Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Duncan <1i5t5.duncan@×××.net>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-dev] Re: Is Gentoo a Phoenix?
Date: Mon, 05 Apr 2010 04:25:31
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-dev] Is Gentoo a Phoenix? by Zeerak Mustafa Waseem
1 Zeerak Mustafa Waseem posted on Sun, 04 Apr 2010 22:19:06 +0200 as
2 excerpted:
4 > esOn Sat, Apr 03, 2010 at 07:33:53AM -0400, Richard Freeman wrote:
6 >> I really think that the Gentoo recruitment process needs improvement.
7 >> Right now it seems like a LOT of effort is required both to become a
8 >> Gentoo dev and to help somebody become a Gentoo dev. That means we
9 >> have great people, but not many of them.
11 I like that last sentence summation. It's perhaps optimistic, but does
12 bring into sharp focus both a positive and a negative of the current
13 process.
15 >> I think the problem is that our recruitment process uses the ability to
16 >> answer complex technical and organizational questions as a way to
17 >> assess maturity. I think that maturity is far more important than
18 >> technical skill in a distro - a mature person will recognize their own
19 >> limitations and exercise due diligence when stepping outside of them.
20 >> Instead of playing 20 questions and going back and forth with recruits,
21 >> maybe a better approach would be to cut down the questions dramatically
22 >> (or more clearly put their answers in the documentation), and then use
23 >> other approaches like references and interviews. A new recruit might
24 >> be given the names of 5 devs that they will need to interview with for
25 >> 30-60 minutes by phone or IRC (preference on phone), and they will need
26 >> to submit references, who will be contacted. When we hire people at
27 >> work we don't play trivial pursuit with them, we use an interview to
28 >> get a feel for what they're like and how they handle situations, and we
29 >> screen resumes and references to determine experience. I'm sure any of
30 >> the professional linux distros would work in the same way, but perhaps
31 >> somebody should ask around and see how it is done elsewhere.
32 >>
33 >>
34 > I'm not exactly sure how you'd want the references to work, I mean, as
35 > in prior jobs/projects worked on? I know that I'd like to help out with
36 > development, but as it stands I don't think I have the necessary skills
37 > (various programming language etc), so that is something I'm working on.
39 I expect rich0 had in mind (tho I won't claim to speak for him) something
40 a bit broader when referring to references. Certainly, in the FLOSS world
41 many people are self-taught to some degree or another, and many are
42 volunteers, so references in the traditional job sense may not be
43 available.
45 But in the FLOSS world, the term is indeed often used in a broader sense.
46 For instance, if I were to "apply", I'd list my long-time involvement on
47 the pan (Internet news client) lists, where my involvement hasn't been as
48 much in the technical sense but in helping out users, and ideally, in
49 being an interface between users and devs such that devs need spend less
50 time helping users and can spend more time developing. =:^)
52 In Gentoo, not only my record of involvement on the amd64 list and here
53 (I've followed the dev list, as much to get a heads-up on what's coming
54 before it hits as anything else, since 2004.0, before I even had Gentoo
55 successfully installed, as that wasn't until 2004.1), but on bugs.gentoo.
57 Even if those aren't particularly technical references, they absolutely
58 demonstrate consistency and integrity in community contribution. Those
59 references demonstrate integrity, in terms both of length of commitment,
60 and security-wise. If I'm a bad guy, I must be a pretty **** patient one!
61 =:^)
63 Others won't have that length of service to point to, but they have an IRC
64 handle that has come to be identified with cooperativeness and willingness
65 to help and to learn. Bugday participation is a very solid reference, as
66 is work on one of the overlays with reasonably heavy community
67 involvement, be it a specialized one like the java or kde overlays, or a
68 couple of ebuilds on sunrise. There's also the forums, with their very
69 direct and practical mechanism for recognizing frequent and helpful
70 posters, and lets not forget the reference points a well developed doc
71 submission (and docs takes plain text submissions too, I'm told, right
72 nightmorph?) is going to be worth. These sorts of references can be
73 developed in perhaps six months or so, rather less if you've already a
74 partially developed docs addition in mind.
76 > As a consequence I naturally don't have any references (and might not by
77 > the time I feel ready) but that wouldn't necessarily mean that I'm not
78 > qualified to be working as a dev. Also one could imagine that a number
79 > of other people without references, but the necessary qualifications
80 > might think "To hell with this, I'll just put my effots somewhere else".
82 Keep in mind that for many of the above, the six months to the
83 establishment of a reasonable record may be well underway before one ever
84 decides to take their Gentoo contributions to the next level. As with
85 character and community references for a job or rental/lease, if you're
86 finding yourself having to deliberately develop them, you're probably
87 going about it the wrong way -- by the time you /need/ them, you should
88 find you just /have/ them, or something's wrong.
90 IOW, just the fact of this one post is already contributing to the
91 formation of a reference of community involvement. =:^)
93 > Another thing, you write that phone is preferred but I know that I act
94 > relaxed in text with new people and as myself. Whereas on the phone I
95 > hold back a bit, and don't really act myself. So perhaps the preference
96 > should be the manner in which the one being interviewed is more
97 > comfortable with and will act more naturally.
99 Agreed.
101 It's interesting, as I'm rather the opposite of you. Personal experience
102 has demonstrated well enough to me that I don't do well in instant text
103 contexts, be it texting/IM/IRC. OTOH, I'm reasonably comfortable on the
104 phone (and VoIP is nice =:^), and on the "async" messaging protocols such
105 as email/lists/newsgroups/forums, etc, with newsgroups being a strong
106 favorite.
108 Some months, <shrug> maybe a year ago, now, someone mentioned (here) that
109 an IRC interview was a requirement for Gentoo devhood. I followed up on
110 that, asking about it, and was basically told that if someone's not
111 willing to do even just the one IRC interview, they may as well not
112 bother, Gentoo's simply not interested in them as a dev, period. The
113 position was that refusing to do just that one session, if that's all you
114 wanted to do, was simply being petty.
116 Well, I was actually rather glad to get that clarified, because from the
117 beginning I've always tried to contribute what I could, and always figured
118 the logical end result of that, if I ever got there, was that I'd probably
119 end up a Gentoo dev at some point. I've already been around for six
120 years, and see no reason I'd not be around in double that again, 12 years
121 out, if Gentoo's still active by then. But I'm simply not going to waste
122 my time with stuff I know I'm terrible at just to satisfy some hoop-jump
123 requirement, when there's way more FLOSS community projects begging for my
124 time than I have time to give them.
126 So maybe I AM being petty and ridiculous in refusing that hoop-jump. But
127 it seems to me the shoe fits just as well on the other foot, too. But
128 OTOH, maybe IRC /is/ a vital skill for a Gentoo dev, thus justifying that
129 hoop. Regardless, I'm glad I know it now, as now, whenever I read about
130 the severe lack of devs, I know Gentoo can't use me in that capacity
131 anyway, so I don't have to think about it any more. I can be just a user
132 and contribute where I can, here and elsewhere. And as any other user, if
133 Gentoo ultimately goes down the tubes due to lack of dev interest, well
134 <shrug>, it's too bad I guess, but as with most users, I'll eventually
135 find another distribution. And I /am/ reading good things about Arch,
136 lately. =:^)
138 But meanwhile, Gentoo remains, I believe, the best possible match for me
139 /as/ a "power user"; one now affirmed in that status; one who actually
140 appreciates the ability to control what's on his system and how the
141 components interact with each other at a level of detail that's difficult
142 or impossible to get with most distributions. If as a Gentoo user it's
143 going to be, a Gentoo user I've been for six years and a Gentoo user I may
144 very well be in another six years, doubled, tripled even, if Gentoo's
145 still around for me by then...
147 Or maybe this thread'll trigger some change, and I'll eventually end up a
148 Gentoo dev, with a bigger bit than it presently seems in shaping the
149 possibility of having a healthy Gentoo a dozen years from now. User or
150 dev, doesn't matter. If my contributions help the chances of there being
151 a healthy Gentoo for me to still be using a dozen years from now, I'm
152 happy. =:^) Otherwise, there's certainly other places and projects
153 that'll welcome those contributions, and if Gentoo dies due to lack of
154 interest from those deemed qualified, holding the fort until the end,
155 well, there's other distributions. too, and I'm sure I'll find a place as
156 a user of one of them.
158 --
159 Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs.
160 "Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
161 and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman