FOSS.IN

I love the artwork for this year's FOSS.IN conference. Very nice stuff. The images are all based on freedom, opportunity, personal expression, coding, participation, and contribution. That last part is most important to me because I think we need to focus more on contributing in the OpenSolaris Community, especially as we grow and diversify globally.

I'll be going to FOSS.IN this year for my first trip to India. Getting a Visa is proving to be quite an experience. I was rejected initially due to "not enough empty pages" in my passport. Excuse me? I guess three empty pages is not enough. But two quick trips to the American Embassy in Tokyo, and I now have 24 shinny new pages stuffed in there. I hope that's enough. I'll know for sure a few days, but I think I'm fine.

Anyway, if I get to Bangalore, I'll be doing a talk about contributing to OpenSolaris. This is an issue that comes up from time to time on the OpenSolaris lists. Sometimes it's a source of genuine confusion, sometimes it's bitterly complained about, sometimes it's praised, and sometimes it's just totally ignored and neglected. At the very least, we need to do a better job documenting how to contribute and pointing to those who are already contributing -- whether they are contributing on opensolaris.org or at other OpenSolaris-related venues around the world. So I thought I'd start writing a presentation about it, which I'll expand into some documents for the website. The talk at FOSS.IN will be a first attempt at this.

In general, there's no single entry point for contributing to OpenSolaris, and there's no single document explaining it all, either. Everything is conveniently spread out among dozens of locations -- Community Groups, Projects, User Groups, mail lists, and personal hard drives. It's all over the place. Plus, the project is still opening, so although most of the code is open now some of the core infrastructure isn't and that makes contributing harder for some. Then there are all the processes and governance and cultural issues to deal with. And then there are the flamers. It can be daunting for those just stopping by to check us out. But despite all that, people are getting involved, community code is getting integrated, and people are contributing in a variety of ways. And we are learning. So, that's what I'll try to talk about, along with a bunch of stories and politics along the way I'm sure.

By the way, just an aside: looking at the FOSS.IN artwork and the emphasis of some posters on coding brings back some memories. We had a conversation a while back about taglines for OpenSolaris (for banners or t-shirts or something), and the one I liked best was this: OpenSolaris is a four letter word: C-O-D-E. It never went anywhere, but I think the C-O-D-E bit blew away all the other options at the time.
Comments:

I like your tagline as well. I note that your referenced discussion thread is May 2006. Yet by May 2007, I heard Ian say something like, "it's not about the code, it's about the community". Implies participation is usage, not development. I tend to agree with your view more... :-)

Posted by Dave Stewart on November 19, 2007 at 06:07 PM JST #

hey, Dave. Hopefully, we'll get a good tagline in the near future. :) And I doubt very much it will be the one I like best! :) But seriously, my view on "code vs community" is simple: The code and the people working directly on the code form the foundation of the entire project since the main goal for OpenSolaris from an engineering perspective has always been open development. We are getting there slowly, of course, but that's the intention. Now, around that core grows many layers of the community, and users are one of those layers -- probably the most important layer outside the core. We need both, in other words.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on November 20, 2007 at 07:39 AM JST #

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