[maemo-community] Sprint meeting this month - and beyond?

From: quim.gil at nokia.com quim.gil at nokia.com
Date: Wed May 5 18:11:22 EEST 2010
Dave wrote:

> > Can you provide specific examples? 
> Nothing you're not aware of already:
> * No way to build, package & distribute software for MeeGo

True, it's under construction. You can get involved in http://wiki.meego.com/Proposal_for_Community_Application_Support

> * No transparent development process of the mobile UX, no opportunity to
> try stuff out (yet) - my hope would have been that an almost-useless UX
> GIT repository would have been available some time ago, with closed
> components not in there (and being added as they get opened) allowing me
> to see the thing being built, follow git logs, make an image & try it on
> my N900, and maybe even pitch in with a helping hand (not me, but you
> get eth picture)

True, but even now the situation is better than it was in Maemo, with the MeeGo Touch framework being developed openly and with the knowledge that a bunch of free reference applications are coming. The release is coming and will improve things radically.

> * To give just one example which is quite representative: I have asked
> whether we shouldn't start documenting "getting started with MeeGo"
> based on what we have available now - get a head start on the developer
> guide for later on, and allow people to get packaging software straight
> away, and I've been asked to hold off on it, that there's no point in
> doing that as long as we don't have UX code available - so the project
> feels like it's in an early state for any community participation

It's in early state for any kind of UX related documentation, indeed. Then again this never played a big role in maemo.org development sprints. Community documentation usually came after the official documentation. Now the difference will be that you can get directly involved in the production of the official MeeGo documentation.

> * One more example from a Bugzilla comment I saw today (some words
> changed to protect the innocent): "We are reviewing the request, and
> considering one more optimized product & component structure to support
> [your request]" - this kind of comment gives the impression that there
> are conversations happening to which I'm not privvy, that there are
> "we"s thinking great thoughts waiting for them to be "ready" before
> announcing them to the waiting world

Please share the bug report. Why this excess of respect if you think someone is saying something that is not right? We need to bring all that work to the open. I have filed bugs against aspects of Bugzilla (e.g. IA architecture and Neetbok UX being default when filing bugs) so don't think that everything happens is well settled and agreed behind curtains.

If you find something wrong file bugs. If you find an answer is not right seek or lobby for a better one. This is how you can help the MeeGo project. It took a while to the Maemo community to achieve the level of emancipation and control you have. Don't let the MeeGo project loose that! 

Like in the 100% Maemo times, I'm willing to help and pointing to specific problems helps more than just assuming and waiting for things to get fixed themselves.

> * All infrastructure is managed by Intel (and some Nokia) people - and
> while this is a fine way to start, there doesn't appear to be any move
> to enable community members to prove themselves and gain access to these
> resources

We need to be more proactive, yes. Look, it took a while for Nokia to learn some community lessons that Intel still has to interiorize. In exchange of this, Intel is way forward in other aspects and we are now catching up. This is how the MeeGo project becomes more than 1+1 and this is why it's actually a very good time to other players to move in, including individual contributors. It takes some patience, yes. But it also takes it in the Maemo context and I hope you agree that, in retrospective, the investment was worth.

> So in terms of software availability, transparency, and the general test
> of "what can I do which won't be wasted effort in 2 months", it feels
> generally like it's still early to be moving application developers,
> platform developers or all of the support effort from Maemo (which has
> infrastructure set up) to MeeGo (which is in a kind of limbo waiting for
> a first release of the UX).
> Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

You are not wrong, but the discussion started aroun the maemo.org sprint meetings, that never had platform or application development in their main concerns. In the context of this discussion I'm more interested in seeing how to fix the community aspects (as opposed to the software development aspects).

> For infrastructure, it is not an easy problem, but you can start small -
> maybe set up a community moderation team for Mailman mailing lists,
> start adding regular editors as WikiSysop or admin on wikimedia, maybe
> start adding some admin permissions to some community members for
> Bugzilla... the point is, you need to seed the teams & processes to
> spread admin access around.

It was only few days ago that I succeeded putting the names of the actual people in charge at http://wiki.meego.com/Community_working_group#Web_infrastructure Yes, we need to be more proactive involving people. But if the main candidates are in wait & see that doesn't help pushing them from 0 to big involvement. If you are interested please push!

> > Anyway, even if things look that way right now in few weeks we have
> > release, then starts the October release process at full public speed,
> > then MeeGo Conference... The current situation and perceptions will
> change.
> Sure! In the meantime, the question is: what can we do in the Maemo
> project to prepare for a transition to the MeeGo project, when it's
> ready for us to move. If the early UX code is out in the end of May,
> that will definitely give momentum, and will allow us to get started on
> things like documentation, tutorials and application development.

Imagine how will be the Maemo & MeeGo life at the end of this year, with the announced next MeeGo release out and the API compatible device from Nokia. Assume bigger attention to this, just like Maemo 5 and the N900 got bigger attention than its predecessors.

Imagine the maemo.org and the meego.com you will want to have by that time and start planning accordingly. I'm happy to help.

> There's still some work afterwards to enable community software
> distribution, and a lot of the committed tasks are (as you recognised
> yesterday in the meeting) quite concentrated - I can imaging some tasks
> like SSO taking a long time because anyone who has access to do them has
> other higher priority tasks to take care of.

If you don't find space in the current tasks at http://wiki.meego.com/Community_working_group#Tasks (are you sure there is no space in a single one? Look again)  :)  then why not start adding the tasks you want to push and convince the rest about their relevance? Texrat is a good example on this. Concentration on the task pushed also helps.

> Let me just say - I don't want to be the bad guy knocking everything,
> but I don't think that I'm the only one who people have been saying
> things like this to. I'm glad to hear that you think there are ways we
> can get good stuff done for MeeGo right now, but from where I stand, I
> am still not sure where my help is wanted (or expected).

That is a general problem. You did well reminding the MeeGo community task owners that they should be explicit saying how to help and get people involved. There are many other persons involved in other parts of the project that need to learn (or start putting in practice) just that.

Again, if all you get as a response is a silent wall or a non-inviting reaction please let me know and I'll do my best to bring progress.

> The thing you say is exactly the problem I see - why would anyone work
> on the maemo.org platform now, when it will be obsoleted by meego.com
> very shortly (but not yet)? The result seems to be "wait & see" for
> everyone.

Push meego.com in the direction you want is what I would do, and what I'm actually doing. "Wait & see" doesn't guarantee that I will like what I'll see.  :)

If you think that all the corporate dudes like me have the same opinions, plans and attitudes toward "community engagement" or working out of their usual setting in general, think again.

But what is clear is that either MeeGo has a wide, diverse and well engaged community or it will have a very hard time to succeed. Even if many time it looks like the agenda is not on "the community" side, it indeed is.

Quim Gil
open source advocate
MeeGo Devices @ Nokia

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