User Group Project Migration Update

We've made a lot of progress the last two weeks migrating the existing OpenSolaris User Groups to be User Group Projects -- with the same status and site functionality as development projects on opensolaris.org. This is an idea Stephen Hahn had a couple of months ago to fix the organizational mess that had developed in the old User Group Community (a mess due to fast growth, though, which is a very good problem to have).

We now have 13 user groups open as projects, 24 more in the process of moving but have yet to open, and 18 more sort of waiting in the wings. I expect we'll lose some of those 18 since they have not responded to pings to migrate. But that's ok. If a user group is not active, I really don't think we can call it a user group. No matter. We're happy to re-engage anytime. You can follow all of these migrations here in the user group project grid. I've been working it every day, so it's a pretty big table now. The user group projects are also listed among all the OpenSolaris projects. I also updated the user group project creation process, which outlines what people need to do to get opensolaris.org infrastructure for their group. It's easy. And well worth it.

This migration experience has taught me a great deal -- especially that it takes a lot of time to manually migrate 54 user groups! But I'm actually way ahead of schedule, so I'm not complaining. But also, as user groups get their projects I think they are realizing that a project space on opensolaris.org has value and will help increase the status of user groups and offer them more options to build community. Project infrastructure offers user groups some advanced features -- including a dedicated space on the site, project editing privileges, a blog aggregator, source code management (via Mercurial and/or Subversion), a Mailman mail list with administrator access, an RSS-enabled announcement section, and spaces for news, file hosting, discussions, observers, and leaders. That's not a bad start, don't you think? And as the site evolves, whatever additional features are added to the projects the user groups will see and benefit from as well. And because user group leaders are simultaneously project leaders who have earned the right to open and manage a project with site infrastructure, they stand a very good chance of gaining contributor and/or core contributor status within the Advocacy Community Group (which sponsors all the user group projects). So, user group leaders and participants can become full Members of the OpenSolaris Community as defined by the OpenSolaris Constitution, which will enable them to participate in community-wide governance issues -- including voting.

This is an excellent situation. As the community grows globally and diversifies to include non-technical participants, we are at the same time offering a convenient way for more people to get directly involved in the community, earn membership status, and contribute to the governance of the community itself. This is only one such mechanism, of course. More on the way ...
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