Here are my impressions and point of view of the UDS: how it took place, what I was expecting, and what it brought me.
From May 10-14 2010 in Brussels (Belgium) was held the UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit. During an entire week, the Canonical employees as well as many developers from Ubuntu, Gnome, and other FLOSS projects from the entire world gathered in order to meet, work and prepare for the future version of Ubuntu.
So here is a small glimpse of what the event was like. A hotel filled with meeting rooms, 3-4,000 people, one more-than-full-agenda and one main and central theme: Maverick Meerkat. The topics were diverse and classified into 9 big families: server, desktop, design, kernel… In order to welcome all these people, 18 rooms and an auditorium. The possibility to follow the meetings thanks to streaming video and to participate via IRC and Gobby. And a calendar in perpetual movement in order to manage our schedules.
Might as well say that I felt a bit lost and out of place. I was mainly going to the UDS in order to witness how Ubuntu functions and understand how you “make” a new version.
I only had a vague idea of what would happen there and what I could do. As soon as the first day started, I felt like I was loosing ground: it’s too big, too many interesting projects, and too many people. My weak level in English did not help me to understand, however it got better by the end of the week. Thankfully, my French neighbors were present. As soon as I understood that I could record the meetings, I scrupulously did that in order to be able to work on them later. No excuse for this, as everything was also noted on the general wiki.
Concerning the meetings, I had a general idea of what would interest me: accessibility and Ubuntu-Women. Since that represented just a few meetings, I also added communities to my personal list. And I really didn’t regret my choice. I realized how big and important this was, and how I really lived in my small world with Ubuntu-fr. Because frankly, aside from documentation and the forum, Ubuntu-fr is really more like an “Ubuntu-France” and even more like an “Ubuntu-Paris”.
Concerning the Ubuntu-Women meeting, there were few women present. The goal was to find ways to incite more women to join communities via patronage, and to show that IT is not a “man’s-only” domain… David, a man from Quebec, had the idea to translate the existing documents of Ubuntu-women into French in order to make them more accessible to all French-speakers. I spoke a bit about WoMoz that has the same kind of goals. I hope we will be able to work on common projects, or at least that the ideas of some can help the others.
So what is my personal summary for this event? Tiring, intense, huge, too many things to integrate.
Do I want to go back? Sure. I had loads of fun, I met lot’s of really interesting people, and my head is filled with projects. The UDS makes me want to involve myself even more within Ubuntu and accessibility. I really felt like I was a drop in the ocean, but a drop that can have it’s own function and help things change in this immense sea.
My general impression? It is not being a woman that has held me back. Neither was it not being a developer nor having absolutely no technical skills. Many topics demand rather a relational or organizational skill. No, the hardest thing was my level of English.
So my conclusion is: if you want to participate, help, or simply integrate a community, the only brake to that is the one that you impose yourself. So I will now really start to learn English better and then, I’ll conquer the world. 🙂