The Watercooler Reboot

Last month I tossed out the idea that Ubuntu as a project needs to fight to preserve our watercooler. The past 2 weeks have been a blur of progress and hard work by a bunch of people, and I’d like to start posting regular reports on what we’re working on.

The first step was deploying Discourse. But we didn’t want a one off deployment. We wanted to do this in a repeatable way. A modern way that allows us to scale and grow that gives us the ability to keep up with upstream’s blistering pace. And besides, if we’re going to make this easy to deploy, we should of course share that devops expertise with the community, so here it is.

If you really want to play I recommend following the video instructions from the Discourse guys, and then I want you to try the Juju charm – you will then realize why I just can’t shut up about Juju; automate all of that devops goodness so you don’t have to do it by hand every single time. We got the site up and running, with Marco doing regular reports of the maintenance windows.

Next up was to make it pretty. Enter Nathan Osman, one of my favorite get-things-done hackers in our community. He did most of the work and we even got some pointers from the design team.

Not bad!

So how can you help us kick the tires on Discourse? Well, you can start by using the site!

  • tell a friend.
  • Log in via your Ubuntu SSO. Or Google, or Yahoo or make a local one.
  • You can integrate Discourse comments into your WordPress blog - This plugin is exciting, it allows bloggers to integrate directly with the forum for a nice integrated effect. The comments get posted on Discourse instead, and then the highest liked ones get synced BACK to your blog.
  • Start posting interesting content! If it’s something you were going to blog or send to the list, consider posting it here. The nice thing is is that Discourse supports HTML, Markdown, and BBCode, so posting isn’t difficult.
  • Give us feedback so we can improve things.

And a special shoutout to the upstream developers for participating in our test and steering us in the right direction.

So there it is, let’s see where this goes!