Ubuntu Studio

Statement to the Community

The following is a statement about the recent activity regarding Ubuntu Studio’s status as an official flavor of Ubuntu from council chair, Erich Eickmeyer:

Hello Ubuntu Studio Community,

As you have probably heard by now, Ubuntu Studio’s status as an official flavor of Ubuntu was recently called into question. You can read more here: https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/technical-board/2019-March/002428.html

Basically, in order for Ubuntu Studio to remain an official flavor, we must have at least one team member with package upload permissions. Right now, out of the three active developers (Myself, Len Ovens, Ross Gammon), we have no upload permissions. As such, since before the release of 16.04 back in April 2016, the team had been going to other members of the Ubuntu community known as Masters of the Universe (MOTUs). Those are a select few active developers that have unlimited upload access to the Universe repository of Ubuntu, which contains applications and components not found in the Main repository, such as the core components of Ubuntu Studio.

Unfortunately, this was the result of a bad leadership hand-off when a previous Ubuntu Studio Project Lead failed to properly hand-off the project to other team members. At the time, there was a lot of team burn-out, and the project leader was among those burnt-out. When that leader left, it was abrupt and, in the opinion of others I have spoken to, not without malice. As such, that leader was the last member of the Ubuntu Studio team with package upload permissions.

During this period, Ross had applied for upload permissions, but the process stalled. In the meantime, the team had pinged MOTUs to help on a temporary basis. In some cases, with development cycles with no activity, the work was minimal and simply required a sign-off on the Ubuntu release. For this reason, Ubuntu Studio saw little, if any development between 16.04 and 18.04.

I came on just before the 18.04 release, and ended up taking on the mantle of leadership. This resulted in an improvement for 18.10. With 19.04, currently in development, we made some pretty significant changes.

However, when I went looking for a MOTU to help with uploading, I had trouble finding someone willing to sponsor & upload that many changes. When I started escalating the issue, it sparked the situation we are in today.

As such, Ross is reapplying, and I’m am applying for package upload permissions. In the past 24 hours, I was able to contact two MOTUs (Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre and Dmitry Shachnev) and the packages awaiting upload have now been uploaded. Meaning, all of the changes previously announced for 19.04 are now expected to land.

If, for whatever reason, both PPU applications are rejected, it unfortunately means there will be no 19.04 release for Ubuntu Studio. However, with Ross’s packaging experience with upstream Debian, and the high need for at least one or both of us to be uploaders, this is unlikely.

We will know more information on Monday after the meeting of the Developer Membership Board.

At this time, there is not much the community as a whole can do. We are waiting for this process to complete. My whole goal was to bring awareness to the situation, as I believe in transparency from a leadership perspective.

So, here’s to looking forward to a bright future for Ubuntu Studio. At this point, I’m 95% sure things will be okay.

With warm regards,
Erich Eickmeyer
Council Chair
Ubuntu Studio

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