Author Topic: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality  (Read 70258 times)

WhateverFits

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #120 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 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.

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #121 on: July 01, 2009, 02:06:08 am »
*** hari, pass the popcorn!***
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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #122 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.

tschak909

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #123 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?



darrenmason

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #124 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




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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #125 on: July 01, 2009, 07:51:18 am »
tmoore, why don't you actually SPEND SOME TIME STUDYING THE SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE, FIRST?

-Thom

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #126 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

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #127 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.

geekyhawkes

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #128 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. 

hari

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #129 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
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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #130 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.

tschak909

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #131 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

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #132 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
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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #133 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.

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Re: Letter to the Community: LinuxMCE 0810 - The Cold Honest Reality
« Reply #134 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
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