[oi-dev] Thoughts on FOSDEM and the road ahead
magnus at yonderway.com
Mon Feb 13 01:11:58 UTC 2012
On Feb 12, 2012, at 6:22 PM, Bayard Bell wrote:
> Start with a very loose consistency model: have them share blogs
http://planet.illumos.org/ could be put to fuller use.
> let them create special interest group mailing lists to build communities around focused interests.
I'm in a good position to help facilitate this if the consensus is to go in this direction.
> My surmise is that we've got a lot of users who are--I don't want to say conservative but production-centric. We need to help them make the transition from being Sun customers to OI contributors.
In my case, I'm coming from Linux (production) and staring wide-eyed at a new (to me) world with a bit of a learning curve to it. My biggest personal stumbling block to contributing more deeply is the state of the wiki right now. There is a little bit of doc here & there but it doesn't seem very thorough, linear, or well-maintained in its current state. Documentation is as important as code in some thriving communities, and I would suggest it's a value worth considering giving greater weight to here.
> Second, let's try to organize a pan-illumos userland hackathon that's also a bootcamp. Let's target OI users and FOSS developers. We teach a package of skills: how to build stuff with OI, how to measure stuff with DTrace, how to test stuff with the unit testing rig Delphix is putting together (I'm assuming we just want to steal this, but maybe I'm wrong), and how to automate the boring stuff with Jenkins. (As much as possible, downplay packaging in the interest of cross-distro unity: here's the common data you have to understand for all of userland, so you know what to grok if gmake publish fails.) If possible, fly in a DTrace rock star. Teach those skills in a day or less, and spend the rest of the weekend using them so that there's immediate practical reinforcement. Let people sign up ahead to work on packages so that they come away from the event with something read to commit and thus a sense of accomplishment on which to build.
This is great, if you're able to get to a conference. But it's also ephemeral. Let the teaching come as a natural extension of solid documentation, and then anyone with an Internet connection and some time can self-study their way through this. The Joyent side of the community seems to grok the value of sharing collective knowledge through videos which is another great tool.
Personally, I'm in a part of the world (Raleigh, North Carolina, USA) deeply steeped in FOSS culture (Red Hat's HQ dominates the view from my window at my desk) but when I try to talk about OI or Illumos (or, more recently, SmartOS) in the local enthusiast circles, most have never even heard of it and I am the only person in the area that I'm aware of that has actually tried using any of it. I've got a long way to go before I feel comfortable offering to do a talk on the subject in front of an audience of 100+ engineers, but I'm willing to do that when I've reached some level of mastery. There are parts of this world where it's easier to have face to face collaboration. In this part of the world, I seem to be very much alone. Thorough, linear, comprehensive documentation is my only hope for learning things the right way.
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