LinuxMCE Forums

General => Users => Topic started by: tschak909 on June 24, 2009, 09:18:23 am

Title: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 24, 2009, 09:18:23 am
I can't sleep. So i've decided to write down some thoughts for the community to ponder.

LinuxMCE is becoming a suck on my soul, and the fun that once defined it is going away.

There has been a huge shift in the populace of the free software community. This shift has created a vast gulf between developers and users, and the trend is becoming exponentially larger with each passing day.

This is especially a problem with a project such as LinuxMCE, because, there are over 3 million lines of our own code.

Sit back, and let that sink in.

LinuxMCE began as the dream of a man, who had the wish of becoming the ultimate platform on which to build smart home systems. This is a lofty goal, and one that requires the fulfillment of many objectives which must ALL be accomplished in parallel.

It is also worth noting that LinuxMCE's code base was the work of many developers, including the original designer, who were paid very little money, to work for roughly 5 years developing this code base. These people, save one, are no longer involved with the project. They got this code base to where it is today.

 LinuxMCE has many differentiating deliverables:

A multi-targeted synchronized and distributed user interface, in the form of Orbiter, the only one of its kind.
Interfaces to many home automation interfaces and busses
Interfaces to Infra-Red and RS232 and Ethernet Controllability
Media Players
Asterisk and associated wrapper device, which...
talks to a Telecom Plugin to provide the telecom functionality
data storage and acquisition for tabular data in the form of the Datagrid
Security system intefaces
Climate control interfaces
We  build various pieces of the software on Windows, Linux, and Symbian, and soon, MAC OS X.
and so much more...

All of these things must be worked on by a team of people who must work together to produce a single completed system.

We have....roughly 5 people. If that.

Very few of them work on it full time. I do because I haven't had a job in over 6 months.

We have a huge number of people who have installed the system, over 112,000 according to our installation counter, and yet, we can't seem to find enough people who are willing to put in time to help produce a complete system.

You people constantly ask us, “when is 0810 going to be ready?” Probably never, at this rate.

Probably never, unless those of you who have ANY skill set at all, step up and help us.

You probably are saying that you do not have the skill set to help. I'm going to be equally honest with you right now in return. If you do not have the skill to develop the software, you do not have the skill to use the software in its current state.

Yes, I said it.

I said it because it's true. We are still at a point where we need considerable amount of development JUST TO FINISH THE REMAINING 10% OF THE FEATURE SET AND TO DEBUG IT. I am putting that in caps so that those of you reading the bold type method may actually get something out of this thread.

If you guys want an 0810, you'll have to earn it, all of you. The few of us here can't carry the burden of doing all the work on our own.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: massabuntu on June 24, 2009, 09:43:06 am
Hi Thom, i understand your frustration, and let me really really thanks you guys for all the things you had done, you are doing and hope you will.

Maybe the problem could be in the organization of the development, i think now a regular user thinks at the development like:

" I need something that doesn't work or is not yet implemented, I search in the forum/wiki and ask in the if anyone have solved, and if is not, i think if i can develop this "

Because a "normal user",maybe with some development skill,of any kind, doesn't have a "general picture" of the problems wich can have a Gigantic Platform like MCE.

So maybe you want to reorganize the development structure and create some Teams, that can focus on some problems.

I hope i explain myself in a decent way, because my english...


Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: NikAmi on June 24, 2009, 10:07:40 am
I hope i explain myself in a decent way, because my englih...

I don't mean to to be mean or derisive because I know this was a simple typo, but in the context of the sentence it was hilarious
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: qball4 on June 24, 2009, 11:38:28 am
I think massabuntu hit the nail on the head with having teams. With teams come team leads, which is what I think is really needed to turn interest in development into *actual* development. For example, I'm interested in UI work. If there were a definite person in charge of UI, instead of just hacking it out on my own and asking for help when I need it, there would be someone I could go to and say, "here's my skillset; what would you like me to work on first?" or "what would help this part of LinuxMCE most right now and where should I start?". Now this may seem like hand holding, but I bet there's a whole bunch of potential developers out there that could be motivated by such clearly defined organization.


Here's how I see something like that working: (Thom, I'm using you because A. you're the OP and B. you're the resident Designer expert)
Me: Thom, I hear you're the UI Team Lead.
Thom: Yes, I am. Would you like to join the team? What skills do you have that we could use?
Me: Well, I'm decent with graphic design and I know my way around HADesigner and the pluto_main database.
Me: I really like spider-man so I'm going to make a UI that looks like a spider web. How can I do that?
Thom: Don't be stupid. I need you to make new icons for the Myth PVR screens.
Me: Oh... okay. I'm going to make them blue and red so they remind me of spidey.
Thom: That's nice. First, make them to match the new Basic theme. Maybe the spider-man theme should wait until we're done with this one.
Me: Wow - there sure are a lot of icons to do!
Thom: Why don't you start with screen ### and check in with me when you're done?
Me: This isn't so hard now that I know what direction to go. I might not be doing the whole skin by myself but I feel like I'm helping!


Does this add responsibility to the already overworked devs? Yes, but unfortunately, I just don't see many highly-motivated self-starters chomping at the bit to pitch in. Not only that, but those of us that aren't skilled enough to do what the core devs do but have usable skills nonetheless can start contributing and stop feeling like leeches.

Or maybe that's just me.

:Matt
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: massabuntu on June 24, 2009, 11:46:50 am
Me: I really like spider-man so I'm going to make a UI that looks like a spider web. How can I do that?
Thom: Don't be stupid. I need you to make new icons for the Myth PVR screens.
ahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

Does this add responsibility to the already overworked devs?
Yes but add responsability to the junior devs too.

Anyway you center perfectly what i meant!
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 24, 2009, 12:24:05 pm
Thom,

I was going to post this in response to a couple of other posts (the one about the GSOC and the one about the website re-design) but you have started a very much needed and welcome discussion here.

I don't want to get sycophantic and spend ages expressing my grattitude. You should know by now (all of you!) that those of us starting out are grateful for the work done by the Devs.

I think massabuntu has made some valid points, but I also think (and I've said this before) that the core devs need to take some time off from MCE and concentrate on the website. Let me say why.

In various threads about the website, people have made suggestions about the site's design. These have either been flatly rejected (Hari's response to my suggestion of a wiki plugin) or met by comments from you like "stop TALKING about it and just DO it". I agree - HOW? Who has the neccessary login credentials to the web server to update the main page? I don't. They aren't (and nor should they be) published anywhere.

You like most (all) the developers are not paid for this. I don't know your background or how you aquired your skill-set. but it probably involved hard work and research. Like most people, I'm lazy. I'd love to help, but don't want to put in a huge amount of effort up-front (I'm exaggerating!). My background is that I have played with Linux systems (amongst others) and hacked together solutions to real-world problems. I have a smattering of programming languages I am familiiar with (C, C++, Java, JavaScript, SQL, HTML, Basic......) but would not consider myself an expert in any. Perhaps the best description would be "Advanced Beginner". How do I move forward? If someone took the time (and YES I COULD probably do this, but I WON'T, partially due to laziness and partially due to it needing to be someone WITH knowledge, not looking for it!) to add some structure to the wiki and some additional developer resources, then it would pay HUGE dividends. Not only would the foolish questions be reduced, but you may also get additional developers on-board.

What am I looking for. Ok, a list of tutorials (these don't have to be on the site, links to other sites are fine if appropriate) that will show me:-

How to program in C++ (and I don't just mean "Hello World") to the kind of level used by MCE.
How to manually manage Ubuntu (adding drivers, reading logs etc)
How to submit patches / modifications etc. to the system (Yes, IF I take the time to develop this, how will it be made available to others?)
How to put together a development environment and then (and this is the important part) walk-through examples of some development. Could be anything (maybe several anythings). How about creating new device templates? What about mucking around with UIs? What about adding support for new hardware that is laready supported by Linux (is this the same as device templates?)

Trying to get involved, as a new user, is like trying to swim in molasses. PLEASE Thom (and everyone else!) help others who want to become involved and help you!

I'm sure others will pitch in and dispute my list, or add to it. Some of the stuff may already be there, but is difficult to find. I think we need two new pages adding that are available right from the front page.

1) You like the system, how do you get / install it? (New USERS, we have discussed this before)
2) You want to get involved in development, how to set up and use a development rig. (New DEVELOPERS)

Like I said, MOST of this info is already there, so it would be a simple matter of linking to it so people like me can both find it easily and have a coherent overview of the process.

Please don't take anything I have said here as criticism, it isn't meant to be. If the project lost folks like Thom, it would probably never recover.

I'm going to end by echoing Thom's sentiments. It is unreasonable for people to expect MCE completly free. We may not PAY for it, but we should CONTRIBUTE to it. That's what (to me) FOSS is all about.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: gadget on June 24, 2009, 03:06:28 pm
Hi Thom,

For a project of this size to be managed and developed by so few is a magnificent achievement and deserves applause.

The re-design of the website and training/documentation is definitely a must in moving forward. I like what qball4 and massabuntu  are saying about people telling you what they are capable of, and a web page listing jobs/priorities would help in this regard.

The fact the the system is so huge and does so many things is part of the problem. I believe that a core set of features needs to be decided upon to make the 810 release more maintainable. These core set of features then need to be well documented and present well for new users, which will then bring in more templates. This is my biggest issue that every piece of equipment I have I have had to create my own template for.

I am still in process of building my dev machine ,but will attempt to take on the task of developing the windows orbiters for 810 assuming they need a windows platform to be built on and that I have learn't enough about the backend now.

gadget

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: colinjones on June 24, 2009, 03:29:17 pm
Just a few points....

First, whilst recognising Thom's points and frustrations, I would like to point out that there is definite (albeit slow) traction in gaining new programmers to help out. Over the last few months we have seen a few new names popping up, getting interested and skilling up (merkur2k and fido spring to mind). By their own admission they are well off, but kudos to them, and they have contributed small pieces... the start, perhaps, of good things to come!

Some things that may make contributing more accessible to more people....

We have Trac... but we really need a more accessible list of simple, outstanding tasks/bugs/features, on a wiki page, Trac is more focused on the overall "project" and coming releases, milestones and so on. If there was a simple bullet point list or table in the wiki, people could just pick off small tasks and give them a go. I've looked at Trac so many times trying to find something, but get overwhelmed and unable to find something really small to bite off. A little script editing, conf files, researching, etc. Most seems to require a full dev environment, understanding of the builder, detailed DCE knowledge, C++, etc... This point is about accessibility...

I agree, we need to have teams - SMEs as team leaders picking up broad areas, and agreeing to be "touchstones" and mentors to give advice to those who want to give something a go. At the moment it can be very difficult to attract someone's attention for advice... or even knowing who to go to that might have that advice.... broad areas only, say Thom-UI/Orbiters, Hari-HA, CHT-VDR, etc (just examples!)

But, I believe the biggest impediment to getting one's teeth into helping out is simply knowing which area to look it. Getting an understanding of the architecture, each device, their responsibilities, how they hang together, and basically something as simple as - if I play some media, or tell a light to do something, what actually happens, is it a DCE command? Which sends that command, what command is it, where does it get sent to, what events are likely to be triggered as a result and what happens next....

In short, that horrible word "Documentation". This I have no realistic suggestions on how we approach it.... but I fear without it, I see no realistic prospect of how potential helpers can climb the otherwise very/too steep learning curve!!! Discuss?
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: MarcoZan on June 24, 2009, 04:26:27 pm
Just a brief note, I'm at work currently

what may help to move forward the project and to get more developers onboard could be to breakdown the remaining task in a smaller size that can be more manageable also by not-so-highly-skilled devs.
I'm sure there are many around, but probably they are scared about the HUGE amount of code they are supposed to study in order to get autonomous and be fully helpful, or simply can't afford to do it in a reasonable amount of time.

With a set of small and defined task, with a defined target and some advice on how to get started probably more guys would jump in.

To those that may already be preparing their flames, this is NOT a way to say "if you do not have devs, that's your fault", but is a way to say "probably there are not much skilled guys around this project, so probably it's better to go with plan B and nurse some novices".

Just my 0,02
Marco
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Dale_K on June 24, 2009, 04:30:38 pm

In short, that horrible word "Documentation". This I have no realistic suggestions on how we approach it.... but I fear without it, I see no realistic prospect of how potential helpers can climb the otherwise very/too steep learning curve!!! Discuss?


Amen brother.

I have toyed with some of the dev stuff (setup my own dev environment, even made a couple of wiki articles) and I'd love to get deeper into the guts of LMCE.  The problem is, I have extremely limited Linux knowledge and almost no programming knowledge at all.

Now, having said that, I love to learn and I'm blessed to be one of those lucky people that learn something the first time around.  To that end I've been learning C++ specifically to enable me to work on LMCE.  But, as others have pointed out, I simply don't understand the guts of LMCE.

There are spatterings of information here and there in the WIKI, but the system is so foreign to me that I don't possess the the ability to be able to assemble it all in my mind.  I'm left somewhat overwhelmed with the "Where the hell do I start?" affliction.

I realize that it seems counterintuitive to suggest that in order to relieve the work load of the devs we need the devs to do something more, but as another poster so aptly put it, I think it will pay dividends.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 24, 2009, 05:46:55 pm
I thank you for all your comments, and...yes..you guys are right....

The problem is, i'm stretched thin as it is.

It is also worth noting, that as of right now, i'm the one person besides the original creator of the software (aaron.b) who knows and touches every single part of the system, and even he hasn't touched significant parts of it since 2006.

I need to be able to continue doing that, because I know exactly how this system needs to go together

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 24, 2009, 06:03:17 pm
The problem is, i'm stretched thin as it is.

We want to help, we honestly do! Please show us how.

It is also worth noting, that as of right now, i'm the one person besides the original creator of the software (aaron.b) who knows and touches every single part of the system, and even he hasn't touched significant parts of it since 2006.

I need to be able to continue doing that, because I know exactly how this system needs to go together

Another reason why it would be a disaster for the project if you left. Also, and seriously, what would happen if something happened to you? You really do need a brain-dump onto the Wiki to document all this stuff.

I couldn't help spotting this posting from a few years back that has just been added to. http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=3188.0;topicseen (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=3188.0;topicseen) I'm not making fun, but try to remember how you felt when you posted that originally. The frustration with the lack of documentation. Add in a lower general level of developer knowledge (from me, at any rate) and you will understand why so many of us have responded the way we have.

If you could simply take a few days off development to describe, beginning to end, how to start with a pile of left-over junk and an internet connection and turn it into a development environment with a couple of example plugins / templates / whatever created and uploaded, then I'll join the effort the day after it appears (and I'd bet a lot of others would too). I can't promise great things or to spend the kind of time on it that you do, but I WILL become involved. (BTW, I have little to no money and almost as much time to throw at the problem, but I DO have enthusiasm! ;D)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: skeptic on June 24, 2009, 06:30:36 pm
Serious question - is LinuxMCE too complicated or does it simply suffer from lack of documentation?  Take for example the HADesigner.  It's the only thing I've looked at from a pseudo-development point of view.  Until life-stuff pulled me away I was going to make a serious effort at learning it and the UI setup.  What I saw was a huge complicated program with tons of "stuff" that needs to be set just right.  Ignoring the Designer program itself which, as I understand it, was a quick hack to get something useful and not intended to be the ultimate design tool, it gave me a brief idea at how complicated the underlying system must be.

Just about every large complicated system goes through the occasional or rare re-write.  I know I'm speaking from complete ignorance here, but would it make sense to do this with LinuxMCE?  Manpower would be a huge issue I know, but I really think if LinuxMCE was more modular with some kind of plug-in system it would be easier to develop for and allow easier addition of functionality.  Instead of one huge install, perhaps you would install a base system.  If you want zwave support, you then install the zwave or a more generic home automation package.  Same for media, asterisk, MAME, etc. 


edit:  I almost forgot - Big thanks to you Thom for the fantastic work you've done.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 24, 2009, 06:47:00 pm
No. There will not be a rewrite. The architecture is where it needs to be. If you press me, I really will give the long answer. :)

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: skeptic on June 24, 2009, 07:49:27 pm
No. There will not be a rewrite. The architecture is where it needs to be. If you press me, I really will give the long answer. :)

-Thom
I think a number of us would like the long answer.  To say LMCE will never get a rewrite, never support some kind of plug-in or modular system seems like a mistake.  Perhaps rewrite is a bit too general of a term, my suggestion is to rewrite/rework/extend/whatever parts of the code to allow flexibility.  Call it a rewrite, rework, extension, upgrade, whatever.  In the end you are unhappy because not enough devs are helping and potential devs are unhappy because the system as it is today is too large, complex, and insufficiently documented for people otherwise willing to lend a hand. 

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: MarcoZan on June 24, 2009, 07:52:20 pm
I thank you for all your comments, and...yes..you guys are right....

The problem is, i'm stretched thin as it is.

It is also worth noting, that as of right now, i'm the one person besides the original creator of the software (aaron.b) who knows and touches every single part of the system, and even he hasn't touched significant parts of it since 2006.

I need to be able to continue doing that, because I know exactly how this system needs to go together

-Thom

That's exactly why I think that at this point a "divide et impera" approach could be worth a try. The overall task is way too big for only 5 guys, even if they have full knowledge of the whole thing.

In another post i've seen a quest for a Datagrid Workshop: how many non-devs replied? I think a few.

I myself had great benefit from the first (and so far only one) workshop on GSD that you and Dan Damron held last year. I did not know a heck of Ruby, after that workshop I slowly started to build my GSD learning the needed Ruby on the way.

Probably it could be a good thing for you core devs to stop for a while, and invest some of your time in some workshop like that.
There's no people more indicated than you to do this, as you perfectly know which are the areas where also a novice could start helping.

I know that this appear like a gamble, as not much people showed up to be collaborative so far. Maybe an injection of knowledge could change things a bit.
If someone else joins the development, surely the project will benefit.
If nothing happens, at least you switched your minds to something different for a while (that could be not that bad ...)

Marco



Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 24, 2009, 08:47:32 pm
First, to all devs, thanks for all of your past and current efforts!  Hopefully the previous posts show that your work is appreciated, even if that is not said enough.  (Which reminds me, I must buy my wife some flowers on the way home from work today... :) )

I'd love to help out in some way.  Like everyone else, unfortunately I can't currently spare a lot of time due to work and personal pressures, but I hope I can contribute some and I'd like to make a start with this post...

The focus of this thread has been on the work being of a technical nature.  Herein lies one of the core issues.  The project is also lacking management resource and/or experience, and that is evident from the requests of what needs to be done and who should be consulted.  Without the correct management structure, the work will get even harder and less fun.  This is where I, and others, may be able to help.  I'm a management consultant, specializing in IT businesses of all types, and have previously run a successful software startup.  I'm not a coder (any more), but I know how successful software organizations work and from what I'm reading, and have experienced, the project is suffering the same exact problems as a young software company going through its next stage of evolution.

Good news! Handled correctly, this means great things are to come.  It is also the point at which many organizations fail.  Now is the time to regroup, consider what the key objectives of the project are, structure it appropriately, recruit resource, and manage the growth.  There's room in the project for marketing too (web site enhancements, press releases, even potential revenue streams).  In short, it's time to start running the project more as a business.  With structure comes simplicity and progress.

First off, the principles of the project should be agreed.  A mission statement, if you like.  I'm just talking about a few key points that sum up the aims of the project, and communicate them to everyone.  Otherwise, people can pull in opposite directions, motivated by their own needs, wants and interests.

A key fundamental consideration, in my opinion, should be whether the project continues to be entirely free, or whether there should be a commercial aspect to it.  Frankly, we may get more people willing to give up "free" time, if they get a small amount of compensation.  Not because they are greedy, but because time is not free.  We all have expenses, and our jobs provide us with the cash we need to live our lives.  Not everyone has the luxury of being to donate that time to the project, as it would mean less cash to live.  Also, there are costs associated with the project.  Test environments cost money.  Web hosting costs money.  So does marketing, recruiting, and a whole bunch more.  There are plenty of options to consider here, from donations to tiered services, free modules and add-on commercial modules.  The recent positive responses to a non-free iPhone orbiter app is proof that many people are willing to pay in order to get certain features.  I believe a compromise could be met between wanting to keep this a community project, and in bringing in enough revenue to keep it going and to make it good.  Take a look at Astaro, for example.  They have a stable, beautifully presented product, that generates a lot of income yet at the same time is free for home users.  This is one end of the extreme, but if the community agrees that it could be worth aiming for (we're talking possible mass commercialization here), then the project could even attract venture capital and become a household name.

With the fundamentals of the project's direction agreed (and even a constitution, of sorts), the next step should be to elect a top management team and delegate responsibilities.  The team should develop a strategy (how to recruit, manage the project, what the priorities are, etc.).  Focus should be on the coming 12 months, but with a higher-level vision of the future.  The managers should recruit and delegate more specific responsibilities.  In a regular business, you wouldn't want too many levels of management or too many managers.  However, for a project of this nature where everyone is (very) part-time, I believe that this is a necessity.  The less responsibility each team has, the more chance that they will have to get their work done in their available time.  It also means that if they have to drop out for a while due to real-life pressures, that big chunks of work wouldn't just stop.

My observation is that after defining the business plan and electing the top management team, documentation should be the highest priority.  Everyone will immediately need a clear high-level picture of the software components and how they fit together.  We (all) need to know exactly what we've got and how it fits together before we can make improvements.  This is especially important when you consider that, as discussed above, most individuals will only work within the tight constraints of their own little project and not have an understanding of the bigger picture unless it is clearly defined and communicated.  Nor will they have the time or inclination to try and piece it together themselves (as pointed out several times in this thread already).

I could go on, but hey, who has the time, right? :)

Here's the call to action.  Thom, and the other (5?) devs, you are the leaders at the moment.  If you agree, then I suggest you put this into action and set the wheels into motion for us other interested people to help take LMCE into its next phase of evolution...

1. Define the project charter.  This should involve some big considerations such as whether the project should have a commercial element.  Perhaps a community vote or two would be appropriate here.
2. Request volunteers who'd like to act as managers, including their credentials and how much time they could offer.
3. Either allocate positions according to how you see fit, or (preferably) offer the chance for the community to vote on the positions.
4. The top team defines the long-term and 12-month business plan, and communicates it.
5. Recruit team managers for sub-projects and get working towards the goals in the plan

Thom (and other devs), this will mean you letting go of a lot.  It may also mean some previous strategies being reversed, and that may be hard to do on a personal (or even technical) level, especially if there has been a lot of effort made.  You will have less control, less responsibilities.  You'll also have more time, more fun, and maybe even more money :)  Are you really ready to let go?  This is really the first point that needs to be addressed.

Regards,
Tim.

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 24, 2009, 09:15:43 pm
If you actually take a LOOK at the system...

I mean, actually study it, and not just assume things...

You'll find that it _IS_ modular.

It's the interdependency of the glue underneath that makes things interesting.

I will write a longer description later. But for now, look at and study the developers guide in the wiki.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: geekyhawkes on June 24, 2009, 09:19:53 pm
I agree with pretty much all of the comments above (not useful i know), which ever side of the spectrum they swing.  And clearly am very grateful to all of those that have driven this product as far forward as it is now.  Thanks for both the time, code and support here in the forum.

I feel the general feeling is a willing to help but with a lack of knowledge.  I understand that the 5 guys who understand the system are frustrated by the repeated "daft" questions from newbies trying to get 810 working (i certainly have posted my fair share on my way to getting my system nearly working).  

I think everyone can make some contribution, the challenge is splitting up the work and making sure the right people can give guidance when needed.  Most of the guys here are probably in the advanced beginner group, can find our way around linux (pretty well), bit of scripting, various languages to some level and reasonable system knowledge.  To that end I think there is a huge skill set for constructive Beta testing and feedback (not just random my XXX doesnt work after upgrade).  We also have a reasonable amount of people willing to re-design the website and wiki here.  

I think a way forward would be to start another thread with the workload split up and take volunteers (at all levels).  This would at least all us to take stock of where we are, and if indeed we can spread the load alittle.  (I certainly would be willing to dive in with a website / wiki redesign and would love to learn more).  

For me Linux MCE has been a real journey and has taught me loads about AV systems as well as some of the inner workings of linux that I would never have come across if I had not installed MCE.  The original aim is still a good one, and MCE is still WAY ahead of the other "media" systems out there (even in an ALPHA form!).  

My 2 cents;

Andy

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Che on June 24, 2009, 09:45:44 pm
I agree with WB. Show me the path, and I will help.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 24, 2009, 09:55:43 pm
Tim,

All valid points, although I (personally) have issues with the revenue generating side of things. I got into Linux (and as a result MCE) because I dislike Micro$oft's market dominance and I'm basically a tight git who wants something for nothing! I'm also concerened about the whole licensing issue. Not only do we have the FOSS licence to consider, but then there's the proprietary stuff licensed by Pluto that has caused much discussion elsewhere.

What I think WOULD be a good idea, however, is having merchandise that is available to purchase, thus generating cash. There's the obvious things like mugs and shirts, but there are others (including add-ins like an iOrbiter). I would even be prepared to investigate something like this, although before getting anything produced the comments elsewhere about a new Logo (and, heaven forbid a new name) need to be adequately addressed!

How would we collect together, and then allocate the funds? Things like website hosting are an obvious cost, but could we create a pool of development equipment that could be borrowed? (Or, alternatively, a server farm which people could use as their development environment remotely.) I'm even up for the idea that the senior devs (/managers?) could receive some financial reward for their efforts. I know Thom (et al) is not here for the money - his reward is the stress  ;) but if the MCE community could raise enough cash to pay some folks, it wouldn't be a bad thing, in my view.

As I have already said, I'm keen to put something back into the community. As you have said, not all contribution has to be in the form of development.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 24, 2009, 10:16:41 pm
WB,

Valid points also.  As far as Linux and Micro$oft goes - me too!  Although, the comparisons may be a little premature.  There's plenty of stuff that I gladly pay for, and some of it is based on FOSS.

I like your idea about merchandise.  It's one of many options available, and the subject is worthy of a larger discussion.

Licensing issues almost certainly could be overcome.  However, it would probably mean shelling out on an attorney.  Another thing to spend some of that cash on...  I faced the same issues in my old business, which makes use of FOSS.

As far as coming together and managing the funds, that would be a responsibility of the management team.  It should be done correctly, probably with the establishment of a C Corp and a bank account.  The top level management would have the legal responsibility to use the funds only in the best interest of the company, and in accordance with its articles.  As a company, the project would be able to make use of tax breaks, enter into legal agreements, and so on, while its management would have the legal protection of a limited liability company.

Good idea also regarding the server farm. 
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 24, 2009, 10:59:23 pm
Here's my quick $0.02 on code "rewrites"....

First, there is almost always room for improvement.  The question is, where is the effort best spent?  Improving existing code, or writing new code?

Sometimes it is worth going back to the beginning an questioning whether the architecture and algorithms are correct.  It is good to get fresh eyes on the subject, too.  Best practices can change.  New tools/modules may be available from other projects that could negate the need for maintaining a parallel code set.

Even if the current architecture is good, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't consider optimizing the code (including, perhaps, improving the comments in the code).  In fact, I've come across situations where the code has been completely re-written just to improve the documentation, as it was easier to re-write sections of code than to make sense of someone else's work and trying to document it.

I think it would be good to keep an open mind on whether parts of the system should be re-written.  However, this should be coordinated properly and priorities weighed up.  Working out those priorities and assigning responsibilities should be addressed before jumping in and re-writing anything.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: hari on June 24, 2009, 11:41:46 pm
As a note, I'm not at all fed up with ppl asking questions. In fact I'd appreciate more ppl asking questions while stumbling around the codebase.

Regarding lack of developers, just be aware that we won't find many ppl of that kind on the planet:
1.) Linux skill
2.) coding skill
3.) HA interest
4.) willing to read into a massive codebase
5.) willing to cope with a "break" between the original devs and the bunch of us now continuing
6.) willing to spend most of the spare time besides a 40h job for about two years to understand the code
7.) willing to contribute to a project not consisting of 100% FSF licensed bits
8.) having the money/flat/house to be able to buy all the toys and to use all aspects of lmce

i'm sure i missed something..

Regarding project management and such, it is a bit different for projects with non-paid developers. You just cannot set up deadlines. People do this for fun in their sparetime, you cannot force them to deliver on specific dates and do this or that task. That is not how OSS/FSF works (without paid contributions).

br, Hari
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: hari on June 25, 2009, 12:00:27 am
...but I really think if LinuxMCE was more modular with some kind of plug-in system it would be easier to develop for and allow easier addition of functionality.  Instead of one huge install, perhaps you would install a base system.  If you want zwave support, you then install the zwave or a more generic home automation package.  Same for media, asterisk, MAME, etc. 
with small little unix style daemons adhering to http://upnp.org/standardizeddcps/default.asp and providing services? Even usable outside of lmce? Orbiters not running on the screen but on tablets/in-wall and being smart upnp control points? Network media tanks for tearing free full hd playback? Device addition without router reload? Sacrilege!!

br, Hari
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 25, 2009, 12:03:56 am
Hari,

I agree with your comment that you can't hold people to deadlines for OSS/FSF.  That's one reason why its important to split the work into smaller pieces, so that the project doesn't stagnate because of the availability of a few key people.  Another is to address your other point regarding skill sets and knowledge.  If we lower the entry barrier by keeping sub-projects small and documentation good, then more people will be able to help and their drain on the resources of the LMCE "Gods" will be less.

Likewise, I also agree that you can't force anyone to work on any particular tasks.  However, I think that there is a general willingness for many people be assigned to specific tasks, perhaps within teams that interest them.  There have been requests in this thread to that end.  Of course, people should also be free to volunteer for tasks (or teams) if they have a particular interest.  As you say, it should be fun.

None of this negates the need for proper management and coordination of the tasks.  Development of the Linux kernel, to make one comparison, has been quite tightly managed.  Management of a project of this type shouldn't be autocratic, but at the other extreme, anarchy is not a good idea either.  Some basic coordination of priorities and direction shouldn't detract from the fun.  On the contrary. I'm sure that it would relieve a lot of frustration and stress, and avoid duplication of effort.

Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 25, 2009, 12:20:14 am
I can only speak for myself on some of these, but...

As a note, I'm not at all fed up with ppl asking questions. In fact I'd appreciate more ppl asking questions while stumbling around the codebase.

Well, you're asking for it now!

Regarding lack of developers, just be aware that we won't find many ppl of that kind on the planet:
1.) Linux skill

As others have said, even contemplating MCE without some serious Linux skill is at best naive and at worst foolhardy. BUT recommend a good online advanced course.

2.) coding skill

Again others have said it, but not all development / contributions have to involve coding. However, it is a skill that can be learnt with right guidance.

3.) HA interest

We're here aren't we? Also, MCE is about Media AND HA AND.... For me, it's Media first. Then cool orbiters and the UI. HA is WAAAAAY down the list. I live in the UK, so finding compatible, and reasonably priced, HA kit is near to impossible anyway ;)

4.) willing to read into a massive codebase

A good map or a helpful guide-book can make the most inhospitable cities easy to navigate ;)

5.) willing to cope with a "break" between the original devs and the bunch of us now continuing

Why is that an issue? I only know of it due to it being mentioned a couple of times recently.

6.) willing to spend most of the spare time besides a 40h job for about two years to understand the code

Well, like I've mentioned elsewhere, I travel a lot with work. I could read the latest Tom Clancy, watch NCIS on my iPod or get stuck into getting my head around MCE. I'm sure others could find at least some time!

7.) willing to contribute to a project not consisting of 100% FSF licensed bits

I am not a lawyer or a politician, but why would this bother me to the point of not becoming involved?

8.) having the money/flat/house to be able to buy all the toys and to use all aspects of lmce

This is the biggy for me. That's why I'm suggesting that any money raised for the project is used to provide developer resources. Either in the form of kit that is purchased, or a server farm to develop on.

Regarding project management and such, it is a bit different for projects with non-paid developers. You just cannot set up deadlines. People do this for fun in their sparetime, you cannot force them to deliver on specific dates and do this or that task. That is not how OSS/FSF works (without paid contributions).

I agree, although Tim seemed to talk sense and have knowledge of such matters.

GNU/Linux itself, without all the FOSS based on it was / is a HUGE project, yet is very successful.

Hari, my concern is that the devs, with the greatest respect, seem to be saying on the one hand that there are too few of them and it's too much work so can some more people PLEASE get involved, but on the other that it's just too complicated to learn at a level to be useful.

I WANT to learn. I may not succeed and like a lot of people, will in all likelihood give up, but that isn't the point. If the "right" people are as rare as you say, then you can't afford to alienate any of them. Nurturing new devs by providing documentation that is easy to follow and clearly explains the system will not put anyone off! If as a result you get a "sticking rate" of 2 in 1000 instead of 1, then it's been worth it  ;D

Right, first two questions.

1) Has anyone successfully built an 810 development rig on VMWare? If so, is the process documented?
2) Once I've built my dev rig, where should I start? Wiki (which page?) Source code? (Which file?) Other internet resources (URL?)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: skeptic on June 25, 2009, 01:06:10 am
...but I really think if LinuxMCE was more modular with some kind of plug-in system it would be easier to develop for and allow easier addition of functionality.  Instead of one huge install, perhaps you would install a base system.  If you want zwave support, you then install the zwave or a more generic home automation package.  Same for media, asterisk, MAME, etc. 
with small little unix style daemons adhering to http://upnp.org/standardizeddcps/default.asp and providing services? Even usable outside of lmce? Orbiters not running on the screen but on tablets/in-wall and being smart upnp control points? Network media tanks for tearing free full hd playback? Device addition without router reload? Sacrilege!!

br, Hari

Clearly I didn't explain what I meant very well.  All sarcasm aside, I think you know what I'm getting at.  The ability to change something or add new functionality, Thom's MAME stuff for example, without needing to dig into the database, HADesigner, and whatever else he had to do to get it working.  Obviously, as Thom also pointed out, the architecture itself is modular.  It also appears very flexible, and effective in it's execution.  The DCE is a great design and allows all kinds of neat stuff that we LMCE users enjoy and MS MCE users dream about.  As Thom described it, the glue underneath makes things interesting.  It's that part of it all that in my basic (or lack of) understanding makes things complicated.  The architecture may be modular, but as far as I understand it you can't integrate a new app such as a simple front end to HandBrakeCLI without understanding LMCE as a whole, digging into HADesigner, and whatever else needs to be done.  That's what I'm referring to.  
  

I'm not saying it's broke and needs to be changed.  I'm just saying that the amount of knowledge and understanding required is an impediment to new or casual devs that may otherwise contribute small nifty features, or be willing to tackle other things like what Thom did with adding pause/mute buttons on screen.  Maybe what I see as an overall issue is really just an HADesigner/gui issue?
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: rafik24 on June 25, 2009, 02:13:04 am
  Hi Guys,

So far we got something that is far away further from any media center.

I feel as if we are getting to a point where it is a mater of live or die kind of thing for the project.

 I think that we need to improve the project by getting some full time devs and other ressources to push over the project and see it coming live defeating some m$ and others by bringing up something that has never been done before.

I'm owning a company for few years now and even dow i've been a tight tech dreaming of an all free world for which im trying to contribute every day i thing that Tim is right about bringing some cash in to get a full time staff defined objectives to the code, marketing an evolution.

i would like to contribute to the project also, i've been involved in few project *nix driven down to systems, networking for telco operators and so but i shall admit lmce is a huge part to handle even for experienced techs engineers or else.

I have spent week end, hours to hack into the code even if i'm ain't a coder but theres too much to do at once as others said.

well, fair enough otherwise it wouldn't be what it is.

 Back to thoughts we need an input somehow that would turn lmce into a company with a community release in order to get up to speed and see what we're all hoping to get alive ( we got what is needed at least ).

 We need to get the industry to inject some cash at to get up to speed and manage the thing properly so the exec decisions are made for both the business and community.

 We need to have a specific hw base so we wont spend time over my controller doesn't work or my mobo
is doing weird thing, in the mean time we can still support users coming to the community in order to keep them interested and spare some time trying to help out whoever is coming in as we did for some time.

 We need to go to the next level even if i hate commercial stuff, i learned my way out  on FSF linux and so on, thanks to the people i've met that shown me the way but here if we want to go live with something that would kick the a** we need to be fast.

 Willingto see what i've looked at and tried to help my way getting real.

All the best,

Rafik



Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: fastie81 on June 25, 2009, 03:29:24 am
Hi Guys

I know where Thom is coming from.
I just want to say thanks to what you and the rest of the Dev Team has done.

Now I am not a programer. I know my way around linux. However I would love to be able to write someting or improve and fix things.. I am a very quick learner.. So Thom if you can help me by pointing me in the direction and maybe help me to start of with something small so I can learn.

So I don't want to tell you what we should do or how we should do it.. All I am saying is here I am, I want to help in any way I can.

I think this is a great product and  I would realy like to see it grow..

I have put my had up.

C

 
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Techstyle on June 25, 2009, 05:07:36 am
It seems to me having read this thread that there a gap between developers and aspiring/newbie 'developers'.  This gap is in knowledge of the system and direction.  We risk duplicating efforts at the aspiring/newbie 'developers' level and not helping the developers move the whole project forward.

Perhaps we (as in one of the non-developers) could generate a Wiki page that includes a matrix with the following (non-exhaustive) headings:

Username,
Relevant expertise/experience,
Other Experience/Expertise,
Time available for the project,
Time zone or location,
Particular Interest Area (If any),
 
People interested in helping can then populate the table and then extra fields in the table could detail assigned project team or stand alone project.

It would give the developers ability to assign some of the tasks out to someone with relevant skill sets or some of the easier tasks out to someone trying to get their feet wet or even someone with no experience/expertise could help with something like wiki work - organisation of the wiki/reformatting/generating templates etc.

each area helping the community but in a structured manner, all pulling in the same direction.

If this idea sounds interesting let me know and I will start setting up the page tomorrow night (US Central).  If there are any other columns you think need adding let us know
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 25, 2009, 05:58:02 am
Techstyle,

I think that would be a great start.

Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: fastie81 on June 25, 2009, 06:03:20 am
Let me know when you got that page up..
That would be great..

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Schmich on June 25, 2009, 07:14:04 am
Hello, I wasn't sure to post or not but I did in the end...I just want to add a word or two. I currently don't have a system as my family's house isn't finished yet but I've been reading the forum for almost a year now.

As I see it there are two problems atm: short-term and long-term. Short-term would be getting people to work to finish 810 as soon as possible. This is something that's being dicussed well here so I just want to add a word or two on the long-term.

What I don't understand, which is something I think Thom posted in a thread a few weeks ago, is how LinuxMCE is pretty much _THE_ geek software yet you guys are pretty much just 5 people on it? It's not only the developers though. I don't understand how unpopular LinuxMCE is. People either don't know about it or read a few things about it that only included the negative points. An example of lack of popularity would be Tom's Hardware that had an article a few days ago about Home Automation stating how all the standards are different and could use some type of connectivity between each other. Was LinuxMCE mentioned? Nope, and that just beats me.

As I said, people might read the negative things and decide to forget about it or say "if it will get better I'll most likely hear about it, so until then I won't try it". I learned about LinuxMCE through Digg when that old 704 video was posted. I was of course stunned but I also remember people's no.1. critic about it: the UI. The average mindless user couldn't see all this functionality through/past that UI... Anyways, then when I came here I understood that the best thing is to only buy hardware that is stated to work PnP (or with a few tricks), however there is very little information on modern hardware that does work flawlessly. Someone new coming to LinuxMCE is first of all lost. The person will begin reading everywhere and will end up seeing all these problems instead of a guide-line that shows what the system can do and, if followed, things actually work.

Work has been done in these sectors, I'm not trying to criticize anybody at all. I just want to make the point that there are a few major steps that turn people (both users and devs) away from LinuxMCE. I've never worked on a project like this, nor am I developer...but I'll assume devs go where the people are. I think if you manage to get LinuxMCE popular the devs will come just like that, especially considering the share amount of awesomeness this system has. Just imagine how many people you could attract with a finished 810 (better functionality, hardware compability etc.) that has a new UI (btw I love the work Krys started to do).
This sounds like a catch22: lets get the devs to finish 810 in order to get more people to use LinuxMCE so that we can attract more devs etc. But as said, I just wanted to mentione something long-term and if you guys want to stay on the short-term, getting 810 finished, then sorry for going a little off-topic. This ended up getting longer than planned...just wanted to write a small post >_<
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: pcbastard on June 25, 2009, 08:53:37 am
Thom, thanks for bringing this up. 

You have to be the busiest and most energetic LMCE guy EVER and it's been a pleasure watching your short videos. 

If only there could be short videos on how to start developing, or codeing/design tutorials, by example, on all the steps to add control for new hardware, I would dive right in.  I have some unix and linux experience, but have never developed any code for linux.  I am not a programmer by trade, but have messed around programming various "simple" serial networking protocols in C and C++.  Understanding how data is passed back and forth in a text tutorial or short video example, would be enough to fire me up to delve into LMCE development.

I know, this means more work from devs and others in-the-know, and I don't know any solution to this.
All I know is that this is a great project that deserves to continue and I want to help.

Leo
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 25, 2009, 10:41:50 am
Sorry to pitch in again but I have read and re-read this thread several times now. Some great ideas and suggestions from various viewpoints, but there are one or two themes that seem to be appearing. Distil them down and you have, basically, two.

1) Documentation. I'm sorry to those of you who have worked hard at it, but frankly it sucks. There, I've been blunt and said it. No, perhaps I'm being unfair, so let me re-phrase that. The organisation of the documentation sucks. There are gaps, but what is there is so hard to find, it might as well not exist for most of us. We need, as I've said alrteady, two VERY SIMPLE guides. The first for total newbies that says "if you buy this and then do this with it, it WILL work". The second for new devs that gives a hold-your-hand walk through of development. Perhaps one example in each area. I know there are videos already there on things like HA Designer, but where's the overall picture? Schmich and pcbastard are saying this, as have others (myself included).

2) Management. If the project is to move forward much further, the base of developers will need to expand. This will need a much more transparent and clearly defined management plan otherwise there is a risk of huge duplication and omission. Again, others have said this.

Devs, yes you have our thanks BUT, if you want help, if you want involvement you must LET US IN!!!!

Thom, as the previous poster said, your videos are excellent. (Although as an aside, you showed a screen capture device at one point, but continue to use a hand-held camera pointed at the screen a lot. May I suggest captures may well be easier to follow?) New functionality and cool gadgets are great to see, but please please please can we have a "development 101" series?

Right, I'm off back to building my Virtualized development environment! (And YES, if / when I get it working, I'll wikify it ;) )
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: geekyhawkes on June 25, 2009, 12:19:07 pm
I am more than willing to write a "user guide" once 810 stabilises and is released.  I was intending to this anyway.  I was thinking of producing a newbie, buy this and type this here and it will work.  Once that is done hopefully it will be in a format that can be used for the rest of the guides we are trying to produce. 
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 25, 2009, 05:42:54 pm
WB is right. Although, you might blame the documentation issues on the management issues.  Note that I'm not criticizing anyone's management style or ability.  The Devs have done a magnificent job getting the project to where it is.  The project is a victim of its own success, which is a natural result of growth (the Devs can only be stretched so far), and there are commonly practiced techniques to solve these issues.  There is a widely accepted Harvard model of small business growth phases (see http://www.enotes.com/small-business-encyclopedia/organizational-life-cycle).  This project is facing issues described in Phase 1 ("crisis of leadership") and Phase 2 ("crisis of autonomy").  In order to grow, these issues must be addressed or the project will stagnate, and there is no room for stagnated products in the IT industry.  A stagnated IT project will die through competition.

Schmich raises some further symptoms of these growth challenges that are not purely technical in nature.  Marketing is vital.  We need to get the word out to the public that LMCE is here.  That means talking to the press, doing press releases, interviews, demos etc.  The web site must look professional, the logo and name should be good, and ideally there should be a spokesperson.

It is also vital that the UI is improved.  I know that it's only the icing on the cake.  But most people buy the cake because the icing looks good!  OK, so LMCE is free, but people still weigh it up against commercial products to meet their needs.  If the UI looks and feels clunky (and, sorry, it does), it will put off all but the most geeky people who are used to clunky database forms.  We need an easy to use interface that looks great (think Apple iPhone).

Finally, I want to impress the importance of time.  I once developed a commercial software product that, when I started, was an industry first.  It had the best features and a great interface.  It took 2 years to complete.  It flopped.  Why?  Shortly into the process, someone else independently thought up a similar idea.  They got funding, and because they had more resources, they completed their product months before mine.  It was technically inferior, but they got first-to-market advantage.  They worked with the press and got plenty of press coverage.  My product didnt stand a chance.  We tried to sell it for a year, but it could not compete.  I learned my lesson, and for our next product, we had more funding, more people, and we gave the UI a higher priority than new features.  It because a market leading success.

The moral of the story here is that we have limited time.  If the project continues to grow organically, the competition will catch up (even, come out of nowhere with a few million in VC funding).  Before we know what happened, there'll be a better, more supported product out there and LMCE will be dead.  Sorry to have to put it that way, but its survival of the fittest.  Fundamental changes must be made to how this project is run, and it has to be done now.

I think we need to hear all of the (6?) key Devs acknowledge that this is where we are and that they are willing to work with the community to restructure and formalize the management (that doesn't mean step down).  Without their backing, I don't think we can achieve what must be done.

Tim

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Pnuts on June 25, 2009, 06:44:18 pm
LMCE is simply an amazing application. I agree with everyone in this thread before me in congratulating all of the hard work the dev’s and put into this!

Prior ot LMCE, I was a complete Linux novice, not having looked at it at all, in the last 6 months, this has changed greatly, all because of LMCE. I have been answering what I could in the forums and created/added to a few wiki pages, but mostly, all of my free/available time has been learning and working with Linux in general. I do not even have an install of LMCE up right now. If it wasn't for this project, I would not know the wonders of Linux and still be living under a Windows rock.

I'm just about ready to dive head first back into LMCE like I did initially before I got a general feel of Linux and I would like to give back in any way I can. Reading through this thread, there are lots of great idea's. Documentation and proper organization of it seem to be the main issues preventing several people from jumping on board, or even trying to help. I would agree dedicating some time to this would create the means for a boost of novices to come on board.

Another suggestion which is equally important that was mentioned would be creating groups or team leads for specific sections or development. A go to person for specific things is needed. As people with specific talents are put to use, someone needs to guide them. The example of designing a new skin is great, it provides someone wanting to do something with direction on what to do. It also helps prevent duplicating work.

...

Perhaps we (as in one of the non-developers) could generate a Wiki page that includes a matrix with the following (non-exhaustive) headings:

...

A wiki listing peoples skills and talents is a great idea. If this could go up today, it would be great to start getting an idea of what there is to work with. I’m tempted to just stick something up there now, but it would be very basic and lack any special wiki coding, basically needing to be redone correctly which would suck after people contribute to it...

-Pnuts
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 25, 2009, 07:07:27 pm
Here we go with someone thinking that the iPhone is the end all be all of UI design.

Yes, the Basic UI is just that.. Basic. It was intended to simply be able to tie together the individual pieces of the system.

However, what many of you fail to realize, is that Orbiter is _HIGHLY_ retargetable. It was designed to run EVERYWHERE at once, with all the different display surfaces in the house in sync. In order to do this, a number of things had to be omitted.

* No scroll/drag actions (although this could be added)
* it's a 10' UI, less is more, IT IS NOT A #@(%#@( WEB BROWSER!
* No animation/effects, this has to run on low powered devices too.

You people dog orbiter. Yet, I haven't seen very many talented UI people among the bunch? I've had to do almost all of it since we got the project from Pluto, so far.

Do any of you understand the semantics of a 10' UI? or what this entails versus a desktop UI?

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 25, 2009, 07:56:46 pm
Thom,

I cited the iPhone because everyone's seen one.  I also cited Astaro's UI yesterday, but doubt as many people are familiar.  The iPhone's UI is not the be all and end all.  However, Apple has made a UI that works successfully for over 50,000 different apps at last count, despite its limitation in size.  That's an unmatched feat.  Its success is significant not only because what it has achieved technically, but because it is a trend setter.  People like it, and want their other devices to follow suit (and many manufacturers have done just that).

For any product, you need to think about what the people want - not just what the technical constraints are.  People buy/get what they want, not always what's technically superior (as I have learned the hard way).  If this project is to stay alive, we must build something more appropriate to what the average user wants, even if it means compromising on a few of the technical aspects.  When people want houses, we shouldn't be in the business of building cathedrals.

I don't really care what the UI looks like, other than it must be what the general public wants.  Devices capable of a more slick UI should have one.  There is no reason why the UI should conform to the lowest possible denominator.

Frankly, I'm beginning to think that your attitude is a big part of the problem.  Phrases like "you people" are offensive and derogatory to the hundreds/thousands of very different people with different views and abilities, united in their common desire to make this project a success.  Don't put everyone into one box, or believe that of all these people you are the most knowledgeable or experienced.  Consequently, don't be closed to ideas.  You have made several comments like that, and I believe you owe the community an apology.

Let me put this more bluntly.  If you want people to help, stop getting in the way.  You are valued, and I would certainly like to see the project continue with you.  However, this is a community project.  If you want to make all the rules, then you do that.  You continue telling people to just get on with developing stuff, while complaining at why nothing gets done and how stressed you are, and the rest of us will inevitably leave to pursue other, perhaps competitive, projects.  Or, maybe the project will fork.  One thing's for sure.  LMCE will die unless changes are made to how it is managed, and I for one am not prepared to stay on a sinking ship.

I'm sorry, but it needed saying.

Tim


Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: geekyhawkes on June 25, 2009, 08:05:20 pm
Personnally i really like the orbiter UI and think the Iphone interface leaves a lot to be desired!  That is not saying i wouldnt mind re-skinning my orbiter at some point but for me I am more worried about getting all of my functionality up and running (with the endless help of the guys here!).

If i can be so bold,this thread has raised lots of good ideas, few solutions (mostly due to keen-ness over ability (me included!)).  I think we need to move forward and get some actions.  We also need to recognise that we are mostly a bottom heavy forum / community that is burdening the few with the requirements of the many (at the moment). 

I do honestly think we can move forward, the big 5 know who they are as do most of us here and i think as they do most of the work they should drive what falls out of this thread.  Do you guys want to share the work down in to teams?  As mentioned before I am more than happy to run with Userguide single handed if required and I am sure plenty of other guys are happy to chip in with various sections. 

Even if we end up with teams and some guys do little more than donkey work collecting bits of info or hardware / beta testing code that might relieve some of the burdon on the big 5 and make them feel like the masses (again me included) are giving something back and not just taking.

I am sure MCE will have an up-surge in users over the coming years as peoples needs change, we are at the cutting edge (ish) oh home entertainment yet, and it takes a while to get the word out and have people see past the poor imitations (such as XBMC and Boxee).

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: maverick0815 on June 25, 2009, 08:50:29 pm
I must say I had no idea, that there are really only so few people working on this. On the other hand, I should have figured it out, since at present I wouldn't have the time or the proper focus to do what Thom is doing. This guy is dying for Linuxmce.
This said, I would like to comment on the orbiter. While I can understand that there are a lot of people, who aren't satisfied with the UI, I would like to point everyone to Canon.
In the company where I work, we have 8 digital copy-machines by Canon. They are all different models. However their UI is almost identical. The menus are all the same, the look and feel is the same. So everyone knows where to go in order to get their things done, regardless of the model! For Canon this is a huge sellingpoint, since the learning curve is pretty low, even if you get the latest model of their copiers. I feel the same about the orbiter. No matter what device you use, you can feel automatically at home, though it doesn't look the very same on different devices. Of course you can always argue about looks and you should, but you should not underestimate what is already there.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 25, 2009, 09:39:57 pm
Don't confuse my comment about a clunky interface as being purely about aesthetics.  It's more about the simplicity of use.

I don't have anything against the orbiter.  It's fine for what it is (but would still benefit with some attention).  A real issue preventing Joe Public from using the system is the complexity of configuring the system.  The admin interface needs to be more user friendly.  It's not much more than a web interface to a database at present.  Don't misunderstand me, I'm sure that the object oriented nature of the system is needed.  But, the casual user shouldn't have to worry about all those fields, etc.  I know, there's a wizard.  But it (she) can't do enough and it's tiresome to sit through a video. I think a lot of the complexity could be overcome.  I'm not saying it would be easy, but it is important.

I feel we have got a bit off topic on one subject though.  This thread is about people pitching in.  I believe that the consensus is that there's a bunch of people ready to help, but that two things currently stand in the way:  Management and documentation.

I can't help much with the documentation, but I have plenty of product management experience.  I'd be happy to chair a meeting with a group of Devs and any others who believe that they can contribute to the management of the product, with the aim of discussing and defining a vision and management structure.  Then we can set about the work of improving the system in an orderly manner.  I can advise the management team regarding how to run the project more like a business, not necessarily for money, but with a strategy that promotes the rapid development of a high quality product that will delight a lot of users and the press.  I'm not interested in this becoming "my" product, and I certainly don't want to run the show.  Neither do I think that it should belong to, or be run by, any one individual or a select few.  I am interested in it becoming even more successful community project.

If there is enough interest, I could start by organizing a conference call once we have the matrix of those interested in contributing.  Thom, I feel I need your support on this.  Are you interested?

Tim

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: qball4 on June 25, 2009, 09:42:25 pm
...
Frankly, I'm beginning to think that your attitude is a big part of the problem.  Phrases like "you people" are offensive and derogatory to the hundreds/thousands of very different people with different views and abilities, united in their common desire to make this project a success.  Don't put everyone into one box, or believe that of all these people you are the most knowledgeable or experienced.  Consequently, don't be closed to ideas.
...

1. I highly doubt he meant "you people" in a derogatory fashion; the negative stigma associated with the phrase is related to race and religion, neither of which are remotely related. (get it? "remote"ly... orbiter... I kill myself :) )

2. Like Thom mentioned in this post (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8291.msg55156#msg55156 (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8291.msg55156#msg55156)), sometimes there needs to be a hardliner that says, we are going to do it THIS way. I think that's kind of the point of having team leads: the experts can make such decisions because they experience has shown them what will and will not work. The only times I've seen Thom closed to ideas is when he has been in that exact situation. Most of the time, he just says go for it.

3. To me, this project is about having fun. I'd like to start having some more. So... do the core devs have anything to say about the ideas that have been tossed around so far? Are any of you interested in becoming team leads? (please) Do we even know what teams should exist? Is someone already working on the wiki page/skillset table idea?

:Matt
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 25, 2009, 09:53:08 pm
I'm going to talk to the other devs in #linuxmce-devel.

It may very well be me doing orbiter / media work, and hari handlng home automation  team leads, from first guess, but I can't speak for anybody except myself.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: geekyhawkes on June 25, 2009, 10:00:00 pm
Thom sounds good.  In an attempt to move us forward i have created the following wiki;

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Community

PLease add you details and lets see who is willing to step up!
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 25, 2009, 10:11:47 pm
I've been talking, and the cold hard facts are that we simply do not have enough people willing to step up.

So I guess things continue as they are until we get more self motivated people.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 25, 2009, 10:18:31 pm
I've been talking, and the cold hard facts are that we simply do not have enough people willing to step up.

So I guess things continue as they are until we get more self motivated people.

Please define "step up". I, along with several others, have expressed a desire to get involved here. We just need some guidance as to how.

Surely, the investment in writing some guides will pay dividends not only in fewer stupid questions here, but a shared workload?

Or am I missing something here?
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 25, 2009, 10:20:38 pm
Thom,

If you're looking to recruit more people to do development work, you need to talk to the community, not the existing developers.  There's plenty of people here willing to step up.

How about posting a sticky thread to ask people to submit their interest to the wiki page that geekyhawks just posted?  Let's see how many people we get in 1-2 weeks.  Most people don't have time to check in daily.

Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: qball4 on June 25, 2009, 10:31:21 pm
I'm sure we all understand that the core devs have a lot on their plates right now. So I offer an alternative idea: those of us that are interested in stepping up but may not be experts can start the teams. The core devs could do business as usual, but act as advisors of sort to the teams. Since the same questions would probably get asked anyway, no additional work is required from core devs. Actually, the non-experts will probably learn even faster this way.

So, offer yourselves up!

Thom, if you still want to lead Team UI it's all yours. If not, I volunteer.

Let's get a list of teams going:
* User Interface
* Documentation
* Home Automation
* Media
* Website
* Computing Integration? (office suite and the like)

:Matt
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 25, 2009, 10:54:13 pm
No, you're not understanding...

We do not have enough TEAM LEADERS to lead teams.... But even more to the point, we do not have enough INDIANS...but PLENTY of people wanting to be CHIEFS (Managers) ....

Sorry, this situation is a wee bit too lopsided. We need a few more self motivated developers.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 25, 2009, 11:06:07 pm
Matt,

I agree.

I think we also need a product management team, which would ensure that the other teams are coordinating their efforts and not going off in their own directions.  The product management team would define future strategy of the product, and include a team leader from each of the other teams plus a chair to coordinate meetings and to record and communicate decisions.  I'm happy to volunteer for the chair position.

Also, expand the website team to include all marketing efforts.  This would also include communicating with the press, building a "brand" and ensuring that branding is common across all efforts.

Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 25, 2009, 11:18:23 pm
Thom,

I don't think it's possible to reach that conclusion without first having given the community to respond.  This is going to take a few weeks to organize most likely.  We have a wiki page asking for volunteers, and we should post a sticky to get people to respond.  As this is an extraordinary event, perhaps an email to all registered forum users would be in order, too.

As a number of people have pointed out, we will get more developers once there is a management structure in place ("goto" people, as one person posted) and the documentation and support to help them.

Lets get organized first and not jump to the conclusion that no one is willing to help.

Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on June 25, 2009, 11:35:51 pm
Thom,

I don't think it's possible to reach that conclusion without first having given the community to respond.  This is going to take a few weeks to organize most likely.  We have a wiki page asking for volunteers, and we should post a sticky to get people to respond.  As this is an extraordinary event, perhaps an email to all registered forum users would be in order, too.

As a number of people have pointed out, we will get more developers once there is a management structure in place ("goto" people, as one person posted) and the documentation and support to help them.

Lets get organized first and not jump to the conclusion that no one is willing to help.

Tim

Tim,

The facts are that we dont need more 'management'...'working groups' or any such new 'management structures'... what we need is experienced & motivated developers. We dont have any resource spare to spend months training you guys up to be that new development resource. If we could 'bake' some new developers that easily we'd do it to be frank. The coding needed on this project is not going to happen, with all due respect, by having inexperienced people do the coding. This aint beginners territory I'm afraid.

What we need is people with good existing development skills who want to get involved.

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 25, 2009, 11:50:45 pm
The facts are that we dont need more 'management'...'working groups' or any such new 'management structures'... what we need is experienced & motivated developers. We dont have any resource spare to spend months training you guys up to be that new development resource. If we could 'bake' some new developers that easily we'd do it to be frank. The coding needed on this project is not going to happen, with all due respect, by having inexperienced people do the coding. This aint beginners territory I'm afraid.

What we need is people with good existing development skills who want to get involved.

Andrew,

I kind of sit on the fence about management, I reckon both sides are making very good points.

I disagree about developers, though. Firstly, I quoted a post from Thom only two years or so old in which he was asking similar questions that others are now asking. As he said in that post, what a difference a couple of years makes.

Speaking for myself, I had a need to program in Java a couple of years ago. I went from knowing nothing to having a fully developed app (having figured out how to download and install the SDKs etc along the way) in about 2 weeks. I haven't touched Java since, so am rusty! The difference was the easy availability of good quality documentation, online, and free.

The simple fact is, anyone who is experienced in the whole MCE system is already developing for it. There are a lot of experienced developers out there who may well be interested in becoming involved, but who will need explanations of how DCE works, how the database is structured and used etc etc.

I'm not saying the information isn't there, but it sure as hell isn't easy to find.

Added to this, not ALL development is at that kind of level. Some is bound to be mundane, tedious and repetitive. Ideal for someone in the position Thom was in two years ago (I believe it was you mentoring him on that thread!)

All I (and others) ask for is some pointers and to be given a chance. Point me at a clear explanation of how DCE works between devices. Examples of an Orbiter network interface. (For example, when an orbiter starts up, what is the format the UI is sent in?) IS this documented? If so, where? (The correct answer is not "on the wiki") If not, then how on earth can you guys ever expect the developer base to expand? We all have to start somewhere!
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: geekyhawkes on June 26, 2009, 12:02:11 am
Still pimping the wiki;

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Community

Please fill it out, at least the few can then make an educated decision as to the way forward.  Currently we have a community with lots of will but the guys in the know need to understand who can do what and when.  The wiki should give them an idea where we stand right now and who they can use to produce which bits!  Please fill it out.

From there we can talk about who is managing which part of what development to get 810 out and then move us all forward!
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 26, 2009, 12:09:14 am
Andrew,

So, you want experienced developers, but without LMCE coding experience, to get experienced in LMCE without either training them or providing documentation?  I'm sorry if I'm missing something here, but it seems like you're asking for the impossible which explains why it's not happening.

Or are you expecting experienced developers to just pick everything up themselves and get on with the job with minimal or no assistance?  If so, you're asking too much of unpaid contributors with only a small amount of time to give.  Even if they had the time, it would not be much fun, which defeats the purpose of getting involved.  Again, it explains why it's not happening.  All the experienced developers that I know have demanding jobs, and many of them have young families.

There's only one sure way to get experienced people to commit that much time and effort.  Pay them.  If you insist on that being the right approach, then raise the funds and employ some talent.

You and Thom say that you don't need any more team leaders.  The community is saying that they don't have team leaders to go to in order to contribute.  If there are enough team leaders now, then they are not effectively leading the teams.  It's one or the other.

I know that writing documentation sucks.  So can training new people.  It's what this project needs, however.  How long have "the Devs" been asking in vein for senior developers?  When something isn't working, a change of tack is needed.  And, with the greatest of respect, a lack of ability to see that or do anything about it shows a lack of effective management.

I'm not trying to be argumentative.  This is just how I see it.  I troubleshoot the strategies of IT companies for a living, so this is just my professional opinion - my contribution to the effort (and yes, I know the project is not a company, but most principles still apply)

Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: qball4 on June 26, 2009, 12:09:43 am
Tim,

I like the idea of a Product Management Team, but think it should actually incorporate the website, PR, etc. We do not want to add layers of management for management's sake. The PMT would still make sure the other teams are working towards a common set of goals and interface with the core devs but without being a management committee.

Andrew,

You are right about having inexperienced coders, but not all of the teams are code-based:
*Product Management - only coding needed is website
*User Interface - short-term new skin/button layout is HADesigner mostly, long-term new orbiter platforms would require experienced coders but it's just that... long term.
*Documentation - wiki skills, which can be easily learned
*Media, HA, and CI, well... you're right about those :)

We can at least get started with the parts that do not require "baked" devs. The success of LinuxMCE may depend mostly on experienced coders, but there is definitely less important work that still needs to be done. It seems to me that we already have at least three people interested in such less important work. In fact, having more organized documentation, an updated (or at least alternative) look, and some PR exposure might attract the experts the project *really* needs.

:Matt
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 26, 2009, 12:19:04 am
Matt,

Works for me.

Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Techstyle on June 26, 2009, 04:49:00 am
It seems to me there are people who want to get involved just by the qty of replies in a very small amount of time to Thom's original e-mail.  Geekyhawkes beat me to setting up the 'community' wiki page but I have posted my details.  I hope others post theirs.

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Community (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Community)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 26, 2009, 05:38:48 am
By the look of it, in one day, we have doubled the number of people willing to make a regular commitment to the project.  That's pretty good going!

It would be valuable to see the key Devs on the list to see/understand who they are and where they fit, too.

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: qball4 on June 26, 2009, 05:47:32 am
Tim,

Just in case the core devs do not stop in...

There aren't as many details, but it gives you an idea:
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Contacts (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Contacts)

:Matt

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: digilifellc on June 26, 2009, 05:55:30 am
All,

Since Thom initiated this thread, I have generated an outline to help put this project into smaller chunks for all of us to determine how, and what we can contribute. There should be some requirements for some of these roles, and I spell out which ones in the following document.

The one thing I think is necessary is to require that everyone refrain from playing musical chairs with these roles. If everyone believes that we can show this project to be more professional than it currently is, then that responsibility is on US! We must show discipline if we want to showcase this project as professional. This does NOT mean clocking in or any other conventional corporate measurement or means. It DOES mean dedication to the team and tasks you decide to commit to. This also means populating the ENTIRE schedule of roles. In the word 'TEAM', each letter has a position it holds to spell the word. Two letters cannot be in front. One letter MUST be last. Each position MUST be filled in order to spell this word. There will be roles that are unpopular in this list, but THEY MUST BE FILLED! I simply ask that everyone fill a role, and not play favorites, myself included.

I have taken quite a bit into consideration when generating this outline, bringing this project through its current form and incorporating a commercial hybrid format. There are revenue-generating sections, and pro-bono sections. I believe all contributions should be rewarded in some manner--it may not always be money, but payment isn't everything. If we can assemble this project into a deliverable project that functions as well as its host operating system, I personally think we can kill two of the world's current leaders in both computers and home automation--Microsoft and Crestron, in one product and take over their markets. This would ensure compensation for even the doorman!

I also appreciate the efforts of our developers and all they have contributed to this project thus far. This project convinced me as well to jump into Linux three years ago. I have performed several installations since version 1.1, added a number of components to my installation, I use most of LinuxMCE's functions, and am now going through the steps of following through with Linux certification. I have designed databases and remote control interfaces on my own, and I have been published several times in a number of home automation and construction industry periodicals. I am a Marine and a Drill Sergeant, so I know how to perform in a team, and moreso how to develop a team. Please check my LinkedIn page for reference: http://www.linkedin.com/in/digilifellc (http://www.linkedin.com/in/digilifellc)

I have other documents that I have generated for this project, along with business plans on target markets that LinuxMCE can serve well. I will contribute them when they are completed.

The outline is here: http://www.digilifellc.com/uploaded/LinuxMCEProjectDirection.doc (http://www.digilifellc.com/uploaded/LinuxMCEProjectDirection.doc)
I also have a connection diagram here: http://www.digilifellc.com/uploaded/LinuxMCEConnections.pdf (http://www.digilifellc.com/uploaded/LinuxConnections.pdf)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 26, 2009, 06:23:45 am
digilifellc,

You're effort and enthusiasm in building that document should be applauded!

I think you've documented some valid points that should be discussed.  However, such a large structure would be overkill, in my opinion, at this stage.  It's good to be thinking about this stuff now though.

A practical approach would be to take stock of who has volunteered, once we have given a chance for anyone interested to respond to the wiki.  Then we can look at responsibilities.

I wholeheartedly agree that people should try to stick to their areas of responsibility.  That's not to say that they can't also contribute to other areas, but one person should take the lead in each area.  Communication of these roles is also important, as you point out.

The first thing to do in any organization is to have a defined "vision".  Why is this project in existence?  What are its aims?  Until we have this fully defined, it's difficult to structure an effective approach to achieving the aims.  Sure, we could probably guess a few, but more definition is needed, especially around the issue of commercialization.

Put your details on the wiki! http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Community :)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 26, 2009, 06:50:50 am
This has all been defined, guys. Read through the wiki, and spend some time with the Developers Guide, and crawl outward.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 26, 2009, 06:58:24 am
Also, I will reiterate...

We do not...have...the man power to support a formal management structure.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 26, 2009, 07:07:05 am
No, Thom, it hasn't.  What's there is sparse and incomplete.  As far as any newcomers are involved, at least.  Not a complaint, but an observation.

When you're so involved in something, it can be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is new and to understand the gaps in knowledge.  My advice would be to listen carefully to the needs and concerns of all these people who are offering to help, even if you don't really agree.  They are legitimate concerns.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 26, 2009, 07:19:26 am
Thom.... I reiterate....  You WILL DO if you LET US HELP.

I'm not talking about a hierarchical tower of management.  Just  a few (more) people with defined responsibilities, communicating effectively with the rest of the community, with a common defined goal (maybe not even more people, but just better definition and organization).  This is not happening right now, and it is WHY few people are stepping up to help.  Everyone needs to feel that they are supported and the effort that they will put in will be recognized and their time not wasted.

People on this thread have offered to both help manage the project, and help code for it.  So far, you are pushing back on both.  You don't seem to want to have anyone else make decisions, and it seems that all coders are too inexperienced to meet your lofty demands of experience.

I have grave concerns over the future of this project if an elite few want to control everything to the extent that no one else is able to help.

Come on!  This is a COMMUNITY project.  If you think it is YOUR project, then just say so, so that we all know where we stand and can choose whether to continue with our support.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Pnuts on June 26, 2009, 07:37:42 am
Thom,

Is there a running list of todo's? I'm not talking about bugs and such, but something people in this thread could look at?

I'm thinking a lot of us that want to help but do not have the high level skills could take a look over the list and say "you know what, I think I can do that" and jump in. Maybe walk throughs, creating templates, images, testing, anything really. This would be for the type of person that wants direction, this project is huge. There really is no place to just jump right in. Not everyone is self motivated, but a little nudge with direction can send some a long way.

I think this is what everyone in this thread is refering to when talking about team leads. People have some skill sets available, they want to put them to use but do not know what is out there for them to do. I think this would be a good start in getting us some direction. It would provide a means for us to contribute back to LMCE.

I know your looking for someone with a higher skill set, or not necessarily for what a lot of us are offering to help with, but put us peons to work.

-Pnuts
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: digilifellc on June 26, 2009, 08:15:03 am
Tim,
Stop badgering Thom. Understand that he is frustrated. I question your leadership ability based on your reactions to him. Leadership is convincing someone to do something they don't want to do, and having them satisfied in doing it.

Thom,
Remember that frustration is not a valid reason to lash out at people unwarranted. There are several here trying to help. Understand that they don't know where the front door is to get in. Also, don't misunderstand my planning so far into the future. There is a useful purpose to all of these things. I don't expect everyone to understand, but I have an awesome vision for this project that can take us into some rewarding places. You don't worry your pretty little head about management. You have your own fish to fry. I do like Pnuts' suggestion of a todo list. Things that must be done to get us to a completed 0810. Would you mind compiling this list please?

geekyhawkes,
Could this document be in another format possibly, such as a table or spreadsheet? It's awful to look at in its present form. I like formations, so columns and rows are a favorite of mine. Not being a nag, just asking for a personal favor.

The rest of us,
We have several roles that do need to be filled. We need persons willing to fill them. Please refer to my document in my previous post and add the roles you are qualified to do, and the roles you are interested in. Commitments are not binding yet, but we do need to assemble ourselves. geekhawkes, if you would not mind, please add fields for "Roles Qualified" and "Roles Interest", and transcribe all of these contacts into a spreadsheet for sorting capability so that decision-makers are able to view the list easy-to-manipulate forms.

Everyone please understand that you may not be ultimately assigned a favorite task or one you are completely familiar with. It will be necessary to have an open mind with this process. Our current objective is to help get this big bus out of the mud. When we are back on the road, then, and only then can we select which seat we want on this trip. I sincerely hope that we can get things moving again in a quick and orderly fashion. I will be posting my information in the morning.

-Wesley
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: posde on June 26, 2009, 08:54:06 am
Good morning,

just a small note from someone, who came into close contact with LinuxMCE in Nov 2007.

I have since than spend most of my waking hours on the project. I have read quite a bit of the documentation on the wiki. I dug into the code. I installed LinuxMCE a gazillion times, and tried to understand how things interact. Did I approach anyone and ask them for help. Yes. And I received it. But I always asked a specific question, and in the end, I came up with quite a good understanding. I was able to provide a proof of concept of the iOrbiter (just to find out, that you need some bi-directionality to really have the same effect as the regular Orbiter), did the device template exporter (which is now being taking over merkur2k), ALL of this, by investing my time and energy. And not, by sitting in class and being spoon fed. I modified more than one screen using QuickDesigner. Is there a tutorial about QuickDesigner anywhere? No, but Thom's screencasts on HADesigner are a great base.

This is voluntary work. I helped a bit to setup our presence on the LinuxTag 2008 in Berlin, where all of us spend whole days talking to people about LinuxMCE. Did anyone needed to spoonfed me stuff? No. This is all about self motivation, and gettting things done.

This is voluntary work. I don't do it for the money (I don't get any, but spent rougly 1200EUR for LinuxTag (1200EUR of my OWN money)). I do it, because I want to learn how LinuxMCE works, because I get a kick out of gettings things work, and amending stuff the way I like it.

Yes, 6 or 9 month ago, people appointed me to be one of the chiefs, to be the release manager for LinuxMCE 810. Did that change what I am doing these days with LinuxMCE? Mostly not, except that I spent some days doing the builds, and try to convince people to do certain things, to encourage people to go forward.

Guys (and gals)!

we have no spoons here. You have the choice. Sit down, and get your hands dirty. Take a pick, and look at that part of the system that you like the most. And stick with making it the way you want it. You have all the tools, you have your hands (i hope), so JUST GET GOING! It won't be wasted time. Even if you, as 98% of the people who ever started contributing, will not complete your work, you will learn something. And that in itself, has been the greatest thing about LinuxMCE for me. I have learned more in the last 18-20 month about programming, MySQL and scripting, than I had for a long time. And it feels good.

Stop ranting about needing new structures, and get going.

Best regards

Peer Oliver Schmidt
Release Manager
for LinuxMCE 810
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on June 26, 2009, 09:31:44 am
Hi again,

Please everyone just read Posde's post above...and let it sink in. He describes what we need from everyone pretty much perfectly. If all of you acted on his call to action we would be much better of as a team pretty quickly. Then maybe....if you stick with the project and get 'addicted' like the rest of us ;-)...over time you could contribute more and more. Small things at first and then gradually more complex and challenging contributions later.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 26, 2009, 11:01:51 am
This thread appears to have forked into two distinct discussions. Development and Management. They MAY be related, but different points are being made in both parts that are not neccessarily connected.

Thom, Peer,

I'm sorry to have to say it, but it's YOU guys need a reality check here.

In the opening post, Thom, you quoted 3 figures. 5 developers, 3 million lines of code, 112000 registered users.

So, some maths here. That's a rough responsibility of 600000 lines of code each. That's a hell of a lot and why you guys are feeling the way you do. More importantly, it also means that only one out of every 22400 users takes up development seriously. Each developer has a user base the size of a large town, all asking for stuff and making demands :o Burn-out is inevitable!

Ask yourselves why this is? How many people actually have the time to go and dig around to find this stuff themselves? How many people have looked at the project, thought about getting involved and then given up due to the sheer size of it? There are other community projects out there which are far less complex (or dare I say exciting), yet attract large teams of developers. Why is this? In some cases, those projects have gone on to become the de facto industry standards with people like Micro$oft (even though they won't admit it) playing catch-up. Hell, the whole internet was practically built on the daddy of all community projects, GNU-Linux!!! Yes, there is commercial involvement NOW, but that hasn't always been the case.

Put it another way, if you were visiting a city for the first time, wouldn't you ask people you knew for advice on where to stay? What areas to avoid? Where the good places are to eat? Etc.? SOMEONE had to be first and find out the hard way, but whyt should EVERYONE experience the pain?

Guys, you are seriously talented programmenrs and are obviously committed body and soul to this project. We (and at this stage I'm one of the 112000) have all expressed our grattitude for that, but this discussion (and project) needs to move FORWARD. YOU are the ones who started this thread. Until then, we possibly didn't realise how few of you there are or how much time you actually spend on the project. I honestly believe that if you made it a little easier to join in, you would see that number 5 go up. There MUST be more people amongst the 112000 who have skills that can be of value to the project, just not the time (or inclination) to fight their way in.

Ok, you asked for SPECIFIC questions, so I'll ask some.


IF I get involved, I will no doubt ask more, but that will do as a start :D

Some SIMPLE examples of the use of some of the classes would help explain the system. Say, I want to have a simple braodcast alert system. I'm guessing this would be (fairly) easy to do, but I want to add a button to the Orbiter which, when pressed causes a large pop-up on all MDs and other orbiters saying "Dinner's Ready". A useful (if rather trivial) addition for a lot of houses (I have teenagers who somehow manage to not hear their mother shouting them when food is on the table). If (one of) you guys could take the time to write this, but more importantly thoroughly document the whole process, we would be able to get in through the development door. I'm guessing (please confirm or otherwise) that you would first need to decide on the high-level messages requiring sending. Orobiter code would need modifying to create the button and send that message. A plug-in would also be needed to recieve the message and put up the alert.

If (one of) you guys could take this and step by step document (with coding examples) how to start withj a blank piece of paper and end up with an addition committed to the code-base, then I for one would be joining you in committing serious time. If none of you can find the time to do this, then I'm prepared to hack around until I manage it (or give up) in which case I'll write the damned thing myself  ;)

There seems to me to be a mentality that the pain of learning the product is a neccessary rite of passage. YOU had to do it, so WHY shouldn't WE? It doesn't need to be that way guys.

Tim,

I know you mean well, and I'm no expert, but a management expert coming along and telling us we need more management? Hummm. Bit like getting a builder in who tells me I need a load of work doing to my house that I wasn't aware of. Maybe I'm just a skeptic. I don't believe that the project needs more people managers at all. Process managers maybe - and I don't mean project managers. We need people to take ownership and then DO, not orgainise others to do. (This is what I understand Thom means in a lot of his responses to people who want things, but aren't prepared or able to figure them out for themselves and so end up talking about it a lot.) I don't have the skills to take ownership of documenting the deployment process - I don't want to point the finger, but it seems to me that Andrew, you have a lot of experience in this area. Care to take up the challenge? I've already indicated that if I manage to get my head around the process, I'll document the development of a new plug-in. If everyone who has these skills could do this (and make it easy to find) then we won't need managers breathing down our necks!

Or maybe I'm just deluded and should give up.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: posde on June 26, 2009, 02:27:51 pm
We might want to get some numbers straight:

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 26, 2009, 02:55:07 pm
Peer,

Ok, the numbers I got were from Thom's original posting. But even if everyone did an average of 10 installs, it's still a huge number for 5 people to support.

I didn't say you had written it, I said you were responsible for it.

My other comments stand though. You guys work hard, we know that. You guys feel under-valued, well so would I. BUT you guys (whether you like it or not) don't make it easy for people to join you. There shouldn't be a "rite of passage" for new devs. Even if we assume my 10 average installs, that's still 11200 users, and 5 devs. I simply don't believe that only 1 in 2240 users can become a useful developer.

We're knocking on the door offering help, but you aren't letting us in ;D
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on June 26, 2009, 03:50:32 pm
Peer,

Ok, the numbers I got were from Thom's original posting. But even if everyone did an average of 10 installs, it's still a huge number for 5 people to support.

I didn't say you had written it, I said you were responsible for it.

My other comments stand though. You guys work hard, we know that. You guys feel under-valued, well so would I. BUT you guys (whether you like it or not) don't make it easy for people to join you. There shouldn't be a "rite of passage" for new devs. Even if we assume my 10 average installs, that's still 11200 users, and 5 devs. I simply don't believe that only 1 in 2240 users can become a useful developer.

We're knocking on the door offering help, but you aren't letting us in ;D

Look its not about 'paying your dues' or needing new Devs to do a 'rite of passage'. We need experienced developers who can dig into the code and get up and running under their own steam. That is totally not to say that a new Dev wont get help and assistance from all of us...but we dont have the time to 'train people' to be Devs. We need people who are further down the road than that I'm afraid...its not a criticism of anyone its just a practical fact.

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tkmedia on June 26, 2009, 05:21:14 pm
A simple google of LinuxMce and dce and even simpler search LinuxMce programmer's guide yields.


http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:Programmer%27s_Guide

I think more questions should be specific to that.

I hope everyone considering development has read that.

If you haven't  and you have posted in here as a prospective programmer shame on you.

Take that much initiative


just my 2cents



Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: MarcoZan on June 26, 2009, 05:48:17 pm
Peer,

Ok, the numbers I got were from Thom's original posting. But even if everyone did an average of 10 installs, it's still a huge number for 5 people to support.

I didn't say you had written it, I said you were responsible for it.

My other comments stand though. You guys work hard, we know that. You guys feel under-valued, well so would I. BUT you guys (whether you like it or not) don't make it easy for people to join you. There shouldn't be a "rite of passage" for new devs. Even if we assume my 10 average installs, that's still 11200 users, and 5 devs. I simply don't believe that only 1 in 2240 users can become a useful developer.

We're knocking on the door offering help, but you aren't letting us in ;D

Look its not about 'paying your dues' or needing new Devs to do a 'rite of passage'. We need experienced developers who can dig into the code and get up and running under their own steam. That is totally not to say that a new Dev wont get help and assistance from all of us...but we dont have the time to 'train people' to be Devs. We need people who are further down the road than that I'm afraid...its not a criticism of anyone its just a practical fact.

Andrew

Brief consideration:

Like most of the guys around here I don't have the required level of competences in order to be considered helpful.

As it seems that no spoons are allowed, it looks like I have to dive into the code, bang my head by myself, and find my way around.

Assuming that for a guy like Thom (that was starting surely from a competence level much higher than mine) it took a couple of years to study the code and become a full blown LMCE Dev, I think that for me it should be wise to double such timeframe.

So if I start now, maybe in 4 years I will be suitable to LMCE Project needs. Say in 3 years, because I'm an optimistic guy.

If you're fine with this, so this thread can stop right here.

If not (and I guess you're not fine with this), we have to find a compromise.

We all know that the project needs very skilled, experienced, creative, smart developers to jump in exactly like every other huge project on this earth.
Unfortunately this is not happening to LMCE, and considering the estimated time to climb the learning curve it looks like it won't happen soon.

It sounds like anyone that is asking for training is considered too lazy, while the point is that if you let people to learn by themselves they will reach a good skill when probably the project has died already.

So what are we going to do? Wait for a miracle to happen, keep on giving sarcastic answers to anyone that at least shows some good will to be helpful, or try a different approach?

Thx
Marco
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 26, 2009, 06:20:17 pm
I agree with the sentiments from Marco and WB.

Each of the 5 devs at the moment is overworked and overstressed.  I get that.  This overwork is stopping less experienced newcomers from entering the effort because the learning curve is just too high, and there is not enough support (especially in the form of documentation and organization of efforts) coming from the 5 devs.  This is a vicious cycle that needs breaking.

Let me be clear what I'm talking about when I say management.  I'm talking about dividing an conquering.  I'm not talking about people being just "managers" and not contributing in any other way.  I'm talking about people taking a leadership responsibility for one specific, and hopefully small, area of the effort.  They may be the sole leader in that space, or others may join them, but they will coordinate.  They will be the "go to guy" that has the time and knowledge to introduce newcomers to that area of the development and ensure that it is documented sufficiently.  These team leaders need to coordinate with each other towards a common goal - which must be defined and agreed.  This is rational organization of a large project, and it is the only way it will succeed.

This organization was not needed to start with, but now the code base and user base have grown to a size that means it is a must.  It's a classic evolutionary step.  We are walking a well trodden path.

I may be a management consultant now, but that came out of 12 years hard slog managing the production of software applications.  So, I recognize these problems, and it is why I'm trying to point them out and help.  I have seen (and in my less experienced days, have been responsible for) projects failing due to overworked and overstressed developers with not enough coordination or vision.  I've also seen projects fail due to a focus on making beautiful code, but with not enough attention to what the customers/users actually want.

How to we break the cycle?  Short of raising funds to pay for resource, the devs need to acknowledge that they must lower the barrier to entry.  The most effective way to do this is to stop development work temporarily, and for everyone to focus purely on documentation for a while (and some of the newcomers can probably help with this too).  There then has to be a transitional phase where newcomers can try themselves to get up to speed, but where the devs must expect to have to give a certain amount of support (and that support should have priority over their own coding).  But then, the manpower will be able to grow exponentially and we'll more than make up for the short pause for the documentation and training effort.  The organization into smaller teams will allow more and more people to contribute, and the product will be a shining success.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 26, 2009, 10:00:26 pm
Since we're talking about the documentation, can we give some specific examples of documentation where things need improvement?

It would be of benefit to everyone if the problem areas were linked and cited.

The reason I say this is that there is tremendous amounts of documentation already, it's how we the core devs got started.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: geekyhawkes on June 26, 2009, 10:25:19 pm
-Thom

I for one think the newbie documentation is a bit weak. Not kicking anyone, but it is not as logical as it could be for new guys and the wiki contains lots of "out of date" information. 

I think we are at the stage that we can archive most of the wiki and keep the entries that are valid for 810 onwards.  Most of the other linux communities have had to go through a similar process over the past year or so (look at the DVB / V4l wiki at the moment), and are better for it.  Lots of posts are newbie simple questions (of which i have posted my fair share) because the information isnt as obvious as it could be.  As mentioned in the wiki thread I am more than happy to rememdy this side of the documentation and also pull togeather a more newbie friendly install guide.  I also feel a list of supported hardware (even if its just the setups of the big 5 devs then it would be useful).  Clearly we can all contribute to hardware that is working but we need to guard against "plug and play" comments when it turns out you actually have to do quite a lot of work to get the hardware working (my Kworld USB card is a good example under 810!). 

 
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: qball4 on June 26, 2009, 10:39:23 pm
geekyhawkes,

There's a sticky FAQ post that would be a good place for you to start with a new-user wiki page.

To anyone that has shown interest in a particular area: I think we've gotten past the point of discussion and are on the task of getting some work done! For example, I'm already working on new orbiter graphics and putting together a LMCE icon repository. If you want to help document, start making an outline and post it. As more people join in, everyone can flesh it out.

The only thing that is going to impress anyone now that all has been said is action.

:Matt
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: colinjones on June 27, 2009, 03:41:16 am
Thom

I believe I already suggested some areas. In short....

A break down of exactly what each component of the code does and is responsible for, and how they link together... even a single line for each would be a vast improvement and provide a skeleton for others to expand on... this doesn't exist at all at the moment...

"Media Plugin - responsible for accepting media manipulation commands such as MH Play/Stop, creating stream objects for the house...."
"Xine_Wrapper - an instance for each MD, responsible for receiving media manipulation commands from Media Plugin, and playing media on each MD...."
"DCE Router - DCE protocol routing hub, all DCE devices connect to this device, and use it to relay DCE commands, events, etc to all other DCE devices in the house..."
"AppServer - one instance per MD, responsible for MD volume levels, spawning new DCE devices(?)...."
"MD device - one instance per MD, 'virtual' object acting as a parent object for each MD to which you can relay DCE commands which will be passed on to each child device on that MD...."
etc...

Once we have that, we can then link from each 'device' entry, and detail each .cpp .h etc that are used to implement each device, what each is responsible for and so on. Even relatively simple devices like PSS are composed of _many_ pieces of code, and it is far from clear even from the name of each .cpp exactly what it does....

Whatever we think about people being 'lazy' for wanting this information, and whether that is objectively a fair or true assessment.... if this documentation existed, people _would_ start getting involved. Lets not get hung up on if it is or isn't lazy for people to want this information.. if it existed, people would be doing work on the project.... who cares if they are lazy or not, all we are really interested in is getting hands on the project and if this is the way to do it... then so be it!!
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Che on June 27, 2009, 05:09:18 am
Yes, I agree completely. If we are to become an OS success story, we need a product that just works. A massive goal I know, because of the complexity of the thing. But this should be our first major goal. New features can come after that (and let's be honest, that's quite enough as it is).

I am a complete Newb, and am thus only suitable for bitch work, but I'm sure in a product such as LMCE, there's going to be a large call for that.

I'm sure the devs must get bored of hearing this, but OMFGWTFBBQ you lot are good. I mean, Really, REALLY good.

Okay, I propose the following goals, in order of importance:


1. It just works. For everyone, all the time (obviously with exceptions)
2. The UI becomes unified throughout.
3. Plug-ins, and supporting architechture.
4. Updated UI (A little less 2000)

Obviously 4 is a long way off, and it should be. All efforts should go towards 1 for the moment, as I can guarantee we'll have a huge infux of people when that is completed. Who's with me?
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on June 27, 2009, 04:00:39 pm
You know, a picture paints a thousand words...  Maybe a set of architectural diagrams to show how everything fits together could be in order?
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 27, 2009, 06:28:52 pm
Hmm...

How about this?

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Developers_Guide

...tmoore...maybe you need to spend some time in the wiki and read, instead of criticising. It might make your credibility carry more weight.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on June 27, 2009, 07:15:36 pm
Thom

I believe I already suggested some areas. In short....

A break down of exactly what each component of the code does and is responsible for, and how they link together... even a single line for each would be a vast improvement and provide a skeleton for others to expand on... this doesn't exist at all at the moment...

"Media Plugin - responsible for accepting media manipulation commands such as MH Play/Stop, creating stream objects for the house...."
"Xine_Wrapper - an instance for each MD, responsible for receiving media manipulation commands from Media Plugin, and playing media on each MD...."
"DCE Router - DCE protocol routing hub, all DCE devices connect to this device, and use it to relay DCE commands, events, etc to all other DCE devices in the house..."
"AppServer - one instance per MD, responsible for MD volume levels, spawning new DCE devices(?)...."
"MD device - one instance per MD, 'virtual' object acting as a parent object for each MD to which you can relay DCE commands which will be passed on to each child device on that MD...."
etc...

Once we have that, we can then link from each 'device' entry, and detail each .cpp .h etc that are used to implement each device, what each is responsible for and so on. Even relatively simple devices like PSS are composed of _many_ pieces of code, and it is far from clear even from the name of each .cpp exactly what it does....

Whatever we think about people being 'lazy' for wanting this information, and whether that is objectively a fair or true assessment.... if this documentation existed, people _would_ start getting involved. Lets not get hung up on if it is or isn't lazy for people to want this information.. if it existed, people would be doing work on the project.... who cares if they are lazy or not, all we are really interested in is getting hands on the project and if this is the way to do it... then so be it!!

Colin this information is in plain sight in the Wiki... and has been for ever... see Thom's post above. If people moaning about lack of docs can't even look in the most obvious of places for the information...then it tends to suggest that maybe they should do a little homework before being so 'vocal' in this thread about lack of docs.

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: nite_man on June 27, 2009, 07:48:24 pm
I agree with tmoore. It should be good project management to successfully release new versions of LinuxMCE. We should create a development team with some hierarchy, have team leaders (current developers who work with 0810 can/should be them), have clear project management (we have users with such experience). We shouldn't  re-invent the wheel. Let's see how other open source projects are organized - MythTV, KDE, Gnome etc. Otherwise we may loose our project. Because the number of tasks is growing and a few persons physically cannot implement all of them. Personally I'm very appreciated to all who work hardly with 0810. This is a really great job!
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on June 27, 2009, 08:13:05 pm
I agree with tmoore. It should be good project management to successfully release new versions of LinuxMCE. We should create a development team with some hierarchy, have team leaders (current developers who work with 0810 can/should be them), have clear project management (we have users with such experience). We shouldn't  re-invent the wheel. Let's see how other open source projects are organized - MythTV, KDE, Gnome etc. Otherwise we may loose our project. Because the number of tasks is growing and a few persons physically cannot implement all of them. Personally I'm very appreciated to all who work hardly with 0810. This is a really great job!

Look...project management is not whats lacking here...believe me. We need real software developers who really can write code - period. Its really simple...What we dont need is some corporate like structure with loads of people 'managing'. If anyone contributing to this thread or reading it can offer those types of skills...then stop posting in this thread and get started.

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: nite_man on June 28, 2009, 12:46:56 am
I'm not talking about corporate structure. I just suggest to make things clearer. write code - good. I can write code. But what code I should write? From the tickets? Personally I'm not so creative as Tom or you. It's a good idea to read doc and dig system. But how much time it'll take? One, two, three monthes or more? Instead of that Tom, you, Posde can manage newbie developers and help them to learn system quickly.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on June 28, 2009, 02:18:40 am
I'm not talking about corporate structure. I just suggest to make things clearer. write code - good. I can write code. But what code I should write? From the tickets? Personally I'm not so creative as Tom or you. It's a good idea to read doc and dig system. But how much time it'll take? One, two, three monthes or more? Instead of that Tom, you, Posde can manage newbie developers and help them to learn system quickly.

But thats the point that we have made numerous times here in this thread...we need experienced developers. Your previous posting, that I was responding to, only spoke of 'hierarchy', 'project management' & 'team leaders'. We're dont need more of those things...we need more experienced developers who can work on this code-base. Its simple really project managers dont write code...and to be frank newbie developers are not what we need in the core development team...we need developers who already have the skills required to get upto speed quickly. That is not to say there is no role for the newbie...but the core developers dont have the time to train newbies...newbies will have to dig into the codebase and learn by doing...sure ask questions but dont expect 'one on one' training.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Techstyle on June 28, 2009, 09:38:04 pm
You are correct we need experienced Developers and all should be actively spreading the LMCE word and trying to recruit people with such skills.  What would these new developers work on?

What we do have though is a bunch of regular users, regular forum posters that have expressed an interest to help, which I think is good.  It is apparent that the existing devs do not have time to teach these users while they are busy heading towards 0810 release.  That being said these users could help in some areas but what should they work on?

I am an experienced PM managing New Product Development and Off shoring Projects both with global teams.  These projects can need varying levels of Management but all need a focused task driven plan.  For LMCE I would not suggest heavy management or team leaders but I would suggest developing a list of tasks required to get us from where we are today to Production release.  This list of tasks would make it easier for new developers to get involved and for the regular user group to take on the non-programming tasks.  It would also help to give visibility to what was ahead.

Techstyle
(Project Management Professional)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 28, 2009, 10:42:51 pm
Hmm...

How about this?

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Developers_Guide


Ok, I'm on to it, so I'm reading and according to section 4:

Quote
The DCERouter process is listening on 3450 port.

Very clear, but.... TCP or UDP? Neither is mentioned. From the talk of connections, I'm assuming TCP, but I don't want to waste time trying to make something work when my basic assumptions are wrong ;)

Also, I see from the CVS download (I haven't downloaded it yet, just browsed it online, so don't flame me!) that DoxyGen is used. Can we get to the documentation produced?

What I'm after is a technical reference guide. A complete reference to all the classes, their methods etc. with a full explanation of what each is for, where and when it is used blah blah blah!  ;D  Is that on the wiki anywhere? If so, PLEASE lead me by the hand and show me how to find it.....

I don't know what others mean when they talk about developer documentation, but I don't think it is helpful to have to unpick source code to work out how it all fits together.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: geekyhawkes on June 28, 2009, 10:47:05 pm
WB:

maybe as you go thorugh this process you could compile somethign that would guide others in a way you find easier.  As we are not limited in the number of wiki entries, anything extra (that is accurate) will always help as different people look for / respond to information in different ways. 

Also, as and when I finish my user guides for 0810, i can annex your findings in the back so "newbies" have the tools available to move forward.

Just an idea.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 28, 2009, 11:15:48 pm
Dude, if you're a developer and you can't read source code...

...you need to learn more before ever tackling a system like LinuxMCE.

hmm.

Give me a break, guys. Yes, this documentation assumes you are capable of inductive and deductive reasoning and being able to think for yourself.

Yes, port 3450 is mentioned.. but which? use a port scanning program, or lsof, or hell, just guess. It's either/or, isn't it? and when you figure it out, guess what? YOU PUT IT IN THE DOCS! IT'S A WIKI! OPEN COLLABORATION FOR ALL.

I do NOT have time for people who willingly refuse to learn, and I am sorry, spoon feeding is NOT learning. I have no time to spoon feed developers who MAY or MAY NOT contrbute later. You all feel as if you are ENTITLED to being lead by the hand. I have news for all of us. We are entitled to NOTHING in this life. Not even Living. Even that is a gift, so we should all consider ourselves lucky, and make the most of it.

I hate replying in this manner, because it paints me out to be the asshole. However, I need to make one thing exceedingly clear. I bend over backwards to those who try and put in effort and initiative. How do I determine those people? by the questions they ask. The more specific the question you ask, the more specific my answers will be. Those of you who have taken the time to learn know this to be true of me.

Stop being children. I am not your father figure. Grow up and take some initiative.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 28, 2009, 11:22:09 pm
With that said... the code can be run through doxygen to produce api docs. After the 0810 release, I will personally set up a section on the builder to generate those documents to be placed on a public web server.

Unless somebody wants to take this task.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 28, 2009, 11:29:42 pm
I didn't say I couldn't read the source code. What I said was that given DoxyGen is there, I shouldn'd need to!!!

I have to ask, have you actually READ most of the posts here? You devs who have posted need to decide what you actually want. Help or stress. It's THAT simple!

Let me use an analogy. If you invitred me to visit. Wouldn't you tell me how to find you? Or would you expect me to Google your post-code, find the nearest airport. Risk getting a hotel in a rough part of town and then just hope I can find the correct street? No, you already know that stuff so you'd save me the pain and tell me which airport, recommend a hotel and probably offer to come and pick me up.

Documentation is as much a part of development as coding is. Systems like DoxyGen semi-automate the process, to make it as least-hassle as possible.

I'm beginning to suspect that all this resistance is because all the documentation is in the heads of the developers and not in ANY way written down.

Earlier in this thread you said "ask specific questions". I just did "TCP or UDP" and did I get a straight answer, no. I was basically told to f**k off and work it out for myself. Quite frankly, if that is the attitude of the core devs, then you guys don't deserve any help or additional devs to join the team.

Andrew, you said it wasn't about a "rite of passage". You are wrong. There would only appear to be 5 people on this planet with the neccessary skills to develop for MCE, by the definition of those 5 people! If the only way to gain entry to the inner sanctum is to unpick the source code and not ask questions (the rite of passage) then you will be VERY lucky to find a number 6.

For crying out loud you guys. WHY the resistence to DOCUMENTATION? WHAT are you HIDING? Documentation is NOT spoon-feeding, Thom!
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 28, 2009, 11:30:59 pm
With that said... the code can be run through doxygen to produce api docs. After the 0810 release, I will personally set up a section on the builder to generate those documents to be placed on a public web server.

Unless somebody wants to take this task.

-Thom

You posted while I was typing my response.

That would be most helpful, but wouldn't it be even more helpful to take the time to add this to the build process now?
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: hari on June 28, 2009, 11:39:06 pm
/me gets some popcorn.. (but not to feed any trolls)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 28, 2009, 11:44:04 pm
With that said... the code can be run through doxygen to produce api docs. After the 0810 release, I will personally set up a section on the builder to generate those documents to be placed on a public web server.

Unless somebody wants to take this task.

-Thom

You posted while I was typing my response.

That would be most helpful, but wouldn't it be even more helpful to take the time to add this to the build process now?

See, this is the problem...

Why doesn't somebody take to doing this? we're all stretched as it is, and there is nothing preventing you from checking out the source code, and running doxygen on it.

If you want it, come to the #linuxmce-devel channel and work with us, and we'll give you what you need to add this to our servers so it can be available for everyone.

If everyone expects someone else to do something, that something will never get done. It's that simple.

SO STEP UP.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 28, 2009, 11:46:27 pm
See, this is the problem...

Why doesn't somebody take to doing this? we're all stretched as it is, and there is nothing preventing you from checking out the source code, and running doxygen on it.

If you want it, come to the #linuxmce-devel channel and work with us, and we'll give you what you need to add this to our servers so it can be available for everyone.

If everyone expects someone else to do something, that something will never get done. It's that simple.

SO STEP UP.

-Thom

Ok, as soon as I have my development rig set up, I'll head on over. If I can help by adding this, then I'll consider my contributions have started  ;D
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on June 29, 2009, 12:18:13 am
I didn't say I couldn't read the source code. What I said was that given DoxyGen is there, I shouldn'd need to!!!

I have to ask, have you actually READ most of the posts here? You devs who have posted need to decide what you actually want. Help or stress. It's THAT simple!

Let me use an analogy. If you invitred me to visit. Wouldn't you tell me how to find you? Or would you expect me to Google your post-code, find the nearest airport. Risk getting a hotel in a rough part of town and then just hope I can find the correct street? No, you already know that stuff so you'd save me the pain and tell me which airport, recommend a hotel and probably offer to come and pick me up.

Documentation is as much a part of development as coding is. Systems like DoxyGen semi-automate the process, to make it as least-hassle as possible.

I'm beginning to suspect that all this resistance is because all the documentation is in the heads of the developers and not in ANY way written down.

Earlier in this thread you said "ask specific questions". I just did "TCP or UDP" and did I get a straight answer, no. I was basically told to f**k off and work it out for myself. Quite frankly, if that is the attitude of the core devs, then you guys don't deserve any help or additional devs to join the team.

Andrew, you said it wasn't about a "rite of passage". You are wrong. There would only appear to be 5 people on this planet with the neccessary skills to develop for MCE, by the definition of those 5 people! If the only way to gain entry to the inner sanctum is to unpick the source code and not ask questions (the rite of passage) then you will be VERY lucky to find a number 6.

For crying out loud you guys. WHY the resistence to DOCUMENTATION? WHAT are you HIDING? Documentation is NOT spoon-feeding, Thom!

If you spent less time here moaning about what you think we 'dont' have and more time actually working through the system and trying to develop small improvements to it we all might benefit. I'm sorry the documentation is not too your liking...but of course you can personally fix that and show us all what good docs are all about ;-)

All the 'super human' elitist Devs hang out every day on irc in the #linuxmce-devel channel... development related questions are welcome there.

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 29, 2009, 12:23:45 am
I'm sorry the documentation is not too your liking...but of course you can personally fix that and show us all what good docs are all about ;-)

Sorry, but errr, what documentation exactly? An architectural overview and "read the source code". That isn't the way to get more developers, experienced or otherwise, on board. THAT was the point I was making.

Anyhow, Thom has made a reasonable suggestion, and I have made what I consider to be a reasonable response.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 29, 2009, 01:19:34 am
Well um..

You know those little footers at the bottom of each developer page on the wiki?

You know the ones that say Category:Programmers Guide?

If you click on that, you get....

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:Programmer%27s_Guide

and while it's not perfect..and some of it isn't completely up to date.. It is relevant.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 29, 2009, 01:49:35 am
Well um..

You know those little footers at the bottom of each developer page on the wiki?

You know the ones that say Category:Programmers Guide?

If you click on that, you get....

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:Programmer%27s_Guide

and while it's not perfect..and some of it isn't completely up to date.. It is relevant.

-Thom

Ok, I can admit when I'm wrong  ::). I didn't spot that link (I don't tend to navigate wiki's using the categories links at the bottom  :o) I'll start reading and see where it takes me.

Roll on the really good Noob users's guide that's been promised ;)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: MarcoZan on June 29, 2009, 05:04:09 pm
Dude, if you're a developer and you can't read source code...

...you need to learn more before ever tackling a system like LinuxMCE.

hmm.

Give me a break, guys. Yes, this documentation assumes you are capable of inductive and deductive reasoning and being able to think for yourself.

Yes, port 3450 is mentioned.. but which? use a port scanning program, or lsof, or hell, just guess. It's either/or, isn't it? and when you figure it out, guess what? YOU PUT IT IN THE DOCS! IT'S A WIKI! OPEN COLLABORATION FOR ALL.

I do NOT have time for people who willingly refuse to learn, and I am sorry, spoon feeding is NOT learning. I have no time to spoon feed developers who MAY or MAY NOT contrbute later. You all feel as if you are ENTITLED to being lead by the hand. I have news for all of us. We are entitled to NOTHING in this life. Not even Living. Even that is a gift, so we should all consider ourselves lucky, and make the most of it.

I hate replying in this manner, because it paints me out to be the asshole. However, I need to make one thing exceedingly clear. I bend over backwards to those who try and put in effort and initiative. How do I determine those people? by the questions they ask. The more specific the question you ask, the more specific my answers will be. Those of you who have taken the time to learn know this to be true of me.

Stop being children. I am not your father figure. Grow up and take some initiative.

-Thom

Better clarify what I myself was meaning by "spoon feeding" as I suspect that it may differs from what you mean.

I was referring to a possible series of workshop/screencast/similar things on well defined areas known as though ones, that in my opinion could have helped to boost a bit the learning process and possibly to reduce the required time to be somehow ready to go.
In my places they say " when too hot and dry, also hail is welcome".
I simply thought that as no experienced devs heve been stepping up so far, a way to speed up novices could at least be considered of some utility.
It was not meant as a replacement of the usual learning path, but a way to help willing people to accelerate and find earlier their way around.
Am I wrong? Maybe you have better vision and elements to judge. If you say it's a bad idea, that's fine for me.

I took the liberty to insist as this is exactly what has already been done (with good results) with HADesigner, with GSD, and what probably will be done with Datagrids. Never thought this was "spoon feeding" in the worst sense of the word.

Anyway I'm sorry to see that this kind of proposal have been systematically interpreted as laziness/intention to "manage" things/whatever similar thing you may have thought instead.

It was simply a way (maybe naive) to try and counteract the cronical lack of devs.

Marco

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on June 29, 2009, 08:38:14 pm
/me gets some popcorn.. (but not to feed any trolls)

ROFLMAO  ;D
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: davegravy on June 30, 2009, 08:48:02 pm
This thread started as an expression of frustration due to the situation with resources. The devs seem to have indicated they are not open to a change in direction or organization. I think it must therefore be accepted that there will be no relief for the devs, since to expect a different result without a change in approach would be insane (as defined by Einstein).

With this in mind, are there examples of wildly successful open source projects that are as big as linuxmce, that rely exclusively on self-motivated developers, and that have 5 developers pulling everything together? I’m not aware of any, so please enlighten me if there are. If there are not, what makes the devs think that linuxmce will be an exception? I am assuming there is a desire to make linuxmce wildly successful.

The way I see it, the devs can continue on the current path and achieve 50 units of progress in the short term and 1,000 units of progress in the long term. Or, they can increase their documentation/training efforts in the short term (at the expense of development efforts) to achieve 5 units of progress in the short term and 10,000 units of progress in the long term.

It's an accessibility investment that is urgently needed. If the investment is made to make this project accessible to the 100s of people who have 1-10 spare hours a week,  the invested time will pay for itself over and over and over.

I urge the developers to open their minds to this.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on June 30, 2009, 09:59:02 pm
I would agree with this, if no documentation were being written.

But there is an unbelievable amount of documentation being written _WHILE_ development is being done, and even before, when Pluto was in control.

Why don't you actually look at what's on the wiki, in the programmer's guide, for example?

I am VERY tired of people shit talking the documentation, when they haven't even looked at it! (This much keeps being proven true!)

I know it's not perfect, but we're trying to make it better, and it's EVERYONE'S responsibility to do so, not just ours. This does not mean everybody sit on their ass while the devs stop to write all the documentation, or any similar gradients thereof.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: WhateverFits on June 30, 2009, 10:12:31 pm
I do believe that things like Programming Challenge: DCE Device: Torrent Downloader PlugIn http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8442.0 (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8442.0) are a good step in the right direction. That is a simple scope task that is moderately well defined (the rest of the definition is left to the consumer as a training exercise). I have been setting up my build system for 8.10 for the past few days and I intend on starting on that project simply so I can learn more about the entire system. I am a complete noob on LinuxMCE development and I expect to run into some walls on it but I also intend on documenting the daylights out the process. Once I'm done going through it I should be able to provide documentation on what I had a difficult time with. I think the first part is that I never knew where to start. The Programming Challenge is good for that.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on July 01, 2009, 01:34:25 am
Despite it being mentioned repeatedly by some of the developers here, more developers is NOT the complete answer. It is certainly a big part of it, but the project is destined to fail (IMHO) if the focus is purely on random contributions to code.  I think the term "management" may have hit a nerve with a couple of people.  Maybe their bosses suck and have given the term a bad reputation?  So, let's put it another way.  This project needs to be organized differently to enable more people to help.  The number of people who have made that point in this thread proves it to be true, no matter what we each may think.

If the 5 devs neither have the time nor inclination to reorganize the project (and that is their right, as it is their free time after all), then the community should come together to form and agree a vision, a strategy, an organizational structure, and start coordinating the project in a way that promotes success.  And if the devs don't want any part of that, then that is fine too, but without the cooperation of those people then there is no alternative other than to fork the project.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to fork this project now?  Those who want the project to continue on its current path (whatever that is) can stick with LMCE, and those of us who feel we need a different approach can start a new project that has room for coders of all abilities and also people who feel that they can contribute in other ways.  I mean no animosity towards anyone, and I would hope that the two projects could work in parallel on good terms and share information/code.  There are different approaches to the same problem, and I think there is a fundamental split in this community.  Perhaps everyone will get along a lot better if those two styles of management/organization are separated into different teams.  Clearly there are a bunch of us who are very eager to contribute but who feel unable to, for one reason or another, as we currently stand.

What does everyone think?

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: brake16 on July 01, 2009, 02:06:08 am
*** hari, pass the popcorn!***
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Techstyle on July 01, 2009, 04:16:52 am
After I have eaten some of Hari's popcorn I would have to say that I think we should try where ever possible to not fork.  If you look at the Wiki you will see that Thom (for one) has made some changes to the development pages in an effort to help bridge the alledged/percieved documentation gap.  I couldn't tell you if there was a gap to start with because although there I don't understand it I have read the some of the programmers guide category.

Your comments about Project Management mimic mine from a couple of days ago but I still think task management within the current project could be helpful - adopting the project coordinator role not the project manager would be appropriate and map the tasks required from now to production.

I also hope that Thom's 'programming challenge' post is the first of many that will help the community and the developers with the goal of 0810 release by accessing community resources.  I just hope eventually I will be far enough up the learning curve to take one of these challenges myself.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 01, 2009, 04:26:36 am
*breath*

well,

If you feel that way, nothing stopping you from forking.

The code is here in SVN:
http://svn.linuxmce.org/svn/branches/LinuxMCE-0810

I wish those of you who wish to fork the best of luck. Please be sure to comply with the Pluto Public License for code so labeled, and be sure to comply with the GNU Public License, where so labeled.

I do have a caveat that you may have difficulty maintaining a community around it without any developers.

-Thom

Despite it being mentioned repeatedly by some of the developers here, more developers is NOT the complete answer. It is certainly a big part of it, but the project is destined to fail (IMHO) if the focus is purely on random contributions to code.  I think the term "management" may have hit a nerve with a couple of people.  Maybe their bosses suck and have given the term a bad reputation?  So, let's put it another way.  This project needs to be organized differently to enable more people to help.  The number of people who have made that point in this thread proves it to be true, no matter what we each may think.

If the 5 devs neither have the time nor inclination to reorganize the project (and that is their right, as it is their free time after all), then the community should come together to form and agree a vision, a strategy, an organizational structure, and start coordinating the project in a way that promotes success.  And if the devs don't want any part of that, then that is fine too, but without the cooperation of those people then there is no alternative other than to fork the project.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to fork this project now?  Those who want the project to continue on its current path (whatever that is) can stick with LinuxMCE, and those of us who feel we need a different approach can start a new project that has room for coders of all abilities and also people who feel that they can contribute in other ways.  I mean no animosity towards anyone, and I would hope that the two projects could work in parallel on good terms and share information/code.  There are different approaches to the same problem, and I think there is a fundamental split in this community.  Perhaps everyone will get along a lot better if those two styles of management/organization are separated into different teams.  Clearly there are a bunch of us who are very eager to contribute but who feel unable to, for one reason or another, as we currently stand.

What does everyone think?


Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: darrenmason on July 01, 2009, 04:34:26 am
Tim,

You have certainly made some valid points - but your comments about the project "failing" are certainly subjective and may not necessarily align with everyone.

If the goal was to achieve complete market dominance in a fixed amount of time - then I think that then there is a good chance with the current setup there would be a failure.

If the goal is to have a codebase that is built on a solid architectural framework and can be used by whoever is inclined for whatever puprose they see fit then it is pretty close and is probably achieveable the way things are going.

The point is, it is only failing if the goals are clear and agreed by all and even then they might not be common goals so it might still be a success by others criteria.

I think getting a new 'release' out seems to be a common goal to most people that is having issues at the moment and perhaps there is an amount of management lacking.

I don't think that there is this big rift that you speak of. Certainly not one that would warrant a fork. There is constant stream of code and documentation updates (just check the logs) so in my view the project is not stale which to me would be a criteria for success/failure. I think that most people that are eager/keen enough find that they can contribute.
There are strong personalities aplenty and some "interesting" discussions but I am not seeing many peoples questions actually not getting answered (if there is an answer).

So if you  feel that you can add some value in the project managment aspect then step up and do it. Suggest some updates to the vision/strategy etc. If there is value to others then I think you will see adoption of it.

If you really feel that the developers investing all there time are not in alignment with your goals then there is room for you to seperately follow your goals independantly and still be involved here. I think that Andrews(totallymaxed) company is a good example. He has obviously thought out his own business model/plan and invested heavily to establish it. I assume as part of that plan he manages/limits his hard dependancies upon linuxmce but at the same time has also been one of the driving forces on giving the project continual momentum.

Just some thoughts

Darren



Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on July 01, 2009, 07:41:46 am
Good points, and don't misunderstand, I don't want the project to fork either.  That would be a last resort, but others have raised the possibility to me privately.  It would be far better that everyone pulls together.  But we need to work better as a team.  People can and should be able contribute in different ways and at different levels of experience.  We should be accepting to all and do what we can to help them help the project.  Success is measured by everyone (that's everyone) enjoying the process and creating something good.

At the moment the 5 devs seem to hold the keys to this working in LMCE.  If the community can get the agreement from them that they are prepared to relinquish and/or share some responsibility, in order to help them and the project as a whole, then we will be on the right track.  We haven't heard this to date.  There have been too many comments along the line of "no, we're doing it this way", and not enough of "let's discuss the pros and cons and decide".  I'm not suggesting that every detail should be discussed, as nothing would be achieved, but fundamental issues such as how the project is run, whether it should have a commercial element etc. should be open for community discussion and decision.

I'll propose some changes to our general approach over the next few days, and hopefully we can discuss and agree a way forward.

Tim
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 01, 2009, 07:51:18 am
tmoore, why don't you actually SPEND SOME TIME STUDYING THE SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE, FIRST?

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 01, 2009, 07:59:36 am
And before you say any sort of retort resorting to elitism...

* Those of us doing the work, tend to respect others who also dig in and do work too.

* Those of us doing the work write the code. He who writes the code HAS THE FINAL SAY.

This is because we're down in the trenches, and we choose to give away the fruits of our work for others. There is an unwritten rule here that those who recieve should also give in kind.

So, when you sit there on top of the mount and preach that "you should do this and this and this and this..." guess what? it sounds like you're preaching from the mount.

tmoore, it is THAT reason why I am ascerbic to you. You have done absolutely nothing to gain credibility in this community. If you want your incredibly assertive statements to carry any weight, you need to change this and get down here in the dirt with us.

And the sheer fact you just back-pedaled on your last thread really did nothing to help your credibility. Just a tip.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: merkur2k on July 01, 2009, 08:10:18 am
See, you're getting confused tmoore. Its not "no, we're doing it this way", its "these decisions have already been made and we are sticking to them". You need to sit down and actually learn why these decisions were made the way they were and why the project would fragment and go backwards if such core goals were to be changed so late in the game.
I am also having a hard time understanding just exactly what it is that potential devs are expecting here. I myself came into this with a general software developement background (actually mostly web scripting stuff) and a good solid understanding of linux. Yes it has been difficult getting up to speed, but not at all impossible. It seems like people are expecting to get full training in c++ or whatever other language, which is simply not gonna happen. There are plenty of books and expensive college courses out there where you can learn that stuff.
Its all there in the wiki, or at least is mostly there. The rest is in the code. If someone is trying to work on a task but cant quite figure out the details of how some part of the system works, ask in the developers forum. And then add it to the wiki. Thats all that is being asked here.
I don't even know c++, but I have found plenty of projects to work on so far. I have submitted patches for the web admin, installer related shell scripts, and am currently working on a dvd-based installation method. I've never done alot of this stuff before, but i've got the wiki, the code, and google at my disposal.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: geekyhawkes on July 01, 2009, 01:25:44 pm
Here, here to merkur2k's post!  I am hoping to be able to help out with similar tasks once i get more up to speed.  I am focussing on producing user guides at the moment for 0810 (waiting for the beta to firm up a few bits) as it is all i can do at the moment (experience wise).   

There is no way i would expect courses here on C or Python or any scripting, its just un realistic.  I would expect a community to help out if i got 60% of the way through a project and then got confused/stuck/mis understood MCEs implementation. 

The Developers section in this forum is really good to read, from it you can see just how helpful Thom and the guys are to the few capable of really helping out moving MCE forward. 

Im not slagging anyone, just think people should be realistic in what help they are asking for and from who. 
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: hari on July 01, 2009, 04:49:20 pm
thanks, don't need a fork for popcorn.

I'll give you an example. Guigolium came in and wanted to improve the existing KNX/EIB driver as university project. He did not even run lmce at home. Within a few weeks he rewrote the complete DCE device and added quite some functionality. Did we help him? Of course, he got guidance where needed. But he took the effort on his own and jumped in. This is no rocket science. What kind of documentation do ppl expect? We got tons of code and docs from pluto, and we are all doing our best to enrich it.

Somehow I have the feeling that those who shout "fork" now won't do the work in the forked project.. but I wish you luck!

As tschak already said, if you get stuck while trying to contribute jump into the devel forum or #linuxmce-devel on irc. Everybody who took this serious found guidance and organisation there.

best regards,
Hari
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: davegravy on July 01, 2009, 05:50:05 pm
And before you say any sort of retort resorting to elitism...

* Those of us doing the work, tend to respect others who also dig in and do work too.

* Those of us doing the work write the code. He who writes the code HAS THE FINAL SAY.

This is because we're down in the trenches, and we choose to give away the fruits of our work for others. There is an unwritten rule here that those who recieve should also give in kind.

So, when you sit there on top of the mount and preach that "you should do this and this and this and this..." guess what? it sounds like you're preaching from the mount.

tmoore, it is THAT reason why I am ascerbic to you. You have done absolutely nothing to gain credibility in this community. If you want your incredibly assertive statements to carry any weight, you need to change this and get down here in the dirt with us.

And the sheer fact you just back-pedaled on your last thread really did nothing to help your credibility. Just a tip.

-Thom

With all due respect Thom, I believe it is possible to do work on a project such as linuxmce without writing code or documentation (or being in the trenches as you call it). I see Tim’s writing on this forum as doing work; there is value to proposing/discussing organizational ideas even if you don’t see them as good ones. There are very good reasons why large successful projects have some people dealing with macroscopic elements and other people writing code. The “overseers” are often viewed as bureaucratic deadweight, and a lot of them are, but there are good ones with job functions that actually are important.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on July 01, 2009, 06:00:59 pm
I really don't think "the devs" get what I'm talking about at all.  However, I'm not going to be drawn in to getting personal, as some of you have done.

Here's how it is.  I want this project to succeed, but as someone who has plenty of experience in product management, business consulting, and running successful software companies, I see problems that I believe the devs are overlooking.  These problems are preventing me and many others from getting involved any deeper.  I'm not telling anyone how to code (despite having a degree in software engineering), so please respect well meant professional opinions from people who have talents in areas other than coding and who can still contribute.  If you have a different opinion, then discuss it in an adult manner.

The problem here is that discussion regarding anything other than code is not only ignored, it is often childishly ridiculed or ferociously attacked.  When you consider the size of the user base, it's obvious that there are people from all walks of life using (or trying to use) the software, who can contribute in ways other than coding.  So, please stop referring everyone who tries to help to the developers section and making comments like "He who writes the code HAS THE FINAL SAY".  Otherwise, this isn't a community, it's a dictatorship run by a faction of the community.  In a true community, the community has the final say, and everyone has equal opportunity to contribute.

Here's just a short list of people, who are not coders, that are getting shut out of the project.


It was recently pointed out that there are plenty of good books and courses on development.  Well, there's plenty of training available on product management (including of open source projects), project management, and team building too.  If the devs don't feel it necessary to understand all this stuff, the they should just focus on the coding, and stop objecting to those of us who do have knowledge of this stuff and preventing us from getting involved.

Before you cry, "well just do all that stuff and stop complaining", you need to know that all that stuff falls into one or both of two categories.  The first requires cooperation from the key developers (how can a graphic designer contribute to a GUI if he doesn't code, or how can a PR person describe to the press about where the project is going without a clear plan being agreed?).  The second category is that stuff that requires a lot of effort/time/money for which the contributor wants a return (whether it be fun, acknowledgment, more money, personal development, or whatever).  People only invest when they feel that their investment will be worthwhile.  I've already invested a huge amount of time into trying to get LMCE to work and on trying to help the project move in the right direction.  All I'm getting back from the devs is a brick wall.  Where's the fun in that?  The same applies to a lot of others, coders included, who would otherwise contribute.

It's appropriate that Thom made an analogy of the devs being down in the trenches.  Well, that's true, but trench warfare needs more than the frontline soldiers.  Firstly, there has to be a reason for it in the first place, then there is a whole host of other teams who support the effort, including funding, communication, leadership.  Team work, that its, with teams outside of the trenches.  Otherwise, what's going to happen is that one day the soldiers are going to wake up, realize that the war ended years ago, and they lost out to a better organized opponent.

I hope this project succeeds, for the thousands of users who have put their hard earned time and money into trying to get the product to work.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work for me, and having now understood how this project is organized I'm not convinced that any further investment will be worthwhile.  Clearly, little is about to change.

Good luck everyone.



Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 01, 2009, 06:58:13 pm
You say that you've tried to help, tmoore, yet... Other than one line on a community page, what have you done?

Did you realize there is an IRC channel where the devs do all their work?

I am more aware of the bad press, and if you actually look around, you'll see, 9 times out of 10, that I am there if there is a comments thread to reply. So I have been acting in a public relations capacity, as well.

I am sorry to see you go, but the basic honest truth is, you've tried to skip a few steps in between getting involved, and in the process destroyed any credibility you were trying to build up. Have you done any work in free software projects, before? If we're quickly flashing credentials, I've lived in the free software world for over two decades, so I know how things work with respect to getting things done.

I have said it repeatedly, and I will say it again, too much management at such an early stage, when the community aspect of this system has only been alive for barely a year and 9 months, is suicide. We will build up to it, as we actually have people to fill those positions.

I've BEEN in situations like this before, and too much management at too early in the game is _JUST_ as deadly as not enough management, too late in the game. And the one thing we DO NOT need, are managers who:

(1) haven't proven they can lead.
(2) haven't proven that they actually know what they would be managing.

Come on man, think about it, and take off your manager hat for once.

This is not a corporate development project, and due to the sheer scope of it, can never be. Commercial software companies can not produce software of this magnitude, because short term thinking of such corporate management structure ultimately prevents long term solutions which strengthen the system's architecture from taking shape, except as a reactionary measure.

You see dollar signs, I get it. But there is a bigger long term goal here, one that the majority of people on your list simply do not have the time to care about. There is a goal of creating a ubiquitous computing platform, with the home, as the umbrella. This will be done by us regardless of whether we have backing or not, because in the end, we do have a few people who can do everything, and if it takes us 20 years to do it, so be it.

All I am asking for, for this next little hump, is a couple of very determined people, who have a self starting sense of initiative, and the willingness to dig in, so that we can distribute the knowledge into a few more working brains. There are enough resources and assets to make that happen.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on July 01, 2009, 07:08:12 pm
I really don't think "the devs" get what I'm talking about at all.  However, I'm not going to be drawn in to getting personal, as some of you have done.

Here's how it is.  I want this project to succeed, but as someone who has plenty of experience in product management, business consulting, and running successful software companies, I see problems that I believe the devs are overlooking.  These problems are preventing me and many others from getting involved any deeper.  I'm not telling anyone how to code (despite having a degree in software engineering), so please respect well meant professional opinions from people who have talents in areas other than coding and who can still contribute.  If you have a different opinion, then discuss it in an adult manner.

The problem here is that discussion regarding anything other than code is not only ignored, it is often childishly ridiculed or ferociously attacked.  When you consider the size of the user base, it's obvious that there are people from all walks of life using (or trying to use) the software, who can contribute in ways other than coding.  So, please stop referring everyone who tries to help to the developers section and making comments like "He who writes the code HAS THE FINAL SAY".  Otherwise, this isn't a community, it's a dictatorship run by a faction of the community.  In a true community, the community has the final say, and everyone has equal opportunity to contribute.

Here's just a short list of people, who are not coders, that are getting shut out of the project.

  • Graphic designers - who could help improve the UI and web site
  • PR professionals - who could write and submit press releases and articles that would raise awareness of the project and get more people involved (there's plenty of bad press about LinuxMCE out there, if you've ever looked)
  • Business analysts - who have access to information regarding other commercial and free products that may be competing, and industry trends that we should be discussing.  They may even include LinuxMCE in their analyst reports and further promote the project.
  • Lawyers - who can interpret and advise on licensing issues, or deal with legal matters of ownership on things like shared equipment
  • Accountants - who could manage any funds that might become available
  • Business Angels - investors who are prepared to donate funds to the project (even if it it remains non commercial) for things like web hosting, test devices, development labs, marketing, travel, or even paid contributors.  There's a whole bunch of ways that investors could monetize their involvement with the project while keeping it free to use.
  • Venture Capitalists - investors who might be interested in a commercial version of the product
  • Sponsors - who could contribute funds in return for a mention on the web site
  • Marketers - people who develop strategies for improving the penetration of the product
  • Journalists - who may be inclined to write articles regarding the product
  • Equipment manufacturers - who may donate equipment to be used by the project as development beds, or as peripherals to be supported
  • Management consultants - who can help organize the project as a whole
  • Project managers - who can help manage specific projects, allowing the coders to focus on the coding
  • ...

It was recently pointed out that there are plenty of good books and courses on development.  Well, there's plenty of training available on product management (including of open source projects), project management, and team building too.  If the devs don't feel it necessary to understand all this stuff, the they should just focus on the coding, and stop objecting to those of us who do have knowledge of this stuff and preventing us from getting involved.

Before you cry, "well just do all that stuff and stop complaining", you need to know that all that stuff falls into one or both of two categories.  The first requires cooperation from the key developers (how can a graphic designer contribute to a GUI if he doesn't code, or how can a PR person describe to the press about where the project is going without a clear plan being agreed?).  The second category is that stuff that requires a lot of effort/time/money for which the contributor wants a return (whether it be fun, acknowledgment, more money, personal development, or whatever).  People only invest when they feel that their investment will be worthwhile.  I've already invested a huge amount of time into trying to get LinuxMCE to work and on trying to help the project move in the right direction.  All I'm getting back from the devs is a brick wall.  Where's the fun in that?  The same applies to a lot of others, coders included, who would otherwise contribute.

It's appropriate that Thom made an analogy of the devs being down in the trenches.  Well, that's true, but trench warfare needs more than the frontline soldiers.  Firstly, there has to be a reason for it in the first place, then there is a whole host of other teams who support the effort, including funding, communication, leadership.  Team work, that its, with teams outside of the trenches.  Otherwise, what's going to happen is that one day the soldiers are going to wake up, realize that the war ended years ago, and they lost out to a better organized opponent.

I hope this project succeeds, for the thousands of users who have put their hard earned time and money into trying to get the product to work.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work for me, and having now understood how this project is organized I'm not convinced that any further investment will be worthwhile.  Clearly, little is about to change.

Good luck everyone.


I think you need to realise that part of the problem is that you need to earn some credibility with your potential peers before they will take your views seriously. You also have to understand human nature in these situations and be able to both empathise with other people here and understand their view point... and ultimately listen to them. In any situation where your the 'new kid on the block', and have no inherent organisation authority (ie power to make people just do what you 'say'), a strategy of 'telling' people what they should do and how they should do it is bound to fail I'm afraid...if you do not have the credibility to back it up.

Anyway hopefully you can learn from your experiences here and either re-engage yourself with us...or at least move on having learnt something about human nature.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on July 01, 2009, 07:40:09 pm
Thom and Andrew,

I'm still not going to get personal on you, but since you have on me, I can't help but defend your attack on me and my credibility.

a) I don't see dollar signs.  But a number of people have suggested that some funding (no matter how small) may help get peripherals certified, build development beds, etc.  That's in everyone's interest.  I was, until recently, prepared to make an investment of cash into the project myself.  No one in their right mind would do that without understanding where it would go and that it would be well invested.

b) I have proven I can lead.  Maybe not to you, but are you going to vet and interview everyone who tries to contribute before they are given the opportunity?  I have successfully started, and sold, a successful company that used open source software for about 60% of the code base.  The software won a number of national awards, and is still a market leader in its niche.  And yes, I've been involved in open source since 1991/2 when I was involved in writing Ethernet drivers for an early linux kernel.  But I don't code any more (it takes up too much time, and I have a family that comes first).  I help develop strategies for top brands at a global consulting firm, especially within telecom and media.  I'm not going to post a resume on a public forum.  But neither am I trying to lead anything here, so I don't feel compelled to.  I'm asking that there BE leadership and consensus, and not dictatorship.  I don't care who leads, just so long as anyone can be involved and that their time is not wasted.

c) PR is about being proactive as well as reactive.

d) Management and strategy should never be an afterthought.  It is never to early to consider which way to go and how to get there.  You've obviously had some bad experiences with top-heavy management, but that's no excuse for lack of management.

e) If there are enough resources, stop winging that there aren't.  You started this thread.  A number of people stepped up, and you pushed most of them away.  Nice job.


I've wasted enough time already, so I'm going to leave it at that.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: bongowongo on July 01, 2009, 08:15:58 pm
Thom and Andrew,

I'm still not going to get personal on you, but since you have on me, I can't help but defend your attack on me and my credibility.

a) I don't see dollar signs.  But a number of people have suggested that some funding (no matter how small) may help get peripherals certified, build development beds, etc.  That's in everyone's interest.  I was, until recently, prepared to make an investment of cash into the project myself.  No one in their right mind would do that without understanding where it would go and that it would be well invested.

b) I have proven I can lead.  Maybe not to you, but are you going to vet and interview everyone who tries to contribute before they are given the opportunity?  I have successfully started, and sold, a successful company that used open source software for about 60% of the code base.  The software won a number of national awards, and is still a market leader in its niche.  And yes, I've been involved in open source since 1991/2 when I was involved in writing Ethernet drivers for an early linux kernel.  But I don't code any more (it takes up too much time, and I have a family that comes first).  I help develop strategies for top brands at a global consulting firm, especially within telecom and media.  I'm not going to post a resume on a public forum.  But neither am I trying to lead anything here, so I don't feel compelled to.  I'm asking that there BE leadership and consensus, and not dictatorship.  I don't care who leads, just so long as anyone can be involved and that their time is not wasted.

c) PR is about being proactive as well as reactive.

d) Management and strategy should never be an afterthought.  It is never to early to consider which way to go and how to get there.  You've obviously had some bad experiences with top-heavy management, but that's no excuse for lack of management.

e) If there are enough resources, stop winging that there aren't.  You started this thread.  A number of people stepped up, and you pushed most of them away.  Nice job.


I've wasted enough time already, so I'm going to leave it at that.

All very valid points, worth thinking constructively about.
Cannot see why everybody is trying to bite his ankles, other than he has a bad rep??
Funny to see how you will validate my 2 cents then.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on July 01, 2009, 08:29:06 pm
b) I have proven I can lead.  Maybe not to you, but are you going to vet and interview everyone who tries to contribute before they are given the opportunity?  I have successfully started, and sold, a successful company that used open source software for about 60% of the code base.  The software won a number of national awards, and is still a market leader in its niche.  And yes, I've been involved in open source since 1991/2 when I was involved in writing Ethernet drivers for an early linux kernel.  But I don't code any more (it takes up too much time, and I have a family that comes first).  I help develop strategies for top brands at a global consulting firm, especially within telecom and media.  I'm not going to post a resume on a public forum.  But neither am I trying to lead anything here, so I don't feel compelled to.  I'm asking that there BE leadership and consensus, and not dictatorship.  I don't care who leads, just so long as anyone can be involved and that their time is not wasted.

As I said in my previous post...you have to win the hearts and minds of a team to have them believe in your view point. To be a 'leader' you need to 'earn' the respect of others here and then you will find that people will begin to listen more receptively to you and will embrace your suggestions more readily. You cant force consensus on people...it has to be nurtured and grown. There is no dictatorship here at all...its a very simple and efficient 'meritocracy'...but to be part of that you have to 'do' and be seen to 'do...then you and your perspective will be welcomed...not everyone will agree with it necessarily of course...but some will and everyone will respect your position without hesitation...even if they dont agree with it.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on July 01, 2009, 08:54:38 pm
Having read through this thread, I for one need a small portion of humble pie. The documentation is better than I thought (although maybe someone has been improving it without me noticing it) although I still think the indexing of EVERYTHING on the wiki could be improved.

But that's kind of where the humble pie comes in.

Let me explain, Tim.

You make statements criticising Thom for telling people to get stuck in, claiming we're not all coders. You are correct, but try thinking wider. For example, someone suggested that a Twitter feed might help with PR. Did they simply say "we need a twitter feed, anyone care to set one up?"? No, they just went ahead and did it. That isn't coding, it's someone who has a skill using it to the good of the project. I believe they are as much in the trenches as Thom (although maybe slightly further back from the front line!)

And that's the point. IF more managemt is needed, then management people just need to start DOING it and not TALKING about it. IF financial gurus think money would help, then they need to raise that money and not just say it is needed and so on.

I'm guilty of SAYING the wiki needs organising, when I should just go ahead and DO it. You see? Management isn't always about delegation.

Having said that, I don't understand the information in the Wiki well enough (yet) to be comfortable that I wouldn't be doing more harm than good, so if someone else (who does understand it better) wants to have a go, feel free.

Thom, may I personally applaud your initiative in providing mini "projects" to cut our teeth on? I suspect the DoxyGen one came out of earlier postings here, but the torrent one is really good. You understand the system well enough to be able to post these types of tasks in the knowledge that they are accessable to and achievable by lower-ability programmers. And maybe THAT's the type of management needed.

So, anyone who has objected to my comments, my unreserved apologies.

Can we all now get on with DOING and stop TALKING?

(One question, why did my Karma take a hammering and Tim's didn't? Not that I'm sensitive, you understand  ;D)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 01, 2009, 09:16:48 pm
*claps*

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: davegravy on July 01, 2009, 10:00:09 pm
Please allow me to juxtapose two quotes:

IF more managemt is needed, then management people just need to start DOING it and not TALKING about it. IF financial gurus think money would help, then they need to raise that money and not just say it is needed and so on.

Before you cry, "well just do all that stuff and stop complaining", you need to know that all that stuff falls into one or both of two categories.  The first requires cooperation from the key developers (how can a graphic designer contribute to a GUI if he doesn't code, or how can a PR person describe to the press about where the project is going without a clear plan being agreed?). 

Similarly, how can a financial guru raise money for the project if there is no clear plan for him to present to potential investors? I think Tim's point is that there are roadblocks which are preventing people from DOING certain things, and there needs to be TALK about those roadblocks so that they can be identified and removed.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on July 01, 2009, 10:11:13 pm
Please allow me to juxtapose two quotes:

IF more managemt is needed, then management people just need to start DOING it and not TALKING about it. IF financial gurus think money would help, then they need to raise that money and not just say it is needed and so on.

Before you cry, "well just do all that stuff and stop complaining", you need to know that all that stuff falls into one or both of two categories.  The first requires cooperation from the key developers (how can a graphic designer contribute to a GUI if he doesn't code, or how can a PR person describe to the press about where the project is going without a clear plan being agreed?). 

Similarly, how can a financial guru raise money for the project if there is no clear plan for him to present to potential investors? I think Tim's point is that there are roadblocks which are preventing people from DOING certain things, and there needs to be TALK about those roadblocks so that they can be identified and removed.

Well this is not a 'startup' looking for VC funding so i am not sure your example above is quite on target - but i understand where your coming from. But look at wierdbeard65's post just above where he very effectively describes what this community is about... if your a person who has expertise in raising money then just use that ex[ertise to come up with a plan to help fund some of the activities here...sponsorship (without strings) maybe or companies willing to subsidise something for the benefit of all members...whatever it is. The important thing is to go and invent the the idea and figure out how it fits... or whether it fits into what this place is about and get the conversation going. Don't get all defensive if no one likes the idea...go and invent another one or adapt and improve the first one(kinda like optimising some 'code' ;-) )...show your putting valuable ideas into the 'pot' and people will respond positively to that.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 01, 2009, 10:17:35 pm
It is worth noting that the goals really are specific, and haven't changed since Pluto devised the system in 2004.

* Lights
* Media
* Climate
* Telecom
* Security

This feature set is present in the current iteration of the system, and just needs to be finished.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on July 01, 2009, 10:35:12 pm
Davegravy, thank you.  That's the exact point.  No talking, no doing (other than the same old thing that is).  For new people to invest either time or money, very few will do so without a clear road map and evidence that their work will be respected and worth while (dismissive/offensive comments from the devs are a BIG turn off by the way).  Expecting new contributors to take a big gamble, and submit all that time/money in blind faith is just plain dumb.

I've just been sniffing around XBMC (www.xbmc.org).  I'd not looked before, but here you can see that they are doing exactly what I've been talking about.  And the results are very impressive.  There's little that XBMC can't do that LMCE can, and pretty much all of the rest is in the pipeline.  They've been around for 6 years, and you can tell that, with their 50+ regular developers and 30,000 forum members, they have got their act in order.

Take a look at what I mean...

Want to contribute?  http://xbmc.org/contribute/ (Note the specific invitations no non-coders and to financiers)

Want to understand the roadmap?  http://xbmc.org/trac/roadmap

Want to understand how to code, even if you're new?:  http://xbmc.org/wiki/?title=Appendix_D:_Development_Notes

Want to know exactly what's going on?  http://xbmc.org/trac/timeline

Want to suggest something and have a serious conversation about it?  Submit a ticket to Trac.

Note the well communicated vision and the organized management team:  http://xbmc.org/about/team/

Prepare to be overtaken.  I hate to say I told ya so... but just it's so satisfying.  ;D  It's survival of the fittest guys.

SEE YA!
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Domodude on July 01, 2009, 10:42:32 pm
Good point that touches on a big sentiment maker/breaker in my opinion:
(One question, why did my Karma take a hammering and Tim's didn't? Not that I'm sensitive, you understand  ;D)
I find that a lot of people get some nice negative karma as a thank you for their contributions. I keep telling myself to not read too much into it, but it is just frustrating to see when people who try to help get hammered. At the time of writing, my karma just reduced to -5 and I wonder why. My only post this week or so was an attempt to get someone's problem a bit clearer.
The fact that your karma is at about -50 is just shocking  :o.
Personally, I'd like to be able to turn it off and not be frustrated by it anymore.
There. Now let's see what this does to my "karma".
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on July 01, 2009, 10:57:34 pm
Please allow me to juxtapose two quotes:

IF more managemt is needed, then management people just need to start DOING it and not TALKING about it. IF financial gurus think money would help, then they need to raise that money and not just say it is needed and so on.

Before you cry, "well just do all that stuff and stop complaining", you need to know that all that stuff falls into one or both of two categories.  The first requires cooperation from the key developers (how can a graphic designer contribute to a GUI if he doesn't code, or how can a PR person describe to the press about where the project is going without a clear plan being agreed?). 

Similarly, how can a financial guru raise money for the project if there is no clear plan for him to present to potential investors? I think Tim's point is that there are roadblocks which are preventing people from DOING certain things, and there needs to be TALK about those roadblocks so that they can be identified and removed.

Ahh, nobody has said "don't talk" have they? IF you have a specific question, ask it. I really am getting my head around the whole MCE devs point of view. BUT where they are wrong (if I may be so bold) is in limiting it to coding. They say things like they won't spoon-feed new developers, but if someone has a question about a particular module, they should ask. They (and we) need to widen that out to all aspects of the project. Even with a "clear plan" as you put it, there will be no timescale as we have no paid developers, so it's all down to goodwill. IF you are talking to someone in your role as PR or Finance, and they ask a question that you can't answer from the Wiki or Forums searching, then ask here! For example "will the xxx widget be supported?" or "How much cash should I set aside for hardware?" or <insert difficult question here> can be passed on to the community. Someone will answer with "I'm working on a template for that" or "Well, I set mine up for tuppence ha'pny" or whatever. This isn't the type of thing that can be managed with GANTT charts, I'm afraid! IF you need a discussion on something, START THE DISCUSSION, don't ask why someone else hasn't!!!

XBMC - yes, well, very nice but I want to record stuff off-air mainly (main reason for MCE for me) does it do that? Not last time I looked - It's a PLAYER Dude. Why haven't I gone Myth or VDR? Two reasons - Orbiter Interface and Expandability for the future.

Good point that touches on a big sentiment maker/breaker in my opinion:
(One question, why did my Karma take a hammering and Tim's didn't? Not that I'm sensitive, you understand  ;D)
I find that a lot of people get some nice negative karma as a thank you for their contributions. I keep telling myself to not read too much into it, but it is just frustrating to see when people who try to help get hammered. At the time of writing, my karma just reduced to -5 and I wonder why. My only post this week or so was an attempt to get someone's problem a bit clearer.
The fact that your karma is at about -50 is just shocking  :o.
Personally, I'd like to be able to turn it off and not be frustrated by it anymore.
There. Now let's see what this does to my "karma".
Well, I applauded you, so you're up by one ;D Seriously, if that is to mean anything, the number of Smites etc should be on the posting. That way, it's clear where you're going wrong and the casual visitor can see that a posting has not been popular (without the need for flaming ;) )

I'd support it's removal though :)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 01, 2009, 11:03:00 pm
You will be missed.

It is unfortunate that you equate XBMC's focus and scope with ours, as they are not even close.

But, oh well.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on July 01, 2009, 11:22:35 pm
D'oh!  You missed/ignored the point again!

The comparison was about how the project is M-A-N-A-G-E-D <hmm>

But automation and the rest is on it's way.  You see, they focused on structure and getting stuff working before releasing a bunch of features...  It's clever also how hardware compatibility issues can optionally be eliminated by using an Xbox, while still permitting other architectures.  That's good strategy...

ha!  I'll miss these little educational sessions...  :D
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 01, 2009, 11:27:26 pm
So did Pluto. The architecture and management was solid enough for them to build the core system with the original set of features. The last 10% wound up killing them off before they could finish it....short term investor pressures....

Stop assuming things. You're showing your lack of knowledge here.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on July 01, 2009, 11:41:07 pm
I don't profess to be an LMCE historian..  sorry if that upsets you.

So, anything intelligent to say about the comparison on management, strategy, communication and teamwork going on at XBMC?   ???  Come on, you can't seriously be suggesting that your way is better.  Take a good look around there.  Hopefully, and I mean that with all sincerity, you'll learn a thing or two.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: bongowongo on July 01, 2009, 11:45:44 pm
This is not a constructive discussion
I see two people who do not want to step off from their standpoints
Agree that you disagree.

@Tmoore
Why not set up a framework of management, it is open source.
I will apply for CEO or CFO with bonus ;)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tmoore on July 01, 2009, 11:58:23 pm
I agree, but all of a sudden, it's all so enjoyable...   :D

I suggested setting up a management framework, but that was shot down.  It needs cooperation from the devs, unfortunately. People who refuse to be managed, can't be.  Something about the code and the need for more experienced developers, and spoon-feeding, or something involving shouting at each other in CAPITALS, the credibility of non LMCE "Gods", or getting their soul sucked out, or something... <yawn>  I really don't remember, or care anymore.  Apparently it's all in the wiki, anyhow.  :-\
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on July 02, 2009, 12:02:43 am
D'oh!  You missed/ignored the point again!

I have? Oh, sorry. Let me look at what you said:

There's little that XBMC can't do that LinuxMCE can, and pretty much all of the rest is in the pipeline.

So recording / showing off-air, controlling the lighting / heating / security, integrating with the telephone system (shall I go on?) are trivial are they?

Look, Dude, nobody is forcing you to stay here. Initially, like a lot of others, I criticized Thom for his outburst. Unlike many, however, I'm adult enough to listen to what he said, investigate the Wiki and acknowledge that this project is not some dead-in-the water waste of time and energy. I don't profess to understand everything on the wiki, and would prefer to have it in simpler terms, but I have to acknowledge it is there and anyone who is prepared to get involved (sensibly) will be welcomed and supported.

I am probably being unfair here, but the tone of your posts, particularly the first few smacked of "I'm a manager and you need management". Well, I'm an educator, but you don't see me suggesting setting up a development school (although come to think of it...) How many psychologists are posting offering Thom et al stress counseling? The simple fact is that not every skill has a place here. Many, however, do and if you have a skill you think you can use, use it, don't shout about how everyone else should ask you to use it.

What I find amazing is that despite saying goodbye several times, you are still here - something is keeping you. I hope it's a recognition that MCE is so much more than the alternatives. I suspect that part of it is a dogged determination to have the last word.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: hari on July 02, 2009, 12:15:40 am
I hope this project succeeds, for the thousands of users who have put their hard earned time and money into trying to get the product to work.

hehe, that is a really good one. What a pity that you've deleted yor account Timothy. I still have some popcorn left..

br, Hari

EDIT: and just for the records: I never said that one can't contribute without coding. We have many contributors that don't code. But some might have missed the fact that we could use some additional ppl with coding skills. That does not imply that coding is the only way to contribute..
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on July 02, 2009, 12:21:41 am
hehe, that is a really good one. What a pity that you've deleted your account Timothy. I still have some popcorn left..

Looks like my main contribution so far (and Timmy's) was to provide some light relief for the developers ;D

Anyhow, shall we start a sweep stake on how long it will be before he's back under a different name? I'll put a Euro on a week.... Can you set up a scan on IP address to check??? <VBG> (New way to raise venture capital perhaps?)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: bongowongo on July 02, 2009, 12:24:25 am
hehe, that is a really good one. What a pity that you've deleted your account Timothy. I still have some popcorn left..

Looks like my main contribution so far (and Timmy's) was to provide some light relief for the developers ;D

Anyhow, shall we start a sweep stake on how long it will be before he's back under a different name? I'll put a Euro on a week.... Can you set up a scan on IP address to check??? <VBG> (New way to raise venture capital perhaps?)

Look he is obviously frustrated, by himself or by your reaction, does not matter. But he raised some good points.
Also can wierbeard65 keep is sexlive private, what you do with the devs, can stay in #dev ;)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: hari on July 02, 2009, 12:28:45 am
when did I ask for relief? I've never said that I'm overworked or need relief :-) We just have tons of things left to do so it will be faster if more people help and invest time..

br, Hari
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Itsik on July 02, 2009, 01:08:46 am
I've been following this post for the last couple of days and I have to say that some of the responses here really puzzle me.
As I understand it, Thom was simply trying to stress out to the community how badly this project needs more people to role up their sleeves and help the VARY few people that are working on it.
As a result I now see 10 pages of a discussion revolving around what people believe needs to be done and how they think it should be done. It seems to me that some of the people here are simply missing a vary simple point.

If you think the PR of this project needs to be better, take it into your hands and do something about it...

If you think the wiki needs to be improved, improve it...

If you think the gui/HW support/(put anything else here) needs to be added/improved, just do it...

If you think the project needs money, get up and raise it...

Its really that simple and this goes for any other area you'd like to improve.
If you run into obstacles while at it, ask for help, you will get it.

Don't expect any one to hold your hand and tell you that we need this or that. That's not gonna happen. Why ? Because we need EVERYTHING, be it Device templates, PR, Documentation, GUI/Usability improvements, better web presence and list goes on and on ...
So the idea is simple, there's basically nothing that you can add/improve in that system that is not "needed".

Just remember that you can create a kind of a band aid for something you need to or you can add it correctly. The amount of work you need to put in might be bigger but if you're doing it anyway, why not ask one of the devs for some guidance on how to achieve your goal correctly ?

If you think this project needs to be structured differently, that's cool. If, on top of it, you have, at least, spent a sufficient amount of time getting to know the system and it's inner workings, and you think you know enough to be able to determine what's good for the system and the community (and a good manager will know when he's ready to make any suggestions/comments about a new project he's getting into ...) , then by all means, come up with a plan that you think is suitable and bring it to the table where it can be discussed and decided upon. But remember that unless all of the above is true then any suggestion of this nature can not be taken seriously.

In short people: IF YOU WANNA SHOOT, SHOOT, DON'T TALK !!!

It seems to me that that's what the devs are trying to tell you again and again.

My two cents ...
Itsik

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: hari on July 02, 2009, 01:32:16 am
thanks for the good summary Itsik!

br, Hari
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Domodude on July 02, 2009, 08:35:00 am
Good point that touches on a big sentiment maker/breaker in my opinion:
(One question, why did my Karma take a hammering and Tim's didn't? Not that I'm sensitive, you understand  ;D)
The fact that your karma is at about -50 is just shocking  :o.
Personally, I'd like to be able to turn it off and not be frustrated by it anymore.
Well, I applauded you, so you're up by one ;D Seriously, if that is to mean anything, the number of Smites etc should be on the posting. That way, it's clear where you're going wrong and the casual visitor can see that a posting has not been popular (without the need for flaming ;) )

That would be nicer indeed. There are also boards where you have to make sure that you don''t smite more times than you applaud, kind of an inverted karma. In fact, when you smite too often on those boards, you get an error saying that YOUR karma is too low  :D
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: sp00nhead on July 02, 2009, 03:55:31 pm
There's been some good points made on this thread, maybe its not got any more skilled devs onboard, but at least its woken people up (me included :) )

There is merit in the whole roadmap/vision. And as Tim pointed out the XBMC have this easy to find from their main site. Lets do the same, I'll poke the wiki and make a page or two with content to a simular, ready for when teh website gets it re-write. We can discuse on the wiki any needed changes to the wording (anyone want to beat me to it, please do as i hate writing stuff)

All the people who have come forward on this post, well done, you've taken the first steps, but now follow through and help get something done
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: murcel on July 02, 2009, 08:58:14 pm
There is no dictatorship here at all...its a very simple and efficient 'meritocracy'...but to be part of that you have to 'do' and be seen to 'do...then you and your perspective will be welcomed...not everyone will agree with it necessarily of course...but some will and everyone will respect your position without hesitation...even if they dont agree with it.

All the best

Andrew

attention <sarcasm>but its like in the real world, some people do the leadership and most people are sheeps or cows, who will look up, say something, make suggestions, have dreams, but are not willing to fight for there dreams and just do it. after that, they look down again and eat there grass and are angry about those people on the top.
without going political, its quite clear, most of the people on this planet like to be administrated. someone has to say, what they should do. most of them are not willed to make their own decission. they like to sit in front of the tv and look daily soaps and such stupid, brain washing shows.....</sarcasm>

Ergo:
If someone would like to contribute, he will find a way to do so. But don't expect to get the award, before you have something done at all.

have a nice day :-)

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: davegravy on July 02, 2009, 10:15:53 pm
Quote
If someone would like to contribute, he will find a way to do so. But don't expect to get the award, before you have something done at all.

The only reward with projects such as these is the self-satisfaction of having contributed something, and the experience that one gains. Anyone who is striving for any other form of reward, whether it is money, respect from the devs and community, etc, is in it for the wrong reasons – plain and simple.

From what I've read no one here is asking for a free reward. The gist of the problem raised by other people is that the initial time investment required (lets call it the "down payment") to make meaningful contributions to this project for a newcomer is too high (compared to other projects). This, they say, is turning away people from the project who's time could otherwise be harnessed.

The devs, on the other hand, appear to disagree; they think the down payment is reasonable, and though they are stretched thin, they are prepared to continue without the help of the less skilled who are unwilling to pay the down payment.

Tim and others are suggesting that the project could be reorganized slightly to make it easier for newcomers to contribute, to decrease the down payment, and to ultimately make the devs' lives easier (wouldn’t that be a good thing, if people started coming out of the woodwork to contribute because it was so easy and fun to do so?) But Tim needs the devs to be on board with the idea for it to have any chance of succeeding at reorganizing things. It’s not that Tim doesn’t want to contribute at all; it’s that he doesn’t want to waste his time trying to do something that the devs have indicated they are opposed to.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 02, 2009, 10:35:52 pm
We are not opposed to it. I simply do not see a way for it to happen without introducing too much bureaucracy and overhead into an organization who does not have the people to support such a structure.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: murcel on July 02, 2009, 10:54:14 pm
From what I've read no one here is asking for a free reward. The gist of the problem raised by other people is that the initial time investment required (lets call it the "down payment") to make meaningful contributions to this project for a newcomer is too high (compared to other projects). This, they say, is turning away people from the project who's time could otherwise be harnessed.

hm, too high? i don't believe....
We know after this long thread, that we need developer BUT NOT ONLY.
So i believe that changing a wiki, or posting expierences, or make a better documentaion in any way....or whatever isn't to high.

Sure, you have to invest, time, brain and whatever.....but how to earn something, if someone is not willing to invest. basic rule in any business, without investment, they will be no return....

Here is nobody around who has the time, to take everyone by hand and show how things are going on.....but i am sure (iand i know that from my own expierence), that the core will help, if they see, that there is a real interest and will to do SOMETHING.

Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 02, 2009, 11:15:50 pm
Murcel is 100% correct.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: PlatypusPedersen on July 03, 2009, 03:34:40 am
Just stumbled over this on Digg right now, http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2009/tc2009071_384108.htm
Short article on how Mozilla attracts and utilizes resources. Might be worth a read.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: digilifellc on July 06, 2009, 06:00:09 am
@PlatypusPedersen:

This is an excellent article! This project could actually be organized in the same manner. The only thing that may be an obstacle is, for those whom are at the n00b levels, there is no entry to contribute, with the exception of UI design, IR/RS-232 database, and template generation. There does not seem to be any tools created to make lower-level tasks (coding) more automated.

I myself am probably better prepared now to jump into some lower-level coding after two years of following directions posted by everyone else (my experience in C++ began with programming AMX systems), but I intend to grow to larger-level functionality by cutting my teeth on what I can get my hands on--anything! In the meanwhile, I'm documenting everything that I think all of this means with plans to post it up to share with everyone else in the community as I go along.

I agree with many things that were said in this thread, but I observe one thing that tmoore kept pushing that didn't help the situation at all: trying to get in at the middle of the ladder doesn't work here. Management is necessary, but not the type of management that he was promoting AT THIS TIME YET. It seems that current management of this project lies in the IRC channel, not this forum. The likelihood that anyone would be "assigned" a management billet by attempting to jump in at the middle of the ladder would be worse than dog mess not stinking. This project is NOT at the point where such management is necessary. Now documentation is a different story...

I am a military man, 4 years Active Duty Marine Corps as a grunt, 6 years Army Reserves as a Drill Sergeant. Leadership is quite a bit more than many here have expressed. Management requires more than many here has expressed. The difference between leading at-will employees and military personnel is military personnel MUST look out for each other in order to survive for themselves! Even officers must start at the bottom before receiving their commission to serve.

An officer is expected to be able to do EVERYTHING that their subordinates are instructed to do, with more enthusiasm, more endurance, and more precision. They are expected to be better, faster, smarter, stronger, and can utilize their members as extensions of themselves. They are expected to jump in first, leave last, sacrifice their time/resources/energy if ANYTHING needs to get done, and ALWAYS train up a replacement.

To those who agree that management is the key, CREATE the thing to manage. If people like it, you will attract subordinates. There is a high price to be a manager in this project, and without compensation, I don't think many would have the stomach to subject themselves to the effort. Maybe tmoore or someone could manage DOCUMENTING this project to different audiences of understanding (coders v. graphics v. installers v. system builders v. etc.) to get that validity he needs...

BTW, I'm ready to jump in on the IRC by now. I think two years is long enough to take the bib off.

Wesley
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: posde on July 06, 2009, 12:11:43 pm
The only thing that may be an obstacle is, for those whom are at the n00b levels, there is no entry to contribute, with the exception of UI design, IR/RS-232 database, and template generation. There does not seem to be any tools created to make lower-level tasks (coding) more automated.

You do realize that, UI design, IR/RS-2332 database and template generation help would go a VERY long way as a contribution to LinuxMCE? The more templates we have, the better experience for people starting out, the better the UI design, the more usable can be. Those two areas are VERY important for the success of LinuxMCE.

ANY contribution is better than saying, 'I can't do that'
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: digilifellc on July 06, 2009, 08:53:14 pm
posde,

I realize that. Just stating what we do know. I'm working on UI and some documentation now trying to make some things a little 'nicer'.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Craptastic on July 07, 2009, 04:15:47 am
Okay, so for many of the same reasons already stated I too have not really got beyond being "another user" of LMCE.

When I came here, I didn't come to become a coder, I came to prove I could get it LMCE up and running, but have stayed because unlike most products available, coding is possible.

I will admit right now, I have not looked into the dev side at all so before linking me to some other thread or pointing me back somewhere higher in this one can the following be answered.

For any of the "typical" areas that dev work is needed are there well written and well documented sections of existing code that can be interpreted and effectively reverse engineered?

Like many I am a fast learner have a reasonable amount of programming knowledge (hobby only) but have been severely limited in my ability to commit time (three children under 5).

I can spend hours examining code, reading up, learning and trying new stuff, but right now I can not devote the vast amount of time required to get completely under the covers. Some nights are good and I could drop 4 hours+ of time, other nights, when I have been up all night with a sick kid and at work all day, not so much. At least not of quality and reliability.

If I can grab some well commented, existing examples of something, throw together a dev environment and get somewhere contributing time as I can physically spare it, I'm in.

Craptastic
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 07, 2009, 04:25:47 am
Niz23 has successfully run doxygen over the entire code base, and we'll be posting the results soon for all to see.

It's roughly 2 gigabytes of HTML.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: valent on July 09, 2009, 11:02:02 pm
If I understand correctly there are more than a few companies using LinuxMCE and charging lots of money for installations, sure they do the work but they should also donate some (lets say 10-20%) of their profits at least to the project their business relies upon.

Are they doing this or just reaping the benefits and not contributing back to the community and the project?
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: wierdbeard65 on July 09, 2009, 11:12:33 pm
I'd be careful before going too far down this thought line, valent!

I happen to know that some of the most prolific contributors here are the companies you speak of. If they were to "go it alone", I suspect we would suffer more than they ;-)
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: los93sol on July 10, 2009, 11:59:58 pm
Valent:  Wierdbeard has it right on this one.  The companies you are talking about have contributed back to the project and are active members.  Please don't try to flip it and turn this thread on the people contributing, instead of pointing fingers you should accept the fact that you CAN do something.

My contributions aren't anything too crazy, I worked with Thom on the Vista alarm panel device and have done some documenting in the wiki.  Nothing crazy, but I have at least started in the direction of helping the project and will be getting more active since things have calmed down.  I've also donated for development of other devices as well.  Whether it is donating for support of a device or donating to say thanks, it is something I think every single user here is has gone beyond just trying out the software should want to do.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: nascarfan1956 on July 11, 2009, 12:07:40 am
I have a suggestion for development moving forward.  Wouldn't it make sense to develop future new versions around the LTS versions of Kubuntu/Ubuntu  which are on a 2 year cycle instead of being bombarded with questions about the next new version every 6 months?
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 11, 2009, 12:10:31 am
We are still trying to find the best possible development cycle. For now, we've decided to target the october releases every year.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: posde on July 11, 2009, 08:26:31 pm
One thing to note: We struggled a lot to get things going for the 810 build cycle. Especially Zaerc did invest an awful lot of time to get things to build the way they are building at the moment. And thanks to his work, we will be able to get the next releases out of the door at a much faster pace.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: Murdock on July 20, 2009, 04:47:25 pm
Good morning,

  Over the last 9 months since I initially found this site as an alternative to Windows MCE, I have dedicated a significant portion of my spare time (I've recently had my first child, finishing my MBA and working a 60+ hour per week job) in diving deep into the linux world, specifically around the technologies associated with MCE including Samba, MythTV, Apache, Z-wave, shell scripting and perl including some others aound Kerberos and a few other technologies. Granted with everything going on I haven't had a tremendous amount of time to dedicate to this, though I'm just about to finish up my MBA (Grad in August) and my baby girl is getting to be a bit more self sufficient. I'm planning on my time opening up within the next couple of months.

  With the studying and 'playing' i've done with the technologies listed I would consider myself moderately useful (though not quite approaching the level of knowledge the top tier here have like Thom, Hari, Zaerc, etc) and will be working on value adds to the project. After reading about 3 pages of the 12 on here, I agree with items from both sides. I had found difficulty in easily plugging myself in to anything that would be helpful, so I decided to get off my lazy ass to start studying so I could contribute at a level that would be helpful to everyone, I'm just sorry it's taken so long.

  I hope we'll be able to keep the project alive, and anything small in the near term I can do to help please let me know, otherwise I'll see you in the forums and on the irc channels.

Ryan
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 20, 2009, 05:27:40 pm
Thank you, so much.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: david_halliday on July 21, 2009, 04:11:33 am
Firstly, for documentation, I would strongly suggest looking a semi open wiki. A small linux distro SME Server http://wiki.contribs.org/ does a very good job of using a semi open wiki.

They manage this in a very smart way by having a defined Documentation team that reviews approves members to the docs group and constantly reviews (and improves wiki edits).

When a person is accepted into the docs group they are given guidelines on what to do, while any doc group member can edit anything (including the home page) nobody does they contribute where they are useful.

On a couple of occasions the site has suffered some defacement but by the very nature of wiki it was so simple to roll back it was only a problem for a couple of hours.

Secondly, For programming reference it should be possible to use doxygen docs++ or similar and embed the programmers reference directly in the code. It is a well know fact that programmers and hackers especially hate writing documentation but if it is right there in the code there is at least a chance it will get done.

Dave.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: tschak909 on July 21, 2009, 08:10:54 am
david_halliday: doxygenated documents are coming soon, courtesy of niz23.

-Thom
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: posde on July 21, 2009, 05:32:54 pm
Secondly, For programming reference it should be possible to use doxygen docs++ or similar and embed the programmers reference directly in the code. It is a well know fact that programmers and hackers especially hate writing documentation but if it is right there in the code there is at least a chance it will get done.

doxygen setup has been part of the source code for a long time. Just download the code, and run doxygen.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: niz23 on July 21, 2009, 06:57:11 pm
I will write a short wiki article how to do it. Hopefully today or tomorrow.
dDoxygen is simple to run but take some time and consume plenty of ram before it´s finished.
Output is about 1500-1600MB.

The doxygen conf files we have in svn need som small tweaks as they are no fully compatible with newer versions of doxygen.


/niz23
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: david_halliday on July 21, 2009, 08:16:33 pm
This is great news now if someone was responsible for placing the Doxygen docs on a developer section of the web, this would at least serve as some form of Developer documentation. The easier you make it for developers the more likely you will be able to attract quality helpers.

Dave.
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: roberto99 on July 23, 2009, 11:37:45 am
I just read here http://linuxmce.org/index.php/developer/documentation that one may also contribute by translating. I offered my help in the form of translating docs to german, which might attract german speaking users from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (and asked if the comunity thinks this could be of help to the project); I put my name in "the list" but had no reaction on this.

Now I wonder where I should put the translated docs and which ones are most inportant and should be done first. Then I would like to survey how many clicks we get on those docs to see if it really is worth it (is this survey possible?.

What do you think?
Roberto
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: totallymaxed on July 23, 2009, 03:47:02 pm
This is great news now if someone was responsible for placing the Doxygen docs on a developer section of the web, this would at least serve as some form of Developer documentation. The easier you make it for developers the more likely you will be able to attract quality helpers.

Dave.


Realistically you will need to checkout the code base from svn and then run doxygen against you local copy...then update your local copy regularly and re-run doxygen. There are no plans to host and update the doxygen output centrally currently.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
Post by: valent on June 15, 2010, 01:14:18 pm
I'd be careful before going too far down this thought line, valent!

I happen to know that some of the most prolific contributors here are the companies you speak of. If they were to "go it alone", I suspect we would suffer more than they ;-)

In my previous comments I was wrong, I had wrong ixea that there are atleast 5-6 companies selling LinuxMCE with Pluto licence, I knew that CHT was one company contributing to LinuxMCE. Now I see that only CHT is selling LinuxMCE systems.

I didn't express my idea clearly; for this project to go further I see that more companies should be started that sell and implement LinuxMCE devices and donate 10% of profit back to project. I hope to do this and others could do the same.