Ubuntu To Challenge… Facebook?

At the Ubuntu Developer Summit tomorrow there will be a session on the “WeMenu” (not to be confused with the “MeMenu”) the idea behind it is to bring the real relationships you have and the very real communities around you to your desktop.

The WeMenu is the focal point for community on the Ubuntu desktop. It is a highly visible place containing persons and groups that are central to the Ubuntu experience and ethos of “Our Shared Humanity”. It is outward looking, but human-centric. It focuses our attention on people, beginning with those closest to us.

One of uses for this is of course connecting to the Ubuntu Community. For help, bug reporting and everything Ubuntu related.

This is of course exceptionally clever because Ubuntu has one of the best help/support systems in tech industry: the community. The problem is you have to generally open a web browser to get there (ie. it isn’t “built-in”).

Beyond being a help/support solution for Ubuntu there are of course other implications. One of the largest is for the “social web” or as we know it today: Facebook.  The WeMenu is being built to sort through the Social mess we have now (100+ Facebook “friends”) and connect us to the people we really know (Friends, Family, Neighbourhood, City/Town) quickly.

Before the WeMenu can truly shine there are many problems to be solved and ideas to be refined. For one there is the already present “MeMenu” which serves a similar purpose. The second issue is: where do you put the darn thing?

The above is a very rough mock-up of a potential design. As you can see the additional menu can take an extra bit of width in the panel.

The idea and implementation have a VERY long ways to go beyond this (this project is very much still in the brainstorming phase). As such the goal is to have some implementation of it ready to go for Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal” but not pre-installed until at least 11.10.

This project has a huge amount of potential especially with ability integrate with other open source projects: the Ubuntu One Client, Gwibber, Empathy, Identi.ca, Diaspora. Yet, it is only potential for now. If you want wish to help out or have ideas/comments check out:


For more information:


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4 Responses to Ubuntu To Challenge… Facebook?

  1. Interesting idea. I’m really looking forward to see where this will be going. I’m very happy you talk about integrating it with other FLOSS projects instead of (only) the big proprietary monopolies (Fb, Twitter, etc.).

    About placement: I really have no idea why the MeMenu and the “envelope” indicator applet are two different applets on the panel. It makes no sense to me. They both deal with communication, trough the exact same apps. It’s confusing to me, who’s fairly technical, so I can only imagine how confusing it is to “human beings”.

    The logical thing would be to merge the MeMenu into the envelope, IMHO. Then you have lots of free space for the WeMenu.

  2. Randall says:

    Thank you for covering this. For those of you who have some design ideas but are uncomfortable editing a wiki, you are welcome to contact me directly by email at randall (at) executiv (dot) es.

    Randall (rrnwexec)

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