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News and Editorials

Ubuntu Women Project

By Rebecca Sobol
January 13, 2010

The Ubuntu-Women project "is a team functioning under Ubuntu to provide a platform and encouragement for women to contribute to Ubuntu-Linux" Women are generally under-represented in Free/Open Source software and this project seeks to get more women involved in free software in general and in Ubuntu in particular.

The project was founded in 2006, according to the project wiki and it is currently quite active. There is a mailing list, an IRC channel (#ubuntu-women at, a forum and even its own planet.

The project has gotten so large lately that they feel the need for more leadership, and have asked the Ubuntu Community Council to appoint an interim leader. Elizabeth Krumbach wrote: "This team leader will hold this position for a minimum of 6 months, at which point the position will be re-evaluated. She will guide the project through formalizing a "voting team" for election of the next leader(s) and helping us work through our RoadMap for the Lucid Cycle." There are three candidates for interim leader: Amber Graner, Penelope Stowe and Melissa Draper.

In addition to finding a leader, the project seeks to clarify the purpose of the IRC channel. The channel is currently a place to hold project meetings and discuss project business, a place for idle (off-topic) chit-chat, and everything in between. For example, some women see the channel as a safe haven to to go when they are being harassed elsewhere. The channel logs are not archived and that is a point of contention. Some think that project business discussions should be archived, but not the idle chit-chat. Logging complaints could help to document the situation. But the logs might also be used against the complainant, for example during a job interview. Several options have been proposed.

One option is to split the current channel into two channels, leaving #ubuntu-women as a social channel, which is not archived, and create a separate channel called #ubuntu-women-project which would be a logged channel for project business. The second option is to ban off-topic chatter in #ubuntu-women and to create a channel specifically for complaints. The third option is to log all chatter on the #ubuntu-women channel, and also create a separate channel where the project leader and her team can discuss any issues that arise. That second channel would not be publicly logged, but the logs would be available on request by the Community Council. There are a few that feel that creating a second channel would fracture the project and would eventually lead to its demise, but overall there is some consensus that a second channel is needed.

Melissa Draper posted her concerns on her blog.

On a personal level, the idea of logging the #ubuntu-women social banter is a real concern and worries me to no end. #ubuntu-offtopic is not logged, and is a social channel that caters to the 96% male/4% female audience. The prospect of logging a 50% female social channel because some people who haven't bothered to really take the time to understand the Ubuntu Women Project think that maybe they might kinda one day be mentioned potentially negatively doesn't sit well in comparison. Letting women socialise with a group half-comprised of women under the same circumstances as men are allowed to socialise with a group almost entirely comprised of men isn't going to ruin the whole Ubuntu project.

Melissa is also in favor of separating the business side of the channel from the social side. "I genuinely believe it will be more effective to split out the project stuff and have #ubuntu-women-project. I believe it is harder to move social/emotional discussion as doing so breaks the mood or potentially hits nerves."

The project is also working on revamping its wiki page, and continues to increase the participation of women in the Ubuntu project. It's a place where people can go for mentoring and encouragement. Men are welcome to join the project, participate in the mailing list and IRC, to help and be helped. If you have considered getting involved in Ubuntu but are not sure where to start, check out the Ubuntu Community website. If you need more mentoring though, Ubuntu Women might be able to help.

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New Releases

Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring alpha1 is out

The first alpha for Mandriva Linux 2010.1 (Spring edition) is now available. "Many improvements and new functionalities are planned for this new version: your desktop will be smart and connected! Smart desktop is still one of the focus of main version, you can have a look on the coming roadmap. But you will find also easy home encryption so that your personal data are secured even where ever you are. Also planned a big work on our tools to manage software installation and update to give more useful information and help user in choosing the best of open source software."

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Distribution News

Debian GNU/Linux

Changes for Squeeze in Debian Installer

Frans Pop takes a look at some changes to the Debian installer for the upcoming squeeze release. Some of the changes include: recommended packages are installed by default, changes in the selection of language/country/locale, and changes in the partitioner. "So here's an overview of the more important changes in D-I since Lenny that are available in current daily and weekly built images. Note that for different reasons there are issues with daily/weekly images for various architectures. The images for i386, amd64, armel and sparc are fairly reliable. Images for other architectures may at times be either outdated, unavailable or broken."

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Final Fedora Board appointment

Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields has announced that Colin Walters is the final appointee on the Fedora board. "To fill the final open seat on the Board for the next two releases, I am appointing Colin Walters. Colin has spent several years developing technology and community in the GNOME Project and around the varied landscape of Fedora's desktop. He brings to the Board a constructive, positive spirit to solving problems in Fedora and upstream. His recent work on advancing ideas and code for a unique but highly usable personality for the free desktop is also very exciting."

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Colin Walters: On the Fedora Board

Colin Walters has been appointed to the Fedora Advisory Board and posts on his plans. "Now that I'm on the Fedora Project Board, you may be wondering what my plans are. The first answer is - ideally - not much! Ideally, no one posts semi-nude material on the planet, we all cooperate nicely on the mailing lists, and in general the construction of a Free Software operating system and applications basically runs itself, and I can spend most of my time working on code too. However, we aren't quite in an ideal state, so let me give you a sense of my thoughts and goals."

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John Poelstra: The Fedora Board So Far

Fedora board member John Poelstra reflects on his term on the board. "I believe it is the job of the Fedora board to provide vision and leadership. Right now a big part of this vision needs to be who the Fedora distribution is for. This isn't to say these ideas and leadership can't come from others in Fedora. It is great when they do. Ultimately though, the Fedora Board is accountable for providing a vision for the future, conveying that that vision in a compelling way to Fedora, making changes to that vision based on feedback from other project members, and making sure the right things are in place for success."

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Fedora Board Recap 2010-01-07

Click below for a recap of the January 7, 2010 meeting of the Fedora Board. Topics include, Appropriate material for Planet, and more.

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Fedora mailing list migration complete!

Jon Stanley reports that Fedora's mailing list migration to Fedora infrastructure has been completed. "Many thanks to all involved in this effort, specifically Marek Mahut from Red Hat IT, and Dennis Gilmore from Fedora Infrastructure. Without both of them, this would never have been possible."

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Ubuntu family

Ubuntu Developer Week

The next Ubuntu Developer Week takes place January 25 - 29, 2010. "Ubuntu Developer Week is a series of online workshops where you can: * learn about different packaging techniques * find out more about different development teams * check out the efforts of the world-wide Development Community * participate in open Q&A sessions with Ubuntu developers * much more... "

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Distribution Newsletters

Arch Linux Magazine, January 2010

The Arch Linux Magazine for January 2010 is available with the latest Arch Linux news. Inside you'll find a report from Devland, a featured interview with Ionut Mircea Biru (Wonder), and much more.

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DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 336

The DistroWatch Weekly for January 11, 2010 is out. "Linux distributions come in many flavours; some include thousands of packages on a half a dozen of DVDs, while others fit on a 30 MB media. SliTaz GNU/Linux falls into the latter category. But despite its small size, it is a highly versatile and modern distribution, featuring the latest Linux kernel and many extra applications in its online repositories. Read our first-look review to find out more. In the news section, Debian project leader hints at a possible release date of the project's next version, Slackware removes the last vestiges of the old IDE/ATA system from its current kernels, BSD Magazine transforms itself into an free online publication, and Foresight Linux promises to re-activate the development of its GNOME-centric distribution. Other topics covered in this issue include release roadmap for Mandriva Linux 2010.1, a comparative review of several netbook-oriented distributions, and a quick tip on restoring the GRUB bootloader in case of trouble. Happy reading!"

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Fedora Weekly News 208

The Fedora Weekly News for January 10, 2010 is out. "This issue kicks off with announcements, including a note on the final open seat on the Fedora Board being appointed with Colin Walters, upcoming deadline details for Fedora 13 new features and spins, and a Bugzilla upgrade and outage last week. In news from the Fedora Planet, new Chromium packages and SELinux tips, Fedora 13 marketing plans, and details on a class on Inkscape recently taught at a Boston middle school. In news from the Fedora Ambassadors, details on last week's Fedora Ambassador IRC class. In Quality Assurance news, many updates on the first weekly QA team meeting of 2010, details on a new test case for preupgrade, and details on an initial set of desktop validation test cases for Fedora. In Translation news, the very latest on Fedora 13 documentation and translation schedule, discussion with the Fedora QA Team for help with the Fedora Localization Project's testing events, and an announcement of new team members for French, Arabic and Russian translation teams. In news from the Design team, find out about the start of a new Fedora Design Spin, and graphic concepts for Fedora 13. This issue wraps with with security advisories for Fedora 11 and 12. Enjoy FWN 208 and welcome to 2010!"

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openSUSE Weekly News/105

This issue of the openSUSE Weekly News covers openSUSE Spotlight: The next openSUSE Survey, * Katarina Machalkova: YaST is falling, make a wish, * Joe Brockmeier: Bash 101: Working at the CLI, * openSUSE Forums: Kaffeine in KDE4, * h-online/Thorsten Leemhuis: Kernel Log - Coming in 2.6.33 (Part 1) - Networking, and several other topics.

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Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #175

The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter for January 9, 2010 is out. "In this issue we cover: Edubuntu bug day on Tuesday, January 12th, 2nd call for votes: Ubuntu Developer Membership Board Election, Simplified Main Inclusion Request process, New MOTU members, Ubuntu Manual Project, 2010: Your Year for Ubuntu Membership, Ubuntu Florida Team and the "Youth Build Day", Lanuchpad - Jonathan Lange: The Road Ahead, Community and Ubuntu Live Videocast, Ubuntu Women project growing in Strength, and much, much more!"

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Interview: Arch Linux Team (OSnews)

OSnews has an interview with several members of the Arch Linux Team. "Tobias Kieslich: If it's not your first time [installing Arch Linux] and you have a decent connection, a running desktop is doable in 30 minutes. However, that requires reading and understanding of the documentation. To put it in other words, there are a lot of people out there driving cars. The majority of them are intimidated by looking under the hood. Arch Linux is targetting people who are not."

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Distribution reviews

Fedora 12 -- A 'Must Upgrade' and 'Strongly Consider' Distro (LinuxPlanet)

LinuxPlanet has a review of Fedora 12. "Fedora 12 is a great Linux distribution with an impeccable pedigree. While it might not be the best distribution to throw at a total newbie, it definitely provides one of the more technically solid and stable platforms around."

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Ubuntu Netbook Remix vs Moblin (TuxRadar)

TuxRadar looks at several netbook distributions particularly Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Moblin. "We're going to document the current state-of-the-art in mobile Linux, and uncover the innovation and the technology that has enabled recent developments to happen. And we're going to start with netbooks, as these desirable items are becoming increasingly important. Ideally, a netbook OS needs to take into consideration three things: the limited amount of screen space that these devices typically have, the need for applications to be quick and responsive, and fact that these devices have to last as long as possible without being connected to a power source. And this is exactly what both Moblin and Canonical's UNR have been designed to accomplish."

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Page editor: Rebecca Sobol
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