On Sat, Apr 29, 2006 at 10:33:11PM +0100, Stuart Herbert wrote:
> > __Problem: Developer Growth__
> > Why do people have to take a test?
> There are certain skills we need a developer to demonstrate before we
> can give them commit access. There is currently no opportunity for a
> would-be-developer to demonstrate all of those skills before they get
> commit access.
That and the test is standardized: the range of questions it asks
people should know the answer to. That's why we have recruiters and
don't give out access to anybody...
> But I don't see overlays as a replacement for our tests ... they're only
> a training ground to help get people ready to take the tests.
> The magic thing about Gentoo is that everything finds its own level.
> That's our secret formula. If an area of working with Linux is
> important enough to enough people, Gentoo becomes strong in that area,
> and its weaknesses reflect where something simply isn't important enough
> for people to make an effort. It's a beautiful thing when it works.
That's the beauty of community-based distros -- with a commercial distro
you can just wave cash and most of the time, things get done. We can't
do that but sooner or later somebody who has the necessary skills to fix
the problems starts shouting and problems do get fixed.
> It's also the thing that puts a lot of people off. Many people fear
> uncertainty. They need to exist within a plan or some sort of structure
> in order to be able to function. Our approach is uncertainty in motion.
> Your only guarantee is what rsync delivered this morning.
Yeah, and this is the problem we need to solve to get more corporate
> The master plan is simply to deliver what $UPSTREAM invents, as close to
> what $UPSTREAM intended as possible. That's a different world to what
> most people know, and it's a message we do a piss poor job of
> communicating to anyone and everyone.
Yeah, I think Gentoo's only real PR to users is "Here you go, try it".
Those that do soon find out a lot of things "just work" which is exactly
what people want.
> Splitting up the tree into two - development/testing & arch trees -
> would be the sensible thing to do. The counter argument here is that
> the arch trees would wither and die, because all the fun would be
> happening in the other trees. I don't buy that for an instant. Simply
> make the arch trees the default on the install media, and 80% of the
> userbase will never even notice that the other tree even exists.
I don't think this will work. Your major problem is going to be merging
changes from users working on the arch trees to the dev trees and vice-
versa... users would (unknowingly) work on the arch trees (possibly on
some pretty serious changes) and then be told none of them apply any
longer. The advantage of one tree is that development is streamlined and
is always going in one direction - forward. With large branching this is
still doable. But it needs time and more importantly people and also the
motivation to do the job. And that usually means $$$.
> Those behind that proposal mean well, but I personally feel that their
> focus isn't where it will do the most good. The proposals that Mark has
> posted on -dev are for a reactive, enforcement-first team that's focused
> on applying coding standards across all our packages. A proactive,
> education-led team that's focused on finding out what's actually hurting
> our users will deliver more benefit to Gentoo in a shorter period of
> time. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to
> fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. It's not hokum.
I think that's the underlying idea -- if developers aren't up to scratch
the QA team would notice this pretty quickly and "teach the man how to
fish" the "proper way".
> Man is a political animal, and this sort of voting structure I find too
> simplistic and too naive. How does it cope with the malicious dev who
> takes every opportunity to slander another one behind their back? If
> you tell someone something often enough, people accept it as the truth -
> even if it's a lie. And people are lazy. They'll take information from
> someone they trust, and not take the trouble to learn whether or not
> that information is true. That's why advertising works :)
> In any walk of life, it's a sad but true fact that most of the staff in
> most organisations do not "get" what the organisation is, and what its
> culture is, to the extent that they can be trusted to preserve it
> without assistance. Every one of us has a unique perspective on the
> world, and no two of us have an identical perspective.
In one aspect that's what makes Gentoo work. Somebody comes along with
a product/idea and somebody else comes along with "can I make it flexible
enough to also do X, Y and Z?" [Look at catalyst, for example]
> Gentoo should be a fun environment. I don't see how turning it into a
> popularity contest brings back the fun.
+1. Things generally do need a management structure. I think the one we
have now isn't perfect, but for the most part, it works. It's usually
clear what needs to be done and who you need to speak to get an issue
or proposal moving forward.
> > __Problem: GLEPs__
> > I dislike GLEPs. Usually they sit on the website for a long long time not
> > doing anything. My vote (+1) is get rid of gleps and do everything by email
> > and a vote by the developers. AFAIK, the board votes on the GLEPs. Bad Idea.
> > It stifles things from getting done, and there is no ownership of who is going
> > to implement the idea.
Sure, and take a whole month or two for a vote. And voting in one or two
days simply doesn't work -- people have a real life and things other than
Gentoo to get on with.
> I do agree that the GLEP process isn't working. Would we miss it?
It's not working. But the ideas are there, and they're getting submitted
to a centralized place. Going to the email idea threads will just get
lost; at least with a GLEP people know and can very clearly see what
has and hasn't been acted on.
> In fact, I'd go as far as saying that it's our growth that has become
> our problem. Too often we've taken on people because we were grateful
> for the extra pair of hands, and haven't taken the time to see whether -
> technically and socially - they were right for Gentoo.
And too often we've taked on people that commit one or two ebuilds and
then disappear. This only makes our problem worse -- they were supposed
to help (i.e. clean up somebody else's mess usually) and instead said
mess only increases.
> But I don't feel that we're in any sort of crisis at the moment. We're
> continuing to deliver packages to our users, who are continuing to use
> what we produce.
Right, and thanks to the bug wranglers properly sorting things it's
pretty easy for the motivated person to work on maintainer-needed@
> It's the breakdown in respect between people that's the real issue that
> needs addressing. Too many of us only know each other from looking at
> pixels on a screen. I think it's time we got off our collective rears,
> and did our best to get all of us face to face at the same time.
> I'm offering to lead the effort to establish a global Gentoo developer
> conference, and to do whatever it takes to get everything we need to
> make this happen. Now who's up for this? :)
And who's willing to pay the $$$ to help us get there? :)
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