a list!!?!

I guess I'm out of the loop of things since it appears this list has been around for a long time and I have not been on it until just now.  I don't know that sending an introductory email is right for every mailing list, however I do tend to feel the information related to people signing up is something sorely lacking in the medium.  So anyway, I'm subscribed now and am excited to try out the latest gnome-shell.  I don't think I tried this out since October or something around that time frame.

I'm looking over the instructions at http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell and I'll likely ping people over IRC about an issues I find getting started.  Let me know if I'm being annoying, but I've got some ideas that at least I think might be interesting.

How do you handle new contributions?  In terms of code is there an extensions system? planned or real.  I read about the "Activities" however it still seems unclear to me, likely that I haven't been following closely, what an activity is or how I create it.  Is it best to just dig into the code and see what I can make?  If so is there a hello world of sorts?  Related to extensions is everything going into the gnome-shell core or are there outer parts planned?

Outside of code what is the project recommended way to develop docs on the wiki?  Do I just add / change things?  I have some of proposed changes that  I'll let you guys decide how they should be used, if at all.  I probably only have an hour or two a week I can put in, but it's yours if you want me to help.

1) The D word. I wouldn't be afraid to use the word "desktop".  The first section of the wiki talks about the "around" the applications in a very sophisticated manner that I think intends to avoid the word.  Desktop is an overloaded word that you may want to avoid, I can understand the hesitation; but it also brings some clarity. YMMV.  However you're replacing the panel and the WM; I've always said the desktop isn't much more than that.

2) Design direction.  You probably don't want me trying to arrange this stuff for you, but I'd recommend gathering the existing docs and blog posts you have into something more consumable.  For this concept I've lately been talking about the Obama campaign and how it had a single phrase that meant a lot of things to a lot of people.  "Change we can believe in".  STOP! before you read this and this I want to talk politics, sure I do, but not here or now.  I'm talking about the design / communication strategy used by the Obama campaign.  That phrase they used meant a broad range of things to a lot of people.  I'm sure you have already done lots of this already, but I'd suggest sharing these ideas in a reduction form like that.  I'm willing to try to facilitate anything if you want any help during the process.  I'd like to see you have a phrase that inspires and people can believe in.  Some quick pointers if I can.  Don't use the word desktop in this part. :)  It will only hurt you.  That would be like Obama using the phrase "Democrats we can believe in"; not wise.  Your phrase, or as my dear antagonist Burney might have said, your "verb" needs to be broad and inspiring, not full of details.  Details come later.

3) Your contract.  I fully believe in the kind help that David Eaves ( http://eaves.ca/ ) has been lending our team and I think it can help any other project, especially at the initial stages.  I think you have a healthy and excellent community growing so far and I want it to remain that way.  A contract simply creates a place you can reference when dealing with issues outside of what you feel is fair.  In our projects we're trying to draft such contracts.  They started as simple as: "Be excellent to each other" and then adapt the contract to fit as we engage further.  This isn't about poisonous people, people shouldn't be ingested!  This helps to define your project goals and how people or efforts outside those goals can interact.  I'd recommend reading some of eaves' posts and watching the video to get a feel for it.  I believe this is supposed to be (somewhat) easy to write at first and continually amended, like a constitution (if that was easy).

dealing with difficult comments:
the video:

4) How can I contribute.  This goes to what I was asking before and is likely part of your contract.  I would like to either be with your "core" effort, or along side it as an 'Activity' / 'Add-on', or fighting you with my own goneme-shell project (tm).  I'm sure the project is moving too quickly to have real dev docs, but a couple quick notes on how to get a 'Hello World' started and how you expect my type of application could fit in to your scheme would be useful. If those exist already, just point me to them.  I could make notes on the wiki as needed as well.

5) Videos.  I've been reading Owen's posts on the shell and they give great background.  I think you guys aren't doing yourselves justice without a couple intro videos on the wiki page.  I know those are a pain to do or maybe there's another project page around that I don't know about with those.  But Marina's got a great voice for videos with that accent, Owen can do a killer naration voice and then you have Colin as the pretty boy in front of the camera.  Just my suggestions :)  You're starting people's computer system from scratch so I think selling yourselves correctly is vital.

Other than those things, from a technical point of view the Gnome Shell page has lots of great information for getting me building and running.  I really appreciate your attention to detail on those parts.  Hope I'm being helpful and not a bother.

~ Bryan

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