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The Official Ubuntu Book, 3e: Ubuntu Foundation Documents

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This Appendix contains the foundation documents for the Ubuntu project: Code of Conduct, Ubuntu Philosophy, Description of Ubuntu Components, Ubuntu License Policy.
This chapter is from the book

THIS APPENDIX CONTAINS the foundation documents for the Ubuntu project. The Canonical Ltd. location for each of these documents is the Ubuntu Web site, and any updated versions can be found there. These documents are presented verbatim except where wording or presentation assumed a Web-based reading. The appendix contains the following documents:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Leadership Code of Conduct
  • Ubuntu Philosophy
  • Description of Ubuntu Components
  • Ubuntu License Policy

Code of Conduct

Ubuntu is an African concept of “humanity toward others.” It’s “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” The same ideas are central to the way the Ubuntu community collaborates. Members of the Ubuntu community need to work together effectively, and this Code of Conduct lays down the “ground rules” for our cooperation.

We chose the name Ubuntu for this distribution because we think it captures perfectly the spirit of sharing and cooperation that is at the heart of the open source movement. In the Free Software world, we collaborate freely on a volunteer basis to build software for everyone’s benefit. We improve on the work of others, which we have been given freely, and then share our improvements on the same basis.

That collaboration depends on good relationships between developers. To this end, we’ve agreed on the following Code of Conduct to help define the ways that we think collaboration and cooperation should work.

If you wish to sign the code of conduct, you can sign the Canonical copy online, https://launchpad.net/codeofconduct/1.0.1.

Ground Rules

This Code of Conduct covers your behavior as a member of the Ubuntu Community, in any forum, mailing list, wiki, Web site, IRC channel, installfest, public meeting, or private correspondence. The Ubuntu Community Council will arbitrate in any dispute over the conduct of a member of the community.

  • Be considerate. Your work will be used by other people, and you in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision you take will affect users and colleagues, and we expect you to take those consequences into account when making decisions. For example, when we are in a feature freeze, please don’t upload dramatically new versions of critical system software, as other people will be testing the frozen system and not be expecting big changes.
  • Be respectful. The Ubuntu community and its members treat one another with respect. Everyone can make a valuable contribution to Ubuntu. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. We expect members of the Ubuntu community to be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the Ubuntu project, and with users of Ubuntu.
  • Be collaborative. Ubuntu and free software are about collaboration and working together. Collaboration reduces redundancy of work done in the free software world and improves the quality of the software produced. You should aim to collaborate with other Ubuntu maintainers, as well as with the upstream community that is interested in the work you do. Your work should be done transparently, and patches from Ubuntu should be given back to the community when they are made, not just when the distribution releases. If you wish to work on new code for existing upstream projects, at least keep those projects informed of your ideas and progress. It may not be possible to get consensus from upstream or even from your colleagues about the correct implementation of an idea, so don’t feel obliged to have that agreement before you begin, but at least keep the outside world informed of your work, and publish your work in a way that allows outsiders to test, discuss, and contribute to your efforts.
  • When you disagree, consult others. Disagreements, both political and technical, happen all the time, and the Ubuntu community is no exception. The important goal is not to avoid disagreements or differing views but to resolve them constructively. You should turn to the community and to the community process to seek advice and to resolve disagreements. We have the Technical Board and the Community Council, both of which will help to decide the right course for Ubuntu. There are also several Project Teams and Team Leaders who may be able to help you figure out which direction will be most acceptable. If you really want to go a different way, then we encourage you to make a derivative distribution or alternative set of packages available using the Ubuntu Package Management framework, so that the community can try out your changes and ideas for itself and contribute to the discussion.
  • When you are unsure, ask for help. Nobody knows everything, and nobody is expected to be perfect in the Ubuntu community (except of course the SABDFL). Asking questions avoids many problems down the road, so questions are encouraged. Those who are asked should be responsive and helpful. However, when asking a question, care must be taken to do so in an appropriate forum. Off-topic questions, such as requests for help on a development mailing list, detract from productive discussion.
  • Step down considerately. Developers on every project come and go, and Ubuntu is no different. When you leave or disengage from the project, in whole or in part, we ask that you do so in a way that minimizes disruption to the project. This means you should tell people you are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where you leave off.

The Ubuntu code of conduct is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. You may re-use it for your own project, and modify it as you wish, just please allow others to use your modifications and give credit to the Ubuntu Project!

Mailing Lists and Web Forums

Mailing lists and Web forums are an important part of the Ubuntu community platform. This Code of Conduct applies very much to your behavior in those forums too. Please follow these guidelines in addition to the general Code of Conduct.

  1. Please use a valid e-mail address to which direct responses can be made.
  2. Please avoid flame wars, trolling, personal attacks, and repetitive arguments. On technical matters, the Technical Review Board can make a final decision. On matters of community governance, the Community Council can make a final decision.

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