Re: Fedora Legacy Project vitality. Anybody here?
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Quoting David Eisenstein <deisenst@xxxxxxx>:
The Fedora Legacy Project seems to me just barely alive.
Yes, I agree. Maybe not yet to the point of life support, but at least in the "living but not enjoying life" stage.
Sometimes I think about it and wonder why it seems that way. Is it just me who feels that way?
No, others feel this way.
* Participatory structure I: One of the reasons I joined the legacy project in the first place is because I had the impression back in fall 2004 that we were a vital community with a number of players who each took turns doing different roles in the process of doing the work of Legacy.
I think what we were missing from the start was a spirit of "mentoring" in the project. Lots of people like myself wanted to join because we _needed_ RHL support extended. But, we were not "opensource" people, and we didn't know/use things like gpg, irc, yum/apt, etc. We met a very high learning curve with no one willing to help much... People with the knowledge and desire to use these channels didn't want to help "mentor" the new folks who didn't know anything about this, and didn't want to use other methods... Lots of requests to make things easier have been met with "why do we need to do that?" responses. Lots of requests for help have been met with "figure it out for yourself using a search engine" type responses. So what we ended up with was a lot of people who came in with the desire to help becoming "lurkers" instead.
The fact of the matter is that for quite awhile, only 3-4 people seem to have been doing the bulk of the work described on our "par- ticipate" page, of vulnerability tracker, Vulnerability Analyst and Patch Creator, Test RPM Packager, QA Tester, Publisher (Release Manager), and nevermind the other roles listed. On some occasions, a single person does all the steps (except source QA and binary QA testing -- *if* binary QA even gets done at all). <http://fedoralegacy.org/participate/>
Can't deny that...
Working with others is fun. Knowing that people are around who care and who will be there to do stuff and consult with is part of the fun of doing community work. But it is only fun if there is a community to work with.
This is where I think the "mentoring" would have helped... I've joined other projects where I didn't really know what I was doing, but the leads in those projects took the time to get me up to speed, and I was really able to contribute to the projects. With FL, people didn't want to take the time to get me up to speed, and didn't want to accept that I simply don't use IRC and that other communication methods (email) might be equally useful.
I know there are folks like you out there that read with interest every post that is made to the fedora-legacy-list, who are willing to jump in and answer questions and concerns of others having problems with the legacy software that we maintain.
I try, though lately even I've lost interest in the project to tell the truth. I'd say come 2007 I'll probably have no interest in FL at all, since I really only cared about RHL anyway and not Fedora Core. Had I made friends, or other strong relationships, within FL that would be different. But other than Jesse, I can't say I even remotely "know" or have a relationship with anyone in FL. On other projects I work on, I feel a connction to at least a half dozen people in the project. That just never happened in FL.
But I miss collaboration here, for the most part. I guess what I miss is the sense of vitality when collaborators are close at hand. Like, when folks visit on IRC and chit-chat with one another while doing work on various projects... Very few of us seem to do IRC... Or make known specific times when we will be available on the #Fedora-Legacy channel that we operate on irc.freenode.net.
I don't do IRC. I just don't. If that is a requirment for FL, then I'm out... I prefere e-mail, and I like the idea that it is archived and searchable, and I require the fact that it is asynchronous... But, I also miss the collaboration here in FL. And I don't see many requests for it, or any hint of mentoring... So it seems we have none, and no one is trying to create it either.
Sometimes in participating with Fedora Legacy it feels like Legacy is a ship without a rudder. We have our goals generically set out on the websites that we operate, namely
We've got a problem that when changes are proposed, they languish in debate. See my post about consensus versus consent. I think had we switched to consent we would have been much better off. But we never got consensus on switching to consent... ;) Why, well, lack of leadership, or lack of interest, or no ruder, I don't know...
and we do get stuff done. Not necessarily very fast, but it gets done.
We get patches out. Not much else. The community would consist of more than just getting out some patches and a few docs.
But where is the governance?
Where are the week-to-week or month-to- month goals? Where are the meetings that projects of our scope ought to be having, at least monthly, to assess how we are doing our job and where we are going, how we are succeeding and where we need to grow, and to give people ownership, responsibility, accountability, and expectations as to what they can do (or are needed to do) to keep our project vital and have fun while doing it?
Those are all missing from this project (but I see such things in other projects like the Fedora Documentation Project). Not that all projects with those things do better than projects without them, but they would certainly help in the case of FL, IMHO.
Sometimes I feel like I have some ownership in this project -- I am on the build team after all and have access to our build server and can find new vulnerabilities, enter new bugzilla reports, propose patches, propose updated .src.rpm packages, build new binary .rpm packages to be pushed to updates-testing or updates.
I have no ownership. I can't do any of the above... I created a web page, but it has been "replaced" by a wiki in theory but not reality... So even my contributions (web site) seem to be un-appreciated anymore.
But other times it's like -- okay. I'm lost. Where are we?
Well, our overview has had several updates proposed, but never been updated as no "consensus" was reached. So, we don't even have a current overview or road path to go with. This is a shame.
A. Do we have all the volunteers we need to take care of all the various and sundry aspects of running a successful project?
Only if we take care to mentor and encourage them, rather than discourage them and push them into "lurker" roles.
Are all our roles filled and being operated? Do we have leaders in charge of the various areas to help get new people acclimated to what these roles do to get fresh blood contributing?
No. This is IMHO the biggest problem, even bigger than the consent/consensus problem.
Do we have ways to make it easy for people to get started contributing? Some roles: (see http://fedoralegacy.org/participate/)
We have the docs, but not the moral support to help people. We can't come to a consensus on what should be done to help new participants, so nothing gets done.
B. Are we keeping up with vulnerabilities? Or are we just taking care of the "low-hanging-fruit" kind of vulnerabilities that are critical?
No idea actually.
C. Now that we have some official Fedora infrastucture (like CVS), do any of our maintainers know how to work it or what to do with it? (Am afraid I don't.) Do we need to get people involved with its use?
I don't. But, I've pretty much dropped out of the project due to it being too hard to pariticipate and lack of time on my part.
I like the fun of doing the good work of Fedora Legacy, helping people out who want to or have to run older Fedora or Red Hat distributions of Linux. It feels good to get this work done, and know that some folks are getting some good out of what we do here.
I agree completely. But there have been too many road blocks in place to make my help rewarding. In summary, I have to put in too much work for what I get back out of that work, so I simply start slacking and using the rewards of other people's work instead.
But we need people to play with and help us get work done. It gets a bit lonely (and overwhelming!) when only 3 to 6 people regularly contribute to the basic work of maintaining security fixes for our Fedora (and RedHat) releases.
Anyone wanna come talk on IRC sometime?
I do not use IRC. I will only use IRC if it is being used for some purpose such as weekly/monthly meetings. That I can do. But I don't spend all day on IRC/IM/etc. It is too distracting. I respond to email when time allows, but don't have a schedule for real-time interaction like IRC/IM.
Have a visit? Help set up short-term goals, long-term goals for our project? Grab a bug and start
I'd love to. But I think until/unless we switch from consensus to consent (which Jesse sometimes does, but the rest of us can't, as we're not project leaders) this won't happen. Jesse is great, but he is only one person, and one person can't do everything.
finding patches? (...with many thanks to Michal Jaegermann for sharing some packages he has made for Seamonkey and Firefox that we need to get up off our collective duff and use and make official!) Have any ideas to attract more folks to participate in what we do?
Make it easier. Start a mentoring program. Switch from consensus to consent.
Thanks for your time.
Thanks for pushing the issue and not just giving up (like I did).
Warm regards, David Eisenstein
-- Eric Rostetter The Department of Physics The University of Texas at Austin Go Longhorns! -- fedora-legacy-list mailing list fedora-legacy-list@xxxxxxxxxx https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-legacy-list
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