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fangorn
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AllenJB wrote:
I think at the moment, in many users minds, there's a rather large gulf between "user" and "full developer" and they haven't got a clue what comes inbetween.

++
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've come across this post (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=896777) on how users can contribute to the next release of Ubuntu. I think this is a good example of interaction with the community. I'd love to see something like this for the Gentoo community.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I am impressed by their "paperwork."

Launchpad seems interesting, at least on paper, and I was surprised to find Gentoo there. Here is the link to itself.
Ubuntu's BugSquad has "about 1100 registered members" who "are primarily volunteers from around the world" and "anyone interested in triaging bugs can join the Bug Squad." At least that is what is said when I read it. The BugSquad is different from the QATeam.

Anyways, thank you natros for the link.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Launchpad is very impressive and powerful. Mysql was one of the last major projects joining launchpad.

"anyone interested in triaging bugs can join the Bug Squad". And that's true. Look at this video http://videos.ubuntu.com/qa/assigning-packages-to-bugs.ogg to see how easy triaging is.

And there's more videos on:
http://videos.ubuntu.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/ubuntudevelopers
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And one more good example
http://daniel.holba.ch/blog/?p=189

Gentoo should do the same.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natros, that page from Daniel Holbach’s blog rocks, and I totally agree Gentoo should have something like that.
Good thread on helping out with Gentoo. 'Start with maintainer-needed' and 'learn BASH' (links in that thread, /join #bash) seems to be about right.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st I do feel that most replies ignore the content of the first post of this thread. If you read the first thread it appears there is a distance between users willing to contribute and devs in their 'ivory tower'. None of the solutions posted address this root problem.

2nd On a more personal note, I do think Gentoo's infrastructure makes it too difficult to contribute. For example I maintain a dozen games in in the Wine Appdb. I am also a tester for crossover. Both were extremely easy to apply and to do.

The example given by Alistar about the java team is a good example how it shouldd not be done. If you had given him a dev status earlier he might have stayed. You can't expect someone to work for nothing with no perspective. That is probably why users don't feel like contributing to bugzilla only the be left at the approval of a dev.

You want to attract people? Give them a (junior)dev status from the start. This provides prestige and motivation. I suspect people are more inclined to stay that way.

I don't agree that there aren't enough people willing to contribute. If you look how much dev other community driven distributions have attracted (e.g. Debian 1000 devs) then there must be something wrong with the way Gentoo approaches potential talent. To summarize:

1) We need to write an article for GMN about ways users can contribute.
2) We need to make Gentoo communication for aspiring devs more accesible. No more searching the right person and or medium.
3) Accept newcomers more easily. Make them a Gentoo junior dev from the start without fuzzy initation rites (read quizzes). Give them a trial period after which they become a full-time dev.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aniruddha wrote:
1st I do feel that most replies ignore the content of the first post of this thread. If you read the first thread it appears there is a distance between users willing to contribute and devs in their 'ivory tower'. None of the solutions posted address this root problem.

2nd On a more personal note, I do think Gentoo's infrastructure makes it too difficult to contribute. For example I maintain a dozen games in in the Wine Appdb. I am also a tester for crossover. Both were extremely easy to apply and to do.

I think those are both cultural problems. The infra is definitely in place to communicate with the devs. I posted ages ago about Wine's approach, especially wrt triage: http://kegel.com/wine/qa/#triage as a way of bringing users in as bug-support. (Gnome has a similar project.) Of course, it appeared to go to /dev/null.
Quote:
The example given by Alistar about the java team is a good example how it shouldd not be done. If you had given him a dev status earlier he might have stayed. You can't expect someone to work for nothing with no perspective. That is probably why users don't feel like contributing to bugzilla only the be left at the approval of a dev.

You want to attract people? Give them a (junior)dev status from the start. This provides prestige and motivation. I suspect people are more inclined to stay that way.

I don't agree that there aren't enough people willing to contribute. If you look how much dev other community driven distributions have attracted (e.g. Debian 1000 devs) then there must be something wrong with the way Gentoo approaches potential talent.

Yeah, I tend to agree to all of that. It's disheartening as well when you respond to requests for help, and get blanked.
Quote:
1) We need to write an article for GMN about ways users can contribute.
2) We need to make Gentoo communication for aspiring devs more accesible. No more searching the right person and or medium.
3) Accept newcomers more easily. Make them a Gentoo junior dev from the start without fuzzy initation rites (read quizzes). Give them a trial period after which they become a full-time dev.

Dunno about last point; if someone's interested they can help out with overlay (sunrise if not especially interested in a herd) first. Either way they still need to be in touch with a developer (or who's going to make them a junior dev?) After taking the quiz, I'd consider them to be that for about 6 months. Thing is even after you've done quizzes, you need to be interviewed by 2 or 3 devs or something, and any of them can veto you, aiui. Not sure what that's about, given the supposed focus on technical issues on the dev m-l; I imagine it would really suck to have spent all that time learning, only for some teenager to veto you.. ;-)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say that is it not too difficult to contribute but it could be made easier, maybe much easier, but that is GLEP material. Beyond that, new approaches have to be accepted by existing developers.

The infrastructure is only as developed as it is seen to be culturally necessary by the people that develop and maintain it, the developers.

Personally, when I post anything to Bugzilla, I expect exactly zero response. Sometimes I am simply pleasantly surprised when a dev notices that the bug has been updated with at patch or whatever.
Aniruddha wrote:
1) We need to write an article for GMN about ways users can contribute.
2) We need to make Gentoo communication for aspiring devs more accesible. No more searching the right person and or medium.
3) Accept newcomers more easily. Make them a Gentoo junior dev from the start without fuzzy initation rites (read quizzes). Give them a trial period after which they become a full-time dev.

1) IMHO, an article will be insufficient. It would have a limited, peak, exposure. A more "persistent" document (like this one) should be created and mentioned in a GMN.
2) I agree, but I think improvements here have to go through more GLEPs. I am surprised at the amount of work that goes into staying informed about what is going on.
3) IMHO, I think the quiz is essential. A perspective developer needs to be familiar with the infrastructure and processes of Gentoo before they become a developer representing Gentoo. Beyond that, acceptance is a cultural decision.

By the way, I still have not gotten a response from the developer responsible for the Gentoo Bug Reporting Guide. So far this is my experience with direct email contact, FYI. ( In case you missed it above. )
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What scope is there for using the various overlays as a conduit for \\\"training\\\" those who aspire to developer status, but don\\\'t quite have the required knowledge of writing complicated ebuilds/testing/bug squashing etc.?

I realise that some overlays are individuals personal projects, but surely some of the larger ones (e.g. sunrise or perl-experimental) must have multiple people working on them anyway. Would it be useful (albeit a little more time consuming for those already working on a given overlay) if there were some sort of structure to becoming a developer (e.g. application, with reasons why you want to become a dev, period of training in a given overlay, before \\\"graduation\\\" to full-blown dev on main portage tree etc.)?

Just a thought, as I\\\'ve written some simple ebuild for genetics analysis software and would be more than happy to maintain them in an overlay or the main portage tree.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aniruddha wrote:
You want to attract people? Give them a (junior)dev status from the start.

Full dev status from the beginning simply isn't an option for security reasons (as a full dev effectively has root access to all user systems). So what restriction do you have in mind for "junior dev" status?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote=\"Genone\"][quote=\"Aniruddha\"]You want to attract people? Give them a (junior)dev status from the start.[/quote]
Full dev status from the beginning simply isn\'t an option for security reasons (as a full dev effectively has root access to all user systems). So what restriction do you have in mind for \"junior dev\" status?[/quote]

Perhaps a \"junior dev\" works on overlays as I suggest above?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Genone wrote:
Aniruddha wrote:
You want to attract people? Give them a (junior)dev status from the start.

Full dev status from the beginning simply isn't an option for security reasons (as a full dev effectively has root access to all user systems). So what restriction do you have in mind for "junior dev" status?


I am not sure you would have to adjust the current restrictions, Alistair's example from the java team seems fair. Giving official status to someone offering their services demonstrates that their offer is welcome(may even give some prestige). They would still have to prove themselves, so there could possibly be 3 tiers

Probationary = Present and have accepted own work
Junior = Work on overlays
Full = Acceptance as dev
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Genone wrote:
Aniruddha wrote:
You want to attract people? Give them a (junior)dev status from the start.

Full dev status from the beginning simply isn't an option for security reasons (as a full dev effectively has root access to all user systems). So what restriction do you have in mind for "junior dev" status?


Give people an Gentoo e-mail address, let them know they are part of the Gentoo team give them an official "junior-dev tag". Off course all commits needs to be verified by a mentor. After a fixed period people can take the quiz and become a full fledged dev. It's all about prestige and appreciation given upfront. I suspect this will greatly motivate people to take the journey to full dev-hood.

Edit:
The news about bugday contains a sentence which best describes the flaws of the current procedure (this is not to criticize Roy who does outstanding work for Gentoo) :
Quote:
It's an opportunity for everyone to contribute to making Gentoo better, and eventually you might even become a Gentoo developer


Here's what it says:
eventually you might even become a Gentoo developer
In other words;
After an undefined amount of time (or when we see fit) you might (or might not, depends on how we feel that day) even become a Gentoo developer (were an elite club your lucky to offered a place amongst us).
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aniruddha wrote:
Genone wrote:
Aniruddha wrote:
You want to attract people? Give them a (junior)dev status from the start.

Full dev status from the beginning simply isn't an option for security reasons (as a full dev effectively has root access to all user systems). So what restriction do you have in mind for "junior dev" status?


Give people an Gentoo e-mail address, let them know they are part of the Gentoo team give them an official "junior-dev tag". Off course all commits needs to be verified by a mentor. After a fixed period people can take the quiz and become a full fledged dev. It's all about prestige and appreciation given upfront. I suspect this will greatly motivate people to take the journey to full dev-hood.


Being a developer isn't about prestige and honor. It's about getting a lot of boring work done that nobody wants to do, but everyone expects.

We already have a method in place for those who want stuff to get into the tree but haven't finished their quizzes yet -- it's called proxy maintenance. Just have a dev take care of a package and do the commits for the user that wants to do all the heavy lifting. It's a great way to informally train a user on how ebuild maintenance works, and it's an effective method for those who only want to take care of a small subset of packages instead of look after a herd or need access to the entire tree.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Being a developer isn't about prestige and honor. It's about getting a lot of boring work done that nobody wants to do, but everyone expects.


Maybe it's just me, but I really respect the efforts the devs make for us and IMO respect leads to prestige and honour.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aniruddha wrote:
Genone wrote:
Aniruddha wrote:
You want to attract people? Give them a (junior)dev status from the start.

Full dev status from the beginning simply isn't an option for security reasons (as a full dev effectively has root access to all user systems). So what restriction do you have in mind for "junior dev" status?


Give people an Gentoo e-mail address, let them know they are part of the Gentoo team give them an official "junior-dev tag". Off course all commits needs to be verified by a mentor. After a fixed period people can take the quiz and become a full fledged dev. It's all about prestige and appreciation given upfront. I suspect this will greatly motivate people to take the journey to full dev-hood.

Edit:
The news about bugday contains a sentence which best describes the flaws of the current procedure (this is not to criticize Roy who does outstanding work for Gentoo) :
Quote:
It's an opportunity for everyone to contribute to making Gentoo better, and eventually you might even become a Gentoo developer


Here's what it says:
eventually you might even become a Gentoo developer
In other words;
After an undefined amount of time (or when we see fit) you might (or might not, depends on how we feel that day) even become a Gentoo developer (were an elite club your lucky to offered a place amongst us).


Er, all it takes to become a developer is ask to be one basically. You don't have to wait to be asked. I think that's just what tends to happen because those who end up being developers start out by making lots of contributions, and thus get themselves noticed as hard workers, so the existing devs want to show that their help is appreciated and allow them to make their contributions in a more direct manner.

While getting noticed through lots of contributions helps, I certainly don't believe it's a requirement. The mentoring and recruitment process is there to make sure that people are becoming a developer for the right reasons.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

baaann wrote:
Quote:
Being a developer isn't about prestige and honor. It's about getting a lot of boring work done that nobody wants to do, but everyone expects.


Maybe it's just me, but I really respect the efforts the devs make for us and IMO respect leads to prestige and honour.


I realized after the fact that my comment sounded incredibly pessimistic. I should clarify by saying that prestige and honor shouldn't be the main goal, and it shouldn't be considered a rewarding factor "Look, I'm a dev!" as an incentive to help out. The desire to help out should come first (in my opinion).
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beandog wrote:
I realized after the fact that my comment sounded incredibly pessimistic. I should clarify by saying that prestige and honor shouldn't be the main goal, and it shouldn't be considered a rewarding factor "Look, I'm a dev!" as an incentive to help out. The desire to help out should come first (in my opinion).


Off course you have a point. Under ideal circumstances this is the preferred attitude. Unfortunately Gentoo's developer population is declining and even worse developers who maintained crucial packages have left as well. At the moment we can use all the help we can get. This means we need to have an incentive which motivates people to work on Gentoo.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aniruddha wrote:
Unfortunately Gentoo's developer population is declining and even worse developers who maintained crucial packages have left as well.

Do you have stats to back up that claim? Because as far as I know, we have a pretty stable number of around 250 developers. Yes, people leave. Even people maintaining crucial packages leave. But new people step up, new developers keep joining. Over the last 6 months at least 15 new developers have joined Gentoo. So the decline is more perceived than real.

Which does not mean we couldn't use more help. We do. With the current numbers, we have to maintain about a 100 ebuilds per developer, on average.

beandog wrote:
Being a developer isn't about prestige and honor.

This is true. If that would be your motivation for being a developer, you will be quickly disappointed. It is a simple fact of life that people with problems, issues, disagreements, are much more vocal than those who are satisfied. I think it is more about wanting to solve problems and be willing to help other people.

node_one wrote:
Aniruddha wrote:
1) We need to write an article for GMN about ways users can contribute.
2) We need to make Gentoo communication for aspiring devs more accesible. No more searching the right person and or medium.

1) IMHO, an article will be insufficient. It would have a limited, peak, exposure. A more "persistent" document (like this one) should be created and mentioned in a GMN.
2) I agree, but I think improvements here have to go through more GLEPs. I am surprised at the amount of work that goes into staying informed about what is going on.

In answer to these points: these are exactly the things I want to address with this thread. I need to take some time and gather the ideas here, and write up a draft document, and some proposals on how to improve communication channels.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yngwin wrote:
In answer to these points: these are exactly the things I want to address with this thread. I need to take some time and gather the ideas here, and write up a draft document, and some proposals on how to improve communication channels.

About improvements in the communication channels, do you (everybody) believe the problem is structural (problem with the organizational structure), procedural (problem with the current communication procedures in place), or an execution (problem with the implementation of the current communication procedures) problem? Maybe it is something that does not fit these categories.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yngwin wrote:
Aniruddha wrote:
Unfortunately Gentoo's developer population is declining and even worse developers who maintained crucial packages have left as well.

Do you have stats to back up that claim?

Yep, actually gentoo-dev did the math:

gentoo-dev wrote:
It's not tens leaving/joining but tens leaving and fewer joining.
Looking at GMNs since January: -30 +4 , +1, -26 +3, +2, -3 +7, -16 +4, -1 +1, -10 +1
Total -86 +23, Balance -63

The fact that they were retired because thay have been long inactive only makes things worse since they actually stop contributing sooner and are yet to be replaced. This hints that more devs are likely to be retired, looking at the dev list does not help considering the number of Away tags (40 if I counted right).


Chris Gianelloni was struggling to maintain genkernel and now he is gone I am afraid it's development will come to a grinding halt. Other important packages that doesn't have a Gentoo assigned dev are: openrc and baselayout. Important packages like Gnome have only one maintainer.


yngwin wrote:
Which does not mean we couldn't use more help. We do. With the current numbers, we have to maintain about a 100 ebuilds per developer, on average.

If we don't watch out this can become a viscous circle, devs have to commit lots of time to Gentoo because there are not enough devs This causes some devs to quit, increasing the workload causing yet more devs to quit etc etc.

yngwin wrote:
beandog wrote:
Being a developer isn't about prestige and honor.

This is true. If that would be your motivation for being a developer, you will be quickly disappointed. It is a simple fact of life that people with problems, issues, disagreements, are much more vocal than those who are satisfied. I think it is more about wanting to solve problems and be willing to help other people.

That is not the point, I suspect people are more inclined to stay if they are considered part of the Gentoo project from the start. It's all about appreciation. If your read the first post, people want structure, they want to know when they contribute that there will actually be something done with their contributions. Currently people are expected to contribute and to wait for approval, if someone looks atg their contributions at all.

yngwin wrote:
In answer to these points: these are exactly the things I want to address with this thread. I need to take some time and gather the ideas here, and write up a draft document, and some proposals on how to improve communication channels.

That shouldn't be too hard:

1) Find a person willing to coordinate requests for becoming a dev (I think NeddySagoon would be very good at this). This person makes the contact with devs and introduces the junior dev. After introduction he continues to function as spokesperson for the junior dev.

2) Place a big 'Join Gentoo' button on the frontpage. This should link to a information page with information for aspiring devs (available disciplines, minimum requirements etc.). And of course the email of the contact.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

node_one wrote:
yngwin wrote:
In answer to these points: these are exactly the things I want to address with this thread. I need to take some time and gather the ideas here, and write up a draft document, and some proposals on how to improve communication channels.

About improvements in the communication channels, do you (everybody) believe the problem is structural (problem with the organizational structure), procedural (problem with the current communication procedures in place), or an execution (problem with the implementation of the current communication procedures) problem? Maybe it is something that does not fit these categories.

Like I said, I think these are cultural problems; there's absolutely nothing wrong with the existing channels, and there are plenty of them. Of course, cultural problems are much harder to fix. If it were me, I wouldn't be posting to the users asking how to get more of them involved; I'd ask the devs, publically on the dev m-l, about how they can help to bring more new blood in. Ultimately they're the ones who have to make the cultural shift and put in time to recruitment, treating it as a serious issue affecting their workload, not just as something to whinge about. (Yes, devs whinge as much as users: everyone's human. By whinging I mean complaining about something without ever doing anything to address the problem, like file a patch or pick up a fellow dev on unacceptable behaviour in the medium where it happened, instead of demotivating yet another potential contributor.)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regardless of what we think the causes are, one opinion we all seem to agree on is that we can use more developers.

So, let's make this simple:

1) Do you want to be a developer?
2) Are you trying to become a developer?

If you answered 'yes' to both of those and are *still* hitting walls, then let us know what you're doing and where you're getting stuck.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could you clarify what "trying to become a developer" is? Some people might think they are "trying", but from your point of view they are not.
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