Saturday, July 05, 2008

Too Many Projects, Currency, Google Sucks

Google doesn't really suck, but when you use something as often as Google, well, it sucks sometimes. For example. If you live on the bleeding edge of things, and are having a problem with getting things to work. So you do a google search on "ati xorg 6.9.0" you get a whole listing of announcements. Great. I know it's out there, I'm using it. I want to find out if this or that works, and how to fix it. Eventually there will be search results for what I want, but by then I'll be using 7.1.0 or something. A more precise search term would help, but you need to know the words before you can search for them.

In my day job, if someone is willing to spill lots of real money, they get our attention. Free software works a bit differently. Not entirely, having $500 million or so to drop judiciously may even buy you a distribution, but I digress. For mere mortals, the currency is contribution. If someone contributes, they get attention. I can vouch for that. People read and comment on my semi-coherent rants possibly because I bought some currency by contributing.

The contribution doesn't need to be source code. How about someone collecting or linking all the current problems, fixes, development efforts on a particular piece of hardware or software that they use? I've enjoyed it when others have done that. The information is available, but spread all over the various forums and lists.

I've wondered why no one has written a regular summary of all the changes in xorg. It affects everyone, so there would be an audience.

What about a podcast or series of articles on using the KDE technologies to solve common business problems? This one has been perking in the back of my mind for a long time. Akonadi gives access to data that businesses always need. How could someone use the api's to accomplish what they need? That is one example. How about scripting workflows with KOffice? This stuff is the bread and butter of commercial desktop usage. When these types of questions are asked, solutions come forward, improving the software for everyone.

There is so much to do. Instead of wallowing in disappointment, jump in. Either work with the project, or do something on your own. KDE is today what individual contributions have made it. Oh, don't be anonymous. Building community is another word for building relationships.

I fully agree with you.
At the moment I'm making some screen-casts for my KDE application (developed as part of the GSoC program) and most probably I'll publish some articles on techbase on how to use it effectively. Writing how-to, articles and such about KDE applications and technologies really helps to get new contributions.
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