Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Re: Ubuntu Education [Was, Re: Proposal: sunset the backports pockets]

Hi Steve,

On Tuesday, July 20, 2021 8:20:33 AM PDT Steve Langasek wrote:
> Hi Erich,
> This seems largely orthogonal to the point of the thread, but I think it
> warrants a response.

Yes, wasn't the point I was trying to make, but I can definitely speak to this
a little.

> On Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 10:18:36AM -0700, Erich Eickmeyer wrote:
> > Additionally, sunsetting things like this are sure ways to permanently
> > kill
> > them. I look at Edubuntu as a prime example: it was sunset, and those that
> > have wished to revive it have been denied that simply because "it died
> > before, what's to prevent that from happening again?".
> With both my Technical Board and Release Team hats, I am entirely unaware of
> any efforts to resurrect Edubuntu. So, who was wishing to revive it, and
> who dissuaded them?

Me. Before I got involved with Ubuntu Studio, even though Studio was a better
fit for myself personally, I saw Edubuntu dying a very painful death. I was
looking out for my son, 4 years old at the time and needing an educational
desktop that fit well for someone like him. I reached out to the flavor leads
about how to take over and was ultimately stonewalled without a response.

> That said, when talking about an official flavor, which implies an ongoing
> resource committment from the larger Ubuntu developer community (i.e. the
> Release Team), it's entirely appropriate to ask questions about the level of
> committment from those proposing the flavor.
> > Somebody made an "Ubuntu Education Remix" because they felt they could
> > never revive Edubuntu because they'd be denied that ability.
> Well, in order to be able to call itself an Ubuntu remix, it must be using
> software only from the Ubuntu archive. When I google for this and download
> the iso, inspecting it shows that it hasn't enabled any archives aside from
> Ubuntu... but the customizations to the live environment (which are
> primarily branding) are done by modifying the contents of the squashfs
> directly, with no packaging associated with it. And there is very little
> educational software I can see having been added (the only thing I managed
> to work out from the package list was epoptes-client). There is an
> interesting mix of package selection, with ubuntu-unity-desktop as the only
> metapackage installed but packages preinstalled from a wide number of the
> different desktop flavors of Ubuntu. I'm sorry to say I don't see much here
> that looks like the seed for a revived Edubuntu.

I got the name wrong, he called it UbuntuEd.


Rudra Sawant was trying to resurrect it. I had some discussions with him in
one of the IRC channels about it (I don't remember exactly which or when
otherwise I'd link the conversation), maybe turning it into Edubuntu, but he
felt as though he'd get into trouble by trying to do that, mostly from
trademark standpoints (already using Ubuntu in the name would potentially do
that). I assured him that it wasn't the case. Apparently nothing has come of
it, but my whole point was that it seemed like, at the time, people wanted it
to die.

Of course, after Edubuntu's demise, that left Ubuntu Studio as the only
existing flavor that does not depend on a desktop environment for its
definition, meaning it's the last of its kind. I'm glad I saved it from certain
death and it's now thriving. Even then, I was discouraged from leading it and
getting it going again, mostly from people outside of Ubuntu.

However, the example was to show that it's hard to resurrect a project in
Ubuntu once it's completely dead. I see that potentially happening in
Backports, but it looks as though Dan Streetman and the SEG are going to be
taking over, so, while my objections are contested, it seems as though it's
moot since the backports pocket will have life.

That said, it would be nice to see if we could lower the bar, at least from a
perceptual standpoint, for people wishing to contribute in such a way. Early
on, I saw the bar as unattainable, and I, in some ways, still feel as though
there is a certain amount of gatekeeping which, no matter how well-
intentioned, is detrimental to Ubuntu as a whole when it comes to attracting
new contributors who simply need to learn. Maybe it's a lack of willing
mentorship or a feeling of inadequacy to mentor for some, but the perceptual
bar for contribution is fairly high, and that does need to be fixed.

Of course, that's fairly orthagonal to this discussion altogether.

Erich Eickmeyer
Project Leader - Ubuntu Studio
Member - Ubuntu Community Council