Something has to change

Something has to be done with regards to the integration of new GNOME developers into the community.

I will give here two examples illustrating why some people could become sick of contributing to the GNOME project.

More concretely, Ekiga has actually 2 developers contributing a lot to the project since the release of the SIP version.

One of them is Matthias Schneider, who has contributed a lot in various areas related to video. Thanks to him, we will have large resolutions working in Ekiga, accelerated display both on GNU/Linux and Windows, and we will also support new codecs like H.263+ and H.264, which are top of the notch in terms of codecs.

The other is Julien Puydt, a long time contributor to the project. In the past, he contributed to the support for audio and video devices plugins, as well as an abstraction layer for Ekiga in order to accelerate the Windows port. He is currently redesigning with myself core parts of Ekiga in order to abstract the engine from the GUI.

Matthias has asked for an SVN account to be able to commit his patches directly into our SVN instead of emailing them to me on a daily basis.
He first asked for this account in May, complained in early July, but also in August, and we are by now in September, and he still does not have his account activated. Perhaps having a model similar to the one used in gna would make the process faster.

Julien has created a blog to talk about his developments on Ekiga. He is a frequent poster, and I would rate his posts as good. He asked for his
blog to be added to but was at best, ignored. As this person proposes it, I would suggest redefining the policy for being added to p.g.o.

16 thoughts on “Something has to change

  1. Alexandre

    I’m with you on this. I created new ssh keys just for GNOME SVN and I was added only 6 or 7 months later, when I already forgot the password, so I have to go through all the procedure again. That sucks.

  2. Benoît Dejean

    Perhaps using distributed version control system would actually make people able to work … then you would be able to pull revisions/branches from them and then do releases.

    With SVN, the admin rule, not the project leader.

  3. Anonymous coward

    gna! uses svn –and it takes one hour to a project leader to open the svn to a contributor. So it’s not a technical problem, but an organisational problem

  4. d

    I went from p.g.o to your blog just to point out distributed version control, and now I see I wasn’t the only one. svn doesn’t have anything special to offer to start with, and with problems like this it’s just insane not to switch. git has the ability to import svn history into the project, and I bet hg and bzr has something similar, investigate which one you feel comfortable with and just do it!

  5. jmmv

    Same thing happened here. I asked *twice* to get my blog integrated into Planet GNOME back when I had GNOME-related posts (I don’t have any recent one). Result? My requests where ignored, AFAICT; I got no reply at all.

    Had I been added there, it’d have boosted my GNOME-related posts *and* my contributions. I’m out of the loop now.

  6. Murray Cumming

    People want svn commit access so they can commit changes to the central repository so that their changes can be released in the tarballs. Maintainers want to give them access so they can do this.

    Using distributed version control would allow contributors to have their own repository. It wouldn’t help them to check in to the central one without rights to do that.

    Yes, there are other advantages (and disadvantages) to distributed version control, but this isn’t one of them.

  7. Philip Van Hoof

    I agree with Murray on this one.

    I\’d like to add that although a distributed version control sounds like the solution to all these problems, it might also introduce new problems.

    Subversion is easy to learn for new people which is definitely a pro. A lot of these \

  8. Mikkel kamstrup Erlandsen

    * Distributed Revision Control: People often forget the fact that you need to be able to publicize your repository somewhere to make it useful.

    Either you give a person an account on a Gnome server (back to old problem) or you require people to have their own web server .

    * Developer Acceptance: I can easily identify my self with what you describe.

    Gnome *and* FDO seems to be controlled 99.9% by nepotism. The XESAM project have suffered severe delays because of this.
    The project creation request is from *february*:
    Projects in both KDE, Gnome, and GSoCs have been affected by this. This stuff makes me wanna leave the foss business all together sometimes.

    I have two kids at home. My time at the computer is limited and I really don\’t wanna spend it like this.

  9. Mathias

    Yeah you are right! I – for myself – stopped contributing to several open source projects. Sad but true for many projects: They are closed communities.

  10. mauri

    First of all I want to congratulate you for your great job with Ekiga. I think I understand your disappointment and you are right about it. Even though I think that Mathias reaction is not the right answer for this problem. We don’t have to forget the whole picture. When you develop open source projects, you are giving an important gift to humanity. Maybe you don’t get all the attention and credit you want, but you are truly heroes. You are the legs which makes humanity advance to a better and fair future. Specially with a very noble project like Ekiga. Think that indirectly you are making many people happy.
    I live in Central America. I recently heard a story that changed the way I thought life was about. A woman got pregnant when she was 18. Her mate left her when she was 20 leaving her with two children. Also her parents where too old to work and even the bank was going to take away their house. So this woman left her family and went to the United States to work caring sick people. She sends money to her family and comes to visit them one time each two years. As you may think this woman needs to save every coin she gains. I met her the last time she came, and even she told me she was very sad because she had to leave before christmas but was for the special ticket she got for save money.
    She has no money to get any fancy service like Cisco’s. Even skype service represents a lot for her. Specially now that her daughter is grown and wants to go to college, so her mother needs now to save more money to rent her a place. Can you imagine how important is for this family to communicate at a low cost? Can you understand how important is for a mother see her daughter face on her birthday? Or can you understand how important is for this daughter hear her mom’s voice on this christmas?
    I am almost graduating from electrical engineering specialized in computer science. Today I feel that there are two sides in the computer world. There is the Microsoft side where the only thing that matters is how money you have to buy stuff and how to earn it. My friends on that side we are no much more than merely mercenaries.
    But fortunately there is always another side of the street. In the open source side you people make more than programing. You are making humanity advance to a better and more fair future. You are building the basis for an utopia, where the world will be more human. In fact remember that is kind what ubuntu means. Remember that the greatest men never what they deserved because their greatness blinds the senses of the ordinary men. Even Christ dealed with this. So next time you get annoyed with things like this remember that because you thousands of parents talk with their sons, grandparents to their children, friends, spouses…. Knowing that you are making many souls happy for a moment by joinning them with their loved ones I think is one of the best rewards you can get. Taking away the sorrow of another one. So keep on going guys….please!!!

    PS: By the way I read this post this post because I want to become a developer of this project. This story truly touched me. So please anything I can help, please tell me.

  11. Damien Sandras Post author

    mauri: thank you for your very nice comment! Feel free to join the devel mailing list if you want to develop.


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