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

  • From: Michael Phipps <mphipps1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 08:39:34 -0400

Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki) wrote:

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.

Wow. Ok. Given some grounding, this makes more sense. Especially with the Japanese issues that you brought up in the other thread.

But those issues make me think, all the more, that we should tread carefully here. A different version of libtextencoding and a different version of unzip (that isn't backward compatible!) seems like something that could cause breakage. Imagine someone like yourself who is bilingual (English/Japanese) but isn't aware of these types of changes. He gets a demo CD only to find out that this piece of junk can't even unzip a file correctly!!! :-/

Personally (i.e. my personal opinion, not necessarily shared by the rest of the admins), I wouldn't want something like that going out with our name on it. I would rather have a feature (like Japanese support) missing than have something that works as you described with our logo on it.

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.

Fair enough.

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.

So you are saying that people will not keep the demo around? That they will either use it as a live CD and/or short term install? I don't believe that will be the case consistently. Surely, in some cases, they will install it and use it, especially if it offers something that they need (native language support is a good example) that isn't in the default distro.

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.

If it goes out with the Haiku name and logo, how is anyone outside the community to know that it isn't official? That sounds to me like it could dilute the brand, in terms of quality of software. Sort of like opening a can of Campbell's soup, adding water chestnuts, resealing it and selling it as Campbell's soup. :D In fact, even more so, because now you buy a can of soup at the store and are disappointed because there is no water chestnuts in your soup!

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).

So, this is:
new app (text editor)
changed preference (input method on)
new font
changes to the base software (unzip and library changes!)

That *is* a distro. If that isn't, what ever would be?

Or, let me ask it this way... Other than stamping the word "demo" on it, what is the difference between the CD that does this and a distro?

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.

There is no one who wants to have the support of the Japanese community as much as I do. It was so alive and vibrant in the R5 days - I was always excited to see the latest downloads on BeBits.

Having said that, I can't see how making this demo disk as you describe would be good for everyone. It either promises something we can't apparently deliver (correct Japanese support) AND it breaks existing software (i.e. unzip).

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.

But if we say, well, you can add 1 app and change 2 pieces of the base system, change 1 preference and add 1 font and still call it Haiku, where does that end? Because it has the word "demo" stamped on it?

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

Noise != well reasoned arguments. :-) If there really is an issue that we need to figure out, it isn't noise.

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