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Re: [Gnewsense-dev] recruitment and retention of gNewSense developers

From: Karl Goetz
Subject: Re: [Gnewsense-dev] recruitment and retention of gNewSense developers
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 12:57:08 +0930

On Tue, 10 Aug 2010 22:05:10 +0200
Sam Geeraerts <address@hidden> wrote:

> Delyan Raychev schreef:
> > Ladies and Gentlemen,
> > 
> > Partially triggered by own guilt, but primarily by the desire to
> > grow the gNewSense project I've been contemplating on the scarce
> > developer manpower here at the gNewSense project.
> You're not the only one. I think that to attract more developers what
> is needed are (in more or less that order):
> 1) Good documentation
> 2) Good bug reports/tasks
> 3) Good mentoring

So far so good, but...

> After that it's just <saltgrain>point and they will come</saltgrain>.

... I can't agree with this statement. Nothing I've seen makes me think
it holds.

> Problems (IMO):
> 1) Writing accurate documentation is boring (not a good excuse) and
> hard (slightly better excuse), at least to me. Writing appealing
> documentation (reading it should not be a chore) requires skill. And
> it takes time, of course.

And testing it takes time.
I used to test the builder doco every few weeks by reinstalling my
local buildd from scratch, then following the builder guides. anything
that wasn't correct would get updated in that process.

> 2) I think we're doing fairly well with regards to bug reports. It's
> inconvenient that some of them require a Yeeloong or server access,
> but a lot of the bugs can be picked up pretty easily. We could use
> some more bite-size bugs for those taking their first steps in free
> software development. I think there's also still some stuff in my
> brain that I haven't dumped to Savannah yet.

Imo we have lots of small bugs, but no way of setting them aside.
savannah doesn't support tagging of any sort :/

> 3) Mentoring requires time and certain social skills. Good
> documentation is also nice. On the other hand, trainees nagging
> mentors all the time about how stuff works can be a good incentive to
> improve documentation. :) There doesn't have to be a formal mentoring

Ideally the person who just asked improves the doco, since they know
exactly how its unclear.

> process, though. People can just ask on the mailing list or IRC "I
> want to help with this bug, how can I do that?" (which I think is
> easier to answer than "I know this programming language, how can I
> help?").


> Your ideas to help gNewSense development are all good. Every effort to
> implement them is welcome.

They most certainly are :)

Karl Goetz, (Kamping_Kaiser / VK5FOSS)
Debian contributor / gNewSense Maintainer
No, I won't join your social networking group

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