Saturday, April 17, 2010

How Do We Get There From Here?

Starting to follow Troy Sobotka's advice from IRC and discuss openly what I've kept pretty quite starting with Ubuntu Studio's leadership and how it effects me.

But before I get started I should mention that I think Troy should go to medical school.  To me, his name just sounds like a doctor's name.  Try it, say it out loud...Dr. Troy Sobotka.  Sounds Hippocratic to me.

Disclaimer: The things I state are my opinions based on my perspective and I'm probably wrong on most, if not all, accounts.  Enjoy!

Leadership, It Does a Project Good
For some time, those with a keen eye and quick wit should have noticed the implosion of the Ubuntu Studio team leadership.  And not to point the Finger of Blame at someone, but it started when Cory needed to step down originally as project lead.

Cory had to do what he had to do, but that was the demarcation of when the project transitioned from involved, decisive project leadership into something different.  Even when Cory returned, he couldn't commit the necessary time and was ineffective.

But that was better than suffering with a token leader, which we did.  And again, I don't fault someone for not having time, but in this case I can be critical for some not being forthcoming with their involvement status.  I feel that courtesy (or respect perhaps) for the others involved would demand it.

Nonsupporting Cast?
Slowly other supporting members have fallen away.  Like unnamed cast members from a science fiction show that join the away party on the unknown and unavoidably hostile planet, they were not destined to stay with us long apparently.

Luis has effectively not been involved for some time, even when he was.  Luke is now leaving, a great blow in my opinion and his leaving castrates the project rendering it far less potent.  Heh, how's that for a metaphor?  Probably not the one you wanted.

The three already mentioned were the core team at one point.  No more.

Others have limited involvement, although some might have more involvement behind the scenes that I am aware.

I don't think I've ever seen Andrew Hunter directly involved with Ubuntu Studio (but he could be managing packages for all I know), Jussi is around and offers opinions and gives suggestions but I don't know what else he does, and I don't even know what crimsum's real name is, much less what he does.

But no one has been really that visibly active that I have seen.  Except Eric.

I Will Not Repeat Myself Again.  I Said...
When I joined the project, Eric was Getting Things Done.  Yes, I used capitalized words because he was really doing things.  Visible things.  And lot of them.

Me for my part, I like when Things Get Done.  That's means something is Being Done Right.

So now that I've got my feet under me a little more and I can be a little more effective, it's a little frustrating that he is also beginning to minimize his involvement.  I was hoping he would assume the mantle of leadership and we could Really Get Things Done.  I added another capitalized word to the original sentence, that makes it even more impressive, and disappointing.

Again, this is not meant to be accusatory, I just unreservedly prefer to state my views directly and openly.  But to see the same cycle repeat itself is like an unfriendly kick in the groin, as opposed to a friendly one.

* insert history aphorism here *

History, The Lesser of Two Evils?
I like history, it offers great lessons.  I just don't like it when those lessons are repeated on me.  And now I'm part of that lesson.  But what can I take from it?

Warning:  Direct and Over Simplistic Discourse Follows!

With strong leadership Ubuntu Studio progressively makes improvement.  Devoid of strong leadership it meanders at best, flounder at worst.

The former statement is applicable to Cory's first tenure when the project first started.  He was direct and forceful but tractable strides of progress were achieved.

I believe the later statement applies to everything since.

So here we see a good history lesson and we can choose to learn from it.  Or not.

Please note that the statement, "Or not." does not mean to choose not to learn from it but rather not to choose to learn from it.  There is a distinction. 

To Lead or Not To Lead, That is the Question
I think Ubuntu Studio is important, perhaps even the premier media creating distribution.

So, this is an interesting situation.

I've thought about it for almost two months and Ubuntu Studio is holistically important to me, too important for me to stand impotently by and watch it succumb to entropy.

So, I will step up and conduct myself as acting project lead.

Why "acting lead"?  Because, while I do not believe that I am the best choice, I am certainly better than no one.  If some suitably capable person should desire to be project lead then I will support them and the project as I can, but just as another developer.

But until that time Ubuntu Studio is too important to me to allow it wander course without anyone at the helm looking to the future with seeing eyes and steadying the present with firm, guiding hands.
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