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Ubuntu Africa Calls

Mon 01 February 2016 | tags: irc, ubuntu, africa, ubuntu africa, meeting, project, planet, -- (permalink)

This post is about the Ubuntu Africa community's meeting that held in their IRC channel on Wednesday the 26th of January, 2016. You could read the raw logs of the meeting here, but my guess is that reading logs like that might not be the most enjoyable task for your eyes. So I have tried to make this blog post a more pleasant-for-the-eyes version of it. :)

Ubuntu Africa is a community of Ubuntu (and Linux) users within the shores of the African continent. There are several local communities (LoCos) specific to countries, but this group is limited only to the continent. It aims to bring together these LoCos.

We believe that coming together to work together will bring about a more rapid growth. Owing to our disparate skills individually, we need communities like this that will present us with people who are skilled in the areas that we are lacking.

Looking through the directory of Ubuntu LoCos, I find it a little surprising that there are no efforts for an active community in my home country, Nigeria. Many people I have met scarcely even know about IRC around here. More so with the coming of Slack.

My recent foray into the African developer community had informed me about this event a few days earlier.

Minutes before the meeting, some users (myself inclusive) had arrived the IRC channel and engaged in discussions while patiently waiting for the scheduled meeting time.

The meeting began at the set time. And it was, as it was customary, chaired by a user whom had been elected in the last meeting Naeil Zoueidi (@Na3iL)[1] from Tunisia. The other person who seemed to have some good footing in the house was Miles Sharp (@Kilos)[1] from South Africa.

Attendees at the meeting came from different African nations including Cameroon (with the highest population and mostly first-timers), Tunisia, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, RDC and Nigeria.

The primary language used during discussion was English. However, Kilos pointed out that if any user struggled with the English language, they could use their own language (most likely French) in the hope that someone would translate for them.

The #ubuntu-africa IRC channel has a bot called QA that logs meetings and does a few other tasks. At the beginning of meetings attending users are expected to introduce themselves using the format:

QA: I am [first name] [last name] - [country]


QA: I am [first name] [last name] from [country]

When a user does this correctly, the bot would respond to the user confirming receipt of the information. This is doable anytime during the meeting. So if a user comes in late, that's the first thing they'd be expected to do.

I have noticed that the bot performs no parsing whatsoever on this given data and just logs it as is. Therefore, it's in a user's best interest to adhere (strictly) to the format given above.

Before the meeting, there had been an agenda page -- I believe this was open for suggestions on the mailing list -- iterating the issues to be discussed at the meeting. And this was strictly followed during the meeting.

Meeting Excerpts

The Ubuntu Africa community is currently an unofficial group. It would need more activity to gain the official recognition.

Firstly, it is important to note that all members have a mandate to try and convince users from African Linux local communities/user-groups to join the Ubuntu Africa community whilst still being active in their respective communities, as this community is country-agnostic and aims to bring us all under one umbrella.

The meeting had a number of first-timers (myself included) in attendance. The new members were recognised. And we learnt of the Ubuntu local community in Cameroon and their mailing list.

Users were encouraged to get word out about the fledgling community through their social hangouts (Facebook, Twitter and the rest...). More suggestions came in on how to get the publicizing done. Users suggested YouTube videos, Twitter posts (#ubuntu-africa) and blog posts (like the one you are reading now).

The agreement was that Pieter Engelbrecht (@chesedo) from South Africa would put up the blog post. create a tweet about the community using the hashtag "#ubuntu-africa". And just in case you want to help get the word out too, here's the link to share: http://ubuntu-africa.info

The chair of the meeting raised a point about making some improvements to the current website of the community -- adding a blog section to it. This brought our attention to the designer of the current portal, Raoul Snyman (@superfly) from South Africa and due thanks were accorded by users.

@superfly revealed that the current site was implemented using the static blog generator, Nikola, meaning it already comes with a blogging feature, although it hadn't yet been activated, since no one had been available to blog on the site. @Na3iL offered to help with the blogging, and in the end it was agreed that the task would be handled collaboratively by @superfly (technically) and @Na3iL (literarily).

Stephen Mawutor Donkor from Ghana (@mawutor) made one final suggestion in this regard about getting involved in Ubuntu-Lab projects for schools as a way to gain some media attention.. Their suggestion was commended.

Now to something more technical. Another memeber of the group Cameroonian member @ongolaBoy talked about the issues surrounding approval of our mirror. He stated that the status of submission had gone from "pending" to "unofficial", which is a good thing.

They shared the URL to the Launchpad page of the mirror: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+mirror/miroir.cm.auf.org-archive

Everyone was impressed with this news.

The last topic tended toward "social" again, and it was kick-started by the chair with the question, "Any new coming events?"

Kilos mentioned the upcoming release of Ubuntu 16.04, which we all anticipate for April. The Tunisian folks (@Na3iL and @elacheche_anis) got talking about some SysAdmin workshop still in the works.

@Na3iL then made the suggestion for an Ubucon. "Why don't we plan for an Ubuncon?" He asked. He followed that nicely enough with definition of the term Ubucon:

"An Ubucon is generally an informal, lightly structured gathering of Ubunteros. There are also other meetings and UbuntuConferences"

At this juncture, things were beginning to wound up as the chairperson of the meeting, @Na3iL moved the motion for "Elect chairperson for next meeting". This was about the quickest thing to be concluded as there was an immediate unanimous re-election of @Na3iL.

The final motion for the day was for the selection of a date for the next meeting. Someone suggested that this be treated in the mailing list as a way to get people to use the list. Thus, everyone agreed that the date for next meeting be decided in there.

I think the name of the user who came in at this time deserves a mention. It was @d3r1ck -- we didn't get their full identity.

  1. IRC nicks do not require a precceeding '@'. It's only used here for emphasis.
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