Free Software and diversity
There have been lot of fuss recently around the GNOME project concerning how such a project should be run, who participates, etc. Of course there have been the mess about Eugenia article, i.e. how the project should get input and make technical decisions (trying to avoid the most inflamatory part and focuse on the interesting aspects), but to me what is really important is who is making the project. To me open-source is a process, but an open-source (or free software it's equivalent there) project is a set of people, and the project is the sum of the people activities. That's why I found Anne Østergaard post on the foundation list more interesting, that's also why I'm really concerned that on the GNOME worldwide map there is only:
- one person for the whole Africa and Mddle-East
- two persons for China-Japan-Korea
We need to understand why we are not an attractive project for those part of the population. For women I can't evaluate why it is so, except I followed the "classical" Math/Physic and later Computer Science studies track here and as it was getting closer to core CS stuff the ratio of women student decreased from 50% general studies, 25% in Maths/Physics, 10% in CS engineering, 5% for CS doctorate, and a couple per cent apparently in OSS projects. Seems women have a hard time taking this geek stuff seriously, but when they do, well they do it very well. Maybe the key to get women involved is to prove it does have an effect and reduce the visible part of flamewar and pissing contest around (i.e. grow up !).
For Africa/Middle-East/Asia involvement, I don't understand well either what is missing, first it's so diverse that it certainly can't be reduced to a single cause. I'm really worried that we don't have one korean person showing on that map, this is one of the country where the Internet is the most integrated in the society, Linux has a serious deployment there, why is there no GNOMEs ? My main fear would be that we are showing a cultural bias upfront, and what can we do to solve this ? Should www.gnome.org be translated in a variety of languages with localized subsite ? According to the translation statistics, GNOME is 100% transalted in korean, so obviously there are people behind that, but that community does not show up. Why ?
I'm afraid I have only question but no real answers, honnestly I would prefer we spent energy trying to understand why we don't grow the community, rather than growing the difference in opinions within the existing community out of proportion (which is where I think Eugenia's attitude is really really wrong).
Sometime users are obnoxious too, I got a fantastic example on bugzilla this week (no link, no :-) , usually it is still worth trying to discuss even if it seems to go nowhere, I think that's how one can grow long term respect.
The 2.10 release
Was clearly a success, there have been some hiccups, but we are improving over time, this is very comforting and congratulation to everybody involved !
The ISO CDs were as far as I can tell based on my server acccesses a really really good idea, this need to be integrated as part of the release process if possible so that luis can sleep a bit the weeks during releases :-) !