Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (5130 mails)
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Re: [opensuse] We, the community
- From: Thomas Hertweck <Thomas.Hertweck@xxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 08 May 2006 23:57:07 +0100
- Message-id: <445FCCC3.30102@xxxxxx>
Pascal Bleser wrote:
> While it isn't wrong, you can notice that when you reply to a query like
> that, it ends up in a thread of 6 mails at least, 30 mails at worse.
> So that's still traffic that doesn't belong to this list.
I have been active on the suse-linux mailing list for maybe over 6 years
now, so I know all these problems. Most traffic per thread is usually
caused by OT emails and discussions about the netiquette...
> The question is: if we kept up the effort of guiding people with such
> questions on another list, would we have more discussions and drive
> about community-centered topics or not ?
> I think we would, I somehow got the feeling the list was kind of drowned
> by support questions. But I might as well be completely wrong ;)
Hmm, well, I get your point but I am not sure whether your conclusions
are correct. I think there are already many discussions started on this
mailing list, but most of the time I can't see any conclusions and any
outcome of these discussions and that makes it inefficient and
ineffective (example: what was the outcome of the loooong discussion
about [open]SUSE forums?)- this is the main problem from my point of
view. I have experienced this situation several times in the past, there
were many discussions on suse-linux what could be done and what might be
useful, etc. but nobody really did it - that was exactly the reason why
I've written and published several howtos (for things I was/am committed
to) on my private homepage. And I got really a lot of positive feedback
for it. And some others on suse-linux have done similar things, that's
for instance how the suse-linux-faq started off. So I absolutely agree
with you that it needs some kind of "leadership", volunteers doing the
actual work. Leaders (in this case) are not elected, they just grow into
this position. Something that evolves over time. When reading this (or
other) mailing list(s) for some time, it's not too hard to figure out
who currently grows into a community leadership position, or who already
is one of the leaders (hint: hey, the guy started this email thread ;-).
Usually, these people don't show up all the time, they just do their
work in the background - however they speak up when it's the correct
time and place and when it's important, and others know then it's now
time to listen.
> Being part of the community is not just using SUSE Linux, but also
> feeling committed to it, in a sense of wanting to participate into the
> joined effort such an open source project represents.
> I'm working 8 hours every day and still commit myself to spend a few
> more building a lot of packages, amongst others - which doesn't mean
> that I "expect" others to do the same.
Sure. I am, e.g., working about 10 hours every day and have some
additional open source and community commitments, not to mention private
life, family, etc. However, that also means that it's very hard to find
some time to really take on a global openSUSE project, even when it's
just a small one. And I am sure many other people have similar
"problems". (By the way, this is e.g. also one reason why I think we did
not have many forum owners/moderators on this mailing list for the
correpsonding discussion - they spend quite a lot of time managing their
forum, thus it's very difficult to get involved in yet another project.)
It's not that people don't want or like to help, it's just sometimes
very difficult to manage everything.
To draw a conclusion here: I am not sure whether it would help but I
could imagine that having a list of things to do (not just the big
things that take half a year to finish, but also the things that are
less important and cleared within half an hour) and mailing this "TODO"
list to the opensuse mailing list (or other mailing lists as well?)
could help to find people taking on some work. Most often people just
don't know where to start or they are afraid of starting some work that
might take years to finish. Having small tasks might help in this
respect. However, we would of course also need somebody being in charge
of this TODO list ;-)
The wiki is, from my point of view, a highly inefficient way for
communication - it's good for howtos, etc. but not for discussing things
to do or gathering action points. People usually read their email every
day, but they don't scan the wiki every day to look for updates...
> Why do I do it ? Might sound silly, but I do it for the people who use
> SUSE Linux, to save them work and from the complexity of building
> software from source. And also for the good of my favorite Linux
> distribution, in general.
> (not that I'm being against other Linux distributions or OSS efforts,
> I'm also one of the organization staff members of FOSDEM)
> I mean, the very essence of OpenSource and Free Software projects, at
> least from the "philosophical" point of view, is to contribute to a
> joined effort, with the time and skills you can dedicate to it.
> And BTW, that absolutely wasn't to push my example forward..
Absolutely. I fully agree with you here, I feel very much the same.
> But that still doesn't give us something we might be lacking at the
> moment... could it be leadership ?
See my notes above concerning the leadership issue. Leadership is
closely related to "management" - delegating work, organizing things,
communicating with others, involving new people in projects, etc., it's
not about doing all the work by oneself.
> That's not only lacking as far as we, non-Novell employees, are
> concerned but also from e.g. the SUSE staff. Historically, SUSE has been
> developed in a rather closed environment, communication with users and
> committers happening on a secret path ;)
ACK. Luckily, I know some of these secret paths ;-)
> Nevertheless, they're very aware of the problem and are working on it.
> That's certainly the kind of thing that takes time, and a lot of
> progress has been made already since the opensuse.org launch, with
> people like AJ, henne, cthiel, skh, darix, Marcus Meissner and several
> others pushing internally for more and more openness and integration
> with the community (as of non-Novell employees).
I can see every day how difficult it is *within our own company* to
communicate between the development centers and offices. It's even more
difficult to communicate when 3rd parties are involved (I guess the
"community" was a bit like a 3rd party for Novell when the openSUSE
project started) - there are also some legal issues involved,
sometimes you simply don't know what to expect, and some 3rd party
people have really unrealistic expectations, etc., so it's difficult to
find the right track. Hopefully, things will improve but this might take
some time and needs also building up some trust between all the parties...
> While it cannot be enforced, it always takes a number of committed
> people to drive a community, to push it forward and take responsibility.
This is a very good closing remark!
Greetings from London and Goodnight!
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