Re: Two Questions for the Board Candidates

On 05/27/2011 01:38 AM, Lefty wrote:
First: Since the issue of "divisive attitude[s] such as Richard sometimes seems to [promote?] when he talks about 'GNU/Linux'" came up, I'd be interested to know what, if anything, candidates for the Board propose to do to address the ongoing waste of time and energy in the community over trivia like "Linux" versus "GNU/Linux", "free" versus "open source", and the like. This extends to things like "litmus tests" on mailing lists derailing discussions into observations about which email clients or operating systems participants might be using at the time they post, for example.

Attempts to divide the community and delegitimize individuals and their viewpoints are common, and becoming increasingly so in the past few years. Bad feelings have driven many away from the level of involvement in the community they've previously had. Do candidates see this as a problem? Do they have any proposals for addressing it?

Second: Do candidates have any view as to how the disastrous attempts at engagement by GNOME with the mobile space might be improved on? The "GNOME Mobile and Embedded Initiative" went nowhere, and arguably handed the mobile device space to Google and Android by forfeit. Since that time, there have been various attempts to get community-based, mainstream open source onto mobile devices, all of which have pretty much died. The sole remaining effort seems to be MeeGo, and GNOME has no apparent direct involvement there.

Do candidates have any thoughts on the future of GNOME with respect to the mobile space? It's the fastest-growing portion of the general computing device market, and the main platform choices are proprietary or as good as. One of the issues raised by Canonical with respect to the GNOME 3 shell for Ubuntu was that it wasn't felt to be as appropriate for tablets and the like as Unity...

It's never easy to please everybody, it happens to a lot of projects, not only to GNOME. GNOME is undoubtedly a Free Software project. I experienced during one of our GNOME.Asia Summits a local organizer wanting to use Open Source to position the joint event, and we finally used Free and Open Source (FLOSS or FOSS) at the end. With explanation and solid points, I am sure in general people will listen. Unfortunately I doubt that there is a magic bullet that could make those disagreements or different view points disappear. Do you think the board should be a moderation body on the GNOME mailing lists? I tend to think that those "waste of time and energy" as you call them are part of the human nature. We somewhat like to express our feelings and defend what we believe in. Emails make it a lot harder to get your point across nicely: this is not only a GNOME issue. Private companies have similar issues with any opinion and derailing is unfortunately a possible threat to a lot of discussions.

With regards to GNOME Mobile, I believe the GNOME Foundation has been trying to encourage many efforts, for example by contracting Igalia to work on GNOME Mobile, but not only. It seems to me that our usual contributors are not so much into mobile, so how could we attract people to work on mobile? Should this be a priority in the directions of GNOME considering we have been failing in this area. Again we need highly motivated individuals to push those kind of initiatives and lines of code to be written.

I am not technical enough to know what's missing to attract contributors however, I do agree that mobile is a big market and we should do an analysis to understand and learn how to get new contributors. In fact it is a direction and strategic question that the board should definitely look into.


Thanks for any responses.

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