Author Topic: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality  (Read 69189 times)

MarcoZan

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #15 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




tschak909

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #16 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

geekyhawkes

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #17 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


Che

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2009, 09:45:44 pm »
I agree with WB. Show me the path, and I will help.

wierdbeard65

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #19 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.
Paul
If you have the time to help, please see where I have got to at: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Wierdbeard65

hari

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #20 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
rock your home - http://www.agocontrol.com home automation

hari

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #21 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
rock your home - http://www.agocontrol.com home automation

wierdbeard65

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #22 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?)
Paul
If you have the time to help, please see where I have got to at: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Wierdbeard65

skeptic

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #23 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?

rafik24

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #24 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




fastie81

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #25 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

 

Techstyle

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #26 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

fastie81

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2009, 06:03:20 am »
Let me know when you got that page up..
That would be great..


Schmich

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #28 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 >_<
« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 04:48:03 am by Schmich »

pcbastard

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #29 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