Banners and Table Covers – What I See.

If you’ve been to any open source events lately chances are good you’ve seen the new Canonical and Ubuntu Banner and Table covers.  I like them. Purple, okay aubergine, and orange are two of my most favorite colors in the world and were long before I’d even heard about Ubuntu. However, true to form I think about things in great length and look for ways to illustrate things happening in our community.

My daughter and I have been discussing how the band supports the football team, yet she and other band members feel that no one sees the band as important.  They spend hours practicing, they along with their parents give time, talent and treasure (read: money) to make sure the band gets to competitions and away games, has new uniforms, and more. They do it all to not only better themselves with all the goodness that comes from being part of team effort, but to represent and advocate on behalf of their school. Yet often, and yes this happens with other sports teams and other groups within the school, if you aren’t part of the football team or ROTC, in the case of this particular school, then you don’t matter.

This disjointedness is hard on the kids, they question why they should support their school, and why they should even point out that something is wrong, because as my daughter said, “We try to do things, we try to change things, but we get told no on everything.”  She then asked me, “Mommy, how do I get other students to support us and see the way we support them?”  I told her, “Integration. Education. Leadership.  Start with one group of kids and get them to help you (in her case I said join the Pep Club (the official supported student group) and join the Krunk Club (a grassroots efforts by students to support school functions)). Ask them what they would like to see from the band and tell them what the band could use from them.”

So far support for the band is picking up, slower than my daughter would like, but the point is it’s working. There are now t-shirts that members of each group are wearing in support of the other groups etc.  Pep and krunk club students are now interacting and joining in with the band when they dance and play songs at the games.  The cheerleaders, pep, krunk, and band are starting to work together in their joint goals of supporting the school and displaying school spirit.

This disjointedness is nothing new.  We in the Ubuntu community have and are experiencing these feelings as well.  People are feeling like their contributions aren’t important. There are  mumbling and murmurs about the Community Team being only developer focused and Canonical only caring about growing the developer base.  Canonical is growing, the community is growing and just like my daughter and her issues at school, people are feeling like what they do doesn’t matter; they are losing that sense of empowerment.  It’s sad really; however, it can be fixed.  I know it can.  I don’t have all the answers just like I didn’t have all the answers for my daughter, but I am willing to help her and I am willing to help my communities.  Okay,  so you ask, “Why did you start out with banners and table covers, Amber? You are confusing me?”  Stick with me I’m almost there.

Like I said at the beginning of this post – Canonical banners and table covers are aubergine and Ubuntu banners and table covers are bright orange. When at an event you can walk right past the Canonical one and not realize it is there, why? –it’s corporate– and most pipe and drape (you know the curtains and stuff  behind and between the booths) at events are dark in nature. Likewise, if you are at an event and see the bright orange ones you won’t miss Ubuntu, but it’s so bright it could hurt your eyes and be too loud. They are so separate and very different it feels like and looks like two separate communities when in reality they are both a very important part of one another. What’s needed? The way I see it it’s a similar situation as the school.  Integration. Education. Leadership.

I have been present at events and was able to hang out at the Canonical booth and address community issues that came up as some of the Canonical folks (through no fault of their own  – I mean these were corporate services type people) weren’t able to help answer those questions and I’ve been at booths where Canonical people were at the Ubuntu booths and were able to talk about the corporate aspects that we as community couldn’t or didn’t know (why should we – we shouldn’t.)

I guess what I am trying to say is add a little orange to the aubergine to make it pop a little, or, better yet, remember the Ubuntu Community supports Canonical; it’s what makes Ubuntu pop and catches people eye, it builds the excitement and buzz around what the developers are doing. Also, add some aubergine to the orange or Canonical to the Community stuff because without Canonical the community wouldn’t be what it is  – it tones down the “in your face” over zealousness (I’m guilty so I can say that) that can often turn people away from something.

Integration. Education. Leadership.


3 Responses to “Banners and Table Covers – What I See.

  • wonderingwhy?
    12 years ago

    Very good analogy of football teams to developers and support groups. Having been a band geek a very long time the places where those support groups are most valued by the Head Football coach get the most support. For example both Notre Dame and USC have the most awesome (and highest paid band directors btw) in the country b/c the football coaches know how to use the band to their advantage and support them. At USC they coordinate and play certain songs to work against the other team. And opponents know if they hear a certain theme over and over again it’s b/c USC is kicking tail on the field. After awhile it’s demoralising to the other team.

    Anyways, I think it says alot that the CEO of Canonical is not an Ubuntu member. She even just skipped that question in your last interview of her. If Canonical folks don’t see the importance of the community support then why should anyone else?

  • akgraner
    12 years ago

    Thank you so much for your feedback! You’re right – schools that have leadership that understand how to harness the power of it’s student body (or community) accomplish absolutely amazing goals. Goals and programs that others want to be part of and emulate. Your comment and example above is appreciated, but I wanted to address the last three (3) lines of your comment.

    I can’t speak to why Jane Silber isn’t an Ubuntu Member and the interview you reference is not one of the interviews I conducted. It’s one that Silver Fox ( posted on February 23rd, 2011. As for her commitment to the community based on interviews–for UDS, Ubuntu User, Full Circle, and others–I have personally conducted and in various UDS sessions, Jane remains committed to the community and understands and articulates how important the relationship between Ubuntu (and it’s full community) and Canonical is. Many people in the community (developer, non-developers, Canonical, non-canonical and others) aren’t Ubuntu Members – it’s not a requirement to be a leader in the community.

    At UDS in Brussels, Jane sat in on the Community Session that centered on events. It was in this session she found out some of the struggles Approved LoCo teams were having in getting resources to get the booth noticed and the expense that various community members were paying out-of-pocket to have resources such as banners and table covers, posters, etc created and made the decision that Canonical would provide more resources to the those approved LoCo teams. The LoCo Council worked with her and others at Canonical to get the banners and table covers as well as better conference packs and supporting material to those teams. This is just one example of Canonical’s commitment (lead by Jane) to the community. I’m sure not everyone knows that decision was made on the spot when the need was presented.

    I should have added “Communication.” to the list so that it read: Communication. Integration. Education. Leadership.

    I don’t discount a Canonical employee’s level of commitment to the community based on whether they are Ubuntu Members or not any more than I base a community member’s level of commitment to Ubuntu based on what they do for a living. I personally don’t doubt Jane’s level of commitment to the community, nor do I doubt Canonical’s as a whole. I just think we (read: non-Canonical and Canonical; Ubuntu Members and non-Ubuntu Members) can get even better and if you don’t know something is broken you can’t fix it. And it can get even better with more “Communication. Integration. Education. Leadership.” That’s one of the reasons we have started the Ubuntu Leadership Team (

    Again, thank you so much for your comment.

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