Last week we ran our very first virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit. The event lasted two days and gave us an opportunity to try out a new format and to see how well it worked. Generally it seems we got some pretty favorable feedback, but there are definitely some areas in which we want to sand off the rough edges and improve the structure of the event.

I would like us to get the Virtual UDS format so tight and refined that it could be used to organize any kind of ad-hoc online set of meetings. As an example, I can imagine a similar event but focused explicitly on LoCo teams, or documentation, or translations. We want to make the format reliable enough and repeatable enough that anyone in our (or any other community) can use it. This will help our community to plan more regularly and get together more to do cool and interesting things.

We have been keeping an eye on some of the feedback, a combination of observations from comments and feedback send directly to the organizers. We had an initial chat today to discuss this initial feedback and we have a few changes we want to make already:

  • Wrap-up Session – Many folks seemed to miss a wrap-up session with a set of track summaries. We want to add this for the next event.
  • Remove Launchpad Registration – having to register in Launchpad seems rather futile and doesn’t service much of a purpose. We plan on removing this requirement for the next event.
  • After Hours Session – at the last event there was an ad-hoc free for all hangout session at the end of sessions. This was a fun time to just hang out and be social with each other. We would like to do the same again and publicize it more.
  • Improve Session Pages – the session pages (where you view each session) look rather cluttered right now. We want to tidy them up and also include features such as upcoming sessions and a Twitter stream so everyone can see what is going on at any time. Chris Johnston is currently working with our Web Development community to investigate better layouts.
  • Improve Prep Docs – we discovered lots of useful best practices at the last event such as using the lower third to show the name of the person speaking, checking mic levels, and muting when not speaking. We want to improve and better promote this prep docs for everyone who joins the event.
  • Encourage IRC Integration More – we noticed that in some sessions people pay attention to IRC better than others. I am going to update my introduction presentation to emphasize the importance of this more strongly, and we will build more awareness around the importance of doing this.
  • Fix Page Reloading on Early Terminations – we noticed that on a few sessions there was a problem with the hangout and the session would need to be restarted but the page would not auto-reload the new feed (as the Javascript stops checking when the first hangout is successfully running). We want to fix this.
  • Two Factor Auth! Be Gone! – no-one likes 2FA, it is annoying, so we want to see how we can remove it securely when you access the Etherpad so you don’t need to enter that damn code every-time-you-access-a-session. 🙂
  • Integrate IRC/Etherpad Into Hangout Console – for those people in the actual hangout, one problem is that you have to constantly flip between the session screen with the IRC/Etherpad and the hangout window where you are broadcasting from. We want to integrate IRC and Etherpad into the hangout broadcast window to make this easier (and make it easier to keep an eye on IRC).

We Want Your Feedback!

Although some of these conclusions presented here are a great start, we want to make sure we don’t leave any stones unturned! As such, I would like to invite everyone who joined the event to take a few minutes to fill in this survey. This will help us get a better idea of your thoughts on the event, what worked well, and what we can improve. Can I encourage everyone to fill this survey in in the next week so we can start putting some solid plans in place for the next event.

I would also like to organize a community meeting on IRC and invite everyone to join and provide further feedback. I think it would be most beneficial to organize this meeting in a few weeks when folks have had a chance to fill in the survey.

You can also join the UDS IRC channel at #ubuntu-uds and discuss the event there; we all hang out in there.

Want to Help Make Summit Rock?

Virtual UDS is a community event and we want to ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute to making it as good as possible. One definitive area where folks can help is with our increasingly sophisticated summit.ubuntu.com.

The Summit project is Open Source, and always open to new contributors. It is written in Python and Django, with a large amount of HTML, CSS and Javascript work at well. If you have any of these skills, or are willing to learn them, we encourage you to come be a part of it.

You can get the code and look at bugs on Summit’s Launchpad page. The developers hang out in #ubuntu-website on Freenode IRC, and are available there to help you get a local development environment set up. If in doubt, go and poke mhall119. 🙂

Thanks, everyone!

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