First off, Happy 5th Birthday Ubuntu! I first installed Ubuntu on a machine on March 12, 2005. Impressively precise date, huh? That’s because I signed up on ubuntuforums.org the same day.
In an interesting coincidence, this morning I had the pleasure of attending my first Ubuntu Community Council Meeting as a Council Member. And we don’t start small with our new council! The major topic was ratifying revisions to the Ubuntu Code of Conduct, version 1.1. The rationale behind the changes can be found here and the full text of the revised Code of Conduct is here.
So here’s one of your birthday gifts, Ubuntu, a shiny new Code of Conduct!
Ubuntu Code of Conduct v1.1
This Code of Conduct covers our behaviour as members of the Ubuntu Community, in any forum, mailing list, wiki, web site, IRC channel, install-fest, public meeting or private correspondence. Ubuntu governance bodies are ultimately accountable to the Ubuntu Community Council and will arbitrate in any dispute over the conduct of a member of the community.
”Be considerate.” Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision we take will affect users and colleagues, and we should take those consequences into account when making decisions. Ubuntu has millions of users and thousands of contributors. Even if it’s not obvious at the time, our contributions to Ubuntu will impact the work of others. For example, changes to code, infrastructure, policy, documentation, and translations during a release may negatively impact others’ work.
”Be respectful.” The Ubuntu community and its members treat one another with respect. Everyone can make a valuable contribution to Ubuntu. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behaviour and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. We expect members of the Ubuntu community to be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the Ubuntu project and with users of Ubuntu.
”Be collaborative.” Collaboration is central to Ubuntu and to the larger free software community. This collaboration involves individuals working with others in teams within Ubuntu, teams working with each other within Ubuntu, and individuals and teams within Ubuntu working with other projects outside. This collaboration reduces redundancy, and improves the quality of our work. Internally and externally, we should always be open to collaboration. Wherever possible, we should work closely with upstream projects and others in the free software community to coordinate our technical, advocacy, documentation, and other work. Our work should be done transparently and we should involve as many interested parties as early as possible. If we decide to take a different approach than others, we will let them know early, document our work and inform others regularly of our progress.
”When we disagree, we consult others.” Disagreements, both social and technical, happen all the time and the Ubuntu community is no exception. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively and with the help of the community and community processes. We have the Technical Board, the Community Council, and a series of other governance bodies which help to decide the right course for Ubuntu. There are also several Project Teams and Team Leaders, who may be able to help us figure out the best direction for Ubuntu. When our goals differ dramatically, we encourage the creation of alternative sets of packages, or derivative distributions, using the Ubuntu Package Management framework, so that the community can test new ideas and contribute to the discussion.
”When we are unsure, we ask for help.” Nobody knows everything, and nobody is expected to be perfect in the Ubuntu community. Asking questions avoids many problems down the road, and so questions are encouraged. Those who are asked questions should be responsive and helpful. However, when asking a question, care must be taken to do so in an appropriate forum.
”Step down considerately.” Members of every project come and go and Ubuntu is no different. When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, in whole or in part, we ask that they do so in a way that minimises disruption to the project. This means they should tell people they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where they left off.
We pride ourselves on building a productive, happy and agile community that can welcome new ideas in a complex field, and foster collaboration between groups with very different needs, interests and goals. We hold our leaders to an even higher standard, in the Leadership Code of Conduct, and arrange the governance of the community to ensure that issues can be raised with leaders who are engaged, interested and competent to help resolve them.
In the coming days the old CoC will be updated with version 1.1 in all the relevant places on Ubuntu sites.