« on: August 29, 2007, 03:57:35 pm »
note: this thread is intended to instigate discussion, and to try to generate a plan of attack.
I am noticing something _very_ disturbing here, that I feel must be dealt with especially given the relatively young age of this fork of the project.
LinuxMCE developers (both present and future) have inherited a very large code base from a developer who took a very straightforward (from their perspective) approach to putting together a device agnostic messaging system and a drawing-independent user interface system for the purpose of home control and the delivery of media.
Notice, I said, from their perspective. This is very important, because for a lot of us, we came here at the viewing of the LinuxMCE demo videos. They _are_ very intoxicating, and do serve to generate a ton of excitement.
And after those of us who do manage to get the system built, and running, a lot of us immediately see something, as developers, that we want to work on...
we start digging into the system, and find that a great big part of it is still very black-boxed, not in the sense that we can't see it and mess with it, but in the sense that there are a great number of moving parts, all working like a swiss watch, to ensure that this system DOES run like an appliance. And some of us do manage to understand bits of the system and realise just how clever parts of it really are.
Assuming we get past all of this, and we see things we want to improve, what are our options?
We have some reference material on both the LinuxMCE and Plutohome.com wiki sites, which relate to programmer material. However, this material is still very sparse once you actually read through it. It becomes very difficult to get a systems-level overview to figure out which direction you need to go in, to modify, or augment a particular feature. It seems that Plutohome never got around to writing stuff down that their programming staff obviously knew, and this is understandable, they make their money doing custom development, and I am not knocking anything done up to this point.
We need to figure out, as a community, what to do next.
* Can we coordinate with Pluto to get the missing pieces of programming information? if not, we need to do a full audit of the code-base.
* We need to get the missing tools built and accessible, they do exist in SVN, but they need to be brought out in a form that can easily be installed and used. This includes the Designer and the DCEGen tools.
* Skin development/refinement. We need lots of polishing work done on the user interface, although again, information on this process is limited, what are all our options herE?
* Device driver stuff. This one is pretty obvious, and it will get done, but we need to get a library of knowledge established to allow motivated developers to fill in more hardware support. again, obvious, duh, but it does need to be on this list.
I have a fairly complete media-centric set-up (complete with an XL1B jukebox), and will slowly be folding in home automation. But, there are various things I keep noticing, that I want desperately to work on, but I am finding more and more, there are missing tools and pieces which, while they don't stop development for me entirely, do impede it significantly.
Just my thoughts, what do you all think?