCo up there. Here is what he has to say…

In what areas have you helped in the Ubuntu and what does this do to better the community as a whole?

I have helped by reviving the Ubuntu Oregon LoCo Team where I’m currently Team Lead, I have contribute to the Doc Team by working on Community Doc and the 12.04 Server Guide, I participated in the Ubuntu Leadership Manual and have contributed to Ubuntu Development by transitioning one package to Multi-Arch.

 What makes you run Ubuntu?

I’m fan of the fast release cycles and the community-focused nature of Ubuntu. Although, I support FOSS in general the combination of Community, Release Cycles and the inclusive nature of Ubuntu makes it the only distro I will run going forward.

 What inspired you to join the Ubuntu community?

To tell you the truth I had been interested in getting involved in the Ubuntu Oregon LoCo and when I found out the LoCo was essentially dormant I became disappointed but through the encouragement of Mark Terranova (I declined twice) I accepted the role of Ubuntu Oregon LoCo Team Lead during OSCON 2011. I think the one thing that keeps me actively contributing is seeing my contributions aid others and also by seeing the contributions of others and how it impacts not only the Ubuntu Community but the FOSS Community at large.

 Is there anything else you would like to do with Ubuntu that you have not done?

I have fancied the idea of someday applying myself towards becoming a Ubuntu MOTU but I think right now the Ubuntu Oregon LoCo continues to need my contributions and I feel maintaining a focus on LoCo’s is best at this time.

 What do you feel you have to offer and bring to the table that can help Ubuntu?

I feel that I’m one puzzle piece in the massive puzzle that we call the Ubuntu Community. I think my biggest asset is evangelism in LoCo Teams and getting
people active. One great thing about the Ubuntu Community is that we are always sharing knowledge so that each of us can learn new ways to contribute and because of this what I bring to the table changes on a regular basis.

Benjamin has a website at

Follow him on twitter as well at!/bkerensa

Also, Add him on Google+ at


Philip Ballew Can be Contacted at

Follow Philip Ballew on twitter at!/philipballew for up the minute happenings with Philip’s Ubuntu Adventures

Making All Community Members Feel Valued

I  will be for the next few weeks writting articles showcasing and recognizing the people who I work with in the community. In these articles I will ask them a few questions as well as tell you just how I was impressed with their work on Ubuntu. I feel that I can accomplish two things with this set of blogs I will be posting. I can help people get the recognition they deserve, and also, bring to light some of the lesser known members of our community. These are going to be the ones who I feel work just as hard but are not in the spotlight as often as other, more prominent members. Though some people I will attempt to interview will be widely known to some, they still may need to be interviewed so everyone knows who they are. I hope to start putting these blogs out sometime in the next couple weeks, hope you all can read them!