Ubuntu developers visiting Ubuntu Berlin and c-base – plus interview with Mark Shuttleworth

A couple of months ago I started annoying people by telling them, I’d like to show the Ubuntu Berlin community and c-base to Mark Shuttleworth as he is interested in community personally on one side and Ubuntu Berlin is a great example on the other. So this’s rather inviting an important member of the community than celebrating a „meet and greet“. Of course telling people plans like this makes them smile, but when you raise your finger and say „It will happen“ with certainty, they’ll get uncertain. So the plan was actually to invite Mark to one of our great traditional release parties which you shouldn’t miss when you are around Berlin at release time.

By chance the Ubuntu Developer Sprint happened to be in Berlin for the next Jaunty release this week. If I got it right, the Canonical Ubuntu developers meet five days around two weeks before a release feature freeze and work in groups and issues that need to be decided/designed or just fixed immediatly. The incredible Daniel Holbach had the idea of inviting the bunch of developers right into the c-base after their work. So he did and we scheduled it for an evening when the Ubuntu Berlin crew also meets at c-base for their monthly jour fix.

We did not announce this meeting externally as we tried to make the whole evening as comfortable as possible for everyone. And we did, I think. Right in time at 19:30 this Wednesday evening about thirty Ubuntu developers entered the c-base. Just among them Mark who seemed to like the whole c-base hackerspace, Ubuntu Berlin, community, space and future thing a lot. The Canonical crowd got several guided tours through the whole base by __t, while housetier provided the others with „German beer“ and Club Mate. We had a lot of chats in smaller groups, things, you always wanted to ask the developer of your choice and just relaxed smalltalks about space, canooeing the c-base project „OpenMoon“ (trying to send a rocket to the moon), and more. Mark seemed to be amazed about asking people why they joined to Ubuntu Berlin team, what they were currently doing and so on – so, what the community thing is about right here and right now.

We had no schedule for the evening. Therefore we spent about two and a half hour at c-base without any official part and a cosy diner in smaller groups afterwards. We only asked some people for an interview for the c-base statement studio channel where already people like Nokias Peter Schneider and Mozillas CEO John Lilly showed up. Mark took the time for an interview by jocognito. The results of this short talks are already online on Youtube:

Interview #1: (when the inbound video doesn’t show up, click here)

Interview #2: (when the inbound video doesn’t show up, click here)

Another interview with Jorge Castro and James Westby has also been taped and will be published soon. Funny guys talking about Ubuntu on the moon. I’ll post the Youtube links, when the edited version is online.
So what’s next? I hope everybody liked (Ubuntu) Berlin and c-base and we got a good start for possible events in the future.
Thanks again to Daniel who initiated the visit!

From workshops over Jour Fix to free network games – one week in Berlin

This week seems to be a new hilight in the „Ubuntu Berlin“ history. I already mentioned that we are really busy with event organisation, but we continue to outperform ourself: In the last weeks we noticed that we reached a point where it is impossible to plan events so that a majority of is can participate, as we are just running so many of them which has positive and negative side effects.

So how is this weeks schedule?

  • Monday: workshop with the incredible Sven Guckes about screen and irssi part one,
  • Tuesday: workshop with Sven Guckes part two,
  • Wednesday: Monthly Jour Fix at c-base with some very special guests – I’ll report back with interesting material,
  • Saturday: free game afternoon/evening/night – our first try for a free lan party with free games like „Battle for Wesnoth“, „Sauerbraten“, „Tetrinet“ – at least one game for every taste.

This feels really great on one side as you can participate at Ubuntu events on four of seven evenings within this week. And it seems we wont run out of content for the next months as we still have a lot of ideas and volunteers for workshops, release parties, events, jams and technical projects.

On the other side most members of our user group face the new situation of not being able to participate in all events. While a year ago the core team showed up at nearly every event, nearly nobody is able to participate in an Ubuntu event every second day a week.

We discussed a lot about this issue: Is it possible to offer too many events? The main argument for this is the possibility of shooting one’s wad within a short time. I, personally, don’t agree with this right now. When your possible audience is large enough – Berlin has round about 3.5 million residents – you actually can not run out of visitors. Of course millions of them aren’t interested in Ubuntu at all right now (are they?), but you have to decide whether you want to build a community for the sake of a community – which is okay, meaning meetings, chats and similar in and for a closer core group. Or you decide that you use the community as a kind of incubator trying to reach out for all the different people out there. Not to include them all into the community but to spread knowledge, free software and yes, fun.

So I guess, we’ll continue to fire off events as they come in. Actually we came to the comfortable problem of having „too many“ events by doing so for the last months, even years and we’ll see what this means for 2009. Think a lot of fun and a growing amount of happy Ubuntu users. Promised.

Ubuntu Berlin raising money for a video projector – want to support?


I already mentioned that one goal of Ubuntu Berlin for this year is raising enough money for a new video projector. The „Ubuntu Berlin“ team is quite active with its release parties, bug jams, lectures and workshops and most of these events require us to present software to an audience (surprise!). We are really happy about having the possibility to use the infrastructure of the well known c-base, but the video projector there is really close to its end of life-cycle and more or less unusable (too dark, unsharp, etc.).

Therefore we decided to buy a new video projector funded by the community. The „ubuntu Deutschland e.V.„, the main German LoCo team, if you can say so, and legal association behind major parts of the German community, is able to collect the money and can even issue an official contribution receipt as this is tax deductable in Germany.

So if you have some money left and want to support one of the most active teams in the Ubuntu community, feel free to donate some money to:

account holder: ubuntu Deutschland e.V.
bank: HVB Nürnberg
account number: 382916859
bank code: 76020070
IBAN: DE44760200700382916859

Swift (BIC)
purpose of transfer: „Ubuntu Berlin“ (important!)

Of course you can also donate money from another country than Germany, just use the IBAN/Swift :)

For your information:

We intend to buy a projector for about EUR 500 to 700, depending on the amount of money we collect. The beamer will be a permanent loan to the c-base, located in their workshop room – therefore used for hundreds of lectures and workshops around free software. If we collect more than we actually need for the projector, we’ll spend the remaining money for other expenses connected to Ubuntu Berlin (e.g. further reconstruction of the workshop room at c-base, funding of our bigger events like LinuxTag BBQ, release parties, etc.).

Thanks for reading, and: Donating makes you really sexy :)


You can also donate money over the wire: Just send the amount of money you like to spend via PayPal to: [email protected]

Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex Release Party on 1st of November at c-base (Berlin)

So, half a year has passed and it’s time again to celebrate a new Ubuntu release. This is an invitation for you, your friends and any other human being around to join our „Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex Release Party“ on Saturday, the 1st of November, at the sunken starship c-base (Rungestraße 20), starting at 4pm.

Again, a couple of lectures will be held – ranging from new features in Intrepid (that’s my part, I’ll give the lecture at the same day also at the BLIT), over Gnome eyecandy stuff to presentations of Freifunk project and the DeepaMehta semantic desktop (don’t miss!) directly from it’s lead developer. So either if you are new to Ubuntu and want to make first steps and contact other Ubuntu users or you are a Linux guru – you’ll find somebody to have a chat with, I promise. There’ll even be a „tux tinker corner“ where you or your girl friend have the possibility to try out some Tux Origami.

The event’ll mainly be in German, but a lot of people are speaking English, so don’t hesitate asking for help/translations.

Entrance is free, there is a free wifi, so feel free to bring your notebook in. You can also „buy“ a freshly burned Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu cd for a service charge of 1 Euro or check the Ubuntu merchandising table.

See you there?

Official Party Announcement Page
how to get to c-base?
Ubuntu Berlin

First BBJ – Berlin Bug Jam – with MOTU Daniel Holbach on Monday, 16th of June at c-base Berlin

Ubuntu Berlin ist proud to present you the first BBJ: A „Berlin Bug Jam“ with Ubuntu MOTU Daniel Holbach, who will rock the place, for sure. Don’t know what a „Bug Jam“ is? Well, imagine it as a gettogether for working on bugs in a team. That does not mean, you have to be a developer: Everybody is welcome, who can do things from testing bug reports, triaging, patching or just wants to see how it all works. So this will rather be an „event“ than a lecture/workshop and provide you with a lot of fun and knowledge. If you want to see a detailed description of a bug jam, check the wiki page.On the BBJ, we will try to persuade to join the 5-A-Day project, motivating people to continuously enhance the Ubuntu Distribution and helping you to spread the word (and yes, to compete if you like) by trying to work on five bugs every day. Let’s see, if we succeed…

Feel free to bring your notebook along. We have power and free wifi, of course.

Event: 1. Berlin Bug Jam (BBJ) with Daniel Holbach
Location: c-base Berlin, Rungestr. 20
Date: 16th of June
Time: 18:00

Please note: If you want to support the Global Ubuntu Bug Jam, which is taking place from 8th to 10th of August,
this is a perfect possibility for you to gather some hands on
experiences. Of course, Ubuntu Berlin, will bring up a great lineup and
event for the Global Bug Jam. We are already working on it.

Ubuntu BBQ on 31th of May – End of Linuxtag

Ubuntu Berlin strikes again! On the 31th of May, this Saturday (and last day of the „Linuxtag“), Ubuntu Berlin is proud to present the „Ubuntu BBQ“ – an event you should not miss when staying in Berlin for attending „Linuxtag 2008„, live here or happen to be around by chance.

Hosted again by the sunken starship „c-base“ we are happy to provide you with drinks at low prices, and BBQ and entrance for … free! Sponsorships from Canonical Ltd. (you might have heard of them) and ubuntu Deutschland e.V. (thank you!) and an invitation from the Linuxtag Community staff made this possible and we are anxious to see how many Linuxtag attendees make their way to the base.

But it’s not about eating and drinking: The event gives you the possibility to meet a lot of GNU/Linux and Ubuntu interested folks, even some of the well known free software gurus in a relaxed atmosphere. Of course you can use a free wifi network with you notebook/gadget/whatever, but don’t forget: It’s a party. Music will be around and you can sit directly at the rivercoast of the „Spree“. It’s said the weather will be great.

You are invited the join us starting from 4 pm – the BBQ will start from 7pm – so you have enough time to come over from Linuxtag. We will arrange some groups you can join on Linuxtag making it easier for you to find the c-base. See more on our (yet only German) announcement.

Ubuntu landed on Berlin metro system

The guys from „Berliner Fenster“, a company responsible for the content of the television system installed inside underground vehicles (more than 3.700 displays) were so kind (thank you!) providing us with a spot for our release party this Saturday for free. So just on time with the release starting from today there are small spots viewable by an audience of about 1.5 million people per day according to their web site.

Don’t trust me? See this:

and this:

And come over on Saturday, the 26th of April to our release party. Lectures, demonstrations, freshly burned cds, a live Samba band, a button machine and Daniel Holbach as Drum’n’Bass dj and of course dozens of helpful and open source minded people are waiting for you. Entrance is free.

13 phases for getting sugar: My odyssey to the OLPC XO

What a journey! It took four and a half month for me to get my OLPC XO. If you are interested in the journey, read on. I just need to tell it somebody 😉

Phase 1: Being an alien

I ordered the OLPC XO quite early through the Give 1 Get 1 program as I thought the idea is fine to support and I was really interested in the device. Not only in the hard- but also in the software and the complete package. So in mid November 2007 I tried to order, but… I live in Berlin/Germany and in the beginning there was no way for me to order. The web form was only able to handle requests from the States (and Canada I think?). Though I already made contact to a friend who was willing to be my delivery address in the U.S. the payment with European credit cards was impossible. But just a couple of days after the start of G1G1 I noticed you could order the laptop via phone.

Phase 2: Being a hero

So after calculating the time zone difference I called the G1G1 support and ordered the laptop by phone. Sounds easy but try to image waiting on a phone for half an hour, ordering in a different language than your native language while having to spell names, addresses and your credit card number. But hey: I was sure to get the device right before Christmas so I could show off with it at the 24C3 CCC hacker convention.

Phase 3: Being a loser

Of course really nothing happened. All I got was an annoying mail at some day telling me about my bad luck and having to wait for an actually unspecific amount of time and and offer of a postcard for youngsters explaining why the laptop will be delayed. So I had to join the hacker congress without gadget while having to see at least ten or more of XOs flying around there. Bad luck, really bad luck.

Phase 4: Being a cheater

In early 2008 a friend showed up who ordered two EEE pcs by chance and asked me if I want to have one of them. As I really yearned for a small device I decided to break my own rule and bought the EEE while feeling political incorrect.

Phase 5: Being a clown

After weeks a hidden link to a form showed up somewhere in the web where you could track the status of your shipment. Something seemed to be wrong with my order. So I took the time of hanging one and a half hour on hold. Afterwards an even worse than me speaking Indian callcenter agent told me that the delivery address was incorrect and we needed half an hour to correct it. No joke.

Phase 6: Being a monk

At least in early March I had given up my hope and tried to think that maybe someone somewhere is happy with one or two laptops funded with my credit card. Really – I started telling people that I did not expect the XO to be delivered and I really did not. I triend to get happy with my EEE, installing Ubuntu Gutsy and Hardy on it.

Phase 7: Being a zombie-child

Then it came. The very mail: My XO has been delivered. FedEx tracking number. I jumped like a child. But hey: Where the heck has it been delivered? My friend did not receive it. The signature from FedEx showed a name like „Jon Doe“ and I started getting angry. FedEx should stated they are out of business when somebody subscribed the package. Maybe I did not get the meaning of the combination of name and delivery address…

Phase 8: Being a child again

A couple of days later the package was found (picked up by a friendly neighbor). It had a totally false name on it, but hey, it has been found!

Pase 9: Being a scientist

Now it was time to manage a shipment from Los Angeles to Berlin while trying to get it fast. Ever tried to order a shipment by yourself? At the very first try you have to be a scientist. Tax rates, duane, weight, shipment type… But I got really nice support from my friend. Delivery price: over 100 USD. Ouch.

Phase 10: Being a driver

While FedEx managed to bring the package within three days (Friday to Monday) they also managed to inform me as late as possible on Monday that I wasn’t at home though I already called them in the morning. Bad luck again. But hey, I called their office in the afternoon and managed to get an address where it was possible to pick up packages manually until 8 p.m. So shortly about 8 p.m. I finally got my package.

Phase 11: Being an opener

So finally: Yesterday evening I’s able to unpack my own white-green-froggy-style thingie and plugging it into…

Phase 12: Being an idiot

… nothing because I could have been smart enough to think of American style power supplies. Guys, you really have crappy power outlets. This looks rather like a hobbie thingie than a serious voltage carrier. But in my bad luck at least the batterie had some power left so I’s able to hack around for at a couple of hours.

Phase 13: Being normal again

Tuesday, the device is still there yearning to be hacked. I picked up a converter for the power supply and that’s end of the story. Being on sugar now.

To give you some totals of this odyssey: I had to wait four and a half month for the XO and spent at least 550 USD for it (400 for the G1G1, 40 for the delivery to the US, 100 for the delivery to Germany and 10 for a converter). That hurts again and again but thats the price for being a first mover if you can say so when waiting that long.

p.s.: This post is not a rant about the delivery process though it really got on my nerves. I appreciate the effort for the project but also I have to state that these guys really need some managing hints. When thinking worldwide you have to make sure you are able to deliver within a reasonable amount of time. Lesson learned, I hope.

Invitation to Ubuntu Hardy Heron Release Party in Berlin on 26th of April 2008

Here it comes: Though the release party of the „Ubuntu Berlin“ user group will be mainly in German we also invite all non native German speaking visitors to attend us. Here is the official English invitation (thanks to ninin for the work on the translation):

Ubuntu „Hardy Heron“ release party on April 26th at 4:00 pm at the c-base in Berlin

Ubuntu 8.04 „Hardy Heron“ is arriving. To celebrate the new release of the popular free GNU/Linux distribution Ubuntu the local user group Ubuntu-Berlin will organize a party. The event will take place on the 26th of April in the rooms of the culture project c-base and starts at 4:00 pm. Admission is free.

There will be a programme of short talks (about 20 minutes each) in relaxed atmosphere. Several features and applications which are integrated into the new Ubuntu version are presented by users, for example the optional 3D-Desktop. Furthermore there will be contributions of associated organisations like the „Free Software Foundation Europe“ (FSFE) and the „Förderverein für eine Freie Informationelle Infrastruktur“ (FFII). A „burning station“ provides visitors with Hardy CDs at cost price of one Euro. For anyone who wants to try out Hardy straight away there will be the possibility to do so on one of the computers there. There will be many experienced users around, who will answer questions.

Flyer for Hardy Heron Release Party
(please note the year 😉 )

Apart from the official programme, the event offers the possibility to get started with the world of free software and to get in touch with like-minded users. Musical entertainment comes from a variety of Bands and DJs who will also play free music. Beverages and snacks are available at the bar at moderate prices. Laptops can be connected to a free Wifi net (visitors could bring a power strip, switch and cable).

Who is „Ubuntu Berlin“?

„Ubuntu Berlin“ is a free group of interested Ubuntu-Linux users. The group sees itself as a local communication platform und organises regular user meetings and release parties. The group has no own legal form but it keeps loose contact with the registered association „Ubuntu Deutschland e.V.“ which supports selected activities.

Place, time and access route

Date: 26th of April 2008
Time: doors open 4:00 pm, open end
Place: c-base, Rungestraße 20 in Berlin Mitte, S+U Jannowitzbrücke
Route: https://wiki.c-base.org/coredump/AnfahrtsSkizze


E-Mail: [email protected]
WWW: http://www.ubuntu-berlin.de/

Call for Papers: Ubuntu Hardy Heron Release Party (Berlin)

As already mentioned the „Ubuntu Berlin“ user group already planned it’s Ubuntu Hardy Heron release party for 26th of April. This time we want to go one step further and extend our lecture track. Therefore we started a call for papers. The call itself is in German due to our local focus. If you live around Berlin and are willing and able to speak about a Ubuntu- oder Linux-related topic – let us know! The most recent version of the call and a pdf version are to be found on: http://www.ubuntu-berlin.de/hardy-cfp/

For the lazy ones around, take the following:

Call for Papers

Ubuntu Hardy Heron Releaseparty (Berlin)

Die Anwendergruppe „Ubuntu Berlin“ sucht Referenten für die am 26.4.2008 in den Räumen des c-base e.V. stattfindende Ubuntu Hardy Heron Releaseparty.

Die Teilnehmer der Party setzen sich aus Ubuntu-Neulingen, Anwendern und fortgeschrittenen Entwicklern zusammen. Es ist mit einer Teilnehmerzahl ab 100 Personen zu rechnen. Thematisch sind Vorträge zu Ubuntu-bezogenen Themen (Neuerungen in Hardy Heron, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Gobuntu, usw.), Installation, speziellen Anwendungsfällen und Applikationen, aber auch Community- und Linux-nahen Aktivitäten willkommen. Die Vortragszeit beträgt 20 Minuten, um ein Vortragsinterval von 30 Minuten einzuhalten. Beamer, Internetzugang, Rechner, Mikrofon können gestellt werden. Bei rechtzeitiger Anfrage ist eventuell die Bereitstellung eines Workshop-Raums für kleinere Sitzungen möglich (ca. 8 Plätze).

Vorschläge sind einzureichen bis zum 29.2.2008. Über eine Annahme der Vorträge wird bis 16.3.2008 entschieden.

Beim Einreichen sind folgende Vorgaben zu beachten:

  • Nennung von Vortragstitel, Name des Vortragenden, Qualifikation (z.B. Anwender, Vereinsmitglied, Entwickler)
  • Beschreibung des Vortragsthemas in einem Absatz
  • Kontakt-Möglichkeit des Vortrages (E-Mail, nach Möglichkeit Telefon)
  • Nennung notwendiger Ressourcen (Beamer, Netzwerk, Rechner)
  • Besteht die Möglichkeit, den Vortrag ca. eine Woche vorher voraufzuführen

Ubuntu Berlin kann keine Kostenerstattung für Anreise, Unterkunft und Verpflegung übernehmen. Ein eventuell notwendiger Transport von Hardware kann im Raum Berlin organisiert werden.

Vortrags-Konzepte und Fragen sind per E-Mail zu richten an
[email protected]