UDS and UOS are very different animals. I think we need to be specific about what we’re looking to re-invigorate here. A bit of background might be helpful here. I am articulating below my perspective of how UDS/UOS went. Sadly many of my co-workers who worked heavily on this no longer work for us, but if invited, may indeed chime in.
For anyone joining this party late, UDS was an in-person event which happened every six months, just after a release. It involved moving a lot (500+) of people to a different city/country to plan out the next release of Ubuntu. This was super expensive, and disruptive. It was also productive and tremendous fun!
The way we deliver software has changed, and while we continued to do 6 monthly releases of Ubuntu, the engineering teams behind those projects were often not in ‘sync’ with UDS. It didn’t make sense to take a week out to discuss planning for things they’d already discussed weeks/months previously.
UOS was a response to these issues. We switched to doing “virtual” (hangouts) instead of in-person events. This saved money in that we didn’t have to transport bags of meat around the world, but it didn’t fix the issue that UOS wasn’t in sync with what engineers were actually doing on a daily basis. Their planning cycles didn’t line up with UOS cycles.
There were also further issues with UOS. Firstly, taking time out to physically go to a place (UDS) means you can justify to your boss/teacher/family and expense that you’re “at an event”, and as such you’ll be afk for the week. It’s harder to justify being afk for a few hours each day for a week, especially (in the UK) where that’s half way through the working day. People got interrupted, didn’t turn up or forgot that sessions were on. That’s harder to do at an in-person event. In addition, some had philosophical objections to us using Google Hangouts.
For those, and other reasons, UOS was never /super/ successful. Looking at the video conversations there was often little evidence of tasks logged, or activity done after the event. Very few people took part in sessions, most of the (hour long) videos were not watched at the time by many people (fewer than 20 or 10, and sometimes single digits) and often not watched much after the event either.
Adjustments were made to improve UOS, such as reduce duration of the event, and have shorter individual sessions, different styles of sessions such as lightning talks. We tried a few things, but it was often like getting blood from a stone to get people to commit to taking part either running a session or indeed participating. It often felt like we shouldn’t even bother as nobody seemed interested in participating.
Right, that’s all the background and bad news out of the way
What is it you want to do? Have an in-person UDS style event, or an online virtual event? Or both? What’s the goal? A social gathering or some form of presentation style event? Will there be cake?
We recently had an in person event “Ubuntu Rally” in New York. It had a lot of the UDS of old vibe. We invited (a very limited number of) community people to come along and help. Indeed this very website we’re using is one of the outcomes of that event! :). While I’d love to have more of these, they’re incredibly expensive to run (as mentioned).
If there’s anything we can do to help, I’d love to hear it