Re: What is GNOME office?

Daniel says:
>  I wonder if there is any analysis rule of the effect of bringing
> a large codebase opensource, do a lot of existing coders
> switch to teh new project or is the new project sufficient to create
> its new community.
>  I have the feeling (Amaya/Netscape) that getting momentum is quite
> harder when a lot of the decision about the code base have already been
> made when it get open.

I think some/most of this has to do with a couple factors: 	

1) the code must be easy to build: you need a low inertial barrier to 
contributions, and struggling for a week (as I did once with early Mozilla) 
to try to build it means you never get people involved in the first place: 
they go elsewhere where they can contribute. If it isn't, you need
to work hard at making it easy to build, and be honest about the problem
until it is.

2) you MUST change cultural behavior when you go open.  
It is very easy to continue existing habits, for example, 
using an internal mailing list.  I'll give another mozilla example.  I 
wanted to look into using libWWW with Mozilla (about a year after 1) (to 
get a good HTTP/1.1 implementation under a browser). The conversation 
started on a public mailing list, but then, due to CC's, migrated into 
a Netscape private mailing list, as far as I could tell, when discussing 
the needed design changes to make that easy.  Net result, again, was that 
I went elsewhere, as I could not contribute.

I know as we've started the handhelds work we had to work hard on 2). 
A number of Compaq folks on our team had never worked open source, and 
had to be reminded on a number of occasions that design discussions went 
on in public, and not presented as a "accomplished fact" after being made. 
We've succeeded, but it did take some effort. The best thing to do is 
to literally turn off existing internal mailing lists, to force these 
changes; people just don't think about it much when doing their routine 
work if not forced.

Both Mozilla and Amaya did not do well in either of these regards.

I'm sure there are others, but I think these two greatly inhibit taking
code public, and there are probably other issues.
					- Jim

Jim Gettys
Technology and Corporate Development
Compaq Computer Corporation
jg pa dec com

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