Yesterday, I was approved for Ubuntu membership and am now an official member of the Ubuntu community. Becoming a member is just about the most formal procedure in the Ubuntu community, and it is still very, very relaxed.
New member candidates are approved at the Ubuntu Community Council meetings which are held every two weeks on the ubuntu-meeting IRC channel. Members write a short introduction of themselves and the work they’ve done in the Ubuntu community and add themselves to the meeting agenda in the Ubuntu community wiki. And based on that, the four members of the Community Council make their decision to either approve membership or ask for further involvement or testimonials from other community members who can vouch for the candidates.
I, too, did a wiki page presenting myself and the based on the work I described there, I was asked questions by the members of the community council which I guess is the closest Ubuntu comes to having tribal elders. As all the Ubuntu IRC channels are logged, you can easily find and read the full transcript of the meeting with the review of, and interview with, all of the candidates.
It was a quite strange experience, sitting in a room full of Ubuntu developers as the meeting unfolded in complete silence, everybody working and only a few of them taking the time to follow the meeting on IRC.
So what does being a Ubuntu member mean? Well, officially it means that you’re allowed to vote on community-wide issues which has been put up for a vote. But so far, in the almost 2 years of active Ubuntu community, there has not been a single occasion for a vote.
What else? Well, I am now allowed to make my own Ubuntu business cards, have my own ubuntu.com email address and get my blog on the Planet Ubuntu aggregated community blog.
.. hey, wait. Maybe I ought to do that.