Author Topic: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?  (Read 4971 times)

davegravy

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2011, 10:31:47 pm »
I used to be an IT guy (self taught) and now I’m a construction worker!  How do you like that?  In my 18 years in IT (ten years ago – economy here) I never ever responded as unprofessionally as golgoj4’s response even when a user was a jerk like me.  It’s bad PR for the project.  He has to realize that he’s part of the team and his behavior reflects on the entire project.

I've been observing this project with interest for a while. I've written about this before, and have been ignored/flamed consistently for my unpopular ideas, but I repeat it here for you since it's relevant and may help you understand your frustration. This is my honest reflection on things:

Almost every project contributor is a developer involved in the technical aspects. It can be argued that these devs, stressed to their limits with workload, do not make good PR people (understandable!). I've said before that the project could use some professional grade marketing and PR (among other help), but the devs who have claimed ownership of the project through their contributions are not amenable to restructuring things. They like the status quo (with exception to their work load and the lack of new help coming in), and they like to try to wear as many different hats themselves as possible (coding, UI design, marketing, PR, project management, etc).

I argue that the team does not place enough value in PR. As I understand it, most feel that the technical merits/achievements of the project speak for themselves and should almost be the sole focus of the project (as evidenced by the meritocracy system in place, where only impressive technical contributions earn you a voice in the project). While the technical merits of the project do indeed attract like-minded people (technically skilled / developers) the lack of PR focus does alienate the larger novice user base.

I fear that unless there is some change, LinuxMCE will remain a (very cool) research platform for new smart home technologies. Commercial products from Apple, Logitech, Microsoft, etc will borrow/steal ideas from it (this is already happening). Their products will be adopted by users on a scale many orders of magnitude beyond LinuxMCE, despite being technically inferior. The big corps will take all the credit (and money).

I don't get the sense that the LinuxMCE community minds the prospect of losing out to inferior competition however. Each individual member takes solace in knowing LinuxMCE is technically superior, and to take the necessary measures to achieve widespread adoption, they feel, is tantamount to "selling-out" (or something...).

golgoj4

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2011, 11:20:02 pm »
OK, as I said in my last post I didn’t go about my comments the way I should have; I was pretty frustrated about all the inconsistent results I would get from the same exact installs.  But again, my main points (which were lost in between my rants) are some pretty basic things that could make LMCE easier for newbies to get into:  1. “Download” link takes you to a page with broken links; 2. “Snapshot” link on the Download page takes you to a directory listing with no recommendation on which download to pick; 3. No link (like YouTube videos show previously) to any type of installation instructions until you go to Support, Wiki, Download, instructions;
4. *My Main Point* Why not just tell people that you’re short on help and not to expect the install to work right the first time? Why not tell people to not click too quickly through the setup because background things are still going on?  Tell us to be patient.  Sorry, but the YouTube videos really set you up at a high standard.
I used to be an IT guy (self taught) and now I’m a construction worker!  How do you like that?  In my 18 years in IT (ten years ago – economy here) I never ever responded as unprofessionally as golgoj4’s response even when a user was a jerk like me.  It’s bad PR for the project.  He has to realize that he’s part of the team and his behavior reflects on the entire project.  Sure, I was a *jerk*, but he outdid me by far.  When I do IT stuff (unpaid) for friends and even friends of friends, I don’t get upset when they are confused or even when they get upset.  Sure, I feel it all inside, but never express it to them.


Lol, its a good thing you dont work on my construction sites. You might get your feelings hurt! Seriously, i should find the youtube videos of me on the site. Nice no. Finished on time and under budget? Yes :) As far as PR, i can only hope my incessant shilling of LMCE to the world will offset my random passionate outbursts. But seriously, get off the language = professional.

The broken links issue will be looked into, though this is the 1st ive heard of it. Generally, these things find their way to a ticket so awesome people like sambucca can squash them.

Lastly,  i have video production skills. But not a lot of time. Now if you wanted to make some kinda script (no not that kind of script) for me to translate into a video for super new users, i would be more than happy to collaborate on that. And please, dont think im bullshitting. If i offer to try an help, im serious as a heart attack. Even a rough outline of the points that need to be hit or something like that. I recently downloaded the old google video version in the idea of re-cutting it to add some new elements, but broham is short on time and long on tasks (im still learning c++). And yes, maybe a splash screen showing the rules of linuxmce with BE PATIENT being #1 and #2 might help some. But constructive feedback that can be acted upon!

So lets turn this thing around into something constructive for everyone.
And this time i mean it when i say have a nice day.
Those people who tell you not to take chances, they are all missing what life's all about.

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golgoj4

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2011, 11:27:46 pm »
I've been observing this project with interest for a while. I've written about this before, and have been ignored/flamed consistently for my unpopular ideas, but I repeat it here for you since it's relevant and may help you understand your frustration. This is my honest reflection on things:

Almost every project contributor is a developer involved in the technical aspects. It can be argued that these devs, stressed to their limits with workload, do not make good PR people (understandable!). I've said before that the project could use some professional grade marketing and PR (among other help), but the devs who have claimed ownership of the project through their contributions are not amenable to restructuring things. They like the status quo (with exception to their work load and the lack of new help coming in), and they like to try to wear as many different hats themselves as possible (coding, UI design, marketing, PR, project management, etc).

I argue that the team does not place enough value in PR. As I understand it, most feel that the technical merits/achievements of the project speak for themselves and should almost be the sole focus of the project (as evidenced by the meritocracy system in place, where only impressive technical contributions earn you a voice in the project). While the technical merits of the project do indeed attract like-minded people (technically skilled / developers) the lack of PR focus does alienate the larger novice user base.

I fear that unless there is some change, LinuxMCE will remain a (very cool) research platform for new smart home technologies. Commercial products from Apple, Logitech, Microsoft, etc will borrow/steal ideas from it (this is already happening). Their products will be adopted by users on a scale many orders of magnitude beyond LinuxMCE, despite being technically inferior. The big corps will take all the credit (and money).

I don't get the sense that the LinuxMCE community minds the prospect of losing out to inferior competition however. Each individual member takes solace in knowing LinuxMCE is technically superior, and to take the necessary measures to achieve widespread adoption, they feel, is tantamount to "selling-out" (or something...).

Interesting take.

Ill keep it short. On the one hand, i do agree that some form of PR dept would be nice. But in my opinion, the uptake for linuxmce has not been the PR. its been because its a hell of a lot more complicated to setup than XBMC or boxee. Now, with that difficulty comes rewards when its working, but the average person frankly isnt interested in a technical exercise.

So to me, the most important thing is
*how easy is it to install
*how pretty it is

Because lets face it, UI is king and we lag (but are currently working hard) to bring that more than up-to-date.

So from my perspective, when it becomes as easy to install as other media center software (when in fact its much more complex as HA but people focus on media 1st) and our UI is all shiny and pretty, we will see a larger uptake in users and developers. Because at that point, the shite will sell itself so to speak. I really disagree with the premise that curt dev's make people leave. If that was the case, many an open source project would have imploded by now. No, its the content and presentation. And we are busting our asses to get that polished!

-golgoj4

just my 2cents
-golgoj4
Those people who tell you not to take chances, they are all missing what life's all about.

Wiki Hardware Page http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Langstonius

ardirtbiker

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2011, 11:41:37 pm »
amen!

klanmce

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2011, 02:12:54 am »
Hi Frustrated

What are the errors you are having, is it only avwizard failing and where is it failing at?

What hardware are you running?

To be honest with you, time spent in LMCE is not a waste, it will be rewarding at the end. If you want to compare LMCE, it is way better than some commercially made software which are riddled with bugs, trust me I know, for the past two years I have experienced this working a system a minimum of 12 hrs a day, just to have it stable.

You just need time and patience

klovell

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2011, 04:29:35 am »
Frustrated, just take a break dude.  Sometimes you have to just walk away and regroup.  I was ready to climb a bell tower with a scope until I had to leave town.  I was gone for a while with no LMCE, forums, or home network but when I came back I had new appreciation and a higher level of patients towards LMCE.

When I first started with this i shared more of your views.  As an IT professional I can appreciate your structured way on thinking.  No offense guys but my CIO would have scrapped this project a long time ago.  She sure as shit wouldn't be thinking about 10.10 when 8.10 hasn't been released.  But I work for a company who needs to turn a profit and as it's already been pointed out you didn't pay for this.  You're going to have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty, flex those IT muscles and figure some shit out.  Life with LMCE got a lot easier for me once I accepted that.  I haven't seen another product that does what LMCE can do for a better price (excluding Dianemo :-)) so trust me it's worth the head aches. 

My only issue is the wide spread belief that coding is this easy task that any dummy can just do.  If you don't come from an IT background and you learned to code well good for you.  I've been solely charged with multi million dollar datacenters and server rooms for years now and I'm usually dancing circles around co-workers technically, but I couldn't code my way out of a paper bag.  I can read some of it but only enough to break it or hack it to suit my needs.  If you're like me and can't help the dev technically the way they need it start cleaning up the wiki so the next "Frustrated" isn't so Frustrated.

That's my 2 cents.... I love LMCE! 

tschak909

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2011, 05:39:20 am »
Believe it or not, I do understand all of these perspectives...

We are faced with an exceedingly difficult task, to take a massive software stack, and not only be able to understand it, but also to be able to maintain it, and be able to effectively add features, fix bugs, and bring the project forward overall.

There are over FOUR MILLION LINES of our own code.. OUR OWN... not counting the 12 other projects we appropriate (MythTV, Asterisk, VDR, Xine, etc.)

We have to shoulder all that burden...

So yes, when someone asks what we need? we need people who will roll up their sleeves and code.

We need people who will get things done if they want them done, It's not at all about thinking that "coding is this magically easy thing to do." IT'S WHAT _HAS_TO BE DONE! PERIOD. End of story. In the end, code is what solves the problems. No, don't get caught up in the chicken-egg argument of attracting attention, it is a red herring here. In the end, that is wishful thinking and ultimately doesn't solve anything, you work with what you have, because in the end, it is what you have. Just know that what you have can change, and you adapt accordingly.

P.R. is a funny thing, it's predicated on selling the strengths of a system while downplaying its weaknesses. This is a good thing to do when the product is ready to sell, or can be put in a position to sell effectively, LinuxMCE is not in this position for several reasons:

* We have licensing issues due to essential core parts of the code being licensed under a license that prohibits commercial distribution with hardware as a complete system. These pieces need to be re-engineered to be GPL compliant, to lift this restriction, while allowing community development to proceed organically.
* We have UI issues to solve, ranging from capabilities (people want zoomy zoomy flashy flashy crispy fast fast zoomzoom), to targets (making sure the UI is present on-screen, and off-screen on popular devices. Orbiter wasn't up to the task. Touch Orbiter was a short term solution proposed by Dianemo to get Orbiter onto more targets. qOrbiter (as it is called now) is the future, as it will solve both of the above issues by providing a cross platform UI with tons of capability in QML, atop the Qt toolkit which is very cross platform.
* We have architectural issues to solve, as the technology in the devices we appropriate gets better, we need to become more dynamic in our handling of these devices, some come, some go, but we need to be able to adapt better than we do.
* We have to improve our install and systems integration. This is an uphill battle that causes cancer, drives men to drinking, and has been known to end loving relationships. It's easy to make things just work, when you're Apple, and you make the hardware, and the software, and people buy your product and afterwards be told, "You do it our way, or not at all." We don't have that luxury.

I can keep going, but I'll stop there...

So please, it's not elitism that I have been perceived to espouse, it's the simple fact that I am frustrated at the sheer tidal wave of entitlement and expectation that has been thrown at me and the rest of the team since we took over in 2008. It's really very simple, if you want it done, you do the coding.

-Thom

frustrated

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2011, 07:11:16 am »
Well I have to really thank all of you for the responses.  In the end, it wasn't a bad discussion and I want you to know that I learned a lot.  So much so, that I got through my install!  I went back and took it one step at a time through the Wiki & instructions, took a break, went slow, and got it done (I did have a few problems, but...)

I'll really make an effort to report my problems and help out.  I do appreciate all that you all do!

Thanks again!

purps

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2011, 10:46:56 am »
Well you've managed to get through your install - your issues couldn't have been THAT major, considering you made your first post only yesterday. May I ask why you felt you couldn't just ask the relevant questions, and instead signed up a new account (I'm assuming) in order to make these comments anonymously?

As for the wiki, I tried to put myself in the shoes of a brand new user trying to download LMCE for the first time, and I genuinely didn't feel that it was too difficult. I guess the main page could be better organised for people that just want to quickly get up and running, but then that said, this isn't the kind of system that one can just "quickly get up and running". There is a certain amount of reading around/research that should, no, MUST be done before installing. Everybody expects it to be like a standard Ubuntu release i.e. don't do any research, burn it, bang it in the drive, and away you go, no issues. LMCE is not like that, because it's insanely complicated, AND the team working on it is a fraction of the size.

At the end of the day, if you feel that any wiki pages aren't as good as they could be, then why don't you change it? Or if you don't feel happy doing this off the bat, post on the forum for some advice or hold a little poll to see what people think would be best, and THEN make the changes. Either way, it's up to the likes of me and you to do these kinds of tasks, because for people who CAN code, it's not a good use of their time. If they spent all their time updating wiki pages, then you wouldn't have a working install, and we wouldn't now have a RC.

Cheers,
Matt.
1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
my setup :: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Purps

Techstyle

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2011, 06:56:03 pm »
Maybe we should add something to track and fix wiki pages that appear out of date.  these could be assigned to non-coders to do some research and fix them.

Valent (I think) added the box at the top which says which version it is applicable which was a good start

Any thoughts?

tschak909

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2011, 08:24:20 pm »
I'm for ANYTHING that will help age pages appropriately. ;)

-Thom

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2011, 08:40:13 pm »
I am AGAINST EVERYTHING that make me act age appropriately.

bongowongo

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2011, 09:17:14 pm »
me too

frustrated

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2011, 03:29:42 am »
Well you've managed to get through your install - your issues couldn't have been THAT major, considering you made your first post only yesterday. May I ask why you felt you couldn't just ask the relevant questions, and instead signed up a new account (I'm assuming) in order to make these comments anonymously?

As for the wiki, I tried to put myself in the shoes of a brand new user trying to download LMCE for the first time, and I genuinely didn't feel that it was too difficult. I guess the main page could be better organised for people that just want to quickly get up and running, but then that said, this isn't the kind of system that one can just "quickly get up and running". There is a certain amount of reading around/research that should, no, MUST be done before installing. Everybody expects it to be like a standard Ubuntu release i.e. don't do any research, burn it, bang it in the drive, and away you go, no issues. LMCE is not like that, because it's insanely complicated, AND the team working on it is a fraction of the size.

At the end of the day, if you feel that any wiki pages aren't as good as they could be, then why don't you change it? Or if you don't feel happy doing this off the bat, post on the forum for some advice or hold a little poll to see what people think would be best, and THEN make the changes. Either way, it's up to the likes of me and you to do these kinds of tasks, because for people who CAN code, it's not a good use of their time. If they spent all their time updating wiki pages, then you wouldn't have a working install, and we wouldn't now have a RC.

Cheers,
Matt.

Actually, they were pretty major, at least for me.  I would run the install over & over and get different errors and background tasks would hang during the setup wizard.  I’m used to installs going the same way every time and was freaking out when it didn’t.

I originally thought that it was something with my hardware.  I put together a bunch of parts last week, but they’re all mainstream – late ABIT motherboard with a GeForce 8600 video card.  During the first (many) installs last week, I was updating the video driver and following some out of date posts.  Then on Friday, I gave that up, but kept getting into problems with hanging, different results on the same install, etc.  I didn’t find many posts about my errors and I think that led to my frustration.  I would go back to different posts and then watched the YouTube videos again which I think got me the most frustrated.  I felt kind of stupid seeing that others could do this but I couldn’t figure it out.  I just got too frustrated & angry to post any questions.

What made it work for me (and I still did several repeated installs) is finding a post that said that errored out setup wizard installs would be caught up later.  I just decided “good enough” would do the job and it did.  I also relaxed, took a break, let it sit, had patience and took the wizard slow I think helped.

I think I’ll keep my account name as frustrated as a reminder…  :-)

- Nate
edit: fix mb
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 11:31:28 am by frustrated »

purps

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Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2011, 02:56:58 pm »
Maybe we should add something to track and fix wiki pages that appear out of date.  these could be assigned to non-coders to do some research and fix them.

Valent (I think) added the box at the top which says which version it is applicable which was a good start

Any thoughts?

Yes that version info table is extremely useful, if a little annoying to fill out. It was weirdbeard65 who came up with that I think.

How would one go about tracking wiki pages and assigning tasks? I'm assuming using Trac for example would be overkill?

I am going to have a think about how to reorganise the main page from the point of view of the new user, it could be a bit more logical I guess.

Cheers,
Matt.
1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
my setup :: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Purps