[openbeos] Re: news: development mailing list, distro guidelines

  • From: "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 00:47:46 -0700

Michael Phipps wrote:
Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki) wrote:
Michael Phipps wrote:
Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki) wrote:
Timothy Brown wrote:
As for attracting developers, I think they are less impressioned
by flashy GUIs and more on a technical basis of what Haiku has the
potential to offer them over other operating systems. In other words,
developers don't need a demo CD, they are very much in user land.

Right. And that's why Haiku has so many developers?

Please, let's be civil here. There is nothing in this but sarcasm, and fairly pointless sarcasm, at that.

I think it does make a point, and a valid one.

But, knowing you as I do, I am 100% certain that you could make it more kindly. :-D

Yes, that was a bit too harsh, and I am sorry.

Linux and 3 different BSD's have lots of developers. They sure aren't flashy.

Where did I said anything about being flashy? If you and the gentleman had read my emails carefully, you would understand that I was not talking about making demos flashier with a nice GUI, but more effective as a demo tool and useful. Please, point me to any of me emails in this thread where I suggest anything about being flashy, and then I will take your rebuttal as being valid in that context.

You didn't. You responded to someone who did.

I am sorry. I just thought you were supporting the notion that one does not need to be flashy to succeed, a claim that I did not make.

The problem is convincing the target market that Haiku is viable, successful and useful. If the target market is developers, well, wouldn't developers, by definition, know how to sell to developers?

That's an oversimplification. Being a consumer does not necessarily make you a person with knowledge on how to market to consumers. Or, if you prefer an example that as a developer you can relate to, GUIs are designed for end users, but that does not make end users the most knowledgeable about how to design and create a good GUI.

Having said that, if Haiku takes the position that demos are useless and prefers that non-devs do not pursue this sort of promotional tools, then they should say so loud and clear, so that people who may have an interest in contributing in this area don't waste their time and effort in something that in the end may not be appreciated.

I never said anything like that. I do, however, think that this conversation is hypothetical, at best.

It is not hypothetical. I can point you to a couple of actual such works that would be affected by this discussion:

# JPBE.net Haiku Live CD
This is an initiative to create a Haiku live CD for demo purposes that is more friendly to Japanese users and has a few additional apps to make it more enticing.

# Haiku Operating System - Alpha Release (VMWare appliance)
Happy Easter Edition with Basic Network Support

I know of at least one more initiative to create a demo CD to be handed out at an upcoming conference, and I would not be surprised at all if there were others out there contemplating doing the same in the near future.

So this is not hypothetical; it is quite real.

Haiku, having decided that it will make a distro, has not yet decided what will be in it. Given that, the question that you originally raised: " Let's say that a user group in country X will be attending an open source conference, and they want to hand out either a Haiku live CD or a CD with a Haiku VMWare image of their making with some customizations like, say, a few additional apps, fonts to support their language, a little localized documentation, and perhaps branding/contact info specific to their user group. "

is probably premature. Since we don't know what our distro will look like, it is awfully hard to guess what will and won't be there.

Well, I was not trying to speculate or even start a discussion on what the official Haiku distro should eventually include or not include. I am sure that will be discussed and decided upon at some point in time.

Having said that, my personal take is that given what we are encouraging people to change (and, more importantly, not change), any additions/subtractions are custom distros and should be treated as such. I don't personally think that there is any point in saying, "well, if you only change this or that and only distribute it this way or that, you can keep the name". That is the world's largest support nightmare, IMHO. If someone says "Haiku does X when I do Y", you can no longer be sure what actual software they have. Is it a broken font borking the app_server? Don't know. Invalid formatted icons? Could be. Maybe a broken compile of something (don't laugh - I have seen it happen).

But a demo does not replace official builds or distros. It's just another tool that could have some additional resources/documentation to make it more useful/effective as an introduction to Haiku. It is just something to wet the dev's appetite. If a developer ends up becoming interested, he/she will anyway download the latest builds and work with that. You are just making it more enticing/easier for the developer to get there, not trying to replace the official build.

I am not opposed to demos (are you kidding? I am DYING to hand them out myself!). But I think that there was/is/should only be one official set of software. Anything custom is, just that. You can't be a little pregnant and you can't be, IMHO, a little custom.

The official set of software will be whatever the admins decide, and because a few people create demos (which are short-lived anyway) with slightly different content will not change that. Again, it is not about demos replacing anything official. It is just about creating an additional tool in your arsenal that is more efficient to reach out to and engage developers.

The Japanese community, for example, are creating a Live CD with a few apps to make the thing more enticing (like a Japanese text editor), the Japanese input method enabled by default, a nicer Japanese font than the default, and a few patches here and there that they need to address some language related issues. By the existing guidelines, they are forced to do this as a custom distro (because of the changes they need to make). This will not help promote Haiku (as the work will have to be branded differently), but it will also not encourage patches to be contributed back upstream to Haiku either. In the bigger picture, what this does is miss an opportunity to create a synergistic relationship between the project and a regional community, that could eventually lead to the creation of an official Japanese version of Haiku.

I think that's a shortsighted position that will only discourage community initiatives, and unnecessarily spur the creation of what you call custom builds. This, in the end, will only encourage the creation of more rather than less third party distros, something that I thought Haiku was trying to avoid.

Anyway, I have generated enough noise for today, so I rest my case. :P



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