Bringing balance to the force
Posted 7 Jun 2002 at 20:46 UTC by jonas
A few months ago, when GNU-Friends was starting up,
I created something called the Free Software Development Network
(FSDN) just because I felt something like that should exist. FSDN
has really never been anything other than a name, but perhaps it
I don't have the time to maintain FSDN, or to create something of it
today. In fact, I don't even know if FSDN should continue to exist
if so in what form. Several people have told me though that they
the idea of having a Free Software Development Network, so I'm
on those people to get their act together and submit ideas.
Not only would I require ideas, but also people who actually want to
build something, anything. Resources is generally not a problem for
projects such as this and I'm confident that if some people would
to do something, resources will magically appear at their fingertips.
join your movement? I would love to participate in the Free Software
Development movement, but would like some mentoring in the process. At
the moment I am wanting to build a php-based calendar application for
my family. Yes, I know there are such products already out there, but
for reasons of getting some experience and building software the way
that I want it to be built, this seems to be an exciting project for
me. Sorry about that. I imagine that you wanted this thread to focus
on FSDN, just thought I'd let everyone know where I am coming from.
reply, posted 8 Jun 2002 at 01:21 UTC by nymia »
I write documentation mainly as a way of recalling concepts, though. I
don't know if my docs are suited for Free Software developers, but I'm
willing to give it a try writing for FSDN if you are looking for
contributors or maintainers.
Here are two articles I wrote for myself. Here and here, basically, they serve as notes just in case I need to
refresh myself of something.
Regarding ideas, there are several sites you can go and see how they
managed to set them up. My suggestion is to keep the layout simple as
possible, so maintenance will not be that big of a deal. Start with
simple two-column or three-column layouts, using hyperlinks pointing to
static pages. And then move upward one notch every 6 months, for
example. Like implementing XML or 3 tier type of architecture.
Regarding purpose of FSDN, one idea would be to make it a site for
developers who are looking for coding techniques or something like
information for a given architecture.
Another thing to consider is the cultural background of the readers. My
experience led me to believe the tone and style are written depending
on cultural background. Some readers will fall asleep for articles that
are too formal and there are readers who doesn't like technical
articles containing jokes or opinionated slants.
Personally, I'd like to see FSDN bring open source projects together.
Let me explain what I mean by that. First, you could have a list of all
sites that are part of FSDN, perhaps sorted by category. I see that you
already have a list on fsdn.info (and I'd love it if you added The GNUpdate Project to it :). There
could be a section for news, where multiple projects could post to, kind
of like SourceForge's news system. Perhaps there could optionally be a
little bar at the top of participating projects' websites, like the OSDN
bar. It could identify that the project is part of FSDN, and provide
links to a list of participating projects, project news, and maybe some
It shouldn't stop there, of course. You could provide general forums
for projects to discuss ideas and get help. Maybe even allow people to
write articles, tutorials, and reviews.
A lot of these things exist on SourceForge, though I believe another
site, run by volunteers, should offer these capabilities.
I would also like to see a way for projects to advertise their projects
in a method similar to Google's text ads. I'm not a big fan of graphical
banner ads, like most people, though I have clicked on several of
These aren't really ground-breaking ideas, but these are things I would
love to see in such a site. If I think of anything else, I'll mention it
here. I do hope that the FSDN continues, in one form or another.
Union of countries, posted 8 Jun 2002 at 12:14 UTC by Malx »
What I really whould like to see there is some way to unite people from
all the world, who do not know English well (I am not very good in it
The idea is to implement some labels for any message, which could be
easyly translated or have icons ("question", "reply", "news",
"tutorial", "source", "algorithm", "event", "person", "idea" e.g).
Then you need to have labels ("beginer", "...", "master" e.g. - may be
like on advogato?) and also target audience ("I have written this
message for "beginer", "...", "master" to understand). This will specify
target audience so experts will not spent time reading comments for
Then you must suport all languages. So I could post there message in
Russian language. But! There should be fields "description of message in
English". And button "Call for translation" - we will ask two-language
people (which possibly are not programmers at all) to translate this
message to english or from english to other languages.
And the last one - there must be links. So you could post "Event" -
'12.05.2002, FreeBSD team annonced ......'. Then you link "Comments" for
"beginners" to it, "comments" for "experts", "translation(to russian)"
of "comments" for "experts", e.g
And - search capability :)
Should we setup mail-list for further implementation notes?
Or we need to develop our own FSDN-ru, FSDN-uk .... :( With copy of
engine (it is one language engine, but you could get some ideas for
labeling, ranking, linking and editing of material).
As I have pointed out in a diary
entry on GNU-Friends by alex, I could see FSDN evolve into a
where developers can go to find information about how to develop
Software. What tools are available, how to use them, what other
resources exists and how to interact with them and so on. Any
As far as getting developers started, something still missing from the
available documentation are entry-level tutorials for getting developers
started using the GNU autotools and CVS. The documentation for these
tools is good reference material, but generally assumes too much to be
of use to developers just starting out. A high-quality (and
high-visibility) walk through using something like GNU Hello would be a