Chapter 8. Governance

“Which is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Mike Basinger is a nice guy. Some would say a little too nice for his own good: he is one of those people who are impossible to dislike, no matter how much you try. Quiet, conscientious, considerate, and understated, Mike is the epitome of open source community. Few would imagine that he helps to govern the worldwide Ubuntu community at the highest level. At the same time, many of the people who know that wouldn’t realize that Mike has never worked for Canonical Ltd., Ubuntu’s commercial sponsor; he has always remained a volunteer.

Back in 2005, Mike joined the Ubuntu community by throwing himself into the bustling Ubuntu Forums soon after switching to Ubuntu. The forums were a good fit for him. Mike has a passion for helping people with technical problems. He loves the thrill of the chase: hunting down those pesky issues and helping to fix them for appreciative community members. As a good community citizen, Mike was on the front line helping new Ubuntu users get acclimated to their new waters.

The forums became stunningly popular. Thousands and thousands of excitable community members joined, and each day pages of conversation on all manner of topics would flow throughout the site. Interestingly, unlike most other Linux distribution forums, the Ubuntu Forums were not created by the commercial sponsor (in this case Canonical Ltd.). Instead, the Ubuntu Forums ...

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