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The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter and other ways to contribute to Ubuntu

Today, the last day of 2014, I’ve taken some time to look back on some of my biggest accomplishments. There have been the big flashy things, lots of travel, lots of talks and the release of The Official Ubuntu Book, 8th Edition. What a great year!

Then there is the day to day stuff, one of which is the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter.

Every week we work to collect news from around our community and the Internet to bring together a snapshot of that week in Ubuntu. I’ve used the Newsletter archive to glimpse into where we were 6 years ago, and many folks depend on the newsletter each week to get the latest dose of collected news.

In 2014 we released 49 issues. Each one of these issues is the result of a team of contributors who collect links for our newsletter (typically Paul White and myself) and then a weekend of writing summaries for many of these collected articles, where again Paul White has been an exceptional contributor, with several others pitching here and there for a few issues. We then do some editorial review. Release takes place on Monday, where we post to several community resources (forums, discourse, mailing lists, fridge) and across our social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Google+), this is usually done by myself or José Antonio Rey. In all, I’d estimate that creating a newsletter takes about 6-8 hours of people time each week. Not a small investment! And one that is shared largely on a week by week basis between the core of three contributors.

We need your help.

Plus, kicking off the new year by contributing to open source is a great way to start!

We specifically need folks to help write summaries over the weekend. All links and summaries are stored in a Google Doc, so you don’t need to learn any special documentation formatting or revision control software to participate. Plus, everyone who participates is encouraged to add their name to the credits.

Summary writers. Summary writers receive an email every Friday evening (or early Saturday) with a link to the collaborative news links document for the past week which lists all the articles that need 2-3 sentence summaries. These people are vitally important to the newsletter. The time commitment is limited and it is easy to get started with from the first weekend you volunteer. No need to be shy about your writing skills, we have style guidelines to help you on your way and all summaries are reviewed before publishing so it’s easy to improve as you go on.

Interested? Email editor.ubuntu.news@ubuntu.com and we’ll get you added to the list of folks who are emailed each week.

Finally, I grepped through our archives and want to thank the following people who’ve contributed this year:

  • Paul White
  • José Antonio Rey
  • Jim Connett
  • Emily Gonyer
  • Gim H
  • John Kim
  • Esther Schindler
  • Nathan Dyer
  • David Morfin
  • Tiago Carrondo
  • Diego Turcios
  • Penelope Stowe
  • Neil Oosthuizen
  • John Mahoney
  • Aaron Honeycutt
  • Mathias Hellsten
  • Stephen Michael Kellat
  • Sascha Manns
  • Walter Lapchynski

Thank you all!

Looking for some other way to contribute? I was fortunate in 2014 to speak at two Ubucons in the United States, at the Southern California Linux Expo and then at Fossetcon in Florida. At both these events I gave presentations on how to contribute to Ubuntu without any programming experience required, I dove into more thoroughly here in my blog:

Want more? Explore community.ubuntu.com for a variety of other opportunities to contribute to the Ubuntu community.