Becoming a MOTU

Ubuntu relies on “Masters of the Universe” or MOTUs to keep the universe and multiverse components of Ubuntu in good working order. Unlike main, which is officially supported by Canonical, universe and multiverse are community supported. So MOTUs are community members who spend their time adding, maintaining, and supporting these repos.

Even though I work for Canonical, I don’t have any special powers. If I want to upload a package to universe or multiverse, I need to talk to a MOTU or become one. In order to become one, I need to do the work and gain the experience required, just like anyone else in the community would. Since I came into this job without having done much of this type of work before, I’ve started the process of becoming a MOTU by working with a mentor, Robert Ancell. Robert has helped me with the process, pointed out mistakes, and suggested packages to work on and has been a big help along the way.

Note: You must also be a Debian developer to get the battle cat. Also, Robert Ancell does not have blond hair.

So why do I want to become a MOTU? Personally, my motivation has several aspects:

  • I want to give back to the community
  • I want to learn more about Ubuntu and about the processes being used
  • It will make my job easier to have upload rights, more community contacts, and more experience with MOTU processes

I started this process last week by doing some gnome 3.6.0 updates, these were fairly simple, but helped me learn the process and tools. Since then, I’ve done five gnome 3.6.0 updates and three other non-gnome updates (two of which will be waiting until post-quantal to be uploaded).

As I progress in this goal, I’ll make updates on my blog and given an overview of some of the tools and processes being used.

If you want to start along the MOTU track there is no better place to start than the MOTU wiki and no better time than when R opens for development in November. While you wait for R to open, I’d recommend you read up on the policies and procedures and maybe make a dry-run through a package that can be updated in R. If you need help #ubuntu-motu on freenode is the place to ask! If you’ve already started, ping me on IRC (mfisch) or leave a comment here, I’d love to have another MOTU candidate to discuss things with and would be happy to assist you as well.

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4 thoughts on “Becoming a MOTU

  1. All the best Matt! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. chilicuil says:

    Hi Matt,

    I’ve been on the track for becoming a MOTU dev too for a while, I’d like to partnership with you so we can learn from each other. I’d be following your blog. It’s nice to know that there are other people interested on the MOTU work space.

  3. John Kim says:

    Hello Matt!

    I’ve been trying hard to become a good motu, but I’m quite slow at starting. So far, I’ve set up a development machine and a 12.04 machine, already loaded with packaging tools. The problem is, the process still feels daunting. I’m using Debian documentation to aid me.

    Can you be my mentor too? I’d like to dive deeper into Ubuntu development through MOTU. Thanks, and great post!

  4. Rcart says:

    Hello Mat,

    I want to join the game too ^_^

    I’ve made some (little, or maybe tried to) packaging before and never got *really* serious with it. Now with the next release cycle at the corner I’d like to give all my best on it. So it would be awesome join this game with you.

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